Saturday, 30 June 2007

Examining Your Desires

After writing this I wound up thinking a bit about "examining one's desires" and why, exactly, I think it's a faulty way of thinking about the potential connections between sexual desire and sexism, racism, etc.

In order to use a real example but not make the discussion about my personal stuff, I'll give the example of my mom.

My parents are white. My mom has a thing for black men. For as long as I've known her, she's loved to watch basketball in part because she's a sports nut... and, in part (and she freely admits it) because she loves drooling over the hot black hunks on the teams. She had a girlish crush on my seventh-grade gym teacher that made me blush. She talked a lot at great length about the beauty of black men's bodies and the comparative ugliness of white men.

I don't think she had (or has now) any idea that her sexual attraction to these men could be at all exoticizing.

So let's say I decided to fix this. Let's say I snuck in one night and gave her copies of "Eating the Other" and the scenes from Invisible Man that involve the main character trying desperately to fend off a white woman who is desperate to be "raped" by a "boo'ful black bruiser" but has no interest in him as a person and no idea that he doesn't want to be seen as an oversexed animal.

And let's say she got it. Let's say a little lightbulb went off over her head and she remembered asking her kid embarrassing questions about the cuteness of her OMGBLACK GYM TEACHER YUM YUM!!11!!eleventyseven! and went "Oh my God, that was gross of me!"

Suppose all that. Now, there's still a huge question: Will this woman, whose sexual desire is so keyed into race, stop having sexual responses to seeing a certain subset of black men?

If she doesn't, what does that actually mean?

By asking this, I'm not saying "wow, you mean anti-racists, lay off my mama, she's programmed to lust after people with a certain amount of melanin!" I'm not asserting that isn't exoticizing when I ask "what does that mean?"

What I am wondering is exactly what it is we're trying to accomplish. Is it just awareness, such that "okay, now I've told her and she'll be less obnoxious about it and think before she airs her basketballer fantasies in front of people who will be very upset by them?"

Is it reprogramming, such that she won't experience these people as particularly sexually attractive? Clearly she'll hopefully have a respect for these men as people that she may lack now (I am not sure exactly how to analyze whether she does or not, and I think whether she does is much more complicated than just looking at sex/desire/arousal), but will that respect alter her sexual desire, or simply coexist with it?

If the attraction remains, strong as it ever was, but she's aware... have we failed, or have we succeeded?

Do we have a way to quantify what "examination" does and when it succeeds and when it fails? When is more "examination" needed, and when is it not?

My personal feeling is that complete naivete about a desire like this may warrant some encouragement of "examination." But outside of the situation in which someone has no idea that there's a history of exoticization (or whatever), I'm not sure asking "have you thought about what that means?" again is useful.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Wherein I profess my undying love for Sheila Jeffreys

The following quote caught my eye, from a post of Q|D's on a book I really need to look up and read:
Jeffreys was asked to elaborate on her earlier admission that she has had distrubing fantasies or has been aroused by pornographic material. In response, she commented on her efforts to purge herself of undesirable fantasies. She said she has given up fantasizing altogether; she took some time off from sex in order to try something completely different . . . She suggested that giving up fantasies was a strategy to cleanse the movement of S/M.
I love her. Why? Because she has the balls, excuse me, the ovaries, to hate me openly.

Now this may not make sense to anyone like our lovely Verte, who's been heckled and worse for being openly into BDSM. But my experience here in the US, rather than across the pond, is of a murky half-friendship, one hand extended in friendship and the other concealing a knife at my back.

Backed into a corner it's "oooh, you can do whatever you want in private, I wouldn't dream of intruding upon you, ooo!" *titter*

Among The Trusted Good Womyn it's "...and in a feminist utopia no one would get off on that! MAY THE DAY COME SOON AMEN!" with absolutely no understanding of how othering that actually is, and most likely quite a shitfit about how I dare to sully the term "othering" with my foolish little pussy-grounded concerns

or snark on BDSM and how evil it is, hidden where they hope we won't find it.

or the infamous


as if they look really keen under a microscope.

(To snark less: Yes, I have. No, it did no one any good unless I was doing it for a particular reason or with a particular aim that did not involve self-shaming. Thank you and good night.)

or any number of examples of weird shit that is

according to these people

completely compatible with accepting me in the Movement, theoretically (oh thank you Overlords for your blessing, I kowtow in thanks), and how dare I say otherwise.

