When Mischa Byruck went to Burning Man in 2017, for the first time he felt as though he “wanted to be seen, naked, exhibitionistically, sexually.” He couldn’t have imagined just how that would play out…or where his dip into a particular sexy public display would lead.
Topics touched on in his story include rope bondage, a surprising orgasm, homoerotic play and more! You’ll also learn what Mischa most hopes to accomplish with his work as a men’s sexual integrity coach.
Stream the Girl Boner Radio on Apple Podcasts/iTunes, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, Spotify or below! Or read on for a lightly edited transcript.
“Hotness in Mid-Air and Embracing Exhibitionism: Mischa Byruck”
a Girl Boner podcast transcript:
Mischa: It’s actually a delight for some people to hear, oh, you really wanna be held and then suspended and then made to feel like you’re being watched and like shown off. But I needed to get really clear with those things, and I needed to get over all the fucking shame and psychological hurdles that I still had about oh, is that okay to do in like my hairy body? Would people wanna see this? Is it creepy? Is it bad? Am I imposing on other people?
If you’re into the exhibitionism kink, it means you’re turned on by being watched when you’re getting busy with something sexual. You might get aroused by the fantasy of it – imagining others are watching you, by actually being watched, or both.
As an important note, it’s very different from non-consensual displays of genitals or sex acts — which are harmful and, when it’s a compulsion, part of a disorder.
Consensual exhibitionism is a pretty common fantasy. In a study from The Journal of Sexual Medicine, around 60% of adults surveyed said they fantasize about having sex “openly in a public place.” And like all kinks, exhibitionism is not inherently gendered. For cultural reasons, though, it’s often considered a woman’s experience.
In so many ways, we’re taught that femme and female sexuality should be put on display for the sake of straight men, versus our own desires. Some gals are drawn to exhibitionism for that reason. Because it’s what they’ve earned.
Others are drawn to the kink as a sort of F-You to those societal messages — basically approaching it like “Don’t put me on display; I’ll do that myself, thank you very much.” Other folks, of all genders, delight in being watched because it dips into the taboo, which can feel exciting. Or because they enjoy performing in general. If you love being on stage – or having one sexy place to do so when the rest of your life feels behind-the-scenes – exhibitionism might be your thing.
It might even be a healing experience, if you were taught to hide or deny your sexuality. Or maybe you just find it fun.
Whatever the motivation, it’s a valid and fun kink for those who enjoy it. In an interview with MindBodyGreen, therapist Indigo Stray Conger called it “a sex-positive celebration of the erotic.”
So what if you’re a guy who’s into women and you discover that a particular type of exhibitionism lights a fire under you like little else? That is exactly what happened for Mischa Byruck.
His game-changing experience took place at Burning Man, a huge annual event focused on community, art, self-expression, and more in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.
Mischa: I recall it was the summer of 2017.
I had not had a lot of group sex before. I had not kind of discovered the Bay Area play party scene that became so much a part of my life, and had not really understood the power of intentional erotic containers, or kink or exhibitionism.
However, I had just spent six months, pretty much focused on physical fitness and health, and I was feeling incredibly vital in my body. And for the first time at, oh God, 35 years old, I was experiencing hotness. And hotness had been an elusive thing for me physically. I had been called cute but not hot. And I got in shape and my posture changed.
I started dancing ballet. I started dancing Vogue, um, which was really beautiful and really, really great training for how to present yourself with confidence and kind of own whatever room you’re in.
So thus Burning Man was, for me, it was my third or fourth burn, but it was, it was a huge coming out for me, like entering into being seen, wanting to be seen fully. Naked, exhibitionistically, sexually.
Mischa didn’t know where his Burning Man experiences would lead this time around — but one day during the festival, he felt drawn to a particular tent.
Mischa: I went alone. I kind of remember feeling drawn on some random, dusty afternoon during the week. And a huge dust storm hit massive, massive dust storm. You know, I had my mask on, my goggles, and I had to walk my bike cuz you know, you couldn’t ride. It was too much wind. And I found my way to suspended animation, the main Shibari and rope suspension camp.
A huge dome. Beautifully lit with all these rigging, you know, hard points and rope rigging setups. And various riggors taking their turns over the course of the afternoon, rigging different individuals.
I had got into the tent and just allowed myself to be subsumed into the energy of the space, which was already very mysterious and sexy and lots of different types of people and bodies and gender combinations and vibes.
