With a considerable fortune comes the opportunity to live the "good life." While there is a loud backlash against conspicuous consumption, it's clear that the higher end of the economic elite is not cutting back-although many are being more subtle and low-key about their luxury goods purchases. Simple steps like shipping merchandise to one of their houses instead of walking out of a store with an easily identifiable bag are not uncommon.

For the wealthy, the "good life" takes many forms-from owning planes and yachts to being able to better deal with disasters and lesser problems when they arise. It also entails being able to indulge in experiences in which few others can partake. The super-rich, for example, can buy a 12-day suborbital spaceflight-viewing Earth from above while traveling at 17,500 miles per hour and circling the planet every 90 minutes. There are, however, other highly esoteric and erotic pleasures that are a lot less costly but less well known, even among the super-rich. One of these is a body treatment known as the Play of Seven Knives.

Marty manages a $600 million hedge fund. He has visited many of the highest-quality spas throughout the world. He's been wrapped in seaweed, drenched in oil, turned into a porcupine ... the list goes on and on. However, after he came across the Play of Seven Knives, he said he couldn't go back to mud baths and hot rocks or even more exotic experiences, such as sense-optimization sessions or the "Egg" (a sexual surrogate machine that looks like a great big egg).

It wasn't easy for Marty to find a Seven Knives adept. While he heard stories about the treatment for years, it took real effort to find a competent professional. While not technically clandestine-there are no secret handshakes or initiations-there are very few true Seven Knives adepts. Hence, there's a lot more demand than supply. This imbalance makes finding a qualified professional difficult and it also imputes a certain mystery to the treatment.


The Play of Seven Knives is an arcane and privileged treatment. It begins with a long, luxurious ceremonial bath. This is followed by a massage using a variety of oils and lotions and a knife-a very sharp, very specially designed and tempered knife. From start to finish, the session takes close to three hours. That's just level one. Six more levels remain, each one characterized by its own uniquely designed and constructed knife. Each level is also replete with a matchless combination of  "captivating, sensory enhancing" oils and lotions.

The possibility of being cut is ever-present. The knives are exceedingly sharp and they are used to administer the lotions. The knives add a great deal of intensity to the treatment, which ratchets up passions tied to the experience.

In the hands of an adept, each level creates a different and extreme level of sensual awareness. The experiences tend to be both highly exhilarating and more than a bit scary-but in a good way. Different people report different energized sensations at each level, yet all tend to describe it as a unique, to-die-for experience. Marty plans to repeat selected levels, an option available to someone who has gone through the treatment sequentially. Marty, who over the course of a year experienced all seven levels, described it as "the most intense sensual experience there is." Indeed, according to him, "the best sex pales in comparison to levels five, six and seven."

The treatment is expensive but there is not a set fee. A big factor in the cost is how well the patron negotiates. It's not anywhere in the range of a trip into space, but it dwarfs the cost of any conventional spa-type treatment and each of the seven levels is individually negotiated. All in all, the Play of Seven Knives will set a patron back a couple of hundred thousand dollars.

There is no question that many of the extremely wealthy regularly use their wealth to live on a grand scale. Quite a few, like Marty, take full advantage of the opportunities their money can provide. For them, luxuries such as the Play of Seven Knives are a reward for their ability to create significant wealth.