Saturday, 28 July 2007

Technorati Trackbacks are Weeeeird, Maaaaaaaan (Woman?)

I was having a peek at who links to us, here, and found a rather unusual little post which I reproduce in its entirety here:

Loved the article and comments here.

http://sm-feminist.blogspot.com/2007/07/kwestion-tyme.html

Agreed with lots of it, too. So how does that square with my earlier "I wish BDSM didn't exist" posting? Well, I was discussing an impossible dream - a world where our sexuality isn't linked with pain and powerlessness and general creepy stuff. It's never going to exist, because we can't get there from here. But they're using the "feminist utopia" concept to discuss a potential reality: the best possible outcome for this BDSM thing, in this world, with the kind of people we have. So this "utopia" doesn't rely on changing basic human nature, merely political/social structures, which brings the plan into the realm of possible-but-bloody-hard. And that's how I can hold two incompatible views at the same time.

:)

Wondered if I'd found a garden-variety, anti-BDSM feminist, thought perhaps not, and did a bit more perusing:

I know this will probably be interpreted as denial or self-hatred, but I'm resigned to the existence of BDSM: I can't bring myself to celebrate it as others do. Sure, I celebrate the fact that we have a smart, friendly, informed community for this stuff, and that fewer people than ever think themselves sick or evil for the sake of a few fantasies. But it would be so much simpler if we didn't have those desires in the first place. Imagine if the sex instinct had nothing to do with power or sadism, just pleasure and/or love. "Boring, boring", I hear. The nasty stuff is so deeply embedded into our souls (for want of a better world) that we believe if it wasn't there, we'd be left with fluffy bunny Wonderland and no excitement whatsoever.

But imagine - no desire to hurt or be hurt by the one you love. No deep, innate need to play out scenarios which are really rather weird and/or nasty, and confuse beginners and vanillas no end. No thinking you're sick, weird or (worse) unwillingly assimilated into the patriarchal system, their disgusting ideas eating into you like maggots in an apple as you try to pursue pleasure and autonomy. No engineering real conflict and drama to manipulate or provoke your lover for the thrill of it. No confusing your fantasies of submission with lifestyle D/s or even traditional religious ideas - in fact, no painful soul-searching at all. (I know self-exploration is generally a good thing, but budding kinksters are basically *required* to soul-search pretty deeply, from the outset, to not get into one of the previous scenarios. But, since they don't start with a copy of SM 101 in front of them - finding your way to the scene and its literature are a big step in themselves - they don't know how to think constructively about this kind of stuff. Which is why they fail a lot). And all those new concepts you need to know, and argue about, and tell new people. Subspace. Consensual non-consent. TPE. WTF?

I mean, yeah, we've got it pretty nicely figured out by now but it's still a response to a rather inconvenient situation. We're built on an animal template with hormones and so on, so removing the power struggle stuff can never be more than a nice dream. As a humanist, I want our sex lives to be happy, which in a perfect world would mean less complicated (or at least nicely complicated, something to puzzle apart with a smile at your leisure, not a tangle of politically-charged mess). But we don't live in a perfect world, and during our efforts to create one, we've still got to live somewhere. So I am doing the BDSM thing, and I'll be the first person to kick your ass if you criticise it. I just won't throw my hands in the air and say hallelujah like some of the crowd I see, never mind the vanilla-bashing on the more extreme sites.

Hmm. Well, I've got no interest in telling her not to feel that her desires aren't good to have if she really wants to feel that way.

And tackling the lifestyler issue is really beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say I strongly recommend anyone who wants to go on about M/s at the very least attend workshops on it before assuming that it's necessarily about what random people with an Internet connection and verbal diarrhea claim it is. If you've done that and still object, great -- I respect knowledge-based criticisms and even agree with several myself.

But to get back on topic.

One thing that really sticks out for me is "weird and nasty." What exactly makes these desires weird and nasty, again? I mean, yeah, I get that there's a whole radfem framework for "examining" them. And there are also the conservative types who hate deviance. But since I don't agree with any of those views, figuring whether BDSM is weird or nasty takes a bit of thought.

Weird: well, weird could mean statistically deviant. Rare. In that case, well, BDSM desires truly aren't all that rare as I understand it. "One In Ten People Is Gay" is a common soundbite, and the numbers of BDSMers in the US aren't all that different from that according to sources I've seen.