There was some that were explicitly about sexual, you know, the man rigging, a woman who was getting fucked, and then there was one that was like people rigging each other, almost at the same time. And then having these kind of gremlin-like fights with the rope and like being mischievous and, and, and combative.
And there were some that were really not sexual at all, but very much more artistic. Some involved with suspension and some not.
He was entranced. And unlike other guys he knows, he wasn’t there for the actual knots.
Mischa: There’s a lot of like knotty men who love, love knots and love learning all the complicated knots. I could give a shit about the knots. I wanted to be rigged. I wanted to be tied up. I was like, that’s the juice for me. For sure. For sure.
And the more he watched, the more certain he was of that.
Mischa: I remember seeing this one person who I knew getting rigged in this incredibly creative way where she was fighting against the ropes as they were being put on her and pushing back against them and, and, and swinging wildly back and forth as the, you know, and loving it, loving the resistance.
August: Wow. So take us to the moment when you realized you were going to be involved.
Mischa: Sure. So I think it was actually this person who I just mentioned after having finished their scene. They saw me and said hello and, and introduced me to this man who they had known for years. She introduced me and kind of endorsed this man.
Mischa had ventured into homoerotic play before — homoerotic meaning arousal or desire for someone of the same gender. That’s different from gayness in that it’s a temporary or occasional state, versus an ongoing identity.
And this guy, Mischa said, wasn’t his usual “type” physically.
Mischa: You know, I like tall, thin, deep voiced, lanky men. He was short and quite muscular with bright red hair. He looked kind of nerdy. So not, not like a big turn on for me, but boy, this guy could rig. And I was watching him and his confidence with the ropes.
Watching someone who’s that good at Shibari, Mischa said, is exquisite.
The quality, the, the depth of his presence, the confidence with which he moved the ropes around. Not overly sensual, not playing with it too much, but just enough so that he could see that he knew exactly what kinds of sensation he was creating on the skin of the people that he was rigging. Oh…
And I found myself entranced. I found myself absolutely entranced by this one person, and I don’t exactly remember honestly how it came to be that he and I were gonna do a scene, but I think when they asked, I was like, “Yep, you’re right here. I would like to be tied up. Yes, please.” And so we had a moment of eye connection and him being like, okay.
Before they got into the actual tying up, the man led Mischa through a consent talk. He took him aside for that, but they were still in the large dome dent that housed some 50 or so people. Meanwhile, the dust storm raged on.
You know, there’s dust in the air, you know, all the ply dust and the, the lights are dim. And there’s people all around. And so the way the room has worked, it’s like there’s, I had four or five rope scenes in the middle, and then there’s kind of soft couching type area all around the edges of this dome.
And then there’s lots of people watching and some people are raising their hands to participate. A lot of people are just watching.
Um, So we had the consent talking and he was telling me, you know, about himself and he was mostly actually asking me about me and what kind of experience I wanted.
And of course, I didn’t have the words to put to it. But I knew that I felt sensual. And I was like, make me feel, sensual. And if it becomes sexual, like I’m really open to that with you. just man to man, you know.
And he was like, ” That sounds great. And also, like, I’m not, I’m not gay. I’ve never hooked up with a man before. That’s not part of who I am.” And I was like, “totally cool. Thank you for letting me know. Like I put myself in your hands.”
And that’s literally what happened next.
Mischa: I remember the first thing he did was had me get on my knees. And I remember the dust beneath my knees. I remember the way that my knees kind of split out in a subservient position. My hands went behind my back almost immediately, like I wanted to be dominated. And the first thing he did was come behind me and blindfold me. And then I remember this juxtaposition of roughness and smoothness, roughness of his hands as he kind of moved them along my body and felt my muscles. The roughness of the rope as he ran it along my chest and my shoulders.
And I remember being almost, almost over eager, like I was, I went into like full performative slut mode. I, I was. arching my back and opening my mouth and my tongue was lolling out. I was really ready. And I think just energetically giving him so much permission, really loving the degree to which I was just trusting this person to just have his way with me and trusting him to know what would feel really juicy for me. And feeling really good and feeling held.
Mischa noticed a “wonderful polarity,” he said, given that he’s mostly straight and usually has sex with women. The whole idea so many of us are taught about women being the ones to receive, perform and be held — thank you, Purity Culture — was flipped.