And as soon as I say "but all this implies you're trying to kick me out," the caterwauling begins:

"what I think of what you do isn't the issue! don't take this so personally! this is about feminism, not your bed!"

which, y'know, makes no sense when you've just been backhandedly insulted over and over, but is somehow supposed to be logical. SOMEHOW.

Compared to that, "GTFO" is, well... nice. Because I can easily say "Nope, not moving" and get on with my damn life.

I think there is a huge tendency, actually, in all sorts of leftist circles to feel that saying "Nope, you're wrong" is somehow anathema, and therefore end up saying exactly that in these really creepy, masked, toxic ways.

It also makes it easy not to have needed conversations about the implications of a certain theory, view, or opinion. "SM isn't consistent with radical feminism, radical feminism is the only worthwhile feminism, but I'd never kick out a woman!" makes one's position confusing and marginalized and unclear. "Given my views, you cannot be what I deem a feminist" does not.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Women's Libido

xposted from my LJ, with a special think-fu addition for this blog, cuz we're all thinksome like that :)

I've been thinking about discussions of libido. They generally go, from what I see, like this:

Random Wanker: Women have lower libidos than men.
Random Woman: I have a really high libido! Maybe I'm rare for a woman, but I prove some of us do.

Mulling this over in my find, I thought about just how many women I know who say this, including myself. And it got me wondering: exactly what is a high libido? Exactly what is a low libido? Do they differ for men and for women? Is low libido in men the same kind of half-secret secret as high libido in women?

So I thought I'd ask you, my fine feathered friends, or at least those who don't mind oversharing: what is your libido like (if you've got one; feel free to also answer if you don't/are asexual/etc.)? How important is sex/sexual play/sexy stuff to you? How often do you want it? Do you think this makes your libido high, low, or middlin'?

As far as me: I can't imagine my libido isn't high. But the interesting thing about it is that the more I do, the more I want. I don't know if this is a common woman thing (though I suspect so) but I never really have peaks and go down from there. I have orgasms, sure, but the energy just builds usually and I just want more.

That's part of what I absolutely love about SM. It lets me experience excess. Too much, overflow of emotion and sensation. I get to flood other people with so much sensation they don't know what the hell is happening other than that they like it. And I get to flood myself with this massive influx of power that makes me feel like I might well bust at the seams too.

It's about a lot of things for me, but one of the basic experiences is MORE. It's like letting the ocean crash over you again and again.


I think that's actually part of why a certain brand of radfem rhetoric worked well to shut my libido down. A lot of discussion of class struggle is based on the idea that one class has privilege that allows them luxury. Indulgence. Overflow. Greedy consumption of more than they need, and this more could go to the underprivileged.

And would, in a just world.

You can probably see where this is going. My lavish fantasies of too much -- having too much power, feeling too much passion, giving too much sensation to a straining and gasping and sweating bottom in the process of being completely wrung out... well, wasn't that just the indulgence of the unjust ruling class?

And this thought just shut me down, y'all.

Because part of what I want from SM is precisely that delight in excess. That feeling of skating as close to total overwhelmed overload as I can.

Now I don't feel ashamed any more. Because I'm delighting in bodies and emotions -- not in having more actual resources than someone else. I'm not stealing from the poor to fatten my own coffers... I'm creating gushing wild overload for everyone involved, ideally.

And I find that when I really want that, when I'm not afraid of wanting that... it works.

And all of life for those brief moments becomes so vivid and so awesome (in the "this word is derived from 'awe'" sense)... it's like living in the center of the storm, becoming the rolling thunder and the crashing lightning.

It's amazing, amazing stuff. I can't really live without it.

(why yes I did have the best time ever last night, why do you ask? ;)

What do we mean by feminist BDSM?

Is it...

A more egalitarian or 'ethical' approach to BDSM relationships and dynamics?

A resistance to much of the traditional, gendered protocol of BDSM spaces?

A refusal to accept that all expressions of BDSM are inherently degrading to women, and that feminism's cause and greater acceptance of BDSM as a valid, consensual choice are connected and entwined?

An understanding and acceptance that sexuality and desire, yes, even for the wimminz, simply can't be rationalised or policed?

The idea of steering relationships, within voluntary hierarchies, away from traditional gender roles?

For me, it's all of these things. The last thought, actually, is interesting. It seems to me that a lot of F/m relationship dynamics steer the m away from traditional notions of masculinity and male gender role.

Is it hard to believe that many M/f relationships do the same?