"Weird" can also mean something like "objectionably odd." I'm not so sure the odd is objectionable, myself. I often find that when I have a reaction of revulsion to something I've never seen before, it's worth examining. I may later decide it's repugnant, but I do so with knowledge of why people see it as worth pursuing.

Now for "nasty." This one's tougher. Of course, there's the standard bit of pro-BDSM prestidigitation that one can do here. Namely, pointing out that a rather large chunk of what counts for "sadism" in our community actually consists of doing things that get painsluts off, early and often. (Wheee!)

Which is, of course, true. Giving "pain" in a BDSM context is actually very often doing nothing more than giving pleasure.

But there's also something, well, dark about BDSM desires. Wanting to hurt people or be hurt is at least a little sinister, even if it's usually about nothing but orgasms. And domination and submission in-scene can get pretty severe. Role-playing can involve emblems of social domination, insulting words, degrading actions.

So "nastiness" isn't so easily scrubbed away. And I can say I prefer it that way, but without explaining why that just makes me look mean. Or at least meaner than the average bear.

There's a term someone mentioned on an e-mail list I am on: "white light Nazis."

Let's leave aside the much vexed discussion of whether it's OK to use the term Nazi to refer to someone attempting to force others to behave in certain ways. I only bring up the term because, even if inappropriate, it gets across the idea particularly well.

That idea being that we should always be good, always attempt to distance ourselves from the dark or selfish desires that we all have. For some people, cleansing ourselves of negative emotion or negative intent is a full-time job. The idea seems to be that if we don't do regular pruning of our mind's garden, the weeds will utterly overrun it. Without periodic soul-vacuuming, the Dark Side overtakes us. It's Nastiness Entropy!

We must be ever vigilant, then. The reason the world is as bad as it is, in fact, is because we have these kinds of desire.

The best thing for us, then, would be not only to prevent ourselves from acting on these desires, but to be able to get them out of our own heads in the first place. If we could just get ourselves to not have a cruel side, or to minimize it, we would cut off the problem where it starts.

What this poster seems to be saying is that she recognizes that cleaning our minds of dark desire is impossible. So she's not the kind of white lighter who worries me exactly. Still, she's sympathetic to the idea. Wouldn't it be nice if we could clean ourselves?

I've never believed that. Well, I did believe it as a kid, but my thinking as a child doesn't count. What I found when I grew up was that really accepting and trusting other humans meant accepting the dark desires are normal. It didn't mean accepting that people should act on them, or the people who dwell only on them are wonderfully stable. But it meant that acceptance and trust of people means understanding and knowing that we all have both a light side and a dark side.

Other people really trusting and accepting me meant accepting all of me. It meant seeing my beast and not running away.

Which happens, of course, every time I top.

And that's what I think BDSM is for.

No, that's an oversimplification. BDSM is for and about a whole bunch of different things. But a big part of it is about the fact that we all have dark desires. Sometimes we don't want to be kind. Sometimes having power is exhilarating. Sometimes tightening your iron fist feels delightful. Sometimes surrendering is exquisite. Sometimes having pleasure forced out of you, wrung from your cells by someone who, goddamnit, Refuses. To. Let. Up., is an incredible, wonderful ride.

"Setting up scenes" is about setting up places to do that, to be that, without the very real fallout that would have in daily life. And I don't see why that's wrong. I don't see why exploring those feelings is bad. I don't believe in Nastiness Entropy.

No, wait, that's not so. I do. But I believe it catches white light only-ers just as often as (if not more often than) it catches us. Because all the cleaning means mistrust of yourself, and that's when the Nastiness Entropy begins. Sure, some people get overwhelmed by it because they neglect white-light work -- the basics. "Be kind." "Don't always behave selfishly."

But by the time you get to the scrubbers, you get something very different, I think, than recognition that we shouldn't behave cruelly just because we feel like it. Or even than "with mindful behavior, meditation, prayer, or volunteer work I'd be cruel to others less often." We've gone skipping right over all that into hatred of those feelings. Or hatred of ourselves for having them. Both of which do precisely nothing to excise them.

I think knowing ourselves is important, and I think really knowing ourselves means knowing things that make us all uneasy. I have a hard time imagining that even the whitest of white light paths can be effective for anyone if it doesn't involve facing our monsters.

So yes, BDSM engages the "nasty." And yes, that's actually... okay.

Hallelujah.

