A Question for Doms

9 Feb

In a comment on a recent post, bonobobabe asked a male commenter who had said he was in a M/f relationship why he would want to be someone’s master. I’ve read a lot about why women feel that they are interested in being submissive, a lot of which I can understand given the society that we live in, but I’ve yet to hear any of these dominant men explain why they are interested in dominating women (or men, for that matter). I also haven’t heard much from dominant women what interests them in the whole deal. So, let’s hear it, eh?

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494 Responses to “A Question for Doms”

  1. Nic February 9, 2009 at 5:06 AM #

    I will write a response to this, but not here. Censorship just isn’t my thing.

    • Nine Deuce February 9, 2009 at 5:14 AM #

      Then I won’t read it.

    • Nine Deuce February 9, 2009 at 6:42 PM #

      Whatever, dude. You’ve made a complete asshole of yourself on this blog and I’m not approving your comments because I don’t have to put up with it. You’re presumptuous, totally uninformed, and vainglorious to a degree that would make Jay-Z blush. And not only that, but you’re apparently too stupid to realize that, despite your protestations to the contrary, you are indeed a misogynist and are making it incredibly obvious in the way that you’ve chosen to address the women who disagree with you. You’ve told me that feminism needs men’s support to succeed, which I don’t disagree with, but your implication is that feminism has to be done your way or you’re not going to give it your support. Feminism isn’t about making you comfortable, dude. If feminism succeeds, you stand to lose male privilege. There isn’t going to be a brand of feminism that’s going to accomplish anything that you’ll be comfortable with, see? And how is you telling me how feminism ought to be done different from Bill O’Reilly running his mouth off about “what the black community needs to to”? You’re incapable of understanding the entirety of what you’re dealing with, and I think it might behoove you to go have a look at the Feminism 101 blog. Until then, go fuck yourself and stay the fuck off of my blog.

  2. Erstwhile lurker February 9, 2009 at 6:10 AM #

    I’m female, more or less hetero, and a switch. From the dominant perspective, I love the idea of having the power to make someone feel their emotions intensely. It seems like one of the most intimate things I can do is to make my boyfriend feel desperate, or to make him feel pain (in addition to pleasure, of course). A lot of it is pretty crudely physical: I like the look of little red marks and the sound of moans.

    I have vague and not entirely coherent desires to crush/devour/invade my boyfriend when I’m horny, but I don’t think this translates into a desire to cause him real damage. Threatening to break his bones can be hot in the right context but actually breaking a bone would be unbelievably awful, and I would feel as shitty about it as any other non-monstrous human being. I don’t think the incoherent desires attach to anything very concrete.

    For me, the other side of things is not very profound or psychological; I just like the way pain and restraing. I can be totally selfish and impersonal about being tied up and beaten, but I cannot be selfish and impersonal about tying somebody up and beating them. If I wasn’t trying to get some kind of a reaction, why would I bother? The idea submissives are supposed to be all into serving their dominants, while dominants are supposed to be totally callous toward their submissives, seems totally backward to me.

    I’ve never had anyone who could be called a full-time slave; that just sounds like a huge, emotionally exhausting responsibility. Things like contracts and punishment seem to have a large work-to-sexy ratio as compared to things that involve physical contact. I know other people would beg to differ, though.

  3. stormy February 9, 2009 at 6:27 AM #

    Strange how many of the women in bdsm are subs, or claim to be switches. Most of the men claim doms, and very few switches.

    What is wrong with that picture…?

    • Dani May 12, 2009 at 7:37 PM #

      what’s wrong with that picture is that, if you’re actually *involved* in the community, you’ll find that there are a *lot* more MALE submissives than you seem to be noticing. BDSM is an equal-opportunity culture; yes, there are some idiot hetero doms, and yes, there are some subbies who are into it for the wrong reasons, but for every case of that there are significantly more cases of people in respectful, loving relationships who just happen to enjoy a good spanking now and again.

      Also, as a long-time switch who’s spent the last 7 years in the scene, I take strenuous objection to the idea that female switches are “claiming” to be so.

  4. Erstwhile lurker February 9, 2009 at 6:45 AM #

    “For me, the other side of things is not very profound or psychological; I just like the way pain and restraing.”

    Yowch. Translated into coherent English, that would be

    For me, the submissive side of things is not very profound or psychological; I just like the way pain and restraint feel.

    Forgive the battiness; I am a little tired at the moment.

  5. Laurel February 9, 2009 at 10:03 AM #

    I tend to…sort of…bend that way. Maybe I have some lame-brained idea that I can redress the power imbalance inherent in hetero relationships in a patriarchy this way? I just get off on the idea. Not sure why.

    When a partner expressed an interest, I did some research on the subject, meaning I read a few books by women who call themselves Mistress Something-Or-Other. Apparently “being a domme” is all about doing set and setting, and wearing kinky clothes, and thinking up a script, and getting all the toys together, and doing stuff to him, and constantly checking to be sure he’s OK, and cuddling with him afterward. Two of the three books were written for the woman whose man craves this stuff so she can know how to please him. In other words, like everything else, it’s all about him.

    And (I’ll say it again) it really bugged me that a lot of the men seem to want to be “demeaned” by being “forced” to dress up as women. Being a man, the books rushed to assure me, is harrrrrd, and they need a break from it. They need someone else to take responsibility for them sometimes….in this society that promises that if they suppress their emotions and work eight hours a day, a woman will be responsible for them at all times for their entire lives (and if she isn’t, they’ve been ripped off).

    So screw that; I’ll just go on adding dashes of spice to my vanilla. I’m prefectly happy leaving most of my “domme tendencies” in fantasyland.

  6. Alderson Warm-Fork February 9, 2009 at 11:07 AM #

    I’ll start by saying that in conversations with other doms/dommes in the past I’ve found people who are into it for completely different reasons to me.

    A big part is a desire to produce as intense a reaction as possible, to ensure attention, be at the absolute centre of someone’s consciousness. A commenter a few threads back suggested that there was some big difference between sadism and altruism. I disagree; for me they’re very similar, both about trying to matter to someone, to make them care. The opposite of dominating and hurting someone isn’t being nice to them – it’s being irrelevant to them. The significance of the pain is rather like how it’s described in 1984: the primary desire is for power, and how do you prove your power over someone? By causing them pain.

    Also, sometimes I hate the world, sometimes I feel angry, and it would be very easy to turn that inwards. If I can turn it outwards and onto someone who will get off on taking it for me, in a way that turns the hatred into love, that seems a much better and more intimate approach.

    I would add a comment about how I don’t actually want to abuse and rape people, can separate fantasy and reality, etc., but it would serve the same purpose as “but I’m not a hairy-legged bra-burning man-hater, honest!”

  7. delphyne February 9, 2009 at 12:01 PM #

    I’d like to hear just one of these male sadists stand up and say “Yes I like torturing women, I get off on it. I like to hurt them – it sexually excites me” because surprisingly enough despite their so-called dominance, they spend their time hiding behind submissives who have to keep repeating the mantra to anyone who will listen, “I chose it”. Well guess what? – the sadist chose it too and he really, really likes it. You rarely see that side of the equation though. Glad you asked the question ND.

    • Jon February 27, 2009 at 7:34 PM #

      Well, shoot. I can do that. Matter of fact, I already have to all my friends, why not to a random internet folk? (I show my friends my toys, leave them lying about the house and that leads to some interesting conversations)
      Yes, I like inflicting Pain on women. Torture implies that I am doing it against their will and not for the sake of pleasure. I like hurting them, and I get off on it. But then again, so do they.

  8. tor February 9, 2009 at 12:37 PM #

    For me dominance is all about the enjoyment I get from being rough in certain sexual contexts. I find it fun. Elating. I dont know why this is. I suspect it’s the same thing that drives reckless teenagers to engage in things like vandalism. It’s the thrill of doing something deliciously wicked. Only in this case the thrill is sexual. And then I also find there’s something compelling about certain forms of male suffering.

    “Strange how many of the women in bdsm are subs, or claim to be switches. Most of the men claim doms, and very few switches.”

    The common assumption within the bdsm community is that it’s crawling with male submissives who can’t find a female dom. And it’s true that there seems to be a lack of us about. But there are those who argue that this is because femdom has been made so repellent to women, many who may have dom tendencies are driven off well before they reach the door.

    The most articulate blogger on this subject would have to be Bitchy Jones, who should be like, compulsory reading for anyone with even a passing interest in the intersection between sexual power exchange and feminism.

    Personally, I think she’s right about femdom repelling women. I identify as dom, but I avoid the scene almost completely, and would never show up in any kind of bdsm census.

  9. RenegadeEvolution February 9, 2009 at 4:41 PM #

    I’m a switch, when being dominant, I like to see what makes people tick. And, yep, I like being mean and hurting people who get off on it, and not purely for altruistic reasons either.

  10. Polly Styrene February 9, 2009 at 4:48 PM #

    Actually all the dominant females I’ve ever met have been lesbians. Coincidence?

    “sometimes I hate the world, sometimes I feel angry, and it would be very easy to turn that inwards. If I can turn it outwards and onto someone who will get off on taking it for me, in a way that turns the hatred into love, that seems a much better and more intimate approach”

    Sometimes I feel angry too and sometimes I hate the world. So I express my feelings. To my friends and on t’internet inter alia. Taking it out on someone who’s completely unconnected who I profess to love doesn’t sound like a very good option.

    • Dani May 12, 2009 at 7:41 PM #

      that’s interesting; I’ve met about 20 or more dominant females, some of whom are close friends, and all of them without question have been straight.

      Just trying to point out that black-and-white doesn’t quite cut it.

  11. TrinityVA February 9, 2009 at 6:33 PM #

    “The most articulate blogger on this subject would have to be Bitchy Jones, who should be like, compulsory reading for anyone with even a passing interest in the intersection between sexual power exchange and feminism.”

    Bitchy Jones is incredibly annoying. Her screeds basically boil down to essentialist defenses about female desire that don’t reflect my life or my needs at all.

    I agree with some of her critiques of the way “femdom” pornography presents both women and men, and I think she’s very articulate about that.

    I think her universalizing garbage about how real women consider being penetrated the height of their sexual experience is… universalizing garbage. Has the woman never in her life talked to anyone who only orgasms from clitoral stimulation?

    I don’t, though, think that’s “patriarchy” talking through her, so much as I think she shares the profoundly common vice of assuming HER desires are EVERYONE’s desires, or should be.

    So yeah, recommend her if you like, I think she’s got some good things to say, but for the love of the Goddess, please don’t present her as THE ONE who explains what those weird enigmatic dominant people with boobs want, okay? Okay.

  12. TrinityVA February 9, 2009 at 7:06 PM #

    As far as what I enjoy about it, all right, I will list. Some of these things will likely make you and the usual commentariat roll your eyes, but y’all asked, so I’m answering.

    1) I’ve always, all my life, had an attraction to erotic pain, whether my own or someone else’s. I don’t know where this comes from, or why it is particularly attractive to me. It’s always been there, though. I don’t know if it’s because I’m “right” in some universal way in thinking pain is particularly intense and passionate and therefore feels more intensely pleasurable than sexual activity without pain, or whether it’s just that I have a fetish, so therefore of course it excites me more.

    2) From a very young age, I’ve had fantasies of men submitting to women. I always loved cheesy science-fiction stories where the women ruled the planet and the men served them, etc. As a child I used to play games with my dolls wherein Barbie would lock Ken up and “keep” him. I had a lot of games like that, and when I thought about what love and romance would be I always thought of having someone (usually a man, sometimes a woman) to “keep.”

    As far as how SM itself feels, I don’t really know how to describe it. Some people talk about it as if it’s all sensuality, some people talk like it’s all eroticized brutality. For me there’s some of both. It’s about skating the edge between intense passion and something dark and frightening, and living to tell about it.

    And there’s something similar to what Alderson Warm-Fork is saying in there for me too. Some of these desires ARE dark and not very nice (does that help you, delphyne, or not because I’m not a man?) There’s something fascinating to me about exploring the not-nice bits, whether they be pain or roughness or mild humiliation, and have them be accepted and embraced. It takes the teeth out of those things for the moment, turns them into fuel for mutual hunger rather than weapons.

    For me, there’s something inspiring about that. Looking your demons in the eye and seeing, hey, maybe they’re not so horrible after all if one is careful how and where one lets them play.

    As far as the dominance stuff goes, I enjoy control, especially sexual control. It doesn’t matter if a person is a man or woman, though I enjoy dominating men a bit more. I think part of this is just how I’m oriented, but I also think part of it is the extra thrill of doing something that a patriarchal society is a little frightened of, considers wrong, backwards, etc. Kind of a spitting in its eye for the fun of it.

    I also like doing things that are supposedly “for men,” like penetrating people. In part this is for the social meanings those acts have, in part this is a Fuck You to a society that says I’m built to receive and have no say in that, in part it’s just, as far as I can tell, another fetish.

    (And no, I don’t mean that I think my fucking actually changes the world. Just that there’s a thrill to it. Saying “Fuck you” to what the patriarchy considers the natural order, and getting off into the bargain, is FUN for me.)

  13. Jenn February 9, 2009 at 7:39 PM #

    I’m going to take a shot at this, because the idea of power in sex is what fueled my pornography addiction for years.

    I never really had a good male role-model. As far back as I can remember, I’ve known that my father abandoned my mother, my grandfather beat my grandmother, one of my uncles has physical anger issues, and another seriously contemplated cheating or divorce when my aunt gained weight. The men on the television didn’t appeal to me either. They were just these empty soulless paragons of manliness that didn’t seem to feel emotion or care about anything but kicking ass. I wanted to identify with them, to have some of that power, but I couldn’t because it all came down to the fact that I didn’t have a dick swinging between my thighs.

    But the thing is, I always wanted to be them—to be untouchable and powerful and abandon the a reality where people hurt me deeply—but I never wanted to date them. I’ve always been an intensely emotional and sometimes sensitive person. Because I was teased so much as a child and my parents—both of them—were so horrified by my hobbies that didn’t fit their idea of “normal” (like legos over Barbie and books over sports), I slowly built up a wall of prickly personality traits and started extracting myself from meaningful human relationships. My friendships were never deep, although they were plentiful. I commiserated approperiately with other’s concerns, but when I shared mine I felt as if they didn’t matter. Sharing things that hurt me was like an out-of-body experience. I would turn cold and flippant while screaming on the inside to hide how much I felt.

    It soon became apparent that this mask I had constructed was hurting me. It led me to become a complusive liar for a good deal of my childhood, and flirt on the edges of an eating disorder and complusive over-exercise for a couple of years. By the time I wanted to stop I physically could not.

    What the fuck does this have to do with dominance in sex? Well, you should now have the idea that being vulnerable to me is extremely unpalatable. Deep down, I really want to be able to trust someone enough to be vulnerable with them, and them be vulnerable in return. But I’ve never ever found that find of person, I’ve only found more people willing to exploit, abuse, and discard. Because I’m so insecure—and I admit it—the idea of being vulnerable to someone else before they are vulnerable to me is out of the question. I simply cannot bare my neck until someone else has done it first and did a great deal to convince me that they won’t metaphorically rip my throat out the first chance they get.

    And this is where the dominance comes in. I cannot stand to be held down during sex, but I like holding other people down. I like having them vulnerable. Especially men. Even though I find that I’m more of a lesbian than bisexual, the idea of forcing men to submit is a heady ideal because it feels like taking back the power that other men stole from me. They can’t hurt me, but I can hurt them. That I choose to be lenient is the ultimate high, because now their suffering depends on my whims.

    It’s not my only kink, but I simply will not have sexual relations with someone in which I cannot be equal or dominant. It’s not going to happen, ever. I’ve had very trusting open relationships, and one in which I made myself be open and vulnerable after they had done the same, but I’m not willing to do so for the average person. I’m simply not strong enough to open myself to more abuse when I know that I can’t shrug it off like some people can.

    I call it a survival mechanism. Maybe as I get older and mature more, I’ll be able to deaden my emotional response to other’s douchebaggery more so I can trust people. But this prospect terrifies me. My squishy underbelly is the very thing that allows me to identify with civl rights movements like feminism and forms the entirely of my altruism. I feel so intensely, even for other people, and this part of personality has driven me to the professional things that I hold near and dear.

    It’s a huge Catch-22. I either learn to cut myself off from emotions when others hurt and kill the part of me that drives my ambitions, or I keep it close and alienate potential lovers and walk a fine line between depression and self-destruction. I don’t know if what I do is wrong, if the world really is out to exploit and abuse me and toss me aside. Maybe I’m paranoid. But all I know is that the constant misery of my childhood seemed to abate as soon as I became what is colloquially known as “a bitch” and hid the highly altruistic part of me.

    How fucked up is that? My sense of altruism in a society that has no place for intense feelings like that translates into sado-masochism. I’m guessing it’s a combination of a fucked-up society and me just being intensely fucked up.

  14. madaha February 9, 2009 at 8:09 PM #

    I think these doms are delusional. You can’t MAKE someone feel what you want them to feel. You may produce the appearance of this, but you never know how someone else really feels. It is arrogance to believe you can.
    ex: though the sub may ACT submissive, you’ll never know whether deep inside they’re nurturing tons of rage towards you.

  15. Jenn February 9, 2009 at 8:18 PM #

    I agree with you madaha. It is delusional. Power-structures in sex are delusional. The idea that we can make someone feel a certain way is delusional. Not because we can’t, but because in the act of doing so we are using coercion, threats, manipulation, violence, and social indoctrination to get them to do things that are harmful to them; things they would not choose to do without a heady dose of bullshit.

  16. RenegadeEvolution February 9, 2009 at 8:20 PM #

    madaha- if your speaking emotionally, you might have a leg to stand on there, if you include physical sensation in the “feel” column, well, biology and intitial reaction can be pretty dang telling.

    Oh, look, the delusional word again!

  17. ThedaBara February 9, 2009 at 11:07 PM #

    Sorry this is a bit off topic, but I wanted to address Jenn;

    I know it’s fucked up, and you know what? you’re not the only one. The description of your childhood reads like an almost identical page of mine(with the obvious differences here and there)-the results have been the same though.

    I got off on being emotionally manipulative and dominant towards men. My motto from the onset of any relationship was “hurt them first before they get to you”. If things became too intense, I hauled ass or cheated. Being vulnerable was never an option for me. I’ve had men crying and begging, on their knees even. All I felt for them was contempt(not because I saw them as being “weak”, but more along the lines of “Fuck you, you deserve that pain”). And what did this attitude get me? a string of lovers who either loathe me, or remember me fondly because of what I did for their egos. Who I really am never came into the equation.

    I’m almost 30, and have just begun the gut-wrenching process of learning how to be vulnerable in front of someone(no power dynamics, vulnerable in the emotional sense, tearing your facade down and such). It’s hard, and I can’t believe it hurts so damn much. But, it is possible to change, even if it’s just a little bit.

    I do hope things get better for you Jenn. If anything, know that you’re not alone in feeling this way =)

  18. Trinity February 9, 2009 at 11:19 PM #

    “I think these doms are delusional. You can’t MAKE someone feel what you want them to feel. You may produce the appearance of this, but you never know how someone else really feels. It is arrogance to believe you can. ex: though the sub may ACT submissive, you’ll never know whether deep inside they’re nurturing tons of rage towards you.”

    Okay, so my partner may be begging me for more butand secretly nurturing hatred for me. He may be hiding it REALLY well, thanking me and holding me and saying he loves me and wants more and all, chuckling inside as he plots to ax murder me next week.

    Possible. Though I don’t personally believe myself to be quite *that* unable to pick up deception.

    But even if that is true… why should he do that? What does he gain from bothering to deceive me?

  19. Trinity February 9, 2009 at 11:21 PM #

    “well, biology and intitial reaction can be pretty dang telling.”

    Ren, I’ve actually had people tell me that submissive men may not “identify with” their hardons, and “mean” something else.

    Possible? Yeah, erection can occur for reasons not tied to desire.

    Likely? Fuck no.

    • Nine Deuce February 9, 2009 at 11:26 PM #

      Nic – I’m tired of you. I don’t need alternative viewpoints when they come from dudes who get off on seeing women hurt and whose misogyny displays itself as soon as a woman fails to agree with their bullshit. Piss off.

  20. madaha February 9, 2009 at 11:31 PM #

    actually I was mostly thinking emotionally, since the stuff ND has been talking about involves relationships that go WAY beyond just the sex act, but about that… S/Mers *never ever* fake orgasms?

    don’t let’s be naive

  21. Voice February 9, 2009 at 11:32 PM #

    To the couple of people out there that wanted to know. There are Doms out there that will tell you that they enjoy causing pain, that enjoy the torture they cause, and wow, they actually get aroused (or even get off) to the “abuse” they inflict on their subs.

    I happen to be one of them.

    I happily admit to owning a slave.

    I love her and adore her.

    I make her bleed sometimes.

    I fill a role; there are women out there that enjoy the feeling of pain and I take the place of the pain-inflicter. If I said that I only do it because I wanted to placate some desire of my mate while taking no enjoyment out of it myself, well, I would be lying. However, if it were true that I ONLY did it for her, I would be just as repressed as the you believe the women you are trying to “save” are.

    In addition, I think that the fact you were not even willing to listen to a Dom (Nic) if he posted somewhere other then a site where you can edit or censor anything shows that you not even willing to give us a chance to give you a side. You seem too busy on your witchhunt to actually try and understand who you are fighting. What a shame from a person who claims to be about “rights”…

    In conclusion, I hope you understand that we (the BDSM community) is not some raving cult out to objectify all women, we are simply a like minded group that knows what we like and despite the fact that it seems a little off color to most of the populous, it makes us happy. No brainwashing, no coercing, just accepting who we are and being happy with it.

    Thank you,

    Voice

  22. RenegadeEvolution February 9, 2009 at 11:39 PM #

    madaha: Yes, people fake orgasms sometimes. I am sure people in BDSM also fake orgasms sometimes. So far as I know, it is pretty hard for a guy to fake ejaculating though. And if we’re going on delusion…well, who is to say that all people in all kinds of relationships don’t actually show one emotion and secretly harbor another? Once again, not a condition that could be solely unique to BDSM.

  23. Jenn February 9, 2009 at 11:48 PM #

    Hey, Voice. Look buddy, I want to hear what you have to say. But that means that because you’re not in a pro-BDSM space you’re going to have to deal with any offense that people aim at you. Let’s be honest here, when someone tells me “I really really enjoy beating the fuck out of people and it gives me a massive boner”, my first second or third reaction is not to clap them on the back like we’re chaps and discuss the merits of leather whips verses nipple clamps.

    Most of all, I really want to know how people can consent to people getting the shit beat out of them, and most people can say “oh it’s consensual” without blinking an eye.

    In short, if you want to fly the tolerance flag, you got to realize that you’re going to have to defend yourself and choices that you make that don’t seem to compute to the people here. That means that because 9-2 has opened this place for discussion, a form of tolerance, you have to be able to tolerate our reaction to that discussion, get it?

  24. firefey February 9, 2009 at 11:48 PM #

    delphyne
    ok, i’ll say it. i’m a sadist. i get off on hurting my lover. restraining him with rope and hitting him (with things and with my hands) makes him cry, which makes me wet.

    and when it’s all over and i’ve wiped his tears and cleand him up we make slow, gentle love and fall asleep in eachothers arms. i stay high on that for days. he gives me every bit of himself and his trust. that is what’s in it for me.

  25. Lorelei February 9, 2009 at 11:56 PM #

    RE: Voice

    Well said, Master. Very well said.

    Look, ND, i am not gonna tell you you’re a bad person for not understanding the way people like us think or feel. I am not gonna tell you you’re a bad person for not liking the things we like. However, i am gonna say that you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to BDSM, the kink community, and Master/slave relationships and i have always found it is better to not form an opinion in ignorance.

    Instead of everybody fighting and making a big fuss why don’t you calm down, back off a little, and actually listen to the things some of these people are telling you? I can tell you what you’ll hear: we’re all HAPPY and SAFE and those are the MOST important things in a relationship. And most of us would be happy to better explain the lives we love to people who are willing to listen but the fact is that most people just aren’t willing to listen. People automatically decide we’re sick freaks before they even get to know us. That’s why a lot of people in this community are so closed-mouthed–the people who aren’t are closed-minded.

    I’m not trying to bash you. But why don’t you stop bashing us for a minute and listen, REALLY listen, with an open heart and mind? Maybe you’ll learn something you didn’t know.

  26. delphyne February 9, 2009 at 11:56 PM #

    “I fill a role; there are women out there that enjoy the feeling of pain and I take the place of the pain-inflicter”

    Yeah, you almost managed it and then ….. you hid behind women like all the other “masters” have done (or they’ve just left it completely up to women to defend their practices). It’s kind of cowardly, and dare I say, undominant.

    The truth is that there are men like you out there who enjoy beating, hurting and sexually torturing women and there are women who take the role of having that torture inflicted on them. That’s the way the dynamic works.

    Male abusers always use the “she wants it”, “she likes” it get-out. The fact is you want it and you like it and that is the reason it happens.

  27. Lorelei February 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM #

    “The truth is that there are men like you out there who enjoy beating, hurting and sexually torturing women and there are women who take the role of having that torture inflicted on them. That’s the way the dynamic works.

    Male abusers always use the ‘she wants it’, ‘she likes’ it get-out. The fact is you want it and you like it and that is the reason it happens.”

    I am the she. I want it. I don’t LIKE it–i LOVE it. So it’s actually NOT a cop-out–it’s just my Master mentioning that (unlike a lot of non-Doms i have been with) He actually thinks about my pleasure and we both desire the other’s happiness.

  28. Voice February 10, 2009 at 12:03 AM #

    I’m absolutely ready for the torrential shit storm that I may have began to stir up. By all means, I can understand and maybe even empathize with your initial reaction to people like me. I would like to first address the comment, “I really want to know how people can consent to people getting the shit beat out of them.” Well, have you even thought of the fact that many times, it is not the consent of the sub that comes second, sometimes it is the sub asking for it.

    My particular sub actually had failed relationships because she felt she was missing something. She actually yearned for a bit of physical pain that her previous lovers were incapable of fulfilling.

    As I said, I (and people, both men and women, like me) fill a role needed by others.

  29. firefey February 10, 2009 at 12:03 AM #

    Lorelei, i want to thank you for a lovely post. i know for me, anyone insinuating my relationship is abusive hurts. i am very protective of my submissive, and having voices like yours around to remind everyone to keep calm are very useful. you set a very good example, and your Master should be proud of you.

  30. Voice February 10, 2009 at 12:08 AM #

    Re: delphyne

    Yes, I want it and I like it. Oddly enough that is the reason it happens in our relationship. I am her Master, and I revel in that fact. It is not to say that I have been compelled to do this to those not of my sub’s persuasion. Consent on BOTH parties is required. I am not hiding behind this fact, but it is a fact. I would never hurt a woman who was not a lifestyler. I, unlike the obvious opinion of me, am not a completely sick fuck who delights on degrading women. I have one, and that one and I complete each other.

  31. delphyne February 10, 2009 at 12:12 AM #

    Have you ever had a relationship where you didn’t beat up your female partner Voice?

  32. firefey February 10, 2009 at 12:15 AM #

    i think Voice makes the point here rather nicely. like him i desire to hurt my beloved. i do not turn those eyes on everyone. i would not want to hurt someone who didn’t actually desire to be in that situation. he is not the only person i play with, he is not the only submissive i have ever had, but he and i complment each other in this way along with MANY others that have nothing to do with sex.

  33. bonobobabe February 10, 2009 at 12:21 AM #

    Also, sometimes I hate the world, sometimes I feel angry, and it would be very easy to turn that inwards. If I can turn it outwards and onto someone who will get off on taking it for me, in a way that turns the hatred into love, that seems a much better and more intimate approach.

    In other words, you take your anger out on someone else physically, and the fact that they claim to like it absolves you of any guilt for being an SOB.

    There is no difference between your displacement onto your girlfriend and someone displacing their anger by kicking their dog when they get home from work. The only difference is your punching bag has been conned into wanting it.

  34. Voice February 10, 2009 at 12:28 AM #

    Re:delphyne

    “Have you ever had a relationship where you didn’t beat up your female partner Voice?”

    Yes, though I believe I have never in my life been happier then I am now with my slave, and wife, lorelei.

    Re:bonobobabe

    It amazes me to think that none of you seemingly well opinionated people can understand that no one was tricked. In many cases, it is the sub who approaches the subject of being collared when she finds a Master she approves of. Unless you are looking at bad pornography, Masters do not go out and capture then brainwash their potential slaves.

    Voice

  35. bonobobabe February 10, 2009 at 12:28 AM #

    As I said, I (and people, both men and women, like me) fill a role needed by others.

    A. No one NEEDS to get off. No one ever died from an orgasm deficiency.

    B. You aren’t filling a need so much as preying on people with psychological damage.

    This whole thing is just like everything else in patriarchy. Brainwash the women into wanting something and you get a free pass.

  36. Voice February 10, 2009 at 12:33 AM #

    Re:bonobobabe

    “This whole thing is just like everything else in patriarchy. Brainwash the women into wanting something and you get a free pass.”

    Then what exactly do you think of F/m relationships? Are the women just as sick and depraved as you view me?

  37. RenegadeEvolution February 10, 2009 at 12:36 AM #

    ” In many cases, it is the sub who approaches the subject of being collared”

    indeed, or in less formal or committed situations, approaches for any sort of engagement period. This does actually happen fairly often, and sure enough, negotiations and setting of terms then also happen.

    That can be recognized by those not into BDSM, can’t it? I’d certainly hope so.

  38. C February 10, 2009 at 12:38 AM #

    Okay, I feel like I have to say something on here since this is such a heated discussion. I personally prefer “vanilla” sex and I agree with 9-2 when she says that M/f BDSM probably wouldn’t be so popular if we didn’t live in a patriarchy, but that aside, I don’t think a person can change what arouses them and I understand that if you’re into all D/s stuff you would probably feel something missing if you were constantly being pressured to have “vanilla” sex (I wish there was something else we could call non-BDSM sex, I hate the term “vanilla”). 9-2, when you started this series you said you wanted to start an open discussion about BDSM and not judge but question, but I don’t think either side is really listening to each other, each side just wants to get their point across and it’s just pulling the discussion in circles

  39. firefey February 10, 2009 at 12:38 AM #

    ahhhh yes, the psychologically damaged gambit. because any woman who wants this kind of relationship must be dmaged in some way. thus negating her ability to think for herself. i’m afraid you will find that many, if not most, of the submissive women who activly engage in BDSM are not in fact victims of any kind. as for your assertation that no one needs orgasims to live… you’re right. no one ever died from lack of orgasim. but touch and sexual fulfillment are needs. a healthy relationship fulfills those needs. you may not like how i get there, but get there i do. as does my partner.

  40. Lorelei February 10, 2009 at 12:40 AM #

    Hey, B? I am not damaged goods. I am actually a well-educated woman from a well-educated family. I have a good (if a little stressful) job and am well-paid to do it. I am very capable of living a life in which i have to make my own decisions, very capable of having sexual relations in a way that doesn’t hurt.

    BUT I AM NOT HAPPY LIKE THAT.

    I actually left my previous boyfriend because he made me feel bad for wanting to explore my sexual needs and why pain felt so good. Master Voice (who was my very good friend at the time) came along and we started figuring me out together–what i like, what i don’t like, and all my inner workings. I was not captured. Not brainwashed. Not tricked. I came to Him, He took my hand and we went exploring together. Lucky for me, we found who i really am and, as a result, i am happy. Not psychologically damaged–just happy.

  41. Voice February 10, 2009 at 12:49 AM #

    Re: C

    You sound just like an old friend of mine. One whom I once had a discussion about the term “vanilla” and our mutual distaste for it. Culinary reasons mainly…

  42. Lorelei February 10, 2009 at 1:16 AM #

    “Have you ever had a relationship where you didn’t beat up your female partner Voice?”

    You know, i just saw this and it pissed me right off. Voice does NOT “beat up” me or any other woman. It is NOT the same thing at all. He is in NO way abusive or cruel to me. You just said this to be catty and cruel and those kind of comments are best kept to yourself–they have no place in any sort of educated discussion or debate.

  43. River February 10, 2009 at 1:32 AM #

    To all of those that are bashing the life style being discussed, I would like to say that I am a close friend of both Voice and Lorelie. I am a male and in not fact a part of the bdsm life style, if any side though I am more bedroom submissive than dom. I have been around Voice and Lorelie’s relationship for some time now, and while I really didn’t understand it at first due to lack of exposure, I chose to approach and observe their relationship with an open mind. The more I saw of them together, their Dom/sub relationship in everyday life the more I realized that, while not for me, they had an incredably beautiful relationship that fulfills them both. This subject matter is by no means vulgar, speaking out of ignorance on this subject is however. These people are wonderful and their relationship is a happy one that truly harms no one. The people involved in this lifestyle are not brain-damaged or foul, they are people, and it is not for you to force your veiw of morality on them.

  44. Trinity February 10, 2009 at 2:00 AM #

    “but that aside, I don’t think a person can change what arouses them and I understand that if you’re into all D/s stuff you would probably feel something missing if you were constantly being pressured to have “vanilla” sex (I wish there was something else we could call non-BDSM sex, I hate the term “vanilla”).”

    Thank you. That’s the thing that’s always so weird to me in all this; the way that people who aren’t into BDSM miss how non-BDSM is expected.

    I get that y’all have a theory that says non-BDSM sex is actually like BDSM sex because male dominance is expected under patriarchy, so I can kind of see why it gets missed, but at the same time…

    eh. It’s like… what, do you all not SEE that most people, even living as we all do under patriarchy, think BDSM is distasteful and that we ought not do it?

    Reading some of your positions, it’s as if you think people in general clap us on the back for doing as society wills. And, however good or bad your theories are or are not, that’s just not so.

    BDSM is becoming more mainstream, yes, but that mainstreaming is “a lot of people try fuzzy handcuffs,” not “most people think women should enter into D/s relationships.”

  45. IE February 10, 2009 at 6:40 AM #

    What fascinates/repulses/scares me is the language. “Sir” is capitalized while “i” is not, etc. Language is the most pervasive and experienced tool of oppressors.

    Nothing is more demeaning than loosing a capitalized first-person singular pronoun.

  46. delphyne February 10, 2009 at 11:19 AM #

    “You know, i just saw this and it pissed me right off. Voice does NOT “beat up” me or any other woman. It is NOT the same thing at all. He is in NO way abusive or cruel to me. You just said this to be catty and cruel and those kind of comments are best kept to yourself–they have no place in any sort of educated discussion or debate.”

    That’s exactly what he does and he knows it. As usual the submissive is out front defending the “master”, or more accurately women are always put front and centre to defend men’s abuses. Why don’t you let him speak for himself? He’s an adult, he can surely manage that.

    Naming isn’t cruel. Beating, choking, whipping, restraining and humiliating a person is cruel. Once again we see the messed up value system of BDSM.

    Oh and the reason I asked is because yet again we saw a male abuser trying to pass off all his abusive desires on to the woman. I wanted to know what the common factor in his relationships was given that he said that you hadn’t actually had any S&M relationships before yours and his. Did it ever occur to you that he might have groomed you by the way? I bet he was thinking about torturing you long before you considered being tortured by him. Part of the trick of BDSM is to pretend it’s all the woman’s fantasies and desires. It is really, really hard to get male sadists to admit it’s about them – somehow the conversation keeps slipping back to “she wants it”.

  47. RenegadeEvolution February 10, 2009 at 1:53 PM #

    “That’s exactly what he does and he knows it. As usual the submissive is out front defending the “master”, or more accurately women are always put front and centre to defend men’s abuses. Why don’t you let him speak for himself? He’s an adult, he can surely manage that”

    What, you are right there in the bedroom with them, Delphyne? The name actually is Oracle related? And heaven for fend the woman defend her own lifestyle and partner, how dare she! She should just shut up and leave it to the man? He’s apparently the only one you are interested in listening to anyway…How dare she speak at all!

    How…odd…is that, from a real feminist and all?

    And what, you get to decide for all what they can find to be cruel and what they cannot?

    “Did it ever occur to you that he might have groomed you by the way? I bet he was thinking about torturing you long before you considered being tortured by him. Part of the trick of BDSM is to pretend it’s all the woman’s fantasies and desires. It is really, really hard to get male sadists to admit it’s about them – somehow the conversation keeps slipping back to “she wants it”.”

    Ah yes, because no woman into this can possibly actually like it, the only way it can be suitably explained to your satisfaction is that the poor, sad, defenseless little female has been groomed! And the horrible man muhahahahaha was thinking about TORTURING (POW camp style) you all along!

    And, of course, it is wholly impossible for BDSM to be about both (or however many) people involved in any given scenerio. Simply impossible.

    Because you say so. Uh huh.

  48. delphyne February 10, 2009 at 1:57 PM #

    Here’s a good example of a male sadist grooming a woman to submit to him. It’s clearly about him foisting his desires on her:

    “Master slowly started introducing me to BDSM. This mostly took a physical form, but Master included subtle mental forms of dominance as well without me really even noticing. I hated it. I resisted everything. Master would gradually try something new – scratching, grab my neck, pull my hair, etc. – and I would insist that I didn’t like it. But, within a week, I’d be begging for it. Master then added more and more overt control, giving me a few rules and calling me “sub.” It took a long time for me to be comfortable with that, and even longer to transition to “slave.” As hard as it was to be the passive subject of such language, getting used to calling him “Master” was worse. I have a distinct memory of the first, very emotional, time that I used it. It has been an incredibly difficult struggle for me to accept myself as a submissive and a masochist, to think of myself as wanting anything but complete independence and control, or to put another’s physical pleasure before mine. Though it’ gotten much easier, it’s pretty clear from my blog that these are still things that I have trouble with.”

    Safe, sane and consenusal, eh?

  49. emjustme February 10, 2009 at 2:30 PM #

    This is so difficult. Challenging bdsm can come across as disrespectful to women and their choices but it feels impossible, as a feminist, not to be concerned and to wish to critique the lifestyle. Consider what you are asking us to accept:

    Calling someone master – when we have a historical context for that word which is powerfully and profoundly negative and asking us to believe this relationship can be founded on equality, choice and respect

    Or Master, should I say, – the use of written language to indicate position in the heirarchy and so that one is always aware of that position – even when commenting on a website. The echoes of cult like training and indoctrination are too obvious to ignore

    Notions that to ask to be humiliated, degraded, abused, hurt, infliction of pain, gagged, bound are free and healthy choices in a society where violence against women is routinely eroticised; where women are not believed; where violence against women is at epidemic proportions; where conviction rates for rape are as low as 2.9% in some countries; where ‘rape fantasies’ and enactment of ageplay are common scenarios (in bdsm) in a world where the excuses given for sexual violence are often ‘she was asking for it’, ‘she wanted it’

    That the above are seen to be free choices when most often there are traumatic formative experiences which influence and impact our sexuality, our mental health and ultimately our choices and ability to make decisions which help to keep us safe

    That much theory and practice in the fields of counselling, support, therapy, mental health tells us that re-enactment of trauma is common especially when there are negative feelings toward the self and ingrained beliefs that punishment is deserved; that people self-harm in a variety of ways to control pain and thoughts and feelings, and yet you ask us to ignore what appear as sometimes striking parallels with a high percentage of people – particularly women – who engage in bdsm relationships.

    That you are just ‘wired’ that way, when so much of our sexuality, our personalities in general and ways of being are social and environmental constructions

    That this is an alternative lifestyle from the norm when it appears to merely magnify (and fetishize) much of what is problematic, and depressingly old and and familiar, about relationships and sexuality within patriarchy and a society drowning in inequality and abuses of power

    You talk often of safe words and limits when more often ‘masters’ speak of pushing limits, of that being within their rights and being part of their role. Should we not ask what makes them experts in knowing which boundaries are safe to push and what gives them right to do so? How much power is it necessary for a man to have when society already affords many of them so much of it over women. Shouldn’t we question the motivations of someone who feels the need to be known by that title and who feels sexually driven to inflict pain on women?

    I’d love for women to be able to find a means of sexual expression that isn’t dictated by negative experiences of abuse and trauma or by the mass assault of images and words about what we should be, and the other forces that shape us. I’d love for us to think more of ourselves than to embrace humiliation and degredation because we know nothing else or because believing we have a bit of control over it makes it better or ok. I’d love for us to be able to find a way to manage horrible feelings – or not being able to feel anything – other than just inflicting the pain on ourselves and awarding an imaginary badge of honour because we can take it and we think we’re in control. I’d also love for some of the men here to just be honest about what shapes their desires.
    I can accept that we find ways of adapting to and surviving in the world we’re forced to live in, I can’t accept that all of those adaptions are healthy.

    The saying about men hating women and women hating themselves sometimes seems depressingly not far from the truth.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 3:50 AM #

      emjustme:

      i’d like to honestly say that i found this comment of yours to be brilliant. your points are excellent, well put, and concise. kinda makes me wish i’d written it!

      i’m going to copy/paste it to the discussion board of a facebook group called “sex-positive leftists critical of bdsm”. i also recommend joining this group! it’s getting lonely and it’s been co-opted by pro-bdsm people. here’s the link:

      http://www.facebook.com/wall.php?id=64053174528#/group.php?gid=64053174528

      also, do you have a blog? if so, what’s it called… i’d like to check it out.

  50. Lorelei February 10, 2009 at 2:49 PM #

    Y’know, i was actually going to reply to Del but RE beat me to it and with STYLE! Sweet job, darlin’.

    Hell, i still could reply. I could tell you our whole damn lives’ stories, how we became the people we are and how we came to be together, who we are now–everything down to how i shine the kitchen sink every night. But that would be a waste of time since it has been outright stated that what i have to say here doesn’t count because i am a submissive woman. (Or, rather, not a dominant man. Yeah, RE, that is really super-feminist of her!) So i am checking out of this lame argument.

    This is really getting silly. You have no real interest in listening to people like us or learning anything new–just in attacking people like my husband and flinging wild, unfounded accusations about people you don’t know a damn thing about. If any of the detractors here are ever SERIOUSLY interested in the maxim “all knowledge is worth having”, please come over to my blog or my Master’s and talk to one of us. We are both very nice people and are happy to patiently explain the way we live to people who don’t know or don’t understand. If not… what do i care? I live a happy, full life. If you wish to remain ignorant and hateful it’s only your loss.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 3:53 AM #

      hi Lorelei. i would like to read you and your husband’s blogs. i have no intention to post criticizing comments, i just want to read and learn. can you please give me the weblinks to your blogs? thank you! :)

  51. SnowdropExplodes February 10, 2009 at 3:43 PM #

    I’m not going to read through these comments threads – a lot of the time they end up being really toxic and mess up my mental health to no good purpose. However, the “why am I interested in dominating people” (gender non-specific, since I’m into domming both genders, and many in-between genders as well) question deserves an answer, so I’ll have a go at answering.

