In 1932, Tarzan The Ape Man introduced the movie-going public to the concept of drowning movie extras in quicksand …
… and to everybody’s surprise, we started masturbating. Quicksand became something of a fetish, though mostly unacknowledged: The next few decades featured endless depictions of people, mostly young women, being slowly sucked down to their demise. Peak Quicksand arrived in the 1960s, with one in 35 Hollywood films featuring a scene like this:
It’s impossible to overstate how pervasive the ‘quicksand’ meme was. Before the Apollo 11 landing, there was widespread fear that the moon’s dust might act like “quicksand.” David Bowie wrote a song called “Quicksand” about Hitler. Quicksand was everywhere, which was bad news for inattentive young women on safari, but great news for thousands of Americans like Carl: A man with a quicksand fetish.
As a millennial, he’s in the minority of his waning ilk. He told us that the bulk of the other fetishists he’s met “are in their 50s and 60s; they grew up watching the old Tarzan movies and TV shows.” They were jerking it to earthporn long before Reddit became a thing.
Pop culture inventing new fetishes wasn’t unprecedented, or brought about by the corrupting influence of Hollywood: The rubber fetish got its start with the invention of rubber Mackintosh rain coats in the 1890s.
Here’s a letter from one formerly-horny-and-currently-dead person to another, from around a hundred years ago:
“I am awfully keen on mackintoshes, and so is my boy friend, who is a sailor in the Merchant Service. He is a great big he-man, and loves to dominate me. He likes to see me completely mackintoshed; and though at first I must own I did not like being dressed up in rubber clothes, I am now an ardent mac fan, and I realize that macs have a fascination all their own.”
Any time you create something new, odds are somebody out there just found out they have a fetish for it. And yet it wasn’t the movies that got to Carl: “I remember reading stories in National Geographic or various educational textbooks about quicksand, and some of them had stories or personal accounts, they tell the story of how such and such was out in the wilderness and came upon deadly quicksand … as a kid I just remember feeling really really weird, and as an adult I recognize that was arousal.”
Being exceptionally dedicated fetishists, quicksand lovers have collected a comprehensive list of every quicksand scene in every film, ever.
When’s the last time you cared this much about anything?
But movies aren’t enough for some. When Carl first emailed us, his message said:
“… I enjoy sinking myself. I’ve gone out sinking multiple times, both alone and with past girlfriends …”
So, how does one go ‘sinking’?
“It involves a lot of bushwacking. You can go to almost any nature preserve and find mud inches deep, but to find workable stuff you have to do a lot of hiking through trees, through tall grass. The best spot I’ve ever visited personally was … near a stream, a brook fed into a larger pond and deposited silt and dirt as it flowed into the pond. It was a massive patch of almost literally bottomless mud.”
And once you do find a nice, moist hole to slip into?
“For the most part it’s me alone. It’s difficult to describe. It’s really just the act of getting in, the feel of it, for me personally I like the feel of it and the taboo aspect. Modern civilized people look at mud and getting dirty and go ‘ooh that’s not for me’ … so knowing I’m doing something that’s not wrong, but frowned upon … it’s a rush.”
Carl added, “I have gone with ex-girlfriends before,” as well as one male friend. But, “If I’m going sinking with my male friend that’s into it, it’s nothing sexual at all. He’s got his reasons, I’ve got mine.”
So why haven’t we read about aging B-list celebrities dying in marshes with their pants around their ankles, tragically fallen in pursuit of ever more extreme kinks? Well, according to Carl, that’s because sinking isn’t all that dangerous.
“The only time getting stuck and drowning is a risk is if you’re silly enough to do it on a tidal mudflat, like the ones in England and France … you get yourself stuck and the tide comes in.”
And your life goes out.
“If you’re going out sinking recreationally you’re going to be very hard pressed to find a spot that’s going to endanger you. You have to work to pull yourself under.”
Finding the right quicksand pit in which to get your rocks off is actually pretty simple. In fact, there’s money to be made in it:
“It’s actually a fairly profitable fetish. There’s enough people out there that buy professionally made fetish videos … I got in touch with a producer that actually works out of the area that I’m in. I introduced myself and asked if he would need any help on shoots. There’s a lot of stuff to carry through the woods, and if I can carry your stuff can I come along? It progressed to the point where I was actually helping film scenes.”
There is a healthy internet trade in kinky quicksand videos. One website traffics entirely in ‘sinking’ videos:
“Buy the bundle and don’t sink your wallet!”
“It ranges, again, from the classic ‘damsel-in-distress, girl sinking, pulls herself out or she goes under,’ but then you’ve got the other end … the sexy stuff, where the girl is either just wallowing … or she’s willingly climbing into a pit of bottomless quicksand and sinking, for her enjoyment. So it ranges from both extremes. Some people, 50 percent, like the dramatic stuff. Some people like the sexy stuff.” But it’s not just the elderly pith helmet crowd who are into torso-banging Mother Nature:
“There is a definite overlap with furries, fur fetish, the anthropomorphic animals … there’s also a huge overlap with the anime, the hentai community, and a large overlap with the community of people who like girls in schoolgirl outfits and girls in work outfits. Those three things are surprisingly prevalent, shared throughout the community. And I find that a little odd … how the hell do you connect those two things?”
With a Cracked article, obviously. That’s why we got into this whole business in the first place: To help sex deviants find one another.