Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Blood and Introspection

It's late, and I'm sure I've said this before in more convincing ways. But I was just thinking about my own fantasy life, and about how so much of the discussions of SM revolve around an assumption that SM fantasies happen because of, or least derive from, the social situation of women with respect to men or some other oppressed social group with respect to their oppressors.

And my fantasies, which I've had since my late teens, have never really seemed hooked up to that to me. They tend to be violent in rather cartoonish ways. Pints of blood filling rooms. People being violated by strange contraptions that would surely kill them, only to miraculously survive and beg for more. The obligatory dungeons. Cyborgs and magic. Impossible anatomical feats. Magical healing potions that allow people to fuck or beat each other close to death, slather on some ointment, and start all over again. Switchiness the "subordination" meme doesn't account for, either -- many times the people in my fantasies would rip one another apart! That penchant I still have for looking up pictures of random medieval torture devices, which often arouses and squicks me at the same damn time. :-P

And very often, at least in my early fantasies, there was no sex. Or if there was sex it was a strange SM type version of sex. A common fantasy of mine was to cut a man's skin in a way that created a wound that looked like a vulva, and then press in to this wound. Instead of the normal bodily fluids associated with vanilla sex, there would be blood instead. Or, in many of the fantasies, a cocktail of blood and sexual fluids. I would actually find myself grossed out by sexual fluids by themselves, but turned on by the idea of them mixed with blood. (yes, for those of you who are following my novel, this is where that one cunnilingus scene came from. And yes, I greatly enjoyed writing it.)

it's very difficult to falsify a theory that suggests that we eroticize what we do based on how we are raised from earliest childhood. But all of this seems to me that it's always been just as much about pain and about fantasizing about unrealistic extremes and the intense passion brought on by them as it is about power. I won't, as I did in the past for a while, deny that I'm also sexually dominant, or that these two things are related. They are. But for me personally, they're two pieces of a whole, and they're inseparable. It's very hard for me to hear about the power, the "Subordination" as if it somehow the essence of all of it, all rolled together, as if the extreme aspect of the fantasies, or the obvious fetish for blood (for those who want to know, I don't currently indulge it, but I sure as hell think about it all the time), are all somehow subsumed in a fantasy about social domination.

So the idea that SM fantasies are rooted in the saturation of pornography and hypersexualized media in our culture really doesn't resonate with me. I am almost certain the wound thing came from the wound in the side of Jesus. While I'm definitely sure that some sadomasochists use those images the way more mundane people use porn, those images by themselves aren't porn unless you're us!

And I definitely caught on to and was affected by the sexualized media and our culture. Every image of a woman that I saw was an image of a bottom. I knew this very well. I knew that it didn't resonate with me, and I often worried about it and felt that I was crazy. I remember tirades I would go off on about the way such and such a woman in such a such an advertisement was always draped over the bed, and the man was always upright and powerful looking.

But if the anti SM types were right, it would seem that after a while I would've started to change. I wanted to change. Every once in a while, when I hear something about how real women are bottoms and our biology and anatomy prove it, I still do. (It's very tough to be constantly told by almost everyone around you that you are a this without occasional bouts of where's my thisness?) So how they account for my feeling like an absolute deviant and freak and not being proud of this at all back then, but never changing despite the absolute saturation of messages of heteronormativity, masculine virility, and feminine surrender?

And if we're supposed to get all of this from porn or porn like advertisements, where did all the blood come from? How about the pointy sharp things? If we want to look for some sort of social influence, it becomes easy to say all that came from my surgeries (scalpels anyone?), with maybe a little bit left over for the fantasy novels I loved to read. And that's more plausible, but I'm still not entirely convinced that all of the sexual interest came directly from that. Possibly, but I was fascinated with power and pain in more abstract ways even earlier. Maybe that was my abuse, but that gets us so far into the realm of the abstract that I get very uneasy. (This is me, personally -- others do know that certain fantasies or interests stem directly from abusive situations or scenarios. I don't.)

And it still doesn't explain why the shaping coming from surgeries or abuse would stick more than the shaping coming from television, which is always around. So where did my magic half-immunity come from?

I've never gotten an adequate answer to that one.

19 comments:

Lindsay said...

Just stumbled onto this blog and loved it, especially this post. I've gone on my fair share of tirades over images of the passive submissiveish-looking woman in media, too. I eventually realized it wasn't the idea that pissed me off, but the fact that she wasn't making it sporting, and that I considered her lazy.

