beandelphiki: Animated icon of the TARDIS from the British television show, "Doctor Who." ([DW] Ten & Donna - come on!)
[personal profile] beandelphiki
Way back in, oh, November, a [radical? I think] feminist blogger on Wordpress who goes by the moniker Nine Deuce posted a series which she called, "BDSM (the sexual equivalent of being into renaissance faires)."

It's a deeply insulting series of posts. (Both to BDSM practitioners AND people into Renaissance Faires!) She basically condemns all kink with the accusation that it is merely misogyny writ large and in PVC shirts (okay, the PVC clothes ARE kind of stupid), and claims that there is NO way to eroticise power or pain which is not unhealthy and hateful towards women.

[Women, because she focuses almost entirely on M/f relationships - that is, male dominants/tops and female submissives/bottoms. This is pretty typical of "feminist deconstructions" of BDSM, because they will ALL claim that nearly all BDSM is M/f. Relationships which are F/m are generally ignored or dismissed with the notion that the men in these relationships are all taking on some sort of "feminine" role (not necessarily true, and not necessarily bad - OH NOES, a feminine male! but nevermind), and the assertion that F/m relationships are a "mirror image" of patriarchy and therefore don't need to be talked about because they're the same thing anyway. Which is the laziest critical examination ever.]

And, well, when the kinky blogosphere got a hold of was derided, of course. But mostly, people were really annoyed and offended. Argument broke out in the comments between the radical feminists and the kinksters, and it has been going on ever since.

I guess you can probably tell what side I'm on. Mark my words, some of the things the kinky people have said in the comments have made me cringe at how thoughtless they were. Some of those comments, no mistake, definitely hold up some observations about sexism in the BDSM community. (But then, what community ISN'T sexist...?) There's no doubt - and you'll never hear me claim otherwise - that there isn't a lot of stuff called, "BDSM," which is deeply disturbing.

For the most part though, the comments from the radical feminists have been reactionary, extreme and devoid of any nuance. (The best part? Someone who commented to one of the posts in the series to say that she wasn't able to keep reading the comments when (emphasis mine), "the torturers started talking amongst themselves." LOLWHUT.) They have turned down all offers to discuss the matter elsewhere, to look and see the sorts of conversations kinky people have amongst themselves about EXACTLY these issues, etc. They've dug through other people's kink-related blogs to find things they find "nasty" to drag back to show off. It's ugly.

Not too many people are really trying to discuss the issue in a genuinely thoughtful way. Basically, it's just a whole lot of people shouting past each other. "How DISGUSTING. How APPALLING. What about the CHILDREN! You people make me sick! YOU'RE JUST LIKE THE NAZIS!!1" (Yes, really. It's in there somewhere. God knows where - after hundreds of comments, you lose track.)

The kinky people haven't exactly kept their cool, either (there's been a lot of, "STFU!" from the kinky side, but then - that tends to be most people's reaction, I'd think, to being told over and over you're sick and dangerous).

It's just a big mess.

So why would I comment there?

I'm not sure why I did. Maybe because I've been yearning lately to be more openly honest about some of the things I've figured out about my own sexuality. Maybe because I've had interactions with some of the kinky people in the comments in the past, and they have always struck me as good, sane, thoughtful people.

Maybe I just wanted to post and say, Look, I'm just human too. I don't feel like some of these people can look at someone kinky and genuinely see their humanity. They just see some people who are brainwashed victims, and some people who are scary and dangerous predators.

They don't see the respect kinky people have expressed for their partners, and they don't see the love.

So I outed myself.

I posted this to Nine Deuce's follow-up post, "A Question for Doms," in which she asked dominants and tops (read: sadists) what the appeal of it is. I wanted to save this here for my own records. What follows may be more than anyone EVER wanted to know about me, so click at your own risk. If you see this post and want to comment on anything ABOVE the cut without reading this, I'm totally not offended.

I've been reading this today, and I debated with myself whether or not I wanted to post anything here. Partially because this seems to be petering out now. Partially because I feel a little that I do not have enough experience, or am not kinky enough to say anything. But, well, I've been realising over the past few months that my strongest sexual responses have always been over the idea of having control and power over someone, and the idea of inflicting pain. So.

