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Ethical Sadist: An Interview with Erik Escareño

Ethical Sadist: An Interview with Erik Escareño

The first time I set eyes on sadist Erik Escareño, every ounce of my being pleaded for an introduction. There was a fierceness in his energy that aroused my spirit and drew me in like a siren song. I had been observing him deliver a series of heavy-handed birthday beatings to a mutual friend. Each strike was laid with precision, attentiveness, and unwavering savagery. Utterly mesmerized by his skill and presence, I gathered the courage to initiate the first move and make myself known.

Erik, also known as Sir Wombat, identifies as a sadist and is one of the most authentic and charismatic individuals I have come to know. While inflicting consensual pain brings him an overwhelm of joy, his heart bursts with gentle kindness and his passion for cultivating beautiful relationships is a vital facet of his life. Leather daddy, clinical therapist, and volunteer at Camp Laurel, a non-profit resident program for at-risk youth affected by HIV/AIDS and transgender adversities, Erik serves to empower the special humans in his world through both educational support and BDSM.

Erik Escareño, Sadist
Photography Mark Dektor

How did Erik Escareño become Sir Wombat?

Sir Wombat was a joke that sort of stuck. A friend of mine, who identifies as a puppy and a bear, was trying to explain to me what bears were. We went through all the different kinds [of bears] and I realized I didn’t identify with any of them. He said, “Erik, you’re just a wombat.” We giggled and later, he had me look up the term on Urban Dictionary. The first definition was “a hairy taint”, but we moved down to the ninth definition and it described a wombat as someone who is charismatic and funny, someone who can move between communities. I thought, yeah, that’s me, and the name stuck. As I ventured into the leather community, Wombat was my nickname and the more I was called Sir, the more it became my full identity. I’ve been part of the community for quite a while, but I use both of my names. There isn’t really a harsh divide between the two when it comes to being in the scene or in my personal life. People in the leather community know me as Erik and Sir Wombat and people in my everyday life, including my family, also know me as Sir Wombat.

According to the dictionary, a sadist is defined as “a person who derives pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from inflicting pain or humiliation on others.” What is your definition of a sadist and what does being a sadist mean to you?

I would agree with a good component of what the dictionary says about a sadist, but I would also add for me personally, that it is my opportunity to provide a journey for somebody. I really enjoy facilitating a journey and there is an ethical and safe way to do that.

Sadism has been labeled as a psychiatric disorder and there are some individuals who may consider sadism to be inherently evil. What are your thoughts on this subject?

As a clinical therapist I have seen this. The reason why sadism has been included into BDSM is because of characters like De Sade, who exhibit these unwelcome, unwarranted behaviors of inflicting pain. Often times, people get wrapped up in this idea because there isn’t a lot of commission to understand what the BDSM community really is. I personally don’t care if people know that I am a sadist. I identify as a sadist, but I am quite a masochist as well. I just facilitate sadistic journeys more because that is where my skills lie.

Either way, there is always going to be someone out there who is offended or finds sadism evil. I just try to be an example of what a well-rounded person is within the BDSM or leather community and normalize my behavior. The more I lean into that, the more of a shift there is in social behaviors.

Sir Wombat, Leather Daddy
Photography Mark Dektor

What factors in your life have encouraged your curiosity and self-discovery in becoming a sadist?

I suppose some of the bigger influences include the friend I was talking about earlier. I was also married once and when I was married, there was an opportunity to talk about the possibility of getting into BDSM, but nothing really happened. This relationship was a big impediment on my interest in the community so when I ended the relationship, I started to dabble with my friend who showed me the ropes. He showed me some toys and I would go to bars, meet new people, and have new experiences. I started to see what I had been missing and I kept going deeper and further down the rabbit whole. The deeper I went, the better it was for me to actually fully understand my sadist capabilities and that it was okay to be where I was. Then I met one of my boys, Pug, and had a lot of deep conversations with her. The more I started answering some of my questions, the more I started to realize what me being a Sir meant and how to facilitate a scene. I started to learn a lot of different skills around pain and pleasure and how to combine the two. I learned how to utilize and harness them to get through anything. One of my favorite activities is biting people. I love to sink my teeth into a lot of people. But as a masochist, I also like to be bitten and I can take an immense amount of pain. I have walked on fire and I have done two hook suspensions. Pain, for me, is not necessarily rooted in the idea of it’s all bad. When things in my life seem to be going bad, however, I can reflect and say, I have walked on fire or I have hung from hooks. If that was easy then this is easy.

Erik Escareño hook suspension
Photographer Eric Reed Edgewalkers Santa Cruz, 2017

Do you have a coming out story in terms of your lifestyle within the community? Has this affected your relationships with friends and/or loved ones?

This is such a complex question, but the simple answer is no. I didn’t really have a big hurrah or a coming out story. It was more of the realization that I was a leather person and sadist. It’s the same as when I realized I was gay. It wasn’t something I didn’t already know. It was everything around me that created this sense of shame. It became a path of self-discovery through ending my marriage, meeting new people, and experiencing things I had only once fanaticized about. When I was younger, I would have sex with people and some of them would come back and ask for more and others would be horrified. I realized the amount of control I had, not over myself, but over others. When I started to hone in on what that actually looked like, I had a better understanding of how I could provide that through facilitation of a journey. None of this has impacted any of my relationships though. In fact, it has only enhanced them. Originally, when I started to tell people that I was Sir Wombat in the leather community, I started to ask myself what kinds of relationships I wanted to cultivate? What kind of relationships did I want to have today? And when I look back at my marriage, while I loved that person very much, I learned a lot in terms of the types of relationships I didn’t want to have. I learned to embrace who I am and I am very upfront with it in all of my relationships. My mom even tells me to get my boys into shape and whip them! She is so amazing.

