The Eulenspiegel Society
The Eulenspiegel Society (TES) was founded by Pat Bond, a musician and educator, in 1971 as an informal association and support group for masochists (sadists joined shortly thereafter). He began the group with an ad placed in Screw Magazine, reading:
“Masochist? Happy? Is it curable? Does psychiatry help? Is a satisfactory life-style possible? There’s women’s lib, black lib, gay lib, etc. Isn’t it time we put something together?”
TES originally met in members' homes, and then met in rented space in theaters and churches. The organization was an active part of the 1970s sexual revolution, as well as LGBT activism, including marching in New York City Pride Parades beginning in the early 1970s.
The organization also launched Prometheus, a decades-long-running magazine exploring issues important to kinksters, ranging from advice columns and personal ads, to erotica and art, to conversation about the philosophy of consensual kink. The popular BDSM term RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink) was coined in a TES discussion group, and popularized in the pages of Prometheus. The magazine now exists online.
TES (pronounced "Tess,") is an entirely volunteer-run nonprofit organization, including an elected board of directors. It "promotes sexual liberation for all adults, especially for people who enjoy consensual S/M". It regards sexual liberation as a prerequisite for a "truly free" society and it is particularly concerned about the freedom of sexual minorities such as the BDSM community.
TES generally holds two classes each week (over 100 a year) in New York City, both general meetings, and ones hosted by special interest groups, ranging from bondage to a meet-ups for novices interested in alternative sexualities. In 1996, TES hosted the first large BDSM convention in celebration of its 25th anniversary. This event was so well attended that the organization took over two large clubs (Hellfire Club and The Vault) as well as a disco which was converted into a club. Over 1,300 people attended. This event inspired other leather organizations to hold annual conventions as well It also hosts frequent social events, including parties. Membership includes discounts at participating stores and clubs. It also supports AIDS prevention education and organizations such as the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, for which TES is a founding coalition partner.
TES takes its name from Till Eulenspiegel, a character described as a "foolish yet clever lad" in medieval German folklore. Until the early 2000s, the organization maintained the name "The Eulenspiegel Society". It formally changed its name to "TES" in 2002. TES founders were inspired by a passage from Austrian psychoanalyst Theodor Reik's Masochism in Modern Man (1941), in which he argues that patients who engage in self-punishing or provocative behavior do so in order to demonstrate their emotional fortitude, induce guilt in others, and achieve a sense of "victory through defeat". Reik describes Till Eulenspiegel's "peculiar" behavior—he enjoys walking uphill, and feels "dejected" walking downhill—and compares it to a "paradox reminiscent of masochism", because Till Eulenspiegel "gladly submits to discomfort, enjoys it, even transforms it into pleasure".
- "About TES". The Eulenspiegel Society. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
- Tanya Corrin; Anna Moore (20 July 2002). "New York, New Hedonists". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
- "The Eulenspiegel Society | Manhattan Alternative". www.manhattanalternative.com. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "Welcome Back, 'Prometheus' | The Eulenspiegel Society". www.tes.org. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "The Eulenspiegel Society". www.tes.org. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "Legal Resources". The Eulenspiegel Society. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
- Reik, Theodor (1941). Masochism in Modern Man.