(Or not. I'm more into praising Ma Kali than Jehovah.)

33 comments:

SnowdropExplodes said...

The thing is - it would reduce the intimacy if there wasn't the pain-and-pleasure thing going on. That's why I, personally, say "boring, boring" about the pleasure/love "nice sex" thing. leaving aside the "nasty" bit of my kink (of which there's actually quite a lot), physical pain is an incredibly intense shared experience, bringing two minds and souls together. If that was completely gone I think I would really miss it. Because I have the love/pleasure "nice sex" alongside it all, and integral to the whole experience.

To me, it sounds almost like, "wouldn't the world be nicer and simpler, if we just got rid of 'red'? Wouldn't that make colours and art so much less aggressive, so much nicer and easier to enjoy?"

I noticed the linked post had this line, "I was discussing an impossible dream - a world where our sexuality isn't linked with pain and powerlessness and general creepy stuff"

For me, pain isn't creepy. Powerlessness isn't creepy (at least, it isn't when I choose it, and it isn't when I can accept it in the face of, like, nature and stuff). Some of my really extreme fantasies are creepy, but they all translate into the real world in a non-creepy way.

Pain and powerlessness are a natural part of our world, I embrace them all and, yes, celebrate the pleasure they can bring when used in a "safe" environment.

(And, one more thought - would the same arguments about wishing BDSM didn't exist, also be valid for stories, films and so on that discuss pain, death, the dark sides of humanity, and so on?)

Trinity said...

"The thing is - it would reduce the intimacy if there wasn't the pain-and-pleasure thing going on. That's why I, personally, say "boring, boring" about the pleasure/love "nice sex" thing."

I feel similarly to you. It took me a long time to even get my brain to a place where I could buy that the people cuddling and stroking were actually experiencing intimacy too.

belledame222 said...

well, i don't know exactly where this person is coming from. but i mean: there are people that experience -all- sex as "nasty," you know:

"To the girdle to the gods inherit,
Below lies all the fiend's"

(or however that goes, too lazy to cite)

i suppose if one were "examining," still, it might be worthwhile examining how much of that is discomfort with unprocessed shit getting into one's sexuality and intimacy with others and jamming up the works; and how much is simply other peoples' "ew, icky gross" attitude internalized.

Alternately one could be a little less hard on oneself, realize that y'know what, it's not just political and social hooha: life on this plane involves feeding on other life, and pain, and death; there IS no getting around it, and maybe you know there's actually a good reason for that.

maybe, as someone told me this weekend,

"you don't need to reinvent the wheel."

Because frankly if the goal is to stop feeling -unhappy,- to stop the critical punitive voice from getting in the way of love, then the first thing to tackle isn't the whips or chains or knives or even the Patriarchy, but the little voice inside relentlessly telling you, in any number of voices and with any number of excuses, but always boiling down to the same:

"You're a fuckup."

"You're doing it wrong."

"You are inherently Bad."

A good "scene" can actually be intensely therapeutic, even shamanistic, as well as everything else ime: you don't float -away- from that pain, that self-knowledge, that confrontation with the Guardian at the Gate, you go down and through, with someone skilled and empathetic to take you on the journey and (this is key) guide you back up to safety and light and warmth at the end of the trip.

Down and through.

You're right, it's not utopia; you don't get there through scrubbing and filing and purging or even building. It's--as in on your site, trin--alchemy; it's transformation. That's life. Maybe there's a place for stasis, or whatever kind of peace it is that the utopians are looking for; but it's not in this world, and maybe best to just accept that and go with it.

belledame222 said...

and yeah, -powerlessness- especially is kind of a key part to intimacy. But, if your experience of it and of pain has always only been pointless suffering with no exit and no catharsis and no warm and loving hands at the end of it, then sure, you're going to want to just avoid, avoid...

belledame222 said...

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting �
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

belledame222 said...

--and maybe that's the problem; if your experience of BDSM itself as well as the rejection of it is simply the "walking on your knees through the desert repenting," then, well, yeah: that's wearisome.

but, it doesn't have to be that, i don't think. it's...a Gordian knot that isn't really solved by theory or technique. you need an accepting mirror or mentor.

faustopheles said...

A little quote from the movie Quills:
If I wasn't such a bad woman on the page, I couldn't be such a good woman in life.

If evil didn't exist independently of sexuality, either, than maybe you could make a case.