    First off, it’s not something that can be answered completely – I am as baffled by non-D/s sex as vanilla folks like you are baffled by BDSM sex. I accept that it exists, and is even the norm, but to me there’s something missing from it. It’s like connecting two batteries together, but connecting the two positive terminals to one another. No electricity can flow when you do that. To me, D/s is connecting a positive terminal to a negative terminal, creating a current, a flow of energy, a transfer of power. That can’t be how it works for vanilla folks, but I don’t know how it does work for you.

    So “why are you interested in dominating?” already has a part that I just can’t answer, because I don’t have a term of reference for not-interested in D/s.

    Why dominating in particular? Again, that just seems to be the way I’m wired. You could point to a few episode sin my childhood and try to draw a line joining the dots that leads to being a Dom, but I think to do so would be misleading and lead to ever more convoluted “explanations”, in the fashion of JFK/9-11/NWO conspiracy theories that end up involving everyone from the CIA to the Milk Marketing Board. I can, and sometimes do, get a kick out of playing the submissive role, but my “natural” state is to be the Dominant. I also get a thrill out of pain – even quite severe pain – but my natural role is the sadist. Why do I always come back to those positions?

    For whatever reason, I think part of it comes down to a desire to have someone react to me. When I submit, the pleasure and connection and relationship is that I react to the Dominant over me – and that can be a very potent and powerful emotional connection for me. As a Dominant, the reverse is true: my words or actions generate a response, and by putting my self into those words and actions, a powerful connection is formed.

    I cannot comprehend how anyone could conceive of this as abuse, or beating someone up – there is no wish to connect with his partner when a man beats up his wife, there is no understanding of her reaction or desire for a closer link. There is no empathy or relationship. There is only contempt, disgust, rage, madness. When you cross that line, when the connection is thus broken, you do not have BDSM.

  52. delphyne February 10, 2009 at 3:46 PM #

    I’ve looked at some of the blogs Lor (not yours as I don’t know which it is) and they back up everything that’s been said here. Also if I didn’t think your words counted I would have ignored them completely instead of responding to them. I just disagree with them, like I disagree with Voice.

    Terrific post emjustme.

  53. Lorelei February 10, 2009 at 4:31 PM #

    No, delphyne, you said: “That’s exactly what he does and he knows it. As usual the submissive is out front defending the ‘master’, or more accurately women are always put front and centre to defend men’s abuses. Why don’t you let him speak for himself? He’s an adult, he can surely manage that.” And also: “Oh and the reason I asked is because yet again we saw a male abuser trying to pass off all his abusive desires on to the woman.” THAT is where i am getting the idea that you don’t care about my opinion. Perhaps you think i am too brainwashed to have opinions? Your mistake, dear.

    Hell yeah, i am defending Him! That’s the man i love and said in front of God and the court of law i was gonna spend the rest of my life with and, unlike a lot of people in these times, i don’t take marriage lightly.

    Like i said before: i can completely understand with you not wanting to live the way we live. I can understand you not understanding it or disagreeing with it. What i CANNOT understand is that it comes from an ignorance which you are completely unwilling to correct. Voice and i are both perfectly happy to talk to you about how we live and how we are, to explain everything and answer any questions you have, and all we ask is that you be polite and respectful. I believe that all knowledge is worth having. You obviously do not, as you would rather only quote the things that apply to your already set opinions and use them to generalize everyone in the lifestyle.

    Am i saying, or have i ever said, that every BDSM relationship is as wonderful and shiny as me and Voice? Hell no. I have even spent time trying to warn people like me about safety and the difference between a good Master and a douchebag. (But that’s on my blog. Since for some reason you can’t find it… The Nymph’s Tale– http://lorelight.wordpress.com) But you take the same risks in this kind of relationship that you take in any other. When you go out on a date with someone, when you enter a relationship with them, there is no way for you to divine whether later on they may turn out to be an abusive drug addicted asshole who’s gonna beat you and make you feel like crap… or the person who’s going to complete you and open you up into the best you you’ve ever been. Master does that for me. I am happier, more confident, more capable, and it’s because of Him. He makes me the best version of me i have ever been. How is that wrong?

  54. Voice February 10, 2009 at 4:33 PM #

    I’ve been wondering Delphyne, you seem so absolutely upset with the fact that lorelei keeps coming out to defend me. Do you think I put her up to this? Do you believe me to be hovering over her spouting out commands to protect me?

    The most distressing thing of all this is not your loathing of me, I am not an idiot and I expected as much, but your seeming disgust of her. She is very happy in a life she and I both chose to be a part of. She loves her position in it just as I love mine. She comes here now not to defend me, but to try and enlighten you all. It only comes off as defense because all of your half made points that apparently need no other justification then you said so always come off as attacks.

    Voice

  55. RenegadeEvolution February 10, 2009 at 5:27 PM #

    ND: I appologize for the length of this reply, and if you do not want to publish it, that’s fine.

    emjustme:

    your comment is interesting & thoughtful, but there is so much more to what is going on than you are considering…

    you say:

    “This is so difficult. Challenging bdsm can come across as disrespectful to women and their choices but it feels impossible, as a feminist, not to be concerned and to wish to critique the lifestyle. Consider what you are asking us to accept:”

    Concern with a lifestyle is one thing, but what seems to happen so often is that concern with the lifestyle comes across as mocking, condemning, superior “concern” for the people in it. I also think that it truly, truly is one of those things that if you don’t get it, you just don’t get it. Which yes, is frusterating as hell all around. I mean, I cannot for the life of me understand why some people are celebate outside of medical reasons. I just don’t. But, you know, they are. They have the right to be. I can question the reasons for being celebate, but I shouldn’t question the mind or motivation of the person who choses to be celebate unless they are directly, and provenly, harming someone else by enforcing their ideals and lifestyle on another or others. I mean, okay, we are asking you to accept something that raises red flags. We are also asking you to remember that these are adult human beings capable of making decisions for themselves that you are talking to. That seems to get lost somewhere.

    “Calling someone master – when we have a historical context for that word which is powerfully and profoundly negative and asking us to believe this relationship can be founded on equality, choice and respect.”

    Master can be a term of respect (as can Mistress, Sir, Ma’am or whatever other terms aside from those employed by people in BDSM…a lot of folk make up their own terms). This is also a case where a person ends up adding their personal baggage to the interaction and relationships of OTHER people, dealing in a Universal Theory that because person A does not think any such thing could be founded on equality, choice and respect that no other person could see it that way, and there is no way it could function that way. A reminder that we are all different people who are not the same and see things differently is absolutely necessary here. This is forgotten so often, it makes any of these discussions difficult.

    “Or Master, should I say, – the use of written language to indicate position in the heirarchy and so that one is always aware of that position – even when commenting on a website. The echoes of cult like training and indoctrination are too obvious to ignore”

    This is going to sound harsh, but for a lot of us out here, well, drop the master but roll with the theory of cult training and indoctrination and the same could be said of radical feminism. There is (to those watching) a party line. It must be towed. If it is not, fully, on all issues, punative actions are taken. I could name at least five people who do consider or formerly consider themselves radical feminists who had a break with at least the on-line sector of the movement because of disagreements over various issues that are seen as part of the doctrine. You may not see that at all, others do and have. Once again, much, very very much, has to do with individual perception and what attitudes they take into that observation.

    “Notions that to ask to be humiliated, degraded, abused, hurt, infliction of pain, gagged, bound are free and healthy choices in a society where violence against women is routinely eroticised; where women are not believed; where violence against women is at epidemic proportions; where conviction rates for rape are as low as 2.9% in some countries; where ‘rape fantasies’ and enactment of ageplay are common scenarios (in bdsm) in a world where the excuses given for sexual violence are often ’she was asking for it’, ’she wanted it’

    That the above are seen to be free choices when most often there are traumatic formative experiences which influence and impact our sexuality, our mental health and ultimately our choices and ability to make decisions which help to keep us safe”

    Hum. Okay. I like a whole lot of those things. A whole lot. Yet, I am not sure anywhere I have ever said such things are “good for women” (the whole). I don’t ever recal seeing anyone else say that either. However, those are the desires of some people, people who are adults, and as adults, can make decisions as to what they are into and what they are not. And once again, I demand…outright demand…to see unbiased proof of the assertion that people are only into –insert whatever here- due to traumatic formative experiences. As I have often (and yes, rather ugly of me I know) said, I suspect a great many women invovled in more radical aspects of feminism are there in part due to past trumatic incidents…is their decision to be involved in such things as subject to question as the decision of a woman who is into kinky sex instead? Why or why not? Are the decisions, any decisions, of any woman, any person, who has been subject to such trauma open to such speculation and questioning? Should we go there? I mean, can these people truly be trusted to make any decision? Marry, not marry, sleep with women, sleep with men, have children, be in high stress traumatic jobs? Should a victim of rape be allowed to be a police officer who deals with rapes, or a lawyer on either side of the courtroom on rape cases? Should a person who had a loved one murdered be able to be a homicide detective or criminal investigator or councilor? Do you want to go there, and would you be willing to go there with Any Other Subject aside from kinky sex? Further more, a problem I have seen, as a person who is into all that shit, is when I say “nope, I wasn’t –insert form of abuse here-“, I am not believed. And that is fucked up, when a person is not allowed to name their own experiences and speak their own truth. If a woman who says “this has happened to me” should be believed, a woman says “this has not happened to me” should also be believed. And either way, if she is an adult, she should still be given the leeway to make decisions for herself and engage in activities she choses to engage in, even if others would not choose to do the same. Otherwise, apparently, we have to start infantalizing one in four women. I am not ready to go there, are you?

    “That much theory and practice in the fields of counselling, support, therapy, mental health tells us that re-enactment of trauma is common especially when there are negative feelings toward the self and ingrained beliefs that punishment is deserved; that people self-harm in a variety of ways to control pain and thoughts and feelings, and yet you ask us to ignore what appear as sometimes striking parallels with a high percentage of people – particularly women – who engage in bdsm relationships.”

    So, you are certain that all of these women feel they deserve punishment and are reinacting some past trauma and not just…kinky? Unbiased proof? Stats? Something? I happen to like pain because it’s a rush, and adreniline high, and I have a high pain tolerance…not because I think I deserve to have the shit kicked out of me. There are countless reasons, many of which are hardly so sinister, that people engage in BDSM. Can that at least be considered, or do all of the women invovled, no matter what they say, have to be somehow victimized?

    “That you are just ‘wired’ that way, when so much of our sexuality, our personalities in general and ways of being are social and environmental constructions”

    Biology and Environment both contribute to one’s wiring, yes indeed. Yet, they are still wired the way the are wired. Do they have to be unwired? Rewired? Are you certain that would benefit them in any way? Could it not be horribly traumatic, unhelpful, even harmful and determental? Is there a reason, when it comes to sex, we should all like the same things, be the same way? You know how scary that sounds to some people?

    “That this is an alternative lifestyle from the norm when it appears to merely magnify (and fetishize) much of what is problematic, and depressingly old and and familiar, about relationships and sexuality within patriarchy and a society drowning in inequality and abuses of power”

    Appears to. Appearances can be deceving. And nope, I am not one of those people who says BDSM or whatnot is feminist. I do not think any sexual act holds any politic at all. But I am not sure why how people fuck or gain sexual pleasure is A) Such a big deal, B) Anyone elses business, so long as they are doing it with other adult people who choose to be there.

    “You talk often of safe words and limits when more often ‘masters’ speak of pushing limits, of that being within their rights and being part of their role.”

    You ever play sports? I did, for many, many, many years. Still do. It was my coaches job to try and get me to run faster, do better at whatever sport I was doing, increase my skills in that athletic activity. It was also his duty to know when I said “shit, my knee hurts and I need a break” to know that, hey, my knee hurt and I needed a break. And why yes, thanks to my coaches and my willingness to work harder and their willingness to listen when I said I needed a rest, I did get better in those sports and why yes, was very pleased and happy when I won races or whathave you. I benefited from and enjoyed that.

    “Should we not ask what makes them experts in knowing which boundaries are safe to push and what gives them right to do so?”

    Because most dominants discuss those things with the people they are engaging with and those people whom with they are engaging have given them permission to?

    “How much power is it necessary for a man to have when society already affords many of them so much of it over women. Shouldn’t we question the motivations of someone who feels the need to be known by that title and who feels sexually driven to inflict pain on women?”

    Once again, all about the men! Dominant women do not exist! Question here, shouldn’t we question the motivations of someone who feels the need to tell women into BDSM that, well, they must be damaged, or do not know the truth of their relationships, or that they know the motivations of their partners better than they do, or that they are doing it wrong, or that…

    Should I go on?

    “I’d love for women to be able to find a means of sexual expression that isn’t dictated by negative experiences of abuse and trauma or by the mass assault of images and words about what we should be, and the other forces that shape us.”

    And I’d love for other women to stop insisting that is all the sexual expression of all kinky women is.

    “I’d love for us to think more of ourselves than to embrace humiliation and degredation because we know nothing else or because believing we have a bit of control over it makes it better or ok.”

    I’d love for other women to not seemingly be so interested in how some women fuck and inist they know why those women fuck the way they fuck.

    “I’d love for us to be able to find a way to manage horrible feelings – or not being able to feel anything – other than just inflicting the pain on ourselves and awarding an imaginary badge of honour because we can take it and we think we’re in control. I’d also love for some of the men here to just be honest about what shapes their desires.”

    Well, perhaps listening to people and taking them at their word on matters related to this might help with the horrible feelings part. And, no, not a man, but I have admitted that when being dominant I like being mean to and hurting other people because yeah, I like doing it. I find it interesting and erotic. But, not a man, so…

    “I can accept that we find ways of adapting to and surviving in the world we’re forced to live in, I can’t accept that all of those adaptions are healthy.”

    I cannot accept this level of tunnel vision and adherance to one sole theory of why kink is and how kinky people are and refusal to see or consider anything else is healthy either.

    “The saying about men hating women and women hating themselves sometimes seems depressingly not far from the truth.”

    And with the way many of the kinky women here and elsewhere have been treated and talked to, do you wonder, perhaps, maybe what a source of that self-loathing might be? Clue here, it is not the kinky sex.

    • Nine Deuce February 10, 2009 at 6:31 PM #

      No worries, Ren. Everyone writes novels in my comment sections.

  56. Clarisse February 10, 2009 at 5:46 PM #

    Did it ever occur to you that he might have groomed you by the way? I bet he was thinking about torturing you long before you considered being tortured by him. Part of the trick of BDSM is to pretend it’s all the woman’s fantasies and desires. It is really, really hard to get male sadists to admit it’s about them – somehow the conversation keeps slipping back to “she wants it”.

    I’m a heavy bottom and I’ve had multiple BDSM encounters in which my partner was unwilling to go as heavy as I wanted. I dated one man for two years who I kept asking to go harder — but he wasn’t comfortable with it, and refused.

    I am sure you will try to find ways to warp his refusal into hypocrisy — or warp my desire for more into Stockholm Syndrome. But maybe, just maybe, pointing out my experience will make a difference. A girl can dream.

    As for your original post, Nine Deuce … if you really are trying to understand where tops are coming from, then kudos to you for being open-minded. I have asked similar questions before about fetishes I didn’t understand.

    But I think that you are ultimately barking up the wrong tree if you think that you’re going to be able to “figure out” desire for BDSM, when you’re not into it yourself.

    I know you hate it when people compare BDSM to homosexuality, so I won’t. Instead, let’s compare it to … oh … oral sex. There are people out there who don’t like oral sex, and they’re never going to understand why other people like oral sex just because they ask a lot of people “why do you like oral sex?”

    People have different sexual desires. What’s productive is saying, “People are different, and I’ll never understand some of them.”

    Are you thinking, “I am willing to think BDSM is okay, if I can only understand why people do it?” If that is what you’re thinking, then would you apply that same standard to oral sex?

  57. polerin February 10, 2009 at 5:52 PM #

    I think that emjustme’s comment is one of the first post to honestly address the questions that exist between the two groups here from the radFem side. (I don’t consider myself objective on questions from the other side as I’ve been involved too much.)

    I’d be very interested in hearing some of the responses to the actual questions.

    Delphyne, your response seemed dismissive of both Voice and Lor’s responses. When talking with Voice, you insist that he’s mistaken and Lor isn’t really happy where she is or liking the relationship. Then when Lor speaks up to tell you her own feelings, you dismiss her as manipulated and attack Voice for hiding behind his sub.

  58. firefey February 10, 2009 at 5:53 PM #

    emjustme, since you seem to have a civil thought in your head, unlike del who only seems to be interested in ranting, i’ll take a few moments to answer some of your questions from a dominant point of view. not the male dom some folks are foaming at the mouth over, but if my lack of a dick means i’m not qualified to talk about my experiences with BDSM as a dominant party, i’m pretty sure that says volumes more than i ever could.

    the first thing i want to talk about is limits, since that is a really valid point and something that actually gets discussed on message boards pretty often. what are they, and when should they be pushed if at all?

    we divide limits into two catagories. most often hard and soft. hard limits are things you will not engage in full stop, end of story. and it varies wildly. my beloved has a fear of knives (as in, he has an issue with cutting veggies to make diner kinda fear). this is not ever something he wants pointed in his direction, used on his person (knife play is usually more psychological and/or very light scratching not actual cutting), or brought into our relationship. that is a hard limit for him, and because i love and respect him we simply will never go there.

    but a soft limit is something of a maybe. as in maybe i might try that when i’m feeling brave. or maybe i might like that but the thought of doing it intimidates me. soft limits are something people encounter in their day to day life. we push through them all the time and come out none the worse for wear most of the time. within a BDSM context, these are the limits most often pushed. and yes, it is the dominant partner doing the pushing. typically it takes the form of a negotiated inclusion in a scene, although not always. and limits are not usually pushed within casual relationships. this is one of the reasons it is so vital to take the time to get to know your partner before you start diving into pushing limits and other more intence scenes. what qualifies the Master or Mistress or Dominant to do this? i wish i could tell you about a dominant training school where we go to learn all things we need to know to be good Dom/mes, but we both know there isn’t one. so you enter into a relationship and you build trust and you talk about expectations and feel eachother out. kinda like any sexual relationship.

    again, drawing from my own relationship… biting. i’m a biter. it’s one of my kinks. in his previous relationship, my beloved had some less than good experiences with biting. when we negotiated this (BDSM) aspect of our relationship we talked about it, and we decided that slow aplication durring play was alright. but i know that he has trusted me with this information, and so i respect it and modify my aproach acordingly. a previous submissive i had loved to be bitten hard enough to draw blood, but she had no desire to be involved with men beyond friendship (hard limit). so, although i’m both poly and bi, the men i dated we’re not part of our play or our sex life.

    i also want to adress the idea of age play and rape fantasy as common in BDSM. they actually aren’t as common as all that. the Daddy/little girl dynamic is a very particular style of relating and while it is my experience that it is more often seen that a Mommy/little girl or little boy relationship, it is by no means the most common. (besides, if you really wanted to get your panties in a bunch you’d be going off about Gorian style BDSM.) the same can be said for rape fantasy. it’s something that exists, but most people don’t really want to be a part of it outside of fantasy land. it’s a deeply psychological style of play that isn’t undertaken lightly. and in my experience, and in the experience of most submissive women i’ve talked to about it, the Dominant will facilitate the scene but it almost never comes from them.

    so why do it? i don’t know. it’s not a fantasy i have or understand. many women i’ve talked to about it see it as a way to revisit the harm done to them in a way that feels controlled and safe. i don’t understand the logic myself, but i’m not going to condemn a woman for dealing with trauma in the way she decides is best for her.

    and since i’ve writen a huge post, i’ll cut it here.

  59. Trinity February 10, 2009 at 6:46 PM #

    The thing that gets me is the “grooming.” So supposedly we tops sit around coming up with strategies to “groom” people. But where is the direct evidence that we are “grooming?” I haven’t seen it, other than one quote here that was disturbing to me too — with absolutely no hard evidence that it is indicative of any kind of trend.

    I can go right now and find a radical feminist stating that male neonates should be killed. Would it be acceptable for me to say this is “what radical feminists think”? No, because I’d rightly be asked to prove that this is common behavior and/or linked to the basic tenets of radical feminism. Which it isn’t.

    And, hey, in my experience, there’s an awful lot of “No, hit me harder.” “Wait, I don’t really feel submissive. Could you be stricter?” going on.

    Are there times when the dominant person is interested in heavier stuff than her partner is? Yeah. Is it possible for someone to change over time and come to like things that were once intimidating?

    Yeah, but where’s the proof that that’s “grooming?”

    I haven’t seen any. I’ve just seen “consider that you’re totally deluded” and the thing is… why? Why consider that, rather than the person speaking considering that maybe she’s not listening?

  60. lorelei February 10, 2009 at 6:59 PM #

    “And, hey, in my experience, there’s an awful lot of ‘No, hit me harder.’ ‘Wait, I don’t really feel submissive. Could you be stricter?’ going on.”

    LMAO! Oh my god, this was so me when we started. “Really, Sir, you can hit me harder… i can take it!”

  61. firefey February 10, 2009 at 7:03 PM #

    you know, it’s funny. i have to admit this discussion has hed the opposite result that some people here were probably hoping for. in defending my relationship and the way in which i like to fuck, i’ve gotten more intune with myself. so, thanks for this affermation. i was really starting to worry that maybe i was giving myself a case of cognative dissonance, and now i know i’m not. way to have a positive influence.

    also… ren and trinity… i think i love you

  62. Screaming Lemur February 10, 2009 at 7:49 PM #

    Wow… this is kind of a scary discussion. It’s a little intimidating and also it’s hard not to be personally offended by some of the comments here.
    My opinion is that every system and every kind of power exchange have the potential to be abused or used to abuse others. It doesn’t automatically mean they’re inherently harmful to everyone.
    You could say this about all hetero sex, or all sex in which there is some kind of power exchange- and most sex contains a power play of some kind or other.
    *shrug*

    • Nine Deuce February 10, 2009 at 7:51 PM #

      Screaming Lemur – I agree with that, though there are certain dynamics that seem to contain more potential for abuse than others. I also agree that this discussion has gotten a little gnarly and that it isn’t very productive.

  63. Voice February 10, 2009 at 8:09 PM #

    Well, why is it not being productive? Is it because I as a Master will not just say, “Hey, I am a horrible person. You are all right and I am wrong”, or is it because no one here will try and understand that the M/s lifestyle, whether M/f or F/m is not inherently evil?

    Voice

    • Nine Deuce February 10, 2009 at 8:11 PM #

      It’s because no one is trying to understand anyone and because it’s lost any element of civility.

  64. Voice February 10, 2009 at 8:23 PM #

    Look, I must admit, I (W/we) come from a standing that is difficult to understand and accept. I never “chose” to be who I am, I just embraced it. I am a sadist, I sexually enjoy the act of inflicting pain. It is who I am. It is not the “norm” nor do I believe it should be, it is just who I am. I know my limits and I know the limits of my pet. I know which limits of ours can be pushed and I know when and how far to push at any given time. I trust her enough to tell me if something goes too far as much as she trusts me to always stop if things get out of hand. I swear to you all that I do understand why you would initially see our lifestyle as appalling, I was hoping to maybe shed a little light on the subject without offending anyone… Maybe I failed at that.

    But here, to answer the original question listed at the top of this page: I just do.

  65. RenegadeEvolution February 10, 2009 at 8:47 PM #

    ND: Extra points for the use of “gnarly”!

  66. firefey February 10, 2009 at 8:56 PM #

    honestly ND… who’s not being civil here? the folks who are being told they fuck wrong, are brain washed, and are emotionally damaged? the people defending themselvs and their lifestyle? or the folks calling other people deluded sick fucks, who can’t speak for themselves because of penis or lack thereof while giving themselves smug pats on the back?

    we were just starting to get there, at least with emjustme. of course my version of there is a convo that looks at power dynamics in a way that doesn’t belittle outright. ymmv.

    • Nine Deuce February 10, 2009 at 8:58 PM #

      I wasn’t talking to you, or anyone else but Screaming Lemur, and I was talking about the general tenor of the conversation on this post and on the previous one. You all need to remember that I’m probably the only one here who has to real ALL of these comments, and a lot of them are long.

  67. Voice February 10, 2009 at 9:03 PM #

    Well, I would be happy to read anything sent my way. Once again, lorelei and I welcome people with open arms and hope to open their minds. We each have blogs of our own and do not mind hosting discussions there as well.

    Voice

  68. Alderson Warm-Fork February 10, 2009 at 9:03 PM #

    Emjustme said :”Consider what you are asking us to accept”

    This is maybe the crux for me. Pro-kinkers are asking anti-kinkers* to accept something? They have come here to this blog with a position, a strange position which disputes the otherwise obvious and well-understood position, and so they need to argue positively for it?

    *(I really don’t want to say ‘radical feminists’ because I like the label but disagree with what people so identified are saying here)

    That’s not what it looks like to me. I don’t see what the default anti-kink position that pro-kinkers have to argue against is, or what supports it. I would have thought that the default position would be ‘if it floats their boat, let them do what they want’. The burden of proof would then be on anti-kinkers to present a *compelling, convincing, coherent* alternative account. That’s what I was always kind of waiting for. That’s what I don’t think has materialised.

    Now, there *is* the position that BDSM is just social conditioning. There’s also the position that it’s a response to trauma.

    Now let’s imagine I’ve got no emotional link to the issue at all, I’m some sort of emotionally-dead robot scientist. What am I going to think of these accounts?

    The first point fails immediately because it doesn’t explain either 1) why so many kinky people hide their kink or feel intensely unhappy about it. I don’t care whether it “looks” like an exaggerated version of the mainstream, these people are telling the truth (or if not, prove it with tape recordings and stuff) when they say they feel they would not be socially accepted, and 2) where female dominants and male submissives come from.

    The second point falls just as quickly because there’s no evidence that all kinky people were abused as children.

    Now, I say that as someone who is, wasn’t, and has in the past been confidently informed over the internet that I must have been. But I don’t want people to think I reject this position because I’m a dom or because of my concrete beliefs about BDSM or whatever. I reject it as an objective scientist who looks at a hypothesis and sees that it doesn’t fit the data.

    Now it may well be that feminist analysis can give an account of BDSM that deals with these glaring failures. It may be that feminist analysis can give an actually *good* account of BDSM – by which I mean, one that will make kinky people read it and say “my god, yes, that *is* how I relate to this, what she’s saying connects with my experience, I never quite understood that before”. I would really like to read that. I came to this blog and kept track of the posts on BDSM because I was hoping to read that account. What I’ve instead seen is

    1) lots of pre-emptive rebuttal against arguments that no analysis of BDSM is possible;
    2) lots of argument against the position that BDSM is positively feminist;
    3) lots of ridiculing (Renassaince faires etc.) and verbal aggression (you should just kill yourself etc.) which then gets described as a ‘rhetorical flourish';
    4) a nominal claim that “I’m not here to shame anyone, people can do whatever sex they want”, followed by comments sections where other people come and say “I agree with 9-2, this shit is sick and these people are disgusting”, in which 9-2 never disagrees with such comments, but often disagrees with pro-BDSM comments, and polices them for ‘civility';
    5) lots of ‘here is the data, let me just discuss it for a bit, emphasising the emotional effect it has on me, so we can then analyse it later';
    6) lots of extensive recounting of the worst bits of BDSM that could be found;
    7) lots of ‘this post is only about M/f BDSM’, which avoids explicitly saying ‘I’m just never going to talk about any other sort’ by insinuating that an account of that is going to come eventually;
    8) lots of posts that renew the focus on the worse examples of M/f, followed by ‘I don’t have any time left to do posts on F/m';
    9) the most recent post, with several points about how this or that fact “does not disprove the argument” which has supposedly been made and elaborated somewhere.

    I’m sorry this has turned into a rant, but I’m trying to get across why it bugs to be told “look at what you’re asking us to accept”. What is this default other account that you need strong arguments to disprove? If it’s that all BDSM people are either replicating social norms (in a way that sometimes inverts them and often gets them ostracised or imprisoned) and/or have all been abused in the past (which is just not a true fact) then it’s rather unimpressive. If it’s something more sophisticated, then the burden is on whoever’s proposing it to explain and justify it.

    SEPARATE POINT: On the physiology of pain: I read an article recently that the appeal of spicy foods to people is not based on the taste itself but on the fact that the spicy chemicals make your mouth feel like its under attack, and the resultant release of endorphins is then pleasant. I.e. eating spicy foods is hurting oneself for pleasure.

    Make of that what you want. One way to read it would that 1) ‘harm’ cannot be defined as ‘causing pain’, and 2) enjoying pain, or some of the physiology associated with it, is a very widespread human trait. (Nobody is allowed to assume from this that I am reducing all of BDSM to pain, or anything, I’m just pointing it out).

  69. polerin February 10, 2009 at 9:40 PM #

    ND: Perhaps a summary might help. I’m going to try to be as honest and fair to both sides, though everyone knows where I stand by this point :D

    I apologize for the misstatements and lack of nuance in this post, I am only human ;)

    The radFem/ BDSM questioning side has these concerns and questions:

    * What does the prominence of M/f BDSM (at least in depiction) say about BDSM’s culture, and our wider culture?

    * How does the prominence of M/f porn in BDSM and the depiction of male violence against women not exacerbate the wider misogynistic culture that we all live in?

    * Why would someone in their right mind (figuratively speaking) want to be hurt/want to hurt someone? Is there some underlying damage that could be addressed that would not drive people to have these needs?

    * There are several frightening quotes or stories out there about BDSM practitioners that are extremely abusive and essentially manufacture consent. Why has the BDSM community not condemned them?
    (I must note that I have not seen anyone defending that kind of action, and have only seen people attempt to supply context while condemning it.)

    * How are subs not abuse and rape victims because of the physical things that are part of BDSM?

    The BDSM community has responded:
    * The method and language with which the radFem community has approached the questions surrounding BDSM has heavy emotional content, and has not been honest in attempts to engage. Instead it caries with it implicit and explicit condemnation of the people involved in BDSM.

    * M/f BDSM is not the only type of bdsm, and there is a large percentage of the community that does NOT fit that mold. The prevalence of M/f porn is in large part because of prominence of het relationships and the target of most porn sites (being men).

    * BDSM is not seen as an acceptable lifestyle in the wider society, so regardless of what manifestation is the prevalent aspect the public sees, it is not held as an example of how to behave.

    * People are different and pain giving or receiving can be satisfactory, and even fulfilling to everyone involved. This question is similar to “why do some people hate/love cats”, “Why do people do dangerous things such as bungee jumping or extreme sports”, and “why are people gay”.

    * to quote-
    Trinity: “I haven’t seen it, other than one quote here that was disturbing to me too — with absolutely no hard evidence that it is indicative of any kind of trend. [snip] And, hey, in my experience, there’s an awful lot of “No, hit me harder.” “Wait, I don’t really feel submissive. Could you be stricter?” going on.”
    Lorelei: “.. Oh my god, this was so me when we started. “Really, Sir, you can hit me harder… i can take it!”

    * Because they honestly want it, fully and honestly consent to it, and can withdraw consent at any time. It’s part of the formalism, and if this is not respected then it is abuse or rape. In the context of sex work, BDSM should be no different than any other form of sex work in that, and police should respect the rights of all sex workers to report rape or abuse. This is not unique to BDSM sex work.

    I apologize again for any misrepresentation or misunderstanding I’ve of either side, I thought it might be good to sorta boil some of this down to the core of the discussion.

  70. lorelei February 10, 2009 at 10:06 PM #

    “I apologize again for any misrepresentation or misunderstanding I’ve of either side, I thought it might be good to sorta boil some of this down to the core of the discussion.”

    I think you did a good job. That seems to pretty accurately represent what’s been going on here, just with the bickering and name-calling cut out. : )

  71. River February 10, 2009 at 10:21 PM #

    I would like to point out that this discussion in hardly about feminism any longer. The original point of the feminist movement was to provide equal rights to women and giving them the right to choose how they should live their lives. Keep in mind that I am not a dom, but these women have CHOSEN this life and it makes them happy, and instead of listening to what they have to say as you have asked them you write of their opionions and insight as though you view it as worthless as you accuse the male dominants of seeing women. My experience with specifically Voice and Lorelei, is that the relationship is one of mutual consent, adoration, and utter devotion. You view her consent and desire for this as a form of brain damage. If the bashers on this forum would just listen, really listen and not just disregard anything that doesn’t fit your preconcieved notions you might actually learn something. Choice, not dominance, was the core of the feminist movement. These woman have made thier choice.

    • Nine Deuce February 10, 2009 at 10:22 PM #

      Don’t tell me what feminism is about.

  72. River February 10, 2009 at 10:23 PM #

    Why not you don’t seem like you know.

  73. River February 10, 2009 at 10:25 PM #

    I have thus far seem nothing of equality coming from you, so perhaps a reminder is appropriate because this is not what your forebearers were fighting for.

    • Nine Deuce February 10, 2009 at 10:32 PM #

      It’s not about equality, it’s about liberation. I don’t want to be equal to the people who’ve fucked the entire world up since the dawn of time, thanks. I don’t want to have the same amount of power so I can be as destructive as men have been. My goals are broader than you might think.

  74. Voice February 10, 2009 at 10:27 PM #

    Then please tell me. I don’t understand what any of us in the Lifestyle have to do with equality of the masses.

    Voice

  75. delphyne February 10, 2009 at 10:31 PM #

    Voice sticks pins in Lorelei’s breasts for his sexual kicks. It was his idea. Feminism never fought for his rights to do that.

    The sheer brass neck of these women-haters to come here and start redefining feminism to try to make the torture of women OK is unbelievable.

    Voice made his choice and we (or at least some of us) stand against him.

  76. lorelei February 10, 2009 at 10:35 PM #

    Look, i think that all River is trying to say is that feminism was orgininally supposed to be about truly oppressed women fighting for their basic rights: the right to vote, the right to marry or divorce whomever they wish, the right to obtain their choice of birth control without anyone’s permission. The right to choose whether they wanted to work outside the home or be a housewife. If that’s so, then feminism is about women having equal rights to men because we are all human beings, right? Well, then shouldn’t it be our choice how we use that freedom? And if i choose, as a consenting adult of sound mind and body, to give my everything to Voice and be completely His… that is just an offshoot of the freedom of choice that our mothers fought to give me? I consider myself a feminist. I know that may seem funny to you, given my life’s choice, but i do. I guess our definitions of feminism are just different?

    • Nine Deuce February 10, 2009 at 10:39 PM #

      Yeah, Lorelei, but having only the most basic rights still leaves us as second-class citizens. Part of being a human being is not being treated like an object, and that means not having to fear sexual assault and rape, not having to live in a world in which most of the men think of women as inferior, not having to deal with the consequences of porn culture. I don’t think that caving in to the social pressure we all face to submit to men is an extension of freedom.

  77. lorelei February 10, 2009 at 10:38 PM #

    “Voice sticks pins in Lorelei’s breasts for his sexual kicks. It was his idea. Feminism never fought for his rights to do that.”

    No, del, but i gave Him the right to do it. I gave Him my informed consent (once AGAIN) as a legal adult of sound mind and body so it was MY CHOICE. Had i not wanted pins in my tits for ANY reason, all i had to do was say the word RED and it would have stopped IMMEDIATELY. But i DIDN’T because it’s MY sexual kicks too! Do you honestly think i am some sort of feeble-minded child who cannot make her own decisions?!

  78. River February 10, 2009 at 10:39 PM #

    But you are also standing against the woman involved. And for the record I am a male feminist. It is the radicals such as Delphyne that are trying to redefining feminism, and completely forgetting the fact that NOTHING in bdsm is unconcentual. As a matter of fact the sub is ultimatly in control. That is not to say that the doms don’t enjoy it AS WELL, but the sub is in control because a dom never wants to cause actual harm, pain perhaps, but never harm, as has been restated multiple times in this forum.

  79. lorelei February 10, 2009 at 10:44 PM #

    ND: There was, in fact, no social pressure for me to submit to a man. In fact, i take a lot of crap for it, as you may have noticed.

    What i was attempting to say, and perhaps it came across poorly, is that our foremothers were fighting for equality, not dominance and it seems like y’all are more interested in being dominant than even my Master is.

    And let me get this straight: are you saying that because women now have the right to hold decent jobs that it’s a damn shame if all a woman wants is to stay home, keep house, and raise the kids? That, because i don’t HAVE to submit to a man it’s wrong for me to choose to of my own free will? Because, me, i think that’s a little messed up. I think i should get to choose to live my life how i want to. I always thought THAT’s what feminism and rights were about–giving EVERYONE the ability to choose how they want to live their lives.

    • Nine Deuce February 10, 2009 at 10:47 PM #

      I’ve got no desire for dominance. What I would like to see is for people to think beyond what we’ve currently got going. If everyone were to do that, I don’t think this sort of thing would be an issue. We live in the world we live in, and in that world BDSM is going to exist (as is porn, etc.), but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to imagine something better. And there is social pressure for you to submit, but that submission just looks different from the kind you’re involved in.

  80. River February 10, 2009 at 10:44 PM #

    Freedom is a subjective experience. You cannot define what is freedom for another human being, not when it comes to choice. Protecting and preserving the rights of women I completely agree with, but when people have the right and freedom to choose it is just that. You can’t dictate their freedom once its been given that is as oppressing as you accuse men of being.

  81. Voice February 10, 2009 at 10:45 PM #

    As a quick question, do you all honestly think that me being a Dom automatically means I think less of woman, or, as one has said, makes me a woman hater?

    Question 2: The pins… it was my idea to try it yes. Do you think I forced it upon her? Is there even a possibility that, in knowing lore’s tastes I offered up an activity that might appeal to her particular needs and wants, and in doing so granted me pleasure as well?

    Question 3: Is being mutually consenting adults engaged in sex acts you do not particularly agree with in our own home automatically mean we are setting back women?

    Voice

  82. lorelei February 10, 2009 at 10:51 PM #

    “We live in the world we live in, and in that world BDSM is going to exist (as is porn, etc.), but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to imagine something better.”

    Better? Like a world where we’re all brainwashed into liking the same things? No thank you! Diversity is what makes this world a beautiful place to live. Voice and i are in a completely consensual relationship which has no harmful effects on anyone, including people outside the relationship. We are both very happy with our lives. What, exactly is wrong with that?

    • Nine Deuce February 10, 2009 at 10:53 PM #

      No, a world in which M/f wasn’t the predominant form BDSM takes. A world in which women weren’t raised to feel guilty about liking sex. A world in which there was real diversity, not just different forms of woman as object/man as subject. A world in which people were capable of seeing beyond that dynamic (which I don’t think many people are).

  83. River February 10, 2009 at 10:52 PM #

    But how can bdsm, when entered into by two consenting adults, be so vile? Freedom is choice, if we were to live in a truly free world then there will be things that you have no interest in for yourself, or that you don’t particularly agree with, but if it harms no one and again all parties are consenting then it can’t be wrong. Yes imagine a better world but imagine one that accomidates all lifestyles.

  84. Voice February 10, 2009 at 11:09 PM #

    Well, the thing is, in the BDSM community, there is that diversity. The whole point we’re making is that women and men can be whatever they want, period. Isn’t that what we are all about, being whatever you want; whether submissive or Dominant or whatever? The fact that it appears that there are more M/f the F/m is that men feel guilty for feeling submissive. In my opinion, in the actual BDSM community, that is the biggest impact that the willfully admitted biased general society. When I lived in a more Lifestyle friendly community, there were actually more F/m relationships then M/f.

    Furthermore, I think the image of BDSM is greatly skewed because pretty much anyone ever hears about is the negative. The better working and happier a Lifestyle couple is, the more publicly innocuous it is. Lorelei and I get told all the time that “We never would have guessed, you two seem so normal.”

    Why is it also that if you believe it is the “norm” for us in the BDSM world, it bothers you so much that women in the BDSM world CHOOSE to be submissive?

    the completely not-women hating,
    Voice

  85. stormy February 10, 2009 at 11:57 PM #

    It’s not about equality, it’s about liberation. I don’t want to be equal to the people who’ve fucked the entire world up since the dawn of time, thanks. I don’t want to have the same amount of power so I can be as destructive as men have been. My goals are broader than you might think.

    Bears repeating.

  86. Erinti February 11, 2009 at 12:09 AM #

    “No, a world in which M/f wasn’t the predominant form BDSM takes. ”
    The studies that have examined the demographics of S/M participants do not support this. S/M participation is 4 to 10 times more frequent among males than females with the preference for top or bottom roles being similar between the sexes. 40-50% of participants prefer the bottom/submissive role for both sexes. One of the studies is by Norman Breslow although more recent reports have similar numbers.

    The similar percentage of submissive men as women coupled with the increased number of men in the subculture would suggest that M/f is likely not the most prevalent form of S/M practiced.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 5:51 AM #

      erinti: i’ve also heard that males are far more likely than females to be into bdsm, whether as dom/sadist, sub/maso, or switch. i haven’t come across research/stats on this, tho. can you please refer me to the study/studies showing that bdsm participation is 4 to 10 times more likely amongst males?

      as for the preference of males and females for either the dominant/sadistic or submissive/masochistic role, the research i have seen has shown that males are slightly more likely to prefer the dom/sadist role over the sub/maso role, whereas females are way more likely to prefer the sub/maso role than the dom/sadist role. and, following logically from this, men are much more likely to prefer the dom/sadist role than are females, and females are much more likely than males to prefer the sub/maso role.

      i’ll quote below from the source where i got this information from. i don’t go into numerical details, but you can check out the essay if you want to know. the source comes from an article by an author who has a pro-bdsm stance, so she is certainly not trying to prove that our patriarchal culture is influencing the trends in bdsm role preference of males and females. (tho her reporting these trends does lend evidence to this theory! either that or accept the essentialist argument that trends of female submission/masochism and male dominance/sadism are inherent.)

      SOURCE: Yost, Megan R. “Sexual Fantasies of S/M Practitioners: The Impact of Gender and S/M Role on Fantasy Content”. Safe, Sane and Consensual: Contemporary Perspectives on Sadomasochism. Eds. Darren Langdridge & Meg Barker. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007, pp. 135-154.

      • “Not surprisingly, most studies of sexual fantasy uncover consistent gender differences in themes of dominance and submission. Comparison studies show that men are more likely than women to report dominance fantasies (fantasies in which they force their partner to submit to sex; Arndt, Foehl & Good, 1985; Person et al., 1989; Sue, 1979), and women are more likely than men to report submission fantasies (in which they are forced by a partner to submit to sex; Sue, 1979; Wilson, 1987; see Person et al., 1989 for an exception in which men and women were equally likely to report masochistic fantasies).” –p.136
      • “…decades of research finding clear gender differences in fantasies of dominance and submission (for a review, see Leitenberg & Henning, 1995).” –p.148

      the original research she presents in her article also reveals a trend of males being far more likely than females to prefer the dominant role, and vice versa.