Trinity said...

"Just stumbled onto this blog and loved it, especially this post."

Thanks :)

I was beginning to wonder if the blood scared my delicate audience away ;)

"I've gone on my fair share of tirades over images of the passive submissiveish-looking woman in media, too."

Yeah, they are annoying. But they don't really bother me hugely any more now that I'm not sixteen and assuming that's how I'm supposed to act in bed... which is part I think of why the whole emphasis in some feminist circles on pictures just flabbergasts me.

It's not that I disagree so much as that, well, now you're adults and have sex, right? Surely you've discovered that people have sex like humans and not like soap operas?

Unless perverts really are luckier people than I thought we are.

:)

Anonymous said...

It depends on what kind of pervert you are. As a child, I had a pervasive fear they would lock me up, if they knew. Back then, not an unrealistic thing for me to believe.

I have been stealth all my life, with a couple of exceptions (one marriage that was seemed inexplicable to everyone elseand may have been a bit obvious, but didn't last long.)

I'm writing to thank you for saying (on THE GIMP PARADE) that I was respectful. :)

This is the first blog I have felt comfortable discussing this, probably because you are so committed to dis rights and feminism, which is where I am coming from too.

--anonymous woman devo

Anonymous said...

And BTW, this is NOT my blog (I'm older and not nearly as cool), but this woman is reading my diary, people. Her attempts at getting "cured" are just like attempts at getting "cured" of homosexuality. (short version: it didn't work):

http://kikipotamus.wordpress.com/

Check posts tagged "devoteeism" which is how I found it.

Anonymous said...

I think I meant these comments to go on the last post, rather than this one! Okay, pretend they are there, poof.

Trinity said...

"It depends on what kind of pervert you are. As a child, I had a pervasive fear they would lock me up, if they knew."

Heh.

I'm a sadist. I spent a fair bit of my teen years trying to convince people TO lock me up, because I was sure being sexually attracted to the idea of hurting people made me Bad News and I was going to do serious harm to someone someday.

I'm just glad I figured out that, yeah, people do that kind of thing consensually and that no, I didn't have to go as far as my way-out fantasies to have a good time. :)

"I'm writing to thank you for saying (on THE GIMP PARADE) that I was respectful. :)"

You're welcome. I may be in the minority, but I think you were. And I think that fetishes are fixed for many people (if not everyone) so... I see no reason to be angry with you.

I can understand people not liking your fetish, but to me... well, it is what it is and what counts is ot whether you have it, but how you respond to it.

Because it's likely to be there regardless of whether you endorse it or not, like it or not, are a dickheaded jerk or a caring person. My interest in domination and erotic pain is there whether I'm kinky and proud or feel like shooting myself over it because BDSM is violent/antifeminist/unnatural/BADDDDD!, and I've definitely been both of those people.

I may be a weirdly cock-eyed optimist, but I'd like to believe that everyone who isn't a jerk can find kinky happiness with somebody someplace. :)

"Her attempts at getting "cured" are just like attempts at getting "cured" of homosexuality."

Thanks for the link. I couldn't find her discussion of "cure" attempts, but what I did read about it sounded like the story of any kinkster I've ever known.

Anonymous said...

Her cure attempts are under JUNG, she went to some JUNGIAN analyst, who explained that her anima/animus (always did get those mixed up, sorry) was a gimp. Hey, it's theory, work it!

What startles me about her story is that I, too, had a born-disabled person in my immediate family. I've always known it was connected, but she puts it right out there.

I'm a sadist. I spent a fair bit of my teen years trying to convince people TO lock me up, because I was sure being sexually attracted to the idea of hurting people made me Bad News and I was going to do serious harm to someone someday.

Same with me. The idea was that disabled people are fragile little flowers, and I was "hurting" them, by fetishizing them. Even men, even EX-SOLDIERS, forgodsake.

I had a mother-in-law take me aside and lecture me that (serious narrowed eyes here) I'd better not hurt her boy, with the unspoken message: I know you are a sicko or you would not be PREGNANT by my son! Political sidenote: You can sleep around with people, but MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN (as we see with the gay marriage controversy) is something else again--who do you think you are to act like a NORMAL PERSON?