Besides being almost impossible, would messing with human nature in such a way be flirting with the law of unintended consequences? Can good even exist without evil? Pleasure without suffering (the bad kind)? Would there be such a thing as a good day without at least the occasional bad day? Could the ecstacy of vanilla sex even exist without the agony? Even simplistic views have these terms inexorably intertwined as opposite ends of the same spectrum. Would intelligence, or even consciousness, exist without these things? We see these traits in far less advanced species. Are good and bad linked in a 1:1 ratio like particle spins or can we vary the ratio? There seems to be higher levels of creativity among the BDSM community and other alternative sex communities than an equal number of vanillas. "Boring, Boring"?
Not just the sex but our entire lives might be the doldrums.

And do I, an evil sadist top actually have more of these evil characteristics than my vanilla counterparts? Or am I more willing to let my inner beast run free because I am less evil?

And SM basically consists of applying an intensity level of stimulation suited to the individual needs of the recipient. Same basic technique works whether you are playing with a china doll or a crash test dummy.

The emotional angst that our Utopian wants to eliminate for beginners wouldn't be an issue in the first place with decent sex education. And the BDSM community didn't create the "politically charged mess" that creates angst for kinksters and vanillas alike, that is the result of feminist and conservative notions about sex that simply are not consistent with reality.

Our sex lives might be simpler without these links but is simple better than complex? Maybe we should just wish we were planarium worms. As it is, we have simple sex available for simple people and complex sex available for complex people.

Weird:
Well, if statistically rare is a bad thing, lets start by eliminating nobel prize winners. And lets definitely eliminate golf, which is more rare than homosexuality or BDSM and therefore more deviant from the norm as well as being symbolically violent. And leather and latex look so much better than yellow pants.

Nasty:
"Is sex dirty? Only if its done right." -- Woody Allen

Trinity said...

"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves."

I love you BD.

Trinity said...

""Is sex dirty? Only if its done right." -- Woody Allen"

I hate this quote with the fury of a thousand suns.

But I see why you include it. :)

faustopheles said...

I hereby designate a new SI unit of measurement:
1 Trinity = The fury of a thousand suns

And, actually, no, I don't think sex is dirty. But I like how Woody Allen evades the framing of the question. LBJ: "I don’t care if it’s true; I just want to hear him DENY it."

Renegade Evolution said...

this post wins me...love it.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

So damn weird to come across this just after going through and reading BD's link to her post about The Secretaries and the comments thereon. The whole "harnessing the Shadow rather than suppressing it is a powerhouse" thing.

Personally, I find the version of the world in which "we didn't have those desires" to be infinitely creepier than the one which does. Not just because I have a long-standing crankiness about the suppression of the dangerous and Dionysian, but because I can't imagine a version of it that doesn't go dystopic. These things are doubleplusungood. The Computer is your friend, citizen.

"Weird and nasty"? The washed-out Disney world without the blood and death of the stories of old bones is weird and nasty. Sanitised for our protection, because our fragile little minds can't handle that much reality.

I just don't understand the appeal, what there is to value in this world that doesn't have power or pain as parts of sex. Power and pain are parts of the real world; why should I pine after a world in which sex is this empyreal thing not allowed to interact with actual reality?

(I think I'm gonna fish out an old post of mine and repost it to the blog.)

Trinity said...

"For me, pain isn't creepy."

Same here. I've had a lot of very painful experiences and honestly I find my allergies creepier than any experience of physical pain -- as common as allergies are, they're basically your own immune system turning against you in a way that, in extreme cases, can KILL YOU.

That's in a sense creepier even than AIDS -- at least the latter simply kills off immune cells, rather than making you, well, kill yourself with an attempt to purify yourself.

Apropos indeed.

Myca said...

Sweet God, I can't even tell you folks how glad I am to find this place!

It's funny, because I've enjoyed Antiprincess' and Belledame222's comments whenever I run across them on another blog, but I had no idea this was here. More fool I!

Plus, after reading through the archives, Trinity, Verte: you rock (BD222 & Antiprincess, you already rocked, previous-like).

Last, of course, this specific post is excellent, and something I may forward to the lass I'm interested in, so she sort of understands my mental positioning a bit better.

Kramnik said...

Actually, I think this says a lot about the vagueness of terms that express moral judgment.