  87. firefey February 11, 2009 at 12:14 AM #

    “The fact that it appears that there are more M/f the F/m is that men feel guilty for feeling submissive”

    gods yes! but, once again, we won’t get into the power plays in F/m because it doesn’t fit into ND and Delphney’s view of teh horrorz!!!! seriously. you get all up in arms when someone says “this is what feminism means to me,” or “this is my understanding of feminism.” we’re doing it wrong, by your own words, if we don’t agree with you about what it means to be feminist. but yet you want to define what being feminist is for everyone. and yeah, i can get behind the idea of not allowing things to exist within the status quo. i think there are things that are monumentally wrong with the way things work between men and women. guess what? BDSM isn’t one of them.

    and ND, your constant protestation that you’re not trying to tell people how to fuck is flat out bullshit. please stop insulting my intelligence by saying so. it’s getting old. you want the doms here to admit to being fucked up, insecure, mysoginists who want to rape and beat up women. but you’re not passing judgement?

    there is some very real, very meatty stuff here that could be discussed. it’s a damned shame that certain posters can’t see past their own crap.

    • Nine Deuce February 11, 2009 at 12:19 AM #

      I don’t give a shit what they admit to or not, which you’d notice if you have been following comments. It’s funny how everyone attributes everything they don’t like in 300+ comments to my hand.

      think there are things that are monumentally wrong with the way things work between men and women. guess what? BDSM isn’t one of them.

      Are you saying that you’re worried about gender inequality but that there’s nothing problematic about BDSM? For real?

  88. firefey February 11, 2009 at 12:17 AM #

    Erinti… thank you for this. do you have any web links? i;d like to read the study myself. i find this kind of this facinating (and totally on par with my personal experiences).

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 5:53 AM #

      see my comment below erinti’s if you want some research to read.

  89. firefey February 11, 2009 at 12:30 AM #

    “Are you saying that you’re worried about gender inequality but that there’s nothing problematic about BDSM? For real?”

    actually.. yeah. pretty much. i don’t think my panties all bunched up over they way in which people fuck is the best use of my time. do i think it’s worthwhile to look at BDSM as an expression of sexuality and explore the societal ramifications? some days more than others. do i find the intersection of power and sex facinating? yes i do.

    and i 100% support looking at the pornification of main stream media, especially that which targets young girls. i support people demanding that pornogaphers treat their performers like human beings. i support the quest to give rape victims a voice that is believed and respected. and i support the quest to make sure each and every woman is allowed to own their sexuality in a way that fulfills them.

    even if the thing that fulfills them is something i don’t want for myself.

  90. Voice February 11, 2009 at 12:34 AM #

    I agree it that. BDSM is a world we create and control. Both parties enter into it willingly. While yes, I will very unhappily admit that some, under the guise of BDSM, abuse their power and presumed station, what I am proposing is that not everyone involved is a horrid misogynist. We just know what we like.

    Voice

  91. lorelei February 11, 2009 at 12:37 AM #

    “and i support the quest to make sure each and every woman is allowed to own their sexuality in a way that fulfills them.

    even if the thing that fulfills them is something i don’t want for myself.”

    Yes, ma’am, you can say that again! That is ALL i want.

  92. Amananta February 11, 2009 at 12:40 AM #

    Voice makes me want to vomit. I finally broke the insane brainwashing crazy crap of the BDSM community. Lorelei just makes me feel very sad. I used to say all these same things.

    Know how a man really loves you? Ask him while in the throes of some mentally ill fit to beat you PLEASE – and he says “No. I will not hurt you.” Even if it makes you temporarily angry.

    That’s love.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 6:00 AM #

      that’s beautiful. it kinda made me tear up. yes, THAT is love. <3

      i’d like to invite you to join a facebook group called “sex-positive leftists critical of bdsm” … it’s been coopted by pro-bdsm-ers and that’s demoralizing, so i needs me some more comrades!

      here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=64053174528&ref=ts

      the critique that is laid out there needs to be updated, expanded, and strengthened, but i haven’t found the time yet.

      also, i’m so glad you’re free! :D

  93. Voice February 11, 2009 at 12:48 AM #

    Well, I do apologize for making you feel ill. I also feel bad that you had some sort of bad experience in the BDSM community. Truly I do. Once again, however, you are telling us what we can and cannot enjoy, what is healthy and not healthy. We respect your preferences and just want you to respect ours.

    Voice

  94. firefey February 11, 2009 at 12:52 AM #

    you now how to tell when your partner really loves you? when they are willing to give of themselves fully. when they are willing to tell you what they need from you to be happy. when they are willing to listen to you tell them what you need from them to be happy. when you look at them and know, without hesitation, that every other relationship before this was a learning experience that has allowed you to more fully invest your emotions into this one. when they tell you with their words and their actions, every day, that they love you.

    that’s love.

  95. lorelei February 11, 2009 at 12:58 AM #

    “Know how a man really loves you? Ask him while in the throes of some mentally ill fit to beat you PLEASE – and he says ‘No. I will not hurt you.’ Even if it makes you temporarily angry. That’s love.”

    I doubt you’ve ever had a mentally ill fit in your life so don’t talk to me about that shit. I have had nights where i was utterly paranoid that the man who raped me four years ago knew where i lived and was coming for me. Who sat up with me all night telling me that everything was gonna be ok? Who gave me everything i needed to feel better? Who told me that He loved me and i was His beautiful, wonderful girl and He would never let anyone hurt me? If my Master makes you want to vomit then you don’t know Him at all.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 6:13 AM #

      Lorelei: regardless of our huge ideological/political/ethical differences on this issue, i want to extend deep compassion towards you for this hell you’ve experienced, and to say that i’m glad “voice” was there to try to comfort you… and i admire his loving act.

      i take a “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” view on most things. in my view,

      bdsm = bathwater
      loving acts like these = baby

      in other words, i don’t make a sweeping condemnation of every aspect of your relationship as unhealthy or unloving. but i do take that view in regards to any aspect of it that involves bdsm.

  96. Erinti February 11, 2009 at 1:00 AM #

    Firefey – There are three studies in the Archives of Sexual Behavior (http://www.springerlink.com/content/101587/?p=b4666878988b471c94507ad051436678&pi=0).

    Breslow et al. 1985, Levitt et al. 1994, and Alison et al. 2001.

    Overall, the numbers are not ideal with slightly over 100 women between the three studies. However, it is unbiased data rather than conjecture.

  97. McStar February 11, 2009 at 3:15 AM #

    OK, it’s just gone 3am where I am, I’m insomniacal and have been on the internet for way too long, so apologies in advance if this comment turns out to be incoherent or repetitive, or make points that others have made already. Just felt like adding my voice to the interesting chorus :)

    I’m a pansexual girl and a switch. I can’t comment about full-time BDSM relationships because I’ve never had one. I don’t really understand the appeal, to be honest, though I fully support others’ right to enjoy them.

    I think there are probably more reasons than I’m consciously aware of that make me interested in dominating a partner / engaging in pain or power play. Part of me wants to type “well, I enjoy it, and it’s fun, so I do it, so there.” But that hardly contributes to debate. So, beyond the fact that Ienjoyitandit’sfun and it just feels very right for me, and temporarily ignoring the fact that I haven’t yet been able to fully understand or explain or intellectualise precisely why it sometimes feels so right, though I’ve been thinking about this stuff for some time… there are a couple of things that I wanna add:

    Firstly, I enjoy giving pleasure to the person I’m having sex with. (Duh.) I didn’t realise how much I could enjoy being in the ‘top’ role until I met my current partner and gradually discovered how much he enjoys some aspects of BDSM. I like to see him enjoy himself. Him getting pleasure makes me excited and happy. It’s fun. I don’t see much difference in enjoying performing oral sex, or enjoying stroking one’s partner’s hair, or giving back rubs… and enjoying giving someone the pain/power play they also love. And before someone informs me that this is because I’ve been brainwashed by the patriarchy into making sex all about the menz, I’d like to point out that I’ve engaged in BDSM with another woman and had exactly the same feelings towards her. And that I have no interest in a sexual relationship where one person is constantly giving and one is constantly receiving. How boring!

    Secondly, I think I enjoy kink because it feels slightly transgressive and wrong. Often, when I hit or scratch my partner, I get a momentary shock, a little adrenaline rush, a thought like oh wow. I can’t believe I just did that and he loved it! that feels so… naughty. I’m aware it sounds like pure porn cliche. But I love those moments. They make me laugh and feel great. I feel high and happy and fulfilled. BDSM is in many ways a taboo. (And – I think this has been touched on already, both from a pro- and anti-kink perspective – there are many ways in which F/m is more taboo than M/f. Though I don’t think M/f is purely an example of sex-under-patriarchy, nor do I think F/m is purely a negation of patriarchal power differentials. There are too many ideas and individuals involved, it’s much more complicated than that. Some of the feelings I get from being in a submissive role feel equally powerfully like taboo-breaking.) People like to explore and break taboos, it’s a very basic and central part of being human. We like to break the rules. BDSM isn’t rule-bending or taboo-breaking purely by definition, but it can certainly feel like it.

  98. Aine February 11, 2009 at 3:21 AM #

    Lorelei-

    I’m interested to know, do you guys keep the BDSM dynamic in the bedroom, so to speak? Because, while I am unsure of how I feel about the specifically sexual aspects of it, I’ve read some blogs by subs in master/slave relationships and the way these women expressed themselves about their relationships and the control their men have over them sounds disturbingly similar to abusive relationships. Examples: degrading punishments (humiliation, not pain, is the express point of these) and one woman chastising herself for having resentful thoughts towards her master.

    I am also horrified at the concept of giving up one’s rights to do absolutely ANYTHING to another person- one of these women talked about her master in terms I’ve only heard before in reference to God. It jives against everything I believe in.

    Delphyne:

    I ask this purely for clarification:
    What exactly are you looking for from Voice and the other men in his position? How can he hope to explain himself without 1)pointing out that his sub enjoys this and 2) saying that he enjoys it

    He has expressed both of these points but I don’t really see what else he can say.

  99. Faith from Feminist Nation February 11, 2009 at 3:45 AM #

    “I doubt you’ve ever had a mentally ill fit in your life so don’t talk to me about that shit.”

    That right there…that’s just fucking wrong. You don’t know the first damn thing about Amananta. Nothing, and you proved it by spouting off at her in anger after seeing one whole comment from her.

    Completely beyond the pail of acceptable.

    (Sorry to jump into the middle of a discussion like this, ND, especially when I’ve never commented here before…but I couldn’t let that pass by without saying anything. I’ve been involved in the feminist blogosphere (and ran the blog Feminist Nation before I basically canned it) for a few years now and I am known by several of the people commenting on this thread.)

  100. Trinity February 11, 2009 at 5:22 AM #

    “Because, while I am unsure of how I feel about the specifically sexual aspects of it, I’ve read some blogs by subs in master/slave relationships and the way these women expressed themselves about their relationships and the control their men have over them sounds disturbingly similar to abusive relationships. Examples: degrading punishments (humiliation, not pain, is the express point of these) and one woman chastising herself for having resentful thoughts towards her master.”

    Aine,

    I don’t like that either, but I do consider the relationship my partner and I are in to be “full-time.” For us — and here I speak ONLY for us — what we mean by saying that we’re in a BDSM relationship is that we are the same in scenes and out of them. He defers to me in small things, because we like it and it’s fun. It makes little rituals like deciding what to order at a restaurant fun and sexy, because they’re imbued with the dynamic.

    But FOR US, it’s not about my forcing him to eat something he hates to prove something (I’m usually insisting he eat more of the good sushi because I want him to enjoy it!), it’s just about us expressing that part of ourselves whenever we feel like it. I personally don’t feel like keeping everything “in the bedroom” because people claim that’s somehow better makes any actual sense.

    I think that whether a power dynamic is harmless fun or harmful doesn’t depend on when it happens, but on how it affects those involved. In a prior relationship, I tried punishing the person submitting to me, because it was important to him. I found that it really upset me, caused me to act in ways that I found unacceptable/unethical, and didn’t seem to be good for him, either. We broke up, and I refuse to do such things now.

    As far as what I think of others who do them, I am wary of them precisely because I tried them and found them ugly. At the same time, though, when I hear others describe them, they often talk about them in ways that are unlike my unhealthy, bad experience.

    What I tend to hear from others is that the submissive partner feels guilty or upset for disappointing the dominant one, and holds on to this guilt in a self-destructive way. The punishment is a ritual that provides closure, sort of “OK, when this experience is over, you will forgive yourself and forget about this and not dwell on it.”

    I have VERY mixed feelings about this in general, and as I said I do not feel it is something that would be healthy if I did it. At the same time, I’m not sure that I think there’s something inherently unhealthy about setting up rituals to help someone let go of something she feels gnawingly guilty about.

  101. lorelei February 11, 2009 at 5:42 AM #

    Faith from Feminist Nation: To be perfectly honest, that was me just losing my cool. My dear, sweet husband, who would never actually harm anyone, has been ripped apart and accused of being an abusive scumbag simply because He has a penis and prefers to live His life differently from what these people would want. I have been accused of being weak, brainwashed, and psychologically damaged because of my sexual preferences and personal life choices. I came here in good faith and was very polite for the longest time, trying only to state my opinions in such a way so these people could understand who we are and that we love our life and there’s nothing wrong with that. My husband/Master only wished to do the same. But we were met with nothing but animosity and wild accusations.

    So, yes, i lost my cool. I should have apologized earlier for that… but something about the phrase, “you make me want to vomit” in reference to the most kind-hearted man i have ever met just made me lose my shit. It reminded me of all the times, even before we were together romantically, when Voice has been there to pick me up when i fell or lend a helping hand, listen to my problems, or just hold me while i cried. These people don’t know Him at all. They don’t know how He makes me chocolates when i’m feeling blue or silently works beside me when i need to angry-clean the house. They’ve never seen that because they don’t know us at all–they just know the name of the type of relationship we’re in and wrote an ugly fiction in which Voice is a sick abusive bastard and lorelei is a brainless ninny. That’s not cool with me at all.

  102. lorelei February 11, 2009 at 5:52 AM #

    Aine: All sex acts are kept in the bedroom, obviously. (Or, you know, whatever room we decide we’re having sex in. Having a whole house to screw in is the nicest part of being an adult, isn’t it? ; D ) I do wear my collar at all times, except in the shower where it would be damaged, or at work where it’s not allowed, or a few other exceptions which we discuss because we feel it would not be appropriate.

    The way Trinity described the punishments is very nice. It’s just basically to give us both closure because a lot of times i tend to over-think things to the point where even hearing the words, “It’s ok, you’re forgiven” just doesn’t register right. It gives me a good catharsis for my emotions and then i can just let them go. I suppose some people use yoga or a punching bag or something. This is what works for me.

    Voice is not my God. By no means. He is just a man. But He is a man i very much respect, admire, and trust–so much that i trust Him with all of me and He trusts me with all of Him.

  103. Faith from Feminist Nation February 11, 2009 at 1:13 PM #

    “To be perfectly honest, that was me just losing my cool. My dear, sweet husband, who would never actually harm anyone, has been ripped apart and accused of being an abusive scumbag simply because He has a penis and prefers to live His life differently from what these people would want.”

    Lorelei,

    I don’t get the impression that anyone here has a problem with your husband simply because he has a penis. I probably shouldn’t get involved in this at all, but here I go anyway.

    I am fairly versed in BDSM practices and I have experience as a female submissive myself. Here’s something that I see that perhaps you do not: When a M/F BDSM relationship progresses to the point that it is more master/slave than simply top/bottom – as in there is a high degree of psychological submission involved as well as physical pain and punishment – much of the language used by female submissives often mirrors the language of women who have been deeply and horribly abused who defend their abusers. Many, many woman defend their abusive partners. They will claim that they deserve the abuse (beatings, verbal humiliations, rape, etc. without consent or negotiations) or even claim to outsiders that they want it. They will refuse to press charges against the man and will behave as if everything is hunky dory even when it’s clear to everyone else that it’s not. And you keep defending your partner by saying that he does all these wonderful things for you in addition to the SM as if that explains everything, but it doesn’t do anything of the sort. It’s quite common for abusers to be nice to their victims. That’s part of the control. That’s part of how abusers get their victims to remain psychologically dependent on them.

    And this is why heavy psychological and physical BDSM is so distressing to many of us. Because quite simply, there often appears to be little difference between heavy 24/7 BDSM relationships and abusive ones. For an outsider looking in and listening, it’s damn near impossible to tell if a submissive is being abused and groomed for abuse or not. This makes blurring the lines so severely highly dangerous, not only for the women involved by for all women when these relationships are defended and not allowed to be scrutinized.

    I’m not saying this is the case with you. I don’ t know if it is or not. But reading your comments, to be perfectly blunt, I would be extremely concerned for your safety based on what I’ve read here.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 6:39 AM #

      WELL SAID! i have had similar thoughts but have never gotten around to laying them out into a cogent argument. do you mind if i post your comments on the message board of a facebook group called “sex-positive leftists critical of bdsm”? if you want, join the group, too! i would certainly appreciate additional comrades! it’s been coopted by pro-bdsm-ers :( no pressure to argue with them (i prefer to ignore them, personally) … but i’m just worried the membership of the group is becoming more pro-bdsm than critical of bdsm!

      here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=64053174528&ref=ts

  104. buggle February 11, 2009 at 2:35 PM #

    This is a horrifying thread. I can’t believe the levels that people will go to to justify hurting other people. It is really sick and insane. This is not what feminism is fighting for- your right to “choose” which man beats you and gets off on it.

    Y’all may think your man “loves” you or respects you, but no decent man would hurt his partner. End of story. You can go on and on (and I’m sure you will!) but it doesn’t change reality.

    Anyone using the words ‘master” and “slave” are just sick and totally marinating in a vat of patriarchy soup.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 6:51 AM #

      awww, your nickname is buggle! i also use that nickname sometimes! SOOO cute! i was so glad when i read you taking an anti-bdsm stance. with a name like buggle, i WANTED to like you, but was worried, like most people here, you’d be pro-bdsm. but you weren’t. hurray!

      sorry, i know this is irrelevant to the thread… i just got a bit happy/excited :)

      also wanted to invite you to join this facebook group: “sex-positive leftists critical of bdsm”

      link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=64053174528&ref=ts

  105. firefey February 11, 2009 at 4:33 PM #

    faith,

    i can understand the concern you have. it’s, frankly, something that gets discussed and talked about rather openly within BDSM circles and on kink spesific web sites. we know, full well, that to both outside observers and the law what we tops do to our bottoms is viewed in the most negative light. and while i know full well, and as i know voice has mentioned, there are some abusers who use the cover of BDSM to do the things they do.

    one of the most often viewed differences between abusers and folks who are not is their involvment in their local community. we all here know that abusive relationships often want to isolate, while healthy BDSM relationships do not. yes, there are times wehen a dominant partner will insist that a friend or family member be excised for someone’s life. but the only times i’ve see that happen had to do with the inherant sickness of the relationship. when a dominant insists that their submissive cut off all ties from their former life, it tends to raise red flags in the local community too.

    i know how it looks, looking in, but i don’t think anyone here was saying don’t scrutinize my relationship. i don’t se much actual scrutiny going on here. i see a who lot of pre-made decisions about who we are and what we do and why we do it being insisted on. voice has been accused of a great many things, and while i don’t know the man myself neither do any of his detractors here. loreli has been treated like a child, called crazy, deluded, brainwashed and told to sit down and shut up. me, i’ve been told that my experiences withing a power exchange dynamic are ignorable because i don’t have a dick. and that’s all anyone wants to talk about.

    and buggle… seriously, stfu already. we get that you don’t aprove and never will. fine. but unless you’ve got the ear and support of every feminist that ever was, i’d stop pretending like you have the right to define feminism for everyone.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 7:04 AM #

      abusers who isolate their victims do so largely because they predict that outsiders will voice judgments that the treatment s/he receives in the relationship is unhealthy and undeserved, and thus encourage her/him to leave the relationship.

      of course doms/sadists don’t need to isolate the subs/masos from the bdsm community, because that community entirely approves of the dynamics of domination, the infliction of pain, and perhaps even enslavement. this social contact reinforces the validity of the dynamics of the relationship, rather than raising questions of whether it is problematic.

      social contact is only cut off when it is deemed a threat to the unhealthy norms of the relationship.

  106. Trinity February 11, 2009 at 7:00 PM #

    Faith: Having been abused myself… I really don’t think you’re right. Abusers are motivated by an endlessly spiraling need for more control and by intense hostility toward their partners for any perceived or real defiance.

    While I agree with you that Master/slave relationships are risky, and while I’ve seen quite a few of them that I think were not healthy, I don’t think it makes sense to assume the dynamics are exactly the same. Where in Voice’s attitudes and behaviors do you see a need for control spiraling out of control and into bitterness and violence?

    Because, although like I’ve said I suspect he does things I wouldn’t… I haven’t seen that.

  107. buggle February 11, 2009 at 7:39 PM #

    Oh really, you get to tell me to shut the fuck up? I guess THAT’S what feminism is all about, huh? Telling women to shut the fuck up? Nice. And in the next breath you get all pissy about feeling like people are telling YOU to shut up!! You are confused.

    It’s not about me as an individual not approving of your sex life, dear. The fact that you made that statement shows me that you have no idea what anyone is even talking about here.

  108. Faith from Feminist Nation February 11, 2009 at 8:13 PM #

    “Having been abused myself… I really don’t think you’re right. Abusers are motivated by an endlessly spiraling need for more control and by intense hostility toward their partners for any perceived or real defiance.”

    Just as all healthy relationships are not the same, all abusive relationships are not the same. Some abusers are nothing but abusive, but some of the more clever and intelligent ones know that in order to make the victim more pliant and dependent upon them they will often show them what appears to be kindness in addition to the abuse. This is common behavior amongst most breeds of abusers. It has much to do with what is commonly referred to as grooming.

  109. Faith from Feminist Nation February 11, 2009 at 8:15 PM #

    “Where in Voice’s attitudes and behaviors do you see a need for control spiraling out of control and into bitterness and violence?”

    The very basis of the relationship is control. There are also clearly violent aspects to the relationship, if only consensual.

  110. smacky February 11, 2009 at 8:49 PM #

    One of my friends, who decided to delve into BDSM as a sub about two years ago, was murdered by her dom during a sex act. It happened this time last year. I know that she felt that she was exploring wonderful new areas of sexuality and that it was liberating. I’m sorry, but I obviously have to think it was fantasy, because I don’t, for a minute, think she wanted to die like that and have her entire family and friends know exactly how she left the planet.

    I’m not trying to preach, I am just trying to sort out my own head about it. I think feminism can provide the best analysis because it DOES involve gender, and it USUALLY seems to be men hurting women, and not the other way around. For that reason alone, I will go out on a limb and say that BDSM is not a counter culture. It’s more like our culture, magnified a thousand times.

  111. firefey February 11, 2009 at 9:45 PM #

    buggle, i never said i knew what feminism is all about. in fact, i’ll be one of the first people to tell you i’m still figuring it out for myself and where it fits into my world. but you have claimed to be a part of some all knowing feminist club who has the definition down, and it’s the one that every woman should embrace. and if we don’t we’re stupid, damaged and we need therapy. you contribute nothing to this discussion but hate and you have been passing judgement about my sexlife. and while we’re at it, the patronizing “dear” is really redundantly counterproductive.

    but you’re right about my confusion. i’m confused as to how you can say the things you say, in the way you say them, and not seriously see how you’re just as patronizing as any man i’ve ever encountered. but hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.

  112. Sladegirl February 11, 2009 at 11:27 PM #

    I was raped.
    I identified as a submissive woman before I was, and I still do. I’ve been reading this, thinking about the way that my Master acted.
    He drove me to the hospital to get a rape kit done. He talked, because he realized without my having to say that I couldn’t, but that I didn’t want silence.
    He sat on the toilet for hours in the bathroom when we got home, because I wanted to shower, but I didn’t want to be alone.
    He slept on the floor of our bedroom for almost a week and a half, because he understood, without being told, that I didn’t want to be touched. But he was there when I woke up, scared and lonely.
    He listened when I could finally talk, and I did, for hours. I know how much it had to hurt him to listen to me hurting and not be able to fix it.
    He was patient and understanding, and he’s the reason that I’m OK today, if you want my opinion.
    And this man has brainwashed me? He’s abusing me? I must be missing something.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 7:14 AM #

      i’m glad that (as you implied) you don’t seem to suffer from any ptsd from this terrible experience. and i’m glad your boyfriend was there for you during this difficult time. these were loving acts, on his part, towards you.

      i still don’t think that bdsm is healthy or loving. i won’t condemn your relationship in its entirety, but i also won’t think it’s entirely healthy just because you give an example of times when he behaved towards you in ways that were very loving, sensitive, and nurturing.

  113. Gorgias February 11, 2009 at 11:32 PM #

    “Here’s a good example of a male sadist grooming a woman to submit to him. It’s clearly about him foisting his desires on her:

    “Master slowly started introducing me to BDSM. This mostly took a physical form, but Master included subtle mental forms of dominance as well without me really even noticing. I hated it. I resisted everything. Master would gradually try something new – scratching, grab my neck, pull my hair, etc. – and I would insist that I didn’t like it. But, within a week, I’d be begging for it. Master then added more and more overt control, giving me a few rules and calling me “sub.” It took a long time for me to be comfortable with that, and even longer to transition to “slave.” As hard as it was to be the passive subject of such language, getting used to calling him “Master” was worse. I have a distinct memory of the first, very emotional, time that I used it. It has been an incredibly difficult struggle for me to accept myself as a submissive and a masochist, to think of myself as wanting anything but complete independence and control, or to put another’s physical pleasure before mine. Though it’ gotten much easier, it’s pretty clear from my blog that these are still things that I have trouble with.”

    Safe, sane and consenusal, eh?”

    Lock the guy up, and for good measure ask him why the fuck he needed to groom someone when there are so many partnerless female submissives. Abuse, no question. Now prove to me that BDSM qua BDSM is abuse.

    “This is so difficult. Challenging bdsm can come across as disrespectful to women and their choices but it feels impossible, as a feminist, not to be concerned and to wish to critique the lifestyle. Consider what you are asking us to accept:”

    Firstly, I’d like to thank you for presenting the most well reasoned argument against my position that I’ve seen so far, and doing it in a respectful manner.

    “Calling someone master – when we have a historical context for that word which is powerfully and profoundly negative and asking us to believe this relationship can be founded on equality, choice and respect”

    A rose by any other name, as the saying goes. Many martial artists refer to their teachers as master, and many BDSMers don’t refer to their doms as master.

    “Notions that to ask to be humiliated, degraded, abused, hurt, infliction of pain, gagged, bound are free and healthy choices in a society where violence against women is routinely eroticised; where women are not believed; where violence against women is at epidemic proportions; where conviction rates for rape are as low as 2.9% in some countries; where ‘rape fantasies’ and enactment of ageplay are common scenarios (in bdsm) in a world where the excuses given for sexual violence are often ’she was asking for it’, ’she wanted it’”

    As to the last point- the difference here is, well, the submissive is asking for it, and he or she does want it. Again, consent changes the entire ontology of nearly any act. If consensual BDSM encourages nonconsensual sexual violence, then consensual sex encourages rape.

    “That the above are seen to be free choices when most often there are traumatic formative experiences which influence and impact our sexuality, our mental health and ultimately our choices and ability to make decisions which help to keep us safe.”

    Firstly, a study:

    “They were no more likely to have suffered sexual difficulties, sexual abuse or coercion or anxiety than other Australians.

    “Researchers said the study helps break down the reigning stereotype that people into bondage and discipline were damaged as children and were therefore “dysfunctional”.

    “We really found that BDSM is simply a sexual interest or subculture attractive to a minority, not a pathological symptom of past abuse or difficulty with ‘normal’ sex,” Dr Richters said.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/kinky-you-cant-beat-it/2007/04/16/1176696736407.html

    So, the only scholarly literature that I’m aware of indicates that BDSMers are no more likely to have been abused than any other normal person. But even if they had, I don’t think that abuse removes the ability of the abused person to make decisions. They can decide for themselves how they want to deal with the abuse.

    “That much theory and practice in the fields of counselling, support, therapy, mental health tells us that re-enactment of trauma is common especially when there are negative feelings toward the self and ingrained beliefs that punishment is deserved; that people self-harm in a variety of ways to control pain and thoughts and feelings, and yet you ask us to ignore what appear as sometimes striking parallels with a high percentage of people – particularly women – who engage in bdsm relationships.”

    Masochism is not what you think it is.

    Neither masochist nor sadist desires to inflict harm. I don’t want to break a bone, and my partner doesn’t want to break my bone. It’s pain we’re after. When I’m going through it, I’m not accepting a painful experience because I feel I deserve it and can get no better. That because I’m bad, I deserve to be put through these things. The thing more likely to be going through my mind is “awesome!” if I’m even at a point where my brain is in a verbal space.

    I don’t know what other examples of self-harm like cutters and bullemia are going through in their minds, but I doubt it’s ecstasy or even pleasure.

    “That you are just ‘wired’ that way, when so much of our sexuality, our personalities in general and ways of being are social and environmental constructions”

    Again, not my contention. I believe that homosexuality and kinkiness are both mostly a result of nurture. That doesn’t change the general claim for sexual orientations that they are both unchosen and very difficult to change.

    “That this is an alternative lifestyle from the norm when it appears to merely magnify (and fetishize) much of what is problematic, and depressingly old and and familiar, about relationships and sexuality within patriarchy and a society drowning in inequality and abuses of power”

    You guys are completely divorced from reality if you don’t think we’re going out of the mainstream. Ask how many people in the community are comfortable with being out of the closet about their sexual desires. Not many are going to be. There’s a reson why nearly every BDSM event will make their participants promise not to divulge the identites of the other people who are at the event. We risk losing our jobs (24% of us have lost one, according to this study: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=162102).

    “The studies that have examined the demographics of S/M participants do not support this. S/M participation is 4 to 10 times more frequent among males than females with the preference for top or bottom roles being similar between the sexes. 40-50% of participants prefer the bottom/submissive role for both sexes. One of the studies is by Norman Breslow although more recent reports have similar numbers.

    The similar percentage of submissive men as women coupled with the increased number of men in the subculture would suggest that M/f is likely not the most prevalent form of S/M practiced.”

    I’d like to see that literature, but it’s not been my experience in the physical community. M/f is far and away the most prevalent in my experience, to the point where I feel marginalized as a bi male sub (not to mention that it makes finding a partner difficult!)

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 7:30 AM #

      i’ve heard of that australian study, and acknowledge that this was one of their findings. but there are other research studies which have different findings. who knows which ones are more accurate, but i’ll just make you aware of studies which have come up with contrary data.

      here is one study which did primary research showing a correlation between bdsm and sexual abuse, and which also referred to previous research:

      A path model: The direct and indirect effects of feminist beliefs and childhood sexual abuse on women’s sexual fantasies
      by Shulman, Julie Lynn, Ph.D., The University of Memphis, 2003, 89 pages; AAT 3095681

      also, i resent that it’s only sexual abuse which is being looked at as a form of abuse that is potentially correlated with bdsm. what about physical abuse? and the many other forms of abuse that get lumped into the category of emotional abuse? what about neglect?

      and even if there is indeed no correlation between any of these forms of abuse and bdsm, this doesn’t convince me that bdsm is not a result of traumatic and corrupting experiences. what about the fact that we ALL grow up in societies that are patriarchal, capitalist, racist, pseudo-democratic, hierarchical? we can’t do a study which controls for those who grew up in such societies and those who didn’t, and seeing whether this is correlated with bdsm or not. who would honestly claim that sexual/psychological enjoyment of bdsm would exist in a world without hierarchy or oppression?

  114. delphyne February 12, 2009 at 12:04 AM #

    “and while we’re at it, the patronizing “dear” is really redundantly counterproductive.”

    This from the person who told Buggle to STFU. Never let it be said that BDSMers don’t have an excellent set of double standards, that they like to display whenever, wherever they get the opportunity.

  115. firefey February 12, 2009 at 12:24 AM #

    so sorry. my depraved, deluded, idiot mind couldn’t think about how that would come accross because i didn’t have a man to tell me how to act. or a radical feminist for that matter.

  116. RenegadeEvolution February 12, 2009 at 12:54 AM #

    “and while we’re at it, the patronizing “dear” is really redundantly counterproductive.”

    This from the person who told Buggle to STFU. Never let it be said that BDSMers don’t have an excellent set of double standards, that they like to display whenever, wherever they get the opportunity.’

    Ha. Hahahaha. Because no, poor little buggle wasn’t at all insulting or baiting or rude when she decided to boldly declare all who disagreed with her were pathetic, so on so forth and has not treated anyone in a disrespectful manner in these discussions. No, not at all. Her shit, apparently, does not stink!

    Double standards are calling out the STFU and ignoring what brought it on, there, Delphyne. If you are going to crawl all over people for being mean and nasty, do it equally before bringing the words “double standard” into it.

    It seems you have an excellent set yourself!

  117. delphyne February 12, 2009 at 12:58 AM #

    I’m not telling you how to act no matter how much you’d like to pretend that were true. I don’t know if it’s because in BDSM land someone always has to be in charge, controlling everybody else so you think you see it everywhere, but that isn’t what feminism is about, it’s about freeing women from male control and oppression.

    What I am saying that male sadists are abusive fucks and a danger to women as we have seen amply demonstrated here by a number of posters. It’s not a difficult argument to understand.

  118. delphyne February 12, 2009 at 1:02 AM #

    I don’t have a problem with people getting angry at a defense of male abuse of women, RE. It’s outrageous the crap that has been put forth here on a feminist blog to justify male sadism against women. Buggle’s kind of anger is healthy, unlike sticking pins in women’s breasts for example or defending someone who sticks pins in women’s breasts.

  119. RenegadeEvolution February 12, 2009 at 1:20 AM #

    ah…then I suppose your next project will be to make sure no women get nipple piercings or tattoos on their breasts.

    Getting angry is one thing, everyone gets angry, getting angry is human, but buggles comments were not solely directed at male dominants in the least. So, is the rule that all radical feminists must be treated with respect, but all others can be treated in any manner and thats okay, their anger is justified and well, the BDSMers just are not allowed to get angry and their feelings mean shit? If so, just say it flat out. Admit it, own up to it and all…

    Oh, and hey, some of the things that have been said to the submissive women? Pretty abusive and demeaning. Can you even admit that, or no?

    And look at the title of the post, D…the BDSM people were allowed, asked even, to participate.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 7:37 AM #

      as someone with piercings and a tattoo, i can say that the goal of these was decoration and style (for the piercings), and getting a message across (for the tattoo). the pain was short-lived, and a means to an end — not an end to itself. so comparing it to masochism is a false parallel.

  120. delphyne February 12, 2009 at 1:38 AM #

    Nope, my ongoing project is to combat male abuse and oppression of women wherever I see it.

    Anyway you’re just here to shit-stir RE . (((hugs)))

  121. RenegadeEvolution February 12, 2009 at 2:06 AM #

    D:

    That’s good, I will keep goin’ on with the theory that women can actually choose and articulate what they want to do-sexwise-even if other people find it icky.

    Likewise, in your own special way.

    Though the mental image of you storming a tattoo parlor did amuse me there for a minute.

  122. RenegadeEvolution February 12, 2009 at 2:08 AM #

    eh, actually, if I was solely here to stir shit, I’d be a lot more colorful in my language…

    the whole “but you’re not REALLY consenting, you’re not actually equiped to consent” thing just plain never fails to annoy the hell out of me…and I’ve seen a lot of that lately.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 7:41 AM #

      it’s not necessarily about not being equipped to consent (tho some may argue from that position). rather, it’s more about taking issue with consent that is complicit in your own oppression.

      does anyone here have a familiarity with antonio gramsci’s theories on consent, hegemony, etc? i would like to bring this into the debate of bdsm and consent, but haven’t gotten around to laying it all out.

  123. Trinity February 12, 2009 at 6:02 AM #

    “But even if they had, I don’t think that abuse removes the ability of the abused person to make decisions. They can decide for themselves how they want to deal with the abuse.”

    Thank you G. I have to say it’s truly weird to go into feminist space — you know, where people supposedly understand that abuse happens and is common and all — and see the oddest nest of assumptions about how it supposedly turns you from a functioning person into a completely mindless, self-punishing idiot.

    That’s feminism? Really? Because the idea that feminism is about assuming that women are fainting leaves that men break just boggles my mind.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 7:44 AM #

      more than being concerned about whether or not those who have experienced abuse are able to consent or not, i am concerned with the ways in which bdsm might block the healing of — or worse yet, deepen the trauma of — these individuals.

  124. Jenn February 12, 2009 at 10:52 AM #

    I feel like I’ve crossed into bizarro world. I take back what I said way way above there. Apparently holding a man down and using my nails is not BDSM at all. Thank jeebus. The whole putting pins in someone’s boobs scared the ever-loving crap out of me. I think it’s perfectly freaking healthy to ask why the hell I ought to regard that as a healthy choice.

    Set aside here the issue of whether or not the choice should be “banned”. Let’s not get into that libertarian reductionism bullshit.

    Let’s put it this way: when I thought not eating was really really cool when I was 13, I was sent to a psychologist. When my brother thought it was fucking spectacular to cut himself open at 15, he was sent to a mental hospital for around the clock evaluation.

    I don’t think that any of those responses are incorrect. Sure, they basically say “fuck you and your autonomy, I’m doing what is best for you and going paternalistic on your ass”.

    But that’s not the issue at hand here. When you say the crux of the debate is “choice”, I’m going to translate that to the philosophical notion of autonomy (blame the undergraduate degree). Part of respecting autonomy is respecting someone’s autonomy over the entirety of their life and enabling them to amass the tools to enlarge their autonomy in ways they see fit in the future.

    So what seems like a big “hey, your choices suck” at the start is not about being paternalistic shrill anti-fun asses. It’s about respecting someone’s long-term autonomy.

    To be entirely honest, there is absolutely no way that starving yourself enhances overall lifetime autonomy, or cutting yourself, or thinking that shoving pins in your tits is awesome. But what’s even more insidious—and the point of 9-2’s focus on the mindset of the dom—is not the person who views hurting themselves as a free choice but the person who finds hurting others to be an exercise of autonomy that does not impede the autonomy of others.

    Because with all my philosophical chops fired up and on line, I seriously cannot twist my justification down any sort of valid logical path to rationalize how valuing sticking pins in someone’s tits, even if they ask you do, is at all the kind of action that would be construed as positive. I’d have to flirt with quite a few logical fallacies to figure out how that’s even a neutral decision.

    Furthermore, domination—especially the slave lifestyle stuff—seriously impedes autonomy to the point that it doesn’t exist anymore. If your entire being is focused on servicing another, the autonomous choice at the outset of this relationship does not mean that your choice to remain in the relationship is autonomous. Being an autonomous slave is about as oxymoronic as you can get. To suggest so is to twist the definition of “autonomous” so badly to the point that I could equate the word with purple elephants.

    So what I take from all of this—and I’m not even going to touch the hardcore mindset of someone who owns a “slave”—is that people into this kind of kink either don’t value autonomy or have such a messed up view of it that it ceases to mean anything.

  125. polerin February 12, 2009 at 4:03 PM #

    Jenn: I’ll not point out to you that there are a number of sharps enthusiasts who aren’t into BDSM. nope nope :)

  126. Trinity February 12, 2009 at 5:14 PM #

    “Let’s put it this way: when I thought not eating was really really cool when I was 13, I was sent to a psychologist. When my brother thought it was fucking spectacular to cut himself open at 15, he was sent to a mental hospital for around the clock evaluation.”

    Jenn,

    Not meaning to be insulting here, but can I ask for some clarification? Did you really think not eating was “cool” — that is, see it as some trendy thing? Because most people that I have known who had EDs describe them as absolute torture, not as “fun” or “cool” What I usually hear is “I feel like I’m not good enough, and this compulsion helps me feel better.” Which is not what I think of when someone says “fun” or “cool.”

    And, while I understand that the piercing thing really bothers you and understand why it does, I haven’t ever heard from anyone that they feel the same way about it — desperate to use it as a corrective for what they believe is their body’s repulsiveness, or compelled to do it when part of them hates it, or etc.

    Similarly, when I cut myself, I can’t say I thought it was “spectacular.” I was in intense emotional pain and felt as if nothing else would relieve it. I knew I would hate myself for doing it, and I did. I was not having fun or doing something I believed was cool or awesome. I was emotionally overwhelmed.

    So… yeah, not meaning your brother didn’t have a “this is cool” attitude, or that you didn’t about your ED… but I’m not sure either of those are usual.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 7:58 AM #

      there are “pro-ana” and “pro-mia” websites which are basically support communities for those with anorexia or bulimia… and by support communities, i mean communities which are SUPPORTIVE of starving yourself or binging/purging as a lifestyle choice which is healthy and nonproblematic, rather than as an eating disorder. there is often an air of superiority, and yes, coolness / cooler-than-others attitude.

      last i heard these sites have been censored / shut down. but perhaps there are still a few existing under the radar.

      i see the bdsm community as similar to these pro-ana and pro-mia communities: supporting (self-)destructive behavior patterns and proving social validation for them as healthy.

  127. Trinity February 12, 2009 at 5:20 PM #

    Also, Jenn:

    Do you see where people have said that many of us have tried to change ourselves so that we won’t want to do BDSM anymore, and been so unsuccessful that we believe it’s impossible?

    If that’s true, how and why would it be ultimately autonomy-nurturing for us to refrain? I’m completely on board with the idea that in some cases*, it’s morally right to prevent someone from making Autonomous Choice X on the grounds that doing so will substantially limit her autonomy later.

    I’m just not seeing how it’s autonomy-strengthening for someone to endlessly battle against desires that are not a choice, especially when BDSM relationships are often set up in ways that are designed to be autonomy-preserving.

    As a fellow philosophy geek (Master’s, here, heh), can you help me out a bit?

    * (though I personally think these cases are relatively rare)

  128. Charlie February 12, 2009 at 5:22 PM #

    I originally wrote something along these lines yesterday, and then asked 9-2 to remove the comment because it seemed off-topic. And Jenn’s comment highlights why I should probably have left it up, so I’ll ask 9-2’s indulgence and repost it.

    Play piercings are not done by sticking a pin into someone like a bulletin board (at least, not when done correctly and safely), although from reading how most of the folks posting here are talking about it, it sounds like that’s what they imagine. Further, temporary piercings are done by lots of people for lots of reasons. Some cultures and some people do it for spiritual or ceremonial purposes. Some individuals do it for the sensations it creates. I won’t go into detail about the actual practices because I know that it can be a triggering topic for some folk. But I will say that it’s done for many different reasons by many different people, and can be done with very little risk, when you know what you’re doing.

