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The Pleasure Compound | Dr. Susan Block
The Pleasure Compound | Dr Susan BlockG.C. Stiehl | Citizen LA

A sexually diverse utopian hangout is difficult to come by, seemingly requiring a consolidation of improbabilities for such a scene to unfold. A support group of active participants must also be on hand to nurture mutually beneficial relationships while filtering out toxic personalities.

Within these environments, fulfillment springs from a loss of inhibition –a shift in the way one processes fear– wherein societal norms are redefined. No doubt, it takes faith and perseverance to commit oneself to champion what many conservative Americans condemn. A favorable outcome is, in part, the result of a positive mindset and the initial boundaries set forth by the host.

Luckily… adventure, optimism, and love is what Dr. Susan Block is all about. A well-studied well-versed pioneer, Dr. Block has been offering her audience healthy alternative lifestyle options to counter what has been ailing Americans for centuries. Any advice emanating from Susan is derived from practical applications and real-world scenarios. Patients become fans, and fans become evangelists.

Just as a rogue oiling-platform operating along the edges of U.S. controlled waters has inherent advantages and dangers, Dr. Susan Block’s Bonoboville Compound toys with the razor sharp boundaries between health and entertainment.

This place is libido, personified. It’s a blend of the Mad Hatter’s Espresso Bar circa 1988 and Jim Fittipaldi’s Bedlam circa 2005; a hodge-podge of super-friendly people, in a relatively-safe environment, where participants have the freedom to express themselves, as long as the body-count remains at zero.

This particular Saturday night, we arrived at the compound for a pre-show interview. Waiting for us was Dr. Susan Block’s husband, the friendly, approachable, polite, Max, who immediately ushered us in past the throngs of sexy-cool people into the sanctity of the Doctor’s bedroom/studio where Susan’s brand of therapy is produced and subsequently aired to the world.

This evening was special and there were plenty of guests on hand to celebrate…

Citizen LA: So… Dr. Susan Block… where are we?

Susan: We are in the “Womb Room”, where we broadcast our Saturday evening show…

[She gestures to a comfy bed, filled with interesting knickknacks, sitting front-and-center stage.]

Susan: And this is some of my wedding memorabilia.

Citizen LA: I heard that tonight is your 23rd Wedding Anniversary. Congratulations.

Susan: Wherein most couples go with a romantic evening, we’re celebrating with an orgy! For every couple it’s different, there’s no one size fits all recipe.

Dr Susan BlockG.C. Stiehl | Citizen LA

Citizen LA: You’re viewed as a sexual trailblazer, an essential part of this industry, and that’s very admirable. Many people are not only interested in what you’re doing, but you’ve positively affected their lives.

Susan: Thank you!

Citizen LA: So how do YOU define sexual health?

Susan: Sexual health for ME would be different than sexual health for YOU. We’re all very different, and we have different ways of expressing ourselves. Have you read my book “The Bonobo Way”? The Bonobos are the ‘make love, not war chimpanzees.’ And they make peace through pleasure.

Citizen LA: No I have not read it, but I’d love a signed copy.

Susan: Of course, however, I’m not going to sign it with my butt, as one of our guests does. You see, she’s an ass-artist and tonight’s live-painting will be exhibited in our new gallery.

Citizen LA: Looking forward to it!

Susan: You see, for years Primatologists, Anthropologists, film-makers and taste-makers have used the paradigm of the “killer apes” to define our sexual health; that we must rape, pillage, and kill as common chimps do. Bonobos, however, have never been seen killing each other in the wild nor in captivity. They are a new Great Ape paradigm for humanity, and for our sexual health. They express their sexuality in a myriad of ways. And they’re very empathetic. There are ways that we too can channel our sexual energy into love and peace.

Citizen LA: I was watching a documentary called ‘Happy’. The film-makers discovered the three most significant things that made people happy throughout the world. First, is doing what you like doing, specifically. Second, is being surrounded by people who reinforce that. The third, and most important, is a life of service. World-wide, serving others brings about the most happiness. Coming back to you, and your years of service to the community, I commend you.

Susan: Thank you for thinking of it as years of service, cuz I always feel like I’m the one being served by the community AND by my beautiful husband of 23 years. I feel very blessed. Life is difficult and sex is a wonderful form of reciprocal activity. If you give, you get.

Citizen LA: So where is your husband? You did remember to invite him?