T has disciplined me into shrugging off a lot of 'femininity' baggage; traits, beliefs, judgements I have placed on myself according to what society, and to a small extent the BDSM community, has defined as 'feminine' or 'submissive'. Just as many female dominants enjoy educating and empowering male submissives into accepting and understanding that not all men want or need to be the hunter-gatherer, the 'alpha' male or sexually dominant, is it possible that a lot of male dominants might want to do the same with female submissives?

One thing I'm sure of: this dynamic, this acceptance and understanding that conforming to gender role in my development as a BDSM submissive was unnecessary actually led to my reclaiming 'feminist' as part of my identity and politics.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Gender Supremacists in BDSM: A Difficult Confession

I was just thinking of a comment of Verte's in another thread, wherein she mentioned asking people into male-supremacist BDSM "why they get off on it"

and I was thinking that it seems to me that they're not just getting off on the idea of a world following the dynamic they like, but interpreting the world AS secretly following that dynamic. And I don't know why that is, but my guess is insecurity. If you know something secret about women or men that they don't admit to, you don't have to feel like a pervert or an outcast or a nostalgic, reactionary person.

Why am I mentioning this? Because of an old, completely cringeworthy personal diary entry of mine from Feb 2001 (at the time -- though it should be obvious -- I thought I was straight. I was also trying to use "femdom" as a way of making myself more feminine. I'd always been more comfortable androgynous or masculine, but felt ashamed. When I discovered the Scene, being a feminine top seemed a good compromise and I tried to shoehorn myself into it for a while. Later I let go of that and realized that I didn't really want to be feminine, even in a dominant way.)
I realized something today: I never thought I saw things along gender lines, but I'm now realizing that I do. i just see things along backwards gender lines. :) I am beginning to think that maybe the reason I'm still a tad confused by Maledom/femsub relationships is that in some fundamental way i see things the opposite way. I always used to think I was totally egalitarian on this -- equality, M/f, F/m, But I am beginning to believe (to my own disquietude) that what I have is not only a preference but perhaps a paradigm. No, I don't wnat it to be one -- I want everything to be equal in my own eyes... but right now I think it's not.

I say this because I think of the Femdom as the ultimate in the ideal of a female -- a sort of goddess nature that I strive toward and can't help but believe other women strive for as well even though I know their quest for their inner divinity doesn't have to take that form. I say this because I see male bottoms the same way -- as a perfection, as this noble form that exemplifies what the male essence really is. I know it's not actually true, but it is what my instincts tell me: that all the male posturing, endless male jockeying to be at the top of the sexual totem pole, subjugation of women in the not-too-distant past, etc is all an illusion, built on fear of losing power and becoming what they truly are.

I don't like that I have this feeling -- I know it is not true, and everyone is everywhere along this spectrum. But I can't shake it, and that is what makes me find Maledom/femsub so odd. I can't imagine that any woman in her right mind would be submissive. Not that I think it's wrong in any way... just that it leaves me confused. I can imagine easily a woman submitting to another woman -- then she'd just be lower in the hierarchy than the other woman who Doms her. But I just can't picture why someone who has the inner force and actie spirit of Goddess would choose to give herself over to the sublime passivity that for me is the domain of the guys, I know our culture says the opposite, and I myself tried to fit into the "passive, feminine girl" mold -- and only felt natural when I let that go. But i am universalizing my experience here, and that's not good.

Why am I? I don't know. Rationally, rthere's no reason for it. Rationally, I see that many people see men the way I see women, and women the way i see men, and such views have limited both. But for some reason, my instincts tell me it just makes more sense one way than the other.
Yowie. Yuck. Ewww. Gah.

But re-reading it, I DO remember feeling that way. And I DO remember having no idea why, feeling that I was being unfair, etc.

Now that I think about it years later, having been exposed to tons of different BDSM dynamics and people, being comfortable with my bisexuality, having played with women, dated a woman, etc...

...I really think that came from insecurity on my part. I was a very new top, and very young (21, at the time) and overwhelmed with new feelings. I was frightened because I knew that society in general thought I should submit to men. And in the dungeon I was seeing men let down a facade of dominance and become comfortable and open in a way I often didn't see from men with macho walls up.

So I suppose it was easy for me to look at men who were behaving nastily or who seemed insecurely macho and grin knowingly and think "I know what you REALLY are..." (and of course, that meant that what had been a threatening or uncomfortable interaction with a sexist fool could become a sexual fantasy about what might happen when he let that facade down... ;)

Applying this to male tops, I can easily imagine similar faulty reasoning on their part too. Silly as it looks to most feminists, there are a lot of men out there who feel insecure because feminism has shaken up what's expected of them. Witness how incredibly incensed men can get about minor points of etiquette, like whether or not women want doors held open for us any more, and how rude or disorienting this is for some men.