    I know lots of people who have done/do it and they often use words like yummy, delicious and transcendent. And yes, it’s people of all genders and sexual orientations who use those words. In fact, I know people who do it for the sensation without the dominance/submission dynamic. Some people simply enjoy the way it feels, just as some people like love bites during sex. Things feel different when we’re turned on. That’s just how people are wired and there’s lots of research on the topic. (I posted something along those lines in the “News Flash” thread, if you care.)

    So Jenn- when you say that you’d “…have to flirt with quite a few logical fallacies to figure out how [play piercing is] even a neutral decision”, I wonder how much you actually know about the topic. Have you spoken with people who do it? Have you researched how it’s done and what people say about it? Other than online, I mean. Most of us know how dialogue differs in person vs. online and I’m sure you do, as well.

    It’s inaccurate to compare play piercings with an eating disorder to self-cutting. I will acknowledge that some people do piercings for some of the same reasons that some people cut or starve themselves. And those are not the only reasons for it. Some people do it because it feels pleasurable to them, especially in a sexual context. Plain and simple.

    Of course, you could ask whether everything that brings pleasure is OK to do. And my answer would be “of course not.” I’ll turn it around, though, and ask whether the fact that something can sometimes be problematic or self-destructive means that it’s never OK to do. We might disagree on this, but my answer is (again) “of course not.” That’s when we can start exploring what circumstances make something OK or not. But that’s only an option if we’re open to the possibility that it might be OK to do, at least some of the time for some people.

    So when you say that you can see no logical reason for doing play piercings, here’s a place to start. Suppose that someone experiences it as pleasurable. Just as a supposition. Even if that person is in a very small minority. Does that create room for it to potentially be a positive thing to do?

  129. gorgias February 12, 2009 at 5:26 PM #

    “I seriously cannot twist my justification down any sort of valid logical path to rationalize how valuing sticking pins in someone’s tits, even if they ask you do, is at all the kind of action that would be construed as positive”

    Maybe ask the people who have done it and consider it a fuck awesome experience.

    “when I thought not eating was really really cool when I was 13, I was sent to a psychologist. When my brother thought it was fucking spectacular to cut himself open at 15, he was sent to a mental hospital for around the clock evaluation.”

    I do not know enough about anorexia or cutting to know whether my justifications apply to them. I do know that in principle there is a huge difference between someone who harms themselves because they feel they deserve it and can get no better, and someone who enjoys the sensations of pain. Should the piercing enthusiast who loves the endorphin rush be institutionalized? How about the habitual exerciser who loves to “feel the burn” and the runner’s high?

    Anyone who has ever enjoyed exercising is at least partially a masochist.

    While I’ve never been a cutter nor anorexic, my subjective experience indicates that my experiences in BDSM are more about liking different sensations than the rest rather than a need to harm myself. And indeed, if the goal were self-harm, I could choose a lot of different things. BDSMers have gotten pretty good at finding ways to inflict pain that leave no lasting damage. If I really wanted to harm myself, I’d go play (American) football.

    There’s also the small point that you and your brother both were minors at the time, whose curtailment of autonomy we generally uphold even in trivial circumstances. As John Stuart Mill said, “full age and ordinary amount of understanding…”

    “Furthermore, domination—especially the slave lifestyle stuff—seriously impedes autonomy to the point that it doesn’t exist anymore.”

    My autonomy is meaningless if I don’t have the ability to dispose of it as I will. My choice to remain in such a relationship is as autonomous as any other: of course it’s difficult to leave any relationship, which is why many people stick in relationships long past their prime.

    “Part of respecting autonomy is respecting someone’s autonomy over the entirety of their life and enabling them to amass the tools to enlarge their autonomy in ways they see fit in the future.”

    Bullshit. Intervention in the name of increasing someone’s autonomy is about as oxymoronic as you can get, and just as paternalistic as any other intervention.

  130. Lillie February 12, 2009 at 5:48 PM #

    So what seems like a big “hey, your choices suck” at the start is not about being paternalistic shrill anti-fun asses. It’s about respecting someone’s long-term autonomy.

    Jenn, thank you for this comment. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this and asking myself why I feel the way I do, and you put it much better than I could have done.

  131. CJ February 12, 2009 at 6:31 PM #

    Getting off on causing pain, or receiving it, is in direct violation of our most basic instincts/primary directives as a species…to survive/avoid pain and injury, and to protect our own.

    Even if the vile stink of woman-hating, power-poisoned sadism wasn’t all over this shit, I’d be horrified of it for that reason alone. Many things humans do are not natural, yet ethically neutral or relatively harmless to us a society, culture, and species.

    Purposefully harming ourselves/attempting to override (because I don’t believe it can be fully bypassed, as it is the programmed and primary instinct of all living creatures) our natural instinct to avoid harm and injury, in addition to hurting other members of our species for the purposes of orgasm would definitely not be one of them. This is not healthy, sane, or beneficial behavior. It should neither be practiced nor encouraged. It is a direct result of the empathetic and rational vacuum created by a culture of mental, emotional and physical deprivation sprung of the deep ugliness of patriarchy.

    In a world without which *none* of this shit could, or would, ever exist. Children brought up in a loving, rational, sane world and society by loving, rational, sane people would never do this to each other. It’s the culture. It’s the conditioning. This shit is not natural, it’s not good, and there’s no defending it.

    Practice it if you must, but please understand that.

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 8:10 AM #

      HELLZ YEAH! i love your argument because it’s completely the opposite of the disturbing argument many defenders of bdsm make, that this is an expression of our supposedly natural instinct of aggression. bah!

      p.s. will you join this facebook group? “sex-positive leftists critical of bdsm”. so far the pro-bdsm-ers are dominating it (pun entirely intended!).

      link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=64053174528&ref=ts

  132. Lillie February 12, 2009 at 6:47 PM #

    I’ve got a hypothetical question for the “doms” that I’m genuinely curious about.

    If your submissive partner were to die as a result of your activities – whether directly, from choking, say; or indirectly, e.g. from sepsis (I can’t help but wonder if those pin-gloves are disposable…) – how would you react? Would you consider yourself or your partner responsible?

    (I know the answer I’m most likely to get is “get real, it’s not likely to happen and there are safety guides and boundaries and safe words and…”, but I think it’s a fair question, because physical violence is unpredictable – even if you rule out accidental choking or head trauma etc., you can never be 100% sure how your body will react to even relatively minor injuries.)

  133. firefey February 12, 2009 at 7:18 PM #

    “If your submissive partner were to die as a result of your activities – whether directly, from choking, say; or indirectly, e.g. from sepsis (I can’t help but wonder if those pin-gloves are disposable…) – how would you react? Would you consider yourself or your partner responsible?”

    if i say to you i would be devistated and emotionally wrecked for life… would you believe me?

    if i told you that i take precautions, like using antiseptics on equipment after use every time, and monitor healing abrasions to avaiod infection, would you believe me? would you believe me if i told you it was the prevailing practice in the community?

    if you were driving a car and crashed it and your pasanger died, how would you feel?

    do you honestly think that any of the dominants who’ve been posting here don’t give a shit about their partners? do you honestly think we would just wrap the body in a trash bag and dump it someplace and hope it wasn’t ever found? wtf?

  134. Charlie February 12, 2009 at 7:27 PM #

    CJ-

    Here’s a little cross-species example. I have a cat who I’ve had since she was 2.5 weeks old. I know for a fact that she wasn’t abused before she came into my life and I know for a fact that she’s never been abused while she’s been my cat. (or while I’ve been her person, as she would say if she could speak)

    She LOVES to be spanked on her sacrum, at the base of her tail. She LOVES to be spanked on the backs of her legs. She purrs her little heart out. And no, she doesn’t seem to experience it as pain, although the same sort of spanking makes other cats I have known hiss & run away (or bite). So I think it’s fair to say that she likes a stronger sensation than most cats and that most cats experience a that kind of spanking as unpleasant or painful. In fact, she’ll come over and demand it when she wants it, and she can keep going until my arm is tired.

    So given that she’s never been abused and that she’s not really influenced by heteropatriarchal normativity, would you say that she is sick? That she is unhealthy? Would you argue that “[i]t is a direct result of the empathetic and rational vacuum created by a culture of mental, emotional and physical deprivation sprung of the deep ugliness of patriarchy”?

    Perhaps it’s just because she’s wired that way. And if a cat can be wired that way, I propose that some people might be wired that way, too.

    I fully agree that if I were to say that all cats should like the same sensation, I would be way off the mark. Similarly, I don’t think that everyone should enjoy the same sensations as those who like BDSM. However, I think that you are equally off the mark our culture is the only reason why people do these things. It’s much more complex than that and the people who are just wired that way don’t need you to tell them that they’re sick. It’s not helpful and it’s not necessarily true.

    Sexual diversity exists. Separately from patriarchy.

    And yes, there are PLENTY of people who do BDSM as a result of their training under patriarchy. There are also people who have sex, get jobs, have children, and more, as a result of their training under patriarchy. If it’s possible that some people also do those things for other reasons, then isn’t it also possible that people do BDSM for other reasons, too?

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 8:16 AM #

      LMFAO!!! how did you find out that your cat liked to be spanked? and how did you find out that most other cats, when spanked, run away and hiss? oh, creepy yet hillarious. creelarious!

      i just hoped you asked for consent first — LOL!

    • harmony April 23, 2009 at 8:22 AM #

      ok, seriously, tho. what do you mean by “spanked”? like how hard are we talking? cuz typically with dogs, for instance, when people pet them, it tends to be in a different style than how cats are pet. cats tend to be pet. dogs are often patted… the human’s hand is lifted off the dog’s body and then placed on the dog’s body, over and over again, rather rapidly. sometimes this can be even as vigorous as mild spanking. i doubt it hurts, tho!

      with cats, people tend to stroke them, rather than pat them. i usually stroke my cats, but sometimes pat their heads or backs.

      so by “spanking”, do you mean patting? (albeit vigorous patting?) how hard are we talking? i doubt you will find any non-human animal that would find it pleasurable to be spanked/hit in anything above what would be considered extremely mild spanking/hitting in bdsm (which would hardly produce a sensation of pain). and i’ll pay a shitload of money to anyone who finds me a non-human animal that likes having needles stuck in it, or being tied up, etc.

      also, people are not cats.

  135. Lillie February 12, 2009 at 7:33 PM #

    do you honestly think that any of the dominants who’ve been posting here don’t give a shit about their partners? do you honestly think we would just wrap the body in a trash bag and dump it someplace and hope it wasn’t ever found? wtf?

    I’m not sure where you got that bit, firefey. Bodies in trash bags… wow.

    I do believe you’d be emotionally wrecked. I don’t think anybody here is out to inflict lasting damage on their partners, which is precisely why I’m curious how you would connect sexual/ritual violence with potential serious consequences in your mind – if at all. Whether the violence is so highly ritualized that it doesn’t register as “violence” at all. And so forth.

    But never mind, it was a naive question.

  136. gorgias February 12, 2009 at 7:53 PM #

    “Getting off on causing pain, or receiving it, is in direct violation of our most basic instincts/primary directives as a species…to survive/avoid pain and injury, and to protect our own”

    Get your naturalistic fallacy outta here. Having sex with other men is in violation of a basic human directive to reproduce, but that doesn’t stop me from doing so. Whatever meaning my life has, it will come from the experiences I have, not some misguided telos derived from a natural world entirely divorced from meaning. My life has meaning beyond the instincts I have to perpetuate the species. If you truly got your meaning merely from what our most basic instincts and primary directives as a species were, you’d view us all baby factories whose only purpose was to churn out as many people and ensure their survival. By all means, continue on this route. The rest of us will find our meaning in much more appropriate places: gaining in virtue in our private lives, excellence in our professions, enjoying the relationships with our friends and family, and making the world a better place.

    “Purposefully harming ourselves/attempting to override (because I don’t believe it can be fully bypassed, as it is the programmed and primary instinct of all living creatures) our natural instinct to avoid harm and injury”

    None of us are seeking harm and injury. I’ve never asked my Master to break my bones. Apparently none of you guys want to address this, but just because you clap your ears and start shouting “lalalala” doesn’t mean that you can equate pain and harm. BDSMers actively attempt to prevent harm to their bodies from their sexual activities, hence the “safe” in “safe, sane, consensual.” And if we’re going to be pointing fingers at harmful behavior, far and away penetrative sex is more dangerous and harmful than getting hit by a whip. Less dangerous, inasmuch as AIDS, other STDs, and unwanted pregnancies are far more dangerous than a few welts. The physical risks I take with BDSM with my parnter pale in comparison to the enormous risk inherent in the penetrative sex I also engage in with my partner, and that’s even after we get tested bi-yearly, are sexually faithful to each other, use protection regardless, and don’t engage in sex that can lead to an unwanted pregnancy. Going through surgery hurts, but it doesn’t harm me. Getting my ears or what have you pierced hurts, but if done properly it doesn’t harm me. Exercising hurts, but its effect is the opposite of harm, and many people enjoy the pain inherent in exercising- runner’s high, feel the burn, etc.

    “If your submissive partner were to die as a result of your activities – whether directly, from choking, say; or indirectly, e.g. from sepsis (I can’t help but wonder if those pin-gloves are disposable…) – how would you react? Would you consider yourself or your partner responsible?”

    How would you react if you accidentally spread an STD to your vanilla sexual partner that eventually killed them?

  137. Lillie February 12, 2009 at 7:57 PM #

    How would you react if you accidentally spread an STD to your vanilla sexual partner that eventually killed them?

    Assume the vanilla sauce was contaminated and sue the manufacturer?

  138. Gorgias February 12, 2009 at 8:04 PM #

    “Assume the vanilla sauce was contaminated and sue the manufacturer?”

    You know what I’m saying. Don’t pretend like your kind of sex is any less dangerous than mine. We both takes risks, both for ourselves because we may get hurt, and the moral risk of potentially hurting our partners, both physically and emotionally.

    Anyone who took the time to consider it outside naturalistic bullshit would realize that BDSM is no less physically dangerous than contact sports and quite a bit less dangerous than penetrative sex.

  139. Lillie February 12, 2009 at 8:37 PM #

    Don’t pretend like your kind of sex is any less dangerous than mine.

    My kind of sex? Have you installed a camera in my bedroom, to sound so confident about that?

    Again, I was wondering if this kind of eroticized violence is utterly divorced from the potential consequences of physical violence in your mind, and if so, does it really register as violence? And if so, where does that leave moral agency? And responsibility?

    If I were to give a hypothetical STD to a hypothetical sex partner, however accidentally, I believe the moral responsibility would be mine completely. Believe it or not, I don’t see any sexual act as a morally neutral area. I doubt there are many feminists who do.

  140. CJ February 12, 2009 at 9:03 PM #

    Paint it as you like, people, but taking unnecessary, unhealthy risks for naught more than a few seconds of orgasm is not part of our natural wiring (same goes for stupid shit like jumping out of airplanes and off of buildings. Do so if you must, but don’t assume or assert it’s healthy or reasonable behavior. It isn’t, and it certainly isn’t ‘natural’. The human species would have died out if that were the case. These tendencies are harmful. They are suicidal/homicidal. They are incompatible with the primary directive of all species…to survive and stay healthy. Same with injecting poisons in yourself to get high. Same with overeating extremely unhealthy food full of chemicals and fat. Same with a lot of other poor, insane behavior and choices learned by a sick culture. Not innate. Not programmed. Learned. Taught and encourage by a dysfunctional society. No good comes of this stuff. No orgasm is worth the cost of losing your empathy or losing touch with the will to survive or protect, not harm others). It would make no sense for it to be. We would never have survived as a species if it had.

    There are certain unnatural things humans do that are value-neutral or relatively harmless. This shit is not one of them. No amount of excuse-making, justifying, or double-taking will make it so. Sorry.

    Penetrative sex between males and females is a primary drive of our species, for the purposes of procreation (and I would also argue, often emotional/mental/physical aspects currently not well understood…same for same-sex intimacy and friendship). The risks involved are secondary to that, necessarily so, because the urge to procreate is a function of our drive to survive. The two are intertwined, and leaps and bounds more logical, rational, healthy, and defensible than beating the shit out of people/cutting them/restricting their airflow/ to get off. There’s no comparing the two. Nobody ‘needs’ to hurt someone else to be safe and healthy. At least, nobody is born to need this.

    For those of you who will jump in and say something to the effect of “But I can remember liking pain as a young child! It has to be in my wiring!”, I will say that we are alive for several years before we have the capacity to remember things. There may be events you do not remember that have profoundly affected your relationship with pain, and have for some reason triggered what might be a pre-disposition to being effected by this. That’s the only logical explanation I can think of. Something, somewhere along the line re-routed your natural, necessary association with pleasure and safety.

    Sex between two males and two females is value neutral, because as long as the drive to procreate exists, which will be as long as the human species exists, there will be the drive to procreate. Humans are smart, we can work that out.

    We cannot, however, work around the short-circuiting of our primary instincts. Because eventually, it will kill us/cause us to kill each other…and in the interim, causes damage and dysfunction. Which is bad. Right?

    There is no. such. thing. as a natural drive to hurt yourself/other human beings to get off. This is learned, conditioned behavior. There is no other logical explanation for it, because it is a suicidal impulse. The association of pain with orgasm/physical pleasure is LEARNED. It is not innate. It wouldn’t make sense for it to be. Not sense for me. Sense for us as living creatures, whose primary drive is to LIVE. Pain often equals injury and death. We are not programmed to seek it out. We are not programmed to associate it with pleasure or safety. We are programmed to fear and avoid it. We not be having this conversation otherwise. We should not attempt to circumvent this programming, because it’s there for a reason. It protects us. It keeps us alive. It’s good for us.

    I would say the cat in question is vulnerable/suggestible somehow to the vibe of the household it lives in, and those who care for it. Regardless, feline behavior is markedly different in many ways than that of primates. We are different species. A cat liking to be patted more roughly than others is not the same thing as a cat needing to be cut, choked, tied up, emotionally/mentally brutalized, either. Worlds of difference.

    The thing about associating dangerous things with orgasm is that the need to escalate the danger to escalate the sensations/orgasm often goes hand in hand. Which I think we can all agree is not a good or healthy thing.

    I am often driven to drink an excess of alcohol out of a need to self-medicate for depression and social anxiety. Been this way since I was a kid. I don’t defend this impulse (though I occasionally do still indulge in it, with thankfully less frequency as I age), because it is harmful me. It has also harmed others as I can and have behaved in irresponsible, irrational, harmful ways when drunk. This is a learned coping mechanism for stress and difficult emotions/feelings stemming from a difficult childhood and several extremely traumatic experiences. It’s not innate. It was learned by watching parents and grandparents deal with things by drinking, and developed by an inability to deal with the emotions that arose out of being a battered/abused child. I did what I had learned to do…I drank the pain away.

    This behavior is neither natural, sane, healthy, or defensible. And it’s no different from BDSM. Orgasms notwithstanding. Orgasms, and drunken highs, don’t justify anything. It’s pretty commonplace to get defensive when called out on poor or destructive behavior. I understand why that’s happening here. It’s called denial. I surfed that wave for many years. I get it.

    It doesn’t justify the behavior being challenged, though. It just doesn’t.

    Nothing is secondary to the absolute highest and most important instinct of our species…to survive and be physically safe and healthy. BDSM subverts and perverts this drive, this safeguard. No matter how you slice it (no pun intended), this is not a good, sane, or healthy boundary to cross, or behavior to engage in. This boundary serves an explicit, undeniable, and beneficial purpose…to keep us alive. To keep us healthy. To keep us protecting and caring for one another.

    Fuck with that, and you fuck with our well-being as a species, and society. This isn’t about sexual preferences, it’s about going places that are not safe, healthy, smart, or reasonable to go as a species. BDSM is trouble.

    Nobody is ‘hard-wired’ to hurt themselves. That makes no sense in evolutionary terms. Some people (and animals) might have a pre-disposition to being more susceptible to having their instincts subverted, but that doesn’t make their subversion natural.

    Some behavior is bad. Some is good. Some is neither or relatively unimportant. This is not, not, not the case with BDSM.

    • Nine Deuce February 12, 2009 at 9:11 PM #

      CJ – What do you think about the relationship dynamic in DS relationships?

      Everyone – I think I want to start dealing with the sexual/physical SM aspects from the emotional/relationship DS aspects since trying to talk about both at once is too unwieldy and doesn’t seem to be allowing clear debate to take place.

  141. firefey February 12, 2009 at 9:12 PM #

    Lillie, they way in which you worded it was messed up, and given the climate here thus far…it’s quite possable that i took your question wrong.

    i’ve got a thick skin most of the time but the implication that i would blame my partner if he died because of our activities just made me want to cry. the implication that i don’t care about his safty and well being, that i could kill him and not feel anything…

    this though: “I’m curious how you would connect sexual/ritual violence with potential serious consequences in your mind – if at all. Whether the violence is so highly ritualized that it doesn’t register as “violence” at all. And so forth.” that is an interesting question…

    i look at this from two different perspectives. one, ritual violence in terms of anthropology, shows that in cultures that utilise ritual violence as a means to achieve a hightened awareness of both mody and mortality there is still a reverence for it as violence. just controlled and spiritualised. two, from a sexual prspective that does much the same but without the hightened awareness of mortality (at least for me and the way that i play). for me, and that’s the ony person i can speak about, the ritual quality of BDSM is part of what hightens the sensations. when i was learning technique, i would bottom, and part of the “foreplay” was the laying out of the toys, the preping of the rope, the mental shift into that head space… it feels much the way modern urban/neo-tribal people talk about their experiences with piercings and hook suspensions.

    do i connect what i’m doing with the consequences? seeing as i do this in almost every aspect of my life i’m not sure how this differs. but, in a word, yes. i know that what i am doing has potentially serrious side effects, both physical and mental, but so does any intence/intimate physical interaction with another human being. yes, it still registers as a type of violence, but not in the way i think you mean.

  142. Trinity February 12, 2009 at 9:20 PM #

    “If your submissive partner were to die as a result of your activities – whether directly, from choking, say; or indirectly, e.g. from sepsis (I can’t help but wonder if those pin-gloves are disposable…) – how would you react? Would you consider yourself or your partner responsible?”

    I would consider myself responsible.

    I do not believe there is even the most remote chance of this happening, however. If I did, I WOULD NOT DO SM WITH HIM.

    Is that *really* something you folks can’t understand?

  143. Trinity February 12, 2009 at 9:20 PM #

    And Lillie, any particular reason you didn’t answer me up there, or are you working on it?

  144. CJ February 12, 2009 at 9:25 PM #

    The last two paragraphs are a bit wonky (and my last post is rife with spelling/grammatical errors…sorry, busy day at work and I can’t concentrate fully on this). Allow me to clarify a bit.

    The triggering of a negative pre-disposition and subversion of an essential survival instinct cannot be good things. Are not good things.

    As such, BDSM is neither good, value-neutral, nor unimportant.

    Lastly, just because you can do something and you happen to like doing something/get off on doing something, doesn’t make it good/right/healthy/ defensible. Or innate.

    Whew. No more on this. Defending the indefensible is always done by those who are no longer dealing in reality, which makes debate and argument pointless. So I’m done now.

  145. firefey February 12, 2009 at 9:25 PM #

    CJ, i have to disagree with you understanding of human instinct. you’re arguments are all over the place in regards to sex for procreation v/s sex for intimacy v/s sex for ?… sex is a human drive, full stop. our relationship with sex is complex, and really not very well served by insisting that there is a natural way to do things. also, human sexuality is 100 times more complex than anything in the animal world because of our sentient nature. yes, there are many varriations on sexuality in the animal kingdom (monogamy, polygamy, homosexuality, heterosexuality, sexual domination) just as there are in human sexuality. but the thinky bits of our brains that allow us to even have this debate complicate it.

    if you’re going to insist that natur overrides all in terms of sexuality, i’m going to insist for some documentation.

  146. firefey February 12, 2009 at 9:40 PM #

    and that’ll teach me not to proof read…

  147. RenegadeEvolution February 12, 2009 at 10:00 PM #

    CJ:

    Thank you for the overriding proclamation on humanity and what makes us kinky folk the way we are. I shall remember this next time I engage in an athletic activity where I end up in serious pain but somehow still manage to enjoy playing the sport. You also speak of a loss of empathy, yet sit there and angrily rail on and out against anyone who engages in any sort of ‘risky’ activity and condemn them right out for it. This does not speak real highly of your own ability to empathize, or even bother to attempt to understand humans who do not see things as you do. Is that a failing of society, or merely one of your own short-comings? Who knows? And your drinking is, as you seem to deem in, unfortunate and unhealthy, yet there is no need to project all your shit and issues onto the rest of us, hum? As for reality, cupcake, I pay rent, work, eat, sleep, shit and observe the world just like you.

    Lillie:

    I would hold myself responsible.

    ND: “ think I want to start dealing with the sexual/physical SM aspects”

    Get down with your bad self!

    • Nine Deuce February 13, 2009 at 5:09 AM #

      Har har, Ren. I meant deal with them separately, not that I wanted to deal with them myself.

  148. Alderson Warm-Fork February 12, 2009 at 10:07 PM #

    I’m very pleased for CJ that she understands this so well there’s no need to listen to anyone else. So I won’t try to address her.

    I will though suggest something for other readers, in response to “Getting off on causing pain, or receiving it, is in direct violation of our most basic instincts/primary directives as a species.”

    The suggestion would be that we have conflicting ‘primary directives’, in particular, we have some that seek to heighten sensation, and others that seek to reduce it. Sometimes we are bored and desperately want some excitement and some feeling to jerk us into reality, and then other times we are tired and desperately want to relax.

    Obviously that’s nowhere near a complete account, but it accounts for the fact that people exercise, and that people eat spicy food. It accounts for the fact that the same situation can feel pleasantly relaxed and comfortable, and another time unpleasantly boring and frustrating. It has some background in the history of psychology. It looks like a better hypothesis than the hypothesis that we have a single desire to avoid “pain” and seek “pleasure”.

  149. Charlie February 12, 2009 at 10:29 PM #

    I’ve read a whole lot of evolutionary biology and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from it, it’s that when people start talking about how evolution leads people to act in certain ways, they’re often telling you more about their perspective than anything else.

    Evolution has been used to justify male domination of women, white people’s domination of people of color, the oppression of poor people, and the subjugation of queers. CJ- it seems possible to me that perhaps you’re using evolutionary perspectives to justify a belief that you already hold.

    Clearly, you find the risks inherent in BDSM to not be worth taking. That’s fine. You get to make that choice for yourself. But I don’t see how BDSM threatens the survival of the species. Folks say that queers threaten the species, too. But somehow, the human race is still here, despite lots of queer people.

    Lastly, part of the problem that I see in this thread is that we’re equating all sorts of “pain.” Some pain is, in fact, a signal of a life-threatening event. Some of it isn’t. Some alcohol use is problematic and some isn’t. What I’m arguing is that there’s a whole range of activities and behaviors that might or might not enhance people’s well-being and/or pleasure, depending on how it’s done, why they’re doing it, and how they care for themselves. If you prefer to take all of that and map it onto the “this is always a tragedy” end of the spectrum, go for it. But don’t pretend that you’re using logic to come to that conclusion. You’ve already decided that you’re right.

  150. CJ February 12, 2009 at 10:56 PM #

    I’m having a conversation with a dear friend online who identifies as radfem, and practices BDSM. I’ll be back with more thoughts on this. :)

  151. delphyne February 13, 2009 at 12:31 AM #

    “Is that *really* something you folks can’t understand?”

    Why do you identify with male sadists Trinity? I’m pretty sure anybody with a female dom is probably pretty safe in the scheme of things.

    On the other hand when I was reading some of those subs’ journals I was thinking “This guy wants to kill her, or at the very least is fantasising about doing so”. Then there was Smacky’s poor friend who was killed by the male sadist who was torturing her: female sub deaths with male sadists is not unheard of. I also read about a couple of other subs dying in relationships (not directly linked to the S&M games) during the reading I’ve been doing round these threads. It seems like a lot of deaths to be coming across in quite a limited community. I can imagine that being tortured regularly and sometimes brought close to death though does not have a positive effect on the body’s physiology.

    There was also the case of a murderer over here in the UK who raped and strangled a woman called Jane Longhurst to death after watching hanging pornography on the internet. He was found guilty, but let off on a technicality to be retried and a huge portion of the S&M community here, the most vocal part at least, claimed he was innocent and that the sex and her death were “consensual”. He got tried again and found guilty the second time. The S&M community still supported him, yet these are the people we are supposed to believe when they claim what they do is “safe sane and consensual”, even when the guy murdered the woman he attacked.

    I think a lot of people are in denial about some of the murderous impulses of these male sadists.

  152. McStar February 13, 2009 at 1:50 AM #

    “Paint it as you like, people, but taking unnecessary, unhealthy risks for naught more than a few seconds of orgasm is not part of our natural wiring”

    If you really think the only pleasure a kinky person will get from a play session is ‘a few seconds of orgasm’… that kinky person is having some really rubbish sex ;)

    “No orgasm is worth the cost of losing your empathy or losing touch with the will to survive or protect, not harm others”

    … Wow. Do you genuinely believe that? I mean really? You honestly think that every person who engages in BDSM will inevitably become suicidal, violent towards others and lose their ability to empathise?

    I guess I’d better phone my employers – they won’t want somebody who’s willingly destroyed her empathy and ability to protect others looking after their kids… Oh no wait – I’m living in the real world, where safe consensual sexual activity doesn’t actually destroy people’s souls. Excellent, I get to keep my jobs.

    “There is no. such. thing. as a natural drive to hurt yourself/other human beings to get off”

    That. is. your. personal. opinion which you cannot prove JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE please stop expressing opinions as universal truths! It’s not going to change anyone’s mind, it just comes across as patronising and insulting and makes you sound like someone who has no capacity for intelligent debate.

    (Nine Deuce – I honestly think this is the thing which is preventing clear debate, and why people are focusing more on their individual experiences than on theory. There’s really no way to debate theory with someone who expresses their opinion as if it’s the One Holy Truth and leaves no space for nuance or disagreement.)

    “Nothing is secondary to the absolute highest and most important instinct of our species…to survive and be physically safe and healthy”

    What about the sex/reproductive drive? What about curiosity, or the desire for knowledge? What about the desire for autonomy and independence? What about the desire for power? You may well not see all of these as good aspects of the human psyche, but you can’t deny they have a huge impact on our behaviour.

  153. RenegadeEvolution February 13, 2009 at 6:07 AM #

    I had to say it, couldn’t stop myself.

    Interesting topics though.

  154. McStar February 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM #

    “There was also the case of a murderer over here in the UK who raped and strangled a woman called Jane Longhurst to death after watching hanging pornography on the internet. He was found guilty, but let off on a technicality to be retried and a huge portion of the S&M community here, the most vocal part at least, claimed he was innocent and that the sex and her death were “consensual”. He got tried again and found guilty the second time. The S&M community still supported him, yet these are the people we are supposed to believe when they claim what they do is “safe sane and consensual”, even when the guy murdered the woman he attacked.”

    I’ve researched this case and can find absolutely no evidence that any members of any BDSM community supported or defended Graham Coutts. Please back up this assertion with proof from at least one reliable media source, or I’m gonna have to assume you’re talking nonsense.

    Members of the BDSM community in the UK have opposed the new ‘extreme porn laws’ that have come about in part due to the campaigning of Liz Longhurst after her daughter’s murder. I live in Sussex and I’ve discussed this with a couple of people I know who are more involved with the BDSM community in Brighton than I am. No one has heard a single person suggest that what Coutts did was anything other than rape and murder. People who engage in safe, consensual kink are disgusted that someone like that is classed with us. Backlash (the main campaign group opposing the ‘extreme porn law’) specifically state on their website:

    The central issue is not whether violent and abusive behaviour is defensible. It is not, as everyone agrees. Rather, the issue is whether this law will criminalise non-abusive activities engaged in by consenting adults.

    More information (links describe the murder and thus may be triggering):

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/sussex/6265376.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6237226.stm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Longhurst

    http://www.backlash-uk.org.uk/index.html

  155. Michael X February 13, 2009 at 11:10 AM #

    Hi,

    That’s a good question and the simple answer is I don’t know why I am wired the way I am. Over the years I have come up with a whole host of theories. I’ve studied the literature, talked with others, gazed into my navel and constructed several narratives that seem to explain it. Multiple logically consistent different incompatible narratives. So I’m always a little sceptical of those who claim to to understand the origins of their own orientation or other people’s. I do however know that I am not alone. I have met many other SM folk who have similar or complementary wiring.

    One of the problems I’m having replying is that if you take the term “dominant” as used by the majority of posters who are not into sadomasochistic practices and replace it by “men who abuse women” then I find myself in almost 100% agreement with their posts. So applying that translation to the question the simple answer is I’m not into abusing men/women/children/animals/whatever, I find the concept to be wrong and morally repulsive. (There are also people out there who practice abuse and call it SM ,and again, I consider their behaviour wrong and totally unacceptable.)

    A thought experiment. Suppose you walk into a room and person A has a knife and has cut open person B, who is unconscious, and A is cutting out a length of their intestine. We would probably agree that context is essential to how we view this. A surgeon removing a tumour from a patient is totally different from a serial killer committing murder.

    There are people who engage in activities and sometimes relationships that may look like violence and/or abuse and yet they claim that such is not the case. That they do it as self aware ethical autonomous adults, that they have not been forced into it, that it is what they enjoy, want and find fulfiling. Yet they do things to and with each other that most people would experience and process as actual violence and actual abuse. I can see why someone who isn’t wired that way can have a really hard time looking at us and trying to understand why we do what we appear to do , or how we can live with ourselves, when we consensually share joy, love, intimacy. Because that’s why I do what it is that I do and, it is my hope, put that way if you accept what I say then the why is obvious.

    We have a failure of the brains empathy and theory of mind circuitry. Neuroscience research suggests that when we empathise with another we use these same circuits to think with and experience emotion with that we use when we ourselves think and emote. We run a simulation fed with data from our own experience and the way our brain is wired.

    Maybe one way ahead is to stop privileging outward appearances over what people say of their inner experience.

    Thank you for a fascinating an enlightening blog, I’m learning a lot.

    Best regards,

    Michael

  156. Faith February 13, 2009 at 1:18 PM #

    “She LOVES to be spanked on her sacrum, at the base of her tail. She LOVES to be spanked on the backs of her legs.”

    Ok, I’m sorry, but what in the hell are you doing spanking your cat in the first damn place?

    “So given that she’s never been abused and that she’s not really influenced by heteropatriarchal normativity, would you say that she is sick? That she is unhealthy?”

    No, I’d say she’s a CAT. A feline that is far from being related to PEOPLE. Seriously, now we’re expected to believe that if cats do it, it makes sense to argue that humans should do it too?

    Wtf?

  157. isme February 13, 2009 at 2:10 PM #

    “My autonomy is meaningless if I don’t have the ability to dispose of it as I will.”

    Agreed, but that is the nature of freedom. You’re only free to choose for yourself as long as you only make the “right” choice.

    “Same with injecting poisons in yourself to get high. Same with overeating extremely unhealthy food full of chemicals and fat. Same with a lot of other poor, insane behavior and choices learned by a sick culture. ”

    Ah…I was hoping someone would bring this up. Should BDSM be considered wrong, then such things as smoking should naturally be considered wrong as well, though I didn’t think anyone would be brave enough to hold that view, because it is, for cultural reasons, not considered to be wrong.

    “It wouldn’t make sense for it to be. Not sense for me. Sense for us as living creatures, whose primary drive is to LIVE. Pain often equals injury and death. We are not programmed to seek it out. We are not programmed to associate it with pleasure or safety. We are programmed to fear and avoid it.”

    Not sense for you, but surely the same could be applied to fear as well? And yet people enjoy scaring themselves in safe situations…ghost stories et al have been popular since the start of recorded history.

  158. delphyne February 13, 2009 at 4:23 PM #

    “Ok, I’m sorry, but what in the hell are you doing spanking your cat in the first damn place?”

    Exactly. How on earth did he/she find that out that supposedly the cat likes it? The owner obviously likes it.

    All it shows is that all mammals can be trained into submission, even cats it seems. Cat will manage perfectly well without being spanked. How the owner will manage his/her urges to attack the cat is another question.

    Beating the sacrum/pelvis is dangerous, something that rarely gets mentioned:

    http://www.nospank.net/taylor.htm

    (this is about spanking children, but the physiology is the same in adults)

    “Medical reports document well the injuries that occur to the lower spine of adults from forces applied there by accidental direct blows, falls and blows sustained in car accidents. Bruising of the tailbone the coccyx, causes coccydynia, a persistent pain in the tailbone. Direct blows to the buttocks can fracture the sacrum, the large bone at the lowermost part of the spine. Many nerves pass through the sacrum to innervate the pelvic area. So profuse are the nerves at the end of the spinal cord that they are called the cauda equina, or the horse’s tail. These nerves supply motor function and sensation to the bladder, the rectum, the genitals and the legs. Tearing of these nerves by a fracture of the sacrum causes problems with bladder and bowel function, such as an inability to empty the bladder and lax rectal tone, which causes soiling. Such fractures of the sacrum are often not suspected because proper x-rays are not taken.

    Thus far, doctors have paid little attention to the injuries to the spines of children that might occur from paddlings. Certainly, paddling on the buttocks could bruise the coccyx; more serious injuries, such as sacral fracture and nerve damage, could result if enough force is used. If the paddle hits below the buttocks, on the back of the upper thighs, it can bruise the sciatic nerves which are close to the surface there, and which supply motor function to the legs. This bruising can cause partial or complete paralysis of the legs, depending on the amount of injury to the nerves.”

    Stop attacking other people’s bodies.

  159. firefey February 13, 2009 at 4:31 PM #

    “Why do you identify with male sadists Trinity? I’m pretty sure anybody with a female dom is probably pretty safe in the scheme of things.”

    and just why is that delph? i thought all female dominants were just poor maipulated women who had been coerced into doing the things their man wants them to do. or is it because you think female dominants are morally supperior? or somehow softer than their male counterparts? i’d like to hear this new justification for totally dismissing femal dominance, something i’d rather expect you to be in favor of (at least the whole femal supreamacy bit).

    i defend and identify with male dominants because we often have similar things we like to do. i enjoy having male frends who understand my relationship. i enjoy having male friends who enjoy the geeky things i like to do (when i’m not sadisticly torturing my honey). hell, i flat out enjoy having male friends. i enjoy having women friends too.

    Faith: “No, I’d say she’s a CAT. A feline that is far from being related to PEOPLE. Seriously, now we’re expected to believe that if cats do it, it makes sense to argue that humans should do it too?”

    if the argument is going to be made, as it has by some (not you i know but some), that BDSM activities of any kind are un-natural then if we can find examples in nature that statment is theoretically invalid. i think what was bing pointed out here is that there are animals who enjoy a wide variety of sensations, just as humans do. also, please note, none of the proBDSM people are saying anyone SHOULD do anything, except maybe open your minds a tiny bit to alternative interpretations. on the other hand there’s a whole lotta SHOULD coming from the antiBDSM folks. as in you SHOULD get therapy, you SHOULD see yourself as damaged, you SHOULD see this as abuse…

  160. firefey February 13, 2009 at 4:57 PM #

    also, CJ, i wanted to point out this tidbit from a study done by Charles Moser in his study on Sadomasochism. since you’re insistance that BDSM activities is abnormal, i thought you might be interested…

    “As S/M behavior is seen transhistorically (Ellis, 1936) and cross-culturally (Ford & Beach, 1951), we can assume it is part of the repertoire of innate human sexual behaviors. Behavior which appears to be analogous to S/M is also common among mammals. For example, Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, and Gebhard (1953) name 24 different mammalian species which bite during coitus. Addition­ally, Gebhard (1976) remarks “From a phylogenetic viewpoint it is no surprise to find sadomasochism in human beings” (p. 163)” from The Psychology of Sadomasochism ETIOLOGY section.

  161. firefey February 13, 2009 at 4:57 PM #

    http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/BIB/SM.htm#S/M_PRACT

    is a link for the study as a whole

  162. delphyne February 13, 2009 at 5:24 PM #

    “After incidents like the Coutts/Longhurst case, which seems to have involved breath play that went wrong”

    http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/138476/

    On hearing Coutts’ conviction was overturned on a technicality:

    “Good in the sense that if the courts decide no-one was even murdered, it removes another bit of the logic behind the violent pornography bill.”

    “Coutts isn’t as evil as he might appear. And Longhurst isn’t quite the innocent victim she’s been portrayed as.” [remember this is a man who raped a woman, strangled her to death, then committed necrophilia on her corpse]

    http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/111057/

    “nice bloke as it goes”

    http://www.informedconsent.co.uk/posts/90573/

  163. Faith February 13, 2009 at 6:07 PM #

    “if the argument is going to be made, as it has by some (not you i know but some), that BDSM activities of any kind are un-natural then if we can find examples in nature that statment is theoretically invalid.”

    If we start arguing that something is natural or acceptable just because animals do it, then we’d have to logically make rape, cannibalism, incest, murder, and infanticide completely legal.

    “The animals do it” is not a defense.

  164. delphyne February 13, 2009 at 6:22 PM #

    “i’d like to hear this new justification for totally dismissing femal dominance, i’d rather expect you to be in favor of (at least the whole femal supreamacy bit)”

    That’s because you haven’t got a clue. I’d try to be politer but really why should I when you’re coming out with crap like this?

    I’m not interested in talking about female doms because they are a smokescreen and a distraction to protect male sadists from their abuses towards women. And really, you think I’m dismissing female doms because I suggest that they probably aren’t murderous like many of their male counterparts? Bizarre. Feel free to defend female doms’ alleged murderous instincts if you like, but I won’t agree with that analysis, nor I think will reality support you.

  165. firefey February 13, 2009 at 6:27 PM #

    wow… delph, you should totally work for the government! you have madd skillz when it comes to quoting things out of context.

    in the first, the OP was asking about how to keep a partner safe in light of the case. that this case was tragic was never questioned, nor was his guilt of lack of even touched on.

    in the second set, the only quote in the thread linked was the first, about the case as it relates to violent porn. and there, the discussion has nothing to do with this man’s guilt. pointof fact, the posters pretty clearly state that they are questioning the charges of premeditated murder, bringing up the guy’s prior history, and condemning his actions after the woman’s tragic death.

    saddly, i can’t get the last link to come up in my viewer. but given the way you’ve totally misquoted and spun the last few quotes i can imagine it’s more of the same.

