It’s Hearts ‘n’ Flowers time again, or maybe it’s Whips ‘n’ Floggers time for you. Whatever your fantasy or fetish—even if you somehow manage to steer clear of love and sex the rest of the year—resistance is futile around Valentine’s Day. Images of ideal love surround you: soft-lit couples embrace or stroll on a sunset beach, baby cupids fluttering around them, dashing young men slip glittering rings on feminine fingers, lovely young ladies gaze adoringly up (always up!) into their one and only guy’s eyes, lush lips parted in a sweetly suggestive “O,” candy hearts dripping with cream, loads of cream…
These images simultaneously make you feel good and bad. You feel good, because who but a romantic zombie isn’t aroused by all that fluttering, embracing and dripping loads of cream? Bad, because real-life love rarely measures up to the Valentine ideal—at least not in that gauzy goody-goody eternally youthful way, plus all that candy is bad for our teeth and health. As we so often confront in this Journal:
The Ideal is the Enemy of the Real.
The Saint Valentine Day Hallmark Fantasy
The real deal is that the ideal of Valentine’s Day is fake news concocted by the early Catholic Church, enhanced by Hallmark and abetted by Bezos, effectively sanitizing and commercializing the original primal holiday of the heart.
The sexless and not-so-subtly capitalist fairy tale stars Saint Valentine, a Christian martyr who was supposedly arrested and condemned to death for unlawfully marrying young couples in pagan Rome. While imprisoned, Valentine is said to have healed his jailer’s blind daughter, who fell in love with the celibate priest. Before being executed on February 14th, he left the girl a farewell note—which she could now see, thanks to his saintly ophthamological skills—signed, “Your Valentine.”
What a touching story of chaste ideals befitting the High Holiday of Love. But alas (the ideal being the enemy of the real), in reality, there were several Christian martyrs named Valentine, and no evidence that any of them mentored his jailer’s daughter or composed a farewell greeting card.
However, the ideal is more marketable than the real, at least according to Hallmark, DeBeer’s and See’s—even though it could give you a toothache and cost you three paychecks.
The sugar-branded holiday can also make you feel horribly left out if you don’t “have” a Valentine for whom to buy cards, candy and diamonds, or for whom to wear seductive lingerie, showing you’re worth all those diamonds (assuming the lingerie fits, despite all that candy). If you’re in a relationship, the pressure on both of you to make this day (and night) unforgettably romantic is so intense, it can turn an otherwise happy home into a Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre (emotionally speaking) by February 15th.
It’s enough to make you want to whip someone, maybe even your special someone (and if not, keep reading; you’ll get there)…
Whip it Up for Lupercalia!
Friends, Romans, FemDoms, lend me your ears! I cum to bury Valentine’s Day, not to praise it… and to resurrect the Lupercalia for modern times.
The idea of honoring exclusive, romantic love on what we call Valentine’s Day is a relatively recent invention, but the tradition of celebrating all-inclusive, natural lust around February 14th (actually February 15th) goes back almost three millennia. It puts the Rome in romance, pre-dating the Roman Empire by over 800 years.
Referenced most famously in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, performed last year by the New York Public Theater with the title character resembling a certain unpresidented Presidunce (though Trump is no Caesar just as V-Day is no Lupercal), the Lupercalia was the original Valentine’s Day, a big communal bacchanal, celebrating collective sexuality, fertility, purification, the rush of hormones, the howl of the wolf, the crack of the whip and the coming of Spring.
The star, namesake and feminist heroine of the Lupercalia is the Luper. If you don’t know a “luper” from a “leper,” the former is Latin for “She-Wolf.” According to Rome’s foundation myth, Romulus and Remus, the infant twins of the War God Mars and human Queen Rhea Silvia, are tossed into the Tiber River by their jealous Great Uncle Amulius. Miraculously, they are rescued and suckled by a she-wolf (luper) in a cave they called the Lupercal.
Yes, a wolf suckling human babies sounds pretty crazy, but compared to other religious origin myths, such as the Christian notion of immaculate conception, it’s not so farfetched. In fact, there are documented cases of children being “raised by wolves,” who apparently are more adept at parenting than some humans.