There is also the fact that many disabled people, both men and women, hate and despise all devotees. Frankly, this causes more anguish than you can imagine; to be rejected by the people you find beautiful, BECAUSE you find them beautiful, is just devastating and painful. And besides that, it's total madness, to our way of thinking. You would rather someone love you IN SPITE OF your physical difference, politely looking away? WTF? I don't want someone treating ME that way (i.e. let's just ignore that big butt!), so it's very hard to understand. I DO NOT and NEVER HAVE understood it. I agree with the character in GEEK LOVE who told the able-bodied interviewer "The only way you people can tell each apart is by your clothes"--and I am absolutely down with that.

I do know that because of the devo-hatred, one therefore looks for a gimp not only to have a relationship with, but one that won't recoil when you confess. And finally, you just decide you WON'T confess. But ha ha, then what happens if your now-grown kid mentions her FATHER???? Busted!

I haven't told anyone in years. I pass as a regular person, sigh. What's upsetting is that so many others do, so we are invisible. If I was young and strong, I'd go balls-out and start the equivalent of SAMOIS for devos. I wish someone would. They'd get a PayPal donation from me!

Anonymous said...

I still have great affection for radical feminism. It was the air I breathed for many years. But this is why I "left" for over a decade. I could totally understand what the SM folks were saying, and still do. I just didn't feel comfortable in a movement that wanted to purge the "bad girls." I remember thinking, are we REALLY back to that 50s Gidget shit, or what?

I was acutely aware that they'd have plenty of contempt for me, too, if they knew.

And BTW, your Jeffreys post was really good!

Trinity said...

"There is also the fact that many disabled people, both men and women, hate and despise all devotees. Frankly, this causes more anguish than you can imagine; to be rejected by the people you find beautiful, BECAUSE you find them beautiful, is just devastating and painful."

*nods*

I can't tell you how glad I am that you're here saying this. Because a big part of the whole way people are looked at is "oh, that's SO exoticising! *sniff sniff snoot* THOSE PEOPLE!"

and I think there's a real difference between that and, say:

"hey, all these fetishists keep hitting me up in totally creepy ways and telling me my stump is hot and never talking about anything but how hard I make them. I feel dirty."

or the story a black woman friend of mine told me once, of how she'd meet white guys for casual kinky sex, tell them upfront that race fantasies squicked her out, have them agree not to go there, only to have them shout out something about being sexy masters (or how they're so good she should call them master, oh yeah! *bleh eww*) at orgasm.

THAT's, y'know, creepy.

and I think a REAL conversation about all this stuff has to honor all of that. The bad experiences some people have with fetishes, and the experiences people like you have who are going "but wait, why can't I find this cool about you? what did I do?"

I'm not sure how best to get that conversation going on a larger scale, though.

"I still have great affection for radical feminism. It was the air I breathed for many years."

and I really don't. when I tried to breathe that air I became someone I didn't even recognize. I finally *had* to get out.

I'm not saying nothing they ever say is worthwhile or that it can't be useful for people. But like I've mentioned here before: I totally shut down, sexually and otherwise. I don't like the person I became, and I think a lot of people committed to radical feminism in a certain way also become warped by it, too.

hexyhex said...

In the interest of outing myself and why this blog fascinates me...

Your descriptions in this post are HOT! It seems you and I have a bit in common.

And totally with you on the teenage angst devoted to whether or not my sadism made me a horrible, horrible person who didn't deserve to get off.

Trinity said...

"Your descriptions in this post are HOT! It seems you and I have a bit in common."

*grin*

Lovely. Yeah, I was rather horny when I wrote it actually. :)

I need to write smut ore frequently. I tend to devote all my write-y energy to my novel, which means I don't get to post/share small stories as often as I otherwise would.

If I weren't also writing a dissertation.. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I know all about the dangerous devos. I frequent various websites, I lurk, and I've read where certain high-profile disabled women (amputees most especially) are stalked, even when they live way the hell out in the middle of nowhere. I FEEL SO BAD when I read that stuff, although I WOULD like to point out that the devos in these situations are usually white, male, upper-class heterosexuals who have the money to travel all over the world (such as to Ability Expos, Paralympics, etc) and take pricey pictures. Obviously, such men already have a very well-developed sense of entitlement. Compare this to someone with a limited sense of entitlement. Obviously, the devoteeism will manifest very differently.