Nasty is rather like the word cruel. There are certain things every human being agrees are cruel or nasty (excluding psychopaths), there are certain things no one thinks are cruel or nasty (excluding mental disorder), and there is a range of stimuli that ordinary folks disagree on.

What is bizarre is why someone would use the word nasty without realizing it reflects their own set of priorities and preferences.

And by bizarre I mean bizarre to me.

EthylBenzene said...

I'm thinking two things about this discussion. First, what a couple of other people said -- a world without the "weird and nasty" sex would be boring. Snowdrop made a great point -- what about all the art, literature, music, stories, movies, etc about the bad stuff? Should we get rid of that, too? That seems like a big waste, but it also seems dangerous. What kind of life would we lead if we all achieve this magical utopia? People would still be senselessly killed by random acts of nature, by accidents, by illness. Lovers would probably still leave us. Our pets would still die. How would we deal with these things, in our white light utopia? IMO, "dark," "nasty," "weird," kinky sex (or whatever you want to call it) is one of the ways we deal with pain. It can be a sort of practice, it can be cathartic, it can be enormously therapeutic, it can heal old wounds. As Snowdrop said, we also have mountains of art, literature, and music dealing with the "dark" stuff -- this helps us cope, too. I hope that's making sense. I guess I just don't see why we should remove such a powerful coping mechanism just because some people think it's "icky."

I mean, I think religion is icky, but I'm not trying to outlaw it.

My second point is that I find it sad that this person won't "celebrate" her kinky. I just find that terribly depressing. It sort of seems to be part and parcel of the "good girls don't" school of thought, except from sort of the other side of the looking glass -- good feminists don't, maybe. I find it sad, cause if it gets her off really hard, why not celebrate it? Oh, wait, I forgot -- 'cause it's "weird" and "nasty."

Which, you know, my sex life is not so much "weird and nasty." It's fun, and exciting, and really fucking awesome. Nyeah.

EthylBenzene said...

Crap, should have proofread ... sorry for the repetition, yinz guys.

belledame222 said...

welcome, myca!

belledame222 said...

What kind of life would we lead if we all achieve this magical utopia? People would still be senselessly killed by random acts of nature, by accidents, by illness. Lovers would probably still leave us. Our pets would still die. How would we deal with these things, in our white light utopia? IMO, "dark," "nasty," "weird," kinky sex (or whatever you want to call it) is one of the ways we deal with pain. It can be a sort of practice, it can be cathartic, it can be enormously therapeutic, it can heal old wounds.

Word.

Trinity said...

"People would still be senselessly killed by random acts of nature, by accidents, by illness. Lovers would probably still leave us. Our pets would still die. How would we deal with these things, in our white light utopia?"

Back when I was recovering from surgery, people kept telling me to juust "let go" of the pain. Float it downriver, so to speak. I tried. But you know what? The river flowed in a circle. My pain always came right on back.

The way out of pain is through. Why then should it be somehow objectionable that some people eroticize the idea or the memory of that journey?

Trinity said...

"I find it sad, cause if it gets her off really hard, why not celebrate it?"

That's how I feel too, pretty much.

I mean, I don't want to get into armchair psych of someone who, well, feels how she feels.

But I personally have never found wishing something that worked for me didn't, or thinking that in utopia something else would work for me, a positive thing in my life.

Cheshire said...

I read this as.

Wouldn't life be easier if we didn't have sex, then you could just have these great uncomplicated friendships without having to ruin anyones day....

thene said...

To be fair to her, I think there is a natural expectation that love and intimacy don't fit neatly in the same box as pain, humiliation and control. That those things could be part of what you give to the person you love the most isn't so easy to get your head and heart around.

Trinity said...

"To be fair to her, I think there is a natural expectation that love and intimacy don't fit neatly in the same box as pain, humiliation and control. That those things could be part of what you give to the person you love the most isn't so easy to get your head and heart around."

True, but "in an ideal world I'd be different" -- well, what does thinking like that get you?

Harper said...

First off, I LOVE this blog. The writing is insightful, and this is the first blog I've read all the way through, along with most of the comments.

Second off, besides the 'nasty creepy' accusation of the first post, there's also this feeling that vanilla sex is so great because it is less complicated and just plain easier and natural. "But it would be so much simpler if we didn't have those desires in the first place." As if the mental route from point A to point B shouldn't take any back roads or complexities. Simplicity is nice, but that's just not how people work all the time in sex or otherwise.