  166. delphyne February 13, 2009 at 7:38 PM #

    I’ll leave it to other readers, who don’t have an investment in protecting male sadism to women to decide whether I’ve taken those quotes out of context Firefey.

    I saw defences for him from BDSMers all over the place back in 2006. I should have kept copies, because what I linked to there is just one small sample.

  167. Gorgias February 13, 2009 at 8:17 PM #

    “If we start arguing that something is natural or acceptable just because animals do it, then we’d have to logically make rape, cannibalism, incest, murder, and infanticide completely legal.

    “The animals do it” is not a defense.”

    It is, however, proof that it is natural.

    Saying that everything that occurs in nature is good is of course absurd. But saying that it does occur in nature removes the argument that it is “unnatural” and therefore evil.

    “I’m not interested in talking about female doms because they are a smokescreen and a distraction to protect male sadists from their abuses towards women.”

    I’m sure Trinity loves beating up guys because she can give some moral cover to many people she doesn’t know.

  168. Trinity February 13, 2009 at 8:29 PM #

    “I’ve researched this case and can find absolutely no evidence that any members of any BDSM community supported or defended Graham Coutts. Please back up this assertion with proof from at least one reliable media source, or I’m gonna have to assume you’re talking nonsense.”

    The claim is also being made that we’ve defended Glenn Marcus, and I haven’t seen anyone do that here. I did see one person at one presentation do it, and it creeped me out extremely, as I’ve already mentioned. I second the requests for links to this.

    As far as Coutts, I’ve not heard anyone defend him anywhere, and I think the whole idea that anyone would is preposterous.

  169. Trinity February 13, 2009 at 8:32 PM #

    “Ok, I’m sorry, but what in the hell are you doing spanking your cat in the first damn place?”

    I’m gonna have to second this one. What the fuck?

  170. Trinity February 13, 2009 at 8:35 PM #

    “Why do you identify with male sadists Trinity? I’m pretty sure anybody with a female dom is probably pretty safe in the scheme of things.”

    I don’t know what you mean by “identify.” I have friends who like the same things I do, and I have a problem with them being attacked for no good reason. If that’s “identification,” there you go.

    Why do you expect me to see myself as fundamentally different from other people because of gender? I know, I know, T3H THEERY. Same old same old.

  171. Trinity February 13, 2009 at 8:38 PM #

    Delphyne,

    That “nice bloke” comment sounded like sarcasm to me. If it wasn’t though… disgusting.

    As far as the people hoping it’s deemed manslaughter, I don’t agree at all. I think the extreme porn law is a horrible idea, but I’m not at all for deciding this must not have been murder just because it might be useful in the fight against a bad law.

  172. McStar February 13, 2009 at 8:46 PM #

    delphyne – InformedConsent is a internet chat forum, not a media outlet. It’s also a forum which tends to avoid political discussions, especially more politicised feminist ones (though I have seen a few very pro-feminist statements there). The moderator, in my experience of reading, is a bit of a dickhead and likes to encourage snark and trolling. People on those threads were taking a more snarky and unconcerned attitude than I or you would when discussing a murder case. But it’s the internet. It’s ever so easy online to forget that a situation involves real people, and just to say whatever comes into your head, because the screen is between you and real life and so it doesn’t really matter. (I like to think this is what goes through your mind when you call SMers things like “the enemies of womankind.”) I don’t believe for a second that any of those people think what Graham Coutts did was acceptable. They’re just being slightly snarky and/or worried about how the legal system are going to use the case to negatively affect their lives.

    If you can find me a BBC, AP or newspaper website (ideally one of the less biased ones) article stating “UK PERVERT COMMUNITY MAKES STATEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF MURDERER” then I’ll happily concede that you’re right and I’m wrong. Otherwise, as far as I’m concerned you’ve just made a totally untrue statement that you’re unable to back up. Shall we move on?

  173. firefey February 13, 2009 at 9:06 PM #

    delphney, if you were any more polite than you have already been my head might explode.

    i’m sorry that femal dominance doesn’t fit into your whole theory of male doms as murdering assholes. the fact that most of the time someone gets serriously injured or killed it’s by someone who a) has a history of non-cosentual violence, and b) isn’t part of the local community makes no never mind to you. the fact that studies by psychologists and sexologists have shown there is no statistically different prevalance of psychological illness between BDSM communities and controlls doesn’t matter either.

  174. CJ February 13, 2009 at 11:35 PM #

    Okay everyone, I’m an ass.

    I really should think more on things before I go spouting off at the fingertips like that.

    Lost in all my long-winded gasbaggery on How Things Should Be was the fact that real, live, complex and for the most part thoughtful and intelligent human beings participate in BDSM. That, and that human sexuality is *profoundly* complex, and cannot at all be summed up in any concrete terms. Self-awareness leads to vast, confounding variety in all manner of human behavior. The area of sex is no different. It’s a gigantic spectrum…

    Darkdaughta commented on another thread here on this…we had a bit of a chat yesterday and she helped me open my eyes, and brain, to what I was doing here. I was damning those different from me, those who saw things differently. I can’t be about that if I’m going to call myself a radical of any kind. She’s into BDSM and has been a dear friend for some time. She was shocked at my intolerance, when I had been so supportive of her in the past. I hung my head in shame. For fucking shame…I feel terrible. I feel like I bought a cheap party-line and sold it half-assed at full-price.

    The humanity, the personhood of those involved in BDSM, their rights and needs and wants and desires, somehow got lost in a haughty haze of Know It All-ness. I fucked up, and I’m sorry.

    I’m choking on a bitter pill of contradictions here…I don’t know up from down, or my ass from my elbow right now.

    All I know for the moment is that I endeavor to love and support women. If women are into BDSM and it makes them happy, whether I agree with it or not is of course, patently irrelevant.

    Men being into hurting people is what I’m finding the hardest to deal with. I mean, I know most men hurt people, namely women…but to openly and brazenly declare that they love to cause women pain causes riotous convulsions of fear and horror in me…

    Freedom is the freedom to make all sorts of choices. So long as no one is being hurt (against their will, anyway), it’s a non-issue. It has to be. It has to be absolute (I guess…?).

    I’m staying the fuck out of it and doing some thinking. For now. After I research and pull my head out of my ass, I’ll come back and offer what I’ve got, in a far more respectful manner.

    BDSM’ers, hugs. I’m sorry for being insensitive. I’m sorry for not thinking about and considering your autonomy. Nobody has the right to look down on anybody else. I snobbed out, and I suck. I won’t do it again.

    Love,

    CJ.

  175. firefey February 14, 2009 at 12:18 AM #

    “Men being into hurting people is what I’m finding the hardest to deal with. I mean, I know most men hurt people, namely women…but to openly and brazenly declare that they love to cause women pain causes riotous convulsions of fear and horror in me… ”

    CJ, if it helps any… those of us who do practice BDSM struggle with this too. the fine line between what i do with and to my beloved that i find acceptable, and things that happen to men and women that i find utterly horrific sometimes overlap in ways that i have visited and revisited to make sure i am one and not the other. but your comment quoted above is part of why i think it’s so crutial to discuss BDSM in a larger gendered context than just M/f. the politics and power dynamics in the overarching spectrum give context to male dominance of femal submissives that are hard to see otherwise.

    also, there is a vast difference between a male dom saying “I like to hurt my willing partner. I am heterosexual, and therefore my partner is female.” and saying “I like to hurt women.” conceptually, it is a vastly different to desire BDSM hetsex with one’s willing partner, and another to simply want to hurt a gender. there is most definetly men who fall into both camps, and i think it is right and good to demand men in the second group explain and examine and reform (where able and apropriate).

    and i am very much invested in the idea of examining the ways in which BDSM and feminism can influence and interact with eachother. power dynamics that we chose v/s power dynamic we are forced into… there’s a lot there to chew on and interact with, most of it emotionally charged. i hope the emotions that have been running so high here will not fall too hard on your head.

  176. delphyne February 14, 2009 at 12:23 AM #

    Actually I’ve been quite polite Firefey, unlike you. You’re projecting your crap. No surprises there of course.

    As for the rest, more BS rationalisations. A lot of these guys are clearly toying with the idea of murder. They probably won’t do it because a) it’s a big step for anybody, even the worst sadists to take and maybe they even have some decency at the bottom of their hearts, and b) they might get caught and they don’t want to go to prison. But don’t tell me it’s not obvious that the thought of sexual death of women isn’t really turning these guys on, because from their *behaviour* (not their words, always pay attention to the behaviour) it’s clear it is.

  177. Trinity February 14, 2009 at 12:31 AM #

    CJ,

    Thank you very much for the apology.

  178. Trinity February 14, 2009 at 12:41 AM #

    “also, there is a vast difference between a male dom saying “I like to hurt my willing partner. I am heterosexual, and therefore my partner is female.” and saying “I like to hurt women.” conceptually, it is a vastly different to desire BDSM hetsex with one’s willing partner, and another to simply want to hurt a gender. there is most definetly men who fall into both camps, and i think it is right and good to demand men in the second group explain and examine and reform (where able and apropriate).”

    I agree with this. In the beginning I found myself nervous around M/f couples actually, worrying that people were acting from the belief that women should be subservient. And yes, there exist some people (a minority, IMO) who do feel that way, and that deeply bothers me and I’m against it.

    But I quickly found myself learning to do BDSM safely from a friend who happened to be a male top. We became so close that we ended up dating, and the fact that we’re both tops became something we played with and found really amusing: “I’m gonna get you!” “No, I’m gonna get YOU!” It was a game with us, and we enjoyed it.

    I’m not asking you not to feel concern — if you feel it, you feel it, and as I said above, I do think there are some people who are creepy about M/f. And I do think patriarchy has to do with that for many of them. (I think there are people who do F/m creepily because of patriarchy too: the sort who see dominating men as a kind of “revenge” and actually, really want to punish them. Male privilege is real, but it’s no one person’s fault that it exists.)

    I’m simply saying that when I actually talked to people, I found a lot of folks who seemed to be motivated by the same things that motivated me, and happened to be heterosexual and male. And that, I am comfortable with. Not saying you have to be, CJ (or whomever), but some of these folks are friends and mentors to me. And I can be fierce about loyalty to my friends. :)

    Which is why it makes me wince to see such nasty things being said about all tops who happen to be men and straight, and why I am defending them.

  179. isme February 14, 2009 at 12:43 AM #

    “A lot of these guys are clearly toying with the idea of murder. ”

    That implies that alot of them are not, though. Given the overlap between BDSM and “normal” sex, how far into BDSM would you say a person can be before there is something seriously wrong with them?

  180. ranat February 14, 2009 at 3:01 AM #

    Helloooooo… I’m a dominant woman, and I’m feeling marginalized again, and it makes me very cross. Dominant men and submissive women do not make up all of BDSM, and while I won’t argue that there are more of them, half the reason there aren’t more women who identify as dominant is because they’re put off by the nasty fetish wear (I know I was).

    Just to clarify things, I’m a dominant sadist who among other things loves to whip and place very mean clampy things on the nipples of men, and fantasizes about doing the same things to women and other-gendered people.

    The original post calls for the perspectives of dominants other than men, and Erstwhile Lurker, Trinity, and Tor attempted to bring their dominant perspectives early in the comment thread. All I really read in response was “Bring forth the evil mandoms that they may testify to their crimes and we may pass judgment.”

    What I’d like to address here is the double standard I’ve observed in these discussions about dominant women vs dominant men. By many of the anti-BDSM arguments stated above, are not my desires to beat, slap, restrain and force my consenting partners equally unsavory as those men who desire them? Am I not also brainwashing my partners to submit to my insidious abuse?

    Let me repeat using the operative word. Are not my desires to beat, whip, and tie up consenting women just as evil, according to these arguments, as mandoms’?

    If BDSM activities are so repellent to many of you, ala Delphyne’s comment “Beating, choking, whipping, restraining and humiliating a person is cruel,” why is it that I, a woman, get a free pass?

    Are you saying it’s okay for me to beat, choke, whip, restrain, and humiliate (all of which I like to do to varying degrees) because I have a vagina and breasts? Or is identifying as a woman enough?

    While that’s convenient for me, I don’t feel like it does very much for your argument. If you damn the mandoms, you’ve got to damn all the doms, and I find it very suspicious and sneaky that people have sidled around this issue.

  181. Trinity February 14, 2009 at 4:01 AM #

    “By many of the anti-BDSM arguments stated above, are not my desires to beat, slap, restrain and force my consenting partners equally unsavory as those men who desire them? Am I not also brainwashing my partners to submit to my insidious abuse?”

    We’re not the patriarchy. Therefore we’re totally harmless.

    Woman as weak: It’s feminist now!

  182. rachel cervantes February 14, 2009 at 6:00 AM #

    Ok, I’ll admit. I’m too tired and my attention is too scattered to read all 190 comments. But the BDSM thing is something I’ve been struggling to understand. I’m beginning to get an inkling of why the sub thing is appealing (though not to me): It seems there may be an element of proving to oneself that one can take it. I can see how that could be comforting.

    What I can NOT get is how one can inflict pain on someone one loves. Good question ND…I’ll be coming back to this thread, trying to understand.

  183. firefey February 14, 2009 at 6:48 AM #

    ranat… you’re totally right on with this. Trin, me, Esrtwhile, Tor, et all sans dick have been told our sadism is either non-threatening, a non-issue, or too different than male domination and sadism to warrant review. but if we had a dick we’d be misogynists of the first order with murder on our minds and death in our hearts. doesn’t compute for me either.

  184. Lillie February 14, 2009 at 9:05 AM #

    Thank you for your answers to my question above, firefey and others – very thought-provoking and certainly something to ponder at length.

    Trinity: I’m afraid I missed your question – and I still can’t find it, unless you’re mistaking me for someone else in this thread…? I’m going away for a while, so I hope the question isn’t very urgent…

    One last quick question, re: differences and similarities between male and female doms. How often do you see male doms – M/f ones, specifically – selling their services?

    I know a woman (well, know of a woman would be more accurate, but never mind) who decided to become a professional dominatrix, not because of a previous interest in BDSM (she claimed to find it “boring”), but because she said there was a “shitload of money” to be made in the job. I don’t know how good and successful she turned out to be at her new job (I somehow suspect she thought it was all about leather outfits, platform heels and rubber whips), but while her case may be highly atypical, it does say something about widely held attitudes – about how the role of the dominatrix is seen as commercial. (Disclaimer: I don’t see it that way myself.) How easy would it be to imagine a man making a “shitload of money” spanking women?

    And if male and female subs are equally safe with female doms and male doms, why is it harder to imagine (for me, at least) a submissive woman trusting a hired stranger to dominate her?

  185. Lillie February 14, 2009 at 9:09 AM #

    Woman as weak: It’s feminist now!

    Funny, I thought that was the raison d’être of feminism. When has it ever been in question that women are at a physical disadvantage?

    Isn’t that the first thing you need to acknowledge before you can enable women to be more than their physically weaker bodies?

  186. Alderson Warm-Fork February 14, 2009 at 12:32 PM #

    “why is it harder to imagine (for me, at least) a submissive woman trusting a hired stranger to dominate her?”

    I don’t know if this is the whole story, but it seems like the obvious thought is that men hire strangers for sex about a hundred times more often than women do in general.

  187. McStar February 14, 2009 at 1:38 PM #

    CJ, wow. I think that was one of the most heartfelt and mature things I’ve ever seen on the internet :) Thankyou, and hugs for you also. I’ve had these moments of something suddenly making me rethink my assumptions, and I know how scary it can be, and how guilty it makes you feel. I know you said you won’t be commenting for a bit but I hope you’re reading, because I want you to know that I admire you a lot right now.

    “Men being into hurting people is what I’m finding the hardest to deal with. I mean, I know most men hurt people, namely women…but to openly and brazenly declare that they love to cause women pain causes riotous convulsions of fear and horror in me…”

    FWIW, as I think firefey said also, I (as a kinky person) can empathise with this very much. I had a long discussion with my partner last night about various ideas that’d been running around in my head from reading and commenting here. Although I have definite submissive/masochistic tendencies – and have also enjoyed dominating and hurting my partner, I’m very wary of people who see themselves as genuine sexual sadists. The main reason I felt safe enough to start exploring BDSM with my partner is that he is not a sadist. He said something last night along the lines of “causing pain to you does absolutely nothing for me. It’s the way you move and moan and the way your eyes light up when you enjoy pain that I love.” While I completely support the right of sadists to explore their turn-ons (safely and consensually obviously), the idea of sexual sadism is somewhat frightening to me. So I understand exactly where you’re coming from, and I don’t think your feelings about sadistic men preclude you being a good friend and ally to your kinky friend(s).

  188. McStar February 14, 2009 at 2:01 PM #

    “One last quick question, re: differences and similarities between male and female doms. How often do you see male doms – M/f ones, specifically – selling their services?”

    Lillie – I’ve personally never met or heard of a male prodom. I agree it’s an interesting question, not something I’ve really considered in any detail before. Off the top of my head, I would say there’s a combination of factors that lead to there being loads of women selling domination and no/very few men.

    – men are more likely to pay for sexual services of any kind. It’s generally accepted in our culture that men do and will pay for sex. It’s also generally harder for (straight) men to get casual sex than it is for women. I think a straight male submissive is more likely to find it difficult to find a partner (because there are more sub than domme women out there), and the idea of paying for it will feel more acceptable to him than it probably would to a woman in his position. Also I suspect men are more likely to see sex work as beneath them, whereas we live in a society that tells women that sex work is a fabulous way of earning great money ASAP. (I’m pro- safe, informed, consensual sex work, but I have serious problems with the way it’s treated in the media and the financial and social inequalities which contribute to women engaging in it.)

    – women are generally perceived as unthreatening and incapable of committing serious violence. Also, men are not raised with the threat of sexual violence as a constant possibility, in the way that most women are. A male sub may well assume, in the back of his mind, that he’s quite safe in the hands of a pro-domme, because she’s a woman and thus he could easily get away or overpower her if she did something he hadn’t consented to. I’m female and not very physically strong, I know that most men are probably stronger than me. I would not let anyone I didn’t know and trust dominate me. I think a lot of women feel similarly.

    – I don’t really have time to think this one through, but I suspect there are aspect of attitudes towards male/female beauty tied up (no pun intended!) in this, too. And male/female competance. And entitlement.

    “it does say something about widely held attitudes – about how the role of the dominatrix is seen as commercial.”

    This is absolutely true. Bitchy Jones (http://bitchyjones.wordpress.com/) has some interesting things to say on this subject. I probably do too, but I’m late for a lunch date so will have to blather more later.

  189. McStar February 14, 2009 at 2:18 PM #

    Oh, one more point about pro-dom issues: I have no idea how any of these issues might be / probably are different in gay SM communities. I only have one gay male friend with whom I’ve discussed BDSM and he’s only had brief experience of it. It would seem logical that if there are male pro-doms, they’re more likely to see predominantly male clients. If my previous comment came across as totally heterosexist, apologies – it was out of lack of specific knowledge.

  190. Faith February 14, 2009 at 2:32 PM #

    “It is, however, proof that it is natural.

    Saying that everything that occurs in nature is good is of course absurd. But saying that it does occur in nature removes the argument that it is “unnatural” and therefore evil.”

    Everything that occurs in BDSM does not occur in nature. I’ve yet to see any animal running around with a whip and spiked heels while ramming pins into another animal.

    And just because something occurs in nature doesn’t automatically mean that it isn’t evil. Many animals are quite naturally very violent. Even if it’s part of their genetic make-up, it’s still evil for a male primate to kill a female’s child so that they can impregnate them with their own. It’s also evil when a pack of tomcats gang rape a 6 month old kitten in heat while the kitten tries desperately to get away…something which I have witnessed myself.

  191. Faith February 14, 2009 at 2:38 PM #

    “It has to be absolute (I guess…?).”

    It does not have to be absolute. That is just as dangerous a statement to make as making the statement that BDSM is wrong all the time under all circumstances. BDSM is a highly complex subject and they reasons for practicing it are highly complex…and not all of those reasons are kosher or healthy.

  192. Trinity February 14, 2009 at 3:20 PM #

    “Funny, I thought that was the raison d’être of feminism. When has it ever been in question that women are at a physical disadvantage?

    Isn’t that the first thing you need to acknowledge before you can enable women to be more than their physically weaker bodies?”

    Wow. That’s… not feminism as I know it. The whole “weaker body” trope is shot through with assumptions of what count as physical strength and weakness (for example, little attention is paid to the greater physical endurance of most female bodies), as well as sexist assumptions that because women are *expected* to be less physically powerful become self-fulfilling prophecies.

  193. ranat February 14, 2009 at 3:51 PM #

    @Lillie –

    “[I]t does say something about widely held attitudes – about how the role of the dominatrix is seen as commercial.”

    You are very correct, and it inspires much rage among dominant women that our sexuality and sexual culture has the face of a sex worker (many of who are not dominant in their lifestyle) rather than someone who actually lives that way. Sex workers need to have their rights upheld, and many sex workers are awesome people, but they should not be the poster-child for our sexuality.

    In my understanding most pro dominant men have submissive men as clients, though someone with more knowledge on the subject might have some other information to add.

    I think this deviates, however, from the point I am trying to make. How is a submissive person, man, woman, or otherwise, somehow ‘safer’ with me than a dominant man? Because I have tits? Why is a dominant man considered more dangerous because of his genitalia, rather than his individual character, activities, and desires? Because if I as an individual am considered non-threatening, and he as an individual is, the dividing line has to be gender or sex. What about FtM trans doms? Will they be damned as mandoms or ignored as non-threatening females?

    I would like to remind everyone involved in this discussion that the shit that goes on in Kink dot com is in the extreme end of BDSM, and is meant, however tacky the presentation, to be a representation of extreme *fantasy*. Not everyone in BDSM does extreme play. Not everyone even fantasizes it. And fantasy is often much more extreme than reality. There are mandoms and womsubs out there, believe it or not, who want nothing to do with complicated ‘torture’ devices because it doesn’t suit their respective sexualities or their relationship with each other. I know that there are dominant men out there who would be uncomfortable doing play I would consider a matter of course. Does that make me more ‘dangerous’ than them? Or is it still okay because I have breasts and a vagina and identify as a woman?

    Why is it, in these discussions, that women dominants and sadists get a free pass?

    @Rachel Cervantes –

    “But the BDSM thing is something I’ve been struggling to understand. I’m beginning to get an inkling of why the sub thing is appealing (though not to me): It seems there may be an element of proving to oneself that one can take it. I can see how that could be comforting.”

    You gave an example of an emotional reason from a submissive’s point of view that you found compelling, so I’ll give a reason from the dominant’s point of view that I believe is the equivalent. There are many reasons I enjoy being dominant, but this is one of the top ones.

    Trust.

    Trust, from another person is one of the most alluring things in the world to me. And for them to trust me to tie them up (and tie them up safely) and hit them (and hit them safely), and for whatever space of time take responsibility for everything around them, to protect them from harm and hold them safe… To receive that kind of trust, that is– I don’t even know how to describe that. It’s something beautiful worth crying over, it is like utter contentment. And sometimes it scares the fuck out of me. ‘Am I good enough, am I skilled enough, am I responsible enough to do this?’

    It’s not just subs that have to be able to trust their doms. It’s doms that have to be able to trust their subs. I *wouldn’t* play with someone I didn’t feel like I could trust to the level we played. *I* wouldn’t feel safe. And I’m the one with the rope and the whips.

    To tie someone up, and hit them with things for mutual fulfillment, has required more trust on my part than possibly anything in my life. It is hard for me to trust people, and it is incredibly freeing and indescribably satisfying to be able to trust someone and be trusted in return. I have never felt that anywhere else. And most especially not in my mainstream romantic relationships, full of naught but cuddling, constant equality, and gentle massages, where I couldn’t trust my partners at all.

  194. delphyne February 14, 2009 at 4:48 PM #

    ““Beating, choking, whipping, restraining and humiliating a person is cruel,” why is it that I, a woman, get a free pass?”

    Who said you got a free pass? I certainly didn’t. But male sadists torturing women, reinforce and support male supremacy like nothing else and in turn their activities also are reinforced and supported by male supremacy. This is about politics and ending male oppression of women so whilst what you do is unpleasant and inhumane (and acts as a smokescreen for male sadists) the torture and destruction of women is the main show and what needs to be dealt with. If you haven’t noticed that you aren’t paying attention to the world around you.

    “We’re not the patriarchy. Therefore we’re totally harmless.

    Woman as weak: It’s feminist now!”

    Oh my god Trinity, I can’t believe that you (general you) are *insulted* because I don’t think you are dangerous or have murderous impulses.

    Feminism is based on reality and on women’s lived experiences, not on some kind of pseudo equality where if men do it then dammit WOMEN MUST DO IT TOO! If you want to sign up for the Wishing They Could Commit Murder and Most Certainly Toying With the Idea club , then feel free, but you will be an *anomaly*. Male sadism, rapism and murderousness towards women on the other hand, is mainstream.

  195. Gorgias February 14, 2009 at 4:50 PM #

    “I know a woman (well, know of a woman would be more accurate, but never mind) who decided to become a professional dominatrix, not because of a previous interest in BDSM (she claimed to find it “boring”), but because she said there was a “shitload of money” to be made in the job. I don’t know how good and successful she turned out to be at her new job (I somehow suspect she thought it was all about leather outfits, platform heels and rubber whips), but while her case may be highly atypical, it does say something about widely held attitudes – about how the role of the dominatrix is seen as commercial. (Disclaimer: I don’t see it that way myself.) How easy would it be to imagine a man making a “shitload of money” spanking women?”

    It’s mostly a supply/demand issue. There are, so far as I can tell, roughly equal numbers of heterosexual male doms and heterosexual female subs. However, because so many dominant women have been driven off from the lifestyle by the focus on male pleasure (see Bitchy Jones for a better summary of this), there’s a huge demographic problem for F/m- estimates like 10 to 1 or 20 to 1 het male subs to het female doms are common. As a result, there’s far more money to be found in prodomming in that particular combination.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with people feeling more or less safe with such a sex worker. You also very rarely see any sort of sex worker taking any different roles- I’ve never heard of a prosub, because we’re in fairly high supply, and likewise, I haven’t heard of a gay male or lesbian prodom.

  196. Trinity February 14, 2009 at 5:51 PM #

    “Oh my god Trinity, I can’t believe that you (general you) are *insulted* because I don’t think you are dangerous or have murderous impulses.”

    I don’t really care about your opinion of me, Delphyne. I just find the idea that women are not dangerous creepy, as someone who’s been abused by a woman. I am glad you don’t think I’m dangerous, but if your reason has to do with only men being truly threatening, I’m going to call that reasoning out as faulty.

  197. Trinity February 14, 2009 at 5:57 PM #

    “The main reason I felt safe enough to start exploring BDSM with my partner is that he is not a sadist. He said something last night along the lines of “causing pain to you does absolutely nothing for me. It’s the way you move and moan and the way your eyes light up when you enjoy pain that I love.””

    Waitwaitwait… are you saying this is only OK if it’s the bottom’s idea, then? “Oh, I never would have thought of this, but it makes you squirm happily so it’s awesome?”

    I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel bothered — you do, and you’re in good company — but rather just trying to understand. Why is it OK for a top to have those thoughts when she’s with her partner and not OK for her to think about doing those things when she’s by herself fantasizing? Or have I misunderstood you?

  198. T Dalton February 14, 2009 at 6:13 PM #

    Why does a man want to be a Dom? Well, depends on whether you’re talking to a real-life practitioner of BDSM who truly “gets” what the lifestyle is about, or a poser wannabee asshole jerkoff who gets off on being a poser wannabe asshole jerkoff. *LOL*

    The Dom/mes who I respect and consider “true” practitioners of BDSM are in the lifestyle not because they get off on hurting someone, but because they get off on giving someone what they want, making their dreams come true, making their fantasies real. Knowing that another human being trusts them enough to hand over control to them. It’s a very powerful feeling. What actions are conducted within that power exchange are up to the parties involved. Some enjoy getting whipped. Some simply enjoy serving. Some enjoy being tied up. The answers are as varied as there are people.

    Like it or not, understand it or not, there ARE people out there who, whether full-time or not, want someone to just “take over” and take care of them. This can manifest in different ways. Some people NEED pain to process emotions (think of cutters and people into self-injury). Some people just like it because of the endorphin rush they get.

    NOT ALL BDSM practitioners are into pain/humiliation. I would venture to say most are not. Let’s make that clear right up front. A lot of them are far closer to the vanilla end of the scale than they are the kink one.

    In a TRUE BDSM relationship, the foundation is trust. Trust from the bottom/sub that their top/Dom/me will take care of them and respect their limits. Whether you agree with it or not, people who are really in the lifestyle and not just wannabe posers consider hard limits and safewords unbreakable boundaries. If someone calls a safeword, that’s it, game over, literally.

    Again, do not measure an entire population of people based upon the cheesy, internet idiots who have no clue what BSDM is really about.

  199. Trinity February 14, 2009 at 7:10 PM #

    “To receive that kind of trust, that is– I don’t even know how to describe that. It’s something beautiful worth crying over, it is like utter contentment. And sometimes it scares the fuck out of me. ‘Am I good enough, am I skilled enough, am I responsible enough to do this?’”

    This. It’s how it feels to go your whole life being one of the weird ones, the strange ones, the ones with the odd ideas and odder lives, and say “Hey, I know what I’m doing here — trust me” in the most mundane and silly of circumstances and to be met with dubiousness, and then —

    what feels like eons later, with someone you love with all your spirit, for them to turn to you and say “Yes, I do trust you, even now, even with this.”

    I can see where the fear outsiders have that I (or male friends of mine who are also doms, or whatever) am not worthy of that trust would come from. But whatever people think, I do my damndest to deserve it. And getting it reminds me of how much room to grow I have as a person.

    Which strikes me as the absolute opposite of a downward spiral, really. “What more can I do to be worthy of sacred trust?” is a question I think more people should be asking ourselves — and living the answer to, when we can.

  200. ranat February 14, 2009 at 7:49 PM #

    @Delphyne –

    “If you want to sign up for the Wishing They Could Commit Murder and Most Certainly Toying With the Idea club , then feel free, but you will be an *anomaly*.”

    Murdering my sub would be completely counterproductive to both of us. They would be dead; I would be lonely. Not very fulfilling.

    “Oh my god Trinity, I can’t believe that you (general you) are *insulted* because I don’t think you are dangerous or have murderous impulses.”

    I believe you missed our collective point. The point is not that we’re insulted that you don’t think we’re as dangerous, but how ridiculous it is to think of dominant men as dangerous if you don’t think of dominant women are equally dangerous. It’s a huge hole in the prevailing anti-BDSM argument I’ve seen in this dialogue.

    “Male sadism, rapism and murderousness towards women on the other hand, is mainstream.”

    I completely agree. I believe, however, that much of BDSM is a way to channel such societal indoctrination in a healthy and fun way.

    Returning to Lillie’s early point about pros, and Georgias’ quote “I’ve never heard of a prosub, because we’re in fairly high supply.”

    I have heard of women pro subs, such as Miss Calico (she left a comment on the ‘Defend Kink dot com’ post if anyone cares to look at her blog on BDSM sex work). Also, I think a discussion of pro BDSM distracts from the main issue. While certainly more visible, BDSM sex workers are not the majority of kink, nor do their practices necessarily reflect those of the majority of kink. Largely, their practices follow a business model, illustrated rather depressingly in my opinion by the professional dominatrix. It’s a mistake to conflate the business practices of professional sex workers (such as the models who do shoots for Kink dot com) with the lifestyles of kinky people.

  201. Faith February 14, 2009 at 8:23 PM #

    “The whole “weaker body” trope is shot through with assumptions of what count as physical strength and weakness (for example, little attention is paid to the greater physical endurance of most female bodies), as well as sexist assumptions that because women are *expected* to be less physically powerful become self-fulfilling prophecies.”

    As a 100 lb. female who wears a size 0-1 and can’t wear much clothing and accessories that are designed for women (I buy most of my clothes from the juniors department, i.e. the teenage department), I have no qualms with admitting that I am physically weaker than most men.

    It’s a fact. No getting around that fact. I am physically weaker than most men. Most men could turn me into a pulp with little to no effort and unless I had a weapon to defend myself, there would be nothing I could do about it.

  202. Trinity February 14, 2009 at 9:02 PM #

    “As a 100 lb. female who wears a size 0-1 and can’t wear much clothing and accessories that are designed for women (I buy most of my clothes from the juniors department, i.e. the teenage department), I have no qualms with admitting that I am physically weaker than most men.

    It’s a fact. No getting around that fact. I am physically weaker than most men.”

    True of me as well. But… what happened to your side saying not to use individual examples? Yet now somehow feminism is about weak bodies because you and I are small?

    And here I was thinking it was about improving the social standing of women.

    “Most men could turn me into a pulp with little to no effort and unless I had a weapon to defend myself, there would be nothing I could do about it.”

    Eh, I’m not sure about that. I’d like to think tae kwon do gave me at least a little of a fighting chance.

    (And the whole emphasis on physicality here strikes me as off — most attackers are acquaintances. Most attempt to build up a kind of trust, or rely on trust that already exists, to create the compromising situations. I think that really gets lost when the discussion becomes “Men control us because they’re big.”)

  203. Faith February 14, 2009 at 9:06 PM #

    “what happened to your side saying not to use individual examples? ”

    Uh, what side might that be, Trinity?

  204. Faith February 14, 2009 at 9:12 PM #

    “Yet now somehow feminism is about weak bodies because you and I are small?”

    Didn’t say that. But I do believe that it’s a bit much to not acknowledge the very real average difference in physical strength between men and women. Acknowledging that difference, however, does not mean that women should be discriminated against simply because we are stronger…which is an anti-feminist argument.

    “I’d like to think tae kwon do gave me at least a little of a fighting chance.”

    Cool. I, however, have only had about 3 martial arts classes in my life and I know for a fact that they are worthless against a man who weighs over 200 lbs. and is a bouncer. I know for a fact because I’ve been attacked by a man of that size and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do. I might as well have been trying to bring down the empire state building with my fist.

    “And the whole emphasis on physicality here strikes me as off — most attackers are acquaintances. Most attempt to build up a kind of trust, or rely on trust that already exists, to create the compromising situations. I think that really gets lost when the discussion becomes “Men control us because they’re big.””

    It is true that many attackers attempt to build up trust. It is also true that men often use their size intentionally to intimidate women.

  205. Trinity February 14, 2009 at 10:10 PM #

    “The Dom/mes who I respect and consider “true” practitioners of BDSM are in the lifestyle not because they get off on hurting someone, but because they get off on giving someone what they want, making their dreams come true, making their fantasies real.”

    T Dalton,

    I think this is a bit disingenuous. While I don’t think people are getting off on doing harm, I think there’s something kind of dishonest about pretending we just poof into existence once bottomy partners create us. I was fantasizing about pain long before I knew that it could be played with without doing harm, which is precisely why I was a late bloomer sexually!

    These discussions of a top’s desire as purely and entirely a response to masochists’ glee… well, sure, it sounds safer but it makes it sound like we’re just mirrors. Fuck that.

  206. delphyne February 14, 2009 at 11:27 PM #

    “The point is not that we’re insulted that you don’t think we’re as dangerous, but how ridiculous it is to think of dominant men as dangerous if you don’t think of dominant women are equally dangerous.”

    Why should I think of them as equally dangerous? They’re not. It would be sheer bloody-minded, stupid illogicality to think that females tops must somehow be dangerous because male sadists definitely are. Maybe it makes you feel big and scary, woohoo, to be a sadist, but men are dangerous in a way that women just aren’t, even the sadistic kind. You only have to look at the levels of rape, violence and murder inflicted by men on women, you only have to read what those female subs are going through with their murderous “masters” to realise that it’s qualitatively a completely different, and exponentially more dangerous, dynamic. There is no comparable ongoing destruction of mankind of the sort that is inflicted on womankind by men. Once again you need to look at this in a political context – this is feminism after all.

    This conversation is beginning to remind me a bit of those women who because they write or read some crappy slash fiction that they must be porn users and that makes their boyfriends Anal Teen Slut Gang Bang 53 OK. You really don’t need to take responsibility for male sadism and destructiveness. It belongs to their sex – let them own it.

  207. delphyne February 14, 2009 at 11:33 PM #

    ““Male sadism, rapism and murderousness towards women on the other hand, is mainstream.”

    I completely agree. I believe, however, that much of BDSM is a way to channel such societal indoctrination in a healthy and fun way.”

    Wow, I just need to highlight this because you’ve rendered me speechless.

    Well not that speechless. Now you’ve admitted that men are like this through social indoctrination and not because of this ridiculous hard-wiring that everybody keeps claiming (note everybody, brains are plastic – they can change), don’t you think it would be better to challenge that indoctrination than go “Hey it’s all right guys, we’ve found a bunch of women you can inflict your murderousness and sadism on to”?

    You do realise that BDSM merely reinforces male sadism, murderousness and rapism? It tells men that it is perfectly reasonable to harbour those impulses to women, because patriarchy has also indoctrinated a group of women to accept them.

  208. McStar February 15, 2009 at 12:16 AM #

    Hey Trinity – re. this:

    “are you saying this is only OK if it’s the bottom’s idea, then? “Oh, I never would have thought of this, but it makes you squirm happily so it’s awesome?” I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel bothered — you do, and you’re in good company — but rather just trying to understand. Why is it OK for a top to have those thoughts when she’s with her partner and not OK for her to think about doing those things when she’s by herself fantasizing? Or have I misunderstood you?”

    This is something I’m still trying to work out in my own head, so apologies if it’s a bit incoherent and mangled. I have a slight wariness/squick about people who get off on causing pain. It’s not that I think that doms/sadists are Bad People, and I don’t think that any sort of sexual thoughts or fantasies are “not OK” – ALL fantasies are ok. I’ve enjoyed topping and causing pain myself. It’s not that I think kinkiness is “only OK if it’s the bottom’s idea”, it’s more that for me, personally, as a young kink newbie, the fact that my partner was hurting me or dominating me purely because I was asking him to and he was obliging and game helped me to remember that I was safe. I think. Like I said, incoherent and mangled ;)

  209. T Dalton February 15, 2009 at 12:38 AM #

    Trinity said, “These discussions of a top’s desire as purely and entirely a response to masochists’ glee… well, sure, it sounds safer but it makes it sound like we’re just mirrors. Fuck that.”

    I never said that. I was speaking about myself and my experience.

    Not all subs are into pain. Not all Dom/mes are into sadism.

    I never said that all Dom/mes are in it for the same reasons.

    I only spoke about the ones that I know and have the most respect for. That’s not disingenuous, that’s you reading more into my statement than was actually there.

    I won’t put words into your mouth if you don’t try to cram them into mine. :)

  210. firefey February 15, 2009 at 2:45 AM #

    delphney, would you please produce for the group a study with sound research parameters that shows that male domes are more likely than female dommes to seriously injure or kill their partners? i’m assuming, since it is so central to your position, that you can site something.

    barring that, could you produce something scientific that shows male dominants are more likely to suffer from psychological disorders? i’ll leave the type open, though a study that showed specific types that are generally believed to contribute to premeditated murder would be great.

  211. Pharaoh Katt February 15, 2009 at 3:19 AM #

    ranat: There are many reasons I enjoy being dominant, but this is one of the top ones.

    Trust.

    Trust, from another person is one of the most alluring things in the world to me. And for them to trust me to tie them up (and tie them up safely) and hit them (and hit them safely), and for whatever space of time take responsibility for everything around them, to protect them from harm and hold them safe… To receive that kind of trust, that is– I don’t even know how to describe that. It’s something beautiful worth crying over, it is like utter contentment. And sometimes it scares the fuck out of me. ‘Am I good enough, am I skilled enough, am I responsible enough to do this?’

    Yes, yes, yes, a million times yes. I was going to say something similar but you beat me to it. I know without a doubt that this is something LM (my partner) kinks on.

    Because when you willingly allow someone to restrain you, you’re telling them “I trust you with my safety, I trust you to not do anything I don’t like, I trust you to stop when I want you to”.
    It’s just so incredibly powerful.

  212. Faith February 15, 2009 at 3:38 AM #

    “does not mean that women should be discriminated against simply because we are stronger…which is an anti-feminist argument.”

    Er…obviously that should have read “discriminated against simply because we are weaker”…or even more accurate “discriminated against simply because women are in general physically weaker”.

  213. Trinity February 15, 2009 at 4:02 AM #

    “It’s not that I think kinkiness is “only OK if it’s the bottom’s idea”, it’s more that for me, personally, as a young kink newbie, the fact that my partner was hurting me or dominating me purely because I was asking him to and he was obliging and game helped me to remember that I was safe. I think. Like I said, incoherent and mangled ;)”

    McStar: Okay. It sounded an awful lot like “well, this is OK if someone asks for it, but if someone goes home and masturbates thinking about it, s/he’s a creep.” To say nothing of bringing up to someone “Hey, I like this. Would you be willing to try it with me?”

    And… yeah, I get that it being purely a response to someone else’s desire would be least scary. And I don’t have a problem with people finding BDSM scary. Like I’ve said, a lot of people do.

    But I don’t really think, myself, that the presence of the fantasies is itself creepy. (If I did, I’d still be asking to be committed — yes, I did that, years ago.) So I just wanted to know what you were saying there.

  214. Trinity February 15, 2009 at 4:06 AM #

    “I only spoke about the ones that I know and have the most respect for. That’s not disingenuous, that’s you reading more into my statement than was actually there.

    I won’t put words into your mouth if you don’t try to cram them into mine. :)”

    Okay, but it still sounds like it’s saying that people are only “true” if they don’t have their own fantasies, and well, I’ve been deemed a mythical strange creature enough times that it probably shouldn’t bug me any more, but you know… pretty sure I’m breathing. :)

    Now, whether you respect me or not is another matter. I’d hope the contents of my fantasy life wouldn’t be the determining factor — especially without you discussing how I treat my partner with him first — but I’ve of course got no control over whether it is or not.

  215. rachel cervantes February 15, 2009 at 5:40 AM #

    I think I might be able to better understand a dom’s point if I could “get” that pleasure can result from pain. I don’t know that I can get that, though. So, I’ll just keep reading and listening.

  216. Trinity February 15, 2009 at 6:33 AM #

    Rachel,

    I don’t know how to explain it, really, other than to say it sometimes does happen. For me, realizing it was real happened when someone said to me “Have you ever held your hands under water that’s too hot and it feels sort of… good?” and I realized I actually had done that. But I don’t know that everyone has had those experiences, and I also think that heavy masochists are wired (I hear the sighs now) to have them more often.

    The usual explanations I hear offered are:

    1) that painful stimuli lead to the body releasing endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkiller. This does two things:

    a) dulls the unpleasant aspects of the stimulus

    From my experience it doesn’t seem to make the person feel less/dull the sensation so much as it makes the sensation not be unpleasant, and feel intense but good instead.

    and b) causes an altered state/high. Endorphins are opiods.