As silly as I find all that stuff, it's not hard for me to think myself into the place of a man like that and think that, perhaps, believing in some secret kernel of submission in all women could make him feel just a little less threatened and bewildered. If he's not secure enough to let go of that thinking... well, that's where some of the pushy insistence that all women submit (or should) could come from.

As far as the submissive people who are into gender supremacy, that one I can't wrap my head around as easily because I'm not submissive. But I suppose it could be similar. A straight man comes to terms with the fact that he yearns to be a woman's slave, but still feels emasculated among his straight male peers -- and BAM! secret truth: Women are Superior Goddesses and patriarchy is bitter fear of The Real Reality. A straight woman finally manages to escape the pressure of what she deems a "feminist" life path/demand set, and BAM! "we're all unhappy with 'the feminist new order', deep inside..."

I don't know. I'm embarrassed at that old post of mine. But I do remember thinking it. And I remember the thought that most straight men were liars, that they secretly yearned to be mine, under it all... it was an exhilarating thought.

Remembering it, I'm not surprised that some immature people would be stuck there.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Infantilizing..., not the fetish.

a bit of good discussion at the end of the comments to this

some of it pretty personal to get dredged up in an entry rather than comments, so I'll quote a rather generic piece of joan's comment and my response in there:

But, especially in the spanking fetish scene, that infantilizing of the person who's on the bottom often extends outside of role play and is just an attitude that makes me feel like, wow, these people are in a time warp and think it's the 1950's and women are children who are always trying to "get away with things" and need to be put in their place. And by put in their place, I'm not even talking about spanking - I'm talking about the way people talk to each other, the attitudes of who knows what, who knows better than who, who should be looked up to with fluttering eyelashes, who is - basically - the classic patriarch figure (even with women tops).


this makes a lot more sense to me now. thank you.

that whole "I'm a BRAAAT! *batbatbat*" thing.

Yeah, I puzzle over that too.

I don't really have the same experience of it being overwhelming though. In a few of the rural communities where most people are M/f, yes, I do see it.

But... hmm. What exactly does one DO about that?

Because some of it IS an ageplay thing, a particular sort of "little girl" role.

And I don't always know quite how I feel about carry-over. I'm sometimes really bothered by it, and sometimes really not at all.

Because on the one hand, yes, it seems a bad place to linger. And what does it mean that adult women want to see themselves that way a lot of the time?

But on the other, it seems to me like that's about childhood more than gender. It seems to me that, with the bratty bottoms twirling their pigtails at least, the fascination is with the idea of being a spoiled -- as in, beloved yet unruly -- little girl.

And that seems to me like it's tied more directly into wanting to re-write, re-experience, or play around with a certain idealized form of girlhood to e me than like it's about sexism.

But then the question becomes: what about the tops? What about "Daddy"? Where's he coming from?

I know plenty of "Daddy" types who I think are doing it in a healthy way, but they tend to be queer. I don't know as many straight Daddies at all, in general -- but with the online ones, certainly, there's an infantilizing element that goes beyond role and gets... squicky for me, too.

But again, how much of it is carried over into offline M/f D/s, I don't know myself. You suggest a goodly amount and I see no reason to doubt it.

So... hmm. Where does that leave us? I don't know either.

Monday, 11 June 2007


just a moderatorly gab here:

allow deleting posts? er not? because i'm a bit ashamed of my uberventfest today and yesterday and rather want to delete the last post.

so. rules creation?

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Who Matters? or Why A Lot Of This Shit Is Just Silly

reposted from a comment of mine here:

Dw3t-Hthr: "And I'm just kinda going, "Uh, force is force. It doesn't have balls or tits."

Moi, somewhat extended from original:

well there IS cultural encoding to that effect, and the cultural encoding isn't something BDSMers are immune to.

but yeah.

eh. which goes back to the whole "how do we root out the sexism in BDSM" kinda thaaaaaaang

Except, you know: should we really be wasting our time on these people?

Not feminist orthodoxy to say it but: do we REALLY CARE?

does some dom who thinks he's ubermensch really MATTER TO FEMINISM?

on a radfem/radfemlike view, yeah, because the more of them there are the more likely there's the conglomerate that shames/diminishes other forms

but y'know, i'm leery of that whole idea that some anti-SM feminists have that what some members of an already small sexual subculture do... means something hyooj.

much more likely that The Pat has filtered down even to us than that we (supposed darlings o' th' Pat ourselves, to these folks) are making sexuality funked.

cos really? who are these people? and what do they MATTER unless we're a unit taking THEM on as a unit?

