Bloodletting fetish party raises health concerns in New York
(NBCNEWYORK.COM) NEW YORK – A fetish party attendee is blowing the whistle on a bondage-themed event she says would shock even the authors of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Photos from inside the edgy, recurring party called Cirque de Plaisir seem to show a fetish practice called “arterial tapping,” whereby a dominant partner taps a submissive partner’s artery, controlling his or her blood flow. It appears that very blood is sometimes sprayed over a canvas as art.
“Some people just do blood play where they just get some kind of rush out of releasing blood from their arteries,” said the fetish party insider, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear people would judge her alternative sex life.
She criticized the bizarre bloodletting demonstrations in part because she says one of the party organizers, known in the S&M community as “Santos,” is actually Dr. Edwin Perez, a licensed physician.
“I think there’s definitely more of a shocking aspect that [he is] a doctor who took a Hippocratic oath to help and heal,” she said. “It just seems so contrary to his profession.”
Perez, who has worked in several Northern New Jersey anesthesiology practices, did not respond to repeated emails and phone messages from the I-Team. When shown a photo from inside Cirque de Plaisir, staffers at one of Perez’s former practices confirmed “Santos” is actually Perez. The Cirque de Plaisir party takes place at various Manhattan lofts in New York and charges fetish enthusiasts $50 admission.
Responding to questions from the I-Team, Jeff Lamm, a spokesman for the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners, suggested a doctor’s private activities are generally beyond the scope of state regulation.
“The person in question is not representing himself to be a medical professional and is not soliciting nor treating people as patients,” Lamm wrote in an email. “Without having a filed complaint pending against this person, the Board of Medical Examiners does not seem to have grounds for looking into his personal activities.”
But because the bloodletting demonstrations take place in New York, health officials there may have regulatory authority.
One image of arterial tapping posted on the Cirque de Plaisir Facebook page seems to show Perez grinning as he readies a needle for a woman’s arm. Another photo appears to show the doctor holding a canvas spattered with blood. It is not clear what safety precautions were taken, but neither the off-duty doctor nor his partner are wearing face shields or protective medical gowns.
New York State health rules say “appropriate masks, gowns or aprons, and protective eye-wear” should be used “whenever splashing or spattering of blood or other bodily fluid is likely to occur.”
Despite those infection control standards, a Health Department source said someone would have to file an official complaint in order for the state to investigate the medical fetish demonstrations at Cirque de Plaisir.
Aside from arterial tapping, Facebook posts marketing the Cirque de Plaisir party advertise other potentially risky S&M acts, including “breath play,” whereby dominant partners restrict their submissive partners’ oxygen flow. Another ad for the party promises a demonstration of “scrotal inflation,” a practice whereby saline is injected to make a man’s scrotum many times larger.
An email from an unnamed organizer of the kinky event suggested the fetish demonstrations should not be viewed as medical procedures but rather a form of free expression.
“During the event, there are often performances from the erotic arts world and body modification world. These are artistic performances and are not how-to demonstrations,” the email said.
Dr. Charlie Ferrer, a licensed psychotherapist and fetish enthusiast who has attended the Cirque de Plaisir party, said dominant-submissive sexual culture is based on consensual agreements and it would be a mistake to judge those who participate in kinky medical play just because there may be some risk involved.
“Anything you do in the D/S lifestyle can be risky,” Ferrer said. “There are so many perspectives that are risky. Even from something as simple as a spanking. Even from something as simple as being tied up.”
Ferrer said she does not know Perez personally, but defended his right to continue medical-themed play at the next edition of the Cirque de Plaisir party next month.
“We can’t pass judgment and say because he’s a physician he shouldn’t be doing this.”