    From my experience and what I see in my partners, this altered state is usually an experience of relaxation/calmness.

    The second explanation I hear for how deriving pleasure from otherwise painful stimuli works is

    2) that arousal raises pain tolerance (I’ve heard “doubles”, but I don’t know the statistic), which makes it also more likely that things that would otherwise be unpleasant are experienced instead as intense sensation.

  217. machina February 15, 2009 at 8:13 AM #

    Rachel, I think a good way to think of it is that most of the stuff done at the height of passion would be painful and unpleasant when you’re not aroused. There are physiological and psychological changes that occur during arousal that alter the psychological response to stimuli. This is also why sexual masochists respond in quite normal ways to physical or sexual abuse, because they are not aroused.

  218. Sir Joe February 15, 2009 at 9:00 AM #

    Greetings All

    Respectfully I offer these thoughts. I was redirected here from another site by FireFey. In all of the posts I read, and I admit I didn’t get through all of them, but more than 75, I felt it time to add a few thoughts.

    I will preface this with my credentials so it does not appear I am talking out of my ass. I am a straight male Master, (not the Jeffersonian type) have been in the BDSM lifestyle for over 11-years. I fall under the onus of the Leather Community having cornerstone values of Honor, Integrity, Accountability, and Respect. Lastly, I am a true Sadist, and enjoy the pain I inflict – However, I abhor abuse and will defend anyone being abused with the very essence of my life. In the past I have owned female slaves and submissives, and worked with several rape victims to deal with and come to terms with much of the trauma associated with their attack.

    I only ask that before you judge my thoughts you read them all. I am not discussing abuse in my post. Abuse should not be tolerated, ever! And although abusers have found some of their prey in the BDSM community, cohesion in recent years has created better information standards in attempt to curtail that issue.

    Within all relationships sexual, marital, platonic, business or otherwise there is an exchange of power. This can be as subtle as letting a friend choose the place where you have dinner, or as profound as a Master/slave 24/7 relationship. Most would say (from a vanilla view point) that a relationship of equals would look like this ‘l l’ both of equal stature. The distinction in the BDSM culture is that it is more like this ‘=’ both still equal and the symbol looks more like an actual equal sign. The reason for this is that in the BDSM relationship by its nature defines the roles of its participants (In this case Male top/female bottom). As you visualize these two relationship dynamics as it follows the ebb and flow of life, only the BDSM relationship maintains its singular cohesion, as the vanilla relationship begins to look like pistons moving up and down.

    But this is not the entire story. In life there are people that cross our path – some we meet and instantly forget, others we meet connect to us as if we have known them our entire lives. This has much to do with the energy we give to and receive from others. We gravitate to people of like mind and similar interests. We are attracted to people that complete our circle of needs (opposites attract theory).

    As a Master, my role in the relationship is less about subjugation of my submissive than it is about liberation. I know… mind blowing thoughts, but hear me out. Feminists’ will agree that women have been objectified and oppressed and fight every day for that to change. This is a worthy effort, one all people should undertake, oppression should be eliminated from the planet in all forms. 1 in 4 women will be raped or sexually abused in her life time. Much of the oppression women have endured is sexual oppression – some of it for safety reasons, but much of it is an antiquated Victorian vision of “ladylike behavior”.

    Much like a military operation a commander gives a direct order to the soldier in the field. The soldier follows orders and is relieved of responsibility for those actions. Similarly, in the BDSM relationship the Dominant gives direction to the submissive and thus she/he is free from the repression of the Victorian standards, by virtue of the direction. Like a commander a Dominant is therefore completely responsible for all things that go on. So, as a woman desires to become the fully realized sexual individual she can be, but struggles with the standards and oppression of societal norms, she may seek a relationship role that places the responsibility of answering to the norms of society on someone else, such as a Dominant. He feeds her need to expand herself physically, sexually or emotionally and in the course of these actions uses many forms of both pleasure and pain, on behalf of his submissive, to accomplish these ends.

    Therefore, is it really subjugation if I am fulfilling the needs of a woman to grow beyond levels she thought were possible or allowed sexually, emotionally or physically? Providing this in an environment where she will be accepted regardless. There is no greater strength or courage than to give your power to another. The responsibility to use that power wisely is now on the Dominant.

    But why pain? Many of you will not believe this, but there is a level of sexual release above that of the orgasm, or for women the multi-orgasm. There are several levels in fact. Most vanilla relationships can barely sustain orgasms with their partners… BDSM defines these higher level s as “domspace/subspace and cathartic release. Now these are achieved when the brain releases endorphins into the body. This release can be achieved through both pleasure and pain. When enough endorphins are released a euphoric state is achieved. This can be a simple feeling of light headedness or as intense as an out of body experience. Because the body can rarely accept that much pleasure intensity, the most efficient way to reach this state is through pain. NOW – Unlike getting you ass kicked in an ally, this pain is created by a slow and steady but ever increasing intensity until the desires affect is attained. It is consensual, never done in anger and never with malice. This separates it from the legal definition of abuse. Additionally, Cathartic release happens when the body has reached a level of intensity that all of the stored anger, frustration and guilt and emotional garbage is unable to remain bottled up and is released. Having worked with rape victims I am able to take them to this level as a sadist, the release is as intense and as the name implies. It is an intense form of therapy and should not be tried by just anyone. In reality, I have helped women that came to me seeking this form of abrupt therapeutic release.

    I have owned a submissive that came to me a virgin (penile penetration) and after serving me for a year, left – still a virgin, but a much more sexually and personally realized woman.
    I have assisted a woman deal with the guilt she felt over the death of her daughter (as she was driving the car when they had an accident). Although the death of her daughter will always be a traumatic one, she was finally able to feel some happiness as a result of her cathartic release.
    I have taken sexually timid and shy girls that have a desire to explore their own sexuality but were
    terrified to do so from years of religious and parental fervor that sex is dirty and wrong. And give them the permission they needed to free themselves and actually enjoy sexual relationships and finally achieve orgasm.

    None of these women were mentally ill or felt subjugated for one minute as a submissive in my home. On the contrary, they felt a sense of freedom and liberation that no one had ever told them they were allowed to enjoy before.
    I am a Master in the BDSM community, I am a sadist and enjoy pain, I have owned slaves and submissives and under NO circumstances has any of that been designed to subjugate their ability to grow as individuals or become more than they thought they could be.

    Based on the “Feminist Critique” ethos, on the surface, any situation that oppresses a minority should be eradicated. However since women in an M/f BDSM Dynamic are free to explore their sexuality and grow as individuals this is not an oppressed group. Additionally, Female Dominants do exist in great numbers and thus women are not inherently under represented in dominant roles, also removing the onus of oppression.

    Whereas abuse does exist in the BDSM community, it also exists elsewhere. The BDSM Community is taking steps to prevent further abuse. BDSM is by its nature not abusive, and those such as myself that practice it via a strict moral and ethical code, of Honor, Integrity, Accountability, and Respect feel that as you look deeper into the mental and metaphysical reasons for following such a life path, as a Master it is my desire to be part of, and assist in, the growth and freedom that women seek through submission. Whereas, in the opposites attract theory of energy exchange, I am energized accepting submission from those who are energized by the accepting Dominance.

    Lastly, I do not claim this to be the only legitimate position, merely my own.

    In Leather and Life
    Sir Joe

  219. fawn February 15, 2009 at 11:42 AM #

    my ex girlfriend left me saying that i was too sensitive and subservient for her. she needed a man who would be more dominant, and was candid enough to admit that that is what attracted her to men.

  220. delphyne February 15, 2009 at 4:00 PM #

    I think the restraints aren’t about some twisted version of trust, I think what they are about is the knowledge that all sadists have, that whatever a person says about how they luuurve pain at any other time, at the moment of torture an unrestrained person will try to fight back or run away. Much easier to bind the limbs in order that the pain can proceed and the sadist can get his rocks off.

    Once again it’s like an even more horrific version of standard het relationships – “If you loved me you’d trust me [even though I'm hurting you]“, “If you loved me you’ll let me hurt you to prove how strong our love is”. Blech. Women are trained from birth to put up with this sort of crap and it’s time it stopped. I can’t believe BDSMers have actually managed to persuade people that it’s somehow alternative. The reason radical feminists object to it isn’t because we are apologists for “vanilla” sex, it’s because m/f sadistic relationships take heterosexuality and the sadism that is currently inherent in that to the ultimate degree.

    Even these paeans to the beauteousness of sadistic relationships sound exactly like the kind of exultations about how wonderful, lovely and special het relationships are (“no can possibly understand our love”). Romance isn’t dead, it lives on in BDSM.

  221. delphyne February 15, 2009 at 5:09 PM #

    “my home”

    Yeah, and how many of those women needed a roof over their heads a whole lot more than they needed to “explore” their submissive side? Many women have to put up with an awful lot for the security of a home. Lucky for you, eh?

    Male abusers use the promise of home to women in order to do all sorts of things to us – think about Hugh Hefner with his very young bunnies in “his home”, or the men waiting a big train stations for the runaways to alight to take them to “their homes”. Someone told me only recently how she was enticed to a man’s home when she was homeless where he raped her for two weeks before she could escape. She still had nowhere to go afterwards. That’s the use some men make of “their homes”.

    And you make it all out that you are doing them a huge favour, when the truth is you’d be destroyed if you didn’t have someone to take out your sadistic impulses on. I’m sure none of the women you tortured were mentally ill by the way – it’s pretty obvious you are though.

    I urge both sadists and subs to find new ways of working through their anxiety and other strong negative feelings because this really isn’t the way to deal with them.

  222. Nine Deuce February 15, 2009 at 5:21 PM #

    I’ve got a problem with this business about women being unable to explore their sexual desires and needing to be led by a dominant. I realize that women are shamed for liking sex in our culture, and that this needs to stop, but I think the real solution is for women to refuse to put up with it, not for them to turn their free will over to someone who supposedly knows better than they do what they want.

  223. delphyne February 15, 2009 at 5:31 PM #

    I’d say BDSM was a continuation of the shame. Some women are acting as if they only way they can be sexual is if they are severely physically punished for their feelings at the same time.

    One of those subs you linked to Nine Deuce actually said that in her family sexual women were regarded as “sluts”. So what does she do? She finds herself a man who calls her a “slut” and other misogynistic abuse when they are having torture sex. Seems like she took the messages from her family completely to heart.

  224. Trinity February 15, 2009 at 5:45 PM #

    I’ve got a problem with this business about women being unable to explore their sexual desires and needing to be led by a dominant.

    ND, are you just getting “this business” from Sir Joe’s comment? (I hate to say it but… tl;dr!)

    Because from what I’ve heard from women who like submitting, it’s not that they’re unable to explore without being led, it’s that what they want to explore — what actually turns them on, as opposed to what various political theories say should turn them on — is submission within negotiated parameters.

    So in a sense they “need” the dominant person to do it (if s/he’s not there, what are they submitting to?) but it’s not that they’re sexually frozen and the dominant person magically detects what they need or something.

    (That could be what Joe said is going on, in which case I disagree with him. I found the whole “BDSM is so much more awesome than anything else and I know what women need” tone of his comment pretentious, so I didn’t pay too much attention.)

  225. Faith February 15, 2009 at 6:22 PM #

    “Much like a military operation a commander gives a direct order to the soldier in the field. The soldier follows orders and is relieved of responsibility for those actions. Similarly, in the BDSM relationship the Dominant gives direction to the submissive and thus she/he is free from the repression of the Victorian standards, by virtue of the direction. Like a commander a Dominant is therefore completely responsible for all things that go on. So, as a woman desires to become the fully realized sexual individual she can be, but struggles with the standards and oppression of societal norms, she may seek a relationship role that places the responsibility of answering to the norms of society on someone else, such as a Dominant. He feeds her need to expand herself physically, sexually or emotionally and in the course of these actions uses many forms of both pleasure and pain, on behalf of his submissive, to accomplish these ends.”

    Women are not relieved of their responsibility for their sexuality by becoming submissive. That is a complete and total crock. People are responsible for their behavior 100% of the time. What women need is not a man who will prey on their oppression for their own selfish desires, but a society in which they are free to claim ownership o f their sexual desires without having to surrender them to someone else.

    That is liberation.

  226. Faith February 15, 2009 at 6:29 PM #

    “None of these women were mentally ill or felt subjugated for one minute as a submissive in my home. On the contrary, they felt a sense of freedom and liberation that no one had ever told them they were allowed to enjoy before.
    I am a Master in the BDSM community, I am a sadist and enjoy pain, I have owned slaves and submissives and under NO circumstances has any of that been designed to subjugate their ability to grow as individuals or become more than they thought they could be.”

    Are you a psychiatrist? Are you an expert in mental illness? Are you God? How do you know they were not mental damaged or that they never felt subjugated? Are you also a mind reader?

    RE: Owning slaves.

    I find it utterly bizarre that people don’t realize how completely impossible it is to own another human being. In order to own a person, you’d have to control their body, mind, and soul. Doing such is an impossibility. It isn’t even possible to truly own a dog, cat, or a any other living creature. We can create the illusion of ownership; we can believe that we own another living creature, but only someone who is living an illusion can truly believe that they truly own another living creature.

    It’s a spiritual and even physical impossibility. People can role-play ownership, but that is all it is: role-playing.

  227. Faith February 15, 2009 at 6:33 PM #

    Goddamn male sadists fucking piss me off. And I am not apologizing for that statement.

    Sir Joe is not an honorable, noble soul. He’s a goddamn predator. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Arrogant. Pure fucking arrogance.

  228. firefey February 15, 2009 at 7:34 PM #

    delphney, not everyone who practices BDSM uses restraints.

    and as for the whole male dome murder thing… i’m still hoping to see something scientific from you. cause this is starting to sound a whole lot more like you’ve an issue with all het relationships, regardless of the ways in which they screw. that kind of emotional negativity is really unhealthy. i hesitate to say you need therapy, but it’s starting to seem that way.

    at the very least, they hypocrisy of saying sadists are only bad if they have a penis and are sadistic towards women should be examined. no one here is saying people don’t do some truly heinous things to other people. no one is even denying the majority of those people harmed are women. but to insist that abuse is only happening in heterosexual relationships is really narrow minded. if you think sadistic sexual practices are bad then why doe female sadists and male sadists with male partners get a pass from you? because they have.

  229. delphyne February 15, 2009 at 8:25 PM #

    Go and study some radical feminist theory Firefey and then maybe you’ll actually be able to respond to what I said rather than this stereotype in your head of what you think I must have said. I didn’t say that what female sadists were doing wasn’t bad, I said it was unpleasant and inhumane and they act as a smokescreen for male sadists – that’s bad. However male sadists are part of the wider system of sado-patriarchy where men use violence, rape, torture and sometimes even death to maintain their dominance over women. It’s a planetary problem and has been going on for thousands of years.

    True liberation for women will be when men are no longer in the position to dominate and control us. We are not there yet, quite the opposite in fact.

    Instead we have predators (agree with Faith) like Joe proudly describing his abuses of women and pretending he is actually doing them a favour. That’s how fucked up men are as part of male supremacy (and once again in the watered down version of “vanilla” het relationships plenty of men also think they are doing a woman a favour if he he regularly fucks her and lets him act as his maidservant, lucky lady).

  230. Adina February 15, 2009 at 8:26 PM #

    Three thoughts:

    1. Why dominance and submission. For me, D/s (whether it involves S&M or not) is like partner dancing. I’ve done a lot of swing and ballroom dancing. I’m good at it. I can lead if I have to, but I prefer following. I like letting someone else decide what comes next, not because I’m damaged in some way, but because I enjoy the unfolding of surprises. When I have to lead, I get bored because I know what’s coming. And in life, as well as in ballroom dancing, following is not being a passive victim; it takes balance, agility, focus, and a strong frame. And when the leading and the following are both done well, it is very, very good. Thank goodness there are partners available who like to lead! I suppose they like to lead because it is exhilarating to be in charge, to plan the steps that make a dance work well, to be part of a couple moving well together.

    2. Some people enjoy pain. Some eroticize it, and some enjoy the challenge of it. I enjoy pain. I also enjoy intense physical activity, like riding a bicycle hard until my muscles are screaming and I feel like throwing up. My point is that it is possible to enjoy sensations that aren’t “pleasant,” and for some of us, it’s even better if someone else is in charge.

    I chose to get involved with bdsm because I found it all highly erotic and wanted to explore it. Nobody convinced me to try it. I continue with it because I enjoy it. I used to work out with a personal trainer who would tell me what weight to lift and how many times to lift it. Sometimes it hurt. Sometimes it left me sore for days.

    3. I don’t understand the hate and disgust directed at those of us in the bdsm community. My spankings are more consensual than most of early vanilla sex experiences were (when it was the strange dance of him trying to get as much as possible, and me trying to hold off as long as possible). In the bdsm community, people actually talk ahead of time about what they both want to do. While there may be “vanillas” who are open about what they want, this openness is a universal value here.

    I think there are jerks everywhere, and really nice considerate people everywhere, both within and without the bdsm community. In the vanilla world, there’s a line between consensual sex and rape, there’s a line between consensual boxing and assault and battery, there’s a line between employment and slavery. The distinction in all these cases is consent. Why is it so threatening that what I like my boyfriend to do with and to me in private is something not everyone wants to do?

  231. delphyne February 15, 2009 at 8:40 PM #

    “you’ve an issue with all het relationships”

    Well duh, I’m a radical feminist, that’s hardly news. You know just about every BDSMer on here has been whining about how we don’t understand you or listen to you. I’ve done loads of reading round BDSM and what BDSMers have to say, some of it as recently as in the past few days. I bet most of you have never even looked at any radical feminist theory or read rad fem websites. So I’m just going to repeat, why don’t you go off and read some radical feminist theory because maybe then you’ll actually be able to engage with what I said rather than what you thought I said (alternatively you could just read what I said more carefully).

    “i hesitate to say you need therapy”

    Hee, it doesn’t look to me like you hesitated at all. Not thinking much of het relationships within male supremacy does not equal needing therapy, it means that someone is paying attention to systems of power in the world and how they operate to women’s detriment. A sane approach to take I would say.

  232. ranat February 15, 2009 at 8:40 PM #

    @ND – I apologize if this shows up as a duplicate. The previous time I submitted it I got an error. Please delete the duplicate if so.

    @Delphyne and firefey –

    “delphney, would you please produce for the group a study with sound research parameters that shows that male domes are more likely than female dommes to seriously injure or kill their partners? i’m assuming, since it is so central to your position, that you can site something.

    barring that, could you produce something scientific that shows male dominants are more likely to suffer from psychological disorders? i’ll leave the type open, though a study that showed specific types that are generally believed to contribute to premeditated murder would be great.”

    Being as no one has produced such a study, I can produce the abstracts for several studies that say just the opposite (thank you Ranai). I have only read the abstracts, and not the actual studies, but the summaries seem very definitive.

    @Delphyne – Thank you for elaborating more on your view about why dominant women are not as dangerous a dominant men. I’ve been genuinely curious, and I would appreciate it if more of the commenters from the anti-BDSM camp could elaborate on this view.

    “[...] Now you’ve admitted that men are like this through social indoctrination and not because of this ridiculous hard-wiring that everybody keeps claiming (note everybody, brains are plastic – they can change), don’t you think it would be better to challenge that indoctrination than go “Hey it’s all right guys, we’ve found a bunch of women you can inflict your murderousness and sadism on to”?'”

    Your use of the word ‘admitted’ seems to suggest you think I was hiding it, which I was not. I explain my views on how patriarchy relates to BDSM in more detail here. It happens to be my view that BDSM developed as a healthy way to express otherwise unhealthy paradigms that we have internalized through socialization in this culture. This is not, however, the view of all people who practice BDSM, and my opinion should not be taken to represent all of them.

    Your use of the term ‘hard-wiring’ could also be taken two ways: genetic hardwiring, or social hardwiring. I personally lean toward the view that I am socially hardwired, not genetically hardwired.

    “You really don’t need to take responsibility for male sadism and destructiveness. It belongs to their sex – let them own it.”

    I take responsibility for no one’s sadism but my own. Which I own, not ‘them.’ I own my sexuality, not the patriarchy. I will, however, defend the dominant men I know from being unjustly equated with men who actually abuse, rape, and enslave women. Dominant men who responsibly express their sexuality are fundamentally different from the men who abuse women (and everyone else) and are actually ruining the world, which needs to be recognized.

    “I think the restraints aren’t about some twisted version of trust, I think what they are about is the knowledge that all sadists have, that whatever a person says about how they luuurve pain at any other time, at the moment of torture an unrestrained person will try to fight back or run away. Much easier to bind the limbs in order that the pain can proceed and the sadist can get his rocks off.”

    On the contrary, it is my experience that people who enjoy pain do not only accept it when restrained. I, for instance, have been flogged both tied up and untied, and I ran neither time, because I was enjoying it. Both states add new things to the experience. Similarly, I have flogged people who had no restraints whatsoever, and they remained because they were enjoying it. Also, just as firefey said, not everyone who is kinky is into bondage, just like not everybody who is into s/m is into d/s, and not everyone who is into d/s is into s/m. BDSM is not a homogeneous population of people, activities, or behaviors.

  233. ranat February 15, 2009 at 8:43 PM #

    @Faith –

    “I find it utterly bizarre that people don’t realize how completely impossible it is to own another human being. In order to own a person, you’d have to control their body, mind, and soul. Doing such is an impossibility. It isn’t even possible to truly own a dog, cat, or a any other living creature. We can create the illusion of ownership; we can believe that we own another living creature, but only someone who is living an illusion can truly believe that they truly own another living creature.

    It’s a spiritual and even physical impossibility. People can role-play ownership, but that is all it is: role-playing.”

    I concur. Well put.

  234. Sir Joe February 16, 2009 at 1:36 AM #

    @Delphyne & @Faith – The question of scientific research has come to bear in this conversation, I offer this “Scientific Study”

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19951101-000036.html

    As for your personal opinions of me, I respect your right to have any opinion you like. I am neither offended or bothered.

    I can answer to some specific’s. How do I know they [submissives] didn’t feel subjigated? LOL.. No, I am not God – not even a distant cousin… But I do have each of my submissives keep a journal of how they feel and their thoughts. The know it is a way for them to express themselves in anyway they want – including calling me an asshole if they want – and not one of them has had issue with my role in our relationship (or called me an asshole for that matter).

    As for those that “need a home” – NONE. in fact the only submissive that resided in my home was my wife and she neither needed my home or my belonings. All others have maintained their own residence and came and went freely.

    Lastly, the issue of – women will not be free until no man has power and control over them.- and “Go and study some radical feminist theory..” The key word is “radical.” (from dictionary.com) — favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues. — The position – though I defend your right to have that opinion – in and of itself is based on a position that offers no objectivity; it is slanted and one sided. In the same right, I am – thanks to the U.S. Constitution, free to express myself in a way that I choose. In a free society, it is easy to condem others who disagree with you, but will you defend my rights to have those opinions? Only you can decide that.

    In the end – we view the world from different idealogical positions, but that does not make you a raving bitch, nor dose it make me a preditor. We simply see things differently. In my quest for knowledge and the desire to understand as much as i can, I have read the viewpoints of yourselves and tried to visualize it with an open mind.

    In defference to that open acceptance of your position, I offered a viewpoint that had, until my post, gone unconsidered. It was tendered in a polite, defined way and included specific examples for claification. I did not seek, ask or demand that anyone to change their position simply that they view an articulate and objective counter point that has verifyable accuracies.

    And as I said, I will defend anyone male or female against abusers and I have. In my adult life, I have helped more than a dozen women that were in abusive situations get out and into a safe environment. NONE of them became sexual or submissive partners of mine. Taking advantage of someone in a desperate position is ethically unthinkable. Regaradless of my sexual practices, I am a christian, and helping those in need has been instilled in me from childhood, not for praise or thanks, but because it needed to be done and if not me then who in those situations. Take from that what you wish. Regardless of your need to lable me in a negitive way, I am actually a really nice guy, respectful, and honorable and if you offered to get to know me before you labled me it might have made a difference in your opinion.

    Sir Joe

  235. ranat February 16, 2009 at 2:44 AM #

    I would just like to say I’m moving on from this discussion, and thank you to those of you who answered my questions.

  236. Faith February 16, 2009 at 2:53 AM #

    “But I do have each of my submissives keep a journal of how they feel and their thoughts. The know it is a way for them to express themselves in anyway they want – including calling me an asshole if they want – and not one of them has had issue with my role in our relationship (or called me an asshole for that matter).”

    Irrelevant. As someone with experience as a submissive, I know full well that just because a submissive has thoughts or feelings about her dominant, that doesn’t mean that she will express them.

    Part of being a submissive means being pleasing to the dominant, calling your dominant an asshole is not likely to be very pleasing.

    There’s also the matter of whether or not the submissive themselves even realizes that they have negative feelings or can articulate their feelings if they do have them.

  237. Faith February 16, 2009 at 2:55 AM #

    “Regardless of your need to lable me in a negitive way, I am actually a really nice guy, respectful, and honorable and if you offered to get to know me before you labled me it might have made a difference in your opinion.”

    Me thinks he doth protest too much. Men using the “nice guy” label sets off just as many red flags as men who use the “real man” label.

  238. Faith February 16, 2009 at 3:02 AM #

    “In my adult life, I have helped more than a dozen women that were in abusive situations get out and into a safe environment. NONE of them became sexual or submissive partners of mine.”

    Proves nothing. Just because a man has a history of working with abuse victims does not mean that he himself is not a predator.

    http://eleanorstrousers.wordpress.com/2008/02/14/disturbing-web-connections/

  239. Trinity February 16, 2009 at 3:11 AM #

    “Me thinks he doth protest too much. Men using the “nice guy” label sets off just as many red flags as men who use the “real man” label.”

    It’s bothering me too.

    Joe, you might seem like less of a skeezeball if you didn’t keep insisting you’re perfect.

    Anyone can talk a good game about leather ethics. What have you done to live them? Can you answer that question in any way without reporting to us what your subs felt? Remember that we currently have no way of asking them, or ascertaining if you’re making stuff up.

  240. Trinity February 16, 2009 at 3:18 AM #

    “Part of being a submissive means being pleasing to the dominant, calling your dominant an asshole is not likely to be very pleasing.”

    Maybe my experience is… not like yours, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen someone be so invested in being pleasing that they couldn’t tell me when something was wrong.

    Did you find in your relationships that the power dynamic varied over time? I can’t say I’ve ever experienced that not happening.

    But then, I’ve always thought of D/s as the icing on the cake, something that overlays an already solid relationship. Was that not the case for you?

  241. Faith February 16, 2009 at 3:35 AM #

    “Maybe my experience is… not like yours, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen someone be so invested in being pleasing that they couldn’t tell me when something was wrong.”

    Yes, I can honestly say that I have been so caught up in being the perfect submissive that I couldn’t say when something was wrong. This is part of why master/slave relationships bother me so much.

    “Did you find in your relationships that the power dynamic varied over time? I can’t say I’ve ever experienced that not happening.”

    To some degree, yes. But with the relationship that I’m referring to I had to basically stop anything even remotely related to SM in order for us to get to a point that I felt the relationship was not toxic, despite my pleasure at engaging in sexual activity that most would label as submissive.

    “But then, I’ve always thought of D/s as the icing on the cake, something that overlays an already solid relationship. Was that not the case for you?”

    The relationship began as a D/S relationship.

  242. Trinity February 16, 2009 at 5:08 AM #

    “Yes, I can honestly say that I have been so caught up in being the perfect submissive that I couldn’t say when something was wrong. This is part of why master/slave relationships bother me so much.”

    *nod* I’ve heard of that happening, but not seen it in my relationships. I suppose that could have something to do with patriarchy and F/m being different, but I don’t know. I’m personally inclined to think it’s because Monkey and I are more interested in enjoying ourselves than being perfect by whatever standards.

    “But with the relationship that I’m referring to I had to basically stop anything even remotely related to SM in order for us to get to a point that I felt the relationship was not toxic, despite my pleasure at engaging in sexual activity that most would label as submissive.”

    Well, then I’m glad you did — doing stuff that feels toxic is never a good idea.

    “The relationship began as a D/S relationship.”

    Ah, okay. For whatever it’s worth (probably not much), I would never do that. I strongly believe that in order to do D/s you have to know one another really well.

    Monkey took my collar after over a year together. For whatever it’s worth, I strongly recommend that people have a substantial amount of time as partners before doing any kind of formal D/s full time.

  243. RenegadeEvolution February 16, 2009 at 5:46 AM #

    Arches a brow at Joe…

    Right then.

    I too would like to see some proof of what Delphyne here is asserting.

    Wow, female tops, isn’t it great to know your sexuality is a smokescreen for bad, bad men and not, oh, your sexuality?

    Restraints are totally over-rated.

    “I bet most of you have never even looked at any radical feminist theory or read rad fem websites.”

    Incorrect.

    Shorter Delphyne:

    “I hate this BDSM stuff, so it is wrong and you are all fucked up…case closed”.

    I’m gonna go smack the hell out of a deluded pathetic submissive gal now…who is about 9 inches taller than me and could kick the crap out of me with one arm tied behind her back if she wanted too, and nah, she won’t even be tied up!

  244. Gorgias February 16, 2009 at 6:18 AM #

    “Irrelevant. As someone with experience as a submissive, I know full well that just because a submissive has thoughts or feelings about her dominant, that doesn’t mean that she will express them.

    Part of being a submissive means being pleasing to the dominant, calling your dominant an asshole is not likely to be very pleasing. ”

    I can speak from personal experience when I say that my percieved role has occasionally made communication more difficult, especially when I was starting out.

    That said, this is a case of Doing it Wrong (TM). My contention isn’t that all BDSM relationships are healthy, or all permutations of them are, just that power exchange qua power exchange is not inherently an evil.

  245. Sir Joe February 16, 2009 at 2:33 PM #

    @Faith – its disconcerting how angry you are. your statement:

    “just because a man has a history of helping abuse victims doesn’t mean that he himself isn’t a preditor.”….

    LOL.. I believe that his actions by definition would state otehrwise. But i can see how symantics could confuse you.

    The inital OP began this thread…

    “but I’ve yet to hear any of these dominant men explain why they are interested in dominating women”

    I responspnded to this with my insights. Take it face value or don’t, it sought insights – I offered mine. Nothing more.

    @Trinity – To my “leather ethics” and what have I done with them. I give workshops at events, speak at Universities, do demonstrations on safe play, I have written multiple articles that have been posted multiple sites, and reposted by men and women in the lifestyle all over the world, (with my permission to use my copyrighted material)

    “Approaching a Prospective Sub” is written to men that feel domination is about intimidation – thought those who should read it won’t – of those that do if they gain insights that prevent them from becoming victims, then its accomplished it goal. (search engine, Approaching a prospective sub + Sir Joe ). Faith, feel free to miss the point here as well.

    I could go on, but that was not the intent of the OP. The question was asked, I responded – I have nothing further to add. I wish you all well.

    Sir Joe

  246. IcePanther February 16, 2009 at 3:07 PM #

    I get this out of the way first. I am male, dominant and a sadist. I will also say I am in an exclusive relationship with my very lovely submisive.
    Some facts I will let you know. Most people that I know that have tried to go back to a vanilla relationship after being in D/s relationships have failed. They can not deal without the structure in said realtionships.
    As to my sadism. Yes I do like to cause pain to my girl. I will also let you know she has been in the BDSM lifechoice for 16 years longer than I have been and has left relationships because they are only about abuse not about love. She is a masochist and enjoys the pain and somedays it is different than others. To say she is mentally incompetant I find very offensive to her. That she is submissive to a male is my fault, I dont think so. She is very independant outside the relationship and handles herself with respect. Her mother is in a very powerful position and a definite feminist. I just believe as she tells me that within her heart she believes she is submissive to me because of how I handle her and myself.
    D/s lifestyl;e is about an exchange between 2 people that is sacred and is a means to an end. S/M is something that does nto have to be in that relationship at all and I know many that dont employ that in the relationship. That we do is a choice that we both made because that is who we are.
    One last question for the feminists. Wasnt feminism supposed to be about equality for women so they could make the choice of what they want? So what is the problem with a woman choosing to be submissive to a male?

  247. rachel cervantes February 16, 2009 at 4:27 PM #

    “Your girl?” WTF?

  248. rachel cervantes February 16, 2009 at 4:29 PM #

    I mean, really….your “girl???”

  249. Trinity February 16, 2009 at 5:43 PM #

    ““Your girl?” WTF?”

    Rachel Cervantes: Language like that is actually rather common. I call my partner my boy, too.

  250. Faith February 16, 2009 at 5:50 PM #

    “LOL.. I believe that his actions by definition would state otehrwise. But i can see how symantics could confuse you.”

    It hasn’t got a thing to do with semantics. I didn’t say helping abuse victims was predatory. I said that helping abuse victims was not evidence that the man is not predatory. Then I linked a post about a man with a history of helping women who had been sexually traumatized who had also been caught engaging in a sexual assault.

    Perhaps you might like to pay closer attention.

  251. Faith February 16, 2009 at 5:52 PM #

    “I mean, really….your “girl???””

    Many (probably most??) male doms refer to their sub as a girl. If they are into ageplay, he may even call her a “little girl” and have her behave basically as a child.

  252. Trinity February 16, 2009 at 5:54 PM #

    Joe:

    If you’re gone, you’re gone, but:

    I agree with you that BDSM is not inherently unhealthy or sexist, and I too have used topping/dominance to help people explore aspects of their sexuality that they’ve been taught are embarrassing.

    I’ve also had that experience of helping someone to grow, and feeling proud and blessed that I was able to be a positive influence in the life of someone I care about. That’s real, and it’s one of the awesome things about dominance.

    But you are coming off rather pretentious, whether you mean to or not. While you may just be talking about the positive effect you’ve had to counter a very unflattering and unfair portrait of dominant hetero men, it’s coming off like you see yourself as perfect and as God’s gift to women.

    Whether this is the case or not, admitting to a few flaws might help you to seem less like you’re just emptily bragging.

  253. rachel cervantes February 16, 2009 at 6:43 PM #

    Ah well, there’s more to this that I don’t understand than I realized, it seems.

  254. delphyne February 16, 2009 at 7:16 PM #

    “Shorter Delphyne:

    “I hate this BDSM stuff, so it is wrong and you are all fucked up…case closed”.”

    Shorter RE:

    “I can’t be bothered to actually listen to or be honest about the the arguments here so I’ll just make shit up.”

    For anybody who actually is interested in engaging however my argument in short is: m/f BDSM re-enacts and reinforces the sadistic/dominating dynamic that men use to oppress women under male supremacy and thus radical feminists do not support it. Not complicated.

  255. devastatingyet February 16, 2009 at 11:07 PM #

    All right, I’ll bite, though I’m pretty sure my answers won’t “satisfy” anyone.

    As mentioned earlier, since early childhood my fantasies have revolved around being controlled, trained, forced, punished, and so on. I was a bottom before I was ever a top, and that’s probably my more natural orientation in some ways, though I don’t really want my whole relationship to go that way.

    So my boyfriend submits to me instead. Because all of his fantasies, since adolescence, have been about being forced and controlled and made to suffer and work and so on.

    I find that being the top isn’t quite as “vivid” in some ways for me as being the bottom, but it’s extremely hot and satisfying and the perks are really nice as well. My boyfriend is also, on a non-sexual level, just about the most perfect person I could imagine for myself – smart, kind, smart-assed, a feminist, witty, and, as I sometimes accuse him of, “good all the way down.”

    But what do I get out of the actual bdsm sex?

    When he kneels and looks at me with submission in his eyes, it makes me dizzy and aroused.

    When I hurt him and he makes noises…yeah. I could just hit and hit and hit him. (I don’t, because it doesn’t go well and isn’t the right way to do it for us, but that feeling of something like bloodlust is really rich and sexy.)

    It’s much more interesting, arousing, and intense for me than any sex I’ve had before.

    And I get exactly what I want, as best he can deliver it without bad consequences to either of us. This thrills us both.

    He only wants more, which seems to be the position of most of the submissive-oriented people I’ve known or read the blogs of, etc.

  256. Gorgias February 17, 2009 at 1:01 AM #

    “Many (probably most??) male doms refer to their sub as a girl. If they are into ageplay, he may even call her a “little girl” and have her behave basically as a child.”

    FWIW, “boy” (sometimes boi) and “submissive” are practically interchangeable in the gay male BDSM scene (that I’ve participated in), and not everyone is engaging in age play.

  257. Trinity February 17, 2009 at 1:52 AM #

    “He only wants more, which seems to be the position of most of the submissive-oriented people I’ve known or read the blogs of, etc.”

    This is my experience, too. And it’s not a kind of “I deserve no better,” it’s “Oh, this is awesome. More, more.”

  258. Trinity February 17, 2009 at 1:55 AM #

    “FWIW, “boy” (sometimes boi) and “submissive” are practically interchangeable in the gay male BDSM scene (that I’ve participated in), and not everyone is engaging in age play.”

    And not all age play is something the dominant person comes up with, either. Faith’s comment (not saying she meant it this way at all) kind of sounds like “and maybe the dominant person will make you do X” and… not necessarily. I know people who have trouble finding dominant folks because many people are squicked by the ageplay thing and don’t want to involve themselves in it.

  259. RenegadeEvolution February 17, 2009 at 3:28 AM #

    delphyne: I’ve been listening to you for years and shit, I have no need to make shit up. Yes, your basic argument is as you stated, but when anyone comes in- male or female, top or bottom- and says “well, wait a minute, it’s not like that”…well, you have a tendancy to roll right over them, discount them, or not listen/believe what they are saying. Makes it hard to engage.

    CAN m/f bdsm relations reinforce patriarchal norms and whatnot? Why yes, it can. I don’t think too many folk have said otherwise. Does it ALWAYS? Humm, apparently plenty of people think no, and also think even if acts in the realm of m/f bdsm could, their decisions as adult, thinking women to engage in such things matter equally.

    That seems to also be neglected or rolled over, you know, those decisions of those thinking adult women and all…their (dirty word) choice is totally subject to all kinds of speculation. Which not always so condusive to getting people to engage and discuss.

    And it is VERY obvious you do not like BDSM-feminist reasons, yes, we understand- but that dislike does cause you to come at the subject and the people on the other side of the subject from an odd, and yes, judgmental angle. You do not appear to be interested in learning or listening to women with view other than your own…so I guess I wonder…what is it that you want? As, they say, what is your motivation?

    And really, if people are going to continue to accuse me of making stuff up- they really need to start being able to prove it. Am I making stuff up when I say you do not like BDSM and you think the people who engage in it are messed up? I mean, I can pull up many of your own words which lend themselves very well to that assumption on my part, but if I am mistaken, please do clarify so I won’t make the same mistake again.

  260. antiprincess February 17, 2009 at 4:04 AM #

    For anybody who actually is interested in engaging however my argument in short is: m/f BDSM re-enacts and reinforces the sadistic/dominating dynamic that men use to oppress women under male supremacy and thus radical feminists do not support it. Not complicated.</i<

    I get that any other variant of BDSM behavior is not relevant to your argument. fine.

    but to what end do radical feminists not support this sort of behavior?

    I mean, vegetarians don’t eat meat, for personal health reasons, for ethical reasons, whatever. And there are people who are, so to speak, radical vegetarians who not only don’t eat meat, but can be said to “not support” carnivore behavior. Not only do they make personal choices to not consume animal products, but they also do what they can to spread the message of a meat-free lifestyle, talk to carnivores in hopes of getting them to examine their choices, etc. – and my pal who is one of these radical vegetarians says “the world would be a better place if everyone stopped eating meat. you can do it! just try it! don’t you want to make the world a better place?”

    You sum up the radfem argument succinctly, delphyne. but it sometimes feels like radical feminists are speaking out of both sides of their collective mouth, when the discussion begins

    “look, we just don’t support behavior that reinforces patriarchy,”

    and concludes something like this:

    “(eyeroll) nobody CARES what you DO in your BEDROOM. nobody’s STOPPING you from DOING it. Nobody is going to TAKE AWAY your precious WHIPS…”

    I just wish someone would say, hey, AP, if you stop being kinky, you’ll help make the world a better place. and then tell me how that might happen.

    but if nobody cares what kinky people

  261. antiprincess February 17, 2009 at 4:14 AM #

    sorry about the open html tag and sentence fragment at the end of my comment, feel free to fix if possible. I’m nursing while typing and so I’m a bit distracted and one-handed.

    thanks for letting the comment through.

  262. Trinity February 17, 2009 at 5:58 AM #

    but it sometimes feels like radical feminists are speaking out of both sides of their collective mouth, when the discussion begins

    “look, we just don’t support behavior that reinforces patriarchy,”

    and concludes something like this:

    “(eyeroll) nobody CARES what you DO in your BEDROOM. nobody’s STOPPING you from DOING it. Nobody is going to TAKE AWAY your precious WHIPS…”

    Yeah, this is exactly how I feel about it too. It’s like, okay, you “don’t support” it, but you’re okay with us doing it…

    well, what’s that mean in practical terms? What is a lack of “support” if nothing’s going to happen, concretely, as a result of it? Does it just give you something to say when the topic comes up?

    Yeah, I’m getting snarky so I should probably stop now… but I really do wonder what “not support” means in these discussions.

    I mean, okay, I am bothered by the meat industry. But I eat meat. I;m complicit. I know it.

    If I say “I don’t support this industry,” by which I mean “I find it really really problematic” (which I do)…

    …doesn’t it make sense for a vegetarian friend to say “Wait, uh… in exactly what sense do you ‘not support’ it? You just ate a chicken.”

    I mean, yeah, we all do things we don’t approve of and complicity is complicated. (Which is part of why I still eat chickens.)

    But… what concrete purpose, in the real world, does “I don’t support BDSM but I have no interest in doing anything that will stop anyone from doing it” serve?

    It just seems really wishy-washy. I’d get it if you folks were writing essays for women’s studies classes or something — one can defend a position in an essay without meaning to do anything concrete. But… you’re not. What is it you anti-SM folks are hoping to achieve?

    Is it persuasion? Are you hoping that we’ll listen and change our minds and choose to abandon BDSM? Or what?

    It puzzles me, honestly. I don’t mean you shouldn’t be allowed to say “I have an intellectual objection to this.” And I’d sure rather you have only that than try to stop me! :)

    But it is kind of… odd. So yeah. What’s the point, anyway?

  263. Faith February 17, 2009 at 1:50 PM #

    “And not all age play is something the dominant person comes up with, either. Faith’s comment (not saying she meant it this way at all) kind of sounds like “and maybe the dominant person will make you do X” and… not necessarily. I know people who have trouble finding dominant folks because many people are squicked by the ageplay thing and don’t want to involve themselves in it.”

