Subcultures: Killer Sex

It was the perfect tabloid story: a former Penn Ph.D. student caught up in a violent S&M love triangle. But the really shocking part may be how much the Internet is changing our sex lives

“Now the really interesting part of this story,” she said.

As graphic as the first half of her story seemed, the rest defies publication. It involved no fewer than six bodily fluids and built to an unexpected, medically fascinating explosion, somehow followed by — almost impossibly — the man’s determined pleasure.

The longer we sat at Bound’s table, the duskier the world seemed, even at midday, as though an existential sun slowly sank below the city’s horizon. She told me about a woman who comes to her because her husband refuses to hit her hard enough; the woman likes to be caned until she bleeds, and finishes, ultimately, crying. And other clients who like “medical play” with needles, and darker things. They pay her hundreds of dollars per hour to stroke and fondle their proclivities.

Bound said she never questions her clients’ motivations, and considers them, if anything, praiseworthy. “I admire creative people,” she said. “Which is why most people come see me. They’re terribly bored.”

I tried to fathom the depth of such social boredom; it seems to cut against the basic human instinct for self-preservation. And the memory that flooded my mind —­ unbidden and unwanted at that kitchen table — was of my infant daughter. I remembered once lifting her from her crib, and discovering streaks of red across her belly, where she had clawed at herself in the night. The urge to scratch a deep itch, a condition beneath her skin, had trumped pain itself.

IN SHORT ORDER, young Edythe Maa — now Jade Vixen — earned a nationwide reputation as a dominatrix and fetish model. She radiated pinup glamour in the style of mid-century Bettie Page: Her hair poured like black paint over her shoulders, and her cheekbones spoke of bossiness.

And, most famously, her corseted waist measured just 16 inches.  

Jade Vixen may have found her greatest admirer in David Krieg, a then-40-year-old bodybuilder from West Chester. He was the perfect client: He had money, and needs.

David Krieg’s physical figure appeared unambiguously steroidal, with muscles that cascaded directly from his ears to his shoulders. Tattooed mythical creatures populated his biceps, which seemed as big around as Maa’s cinched waist. He hulked over her small frame, but during at least one fetish party, she led him — a great, sweating ­chassis — by a chain around his thick neck.

Krieg’s itch lay beneath his very humanity, and he scratched at it. After the neck-chain episode, he posted on a website: “Walked like a dog, so intense!!!” And Maa stood ready, yet unattainable, to tickle Krieg’s very specific needs, including “dog training.” As she wrote in one advertisement, “I savor utilizing complete human toilets, spittoons, and trampolines.”