It’s even more amazing to watch my mom, who is in her 70s, get it. She gets that I enjoy playing with puppies and ponies and gives me glimpses into her own stories of tying up my dad as a sissy in lingerie.

It provides a generational opportunity and it always comes back to the kind of relationships I want to cultivate. They need to be rooted in honesty. This is me. This is who I am. Take it or leave it. I mean, I still have the same friends I had 10 years ago, you know? Once I started to normalize everything and be honest about who I was, people became more okay with it. They see that it is okay to be sexual, that it is okay to find pleasure in pain, to be submissive, to be released. People say hurtful things all the time, but that usually comes from a place of not knowing or being familiar with BDSM. I have to set the tone for my life and I hope others do the same. My dad once told me that if I was ever a faggot, he would disown me. That man loves me still today, but we had our hard times. At one point he wanted to come back into my life and I said, guess what, I’m a faggot. I told him I didn’t need him in my life, but if he wanted to be part of it, I would love that. And he started to realize that it was okay. He just didn’t understand. But on the other hand, my grandparents have seen the photograph of me naked and hanging from hooks and they want it hung in their living room.

Erik Escareño, Sadist
Photography Mark Dektor

Being a bottom to a genuine sadist can be quite terrifying, and I will say from first-hand experience with you, I was genuinely afraid. What goes on for you emotionally during a scene?

I love the anticipation of it all. I have a set of bamboo canes and I love tapping them because there is a fear that comes from the bottom knowing they are going to get hit with them. I tap them so the sound is just hovering around their body and it is so exciting. The fear-struck faces I get to see when I stand across from them is just beautiful. What goes on in my mind is very maniacal. I try to get as much done as possible. Like, I will go to festivals and play from the moment they open until the moment everyone is closing down around me. I just get into this zone and I don’t even know what that looks like. People describe it to me sometimes and say I have this look where no one else around me is important except the person I am playing with. They say it’s like watching me play with my prey. I start calculating how things are going to turn out and become very giddy or very quiet. The best pleasure for me is being in that space, being so engrossed in what I am doing that everything else falls away. I almost start to feel what the bottom is feeling, but in a different way.

What kind of play partner drives your passion for topping and furthering your craft as a dominant individual?

This is a great question. I think one of the bigger characteristics of someone who furthers my play is someone who is adventurous and willing. I usually strive to be honest, open-minded, and willing, and during play, I will ask if someone is willing to do things they have never done before. I remember there was a boy who came over once for a flogging and I put 200 needles in him instead. I didn’t feel like flogging anymore and he was like, okay, I know nothing about this, but okay. And this is my normal. I am a lot to take in. I know that from the gate. What I didn’t know about myself though, when I was first navigating through the BDSM scene, is how fast I would do things. I was so excited that I would rush. When I became Sir Wombat, my bear friend and I were talking to someone and he said, “I do BDSM and I am a kitty pool. This is Sir Wombat and he is an ocean. Who do you want to play with?” The irony is the fact that I started this journey by dabbling with him, but that is how BDSM is. You learn so much about yourself and other people. You can grow very quickly. Every person changes my life.

Erik Escareño, Sadist
Photography Mark Dektor

Your scenes are intense and you transmit a great deal of emotional and physical energy. Have you ever experienced top drop? What does this look like for you and how do you ensure you are taking care of you?

Oh, absolutely. When I play all day at festivals, I will go for hours and hours and hours and then when the sun goes down, my boys—who I played with and are all black and blue—will take me to get something to eat, bring me home, and take care of me. It is quite the experience and I think a lot of people look at tops and think, oh that’s not hard, I can do that. But they don’t know how heavy my floggers are. I have done events at Pride where they do these little tasters, which I hate by the way, because me flogging someone really quickly is not a turn on. But these events are about providing the attention and care and pain for only a brief moment. I hate that I am being rushed and there is a line. But after days like that, I would experience a drop. I’m not a big coddle me kind of person. I know some people need that kind of care, but I am more of a feed me so I don’t get angry and let’s organize my shit and move on kind of person. It’s expected that we don’t experience top drop, but it’s very real.

What has been your most sadistic scene and what did it entail?

I tied someone’s balls to a table (he identified as a puppy) and I threw a ball so that he could run after it. He tried, but then stopped because he couldn’t move the table. So there’s that.

Erik Escareño, BDSM
Photography Mark Dektor

Favorite implement?

My whips.

Favorite book?

Interview with a Vampire.

Favorite song?

Right now, it’s “Excuse Me” by Lizzo.

Favorite food?


Favorite film?

Silence of the Lambs.

Favorite thing to do when no one is looking?

Talk to my dog.

Something you haven’t tried yet?

I want to encase someone’s head in wax. I also want to start a fetish + kink circus.

What is your definition of intimacy?

Being able to laugh even in serious moments.

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