Mischa felt so much permission to take on that role, he said, and he loved it. Another way he took on the role of what’s more often considered feminine involved his body image — since he’d gone from the “cute and nerdy but never the hot guy” to having cultivated confidence.
and knowing I looked good actually was probably a big part of it, knowing that I liked the way that I looked. You know, I don’t want to get into like too much body image stuff. But like, I liked the way I looked.
I liked the way I looked when I imagined myself. That was actually one of the most erotic things for me was being my own sex object,
Being his own fantasy.
Mischa: Wanting to fuck me. [soft laugh] and wanting to watch me. If I’d been there, I would’ve wanted to watch me. And that was just so hot.
So as I started getting tied up, I remember he arranged it so that I was basically hog tied with my hands behind my back. My back arched, my chin up, my chest on the ground and my legs splayed out. And then my wrists tied to my ankles. So a really subservient position. And then from that he kind of did the rigging and the suspension, and he lifted me by all of that, almost, a clump of rope that suspended me first with my chest down, so that I almost swung back and forth with my hands and wrists all bound behind me.
And then I remember he did a thing where he, he used the rope to kind of flip me back up. So somehow my knees were now in the air almost above my head, and they were pointed out in diagonals. And then my legs were tied. My ankles were tied almost kind of to my butt and my hands still tied behind my back.
But what that did was , I was suspended almost with my chest up towards the, the top of the dome and my hands behind my back and my knees out. My whole crutch was essentially just being displayed to the audience. And I was suspended like that, almost kind of to his chest level.
And I remember just feeling so exposed. And so deliciously exposed. And this is still blindfolded, I could feel the eyes of the audience on me. I could feel how erotic this space was, and I could feel him and me entering into an unexpectedly, deeply erotic space where just the way that he was tying me and the way that he was touching me as he tied me, the firmness of his hands, on my body.
It all was building towards this incredibly beautiful erotic connection and at some point he started nuzzling my neck and kissing me. And I was very responsive. I was like, “yes please, yes please.” I really wanted to be taken in some way. I think if he’d wanted to fuck me right then, I would’ve been absolutely a yes to it. If I’d he’d wanted to fuck my face, I would’ve been yes to it.
But, what he ended up doing was, as he kind of massaged my chest and my neck, he took my cock out of my pants in front of everybody and I was just rock hard.
And he loved the contrast.
Mischa: To be like, really, really hard and, and like, you know, I can fuck, you know, but like in this moment, I couldn’t. I was completely disempowered, but also still hard. And I loved that. I loved that contrast.
All of this was deeply, deeply attuned and consensual. I felt so attuned to by him, one of the most attuned to I’ve ever felt by a man.
And then he just started, stroking me. And, and I loved that. He’d never done anything like that before. I loved that it was new for him, but he had this wonderful stroking rhythm and there was no words exchanged.
And I actually loved that. I didn’t want him to try to narrate the thing, you know, but I knew I was blindfolded. I could feel the eyes of the whole room on us. And he stroked me and stroked me. And I remember as he was stroking me and I built towards my ejaculation, my knees started arching down and my whole body, my whole torso started arching up in the suspension so that when I did come, I was like almost standing straight up from having been supine to up and my chest arched beautifully and my neck arched back beautifully, and he brought me to this full, embodied, beautiful ugh, ugh. And I was panting. Filled with the energy of the performance, filled with trust and relief and so much kind of subversive joy of having been so obviously performative. So having so obviously drawn everybody’s eyes and ears to me in that ejaculation. In that orgasm.
And he lowered me with tenderness and sweetness. He didn’t make a joke out of it. I remember there was silence and care as he removed my bonds. As he removed the blindfold, as he lowered me down and brought me out of Subspace. And I remember just a crowd of women coming up to us afterwards and thanking us. You know, there was something in their eyes that was like, that was sacred.
It both was and wasn’t for them. There was an element to which it was performative and I knew that there was an audience and I love performing. But there was also an element to which like he and I went somewhere together and it really wasn’t for anybody else but the two of us.
Mischa and the rigger never hooked up or exchanged many words after that, he said. He thinks they’re Facebook friends. But years after that encounter, he still recalls every moment – given how significant it was.
It was so exquisite and so exquisitely sexy, and it brought me so fully into the kind of performative exhibitionism and like being performatively dommed that I, that I adore.