Furthermore, the word “lupa” is Latin slang for “prostitute.” So, the Luper is a kind of “Sacred Whore,” the Great Primal Wolf-MILF of ancient Rome. This explains a lot, especially all the suckling. It also harkens back to a pre-patriarchal time when “sex work” was not only legal; it was honored.
Nurtured on wolf’s milk, Romulus and Remus grow up strong—maybe a little too strong. They are, after all, sons of Mars and wolves (not Venus and bonobos). So pretty much as soon as they can walk, they go off and murder their Great Uncle Amulius; fair enough, considering he tossed them in the Tiber and stole their Granddad’s kingdom. Then the twins go down the road a few miles to build their own city on seven hills, but they fight over a fence—or maybe, you could call it a wall.
Then, as now, such man-made barriers to movement can be huge sources of contention. So, as Romulus is doggedly building his wall—a “Beee-yoo-ti-full wall,” as Humpty Trumpty might say, sitting on this Great Wall before the inevitable Fall—Remus jeers at its construction and even jumps over it, just to show how silly the great wall is. Then, in a fit of humiliated sibling rivalry reminiscent of the Judeo-Christian Bible’s Cain killing Abel, Romulus murders Remus (hotheaded fratricide being a recurring theme among both pagans and monotheists).
A born politician, Romulus professes to greatly “regretting” killing Remus, but he doesn’t lose much sleep before founding the city of both of their dreams which he names Rome, after himself, conveniently forgetting his beloved bro. Otherwise, this font I’m typing in would be called “Times New Remun.”
However, the spirit of Remus lived on in a Roman college fraternity, the Luperci Fabii, as did that of Romulus in the Luperci Quintilii (here is where mythology turns to history, or at least not-so-fake old news). Every Ides of February, these two tribes of primeval “frat boys” would meet within that dark, womblike cave of the Lupercal where the She-Wolf/Whore once suckled and loved their twin great-great-grandfathers. Here they would sacrifice a goat, honoring the obscure goatherd god Lupercus, a spin-off of Faunus, the Roman name for the great Greek Lord of the Wild, that horned and horny old goat, Pan.
I also call Pan the “Patron Saint of the Bonobos” since their Latin classification is Pan Paniscus, and they are the horniest apes on Earth.
Meanwhile, back in the cave, drinking a royal share of sacred wine, the Lupercii would shirk their togas and mark each other’s foreheads with the goat’s bright red blood while laughing ritualistically. I imagine they also giggled spontaneously as they were, by this point, pretty sauced from all that sacred wine. Then the more sober among them cut strips from the goatskin, making some into loincloths and others into those notorious leather whips they called februa. Yes, it’s from the same root as February, the last month of the old Roman year, a time for spring cleaning and new beginnings. According to Ovid, februa translates to “the means of purification.”
Thus equipped and very drunk, the Lupercii left their cave, laughing and howling like wolves as they raced through the hills and towns, wielding their “means of purification,” their sacred februa whips, gaily whacking the willing behinds of villagers and farmers, many of whom were women (also probably a little drunk), looking for luck, love and perhaps a baby. The ancient Romans believed that such gentle whacks ensured fertility, which is not as scientific as an IVF clinic, but probably did whip the local populace up into a sex frenzy. Men would also raise their butts or put out their palms for a smack. All were welcome to receive the luck of the whip that the gods bestowed through the laughing Lupercii.
With the Lord of the Wild presiding over all that whipping, laughing and purifying, the Lupercalia often got rather wild, releasing steam from life’s labors like Valentines, candy or even diamonds never do. All in all, it was a little too steamy for the early Catholic Church which squelched Lupercalian enthusiasm by not only making it illegal, but by turning poor, horned, horny Pan into the Devil. The rest is Satanic history.
Eventually, to distract the populace from longing for their lust-filled Lupercal, the Church installed the more sedate Feast of Saint Valentine into the calendar the day before the start of the old Lupercalia, appropriating the color of goat’s blood smeared on human skin as the new holiday’s signature hue: cardinal red.
