If you’re not into bondage, our interview with Jakub Šesták, aka GNBY, will be a huge surprise for you. This man found his passion in bondage, whether with a sexual context or simply as a form of art. He is professionally engaged in the Japanese type of binding, called shibari. The following interview will be not only about his ability to bind the object in a manner that evokes emotions in the spectator, but also about his life with the label of a "sadist."
What happened to your hand?
I was helping with the shooting of a student dissertation film. And I tripped while checking out the terrain where I was supposed to do bondage, jiggering my wrist a little.
So it didn't happen to you in the process of binding?
No, but in the exercise of my profession. (laughs)
So what is your profession?
I'm a sound engineer in civil life.
What does the GNBY mean?
It stands for gunboy, which is my nickname.
You like guns, then?
How did you get to binding? Let’s be honest, it’s not completely normal according to the measures of today's society.
We’d have to go back to the period of puberty, when people find out whether or not they’re normal, it’s hard to say.
But I can’t be the first person asking you this question…
No, but only at a later age did I have a kind of internal coming out. I admitted to myself: “OK, you're not like an average person, you have slightly different sexual preferences. You should reflect on that in your life, because if you don't, you will be hurting yourself above all. ”
How old were you when you found out?
Twenty-five, maybe twenty-six.
Coming out is usually associated with being gay. But you're not gay.
I'm not, I'm a sadist.
You had to see it somewhere, right? That something like that existed and you liked it…
Freud says that human sexuality evolves somewhere between the second and third year. I don't really know where it came from, and I'm not going to wreck my brain over it. It is definitely not something to blame my parents for, because I had a wonderful, normal childhood filled with love. I don't know, it's simply in me.
When you realized this, it had a sexual subtext. That means you must hang out with like-minded people on a sexual level. Was it difficult to find your place in such a community?
I would say that the BDSM community is surprisingly responsible in this respect, there is not much danger there. Many people differentiate BDSM practices and view them as separate from sex. I personally call it mind sex. It is a game.
Do you think ordinary people have no idea what it means? That their sex life is impoverished?
Define ordinary people. I don’t think that any person who listens to their body and has some kind of imagination needs to be deprived.
When I hear BDSM or bondage, I imagine a handcuffed person with a gag in their mouth, which doesn't seem to be entirely normal or comfortable. But your description of the practice as a game sounds completely different.
It's the same as in dance. There are many kinds of satisfaction to be found in the ropes, it can go in various directions, it can be gentle, harsh, painful, with subtle hints or sexual undertones. It’s all about where you decide to take it.
When did you start binding? What made you decide to become a rigger?
There’s a very funny story related to that. As a sound engineer, I was also a rigger, binding the sound system to scaffold construction. My friend got into shibari and started telling me about it. And one day I was standing on the platform, watching big loudspeakers being pulled up on a chain construction, and I thought to myself: I could do this with women.
But you were already aware that shibari existed.
Yes, but I hadn’t been into it before.
Was it hard to find the first partner for that kind of binding?
It wasn't, because a friend told me about it. She’d already started doing it and it was with her that I began attending my first workshops.
There are workshops for that?
Yes, there are. And I lead them too.
What’s the difference between bondage and shibari?
Bondage is not so much about the process of binding, the game itself. It’s more about using ropes to tie someone to a bed or a table and subsequently having sex. Shibari is, in some ways, a substitute for sex, it is a complete experience without having to have sex.
Does it culminate in orgasm?
Is it all in your mind then?
It's mind sex. Yet it's very intense, intimate, all of that is present.
How intimate can it be, it when you show it to people in public?
There, of course, the degree of intimacy shifts to generally more decent levels. In private, it depends on how the rules are set.
Do you have a partner?
And is she the friend who taught you that?
I have a different partner now.
Is it difficult to find a partner who’d understand all this and who’d be willing to do it with you?
It's not the easiest. It requires a lot of compromises, concessions, respect for oneself and the other.
Have you ever let someone bind you?
A few times.
How is it like to be on the other side and submit to another person?
For some, submitting is a liberating moment. Unfortunately I am one of the people who always strive to have control over themselves, so for me the feeling is a bit stressful. It's a lot about where, how and by whom I’m being bound.
Was it a man or a woman?
Always a woman.
