On Physicality

ISSUE 4 | JAN. 2023

“Part of it, of course, is simple curiosity in bondage and sadomasochistic sexuality (BDSM). That part is simple to explain: The pain and fear that comes with sadomasochistic sex causes the brain to shunt blood flow away from its executive “decision-making” areas (frontal cortex), which results in an altered state of consciousness in both the giver and the receiver. Like autoerotic asphyxiation or cocaine, experiencing fear and pain can heighten sexual gratification, but at some cost…”

Our latest issue of Berlin Geist Literatur, similar to our issues in the past, explores a single theme or topic relevant to the New Left from various perspectives and in various contexts.




  1. the fact of relating to the body as opposed to the mind; physical presence.
    “there’s an emphasis on the physicality of the actors”
  2. involvement of a lot of bodily contact or activity.
    “the intense physicality of a dancer’s life”
Image of a naked man from Issue 4, On Physicality, Berlin Geist Literatur
Image from Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s art studio, 1918

With the recent and continued regression in the United States (and abroad) of women’s rights and protections, the continued attacks on our LGBTQIA+ allies, specifically the trans community, and the questioning of freedom of physical expression and body autonomy in general, our latest issue is centered on PHYSICALITY, a thoughtful discussion of physical connection and attraction, the nature of desire, and the power of human expression.

“It seems to me that we do live in two worlds… there is this physical one, which is coherent, and there is the spiritual one, which to the average [person] with [their] flashes of religious experience, is very often incoherent. This experience of having two worlds to live in all the time, or not all the time, is a vital one, and is what living is like.”

― William Golding

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Emma, Body of Light
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Gender Blur
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The Future of Physical Love
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Conversations with a Brothel Doorman
The veteran doorman of a popular St. Pauli brothel in Hamburg, Germany describes a night in Europe's largest Red Light District.
’86’ Clothes: Food and Physicality
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An Exploration of the Night and Safe Spaces
They kicked the family out of the apartment upstairs and I saw them with their things on the side of the street. Everybody is looking for someplace safe.
An Unfinished Exploration of Desire
We all know the things we want. We lust, we hide, we lie, we cheat, we need. We desire. It's inherently, truthfully, human.
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Food, Sex, & Everything in Between
It's been said that food is better than sex. It's not better than sex, but the sensations, the appetites, the hunger do come pretty close.
Beauty: A Word Not Worthy of its Meaning
Beauty is measured by glances and smiles. By Instagram followers and likes. We measure it in modeling contracts and movie screens. We put it on magazine covers as blushing brides for overeager guys in suits-and-ties. …
The Definition of Hope
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