Eh. I think there are productive ways to, say, attempt to change The Face Of The Scene.

But I think a lot of what people notice isn't really a generality that means something so much as: y'know, many if not most heterosexuals have never thought about this shit. F/m people maybe, but you still get occasional pockets of, say, "Dominant women shouldn't be too masculine" or "Dominant women are weak if they get fucked" (lovely catch-22!) and such crap.

so rather than considering them Das Problemm, maybe like I said the best thing to do is foster alliances with people who think differently

get 'em into some alternate environments

where, y'know, to really count in the community as Mr. Butch Uberdom, you have to compete with gay leather titleholders who could out-butch pit bulls... and who fuck submissive MEN


Friday, 8 June 2007

"Smashing" Binaries?

I had written up a long post, but it got eaten.

I've been thinking a lot lately about binaries. The binaries in SM sex. Top and bottom. Giver and receiver. Dominant and submissive. The way that these roles complement one another. The way that they're designed to fit together perfectly and create an intense experience precisely because of the contrast between them.

A lot of feminism is suspicious of binaries. Gender is a binary that we love to discuss smashing or subverting, even if we often find ourselves creeping back to essentialism when we try to justify destroying it. We love to talk about the societal roles imposed on men and women. The way that, if you haven't been paying attention, they seem to be complementary and maybe even sweet, but really they raise the men at the expense of women.

But a beginning to wonder about binaries. I'm beginning to wonder but the people who fit into them. People like me who like being tops or bottoms. People like the more traditional transsexuals, who I occasionally see getting shit from people who think that they should be helping to smash or subvert the gender binary. Who get told to be less traditional, or less stealth, or more genderfucked in general for political reasons. Or even people who get told they're not really straight, or not really gay or lesbian, because everyone must be a little bisexual.

I'm beginning to think that many of us fit in -- and even like -- some binaries. I'm beginning to wonder if we don't all have some secret hidden polarity that we find exciting, or interesting, or the just plain fits. And I'm starting to think that we need to talk less about smashing binaries and who should be doing it, and more about enabling people to really and truly fit anywhere on continuums, even the ends. Because we're not really trying to destroy the ends. We're just trying to make sure that being on one end of the other is not compulsory.

And yeah, in one sense that "smashes" the idea that everyone is 0 or 1. But people tend to confuse that with "getting rid of 0 and 1." "There will be no bottoms (and by extension, no tops, the tyrants!) in utopia." "'Man' and 'woman' will lose their meaning." "No one will be 'straight' or 'gay', because no one will 'feel locked in' to a certain kind of partner -- oh, those weird people who don't behave omnisexually? They're just unevolved."

And that... uh. No, not really the world I want, thanks.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

BDSM women's spaces and transphobia

When bending gender around can be described as a fetish, and you combine that with a sizeable population of transmen and transwomen in a smallish subculture, the results can be explosive, confusing and often pretty offensive.

Of all the arguments I've seen pan out in the BDSM community, the debates over where transwomen are 'allowed' to be and what they represent are often the longest and most heated.

We've had the argument over the personal ads, whether transwomen should have to put themselves in a separate category from other women so men don't have to look at their profiles. We've argued at great length about the London Ladies' Munch, who took a democratic decision to only allow physically transitioned transwomen in. I get what they were trying to do (which I'll explain later..) and think the move was well-intentioned, but it resulted in a lot of people using the contention over exactly what constituted 'fully transitioned' to have a grand transphobic rant. We've also had an argument about women's toilets at clubs and who should be allowed in them, which resulted in the same.

There's always people like me, with a few trans friends on and off the scene, who are completely bewildered that what's between someone's legs apparently makes them 'less' of a woman when most would say they have experienced the vast majority, or even their entire lives as women; who can't imagine having a 'girly' setting that would exclude them for not being girly enough and who don't feel they need to be segregated and start their own munch! And then there are the 'if it was born with a dick, it's a man' types, who will argue their prejudice into the ground if they have to. While some of these arguments come from men, the transwoman who caught the most flack were most offended, I think, when the arguments came from women. Women who wanted to exclude them.