I’ve seen a man tying up another man once. And it doesn't have to be gay guys doing it…
Yes, after all, I sometimes tie up another man too.
And is the experience identical to the one of tying up a woman?
The experience is different. I have a friend with whom we cooperate on a couple of projects off and on, which means that we sometimes do binding together. It's not as intimate as it is with a woman, but it can be interesting in a different sense. There is more sadism involved or more interaction in case there are spectators. In that way, a private intimate experience turns into a theatere performance, where two people are playing for the audience.
Shibari binding really looks like a theater performance, the human body is forced into various poses. Do you know in advance, which poses you’d like to achieve with the model?
Generally, yes. There are riggers who never technically stray away from what they have learned and how. My journey is a lot about experimenting, and often I don't have a fixed scheme of what direction it will take in advance. Not during a show, in those cases I have practised it and know what to do and how, because I have to fit within the time limit. But when I’m binding at home, I try to experiment, do things differently and avoid getting stuck in a stereotype.
That must be a surprise even for your partner.
Yes, of course, that too.
Your partner is probably in a good physical condition, but what if she’s in pain? Can she say enough?
What do you do in such a situation? Do you change what you’ve had planned, or end the whole session?
Quite often I change the tether to make it more comfortable, because it's a tangled ball where everything is related to everything. If I change it often enough and carefully, the model doesn’t complain about pain. If I pay attention to it and don’t leave her in a rigid position for too long… Since the body shifts and rotates in the ropes, the points that are weighted change as well, and the pain gradually breaks down and becomes comfortable.
What other props do you need, besides ropes?
Besides ropes you need a hanging ring or bamboo.
Is it difficult to find it and get it home?
The most difficult thing is to fix it to the ceiling so that it wouldn’t fall down, the rest is quite easy.
On your social networks, I have seen shibari in various environments where it really looks like a work of art, for instance at a pond. How do you manage to organize it when it's not taking place at home, in a confined space?
You need to have a bit of exhibitionism in yourself and a desire to make a good photo. When it actually comes to having a binding session outside, my photographic eye often comes to light - I want to have a beautiful shot. After some time, one can easily spot suitable places.
And the projects you're working on are not related to shibari?
They are. Mostly, it’s various parties. Recently, it was Dermacol Prima Love Day, Tattoo Convention or Erotic Fair.
You performed with shibari?
So it's starting to find its way to the "normal" people?
Even though I dislike Fifty Shades of Gray, I’ve never read or seen it, it’s doing some promotional work in this respect.
Why haven’t you seen it? Do you find it that bad?
I saw what the author looked like, I read about a page and a half. And I decided I didn't need to read chic-lit.
You’re not trying to hide this, although it may be an intimate topic for some people. How does your family and your surroundings react?
Fortunately, my family is free-minded, they don’t condemn it. On the contrary, I’m very grateful to them for their understanding and support in everything I do. When you’re doing something with enthusiasm, no matter what it is, success will come sooner or later, because a professional is essentially an amateur who never gave up. As far as the public is concerned, I would say that jaded individuals require others to see the world the way they see it it will always be among us. We can only pity them.
And do you?
I do. Lack of understanding, or perhaps partly fear of the unknown, that I can understand. But those who condemn others I can only pity and hope that one day, they’ll find their inner peace and stop condemning others for what they’re doing.
Do you have a higher pain threshold?
What was the worst pain, for example from a doctor, that you’ve endured?
I have no idea, I don’t feel the normal kind of pain that makes people go see a doctor, so it happens to me that I let a small problem grow into a big one.
The same goes for your models, right?
No, it's not really a good thing if all your models are terminators. It is good to have one that is more sensitive, so that you could also practice more subtle approaches. It's not that I bind everyone the same way and they endure it.
What does your partner say when you’re binding with other models? Isn’t she jealous?
That's a question for her rather than me, but I hope not. But my partner knows very well that it is not physically possible for her to do binding five, six times a week.
And you need to do it that often?
I try to bind often, because I’m always trying to create something new. That means a lot of experimenting.
How about normal „vanilla“ sex, do you do that too?
From time to time, yes.
And do you enjoy it?
Who doesn’t enjoy sex?
Did you use to go to summer camps as a child? Which knot was your favorite?
I did, I was even a member of a scout troop, but I never learned the Morse code. And believe it or not, I sucked at tying knots! Really.