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.