If humans were devoted entirely to just living their lives as long and happily as possible, the only areas of business we would have would be health care, clothing, construction, food and agriculture. True, there is great satisfaction from thinking 'I made this sweater and now it's keeping me or my family warm.' or 'I grew this food and cooked it and it's delicious.'

But people are complex. We take delight in weird things. Look at theoretical science, filled with people devoting their lives to stuff that, though it sometimes becomes practical, mostly they love just for learning. Or art, which gives us nothing physically satisfying besides the happy firing of neurons. Very very basic things like food get preferences beyond taste too: I like such and such sort of tea/bread/whatever because it reminds of a vacation/event/person.

Humans have big brains and we use them to make connections, see patterns and come to different conclusions about everything from religion to our shampoo brand of choice. I see no reason why the creativity and individuality of everyone should somehow just switch off during sex, so that every likes the same things, in the same way, for the same reasons. People like different music, why can't people like different sex?

Trinity said...

"I see no reason why the creativity and individuality of everyone should somehow just switch off during sex, so that every likes the same things, in the same way, for the same reasons."

Right on.

pepomint said...

Agree with everything said so far, but just wanted to throw out a new term:

"internalized BDSM-phobia"

Really, the copied sections made me think of fairly standard internalized homophobia. I realize that it's different (since oppressions are always different yada yada yada) but I think this one's a good analogy. "I just can't stand my own desires - I play them out and I accept them, but in a perfect world I wouldn't have them!" Fill in your favorite supposedly deviant desire.

I'm totally going to start using BDSM-phobia as a word.

belledame222 said...

yep. "I hate myself for having these desires" is pretty much one-template-fits-all, I'd say. and doubly ironic when it comes to "trying to purge myself of the bad feelings so as to get to sweetness and light"--dude, if you're -beating up on yourself-, whether directly or vicariously through beating up on another person, w/judgment an' all (it amounts to the same thing)...um...

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Second off, besides the 'nasty creepy' accusation of the first post, there's also this feeling that vanilla sex is so great because it is less complicated and just plain easier and natural.

Which of course completely skips around the whole question of what sex is 'natural', assuming its conclusions.

(And there's a tidy continuation of the internalised foophobia.)

Lia said...

Oh boy. Boyohboy. I come back here after a break and find 29 (! - 30, if you count Trinity's original response to my post) replies to a ramble of mine I never thought would see the light of day, let alone the eyes of a host of thoughtful SM feminists on a blog I really admire. So I'm glad not to see many of the accusations I expected - "secretly guilty, self-hating, stop projecting your issues on the rest of us", etc. A lot of what you HAVE said reminds me an awful lot of my boyfriend, who also thinks light and dark = balance = wholeness and interestingness. We've had plenty of discussions about that.

Still, this discussion deserves a really long post, not a brief scribble in the midst of a busy day. So I'll come back when I'm less busy, and give these ideas a proper work-through.

Glad I'm not a "garden-variety" white-light feminist, anyway. :)

Lia said...

I love this thread, and I'm reading and reading it, trying to sort out how I actually feel. (Had internet access problems, hence the huge delay.) Wish my initial post had read "puzzling and violent" or similar, rather than "weird and nasty": I really didn't mean those words in a high-school "ick" sense, but that's how they seem to have come across.

With the "something to celebrate?" idea, I didn't explore that enough in my post, but I'd break it down like this. We have dark, violent desires that don't always fit in well with what we rationally, logically want, and can cause us pain ("bad pain") when misunderstood. This is a challenge. We have various methods of making sense of these desires so they enrich (and don't disrupt) our lives. THIS is something to celebrate. Not the dark feelings themselves, but the lessons and self-knowledge we (can) learn from them.

I guess that's what I meant by "I won't celebrate BDSM uncritically". If only I'd written that earlier, then Ethylbenzene (see below) wouldn't have had to accuse me of self-loathing!

>ethylbenzene said...
My second point is that I find it sad that this person won't "celebrate" her kinky. I just find that terribly depressing. It sort of seems to be part and parcel of the "good girls don't" school of thought, except from sort of the other side of the looking glass -- good feminists don't, maybe. I find it sad, cause if it gets her off really hard, why not celebrate it? Oh, wait, I forgot -- 'cause it's "weird" and "nasty."

*sighs and makes a mental note to be more careful about wording in her posts*

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