(This is going to be long; sorry to all who are sick of reading this stuff. But if this helps anyone at all, hey.)

I don't know, my experiences seem slightly different to me. (Or maybe I'm just egotistical?) I don't recall my interest originally seeming violent at all. When I was very young, I just became obsessed with Harry Houdini.

I was deeply fascinated with how he pushed his limits, both in body and mind. He was my hero. I did my best to emulate him as an escape artist. (Can you see where this would lead to childhood bondage games with my friends?) I was especially fascinated by the things I'd read about his ability to hold his breath, and the games expanded to what I now recognise was breathplay. We would hold each other's heads under in sinks full of water.

(And I'm glad nothing tragic happened. Breathplay is something I'd consider too dangerous to do now.)

At first, I only played these games to try to push myself. It was natural to me to have some interest in pushing other people, but my initial interest was in doing it myself.

It didn't take long though, for me to realise that the sense of power I got from holding someone's head underwater was intense, and excited me far more (in a way that I didn't really understand). Eventually, I scared the crap out of myself, and I quit those games.

Around the age of 9 or so (when the books I read began to have darker themes) I noticed that those themes left me feeling that strange excitement again. I liked reading about people being controlled and hurt, and I imagined myself in the place of the people doing that to them. I liked the idea of causing discomfort to someone for as far as they could take it.

(Human limits, the wonder of the human body and the human mind - whether it's BDSM or extreme sports, to me there's an undeniable underlying beauty there.)

I worried about what people would think of me if they knew. If I was a Bad Person. I never wanted to permanently harm or kill anyone, I just wanted them to suffer for me, show me themselves so essentially. I wished I could talk to someone about whether I was sick or crazy or bad, but there was no one I could ask. No adult I could trust, since I knew of no one who I thought might feel the same way.

Finally, in 8th grade, I stumbled across a trashy book of "vampire" stories in my public library. One story in it was explicitly BDSM-themed. While it was terribly obvious even to my totally-clueless self that it was way over the top, and while it didn't look much like my fantasies, I knew instinctively I had something in common with it. (Well, getting turned on in a more sexually-mature fashion was a clue.) It reassured me that I must not be that terrible. If this appeared in popular fiction, I must not be the utter monster I was scared I was.

As stupid as that story was (and believe me, it was awful, dreadfully written), it introduced me to a kink which I knew was safe, and thereafter channeled most of my erotic energy into. Also, it introduced me to concepts like the "safeword," and otherwise suggested to me that there were ways I could express this which would not be seriously harmful. That I didn't need to be terrified I was dangerous. That it could be desired by both parties.

And really. Of COURSE I wondered WTF was wrong with me, and why, and what might result from that. I'm sort of boggled by all the questions here: "Haven't you ever thought about...what this means/where this comes from/how you can be feminist/humanist/whatever/what would happen if you killed your partner?"

I mean...are you kidding me?! Like I haven't thought about this since I was 9 years old. I didn't just get handed this idea in adulthood and asked to form an opinion and went, "Oh, that looks excellent. Think I'll defend that."

...I just realised that up until this point, I haven't mentioned my gender. Heh - that was something I meant to mention first, but I don't think I'll change it. I'm an FtM. (And I extend thanks to the two people upthread who even acknowledged the possibility of transfolk being kinky.) I didn't expect to see ANYTHING on here addressing people like me - heck, the only scripts anyone has bothered to write have been for cisgender M/f relationships. Nobody can even explain F/m ones!

So where's my script? I was abused, if that helps. (Along with my being trans, that's a total freebie to disregard me!) Having been over it in my head many, many, MANY times (since I was actually worried that sadistic tendencies made me just like my abusive parents right from the moment I noticed them), I still can't see any real connection. I think I'd probably still be kinky even if my parents had never lifted a hand to me.

I do think the patriarchy has shaped the particular kinks I have; I just don't think it made me kinky. And I don't think that decides how I will express or share them, either.

I think the fact that I have a greater desire to dominate and hurt men has to do with their greater social power, and all the hurt and anger over gender I had wrapped up in me before I came out as an FtM. But I don't think that means dominating men would ever need to be "revenge" - I think submission and masochism are beautiful and brave. I feel great admiration for people who can do something so raw, and walk away the better. I think dominant/sadistic men can feel the same way about submissive/masochistic women. I think BDSM can (isn’t always, but can) be something that provides a connection between people that cuts through all the bullshit it might be partially constructed of.

People are greater than the sum of their parts. So can our relationships be. The world is full of absolute disgusting crap, but people still have this marvelous ability to reach each other sometimes.

And I hope that will do for now.

I have to go to work, so I won't be able to answer any comments for a few hours.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-02-28 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I mean...are you kidding me?! Like I haven't thought about this since I was 9 years old. I didn't just get handed this idea in adulthood and asked to form an opinion and went, "Oh, that looks excellent. Think I'll defend that."

Yes. Exactly this.

Your reply was very interesting, and I agree. I think there's a lot of precious snowflake baggage in anti-BDSM arguments, most of which are blind to the fact that kinks can be amazingly helpful, healthy, and freeing. Everyone has a perversion, but who actually calls it a 'perversion' fucks it all up for the rest of us. So to speak. Lol, I have 'Left Hand of Darkness' around here someplace...

Also, thanks for sharing your story. I was not at all harmed in the making of this motion picture! <3

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-01 08:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, there's more types of baggage than I can count. Which is not to say that the pro side is all completely self-aware (far from it), but I find it really frustrating that the BDSMers are constantly dealing with accusations about abuse (past or present) and histories of violence while the anti side gives itself a free pass.

Somewhere in there more than one woman saying she was once into BDSM (for obviously fucked-up personal reasons like, "because I was angry at men,"), but now she's not because she realised how awful/hateful/abusive it is. And they don't call that out in each other, generally. Because regardless of their own personal histories with abuse or violence, they're on the RIGHT side.

Also, that sounds like an interesting book to check out, thanks.

I was not at all harmed in the making of this motion picture! <3

Glad to hear it. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-02-28 05:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well put.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-01 08:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you. It's hard to find words for this stuff.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-02-28 07:26 am (UTC)
teyla: Mary Morstan from Sherlock giving a thumbs-up. (Default)
From: [personal profile] teyla
This was really, really interesting to read. Thanks for sharing something that must be very personal to you. It gave me Stuff to think about.

I do think you're right when you say that certain experiences may shape one's kinks, but they're not what make a person kinky. The two things need to be kept apart.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-01 09:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It was personal, thank you. In a way, it's more uncomfortable to talk about than saying I'm queer. One of the most obvious arguments to make in favour of treating queer people like regular human beings is that it's not intrinsically harmful to anyone to be queer, or to have queer relationships.

I think most kinky people would argue that a kinky relationship is not intrinsically harmful either, provided both people are there because they genuinely want to be. (One of the best kink-related blogs I've been reading lately is called "Maybe Maimed But Never Harmed." I'd link you, but I'm on my aunt's computer right now, and she's got her IE set up so that there's no address bar. WTF? I have no idea.) But it's pretty hard to convince people of that when all they see is people hitting each other with things.

Also, I think it would be easier to say that I'm submissive and/or masochistic. Our culture maybe doesn't accept BDSM itself; but sacrifice for some purpose (suffering pain, or giving up power) is an idea our culture is saturated in, right down to Christ on the cross. I think most people can identify with that a little bit easier.

(I dunno, maybe if I said, "Well, if you went skydiving, I'd be the one pushing you out of the plane." Except I think they get sued if they do that. You have to jump.)

...That's my long-winded way of saying I've been gearing up to make a post on this subject for months, but I've been too nervous.

It's totally my style to do it with a vent, though.

So yes, again, thank you.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-02-28 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Glad to see that their are people sticking up for and reasonably explaining the reason and beliefs behind them.
Instead of accusatory accsuations usually based nothing but on sole emtions or feeling which those who can't be bothered to explain or accept in themselves...i for one am probably one of those people half the time. An uplifting but also throughly thought provoking post. (the whole lj post)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-01 09:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Cool, glad you liked it.

There are some people on that thread who are always class acts (Trinity, for example), but I personally doubt they're doing any good when it comes to the people involved. (Who don't want to listen.)

Still, I always think there could be someone just watching who understands the whole issue a bit better because of this discussion/debate/argument/flame war, and that's good.


beandelphiki: Animated icon of the TARDIS from the British television show, "Doctor Who." (Default)

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