Another symbol of Valentine’s Day and love in general might well be Lupercalian in origin. We assume the classic Valentine “heart” represents that blood-pumping vessel by the same name, but it looks nothing like the cardiac organ that beats in our ribcage. It does, however, look very much like a well-formed, well-whipped set of buns. No wonder we call the perfect derrière “heart-shaped”—the Valentine heart is shaped like the perfect derrière.
I’m all for true love and romance, and I’ve got a 25-year-old marriage to back up that ideal with a strong daily dose of the real.
But I’ll take communal lust and pleasure over commercialized love and pressure any day. Can I get an Amen? How about an Awomen?
Since I first learned about Lupercalia in 2006, I’ve encountered many people (especially in the kink community) who are drawn to resurrect the ancient flogging fest from the annals of prehistoric Rome to the anals (and heart-shaped asses) of modern times. Overdosed on the usual V-Day stress, the artificially-sweetened corporate hype and “fake news” about love—they are saving their sanity by going loopy (or “lupey”) for Lupercalia.
Capt’n Max and I celebrate the Feast of Saint Valentine almost every year by transforming our “Womb Room” into the womblike Cave of the Lupercal, inviting some fabulous FemDoms and friends to whip each other with februa floggers and act out the comic, erotic tale of the Great Suckling Wolf-Milf of Rome. There’s no pressure to be “in love” (though it’s great if you just are), but lots of opportunity to feel the love, enjoy the lust and partake in the inclusive, sensual sense of community. It’s a heart-felt feast for all the senses, including our sense of history.
We do make a few important departures from history. Unlike the old Roman Lupercalia, we always have at least as many ladies whipping the menfolk as vice versa, plus same-gender whacking. Unlike the ancient Romans, we are scrupulous about consensuality. Also, instead of goat’s blood, we use red lipstick to mark our foreheads and, when we act out the Origin Story, rather than killing his brother, our Romulus just whacks our Remus’ ass. This year, we also have a Stormy Daniels impersonator whacking a tRUMP’s rump with that Forbes magazine featuring His Royal Narcissism, heir Junior and inappropriately delectable daughter Ivanka on the cover—ironically, from 2006, the same year I discovered Lupercalia.
What’s with all the whacking? It’s fun! It’s safe sex. As the ancients attested, it can feel “purifying.” And if you stick to the buttocks, it’s difficult to do damage (especially for us human apes with our nice fleshy butts). Plus it’s the Bonobo Way. Though they don’t make februa, bonobos do occasionally whack each other’s butts with branches as part of their erotic play.
But it’s more than that. If love is going to hurt—as it so often does, better to have your buns beaten (consensually) on Lupercalia than have your heart broken (badly) on Valentine’s Day.
Yes indeed, the spanking-hot lust and shared pleasure of Lupercalia is the way of the wild and, perhaps our more cooperative, bonoboësque future. Unfortunately, as it becomes more popualar, it seems more likely that Lupercalia will be corporatized, and plastic “februa” may soon be sold alongside sappy Valentines. But for now, the lusty old Lupercal is a relatively noncommercialized, slightly kinky, fresh, yet oh-so ancient way to welcome the early glimmers of Spring.
So if the sugar-coated hard-sell of Valentine’s Day hype is giving you a toothache, whip it up for Lupercalia this season.
Give The Bonobo Way for Valentine’s Day, Lupercalia or even President’s Day!
Get the Finest Lupercalian Whips and Floggers at JuxLeather.
See Exciting Flogging and All Kinds of Amazing Sex and Commedia Erotica Clips and Pix on DrSuzy.tv.
This Valentine’s Day or Any Day, Give the Gift of Therapy to Someone You Love, Even If That Someone Is You. Call the Dr. Susan Block Institute at 310-568-0066.
Check out Lupercalia 2018, Lupercalia 2017, Lupercalia 2016, Valentine Lupercalia Bacchanalia 2015, Lupercalia 2014, Valentine Lupercalia Rising 2013, Valentine Lupercalia 2012, Valentine Lupercalia 2011
Watch & listen to the Story of Lupercalia, the Original Valentine’s Day: