BDSM (and feminism)

I’ll be honest. I have a slight issue with women consenting to abuse. I mean, of course, to consenting to delirious pleasure that involves a fair amount of pain that results in ecstasy in the end.

Now, for those of us who aren’t au fait with whipping, flogging, bondage, handcuffs, ballgags, choking, suffocating, rape fantasies, being leaded up on a collar, et al, perhaps a little explanation is needed.

It seems even the BDSM world is no longer clear about terms.

We have tops/bottoms, doms/subs (dommes for women), and masters/slaves.

The distinctions vary between tops/bottoms only for a ‘scene’ (ie a BDSM encounter which may or may not involve sex), dom/sub which may be more permanent, and master/slave which is a total 24 hr relationship.

But, reading around, these lines vary.

Anyways, the key thing here is about TPE. Total Power Exchange. One person trusts another to do what they want with their body. In the case of so-called ‘breath play’, they go for choking, strangling, and suffocation. Because the person in charge knows what they are doing. Similarly when they beat the shit out of you.

In return, the bottom/sub/slave gets to go into a euphoric zone known as subspace. It’s a bit like when people hang themselves and have a wank and sadly, kick the chair away, and hence literally kick the bucket as well. I’ve been to enough inquests.

Mostly, luckily, this doesn’t happen in BDSM scenarios.

BDSM involves lots of ‘play’. Lots of pain infliction, humiliation and subservience.

It is, of course, consensual, so that makes abusing each other OK.

There are lots of fantasies. The obvious, schoolgirls, French maids, pirates, prostitutes, and, um rapists. I can not, for the life of me, work out why anyone fantasises about being raped.

Apparently they do. They didn’t live in Yorkshire in the late seventies.

Then, there are the daddy ones. This has me hitting the roof. Who on earth wants to fuck their father? Seriously? But we have ‘daddy’s little girl’. What is that all about? Maybe Ayckbourn had the answer with Wildest Dreams. One of the most disturbing plays I have seen. Yes, she says casually, of course I saw the world premiere for free. A perk of working for the local paper.

But, of all the fantasies, wanting to be daddy’s little girl has me thinking WTF. That and wanting to be choked, and raped.

On a lighter note, we have people who want to be pets. Leaded up like a dog or acting as a pony. Each to their own.

For those of us who live a derisory vanilla life this may be beyond our wildest dreams. Nightmares more like. Occasionally there is more to a relationship than an intense subliminal BDSM encounter. Fidelity? Companionship? Trust? Humour? Love?

Natch. All this whacky spaced-out stuff is pre-agreed. A contract is signed. Disclosures are needed. Anal. Swallowing. Fisting. Plugs (anal). Blindfolds. Nipple clips. Wax. Ice. Any type of shower (no, not water). Multiple penetration. Group sex. Rope. Chains. Body bags. Crops. Whips. Knotted whip. Paddle.

The options are endless. Not forgetting the obligatory medically certified confirmation that one is STD free.

I tell you. I’m glad I’m boringly married.

Meanwhile, on with our BDSM tour, it seems married couples go down this route to improve communication, aka he really wanted to be dominant. Oh dear.

Our relationship is more intense and we have opened up communication and blah yak blah WHACK!

It’s so good that now we do this 24/7. He orders my food at restaurants. He gives me a list of tasks for the day. I ask permission to speak or to go to the toilet.

Really? You wait to ask for permission if you have diarrhoea?

I have no idea where these women come from but it sure as hell ain’t Yorkshire.

Someone else tells me what to do 24 hours of the day? I think not.

I respect everyone’s consenting sexual preferences. No issue there. Even if they want to pretend to fuck their father or whatever. Rather them than me.

But, what concerns me about BDSM are these aspects:

  1. the perpetuation of woman as sex objects, slaves, submissives, because, however you look at it the ratio of male dominants to female submissives is higher than vice versa
  2. the rape fantasies. Jesus. No woman asks to be raped. Yet, the idea of this being a fantasy just fuels the idea
  3. the daddy fantasy. Just yuk again. Paedophilia incestual dream.

But all of this is OK because it is sane, safe and consensual (SSC)
Or, it is risk aware consensual kink (RACK)
And the BDSM community doesn’t judge. Rather, it supports these fuckwit abusive fantasies.

My underlying problem about all of this, from a woman’s perspective however, is, how much of this is deeply ingrained in us, that we are taught that a man needs to be dominant, strong, demanding and so we buy into this sexual mythology. How much of BDSM, from a woman’s submissive point of view is really consensual and not just a product of indoctrination?

This, is not acupuncture.

Fun!

Fun!

ETA some links:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/could-cindy-gladue-have-consented-to-what-killed-her-299009131.html

http://bigthink.com/focal-point/sex-games-vs-sex-slavery-who-can-tell

BDSM FAQ (Frequently Asserted Quibbles), Part 2

https://snowdropexposed.wordpress.com/2009/01/18/hello-world/

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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79 Responses to BDSM (and feminism)

  1. It sounds like a lot of work this bdsm. I’ve never understood how people make time for things like this, or affairs for that matter. As if regular life wasn’t sufficiently exhausting already.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sounds like drudgery to me. I don’t like drudgery. I think we are saying the same thing 😀

      But seriously, the fantasies are well demeaning towards women. Ayckbourn’s play was well spooky about infantilising women. We came away from it shivering. Unlike Revenger’s which was brilliant.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hariod Brawn says:

    There’s nowt so queer as Scarborough folk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We were in a pub here in Gib years ago and ‘trying’ to talk to a couple at the bar. They were just weird. Once we said we’d lived in Scarborough they were different people. I’m sure if we’d lived in Brid or Whitby it would have been another story, but actually having lived in Scarb gave us a level of credibility. So much so, that on a later occasion when we went for a pre-dinner drink complete with credit card for dinner but no cash, he promptly paid for all our drinks without batting an eyelid.

      But, I have to agree. Not that Ayckbourn’s from Scarborough. Just lived there. Nice place. In a funny sort of way. Beautiful out of season.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hariod Brawn says:

        He still does live there, and my partner of 26 years is good friends with him and Lady Ayckbourn. Free tickets to the Stephen Joseph!

        Like

        • Up by the castle as I recall in the old town. She was only Heather back then 😀

          It would get past 5 pm and the SJ would ring up (it was the old building back then) and offer free tickets to the paper to help to fill the theatre for opening night 🙂 I usually took it up. Had to pay for Revenger’s though. No free lunches or tickets there 😦 Good theatre for free, or at least worst Scarborough prices not West End, was definitely a plus point of living there. Think I only went to the theatre once after leaving. (RSC Merchant of Venice – very good though).

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm, I am not entirely sure that you are truly respecting other’s decisions, even though you claim so. I understand that it is a possibility that a submissive woman may want to submit to a man, because it is a societal structure that the man is dominant. However, one, it is not always a woman that is submissive, although it is more common than males to be. Two, it is much more psychological than anything, and I wish you are genuinely understanding of that. A lot of the psychological reasons, if not all, relate to deeply ingrained memories and experiences from our childhoods. This life is much larger than concerning ourselves with things that we think are wrong or disgusting, as long as they aren’t affecting us. It is okay to have your opinions, I am not trying to invalidate them, but I like to express mine as well. Furthermore, my entire opinion on this topic could go on for months in a discussion, so I will end it here until your response.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That’s a valid comment. Let me say, I just can’t understand some of the decisions.
      I agree that both society and psychological, often experiential reasons have a huge part to play. I didn’t say they were wrong, although it’s fair to say I suggested the daddy set-ups are disgusting. I find the rape fantasies frightening.
      You are welcome to voice your opinion. Thank you for your visit and your comment.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. tildeb says:

    This is what you get when you confuse/conflate/replace physical arousal (in the medical sense of cortical responsiveness creating an expected state of readiness) with sexual pleasure. There is no arousal – no matter how unrelated to pleasure the stimulus may be – that cannot fit the bill including revolt, disgust, fear, and shame… as long as it produces this cortical response (which is then categorized as sexual). This is why BDSM over time and to be effective almost always has to do more, so to speak, to get the same cortical result: it depends on physiological stimulation.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for that info. Interesting slant on it. Also, your last sentence sounds like drug addiction. And … given the subspace element of BDSM, that would make sense. It would also explain the extreme risk taking 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • tildeb says:

        There’s little in the way of good scholarship about the brain’s response to BDSM other than an increase in generic understanding of endorphins. But I did find this, which leads to the latter part of your comment about addiction: from the AAAS but it’s behind a subscription wall

        When pain or other sources of stress become significant and threatening, groups of cells in the brain release chemicals called endogenous opioid chemicals, commonly known as endorphins or enkephalins. The endorphins bind to receptors on nearby brain cells and regulate how the brain interprets and regulates the pain-related signals those cells are sending to one another. The effect is called antinociception, because the neurotransmitters typically suppress the pain response, as opposed to nociception, which is the actual perception of pain.

        Mu-opioid receptors are found throughout the brain, but are concentrated in areas that scientists know to be involved in our physical and emotional responses to stressors, including pain. Natural endorphins aren’t the only thing that can bind to them; so can painkiller medications such as morphine, some anesthetics, and illegal drugs such as heroin. No matter what’s binding to the receptors, the effect is a quelling of pain and our response to it.

        In the same way we see with our brains and use the eyes as the sensory data gatherer, use our brains to hear and use our ears as the primary data gatherer, use our brains to balance and use our inner ear as the primary data gatherer, so too do we use our brains for sexual pleasure. We can do this in a host of ways through Interpretation. If we train our brains to associate the smell of decay, for example, that activates the physiological arousal response of disgust with sexual pleasure, then there will be those who are sexually aroused by rotting flesh.

        How sexy. Time to get naked!

        To each his or her own?

        Well, gaining sexual pleasure from arousal – activated arousal that by most standards are meant to defend ourselves from danger and lasting harm – is a pretty good clue that we’ve interpreted the data poorly… even if we reward ourselves with a hit of endorphins.

        In the same way being around death and decay can become routine and much less arousing to those who must work in this area, so too does the arousal factor tend to decrease with BDSM. This is a problem with the interpretation. Is the direction of repeated but increasingly risky behaviour to achieve the same level of arousal something that can be sustained without lasting harm or does it require levels of lasting harm that are considered acceptable in exchange for temporary hits of sexual gratification? That does sound very similar to a drug addiction, doesn’t it?

        Like

        • Thanks tildeb. When I was working in the health service (cancer services) my boss asked me how I was coping. As a medic, he had been trained to shut it all out, and was concerned that as a non-medic I hadn’t received that shut-down training. Not specifically relevant, but in terms of brain treatment it is.

          By the way, you are starting to sound like Victoria!

          Morphine is fantastic. My one medical hit of it stays with me to this day. Unbelievable. Off the ceiling. Literally, I was floating. I refused it last year in hospital because I knew how good it was.

          Refusing risk maybe?

          Liked by 1 person

          • tildeb says:

            My morphine experiences have been truly horrible; I couldn’t get the damned drug out of me fast enough and the surgical pain it was masking was a welcome replacement.

            Yes, VNN and I share a fascination with neuroscience and its early-days but significant contribution to better understand the biology of what’s going on with people, what’s behind behaviours and the effects from experiencing different kinds of environments. This informs how to approach certain things like family relationships, education, parenting, recovery therapy, and so on. Without really understanding what’s going on in the brain, it’s very difficult to have a good grasp of what’s going on even with our own front seat viewing of our behaviours, relationships, desires, neuro-triggers, and various emotional feedback… both functional and dysfunctional.

            This understanding of how the brain interprets is also important in so many philosophical areas like morality and ethics and why I continue to suggest to those engaged with these topics to include biology as an important source consideration. Without that consideration (as almost always is precluded in religious claims about morality and its origins), then people are just blowing metaphysical smoke.

            Like

          • For my last op, on the post-op day I just took a combination of NSAIDS which worked fine. I was offered morphine but I thought I’d leave it as a last resort if the others didn’t work. I only took the NSAIDs cos the ankle was twingeing a bit and I could see a sleepless night. And I so wanted to sleep.

            Ah well, I guess I’m blowing smoke too. I’m interested in reading about brain function when people bring it up, but not that interested I’ll run off and study it. Which is why I’m happy to read comments from you and V. Lazy learning 🙂

            Like

  5. I’ve no doubt that patriarchy plays a part in the psychology of people practicing BDSM. But I have no doubt that patriarchy plays a part in the psychology of every person on this planet. Certainly, there are troubling relationships, but that is not unique to BDSM. I just can’t get worked up over what consenting adults do to get off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Worked up no. More, concerned. When I read this, I worry that it affects the progress women have made, only to see them volunteer for slavery. And set that against enforced sex slavery:

      Definition of the word Slave in BDSM Terms..

      A slave is an individual who relinquishes all of his or her power to a dominant partner in a BDSM total power exchange relationship. Generally, slaves are considered to be the property of their owners in the BDSM community and not people. They must be subservient to their partners, ask permission before they do anything, and be available for sexual activities whenever it is requested. In addition, slaves are often subject to punishment if they deviate from their duties.

      Similarly, re the comment below by viol, about rape fantasies. It’s hard enough getting rape taken seriously as it is without a myth being promulgated that every woman fantasises about it.

      Like

      • Yeah, I get the concern. It seems likely that abuse is a fine line away. The ‘slave’ role is particularly worrying, but I think that is probably a very small percentage of BDSM practitioners.

        I have not been raped myself, but I know women who have (as I am certain you do) and I have heard more than one express rape fantasies after the fact. Have you heard of the term consensual non-consent? Sounds a bit better than ‘rape fantasy’. Honestly, it sounds like therapy to me and I can see someone being interested even without having been raped given societal patriarchy.

        It isn’t that I’m not concerned, it is just that, from what I understand, if it isn’t consensual then it isn’t BDSM–it is abuse, plain and simple. I remember seeing a study about couples that practiced BDSM having better communication as a pair and the idea was that they simply were forced to communicate more effectively because of their sexual appetites.

        As for setting women back, I don’t know, I’m not worried about it. The idiots who think that submission is women’s only role to play aren’t going to change their mind whether or not BDSM is around.

        Liked by 1 person

        • No, I hadn’t. Or if I had, I forgot. I have haven’t been raped either, (touch wood), but I have been sexually assaulted, if I could find it, I’d link back to Ruth’s post on that topic.

          Ah well, we can agree to differ.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t know if I agree with you. I’m not into BDSM although I am curious. Through my blog i have met tons of women, some men, who are (I always get confused) subs / doms, etc. I have questioned the women, a lot, part fascination, part Oh My God, but you know – they do know what they want and they do know what they enjoy.
    So – it’s all good with me. I haven’t met anyone who does it without wanting it.
    Also rape fantasies – most common fantasy apparently, with all women. Odd, but it is just that, a fantasy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. makagutu says:

    Isn’t their a church sign that reads something like: forgiveness is to swallow when you want to spit. May they are on to something.
    Good morning and good day

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Sonel says:

    I say if they want it that way, let them. If they enjoy it, so be it. I’m too old-fashioned for kinky sex and too stubborn to be dominated. If I was into that stuff, I’d be the dominatrix for sure. Can’t imagine how anyone can have fantasies about being raped or even pushed around or slapped. Definitely not my cup of coffee.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Single vanilla here and happily so. I’m no prude, that’s for damn sure. I totally get where you are coming from Kate. At the request of the Professor, about two years ago, I watched several videos he shared with me — interviewing people into BDSM. I read several articles, some he shared with me, and some I sought out. I did try to be open-minded, but as much as I tried to understand why people who inflict and/or are the recipients of torture, humiliation and pain find it fun, exhilarating, and bonding, I simply couldn’t.

    I also read one of his BDSM posts (at his request) where he was actively involved in planning and fulfilling a fantasy some woman had. I wept for close to 3 hours after having a trigger. I’ve been raped more than once.

    When I see the BDSM dungeons, and the equipment they use to humiliate and torture (for fun?), I am reminded of torture chambers and torture devises once used by Christians. I think the whole BDSM has been heavily influenced by patriarchy and the Abrahamic religions. JMO

    The daddy fantasy is abhorrent!

    Like

    • Thanks Victoria and I hope this post didn’t trigger 😦 My sincere apologies if it did.

      I don’t think I am a prude either, but the fact I don’t want to be tortured and, being derided as ‘vanilla’ gets to be slightly annoying by other people who have ‘special’ relationships.

      As Viol said, I also am curious ie, what gets people off on this. I still don’t get a lot of it. I’ve read around, and I’m worried more than reassured by a lot of what I read. I find it deeply concerning that women want to be so submissive, I really do.

      His post? The multiple rape fantasy one? Involving outdoor suspension? Each to their own …

      You get the religious patriarchal idea. Why don’t others? The enslavement. Total control of women etc And seriously, the physical health risks. ‘It’s ok, I know what I’m doing when I choke you, and you’ll enjoy passing out’. And that is good sex? Pass me the vanilla pod.

      The Little/daddy thing has me totally tearing my hair out. What adult woman wants to fuck her father and behave like a little girl. There are serious psych issues with that one IMO.

      I read one today about loving sparkle and glitter and needing to be told what to do about everything. This, is hiding from life. And, it’s still sick to me.

      However you look at it, although PT disagrees, there are more female submissives than males, hence …

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, your post didn’t trigger me. Talking about rape doesn’t trigger me, either. Yes, it was the gang rape fantasy, with the chains and such. It was primarily caused by reading the detailed, methodical way he went about it in the planning stage, and knowing that he was being rewarded significantly with dopamine due expectation and eventual implementation.

        I agree, to each his/her own, but it does make me pause.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Phew, thanks for that. It’s easy to forget and not consider, but, things still need to be talked about. I haven’t even dared consider posting about Koln.

          Did you read the snowdrop link? The planning and reward sound similar. It is, to my mind, fucking freaky. What part of misogyny do these people not understand? Could they possibly not get off without abusing women?

          Liked by 1 person

          • I haven’t read the snowdrop article in its entirety as it is quite lengthy, but I will.

            I saw a study on an educational channel on TV (The Learning Channel) about a year and a half ago. It was about sex. They asked men to masturbate while watching porn. They monitored brain activity and galvanic skin response. They started off with “vanilla” porn, then switched to hardcore were women were being abused during the act of sex. They wanted to see if watching violent behavior towards women in a sexual content would impact their erection and the reward centers of the brain, meaning less hardness and dopamine. It didn’t. In other words, they had no empathy or compassion towards women while getting off.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Lengthy? Couple of minutes. Much shorter than a vid 😉

            But your comment is relevant to the Snowdrop masturbation post. 😦

            I can see why women become nuns. Well apart from the religious aspect, that is.

            Like

          • I love to read, but I’m not a speed reader, and in this regard size does matter when it comes to font. 😉

            That was a well written article There were several things that stood out, but this in particular:

            “BDSM is often cited as being cool or edgy or liberated. There is absolutely nothing “edgy” about acting out the status quo. By far the Doms (dominates) are male, and seeking the overwhelmingly female subs (submissives). Given women’s subservient role in society, why is acting out the status quo considered edgy, liberating or groundbreaking in any way? It is far closer to business-as-usual than anything subversive.”

            Boom. I have had lengthy conversations with PT about this, but he just doesn’t seem to grasp where I’m coming from. He’s also brought up the virtues of trust while in BDSM acts, and I just shake my head.

            Like

          • You know my vid reaction, and while I’ve not thought about it, maybe I am a speed reader. Size (of font) can always be enlarged 😉

            I know. Trust you with my life etc etc. I certainly fucking wouldn’t. Simple as that. What part of cretin planet do I come from? Uh?

            But me, I’m just in a boring 30-year-old vanilla relationship.

            The superiority and condescension about ‘vanilla’ pisses me off no end. I have read loads, and still do, to try and understand, but I am still faced with patriarchal sexual submission, whether it is master/slave or daddy/little girl (reach for sick bucket yet again). What part of companionship,are these people missing? The part where my partner says ‘You make me laugh every day’?

            I have no issue with people’s sexual preferences, but when I read about rape fantasies, and people being raped in so-called SSC BDSM communities then that is not safe for women. And anything that promulgates rape as desirable by women is shit in my view. And men who have rape fantasies? Don’t even go there.

            But still, when it’s all consensual it’s ok for men to play out their sick games.

            Like

  10. TemporarilyAnonymous says:

    My wife of 20+ years is strong, outspoken, independent, atheist and feminist. She is also sexually submissive, loves to be tied up and spanked, and yes, has rape fantasies. We are fortunately well matched as I enjoy the dominant role. It’s important to draw the distinction that these are fantasies. She does not want to actually be raped and I do not want to actually beat and degrade her. But our brains, coupled with our genitalia, want what they want, and we can act out together fantasies, some dark, that would not otherwise be safe to approach. It is part of an active and imaginative love life that we both treasure. It is not tedious, and when extra preparation is involved it is a labor of love.

    In the same way that heterosexuals are drawn to members of the opposite gender and homosexuals are wired to desire their own gender, many people are often hardwired towards sexual activities that are different and do not always align perfectly with our everyday personas. (I’d direct you to “Perv: The Sexual Deviant In All Of Us” by Jesse Bering for a well written and in-depth study of this.) This can lead to a lot of cognitive dissonance. My wife was aware of her desire to be spanked years before she voiced it, but didn’t because it conflicted with how she perceived herself as strong and independent. If we have regrets, it is that we let social mores deter us for so long from something which has really added to our marriage.

    I get that you have an “ick” factor for certain activities that you personally are not wired for. Nothing wrong with that. But I do think you’re allowing that reaction to read too much into other people’s fantasies. People into daddy/daughter play are (usually) thinking of the roles somewhat generically. If you want to see someone go running from the room, suggest actual incest to one of these people. You will see they find real incest as revulsive as you do. But a part of their brain draws them to the idea of an innocent youth together with a parental figure. If they can find a consenting adult to act this out with them, more power to them and they shouldn’t need anyone’s approval.

    Yes, the BDSM community has its problem members. Every group does, and often when these members are authority figures their wrongdoing may even be justified or protected by the group. There is increased opportunity for a predator when a girl who doesn’t have a permanent partner is seeking someone to scratch the itch of being tied up nude and dominated. But predators have always sought out positions where they could have easy victims and BDSM is not unique. Ideally these predators should be purged, but that is easier said than done.

    Is BDSM anti-feminist? Not inherently. I would suggest it takes a confident person to express their sexuality as they see fit, especially when others might find that icky and shame them for it. Isn’t suggesting that a kinky sexuality is somehow bad just another form of slut-shaming? I’m guessing you do not agree with Andrea Dworkin that all sex is rape. BDSM and attitudes toward it are just other points on the same continuum.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks TA for your lengthy and thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it. And, for the most part, I agree with you. What you and your wife have is personal, and to be treasured. Enjoy.

      Where I disagree, however are the following:

      I really, really can not support rape fantasy. Being ‘raped’ consensually by a loving partner is NOT rape. Have you read about actual rape victims? Who were not only raped but often killed? Did you read about snowball’s plan to rape and kill a woman? Link was above.

      Does spanking even come under BDSM? Maybe. It’s hardly compatable with being raped.

      If people want to revert to childhood, then, quite honestly, I think they have problems with adult life. Ick factor doesn’t even start to describe it. What adult life do these people not understand? And why do men want to fuck adults pretendingto be little girls? Jeez.

      Valid admission about the community. The worry is when it is ignored, but, hey, there is crap outwith the community too.

      Mmm. As more women are submissive and society puts women in that role I do lean towards thinking BDSM supports patriarchy. Kink is another issue. To each their own. But how conditioned are we all? Men and women?

      Like

      • TemporarilyAnonymous says:

        Spanking is discipline and either sadism or masochism depending on whether you give or receive. It qualifies. 🙂 For that matter, the list of what qualifies as BDSM or kink is probably longer than the list of people who consider themselves practitioners. There’s also quite a bit of stuff to which I think, “eww.” But since I’m not participating, it’s not an issue.

        Before I met my wife, I dated a woman for two years who had been raped more than once. At times she and I tried together to help her work through some of the fallout from that. So I am quite familiar with the effects of rape and sympathetic to those who have been victims of it. I do not condone rape or pedophilia in ANY WAY. That said…

        Fantasy rape is not real rape. Fantasy incest is not real incest. Fantasy slavery is not real slavery. They are so far apart that there is little comparison that can be made. The fantasy versions can be stopped with a single word (or gesture if someone is gagged). Consensual non-consent, as someone else put it. The real versions can’t be, and that makes all the difference in the world.

        Not to delve into your own private life, but if you engage in the very vanilla missionary position, are you thinking about the politics of it and why it is called “missionary”? Or are you just thinking how good it feels? Sex is an escape, a dropping of barriers, a sharing of trust and endorphins with a partner. What does it matter if there is role-play involved, even some that others might consider inappropriate?

        The idea that it is for some to approve or condemn what others do in private was inherent in the laws prohibiting mixed race couples. It was inherent in anti-sodomy laws and homosexuality prohibitions, and complicit in the delay in engaging with the AIDS epidemic and the many deaths that resulted from that. It’s inherent in the abstinence-only teaching that result in unnecessary pregnancies and STDs among our teens. It’s inherent in Christianity for that matter. Internalizing such criticism is inherent in people attempting suicide because they feel they are irredeemably deviant. You don’t need to support behaviors of which you do not approve. But consider for a moment the effect condemning it can have one someone who is trying to determine if they are a worthwhile human being based on the desires their brain produces.

        There are those who can’t grasp the distinction between fantasy and reality. There are men who think that a rape fantasy means the woman should be a rape target. These are awful, broken people. They would be awful people regardless of whether they or others participate in BDSM, and are a horrible brush with which to paint the entire community. Those who do participate would probably be safer if it was more acceptable to discuss this kind of thing openly. Condemning the behavior keeps people closeted, and keeps them from asking questions that might help keep them safe.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I appreciate the list of what qualifies as BDSM is huge. I’ve seen some contracts, and not all of those include everything. As Madalyn said above, what goes on behind closed doors etc. That isn’t my concern. Nor am I condemning it. I am saying I don’t understand some of it, and however much I read, I still don’t get half the plot. Some yes, but lots, no.

          I am questioning to what extent we women are conditioned into submission and finding male dominance sexually attractive. Would that be the case in an egalitarian rather than patriarchal society? It’s a hypothetical question, but one that I can’t disassociate from my take on BDSM.

          I agree that some people can not distinguish fantasy from reality. Again, one of my concerns about BDSM, is that it can promote the idea that all women want to be raped, choked, beaten, gagged, chained etc. And yes, awful people will always be just that. But what about the borderline ones? Does this sort of imagery flip them on the wrong side? I don’t know. I think it is good that there is more discussion about it. While Fifty (I’ve neither read it nor seen it) may not have been a fair portrayal of a consensual relationship, it has at least made it more acceptable to discuss the topic, which, I agree, is a good thing.

          Liked by 1 person

          • TemporarilyAnonymous says:

            I’ll admit, the question of how much society influences the prevalence of particular fetishes is an interesting one. I’d love to see a study of kinks across various societies, cross-referenced to some of the elements of those societies that might stand to influence them.

            BDSM can be difficult to explain kink to someone who is truly vanilla, like trying to explain colors to someone who’s profoundly colorblind. There are few cultural references I could point you to that are accurate. 50 shades certainly isn’t, and is almost universally reviled by the BDSM community. The movie the community actually likes is “Secretary” from 2002, which is a better representation although still not really accurate. Since the goal of movies is to make money or entertain, I wouldn’t expect them to give an accurate representation of anything.

            The link between porn and abuse has been the subject of multiple studies. My understanding is there’s either no correlation between porn and abuse, or a reverse correlation in that porn provides an outlet for those urges. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone produced a study showing that people who are abusive were drawn to BDSM porn since the depictions can be more violent. But I would hope that any such study would address the question of whether the BDSM porn was a cause or just a symptom. It’s like the old arguments that Dungeons and Dragons make people crazy. The truth is that crazy people are just more likely to be drawn to fantasy games and the games themselves are not influential.

            Liked by 1 person

          • The problem with any study like that is designing something that would be sufficiently objective to be valid, and that’s before the individual bias of the researchers is taken into account.

            I think it’s the extreme (or what appear to be extreme) elements that vanilla people find difficult to grasp. I did look up ‘Secretary’ (I’m not up on films) which looked interesting. Take the BDSM element out though and it sounds like like any other clichéed ‘young woman sleeps with her boss’ story. I might look out for it. It got pretty good reviews.

            On my next post about sexism, Victoria shared an interesting study, and quotes this:
            On page 587, bottom right — “When men view images of sexually objectified women, it has been shown to increase men’s acceptance of rape myths, interpersonal violence, and gender role stereotyping.” (Stankiewicz, J., & Rosselli, F (2008) 58:579-589. Women as Sex Objects and Victims in Print. Advertisements. Sex Roles
            Not strictly porn, but objectification, although what is porn, if not objectification of women?

            Liked by 1 person

          • TemporarilyAnonymous says:

            “What is porn if not objectification of women?” It is that, although I think more correctly it is the confirmation of a man’s bias to objectify women. (I’m honestly not trying to make you angry here.) There’s an old joke that says, “if women knew how men think, you would never stop slapping us.” I’ve always felt that was true, but the best confirmation I ever found of that sentiment was from the story of a transgender person transitioning to male. He had been on the hormone treatments just long enough for them to really start having an effect. Walking down the street one day, he encountered a woman he found very attractive, standing and looking into a store window. He walked past her, and for the rest of the block his brain ran through a litany of “don’t look back, don’t stare, don’t be THAT guy, don’t look back.” When he got to the corner, almost against his will, he turned, he looked, he even stared a bit. He felt like a shit for it, but he still did it. What a difference a dose of testosterone makes.

            I would go so far as to claim the tendency to objectify women is present in the brain of nearly every post-pubescent heterosexual male. This can be countered through empathy and the opportunity to interact with women as people, as individuals, as something other than sexual targets, but I don’t think the tendency to objectify them can be completely eradicated. I have a woman I work closely with whom I value as a friend and coworker. I do my best to respect her, to have a good collaborative relationship with her and to not think of her sexually. Most of the time I succeed, but at times I will have to tell myself over and over, “look at her face, don’t look at her body, look at her face.” Like the transgender guy I feel like a bit of a shit if I steal a look at her butt, but I still do it. I don’t think I do this because of porn or BDSM, but because I was born with testicles and a heterosexual bent. I pray I never offend her because I do really enjoy her as a person.

            You’ll never manage to get rid of the sexualized, objectifying imagery of women, any more than the world has been unable to eradicate child pornography. I think the best strategy is to provide alternatives that men can adopt to compete with the women-as-sexual-objects concept. In this regard I applaud Anita Sarkeesian’s efforts to highlight portrayal of women in video games. For the men who are willing to listen, they can learn why women might not like some of the representations in games, but more importantly she calls out the games that get it right.

            Liked by 1 person

          • No, you haven’t done. Well not yet 😀 And, I’ll be writing some thoughts about porn, prostitution and sex-pos feminism at some point.

            Don’t we all look at someone/something attractive? Nice legs, nice whatever, nice rose, beautiful flower. Maybe the difference is, we don’t look at someone and consider them a sex object. Merely something attractive. Nice to look at. There is a difference although I may not be expressing it well.

            Actually if I had noticed any of my colleagues looking at my arse and not considering what I was saying, I would have hit the roof. Seriously. Testicles and heterosexuality are a limp excuse for looking at women as sex objects. That’s just a male cop-out. Not buying it.

            I agree. I won’t get rid of sexism and misogyny and objectification and and and. Nor will the generation after me, and that’s why I think it’s ludicrous that women and men strive for ‘equality’.

            Men don’t need it. Women don’t have it. I’m like Rhett Butler. Fighting a lost battle. But I can’t not go there.

            Sarkeesian? That is one tiny aspect of trying to get rid of objectification. And what did it get her? Harassment, rape and death threats.

            Like

        • betinacipher says:

          thankyouthankyou for articulating this, saves me having to reply!

          Like

  11. I was pleased to see a few variety of perspectives on this post — all valid in their own right. I’m particularly happy of TemporarilyAnonymous’ comments; well considered and mostly accurate too from a psychological POV.

    As far as an overall broad portrayal of SSC BDSM and the specific terms you and some other commentors used excessively, umm, not so varied or unbiased enough. But that’s to be expected. Since I know Kate you are only just recently examining this lifestyle — an SSC lifestyle that is truthfully only about 4-5 decades young with many gray-areas like any artform/expression — and sometimes with TOO MANY newbies who don’t really know what they’re doing and going in blind and too naive… I’ll give this Kate-portrayal a 2 stars out of 5. 🙂

    You have much more to learn Kate, not to mention actually SEE or witness SSC BDSM communities and dungeons. One HUGE aspect you didn’t even touch on was how many men are subs and bottoms. In my particular dungeon in Dallas of 11-years, there were often more female Dommes and Tops than male Doms/Tops. I found the same case in San Francisco, CA and Baltimore, MA. There are just as many female Dommes/Tops as there are male.

    Regarding personal illegal traumas, I am always very empathetic to those who have suffered horrible acts and abuses. They have no place in SSC BDSM, are not tolerated, and are quickly dealt with and appropriate ‘authorities’ contacted. But one must also keep in mind that the SAME horrible illegal traumas and abuses happen in every day “normal” life as well, if not a lot more.

    I hope in about 1-3 years after you’ve visited in-person several actual SSC BDSM communities, you will write another blog-post about them. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Should have mentioned this yesterday, but forgot… that a few of the Commentors here and their exact phrases and word-choices would ironically fit-in nicely with actual female Dommes/Tops and their male subs/bottoms in specific “scenes” of discipline, reprimanding, bullying, and humiliation role-played in actual dungeons and communities. It is all part of the basic primal pathos all humans are capable of manifesting at any given time… the difference is that these ‘scenes’ are much better managed in the SSC BDSM dungeon because of the experienced veteran staff, monitors, and of course within all legal parameters. Out in the vanilla-world (naive?) this is too often not the case and sometimes result in many types of illegal behaviour and abuses. That is one huge reason why the ‘kinksters’ should always practice the art in public, legal, SSC communities with plenty of other eyes and monitoring.

    Clouds, I’ve explained this to you in several ways on several occasions in your quest to understand the lifestyle. It deserves notation here too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. betinacipher says:

    I would just like to add a few things to consider although I tip my hat to Professor Taboo and Temporarily Anonymous for their thoughtful responses.

    I would take the fantasy/reality discussion around rape, abduction, etc. one step further. I like what Dr. Drew said about the human need to act out our pain, “that’s what Passover is all about!” If you think about it, lots of great art came out of that very natural urge to reenact painful events, to sculpt them, understand them. I could get into a larger discussion about trauma and the way the body adapts to it, but for the sake of this discussion, I will say that I know firsthand people who have sustained abuse and BDSM provides them with a safe way to reenact. They know that their partner is paying close attention to their limits because they have had lengthy discussions about those limits. That level of communication enables them to control the pain in a healthy way.

    Vanilla couples often never discuss their roles or fantasies, at least in my experience. Men are the tops and women are the bottoms, end of discussion. When we look at this through the lens of the patriarchy, it’s only very recently that women’s pleasure was any kind of consideration at all. I like TA’s point about missionary position.

    Kink wipes that slate clean and allows people to choose their gender, their dynamic, explore the things that turn them on without judgement. I’d argue that people in the lifestyle are way more liberated and feminist than people in the vanilla world because of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated. I think this is one of those topics that will never be agreed upon but I am happy to hear different povs.

      You may be right about not discussing roles and fantasies. If people even have them. Do all people have them? Probably. But how important is it? I’m not sure about tops/bottoms, men/women. Whether psychologically or physically.

      Having been sexually assaulted I think a repetition of that would be the last thing I would want so I don’t think that’s quite the justification for BDSM. ‘You’ve been assaulted, we’ll replicate that to ease and help you get rid of it?’ Maybe for some, but not me. Thanks.

      Feminism isn’t about sexual preferences. But a patriarchal dominant society may subconsciously influence women. Or not, as you choose.

      Like

  14. betinacipher says:

    Oh and to clarify, I’m not suggesting that all people who have been abused respond this way, for some, kink or BDSM is not an adaptation, it’s a trigger, as was stated earlier.

    Like

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