Sunday, May 28, 2006

There are so few things like a secret

The psychology of casting is not an easy or mundane subject to tackle. It's vivid complexity is as deep as any other interest, any passion. Vast books have been written on the subject of human desire, of our fascinations that meld into sexual desires, lusts, and for some obsessions. For an adult (anyone that has hit puberty would probably be more like it) who is enthralled by recreational casting it is exceptionally hard not to find sexual arousal from the images we see, and the gorgeous, often complex, scenarios that we envision in our mind's eye.

Casting is a complex fascination. For the vast majority it does not stem from a wish to actually imagine yourself or someone else in real physical pain. The S&M of say bondage play is – in spite of the very nature of being restricted in some senses by a cast's material – an aspect which for most does not directly come into the picture. In fact many casters would never dream of actually (intentionally) breaking a bone, or wishing physical harm on another soul. A recreational cast itself than becomes something which is less about pain and restraint, and more like an extension of the wearer. Akin in certain respects to other things such as leather and latex that some people are so deeply interested in wearing.

Recreational casting has two distinct sides to its very nature. On the one hand your fascination with casting may draw from the longing to see someone else in cast (usually, but not always someone who you find sexually appealing). Thus you become a sort of casting voyeur, a watcher who seeks out plaster and crutches with their eyes continually, who may dream of laying in bed with a casted companion or watching them go about their daily route while casted. The second casting distinction is the group of people who wish (and fantasize) about being casted themselves. The perpetual yen to crawl beneath a cast and feel it's idyllic stiffness clutch to your skin. The restraint of an arm, your legs, your whole body perhaps. To dress in a cast and live out the fiberglass dreams that you've been so longing for. Naturally, of course, there are many people who belong to both groups. Who whether equally or not, wish to be casted and observe someone in a cast. I am of this group. Casting is an art which asks of us to be both the painter and the art lover.

I believe that virtually every element of our individual sexual desires can be traced back to events in our lives, whether we are aware that these events induced our wants, or not. Often what is sexually arousing is a result of our cultural environment. A prime example of this would be the practise of foot binding (the now illegal and outdated) that used to take place in China. A tiny, deformed foot was a highly sexual object to men of the time, yet very few men would so much as give a second glance to a bound for today, save perhaps for those with a foot fetish. In a way casts are a nearly universal part of our surrounding, slightly more common in some countries, but still a thing to be spotted in most parts of the globe. Be that as they may, unless you work in an environment such as a hospital where one would regularly encounter people in casts, actually spotting a cast can be a somewhat rare event. And scarcity in and of itself is enough to make the cast a thing of both fascination, and for a great many “casters” (people who are into the casting life style and culture), a sexual desire.

There is a bounty of potential reasons why someone would become interested in, and aroused by, casting. Perhaps as a young child you had a crush on a pretty girl who had a leg cast, or maybe you had a broken arm and relished the gentle care and attention that you received from the nurses in the hospital as a result of it. What if you like to see a woman (or man) who is limping or somehow appears to be vulnerable as the result of wearing a cast. Could it be that you enjoy thinking about caring for, and possibly making love to, a person who is casted. Is it the way that you would be susceptible to whatever a sexy doctor could do to you while you were casted. We each have our reasons, indeed we have our very secret, very personal reason why casting so appeals to us. Casters, like many people with a distinct preference for something that is less than ordinary are sometimes shy, coy or even rude when questioned about the reasons why they like casts. “I don't know,” or “I've always just liked casts,” are not uncommon answers. But I do think that whether they are aware of the reasons themselves or not, for everybody there are pathways that lead to our individual fixations with casts.

I know – I am absolutely positive – that my fascination, my adoration, my desire comes from years spent playing my favourite childhood game: hospital. Convinced as a child that I would become a nurse or a doctor, I spent countless hours being both the health care worker (the nurturer) and the patient (the nurtured). Dolls, stuffed animals, childhood friends and relatives all came under the tiny implements from my black toy doctor's bag, and the myriad of other props I used to create a realistic hospital scene. White linens and clothing, pliable cardboard and tension bandages (which were as good as gold to me at that tender age, so highly coveted that I kept them hidden when not in use) were spun into homemade casts. When I was not dressing up a favourite doll in double leg casts I was likely swaddling myself in a homemade body cast. It was innocent childhood fun, at the age of seven how could I possibly know that such acts would lead to a lifelong attraction to casting.

Time rolled on and so the games of my early youth fell to the side, but the enthrallment that came with thinking about being casted and seeing others in casts never vanished. In fact it's only grown stronger as the years past, a modern gravitation that came from an seemingly benign childhood game. Coming of age quickly saw to it that casting crossed over from simply a fun make-believe past time of white towels and plastic stethoscopes to a thing of great imaginative fantasy. The canvass (white, naturally) of my mind a place where I could envision any number of possible casting relating situations. But you see, as we grow up we somehow instinctively learn that society would not have us trouping about and proclaiming our love for those things which are not readily common and accepted. Women are to like things like men on white horses, not men in white arm casts. Fellows should like a smooth lean leg, not one encased up to the thigh in purple fiberglass. And so nearly everyone amongst us went into a medical supply closet without even realizing it. Keeping our inhibitions and yearnings a secret, a treasured gem that exists only in our minds.

I do not condemn those casters whose passion exists in the silence of their own souls', I know all to well what that is like. I commend those that try to share and explain (though I feel strongly that casting needs no justification) their passion with others, and truly wish them all the luck in the world, but I know that very few outside of the casting world are receptive to its allure and charm. We are each products of our desires, our wants and our needs, and every caster will find their interest in casting falls somewhere amongst those three words.


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