The mainstream UK BDSM scene is pretty heterocentric and, as a bi, queer identified woman in a hetero relationship, there are parts of that heterocentricity that marginalise me let alone gender queer, lesbian and transgendered people. I know some lesbian SM communities turn their noses up at transwomen (and there was one SM dyke who was probably the most offensive of the lot) and people who engage in relationships with transwomen, but fortunately SM Dykes don't share that view at all.

I think the issue the Ladies' Munch were trying to address, originally, was the problem of predatory straight men who crossdress, or who are transvestites only in their scene persona. I get that this is a problem. The whole point, as I understand it, of the Ladies' Munch, just like the under-35 munches, is just to have an evening with other kinky people where you're less likely to get approached and preyed upon. I know that SM women get this all the time. When I went to my first munches, aged 19 or so, I was the youngest female - and female sub at that - by a mile, and did feel I got a lot of unwanted attention from much older men, waiting to approach me one by one. I barely got a chance to talk to other women until I learnt to feel more confident in those spaces. I get that women only munches are useful for noobs, particularly, but I still feel the emphasis of them is oddly heterocentric. After all, what is the point of a 'safe space' for women not to get preyed upon if they allow lesbians to attend but not straight pre-op transwomen? What is it about transwomen who do not yet have or have chosen not to have a body sex that matches their gender that makes them less acceptable or somehow understood as more predatory than lesbian women? I find this confusing.

What a number of people seem to miss is that there is a major difference between someone who fetishises female clothing and appearance and someone who has been born into a body that does not feel like their own. I think it's really important that women in the BDSM community begins to accept and embrace transwomen's presence and offer them support. There are sexist male dominants, and there are a lot of men who are made incredibly uncomfortable by transwomens' presence, probably more uncomfortable than most women. There are dominant men whose approach to transwomen on the scene is almost aggressively exclusionary and I'm still unsure of exactly what it is that makes them so uncomfortable when so much of the scene is based on assumption and appearance. But transwomen on the scene need women's support and to feel included if we don't want them to feel marginalised and so men begin to offer them the courtesy they deserve.

Most people can accurately guess whether someone is dominant or submissive by the way they present themselves (well, I get told I must be a dommay quite often, but I've stopped letting it bother me) and I don't really understand why it's so impossible to refer to someone as the gender they are presenting.

It seems to me the problem is all about how well someone 'passes'. If a transwoman is dressed up in high femme clothing, or has had cosmetic surgery on her face to 'feminise' it, or is generally 'convincing', she might be allowed in and accepted. If not, she's just 'a bloke in a dress'. Or even just 'a bloke'. For them, there is nothing more complex than that going on; there is no differentiation to make between a woman who has lived part of her life with the wrong genitalia, and a man who has a fetish for women's clothing. And that's no good at all.

I want to make it absolutely clear that this feminist space is trans-friendly. It's cross-dressing friendly. Hell, it's feminist-man-friendly.

But we still don't want no predators here. Simple as that.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Black Leather

My local BDSM community, compared to other, smaller, more rural BDSM communities that have been a part of, has quite a lot of people of color it. Specifically, they're quite a lot of black people. Nowhere near as many as there are white people, but I honestly can't remember any event I recently went to that didn't have a few black folks.

The small leather conference that I went to this weekend had quite a few black gay leather men. I think they may have all been members of the same club. But there were quite a few of them. Several of them made mention, in one of the discussions I attended, of what it's like culturally to be gay black man, and then, on top of that, to be interested in leather as well.

It got me thinking, because I've definitely seen, both in traditional anti BDSM feminist literature, and in everyday life, the argument or thought that BDSM is for white people. The argument seems to be that we're used to having power over people, since we're white and privileged and in the U.S. there's a whole history of white people as masters of black slaves. It follows from this that white people doing BDSM comes from a sort of decadent interest in power, and few if any people of color--especially black folk--would be interested in such stuff. For them it would involve reliving that painful history, recreating something too much like it, and why would they ever want that?

I don't mean to say that that doesn't hold true generally. I honestly have no idea. And I'm sure that I know quite a few kinky people of color precisely because I tend to socialize in kink circles, so kinky people are who I know generally anyway. But I am sure that the reason all of those kinky people of color I know are black is because there are black groups are around here.

But I really start to wonder, knowing that there's a thriving (or so it appears to outsider me) black kink community in my area. I wonder how far those arguments go. I wonder how they make the people I know who are black and kinky feel. I wonder whether what's going on in other places really is the black people wouldn't be interested to history, or whether a specific leather or kink community for them would draw many people, as it seems to have done here.