Susan: Yes! Captain Max is wearing his captain’s hat. Can someone please find Max!!

Citizen LA: Would it be possible to get some water while we wait?

Susan: Would you like to have a “penis straw” like I do?

[Susan proudly displays her straw.]

Citizen LA: Well… ok.

Susan: Hey Max!

[Max enters wearing his hat.]

Citizen LA: So the “Capitan” made it.

Max: Yes, were on the ship now. Umm– it’s not the whole ship yet, we’re building the ship piece by piece. So we’re temporarily in the mud… but it’s a sexy mud-wrestling mud.

Citizen LA: [laughs]

Dr Susan Block & MaxG.C. Stiehl | Citizen LA

Max: So what’s going on here?

Susan: We’re being interrogated!

Max: Wonderful!

Citizen LA: How would you rate Americans in terms of sexual repression?

Susan: We’re all really on par with everyone. People all over the world are repressed. One thing I’ve learned from being a sex therapist is that people all over the world have cultural differences, but whenever most religions are taken really really seriously, they each exhibit a somewhat negative side to sex, mostly viewing sexuality for procreation purposes, to advance the tribe, or you could say, the religion. And they often look-down on masturbation and fetishes and many things that people enjoy. But, the fact is, that’s who we ARE naturally. We are close to our Bonobo cousins, and our chimpanzee cousins. We’re not ONE WAY.

Max: One example of our differences is that republicans go to hookers… and Democrats go to interns.

[A burst of laughter.]

Susan: We all have our ways of being hypocritical. Every society tries to repress. And every society has their ways of rebelling. Some of the hottest sex can be going on at a party in hyper-conservative Tehran. While one of the LEAST sexy places for many people is a complete nudist camp. A little bit of transgression is that spice in your enchilada.

Citizen LA: So you wouldn’t say that Americans are any more or any less puritanical than other countries?

Dr Susan Block ShowG.C. Stiehl | Citizen LA

Susan: Well, as Americans, we do have that puritanical strain. For example, we’re very puritanical about nipples, but not about talking about them. When I go abroad, they say, “You Americans, you can talk about sex in any way!” It’s our ability to talk, to share, to communicate verbally. We’re in Kindergarten compared to the Brazilians when it comes to showing off your body. We might be behind the French in terms of casual sex. But in terms of talking about stuff, we’re way ahead.

Citizen LA: You get phone calls from all over the world, I assume.

Susan: I do. I talk to Iraq, Afghanistan, and… a lot of Middle America, and, of course, LA… baby.

Citizen LA: Is that where we are?

Susan: Get laid in El Lay. But remember the best laid plans may not get you laid the way you planned.

Citizen LA: I want that inscribed on my headstone.

Susan: Coincidentally, Viktor, an artist who is exhibiting in our art gallery is a grave-stone sculptor. And he’s done all kinds of erotic gravestones. I’m sure he’ll do yours.

BTW… I just found out that the Saudi Arabian cleric Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah issued a fatwa saying that: a husband, if he’s very very hungry, and there’s nothing else to eat, may eat his wife.

Citizen LA: How do I wrap my head around that?

Max: Crazy.

[The three of us scratch our heads for a few seconds.]

Citizen LA: What a pathetic, sick person.

Susan: That’s waaaay far gone to me.

Citizen LA: Anyways… back to you, Susan… were you always this open-minded concerning sex?

Susan: My first memory of touching my genitals was when I was two. So, I guess, the answer is YES. But I keep opening, and opening, and opening. Sex is part of the cycle of life. That’s why I don’t feel superior, sexually, to anybody. [Extends a hand to Max] We’re very fortunate to have each other, and we’re compatible. And we’re each other’s witnesses in love and life. Marriage is not for everybody. You know, we can become prisoners of marriage, just as prisoners of war.

Max: And marriage isn’t simply focused on another person. You can marry a dog or a tree—

Susan: Our friend, Dr. Serena Gaia Anderlini D’Onofrio, married the beach where her beloved dog is buried. Max and I just happen to be married as people. And it’s a beautiful thing. We’re so wild and crazy in so many ways, it’s nice that we have this one conventional thing.

Citizen LA: What’s the secret here, of THIS happy relationship?

Max: For me… it’s never growing up. I’m a kid. And I’ve met this woman who is this beautiful kid. And it’s also innocence. As I’ve gotten old, I’ve become more innocent… especially when in court.

