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.
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]
Max: So what’s going on here?
Susan: We’re being interrogated!
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?
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?
[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.
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!