    I didn’t necessarily mean it that way. However, I have tremendous difficulty believing that a female sub would have trouble finding a male dom who would be interested in ageplay. In my experience, men in general are only more than happy to engage a woman who appears to be or acts less than her age. It’s also been my experience with the male doms who have tried to engage me that they were often interested in ageplay.

    I’ve often wondered if my experience has been in part due to the fact that I have a very childlike appearance. I can easily pass as a young teenager despite being, oh, many years older than a teenager.

  264. delphyne February 17, 2009 at 3:36 PM #

    Age play = mock paedophilia

    BDSM euphemisms really are the pits.

  265. Trinity February 17, 2009 at 3:38 PM #

    Faith: I don’t know, really. Male doms are not my usual dating pool. :)

    I have met plenty of people of various genders and orientations, though, who are like “Oh, the presentation tonight is on ageplay. Eww, I’m not going.” Or “Yeah, that was an enjoyable workshop but… what’s that got to do with sex? That’s weird.” Etc.

  266. antiprincess February 17, 2009 at 4:30 PM #

    Age play = mock paedophilia

    BDSM euphemisms really are the pits.

    well, I can see where someone would think that.

    However, speaking as someone who has been involved in ageplay, and as someone who knew a real live predatory child molester IRL, here’s the thing about that:

    for an ageplayer (whether on the “older” or “younger” end of the spectrum), the, er, thrill is in the contrast between one’s dress-up persona and one’s real-life existence. so, a thirty-year-old woman in pigtails and a school uniform is a turn-on, but an eight-year-old girl in pigtails and a school uniform is not. it’s the dissonance that makes it, um, fun.

    for a pedophile, a thirty-year-old woman in pigtails and a school uniform just doesn’t cut it. it has to be the genuine eight-year-old.

    now, I’m not trying to say I am the expert of experts, I’m not trying to “school” anyone. I’m just saying this seems to be true from what I’ve observed.

    further, I must point out also that not all ageplay scenes are M-dominant-older and f-submissive-younger. there are any number of rearrangements of that paradigm. (that may not be relevant to your argument, though, delphyne.)

    and finally, I read some essay on age play somewhere (again, I’m not speaking from a position of I-the-expert, at least I hope it doesn’t sound like I am) which contained the phrase “children are NOT submissive!” which, if you’ve been around a child for longer than five minutes, you know to be only too true…

  267. IcePanther February 17, 2009 at 4:44 PM #

    So my word right now I want to bring to attention is ignorance. Ignorance is not a derogatory term in that it means that someone just is not educated in a subject.
    Most people that bring negative connotations to BDSM I have noticed are truly ignorant of what it really is all about. personally I think that this same type of ignorance brings about oppression in so many different parts of life. Wasnt it ignorance that brought about slavery, patriarchal views that women are inferior, or origninally that AIDS was only a homosexual disease. Ignorance brings about hate through misunderstanding. The only thing I really want to know is this the type of thing that feminists truly want to be associated with?

  268. antiprincess February 17, 2009 at 5:02 PM #

    I should say – most children are not as submissive as adults assume them to be, all the time.

  269. Faith February 17, 2009 at 5:10 PM #

    “Age play = mock paedophilia”

    Basically, yes. Although in at least a handful of cases I don’t think that sex is involved at all. Or the people involved don’t engage in sex while in the role of a adult and child.

  270. Faith February 17, 2009 at 5:12 PM #

    “I have met plenty of people of various genders and orientations, though, who are like “Oh, the presentation tonight is on ageplay. Eww, I’m not going.””

    Yea, but how many of those people are only saying that just because they are afraid of looking like a perv?

  271. antiprincess February 17, 2009 at 8:47 PM #

    Yea, but how many of those people are only saying that just because they are afraid of looking like a perv?

    someone who’s down with whips, chains and nipple clamps for sexual pleasure is going to fear “looking like a perv?”

  272. Charlie February 17, 2009 at 9:08 PM #

    My observation is that people do ageplay for lots of reasons. Some people are really in touch with their inner selves and find role playing around that to be lots of fun. Some people do ageplay as a way to experience reparenting, especially as a step towards healing from old injuries and integration of their inner self/selves. Often, reparenting involves significant negotiation of needs, desires, expectation, and boundaries. [Hint: this is one thing that makes it different from pedophilia.]

    The ageplayers I’ve spoken with are consistently able to hold onto both the child/parent aspects of their respective roles AND to their adult selves. It’s not that anyone believes that they are actually, literally regressing. It’s simply that they have a facet of their psyche that they want to give some attention to. For some people, once they have some positive experiences around that, their child personna begins to integrate into the rest of their psyche. Many people experience that as deeply healing and transformative. Other people may want/need to continue exploring those facets of themselves.

    Not all ageplay is sexual. Let me say that again. Not all ageplay is sexual.

    Yes, some people blend ageplay and sex. I think that there are lots of reasons for that. Some people like to push their emotional edges. Some people want to delve into those parts of their psyches that experienced wounding around their sexual development as they grew up. Some people fetishize youth and want to play with that WITH A CONSENTING ADULT. Some people need to shift into a child-like emotional state in order to feel safe, comfortable, secure, and protected. Some people have completely different reasons for doing it.

    Lots of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with pedophilia.

    Delphyne- age play may look like mock pedophilia to you. And that doesn’t mean that that’s how everyone who does it experiences it. Or even most people.

  273. Faith February 17, 2009 at 11:34 PM #

    “someone who’s down with whips, chains and nipple clamps for sexual pleasure is going to fear “looking like a perv?””

    I’d say yes that some very well may. Whips and chains are a far cry from pedophilia.

  274. Faith February 17, 2009 at 11:43 PM #

    “The ageplayers I’ve spoken with are consistently able to hold onto both the child/parent aspects of their respective roles AND to their adult selves.”

    I know at least one women for whom this was not true. She was pulled in so deeply that even managing to go about her adult roles became a difficulty.

    As for the rest of your comment, there very well may be some truth to the psychological aspects without the sexual elements added. Regardless, it’s the type of thing that I would imagine could only conceivably be safe while engaging with someone highly knowledgeable about psychology, and abuse if the person had a history of abuse.

  275. rachel cervantes February 17, 2009 at 11:45 PM #

    Ok, this thread has caused some real unquiet in me and is forcing me places I’d rather not go. I tend to agree with Delphyne when she says “m/f BDSM re-enacts and reinforces the sadistic/dominating dynamic that men use to oppress women under male supremacy and thus radical feminists do not support it. Not complicated.” That’s a real worry for me; not that the people who engage are “sick” but that it’s perpetuating an oppression. Second, the “ageplay” thing is making my skin crawl. Want to pretend you’re having sex with a kid? No matter how open minded I try to be, I find myself thinking “that’s sick.” And I’m ok with that. Abuse of children is wrong. Period. And I’m pretty inclined to say this is a danger to children.

    Which really really causes a problem for me. If I’m this quick to jump on “ageplay” because it’s likely a danger to women, why am I not jumping on bdsm (since I suspect Delphyne may be right)? Do I not value women?

    Like I said, this is causing me to ask some hard questions and I’m not liking the answers. Before anyone lets loose an attack, I will once again reiterate I’m trying to understand. I am aware I still don’t “get it.”

  276. Gorgias February 18, 2009 at 6:20 AM #

    “I’d say yes that some very well may. Whips and chains are a far cry from pedophilia.”

    I can see what you’re saying, but for something that doesn’t harm anyone else, I think the preponderance of social pressure in the BDSM world would be on the side of, “aw, don’t be a prude,” than on the other side, if there was any (FWIW, my local community seems to be perfectly in the middle on this, respecting equally everyone’s decision to play at different speeds, as it were. I’ve definitely seen a few kinkier than thou attitudes online, though).

  277. Jack February 18, 2009 at 10:40 AM #

    I think you bring up some very valid points, with some very interesting questions around SM and the practise there-of, Nine Duece.

    I identify as a switch, someone that happens to pitch and catch, although rarely in the same scenario. I have found that much of what I do has two parts, the mental and the physical. Trying to decides which comes first is a little harder, as I have met many that started from one or the other, to discover the other side much later.

    Much of what my perceptions are, are based on personal experience and are extremely subjective. So here goes:

    I was not abused, come from a fairly normal upper-middle class family and have some tertiary education. I myself have a long term stable relationship and we are in turn, probably much like our respective sets of parents.

    I have experienced what we call vanilla relationships and ‘kink’, prefering the ‘kinky’ side of me. Fortunately for me, I have found a partner that also has an interest in this and we are happy together.

    She also switches, according to how her mood for the day goes.

    We try to communicate our wishes and desires as much as possible, without trying to turn it into to clinical a relationship, as a little surprise every now and then is something we both enjoy. We consider each other equal partners in the relationship, both in and out of the bedroom. Both of us can, and have called ‘uncle’ in some cases, with very positive talks about the whys and what afterwards. Sometimes we have revisited these scenes, sometimes not.

    Fundemental to all of this though is my belief that what I like is as much part of me as my hand or my head. just like I believe your choice of a partner happens to be something that you make, with forethought, but the gender, or lack there-of, is not something you do to make your parents unhappy.

    My internal wiring just has me liking other sensations to what some other people do. From statistics I am not alone.

    What I have not been able to understand is why my choices has illicited so much negativity. I have only engaged in acts of SM with others that have been after much the same that I wanted. Like most SMers here, I have had intense experiences but very rarely have we harmed each other, and never intentionally.

    I do know that there are very few studies that look at us, with an open mind. I know that we have yet to get recognition even close to gender studies.

    That there is room for abuse is certain, but then, it appears to me, so is every other gender/ sexual relationship.

    Following on what has been said here, and in some other lines of thought though, ones beg to ask the following:

    If the current situation has been so influenced by a patriachial system, if there has been such contamination in our thoughts, if this touches every fibre of our being, including how I choose to express my sexual persona, does this not aply to feminism then too? Not just feminism either, but on the entire way that we judge ( your choice, not mine? ) each others motivation for expression?

    If so, what would the alternatives be? It appears as if humans like sexual contact, for many reasons, some I believe because it just feels good, even if it is fleeting? And even though this is targeting the practicioner, should the critic not be able to offer an exceptable alternative, that abides be the her own rules?

  278. Gorgias February 18, 2009 at 4:15 PM #

    “If the current situation has been so influenced by a patriachial system, if there has been such contamination in our thoughts, if this touches every fibre of our being, including how I choose to express my sexual persona, does this not aply to feminism then too? Not just feminism either, but on the entire way that we judge ( your choice, not mine? ) each others motivation for expression?”

    I suppose this is my biggest problem with the “your free will doesn’t matter because patriarchy has contaminated it!”

    Maybe it wasn’t patriarchy, but if our will has been entirely produced by the society in which we live, then so have the feminists’, and well, everyone else’s. Your decision to stand up for your rights and start fighting is a product of historical necessity, not bravery. Further, even once we do destroy patriarchy, I don’t think there’s a coherent view that we’ll have free will afterwards- you’ve already stated that youfeel that our will is shaped by outside forces, and whatever takes patriarchy’s place as the dominant ideology will certainly influence our wills as much.

  279. Trinity February 18, 2009 at 6:35 PM #

    “Maybe it wasn’t patriarchy, but if our will has been entirely produced by the society in which we live, then so have the feminists’, and well, everyone else’s. Your decision to stand up for your rights and start fighting is a product of historical necessity, not bravery. Further, even once we do destroy patriarchy, I don’t think there’s a coherent view that we’ll have free will afterwards- you’ve already stated that youfeel that our will is shaped by outside forces, and whatever takes patriarchy’s place as the dominant ideology will certainly influence our wills as much.”

    Exactly. The “lack of free will”; “you are what society made you” view has a hole in it WRT feminism itself. People seem to be asserting that being feminists is being real, rather than being driven or led. But if we really don’t have any free will — or have so little that no choice truly matters — then feminists themselves are just chess pieces lined in a row as well.

    The theory seems to be a way for feminists to assert specialness (“my desire and drive to help women is authentic”) and deny the same specialness to everyone else (“but your desire to submit is programmed.”)

    It’s quite difficult to see how that’s not a hierarchy: the enlightened feminists who are more capable of authentic choice, who because of that bring the Gospel to us robots.

    If you’re truly for freedom from hierarchies, why do you do this?

  280. Charlie February 18, 2009 at 7:18 PM #

    “Regardless, it’s the type of thing that I would imagine could only conceivably be safe while engaging with someone highly knowledgeable about psychology, and abuse if the person had a history of abuse.”

    I’m with you on that with respect to ageplay. For that matter, I think that it applies to BDSM in general, and to a lesser degree, to sex in general. If you can at least see that something is potentially safe to do (or at least, that the risk can be minimized), there’s room to ask questions about how to tell where that line is.

    FWIW, the BDSM world has a long history of education and training. Back in the “Old Guard” days, people would get together and do skill shares. Part of this model was predicated on the idea that if you’re going to do things that are more risky, the best way to learn about them is from someone who knows what they’re doing. Part of the model came from the fact that the early BDSM community really developed in the gay world, which had customs, rules, and practices that very few people knew about if they were outside of it. So the passing on of experience was also about acculturating newcomers. Another reason for that approach is that there was no internet and books/magazines were hard to find out about and harder to get if you weren’t already in the know.

    In more recent years, as the community has expanded and information has become more easily found, there are more and more people who are self-taught. While that has its advantages, it also means that there are a lot of self-styled tops who don’t know nearly as much as they think they do. Further, the BDSM world is much more diverse than it used to be and approaches that might work for one subgroup don’t always apply to other groups.

    That’s part of why so many BDSM organizations continue to offer workshops, conferences, and such. There’s a general awareness that experience is often the best teacher. Unfortunately, a lot of dom/mes don’t even realize that they don’t know enough to be able to do something safely. We can also add to that the fact that mainstream models of masculinity tell men that admitting a lack of knowledge is equivalent to weakness/not being a “real man.” Sort of the “I don’t want to ask for directions” thing in a different context.

    Just thought that a little history might be useful.

  281. IcePanther February 18, 2009 at 8:58 PM #

    “I tend to agree with Delphyne when she says “m/f BDSM re-enacts and reinforces the sadistic/dominating dynamic that men use to oppress women under male supremacy and thus radical feminists do not support it.”
    The only problem I have with this is that it is directly aimed at only one section of a populace with in this country. So a F/m Bdsm is not a problem with you. So arent these females doing just what men have done to women as you put it?
    Why is it ok to not just want an equilibrium within society where everyone is allowed to make a free choice where they are and what they do without someone else telling them they are doing something wrong just because they say you are holding this movement back or that movement back?
    Even being a male dominant I do not agree witht he oppression or abuse of women. What we do is totally within a consensual realtionship and I dont think anyone here would want to be told how they are supposed to be within thier homes with thier partner.

  282. Trinity February 18, 2009 at 9:38 PM #

    “In more recent years, as the community has expanded and information has become more easily found, there are more and more people who are self-taught.”

    Do you have any estimates of what percentage this might be? EVerything I read when I was looking about the ‘Net strongly suggested that learning from others in the flesh was far preferable, but of course some people are arrogant, shy, or unintelligent.

    I ask because I frankly can’t imagine NOT seeking others out to learn…

  283. firefey February 18, 2009 at 10:15 PM #

    “That’s a real worry for me; not that the people who engage are “sick” but that it’s perpetuating an oppression. Second, the “ageplay” thing is making my skin crawl. Want to pretend you’re having sex with a kid? No matter how open minded I try to be, I find myself thinking “that’s sick.” And I’m ok with that. Abuse of children is wrong. Period. And I’m pretty inclined to say this is a danger to children. ”

    i think this might be where the disconnect is for me. i can see where delphney would have the issue with M/f BDSM given that it looks like other forms of opression. I’m even ok with questioning the choices made by people who play in that way. what i take issue with is the assumption that all people who practice M/f BDSM are monsters or brainwashed fools. i do think that more M/f couples should examine their modivations and excpectations and gender ideas, but mostly because i think more people in general should do so. the problem comes, imo, when those people doing so are so visiously attacked as i’ve seen here and other places. is there no middle ground?

    as for ageplay… that’s a gart area with many folks i’ve talked with in the communities i’ve participated in. on the one hand the idea of a grown man having a sexual relationship with a young girl is pretty sickening. it’s part of why lolitta has taken me almost 6 months to read. on the other hand, i have yet to run into an age player who wants to have sex with an actual 8-13 year old girl, and not their adult partner with whom they role play. and here, as with M/f BDSM i think it’s good to evaluate modivations and ideas and fantasies to see where they might come from. but not because i think they need to purge themselves.

    yes, i fully believe that there is way too much sexualization of young girls and young women. yes, i believe there is too much pressure put on young girls and women to act/look/be a certain way. yes, i think this might feed into some age play. emphasis on the some.

    lastly, i believe the screaming, yelling, condeming and general gnashing of teeth is counter productive. as is the attitude that says, “if they would just re-evaluate their throught process, they’d see i’m right.” and yes, i mean this for both sides of any argument. being self rightous doesn’t win arguments, as if winning is ever the most productive outcome.

    i think it’s good that this is making you question. it’s made me question some of my beliefs, strengthned some, and shown me some that need strengthening. that’s called growth, and it’s a good thing. and fwiw, i don’t think it means you don’t care about women. just the opposite in fact.

  284. Charlie February 18, 2009 at 11:32 PM #

    “In more recent years, as the community has expanded and information has become more easily found, there are more and more people who are self-taught.”

    Do you have any estimates of what percentage this might be? EVerything I read when I was looking about the ‘Net strongly suggested that learning from others in the flesh was far preferable, but of course some people are arrogant, shy, or unintelligent.

    No idea on the percentages, but you only have to look at how many books on the topic have come out in the last few years, or at the number of websites giving how-to info to see this at work.

    And for the record, there are some topics that I think you can learn just fine from a book. They tend to be technical skills with little risk. When it comes to the interpersonal issues, emotional self-care and care of others, and other less tangible skills, real life interpersonal connections are much more effective. And that’s especially true for more specialized skills that require more know-how.

  285. isme February 19, 2009 at 1:39 PM #

    “It’s quite difficult to see how that’s not a hierarchy: the enlightened feminists who are more capable of authentic choice, who because of that bring the Gospel to us robots.”

    Well, it’s because feminism is obviously right. Anything I happen to believe in is obviously right, if you disagree with me in any way it’s because you are deluded and need re-education. You can’t really hold true to an ideology with much conviction without thinking that way. It’s probably the reason why accusations of slut shaming get thrown around so much.

    • Nine Deuce February 19, 2009 at 1:42 PM #

      There is such a thing as a right side when it comes to feminism. It’s morally right that women be acknowledged to be human beings.

  286. delphyne February 19, 2009 at 2:47 PM #

    I wish that people would STFU about ideology.

    Everybody has an ideology. If you buy into the ideology of the status quo, it’s less visible
    because you believe already exists in material reality and there is a huge and powerful system to back you up. You don’t have to make much of an argument for it as has been amply illustrated here. Male sadism against women on an individual, community or international scale is the status quo. BDSMers are just taking it to the extreme and showing women what we will be in for if we step out of line. Subs are already fully aware of the punishments they will receive if they cross the male sadists in their lives.

    As for education, every second BDSMer I seem to come across claims to be a sex educator. You lot are always going on about how important education is in BDSM – for example it was one of the main apologetics for the guy who did the BDSM 101 thing. Trinity even attends seminars on it apparently. That’s a hell of a lot closer to indoctrination than anything I’ve seen in feminism. Let’s also not ignore how reinforcing a message with pain is one of the top tricks in the brainwashers’ arsenal. I think everything you claim to be true of us is actually true of yourselves.

    I’ve never attended a feminist seminar in my life. I certainly didn’t need Feminism 101 to help me into realising that women were oppressed by men, I just needed to open my eyes and look around me.

    I’d say if we’re going to start throwing out accusations of ideology and indoctrination, we should be looking at the BDSM community first, because I’d say they play a lot bigger part in your belief systems and the spread of your sadism than any so-called ideology or indoctrination play within feminism.

    BTW the only place I know where feminists do attend seminars and are “educated” on feminism is in Womens’ Studies, now commonly known as gender studies. These days it’s generally a site of anti-feminism and most of its graduates come out of it as a bunch of man-loving, BDSM and sexual exploitation loving woman haters. That’s what education will do for women.

  287. Trinity February 19, 2009 at 3:42 PM #

    Delphyne,

    You’re not making any sense. So you’d rather people not know how to minimize risk? I’m not sure exactly what “these parts of the body have more padding than those” has to do with an ideology.

    And… reinforcement through pain? Do you seriously think the presenter is going around smacking the audience until they repeat what she says, or something?

    Do you have ANY idea what you’re talking about?

  288. Trinity February 19, 2009 at 3:44 PM #

    “There is such a thing as a right side when it comes to feminism. It’s morally right that women be acknowledged to be human beings.”

    Yeah, but in order to do that, listening to women who claim they’re not being acknowledged that way is a requirement.

    Someone who does not do that is on the wrong side. Sorry to break it to ya, Nine.

  289. subversive_sub February 19, 2009 at 7:03 PM #

    @delphene: “Subs are already fully aware of the punishments they will receive if they cross the male sadists in their lives.”

    Seriously? Seriously.

    We use the term “punishment” because it can be eroticized in a play context, not because doms are actually punishing their partners when they’re angry, when their submissive does something that they don’t like. If you’re doing BDSM play when you’re actually angry at someone, you’re *really* doing it wrong.

    As for education and workshops: No, I didn’t need “BDSM 101″ to know that I was kinky or that I wanted my partner to dominate me. I’m actually of the opinion that there’s too much of an emphasis on classes and “expert” educators in the formal BDSM scene, which is one reason I’m not really a part of it. But when it comes to some of the stuff we do that can be dangerous, it just makes sense to find someone who’s been doing it longer than you have and learning from them. (In fact, it’s been my horrible, controlling, sadistic boyfriend, not me, who’s insisted on *not* doing certain things I’ve asked him to do before he’s had a chance to learn how to do it safely.)

  290. RenegadeEvolution February 19, 2009 at 7:04 PM #

    “It’s morally right that women be acknowledged to be human beings.”

    ND: I could not agree more. I would be happy to spray paint that on every overpass for 150 miles and scream it from the roof tops with anyone.

    However, human beings are pretty complex creatures and tend to be very, very diverse. They are going to like a wide variety of different things. What they like and do not like has no bearing on their human status.

    Honestly, I really would like someone to attempt to explain why it is we should all be expected to like and dislike the same things and fall into some sort of agreement lock step on sexuality? On almost any other thing such an agreement would pretty much be considered not only impossible, but…down right silly. The idea that everyone should like the same books, movies, food, music, colors, clothes….yeah, like that would ever fly. But it does seem like some feminists are asking other women to feel that way about sex. How is it possible to believe such a thing could ever happen?

  291. Charlie February 19, 2009 at 7:15 PM #

    I’m with Delphyne about the way that the word “ideology” gets thrown around. We all have ideologies that we’ve been handed and internalized to some degree and perhaps others that we have mindfully created. At the same time, some folks resist examining their assumptions and ignore facts that conflict with their beliefs. It’s called “confirmation bias” and no, I’m not saying that any one group has a monopoly on it. Confirmation bias is a very human characteristic, although people vary in how strongly it shows up. For that matter, some communities and some theoretical approaches resist disconfirmation more strongly than others. [The book "Mistakes Were Made" by Tavris & Aronson has a lot more to say on the topic.]

    And yes, lots of folks in the BDSM world call themselves sex educators. There’s a certain amount of social cachet attached to it, in part because of the historical trends I mentioned earlier in this thread. So what? There are a lot more self-styled “sexperts” in general these days, although as a sexologist and certified sex educator, I get personally annoyed at how many people call themselves educators with very little experience other than their personal explorations.

    Delphyne- can we agree that some (or even many) BDSMers are playing out their heteronormative patriarchal ideologies through their sexual practices? Can we agree that some (or even many) non-BDSM folks do the same? And can we leave room for the possibility that not everyone does that? Or do you need to see the patriarchy as even more hegemonic than it actually is?

    If you can make space for the possibility of diversity in how people engage in BDSM with respect to socio-cultural gender roles, then there’s room for us to explore how that plays out in the lives, minds and hearts of the people involved. If you’re not willing to even acknowledge the possibility, then there isn’t any space for us to examine the diversity that I and other people have experienced and reported.

    You can call us deluded, you can ignore what we say, and you can insist on claiming that you’re the one who knows the truth, if that’s what works for you. That seems like a tragedy to me, if only because a theoretical approach only grows and develops if we look for its edges. I’d much rather look for ways to incorporate it into my hypotheses about the way the world works. Personally, I find that more interesting and more fulfilling.

  292. isme February 20, 2009 at 1:49 PM #

    “There is such a thing as a right side when it comes to feminism. It’s morally right that women be acknowledged to be human beings.”

    Sure…because you and I happen to believe it. If we were born a few hundred years ago, we’d believe the opposite, and so it would be wrong. Unfortunately, there is no absolute morality…if there was, there’d be no such thing as feminism, because any other way of thinking would be inconceivable.

    “But it does seem like some feminists are asking other women to feel that way about sex. How is it possible to believe such a thing could ever happen?”

    Well, maybe not to believe that it could, but rather to think that it should. If you believe something is morally right, it is natural to expect others to do so as well, and to see something wrong with them if they do not.

    By way of a loose analogy not meant to be offensive to anyone, racism. That is something that is incompatible with my world view, and because of this I am to some extent continually surprised that it exists, even though I know full well it will never go away.

  293. Faith February 20, 2009 at 5:49 PM #

    “If we were born a few hundred years ago, we’d believe the opposite, and so it would be wrong.”

    Speak for yourself. I was raised in a conservative family compromised of many southern baptists who live largely off of meat and criticize anyone who does not, yet I somehow still turned out a pagan/buddhist, mostly vegan feminist of the radical-leaning variety. And I became all of those things -before- being exposed to feminism.

  294. subversive_sub February 20, 2009 at 6:18 PM #

    @Charlie: “If you can make space for the possibility of diversity in how people engage in BDSM with respect to socio-cultural gender roles, then there’s room for us to explore how that plays out in the lives, minds and hearts of the people involved. If you’re not willing to even acknowledge the possibility, then there isn’t any space for us to examine the diversity that I and other people have experienced and reported.”

    That’s pretty much it in a nutshell, I think.

  295. delphyne February 20, 2009 at 6:27 PM #

    A diversity of women-torturers isn’t something that feminism is aiming for though.

  296. subversive_sub February 20, 2009 at 10:08 PM #

    @delphyne

    1. BDSM is not torture. This has been explained a billion times.

    2. Nobody is saying that BDSM is something that feminism should “aim for.”

    3. By “diversity,” one of the things that is meant is that BDSM is not just maledom-femsub. There are female dominants and male submissives. There are genderqueer and transgender folks who dom and sub. There are people of every gender who switch.

  297. hexy February 20, 2009 at 10:49 PM #

    It’s a bit far upthread now, but it’s gone unaddressed, and I couldn’t convince myself to read through this thread until today….

    On pro-BDSM: I have worked with male pro-Doms, some of whom see only male clients and some of whom see a mixture of men, women and couples. The male clients are absolutely in the majority even for those who offer services to all genders, but some women definitely come in to see male pro-Doms just as women sometimes come in to see female pro-Dommes. I couldn’t give you the figures on anything other than the houses I’ve worked at, and I have no idea if they’re different for private workers (or anywhere outside of Australia, actually).

    Most commonly, though, women who see BDSM sex workers do so as part of a couple. Common variants on the theme include Mistress or Master training, where a pro-Dom/me teaches the dominant partner some techniques and may engage in play with the couple, or simply the couple both playing the bottom to one or more pro-Dom/me.

    Pro-subs absolutely exist… I’m quite surprised some think they don’t, but I have noticed that the American industry seems to have far less advertising from pro-subs than the Aussie one, perhaps due to your anti-prostitution laws. Some pro-Dommes provide submissive or switch services, and some provide sub services only. They can range from the more classic idea of BDSM with the restraint and pain play, down to very light, fluffy and erotic role play sessions. Most specialise, but offer a range of services.

    In the past decade or two, it’s become more common for some straight sex workers to provide some BDSM services, although my information on that is all anecdata.

    There. I’ve probably accidentally opened this thread to include some good old whorephobia and/or anti-sex work rants on top of everything else, but hey.

    *scrolls up frantically trying to remember the other thing she wanted to say*

    Dammit. I can’t remember. I’ll see if it comes back later.

  298. hexy February 20, 2009 at 10:49 PM #

    (also, am I the only one not getting the wordpress alerts for new comments?)

  299. Trinity February 20, 2009 at 11:25 PM #

    “Speak for yourself. I was raised in a conservative family compromised of many southern baptists who live largely off of meat and criticize anyone who does not, yet I somehow still turned out a pagan/buddhist, mostly vegan feminist of the radical-leaning variety. And I became all of those things -before- being exposed to feminism.”

    Yeah. And I was raised to think that people (but probably women especially) should never express aggressive feelings, enjoy “violent” games, etc. And look how I turned out. :)

    Which is another possible explanation that I notice a lot of people in here not even entertaining: the idea that people may well try something because they’ve been raised not to.

    While I think that too is a sweeping overgeneralization, it’s interesting how some folks seem to think only one explanation (“men love to torture women; women are too full of false consciousness to stop orgasming when they do”) could possibly be correct (or even worth a moment’s consideration!)

  300. Trinity February 20, 2009 at 11:26 PM #

    “Most commonly, though, women who see BDSM sex workers do so as part of a couple. Common variants on the theme include Mistress or Master training, where a pro-Dom/me teaches the dominant partner some techniques and may engage in play with the couple”

    I’ve heard of this too. I imagine it’s quite handy for new folks.

  301. hexy February 20, 2009 at 11:31 PM #

    Trin: I once met a woman who ran away from the circus to become an accountant :)

  302. hexy February 20, 2009 at 11:35 PM #

    It can be, if they come in with the right attitude. Some have very unrealistic expectations of what can actually be “taught” in a one hour introductory session, especially if you’re leaving time at the end for the couple to play.

    They’re definitely a better option than letting a pair of novices loose in a fully stocked Dungeon, though!

  303. delphyne February 20, 2009 at 11:54 PM #

    “BDSM is not torture.”

    Yes it is. You. Are. In. Denial.

    You peeps even call it torture half the time when you aren’t trying to present it as fluffy kittens and sparkly fairies to “vanilla” types who you think you can bamboozle.

    Google “Torture” and “Torture Garden (the world’s leading fetish club)” comes up at number 11. BDSMers are happy to be linked to torture. Or for another example Google “BDSM torture” and you get:

    “BDSM CAGE – Breast skewering, bloody beatings, pussy sewing …
    BDSMCage.com – Very hard BDSM site with female submissives only. Hundreds of images: tit torture [I remember you used to list that as one of your interests on LiveJournal Trinity], breast bondage, sm, pain, pussy torture.”

    I cannot believe the rubbish you try and fob us off with. Condescending rubbish at that.

  304. rachel cervantes February 21, 2009 at 3:23 AM #

    I’m embarrassed at how stupid I’ve been. It’s black and white, isn’t it? And here I’ve been trying to see the nuance, shades of gray.

  305. subversive_sub February 21, 2009 at 5:45 AM #

    “Torture” is used as a term by some kinky folks because BDSM play can superficially *resemble* torture, because some of the same themes, implements, and scenarios are used. You may find this abhorrent, but it is very clearly not the same as actual torture, in which the person being tortured (a) does not derive pleasure or sexual satisfaction from the pain being inflicted on his or her body; (b) is being hurt out of malice or in order to extract information, and often to the point of serious injury or death; and (c) has no means by which to end the torture.

  306. devastatingyet February 21, 2009 at 7:41 AM #

    The trivialization of torture here is offensive. There are real people being really tortured in the world, and they don’t deserve to be put in a category with people getting their rocks off by having their partner do things to them that they find life-enhancing, good, enjoyable, delicious, etc.

    I do things to my boyfriend that could, if systematically and frequently applied to a person against their will, amount to torture. Doing almost anything to a person against their will is just wrong, even if it’s a back scratch or tickling their feet. But what I do to my lover doesn’t make him weak or traumatized or unable to argue with me or sick or injured or…

    And when we switch (which is rare), the stuff he does to me would look harsh and unpleasant to someone who wouldn’t like it, and that’s fine. For me, it’s an experience full of joy, beauty, and hotness. Within my limits, I only want more.

  307. Charlie February 21, 2009 at 9:21 AM #

    @Delphyne

    For the love of Loki, can you please stop presenting a small slice of a spectrum as representative of the entire range?

    “BDSMers are happy to be linked to torture.” Not all kinky folks use the word torture. In fact, a lot of folks I know don’t use the word to describe anything that they enjoy doing. True, some activities are called “torture” by some people, especially cock & ball torture and tit torture. Other people do the same things and call them something different.

    I suppose you might say that not calling it torture doesn’t mean that it isn’t. And I’ll counter by saying that calling something torture doesn’t mean that it is. Words get used in all sorts of ways and have all sorts of definitions. What if, for example, the word “torture” has different meanings in different contexts?

    Further, if you google “BDSM torture”, you get 612,000 pages that contain both terms.(http://tinyurl.com/dxwrmu). If you google “BDSM -torture”, which gives you the pages that contain “BDSM” and not the word “torture”, you get 25,300,000 hits (http://tinyurl.com/bn7h4u). So for every page that contains both of the terms BDSM & torture, there are a bit more than 40 pages that contain the term BDSM and not the word torture. (And there are over 64 pages that contain the word “torture” on its own for every one that contains “torture” and “BDSM”.)

    Of course, the number of webpages that contain the different terms isn’t representative of the people or the practices. But doesn’t it suggest that you’re making another overgeneralization? It just isn’t the way you describe it. It really isn’t.

  308. delphyne February 21, 2009 at 2:06 PM #

    If you have to tie someone up because they would run away before the activity begins or during it because of the pain then it’s torture.

    Just because you slap the “consensual” label on it afterwards doesn’t make what is being done not torture. It just means you have a screwed up attitude towards your bodies and the way they react in certain situations. It’s the torture that gets you off.

    You all acknowledge what it actually is you do because you use the word torture to describe your activities. All the rationalisations and Orwellian rewriting of words’ meanings won’t disguise the reality of it.

  309. Gorgias February 21, 2009 at 5:25 PM #

    “Sure…because you and I happen to believe it. If we were born a few hundred years ago, we’d believe the opposite, and so it would be wrong. Unfortunately, there is no absolute morality…if there was, there’d be no such thing as feminism, because any other way of thinking would be inconceivable.”

    If I were born four hundred years ago, I would believe that phlogiston caused combustion. If I lived a thousand years ago, I would believe that evil spirits were responsible for mental illness. If I lived in either of those times, I would not believe in evolution or gravity. These facts do not undermine my belief in the physical universe in the slightest. There is an objective physical truth, and we’ve gotten better at finding it out over the years.

    So too with moral truth. If there is no moral truth, then allowing for kinky people to be seen as human, and allowing them to flourish in relationships is no better than burning them at the stake.

    The way to win this argument isn’t to claim some BS relativism, it’s to prove that our side is in the right and theirs is in the wrong in the context of an objectively real morality.

    “The trivialization of torture here is offensive. There are real people being really tortured in the world, and they don’t deserve to be put in a category with people getting their rocks off by having their partner do things to them that they find life-enhancing, good, enjoyable, delicious, etc.”

    Amen. I’ve volunteered with the ACLU to stop Guantanamo, and I participate in BDSM. I guess I should just vanish in a poof of theory and illogic. Still won’t erase my desire to get a “sadomasochists against torture” section in our next rally =P

    In any case, if consensual BDSM is as bad as torture, sex is as bad as rape.

  310. Pharaoh Katt February 21, 2009 at 6:08 PM #

    @delphyne
    I’m a kinky person who doesn’t call what she does torture. And neither does my partner. So we “all… use the word torture to describe [our] activites”? No, I don’t think so.

    Now, if someone were to tickle me, that would be torture. Different things cause different reactions in different people for different reasons.

  311. Trinity February 21, 2009 at 6:32 PM #

    “In any case, if consensual BDSM is as bad as torture, sex is as bad as rape.”

    This.

    Yes.

    That’s the thing I don’t understand. How feminists can say what they do about BDSM and yet not realize that they’re acting as if there’s no distinction between sex and rape when they do.

    If it doesn’t matter whether someone consents to and enjoys something sexual or not, because its goodness or badness follows from its nature, there are only two conclusions that can follow.

    Either the thing is good regardless of consent because we’ve determined it has a good nature, or the thing is bad because we’ve determined it has a bad one.

    So with sex, we either get

    1) Sex is good, so nonconsent really doesn’t much matter

    which of course as feminists and feminist allies, doesn’t wash

    or

    2) Sex is bad, so even when women consent, they’re making a mistake

    which I have seen in a couple places in bloglandia actually, but which most radical feminists take as an offensively reductive statement of their position.

    For me, the only way we get any coherent moral stance on sexuality and sexual relationships comes from looking at whether or not they’re consensual, first, and the motives of those taking part in them, second.

    The acts chosen, except in a few obvious cases, have no bearing on the moral rightness or wrongness of what’s done.

  312. Trinity February 21, 2009 at 6:34 PM #

    “The way to win this argument isn’t to claim some BS relativism, it’s to prove that our side is in the right and theirs is in the wrong in the context of an objectively real morality.”

    Co-signed on this as well. But then, I’m basically Kantian in my thinking… and smelling a whole lot of lack of respect for others’ autonomy in anti-SM radical feminist theory.

  313. Trinity February 21, 2009 at 8:57 PM #

    “I’m a kinky person who doesn’t call what she does torture. And neither does my partner. So we “all… use the word torture to describe [our] activites”? No, I don’t think so.

    Now, if someone were to tickle me, that would be torture. Different things cause different reactions in different people for different reasons.”

    And the thing is… some people think words can be re-purposed in various ways, and others don’t. I’m not sure how disagreeing on this necessarily means the person re-purposing the word is endorsing its general meaning.

    Failing to re-purpose it and thereby being creepy or insulting, maybe. But revealing some secret endorsement? I don’t buy that.

    And Delphyne, I have to say I find it creepy that you remember specifically what I had on an old list of LJ interests. Why exactly are you so interested in me?

    • Nine Deuce February 21, 2009 at 9:17 PM #

      Oh, stop it, Trinity. You put the info out there, so don’t act creeped out when someone has read it. I for one have a photographic memory and remember all kinds of inconsequential stuff that I’ve read on people’s blogs, etc.

  314. Trinity February 21, 2009 at 9:28 PM #

    I’m not creeped out that she’s read it, nor do I regret saying it or any such. I simply found it odd that she remembers it.

    And I have to say, ND, that you’re being a little one-sided in your calling out here. You seem to have no problem with people on your side saying things are creepy, so what’s with the snippy “Oh, stop it!” when I say it?

    • Nine Deuce February 21, 2009 at 10:19 PM #

      I’m a little tired of the overblown “I’m such a victim” rhetoric. Or maybe I should say I’m a little tired of people pretending that what’s being said to them is way more offensive/abusive than it really is in an attempt to shut down discussion.

  315. Trinity February 21, 2009 at 10:20 PM #

    How is “hey, that’s a little creepy” calling myself a victim? What exactly are you talking about?

    • Nine Deuce February 21, 2009 at 10:21 PM #

      Do you really feel creeped out? Are you afraid of Delphyne in some way?

  316. Trinity February 21, 2009 at 10:22 PM #

    Creeped out is not the same thing as afraid.

  317. Trinity February 21, 2009 at 10:23 PM #

    And no, since you asked, I’m not afraid of her. Just creeped out.

    • Nine Deuce February 21, 2009 at 10:31 PM #

      I don’t like it when people make a big deal out of something small in order to try to embarrass someone, and that’s what I think that was.

  318. Adina February 21, 2009 at 10:34 PM #

    @Delphyne — “If you have to tie someone up because they would run away before the activity begins or during it because of the pain then it’s torture.”

    If that’s the reason for tying them up, then maybe. But what if the reason for tying them up is that the enjoy the feeling of being bound, of having given up the ability to choose to run away?

    For what it’s worth, I stand still to be whipped without being tied up. I enjoy the active submission this requires of me. (I also enjoy receiving pain from the top, but I’ve said that already). But sometimes, I also enjoy being restrained –I give up the active submission in that case in favor of domination.

    I don’t see any of it as torture in the evil sense, but we don’t have a word for “giving pain to a consenting adult in a way that would count as torture if it were nonconsensual” so we use “torture” to describe it sometimes.

  319. sushis February 21, 2009 at 10:37 PM #

    “It’s a little creepy…” does not strike me as an outrageous statement and/or an attempt to shut down discussion. Trinity did not say she was afraid, just that someone bringing into the discussion the fact that she listed a particular phrase on an interests list long ago seemed “a little creepy.” It seems more like the people latching onto the phrase with such vigor are the ones attempting to change the subject.

    • Nine Deuce February 21, 2009 at 10:39 PM #

      Whatever, I don’t particularly care. It was just kind of a nasty little poke that rubbed me the wrong way. And I don’t give one fuck about changing the subject. In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been participating in this little argument all that much.

  320. antiprincess February 21, 2009 at 10:38 PM #

    Just because you slap the “consensual” label on it afterwards doesn’t make what is being done not torture.

    Well, no – most times we slap the “consensual” label on it BEFORE. That’s what makes it consensual.

  321. Trinity February 21, 2009 at 10:49 PM #

    ND: I admit it, it was a nasty little poke. Though I stand by it: it does seem to me that she’s paying an interesting amount of attention to me in all this, and to hear that she remembers something really random from a long time ago and wants to use it as some odd kind of trump card is… a little skeevy to me.

    So yeah, it was a poke. But I think Delphyne’s remark was one as well, and I think she’s been nastily poking me and several others, in a way the debate hasn’t called for, quite frequently.

    • Nine Deuce February 21, 2009 at 10:51 PM #

      I don’t care if people want to use confrontational language (unless it happens to annoy me), but I do care about people being manipulative, and that was just gross. I’ve got pet peeves, and you’ve just discovered one (in addition to the word “cock,” which I think you discovered is a pet peeve in some earlier thread).

  322. sushis February 21, 2009 at 10:51 PM #

    You accuse Trinity of trying to shut down discussion, but, when I say that it’s you who is attempting what you accuse her of (changing the subject and shutting down discussion), suddenly you don’t care about the discussion? Odd.