Citizen LA: [laughs]

Max: I don’t know nothin’. And I’m tellin’ ya nothin’.

Susan: The thing about Max and me is that we try to practice what we preach. We have this enforced mayhem and sexuality every Saturday night. That’s part of our secret; it’s what keeps it fresh for us. That keeps our monogamy from turning in monotony. But it’s definitely not for everyone. As a therapist I’m aware of that. My solutions are not for everybody. But they work for us. It keeps our love life ticking… with lots of licking.

[Back to the party]

We’re given a two minute heads-up. The show is about to begin. I step off-stage…

Within seconds, I’m treated to a first-rate bartender and well-served cocktails, followed by a tour of the facility, including Susan’s inspiring art gallery. Though as Max mentioned Bonoboville is a “work in progress,” it’s well thought-out and contains ample room for experimentation. Offices, production studios, a courtyard… pretty cool stuff.

As I return to the Womb Room –where the show is now being broadcast LIVE– I’m immediately caught up in the positive energy and frivolity. Guests have been invited on-stage to tease, to reminisce with the anniversarial couple (Susan & Max) who bask in every moment, in every compliment. I catch a toast from Robert “Corpsy” Rhine of Girls and Corpses fame, watch spell-bound as Cate from Electric Sex Enterprises executes her infamous anal-drawing, and surprisingly bump into old friends from Downtown LA’s legendary Bedlam.

The crew? The management? All delightful. All aiming to please. NO ONE puts on a superficial performance; everyone is simply accepted and getting along, swimmingly. At one point in the evening I’m kindly invited to stay in a recently remodeled guest suite; apparently no lack of hospitality either.

Dr Susan Block ShowG.C. Stiehl | Citizen LA

It may be a tall order for some to willingly follow the examples of our Bonobo cousins, regressing to a primitive nature and consciously applying only the successes of our past. Humans have a propensity to quickly revert to violence while maneuvering within a base instinct of self-preservation, which does little to promote “trustworthiness.”

Regardless, Dr. Susan has made it abundantly clear that another of our basic instincts–to give and receive pleasure– is hard-coded in our DNA. Knowing this, there is no reason to deny ourselves the wealth of pleasure, nor the subsequent actions which lend themselves to that end.

Often, our best dreams are bestowed upon us by the enlightenment of others. Fortunately there still remain scenes that give us an opportunity to release ourselves from the constraints of a lifetime of programming.

As a representative from the human race (albeit not standard issue), I thank you Susan!

The Depths Of VaVoom
citizen-la-cover-lucha-vavoomGCStiehl

The black ominous steps lead me down into the depths of the deepest depths. Below the stage and towards the belly of the beast, I walk. In my hand a Dixie cup filled with holy water, but I fear it just might not be enough…

It is here in the pit of the haunted Mayan Theater where an infamous troupe of sexy misfits prepare for their theatrical presentation; a spectacle akin to a deliciously lethal explosion in an illegal Mexican fireworks factory, secretly hidden below an erotic toy warehouse, tucked inside a horny goat weed depot.

Positive was I that this group of lucha lunatics was held to a “sinister agenda”, yet there was no mention of Mr. Crowley in the event program. None-the-less, I was bracing myself for animal sacrifices and bloodletting rituals. Indeed.

So…

Down the dark-dark path I continue towards the jaws of this VaVoom machine; the apparatus which ticks and cracks and snaps bone, twisting flesh into rebel pretzels. And though I am willingly entering this ghastly scene, the blame for my resulting dismemberment falls on Mr. Federl who will ultimately be responsible for transporting my corpse.

And yet my feet keep moving me forward…

It is precisely when reaching the Green Room that my eyes fall upon a covey of sweet-sweet nymphs who tease and primp and cavort. A pungent concoction of estrogen and testosterone dominates the air, as lip-licked leather and supple flesh pose for a frenzy of photographers and curious onlookers.

Camera in one hand… Crucifix in the other…

I continue down a long black-black hallway, past arresting succubae and virile incubi, which leads to the sanctuary of the dressing rooms and the lair of the sexy groovy mama.

It is here where I finally meet Rita D’Albert, the ring leader of Lucha VaVoom, enjoying a slice of devilishly appetizing pizza. Around her, a swirling display of loveliness and talent, of dreams and dreamers, of conviction and commitment. Rita is a raging classic beauty with a delightful saucy finish.