And I’ve done it in a variety of different contexts after that, with rope and with impact play and, and, and restraints and, even with actual sex, like being performatively fucked, it’s a big turn on for me. I love being in this, like this strong, hair chested male body and still being allowed or encouraged to go deeply into my receptive, like resistant bratty, allowing persona.
it, It helped me discover a huge area of turn on that just didn’t exist before.
Mischa knew he adored it in those moments – during the Burning Man experience and as he walked away from it – but the larger epiphanies weren’t so instant.
August: Did you realize immediately that this was something that was a part of your sexuality that you wanted to carry forward?
Mischa: Hmm… I remember I kind of like wandered home. And Did you to like go back to my tent and process and journal legit, you know what I mean? Like totally. Um. No, honestly, like it’s taken me years to fully accept this part of myself. And not just years to fully accept it, years to find it, years to find partners in whatever gender form they take.
I’ve done beautiful scenes with people of different genders in which they’ve allowed me to enter this specific type of subspace. about like deep exaltation of my body and my sexuality.
Mischa said that for him, those experiences feel like unleashing his “feminine dragon.” In the rare chances he gets to do so, it feels like a big deal, something really special.
Mischa: It’s still incredibly rare for me to find the right energy to cultivate that without any kind of partner. I still, I just, I still treat it actually in this moment at 41, , I still treat it as a very special treat, like a very special place to go to.
It requires some forethought and, and, and not just forethought. Like I could meet plenty of people who even might be game to try this energy, but who I can’t fully relax into because they don’t, they don’t know how to completely dominate me and control me in the same way.
Like they don’t have either the rope skills or the flogging skills or the physical strength and I really want to be fully restrained.
So I need to feel the level of dominance and control that will allow me to completely relax into my, into my subspace.
And I honestly like, with lots of partners, especially cuz primarily straight men, we don’t go there. You know, like I’m the dominant. So full switch. Deep, deep switch here.
Switch meaning exactly what he described: someone who likes to be dominant and submissive during BDSM play, depending on things like their mood or who they’re with.
August: I love that. So for folks who, they’ve never been to Burning Man, maybe they’ve never been to a sex party, maybe they live in like a small town, whatever, and they’re hearing your story and they’re like, ooh, maybe that is something I wanna try. Do you have any advice?
Mischa: I would say find yourself a dom by going to the various kink scenes, they’re called munches. This is like a way for kinky people to meet each other. Get really clear about the scene that you’re trying to create.
I didn’t know exactly how much it was possible to craft a set of sensations and then have someone be able to deliver those sets of sensations for me and really enjoy that process.
It’s actually a delight for some people to hear, oh, you really wanna be held and then suspended and then made to feel like you’re being watched and like shown off. But like, I needed to get really clear with those things, and I needed to get over all the fucking shame and psychological hurdles that I still had about like, oh, is that okay to do in like my hairy body? Would people wanna see this? Is it creepy? Is it bad? Am I imposing on other people?
I thought the only people who were allowed to be this exhibitionistic were hot, young, white women, you know, like, but what am I doing? So honestly, I think a big part of the journey is just realizing that I have the right to be exhibitionistic and in fact it can not just be a right that people tolerate, but a contribution that people appreciate.
So to get back to your question, I think the only thing that’s made any of this possible for me in my own journey is finding communities in which the fullness of my sexual expression is not just tolerated, but welcomed, appreciated, and admired.
I think that’s great advice for all of us, regardless of what kinds of sex we’re interested in. It fits in with Mischa’s work as a men’s sexual integrity coach, too.
Mischa: I think the biggest impression I get from people when they hear about sexual integrity work and the idea of making men better, is that it’s heavy woke consciousness raising. You know, this kind of woke mob cancel culture shit.
When in fact my process is liberatory and joyful and all about embodied self-expression for men. My mission in life is not to like slap men on the wrists. It’s to liberate men’s sexualities because I think it’s beautiful. I think our sexual expression can be beautiful and healing for ourselves and for the world. I think the way that we show up can be so much bigger and better.
What I want is for people to know that this work, the work I do with men is filled with joy and moments of epiphany in euphoria and liberation from whatever was holding them back from their fullest expression.
Learn more about Mischa Byruck’s work at evolve.men. He offers intensives, including one for all genders, and one-on-one coaching for men. His 2-month, in-depth group experience is called Beyond Consent: Intimate Abundance and Sexual Integrity. You can also book a discovery call on his website.
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