    • Nine Deuce February 21, 2009 at 10:54 PM #

      No, sushis, I said what she was doing was nasty. The aim of it was to go around what Delphyne was saying and paint her as some kind of weirdo, and that was gross. I could probably tell you all kinds of weird details about all kinds of people because I have a really good memory. Trying to make someone out to be a weirdo for remembering something they’ve read is just not cool. I don’t particularly care what direction the discussion takes as long as it doesn’t devolve into people being dicks to each other and nothing else.

  323. Trinity February 21, 2009 at 11:02 PM #

    “The aim of it was to go around what Delphyne was saying and paint her as some kind of weirdo, and that was gross.”

    I do think it was weird… and I do find some of Delphyne’s comments not just confrontational but actually creepy.

    What that reveals about her as a person I have no idea. Could be she’s a fantastic person to have tea with. Could be we’d get along grandly and just disagree profoundly and deeply on this. I don’t know, as I’ve never met her offline.

    But out of respect for you and your space, I won’t say more about that here.

  324. sushis February 21, 2009 at 11:03 PM #

    If you’re convinced that you know exactly what Trinity’s motivations were, so be it. I think you’re probably wrong. Since I’m not a mind reader, I can’t be positive. Trinity doesn’t strike me as a particularly manipulative person, and I think you’re assuming bad faith on her part because you don’t like what she has to say. Of course, I know you even less well than I know Trinity, so I could be wrong about your motivations as well. I do think you’re applying different standards and assuming motivations based more upon your personal feelings about people’s politics than upon clear evidence.

    • Nine Deuce February 21, 2009 at 11:05 PM #

      Wrong. Trinity admitted it was a nasty poke. Back to the point.

  325. delphyne February 21, 2009 at 11:27 PM #

    “And Delphyne, I have to say I find it creepy that you remember specifically what I had on an old list of LJ interests. Why exactly are you so interested in me?”

    I don’t remember specifically what you had on a list of Livejournal interests. I remember that. I was horrified. I still am.

    You can call it creepy. I’d say the creepy thing was being interested in tit torture and freely admitting to it publicly even at the same time as calling yourself a feminist.

    I’m not interested in you. I’ve avoided you as much as I possibly could after you and your pals hounded me (and pretty much every other rad in it) out of the LJ feminist community but here you are again. I see your name and I think “tit torture”. Can’t help it, it’s just the way it is.

    And I reckon in a conversation where people are claiming (FFS) that BDSM has nothing to do with torture, to me it’s worth mentioning that one of the loudest members of the discussion used to list torture publicly as an interest of theirs.

    The fact that I as a feminist after all this BS 3rd wave/BDSM co-optation of our movement am expected to be apologetic because no I don’t support your or anybody else’s “right” to get off on the torture of breasts just shows how fucked up things have really become.

  326. Erstwhile lurker February 21, 2009 at 11:42 PM #

    @Delphyne — “If you have to tie someone up because they would run away before the activity begins or during it because of the pain then it’s torture.”

    If that’s the reason for tying them up, then maybe. But what if the reason for tying them up is that the enjoy the feeling of being bound, of having given up the ability to choose to run away?

    Adina puts it well. I thought about saying something about how I’ve never tied anyone up to prevent them from running away, but I couldn’t figure out a way to say it that didn’t sound like “I’ve never had a lover leave me because I hadn’t brushed my teeth in seven years“. It just goes without saying that you shouldn’t be having bondage sex (or any kind of sex) with somebody who wants to run away, and you should brush your teeth more than every seven years. So yeah, if you have to tie someone up because they would run away otherwise, UR DOIN IT WRONG. Duh.

    Also, how much of a libido-killer would it be to have a partner who was that unenthusiastic? Even putting the ethical considerations aside, bleh.

  327. delphyne February 22, 2009 at 12:22 AM #

    You mean like this Erstwhile Lurker?:

    “When my Master gently took my left breast in his hand and brought the needle to it I think I honestly would have run. As it was, I was tied down and this seemingly complete lack of options was enough to keep me as still as I can naturally be.”

    Wasn’t able to run (flight) so stayed still (froze). The body does what it can to protect itself in extreme circumstances.

    If subs are such pain and damage junkies and whatever is being inflicted on them is supposedly exactly what they want, why do they even feel the need to run? That’s a rhetorical question of course – subs have the same responses as everybody else. The only difference is they don’t respect them.

    I think the S&M bods should try bondage free sex for the next month. Everything else can stay the same except for no ropes, bindings, manacles or handcuffs. See what actually happens when you do stuff like this to someone who is *free* to move.

  328. Whip-loving Domme February 22, 2009 at 12:40 AM #

    — Lillie February 12, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Again, I was wondering if this kind of eroticized violence is utterly divorced from the potential consequences of physical violence in your mind, and if so, does it really register as violence? And if so, where does that leave moral agency? And responsibility? —

    As a female who is a Domme new to the scene, I can tell you that I am very concerned about safety, which is why I attend workshops every week and always have another Domme or Dom present who can mentor me and monitor me when I’m doing something new. I had 3 Dom/mes present to teach me how to flog and I always play in public since I’m still learning. I’m really into whips, but they can be very dangerous if used improperly. I take my responsibility as a Domme very seriously and I’m aware that I hold someone’s life in my hands. I’ve had subs ask me to do breath play and I’ve turned them down since that is a risk I’m not willing to make since I don’t know how to do breath play in a safe way.

    I suppose I am a natural risk taker…as a kid, I loved roller coasters and when I started driving, I loved to race cars. I love speed and doing things that are slightly dangerous…yes, I know there’s a risk of death, but I still love it. A friend who I used to race with had been in a very bad car accident, however, a year later he was back to racing. There are some people who just enjoy that thrill and are willing to take on the risks.

    BDSM is similar…we know that there are serious consequences, including death, but we still choose the risk because we see the payoff to be worth the risk. As a Domme, it’s my responsibility to do it as safely as possible; that’s why I never do anything until I’ve been trained. My subs know that I care about them, and yes, they take a risk when they bottom to me, but they choose that risk because they consider the experience to be worth it. My responsibility as a Domme is to do everything in my power to do what I’m doing in a safe manner. The responsibility of my subs is to know what his/her limits are, to communicate honestly with me and to choose the amount of risk he/she is willing to take on.

    I have one sub who is not really into pain so I play lightly with him. We do lots of other fun stuff that is not pain related. I work within his limits. Just because I’m a dominant sadist does not mean that I have to inflict serious pain on everyone I play with. Some of my subs are real masochists and I get to play hard with them, others are more into submission so I do power play with them. Some are into role play…I have a human pony and he dresses up as a pony and we trot around as if we were five year olds. As a kid, I was always very playful and imaginative. I see BDSM to be an extension of that playful time…but now with adult play games.

  329. Whip-loving Domme February 22, 2009 at 1:35 AM #

    — delphyne February 13, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Why do you identify with male sadists Trinity? I’m pretty sure anybody with a female dom is probably pretty safe in the scheme of things. —

    I’m intrigued that you assume that a female Domme is safer than a male Dom. From what I’ve seen, many female Dommes can be far crueler and do more extreme things than many of the male Doms. In fact, some male masochists want things to such an extreme that I feel uncomfortable. Yes, males usually are physically stronger than females, but once they’re securely bound by a Domme who knows what she’s doing, then they’re pretty helpless.

    It’s important that a sub knows who he/she is playing with and whether that Domme/Dom can be trusted. That’s why it’s best for a sub to be involved in the community so that he/she can get other people’s opinions before playing. It’s a small community and people talk.

  330. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 2:08 AM #

    Delphyne:

    I don’t have a problem with you wanting to discuss things I’ve said or the way I’ve said them.

    I just find it odd that you’re keying on something so old, when I’ve posted plenty of things that were far more detailed far more recently.

    That’s all. Yes, I used that phrase — it’s common in gay male leather circles and I thought it was concise. You’re perfectly free to criticize it if you like. Just odd you’d choose something so old.

    And I haven’t been to feminist, feminist_rage, or anyplace related in years, so your idea that I was trying to purge them somehow is really odd.

  331. Whip-loving Domme February 22, 2009 at 3:00 AM #

    I want to remind people who are offended by many BDSM terms that much of BDSM is in the mind. Yes, we talk of owning “slaves” or some of us do animal play and we refer to our subs as “kitty,” “pony,” “puppy,” etc. Also many female and males have “rape” and “gang-bang rape” fantasies. Some do “kidnappings,” “forced-bi, etc.” All of these are pretend terms. No one really wants true slavery, rape or kidnappings.

    I will talk about one thing in BDSM that I personally don’t get, but I don’t judge others who love it. Personally, I don’t do “rape” scenarios and I feel uncomfortable with anything that is pretended to be “forced” such as “forced-bi” that many of my male subs want. I have been raped in the past and know many other rape victims. I have a hard time understanding why so many people have rape fantasies. I have many “vanilla” friends who’ve told me about how they fantasize about rape. When I got into BDSM, I discovered that many people do “rape” play. I have male subs who want to be “raped” so this is not just a female fantasy.

    I don’t understand this, but I don’t dismiss my friends’ fantasies. If they find someone who is willing to play out their fantasies, then more power to them. I also don’t think that they’re emotionally damaged. Many of my friends have had healthy childhoods…maybe that’s why they fantasize about danger, who knows.

    Also about age play – I personally like to call my male subs “boys” even if they’re older than me (I’m in my 20s and have a few subs in their 30s/40s). I like calling them my “toys” as well. For me, it’s fun and it might appear odd to others, but if my boys and I enjoy it, I don’t see what’s wrong with that. I have a boy who loves thinking of himself as my slave and I will call him my slave. It’s fun, but of course, he’s not really my slave and I don’t really own him as property, but I like to play with the idea that my boys are my property when they’re with me and I can do what I want to them within the boundaries of our pre-determined limits.

    Imagination is a fun and exciting thing. Now that I’ve opened up my kinky side and explored the variety of BDSM, I can’t imagine going back to just plain sex, even though plain sex was fun. Kinky sex for me is 1000 times more fun and I feel more fulfilled with it.

  332. Pharaoh Katt February 22, 2009 at 3:25 AM #

    “If subs are such pain and damage junkies and whatever is being inflicted on them is supposedly exactly what they want, why do they even feel the need to run?”

    I’m sure some subs are pain junkies. But it’s silly to assume that all subs are pain junkies. And even the pain junkie subs, it would be silly to assume that “whatever is being inflicted on them” is something they’ll like. For starters, some pain just hurts. And it’s possible to be interested in something, try it out, and then realise “No, this isn’t for me”.

    “That’s a rhetorical question of course – subs have the same responses as everybody else. The only difference is they don’t respect them.”

    Again, I have to disagree. I don’t think anyone has the exact same responses as anyone else. Everyone experiences things differently, which is why people like different things.
    I know I’ve said this before but tickling comes to mind. Torture for me, harmless play for others. And when it comes to certain types of pain, they don’t register as pain, they register as pleasure (not always sexual pleasure, mind).

  333. Whip-loving Domme February 22, 2009 at 3:27 AM #

    rachel cervantes February 17, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    Second, the “ageplay” thing is making my skin crawl.
    ——

    @rachel cervantes – “age play” is quite varied. Note how common the sexy teacher fantasy is, even in the vanilla world. When I was 14, I had a crush on my teacher and I can imagine how many other teens had crushes on their teachers. Not only that, I had lots of crushes on adult males when I was 8, 9, 10, etc.

    Now as an adult, I can play on those fantasies, but the role is now reversed and I’m the sexy teacher or sexy adult female whom a boy has a crush on. And now I’m the one who teases and tortures him…I love making a boy blush :D. Most of age play tends to center around early adolescence, which makes sense since we all have strong sexual memories from that period of sexual awakening. Some may fantasize about even earlier ages…I have a sub who is into Mommy Domme spanking fantasies and he let me read a short story of his. I don’t usually have Mommy Domme fantasies, but it can be fun to play the role with him at times (and he’s 45 so it’s not like he’s a little boy). Meh, I have no problem playing with taboos…that doesn’t mean I have a desire to molest little boys.

  334. Pharaoh Katt February 22, 2009 at 3:29 AM #

    “And the thing is… some people think words can be re-purposed in various ways, and others don’t. I’m not sure how disagreeing on this necessarily means the person re-purposing the word is endorsing its general meaning.

    Failing to re-purpose it and thereby being creepy or insulting, maybe. But revealing some secret endorsement? I don’t buy that.”

    Sorry, I’m not quite sure what you mean (I don’t understand…).

    My point wasn’t really about the use of the word torture (though I don’t like it used lightly). It was more about phrases like “you peeps” and “you all” and the like because, you know, not a monolith.

    And I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouths, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the Radical Feminists here aren’t annoyed in the same way by people saying “Radical Feminists” as if they all believe the exact same things.

  335. Pharaoh Katt February 22, 2009 at 3:31 AM #

    “I think the S&M bods should try bondage free sex for the next month. Everything else can stay the same except for no ropes, bindings, manacles or handcuffs. See what actually happens when you do stuff like this to someone who is *free* to move.”

    I’ve just had a month of bondage-free sex. Still got some decent riding crop/nipple-clamp action, but ultimately I didn’t enjoy it as much.

    Probably also because restraints take time, and time builds anticipation. I like anticipation.

  336. rachel cervantes February 22, 2009 at 3:40 AM #

    I imagine many 14-year-olds have crushes on their teachers. But…a crush is a far cry from sex.

  337. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 4:04 AM #

    Pharoah:

    In my comment about the word “torture,” I’m referring to a debate that happens a lot about language, whether people can “reclaim” a word that has negative meaning.

    So for example there are people who proudly call themselves “bitch” or “slut” in defiance of society using those words to demean women.

    Others argue that just because you use “slut” proudly, say, that doesn’t mean that the social meaning has changed.

    I was saying that I could see a similar argument arising about whether the word “torture” should be used to describe consensual sexual acts or not, but that:

    I can’t see how using the word — even if it can’t be re-purposed — by itself implies we’re interested in real torture. At worst we’d be making light of torture by using the word playfully.

  338. Pharaoh Katt February 22, 2009 at 4:24 AM #

    Trinity:
    Ok, thanks, that makes sense. And yeah, just using the word torture doesn’t make it real torture.

  339. lorelei February 22, 2009 at 4:39 AM #

    Delphyne: Once again, i am going to very politely ask you to find another source and leave me out of this. I’ve been checking in every now and then hoping to see some kind of accord reached but i don’t want to participate any longer (sick of being attacked) and i really don’t think it’s fair of you to keep using me as an example when i am not around to defend myself and when i have asked you to stop. There are a lot of sub’s blogs around–find someone else, please. I’m asking politely.

  340. Charlie February 22, 2009 at 6:55 AM #

    If you’re curious about why people have some of the fantasies that they do, check out Bader’s book “Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies”. While he does make some generalizations that I don’t think are accurate, he does offer a compelling explanation for some of the ways that fantasies work. He talks about “forced” scenes and the like quite extensively, IIRC.

    Ultimately, the reasons for why we like anything are usually a complex interplay of biology, culture and experience. Plus, different people can do the same things for very different reasons and have wildly different experiences. Anyone who thinks that motivation for anything, much less something as complex as sex, can be explained in a single sentence is kidding themselves. It just won’t fit into a sound bite.

  341. Erstwhile lurker February 22, 2009 at 7:38 AM #

    Delphyne,
    I’m going to leave Loralei alone (per her request) and speak for myself. I like being tied up, and I like tying people up. And I’ve never been in a situation where I would have run away were I not tied up, nor have I tied up a partner with the intention of preventing them from running away. My lovers seem to like me enough to stick around, and even come back voluntarily for more sex, which I think is evidence that I meet some minimal standard of non-suckitude in bed. Really, it’s easier to be minimally decent in bed than it would be to kidnap unwilling vanilla partner and keep them chained in my bedroom against their will. (Insert joke about how any hot Mormon missionaries wishing to be kidnapped and corrupted should call me anyway. )

    Also, I may be a pain junkie, but I’m no damage junkie. If anything, I err on the side of being the neurotic safety police. (I think my friends have done a good and thorough job of teaching me to hurt people without harming them, but this thread has motivated me to seek out seminars so I can get an independent check on what I’m doing. Charlie, your comments were really helpful here.)

    Rachel Cervantes,
    Ageplay grosses me out too, honestly. But since adults into ageplay are typically looking to have sex with each other, and not with children, I don’t see why they’re doing anything immoral. In cases where it’s psychologically unhealthy for the people doing it, then sure, they should stop, but in cases where nobody is harmed? Why shouldn’t people engage in their harmless fun, even if it’s not my cup of tea?

    Gorgias,
    The way to win this argument isn’t to claim some BS relativism, it’s to prove that our side is in the right and theirs is in the wrong in the context of an objectively real morality.

    I third this.

  342. Natalia February 22, 2009 at 8:46 AM #

    Admit it, Delphyne. You’re just jealous that I haven’t asked you to tie me up!

    J/k.

    This thread needs a little humour, no?…

    (ND, I apologize if a random comment from my IP, full of cyrillic letters, went into your moderation queue just now. I left my laptop open, in Russian language mode, and the cats started traipsing about on it. When I was trying to get them to stop, I might have accidentally hit “enter”)

  343. delphyne February 22, 2009 at 3:12 PM #

    No problem Lorelei, I missed where you asked me not to quote you before. My mistake.

    Whilst we’re on it, can you stop calling feminists who disagree with you Feminazis or me Hannibal Lecter on your blog just because we don’t agree with male sadists torturing women. I’m not there to defend myself and it’s pretty grim reading shit like that. I haven’t called you names but it doesn’t seem to work the other way.

  344. delphyne February 22, 2009 at 3:14 PM #

    “And I’ve never been in a situation where I would have run away were I not tied up”

    How do you know? Do the same things without the ropes or restraints and see what happens.

  345. Faith February 22, 2009 at 3:45 PM #

    “Once again, i am going to very politely ask you to find another source and leave me out of this. ”

    With all due respect, Lorelei…if you do not wish your words to be quoted and dissected, you really should -not- be posting them on the internet.

    Once you make your words public, they are -in a sense- public property. That’s the nature of the beast.

  346. delphyne February 22, 2009 at 4:14 PM #

    Well Lorelei did tell people here that we should read her blog and then linked to it because I said I couldn’t as I didn’t know where it was. So I read it and I had an opinion. But if she’s changed her mind about that then fair enough. She’s right that there are loads of other subs’ blogs around – and they all tell pretty much the same story. Even the switches are all about pleasing their men.

  347. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 4:53 PM #

    Delphyne,

    If you really want someone to quote at length you’re welcome to quote me. Though I’d rather you use things that have not been taken down.

  348. Faith February 22, 2009 at 6:54 PM #

    “Well Lorelei did tell people here that we should read her blog and then linked to it because I said I couldn’t as I didn’t know where it was. So I read it and I had an opinion. But if she’s changed her mind about that then fair enough.”

    I suppose. But, really, posting something on the internet and then expecting people to not talk about it is a bit much. If she doesn’t want random people discussing and linking to her blog, it makes far more sense to just make it private rather than to complain because people are talking about something which she herself made available for public consumption.

    If she doesn’t want people analyzing her personal life, fine. But don’t advertise what you don’t want people to discuss. That is part and partial to the whole “game” of blogging.

  349. delphyne February 22, 2009 at 7:31 PM #

    “If you really want someone to quote at length you’re welcome to quote me.”

    One minute you’re calling me creepy Trinity, the next minute you’re asking me to read, and offering to let me quote from, your blog (no thanks). I’d say make up your mind, but really I don’t care. Leave it out might be a better way of putting it.

    Faith, I see what you are saying.

  350. McStar February 22, 2009 at 7:32 PM #

    there are loads of other subs’ blogs around – and they all tell pretty much the same story. Even the switches are all about pleasing their men.

    People who write blogs primarily or entirely about their romantic and sexual relationships, primarily from a sexually submissive point of view… write about ways in which they like to please their partners??? I’m SHOCKED.

  351. delphyne February 22, 2009 at 7:45 PM #

    I’m talking about sub women and women who think they are dominant but are actually all about what the guy wants, McStar.

    I’m not shocked either. It’s how women are trained in our society, whether they are doing it in “vanilla” het relationships or in leather with whips and chains – Mr Man has to be pleased at all times.

  352. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 7:49 PM #

    Delphyne,

    I offered because I have no problem with you talking about my blog. Others here have expressed that they’d really prefer you not quote them. I’m saying, hey, I have no such worries about anything I’ve posted, so go ahead.

    Now, if you knowingly used something I’d changed my mind about, I’d call you on it.

  353. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 7:51 PM #

    “People who write blogs primarily or entirely about their romantic and sexual relationships, primarily from a sexually submissive point of view… write about ways in which they like to please their partners??? I’m SHOCKED.”

    Exactly, McStar. I understand the feminist critique of women feeling they *have* to please their male partners and feeling stifled or unsatisfied. I don’t get how that has somehow magically become “any woman who enjoys giving pleasure to someone else is not having fun.”

    I mean… if you refuse to give pleasure as well as get it, aren’t you just as selfish as the stereotype you’re critiquing?

  354. Dr_Mystery February 22, 2009 at 8:39 PM #

    You know, I’m having real difficulties reconciling 9-2’s negative assessment of females who enjoy kinky M/f sex as “anti-feminist” with the opinion she voiced just 6 months ago:

    “I want women to have sexual freedom. I want us to get to decide who we want to have sex with, when we want to do it, how it should happen, and how often it should happen. I don’t want anyone coming and telling women that they can’t or shouldn’t do something that they want to do. Sex is private, our desires are unique, and no buttinskis should be coming around to tell us what we should desire to do in our private sex lives.”

    Obviously, the two views are polar opposites. I wonder what prompted the u-turn?

    • Nine Deuce February 22, 2009 at 8:46 PM #

      There’s no u-turn. I do want women to have sexual freedom, but my idea of that and yours are obviously not the same.

  355. chateaumysterieux February 22, 2009 at 8:51 PM #

    I also haven’t heard much from dominant women what interests them in the whole deal.

    It’s hot. I’m a sadist, I haven’t had a fantasy that didn’t involve non-consensuality, violence or other forms of what could be termed extreme pornography. When my boyfriend kneels in front of me with a hard-on and a quivering bottom lip, shivering in anticipation of what I’m about to do to him, just looking at him makes me wet. When I hurt him and he squirms against me in pain, I reach a degree of arousal unmatched in any vanilla activity. Just like, if I were gay, I would be able to experience emotional and perhaps even sexual intimacy with someone of the opposite sex, I can have fun without BDSM, but it lacks the extra ooomph of real fulfilment I get in exercising my sadism – just like, if I were gay, I would only really be happy with a member of my own gender, and I would be mildly offended to be asked to justify my sexual preferences on any kind of objective scale exterior to the basic fact that I enjoy it, my partner does too, and what happens in our lives shouldn’t be of anyone else’s concern.

    I do have some extreme fantasies that it would be a crime to fulfill. I choose not to act upon them, not because I’m a woman, not because I’m afraid of the law, not because they’re not poignant enough, but because I am a sane human being and care about my partner enough never to endanger his safety, no matter how much he may wish for precisely that. I have no doubt that most male doms feel exactly the same way towards their female submissives. A small minority of BDSM practitioners who do not suscribe to the widely acclaimed “safe, sane and consensual” credo shouldn’t make you overlook the overwhelming majority of us who do this in a very controlled manner because, as individuals, and whether this meets with your approval or not, it is the way we get off.

  356. Dr_Mystery February 22, 2009 at 9:03 PM #

    Ah, but there is so much more to your quote than the first sentence!

    Fact is, by negatively labelling such females’ sexual preferences as “anti-feminist”, you are doing precisely what your quote says shouldn’t be done: you are telling these females “how it should happen” and telling them “that they (…) shouldn’t do something that they want to do”.

    It’s plain as day to me.

    • Nine Deuce February 22, 2009 at 9:10 PM #

      Like I’ve said here a zillion times, I’m not telling anyone not to do something, I’m telling them I think they might want to consider the implications of what they’re doing. If they’ve done so and come to a conclusion that differs from mine, whatever. What all of you seem to be missing here is that I’ve never given female subs shit for what they’re into. I’ve said that I don’t get it, I’ve even asked for a little info here and there, but I’ve never told female subs what I think they need to be doing. My analysis here is aimed at the motives of male doms and at people who are aroused by seeing women hurt/dominated. You’re not going to derail that analysis with the, “You’re attacking women’s sexuality!” argument.

  357. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 9:18 PM #

    “My analysis here is aimed at the motives of male doms and at people who are aroused by seeing women hurt/dominated. You’re not going to derail that analysis with the, “You’re attacking women’s sexuality!” argument.”

    The thing is, though, ND, that when you attack someone’s partner, you attack her. I’m not sure how you think it’s possible to criticize someone’s partner without that reflecting on them.

    If I started spouting “theory” about why you shouldn’t get married, would it not bother you at all as long as I was confining what I said to why your partner is wrong for wanting to own a woman by wedding her?

    Would that REALLY not spill onto you at all? It’s weird. It’s a kind of analysis that presumes that being intimately involved with someone doesn’t matter at all.

    • Nine Deuce February 22, 2009 at 9:27 PM #

      You guys are always trying to drag this down to specifics involving this or that person. I’m saying we have a systemic problem.

  358. rachel cervantes February 22, 2009 at 9:23 PM #

    From what I can see (in this thread, anyway), Ms. Deuce rocks!

  359. Faith February 22, 2009 at 9:29 PM #

    “I mean… if you refuse to give pleasure as well as get it, aren’t you just as selfish as the stereotype you’re critiquing?”

    That would be the case if that was what was really being said. The issue at hand with submissive female partners in m/f relationships is the fact that submissives are supposed to be all about their partners pleasure, but not their own.

    It’s an imbalance of power..and in the case of m/f sm relationships, the imbalance of power is either patriarchal or at the very least mimics patriarchal notions of what female sexuality is supposed to be. ..which of course is to exist solely for male pleasure.

    But, you know, somehow I think you already know that…

  360. Faith February 22, 2009 at 9:35 PM #

    “It’s hot. I’m a sadist, I haven’t had a fantasy that didn’t involve non-consensuality, violence or other forms of what could be termed extreme pornography.”

    You’ve never had a fantasy that didn’t involve those things? I’m really not sure you want to go around sharing that fact with the world. Having fantasies which involve those things is one thing, ONLY having those fantasies is just downright scary and I fail to see how it could be healthy.

    “I choose not to act upon them, not because I’m a woman, not because I’m afraid of the law, not because they’re not poignant enough, but because I am a sane human being and care about my partner enough never to endanger his safety, no matter how much he may wish for precisely that. I have no doubt that most male doms feel exactly the same way towards their female submissives.”

    Really? Because from my experience, I’m sure as hell not ready to make that statement.

  361. Faith February 22, 2009 at 9:40 PM #

    “The thing is, though, ND, that when you attack someone’s partner, you attack her. I’m not sure how you think it’s possible to criticize someone’s partner without that reflecting on them.”

    I am not my partner and my partner is not me. My motives are not the same as my partners and vice versa.

    Why is there such an adamant need amongst many people in the feminist blogosphere to defend male sadists?

  362. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 9:44 PM #

    “The issue at hand with submissive female partners in m/f relationships is the fact that submissives are supposed to be all about their partners pleasure, but not their own.”

    But that isn’t true at all. Most people don’t submit because they don’t feel they deserve pleasure. They submit because they get intense pleasure out of giving pleasure.

  363. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 9:46 PM #

    ND: But even if you talk about groups, the problem remains.

    If you say that Group X is a bunch of evil, bad people, and Group Y is the group of people that love people in Group X, how does insulting Group X not insult Group Y?

    I mean, it could be that both deserve condemnation because members of Group Y are too stupid to see that they’re investing themselves in evil.

    But in that case you’re not saying it’s hunky-dory to be Y.

  364. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 9:47 PM #

    “Why is there such an adamant need amongst many people in the feminist blogosphere to defend male sadists?”

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

    For the eleventeenth time: I’m not going to divide up which of my friends I defend based on gender.

  365. Alderson Warm-Fork February 22, 2009 at 9:50 PM #

    “The issue at hand with submissive female partners in m/f relationships is the fact that submissives are supposed to be all about their partners pleasure, but not their own.”

    While this statement is perfectly reasonable, cogent, and plausible, I think it’s also straightforwardly false. Giving pleasure to/inflicting pleasure on subs can be a big part of the relationship. Giving pain to/inflicting pain on subs can also be very close to pleasure. Loads and loads of people have already said here that pain is actively pleasurable for them.

  366. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 9:51 PM #

    “You’ve never had a fantasy that didn’t involve those things? I’m really not sure you want to go around sharing that fact with the world.”

    Wow.

    Whatever happened to “we’re not talking about individuals, we’re talking about a systemic problem?”

  367. chateaumysterieux February 22, 2009 at 10:02 PM #

    @Faith

    Having fantasies which involve those things is one thing, ONLY having those fantasies is just downright scary and I fail to see how it could be healthy.

    Tough. I’ll have to settle on being a tax-paying, law-abiding citizen in a happy, consensual, fulfilling relationship, then.

  368. J.Goff February 22, 2009 at 10:45 PM #

    Whatever happened to “we’re not talking about individuals, we’re talking about a systemic problem?”

    I think that this statement from Nine Deuce is inherently incorrect, give the original post:

    I’ve yet to hear any of these dominant men explain why they are interested in dominating women (or men, for that matter). I also haven’t heard much from dominant women what interests them in the whole deal. So, let’s hear it, eh?

    It seems disingenuous to me for Nine Deuce to now act like the original post was not meant to ask individual people to post here, thus necessitating an analysis of said individual’s post. If we are talking about a “systematic problem”, we are going about it in a very poor manner. If, however, we meant to isolate individuals via a few posts on a blog, then extrapolate the experiences of those few individuals as the one true BDSM experience as if that was the way truth is derived, then we are doing a very good job. One need only look at some of the people who have, in fact, posted here to observe how this post has been utilized.

    • Nine Deuce February 22, 2009 at 10:52 PM #

      Trinity is putting my words into someone else’s mouth with that quote, J. Goff. I asked people to post to have a look at what people thought on the subject, not to analyze their answers in writing. What other people have done in this comment section is their business. And don’t tell me my discussion of the fact that we have a systemic problem has been done poorly. Have you even read any of my posts on the subject? Because this isn’t one of them.

  369. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 11:24 PM #

    JG: She’s right, I was paraphrasing.

    What I was paraphrasing, whether well or badly, was:

    “You guys are always trying to drag this down to specifics involving this or that person. I’m saying we have a systemic problem.”

  370. Trinity February 22, 2009 at 11:24 PM #

    Which was ND and not Faith, but from what Faith has said, I think she’d agree with it.

  371. Lane February 23, 2009 at 2:13 AM #

    ND, I’ve been following this and the other bdsm discussions and faithfully reading every comment. I just wanted to say thanks for this discussion. Thanks as well to Trinity, Faith and Delphyne (thanks particularly to you, D, as I appreciate your faithfulness to your perspective…we may rarely agree, but I love how your thoughts challenge my thinking) et al.
    I’m a kinky woman, and for the most part I’d like to think of myself as a feminist as well. But make no mistake; I can’t defend my sexual practice as feminist in any real, honest way. I don’t sub to the men I chose to be intimate with, but I do ask them to engage with me in what I’ll euphemistically call “sensation play” and there is no way that I can call what I like sexually, feminist. It would be antithetical and disingenuous to do so. But, I like my kinks and they bring me a lot of pleasure so I’m unlikely to give them up easily or happily and thus I live with the cognitive dissonance. Though I am uncomfortable with many aspects of the wider bdsm community and this discussion has helped clarify and cement my perturbation. I just want you to know that I can’t be the only kinky reader out here who does understand that there is a sea of difference in the dynamic of M/f and F/m practice and that there is little to be gained on the wider scale by speaking about singular, anecdotal examples. They simply do not speak to the wider community, it’s practices and it’s Internet (and increasingly ‘regular’ world) presence. Seriously, I live in the ‘buckle’ of the Western Canadian bible belt and every grocery and drugstore had Valentine’s Day displays selling fuzzy handcuffs.
    What I’m genuinely, and honestly, curious about is whether any form of bdsm can be practiced from a radfem perspective? And I mean this well above and beyond ‘consent’. For sure, consent is a critical component in bdsm play but it isn’t a panacea for the disconnect between the essentials of feminism and typical bdsm practices. Is there simply no place for any (sexual) bondage, discipline, dom/sub ‘play’, or sadomasochistic practice in the feminist paradigm (for lack of a better word). I’m not being facetious here, I really am interested in your thoughts on this. Can a woman honour feminism and her kinky desires?

    • Nine Deuce February 23, 2009 at 2:21 AM #

      Lane – I don’t know. I genuinely believe that if we were to achieve the end of male supremacy, of shaming women for enjoying sex at all, of the expectation of women’s submission to degradation and domination, that these sorts of desires might not exist at all. I don’t think that there’d be no interest in what you call “sensation play” (on that, check out this comment from B, which I thought really made a lot of sense), but I don’t think it would play out in a BD, DS, or SM type of situation. I really think that that dynamic comes from the mingling of sex and power that characterizes patriarchy.

  372. McStar February 23, 2009 at 2:52 AM #

    delphyne – I’m talking about sub women and women who think they are dominant but are actually all about what the guy wants, McStar.

    Well, if a woman is sexually submissive or in a relationship where she’s exploring submission, and writing a blog to record that relationship and her feelings, isn’t it just logical that she will write about her partner’s desires? Isn’t it also logical that she might focus more on her partner’s desires than her own, in her writing, as she’s exploring being submissive to her partner? I don’t think that means these women don’t have minds or desires of their own.

    Also, I (sadly) haven’t read one myself, but what about a blog written by a submissive woman in a lesbian relationship? I imagine she would not be ‘all about the man’… is she allowed to write about wanting to please her partner?

    As for these “women who think they are dominant”, I can’t say I’ve read anything of theirs either. I totally accept that female-dominant porn or pro-domming usually caters to male fantasies, as men make up the majority of the audience/clientele, and, well, people gotta earn a living. Within a relationship? Not so much.

    I’m not shocked either. It’s how women are trained in our society, whether they are doing it in “vanilla” het relationships or in leather with whips and chains – Mr Man has to be pleased at all times.

    That’s interesting. My experience of feminism means that I don’t really want to challenge that statement – it’s logical and fits in with many other things typical of patriarchy, I can see examples of it in the media and pop culture etc. But my personal experience disagrees. I was absolutely not raised to believe that Mr Man had to be pleased at all times. Neither were any of my friends. As far as I know, everyone I know is resistant to cultural suggestions that relationships should be one-sided in this way. I can’t fully agree with a blanket statement about “how women are trained” that doesn’t apply to me or my women friends, so I’m not sure what conclusion to draw.

  373. McStar February 23, 2009 at 3:04 AM #

    Can a woman honour feminism and her kinky desires?

    Absolutely.

    I honour feminism by being active in my uni’s feminist and LGBT societies, stewarding at women’s marches, writing letters to the newspapers/my MP to protest sexism, adbusting, arguing against sexism when I see it (as much as time & energy allows). One could also argue that I honour feminism by doing things like attending university, voting, exercising reproductive choices and so on; though I don’t see these things as feminist acts in the same way as those in my previous sentence. I honour my kinky desires by being aware of them, questioning them, exploring them safely and consensually and having fun. It’s also important to me as a feminist that I do kink with a pro-feminist partner.

  374. J.Goff February 23, 2009 at 3:48 AM #

    It’s also important to me as a feminist that I do kink with a pro-feminist partner.

    I think the point is that there is no pro-feminist practitioner of BDSM. Being against BDSM is a sine qua non prerequisite for being a feminist, let alone, a pro-feminist.

  375. Trinity February 23, 2009 at 4:28 AM #

    “Seriously, I live in the ‘buckle’ of the Western Canadian bible belt and every grocery and drugstore had Valentine’s Day displays selling fuzzy handcuffs.”

    Lane,

    But is that representative of BDSM’s patriarchal nature, or is it representative of what happens when patriarchy (perhaps better said, patriarchal CAPITALISM) appropriates something and makes its own commercialized, devoid of meaning, bullshit version of that to market it?

    I say the latter… can you explain to me why you’d claim the former?

  376. Charlie February 23, 2009 at 7:19 AM #

    @92

    I’m not sure that in a world without patriarchy, that there would be no desire for sexual dominance or submission. I think that you & I would agree that *if* such desires existed within that context, how people would choose to act on them would be very different from the way they act on them in this society. But correct me if that’s not true.

    The reason I think that such desires would still exist is because I think that even in a world with an global ethic of equality, fairness and justice among all people, there will still be local differentials in power. Teacher/student. Boss/worker. Parent/child. Police (or the non-patriarchal equivalent)/civilian. Doctor/patient. I expect that some folks will find themselves aroused by some of those dynamics and may want to play with that in a sexual context.

    Our sexual selves are the result of a complex and recursive interplay of biology and experience. Unless the desire for sexual D&S play is unique and is entirely the result of culture, the biology will make its presence known, even in a non-patriarchal world. I have no idea how it might show up and I’m pretty confident that it would still be there in some form or another.

  377. Lane February 23, 2009 at 7:38 AM #

    Trinity,

    I didn’t realize I was claiming one to the exclusion of the other. Can’t it be both?

    McStar,

    I’m not suggesting that *you* can’t practice bdsm and be a feminist but I can’t wrap my head around how wanting to dominate anyone, regardless of gender, orientation and consent, or wanting to be dominated can be construed of as feminist. It’s honestly incongruous to me.

  378. McStar February 23, 2009 at 9:42 AM #

    I think the point is that there is no pro-feminist practitioner of BDSM. Being against BDSM is a sine qua non prerequisite for being a feminist, let alone, a pro-feminist.

    Well, as a kinky feminist, I (obviously!) disagree. In my experience, this idea that kink and feminism are mutually exclusive is the position of a very small minority within the huge numbers of people in the world who identify as feminist/womanist/pro-feminist/equalist, or who don’t affix any specific label to themselves but are nonetheless opposed to sexism. I’ve discussed feminism and kink with quite a few people in the real world and most of them, whether they have any personal interest in BDSM or not, don’t think that what others do consensually in bed has any relevance to women’s rights whatsoever. The idea that one has to be anti-BDSM to be considered a feminist is ridiculous.

  379. Trinity February 23, 2009 at 3:31 PM #

    “I’m not sure that in a world without patriarchy, that there would be no desire for sexual dominance or submission. I think that you & I would agree that *if* such desires existed within that context, how people would choose to act on them would be very different from the way they act on them in this society. But correct me if that’s not true.

    The reason I think that such desires would still exist is because I think that even in a world with an global ethic of equality, fairness and justice among all people, there will still be local differentials in power. Teacher/student. Boss/worker. Parent/child. Police (or the non-patriarchal equivalent)/civilian. Doctor/patient. I expect that some folks will find themselves aroused by some of those dynamics and may want to play with that in a sexual context.”

    This is exactly how I feel too. I don’t think that in utopia there will be *no* power relations between people. Even if I were more inclined to the view that in Utopia such things wouldn’t exist between adults, I am not sure that it would be possible even in utopia for parents not to have power over children. Parents are fundamentally caretakers, and even if one isn’t a big believer in stern discipline (I’m not myself), sometimes a child does something she shouldn’t out of ignorance and a parent has to set up some kind of rules.

    And I think that even in utopia, some people out there will eroticize caretaking, learning from mentors, etc.

    That may well look wildly different from D/s as it’s currently practiced. But it will still BE D/s.

  380. Trinity February 23, 2009 at 3:32 PM #

    “I didn’t realize I was claiming one to the exclusion of the other. Can’t it be both?”

    Why does it have to be both? Why does it seem to you to be both?

  381. Faith February 23, 2009 at 4:18 PM #

    “Which was ND and not Faith, but from what Faith has said, I think she’d agree with it.”

    It isn’t usually wise to assume what another person agrees with. I believe the issue at hand involves both individuals and something systematic.

    Individuals create the system after all, and vice versa.

  382. subversive_sub February 23, 2009 at 5:30 PM #

    @9-2: “You guys are always trying to drag this down to specifics involving this or that person. I’m saying we have a systemic problem.”

    Of course no single person’s personal experience can tell you everything that is true about BDSM — but what folks have been trying to show here is that *pretty much everyone’s* personal, real-life experience shows a picture that looks drastically different from the problem you describe and have gleaned from pornography and online dating sites. It’s just that, well, if the theory is that “all BDSM is abuse, male doms are manipulative and cruel,” and a bunch of kinky people respond, “that’s really not my experience, or my partner’s experience, or really anyone I know in the BDSM scene’s experience,” then maybe there’s something in the original theory that needs further reflection, you know?

    That is, it’s not about “this or that person” but about “the majority of people who identify as kinky.”

  383. Trinity February 23, 2009 at 6:54 PM #

    “It isn’t usually wise to assume what another person agrees with. I believe the issue at hand involves both individuals and something systematic.”

    Okay, my mistake then.

  384. Trinity February 23, 2009 at 6:55 PM #

    “what folks have been trying to show here is that *pretty much everyone’s* personal, real-life experience shows a picture that looks drastically different from the problem you describe and have gleaned from pornography and online dating sites.”

    Exactly, which is why I was saying earlier that now we need studies that demonstrate whether us commenters are odd one-offs who happen to be enlightened or are representative.

    I cited one a while back, but it didn’t spur much discussion. I wonder why that might’ve been?

  385. McStar February 23, 2009 at 7:30 PM #

    Lane – I’m not suggesting that *you* can’t practice bdsm and be a feminist but I can’t wrap my head around how wanting to dominate anyone, regardless of gender, orientation and consent, or wanting to be dominated can be construed of as feminist. It’s honestly incongruous to me.

    Ah, OK. Maybe I misread your earlier post, I thought you were questioning the possibility of a person being able to be both kinky and a feminist.

    In answer to your clarification, I don’t think desires for sexual dominance/submission are feminist. I don’t think ANY sexual desires or acts are inherently feminist or anti-feminist; egalitarian or degrading. Sexual politics is found in the beliefs and attitudes that people bring to sex, not in the acts themselves. There’s nothing inherently feminist about the cliche of gentle non-patriarchal lesbian-feminist sex; and there’s nothing inherently anti-feminist about tying someone up and ejaculating on their face. (In my opinion.) It’s quite fair, and potentially very interesting, to question why people desire certain acts, and in what way their desire is influenced by patriarchy; but I don’t think it’s at all necessary to conclude that certain desires or acts are inherently anti- or pro-feminist.

  386. McStar February 23, 2009 at 8:06 PM #

    oh, addendum to previous post: last sentence should read

    It’s quite fair, and potentially very interesting, to question why people desire certain acts, and in what way their desire is influenced by patriarchy; but I don’t think it’s at all necessary or logical to conclude that certain desires or acts are inherently anti- or pro-feminist.

  387. Trinity February 23, 2009 at 8:17 PM #