Citizen LA: “We know about your onstage performances, but little is known about the happenings down here. What’s the secret? Any rituals performed before the show?”

Rita: “Well, we don’t do a prayer. We simply tell dirty jokes, drink Champagne and make fun of each other.”

Citizen LA: “…but what’s really going on here, Rita?”

Rita: “Oh, you mean the Sinister Agenda?”

Citizen LA: “Exactly.”

Rita reaches for slice of magic pizza, takes a bite and winks.

Apparently, the truth will not come easily.

Lying on the floor is a parchment inscribed with glyphs and cryptic messages. A performer glides over this intriguing “green mat” stretching limbs into the most unorthodox of positions. Fellow cast-members coax the performer who skillfully imitates graceful winged creatures and lively four-legged beasts. Though this mysterious ritual suggests invocation, I avoid pressing the issue for fear of reprisal.

How would one, in such a vulnerable position, approach the subject of black magick? I was easily out-numbered and –by the look of the pizza– they would not hesitate to devour me. I pull out my reporter notebook and jot down a thought: I’M GONNA DIE.

I slip through a narrow doorway, quietly exiting this carnal scene, and find myself in the men’s dressing room face-to-face with a Los Angeles folkloric antihero. Here, an exquisite photo of the wrestler known as Dirty Sanchez governs over a trough urinal, reaffirming his dominance over those going pee.

In the distant blackness, a handsome wrestler knows as El Jimador stands in his whitey tighties. Upon noticing my camera he swiftly hides his face, for he is NOT to be unmasked. Not tonight. In an act of rebellious showmanship, he drops to the floor and punishes me by watching him perform one-hundred push-ups. Unforgivable.

Around him stand the rest of the men; none nervous, none complacent. They seek not vanity nor to impress, for they are merely doing their job. These men have committed themselves to a terrifying profession whose actions drive freezing rain back into the clouds, and searing rays soaring back to the sun.

I am keenly aware of the response these performers receive from their loyal fans. These entertainers are undoubtedly purveyors of bliss, and the culturally-rich dangerously-defiant sport of Mexican wrestling known as Lucha Libre.

In the 1860s Lucha Libre was birthed from the ashes of the Mediterranean and the salsa of the South, forming the perfect Mexican union. Years later, the men and women of Lucha VaVoom take their place alongside a lineage that includes legends like El Santo, El Solitario, and Mil Mascaras.

Tonight Lucha VaVoom will fuse guts and glory while thrusting orgasmic muscle upon an unsuspecting audience. This evening’s performance celebrates Cinco de Mayo, a date which honors the battle of Puebla, wherein the Mexican guerrillas defeat the French army and gain back their territory. I hope my kidneys fair just as well with their battle against the aggressive Tequila shots which will undoubtedly be marching my way tonight.

In the men’s dressing room I stand in the shadows, remaining as inconspicuous as possible. Though I have been accepted in this dangerous den of gods and monsters, clowns and kings, my welcome may run out at any moment. My hands tremble as I steal a few more unmasked wrestler shots. Well aware of my presence, the boys huff and snort and brandish their muscles and gnash their teeth. This is a warning.

Fearing for my life…

I slip back into the ladies dressing room where an unending supply on Gaetano d’Aquino Asti spills across lip and lap of dancer, after dancer, after dancer. And here, we once again discover Rita the Magnificent, pizza in hand.

Rita: “What I can tell you about the Sinister Agenda is that everything we do is a result of LA and the Mayan Theater. This experience couldn’t have been created anywhere else.”

She pulls me close…

Rita: “Lucha VaVoom is here to take over the world with fun, hedonism, sex and violence. We are the people reminding the people to be dangerous.”

Just as I am about to comment, Rita reaches into a pizza box, pulls out a slice and shoves it in my mouth. She holds her finger to her lips, and whispers…

Rita: “It’s showtime.”

EPILOGUE

I was invited to peek inside the metaphorical clock and lay witness to the maniacal gears of Lucha VaVoom. Now, I will forever be tormented by unspeakable mysteries, replaying scenes that make no sense and deciphering questions that have no answer.

A victimless crime, this is not, for my soul has been consumed. And, alas, I will no longer be the same innocent boy.. but damn the pizza was good.

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