But there IS another thing. I'm sure I do not have to explain this to another pervert, ha ha, but when you finally see or meet someone who matches your fantasy, you can go a little crazy. Before the advent of the internet, I confess I followed particular men, circled their houses in my car, made up reasons to talk to them, etc. (On at least three occasions, this worked pretty well! :D) I can only describe it as similar to being under some sexual hypnosis. Is that stalking? I guess so, but I meant the OPPOSITE of harm. Is that exploitive or objectifying? I beat myself up over it, since I knew that it was. But as I said, that was before the internet, and it was all I had. You could go months and months without seeing someone. Before the internet, I made a point to go to EVERY public event, every county fair, state fair, fireworks display, you name it. Every place a LOT of people were congregated, since I knew one of THEM (in my diary, I always said THEM, in case someone read it) would be there, and maybe several or a lot. And there always was.

So, in a very real sense, I am no more obsessive than the boy-devos. I just know how to behave, since I was raised as a girl, drilled in conventional femininity and politeness. And now that I have the net, I can lurk and look from a distance, and this distance makes me feel less "personally" exploitive than I felt before.

Thanks so much for understanding! :)

Trinity said...

"But there IS another thing. I'm sure I do not have to explain this to another pervert, ha ha, but when you finally see or meet someone who matches your fantasy, you can go a little crazy. Before the advent of the internet, I confess I followed particular men, circled their houses in my car, made up reasons to talk to them, etc. (On at least three occasions, this worked pretty well! :D)"

Yep. Before I had a good outlet for my sadism, my flirtations used to go like this

Flirt, wind up touching object of flirtation.
Do something like fingernail-scratching that could get SM-y.
Push to the point where the person turned to me sternly, saying "hey, OW! Don't do that."
Return to step 2.

Not quite stalking, but the kind of "feeling for the edge between consent and nonconsent and intentionally putting a toe over the line" behavior that, well, would make me made of fail as a feminist.

I'm not proud of it. At the time I thought it was the best I could do.

belledame222 said...

Well, my earliest fantasies were about, o, lessee, well, heh, put it this way, Circe was one of my first domme idols, although i didn't really know that at the time. Magic and transformation. I do think some of the specific fantasies -are- shaped by what we know as Patriarchy; but, i just interpreted them in my own way, i mean -early,- like since grade school or earlier. Specifically I picked up on the freakout over male femininity and kind of ran with it. (and folded into my earlier fascination with fairy tales, sorcery, transformation against one's will, etc). I had no idea until many years later that some of these are very common themes--but mostly from submissive men. I really wasn't sure what to do with it all; it was confusing enough when I hit puberty and began to experience sexual attraction to other girls and women in--i don't know how to put it, a much more -physical- way. It seemed related and yet not at all. But, the latter seemed far more "real" and more disturbing (and i knew very well what "gay" was all about, "kink" was...not really a concept i understood as such, i suppose, till years later); and I had little to no interest in the actual flesh and blood boys around me (my fantasies were about situations, really, not "people" so much), although i duly tried to work some up, to be "normal."

physical pain and blood and such were really not so much a part of it; i expect background has a lot to do with that, there was no particular entry for that, really.

mind games, though...

o yeah.

later i learned that you can do fun things with props, and of course sensation play, which i think of as still another "track."

i'm still on a steep learning curve, really, i think.

Trinity said...

"Specifically I picked up on the freakout over male femininity and kind of ran with it. (and folded into my earlier fascination with fairy tales, sorcery, transformation against one's will, etc)."

So are you saying you were fantasizing about having power over men, or just impressed with women who did? I'm a little confused.

Still, Circe, that's cool! :) I never liked her as a kid but I totally see it now. :)

"I had little to no interest in the actual flesh and blood boys around me (my fantasies were about situations, really, not "people" so much), although i duly tried to work some up, to be "normal.""

heheheheh. yeah, I think I'm familiar from another direction with the whole "how do I hook these fantasies up with REAL PEOPLE?" thing. :)

belledame222 said...

i had fantasies that were basically femdom, i suppose, except for--as i said elsewhere, my fantasies were always very VERY fluid wrt protagonist, "I" was rarely if ever in them, at least as myself.

belledame222 said...

...i wonder if what it all boils down to at some point isn't

"But what I REALLY want to do is direct."

which does not exclude an acting part.

but i think it's partly the creation of the scene itself that's a turn-on.

maybe.

i have to think about that for a while.

but like so, i used to draw pictures of people and then deliberately -alter- them, which turned me on all by itself. too.

Trinity said...

"but like so, i used to draw pictures of people and then deliberately -alter- them, which turned me on all by itself. too."

mmmm yes. i totally get that.

i always had fantasies of being a body piercer, simply because the thought of permanently altering people aroused me. they'd always carry the way i'd *changed them* as a scar... for the rest of their lives like it or not.

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