One topic that I don't often see brought up in discussions of SM and feminism is one reason that I enjoy it, and one reason that I sometimes had trouble reconciling with particular political stances, was excess.
Think about standard criticisms of the rich and opulent. Whether they're criticisms of the nobility, of the bourgeoisie, or other criticisms of the rich and powerful. The idea that these people are decadent, that they wallow in excess, drown themselves in pleasure.
That kind of excess is actually a big turn on for me. The idea of going further and doing more, overflowing with energy, desire, and intensity. It's something I began to have a very hard time with when I got into feminist circles that were also socialist or influenced by socialism.
Because the central idea of that kind of political movement is that some people have too much and some people don't have enough. If that's the material situation of people in the world, and I seek to be committed to some kind of distributive justice that least makes the first step to equalizing some of that, how can I get into bed and touch myself while imagining, sometimes literally, that I'm lord over other people?
It made it very difficult for me to enjoy sexual fantasy and sexual play with other people. Because for me, a huge part of the appeal of SM is the excess. The idea that too much sensation may be painful, but that only feeds an intense loop of pleasure that increases and increases, until I feel capable of devouring the world. And the person beneath me becomes a great consuming wild creature, able to take anything, transmute anything, beg for more, opening and opening, endlessly devouring in a different way.
And that sort of energy is a kind of destruction and consumption. It's a sacred kind, the consuming fire of the Destroyer . that fire runs through me when I'm high from topping. Frightening, sacred fire that seeks to devour to bring rebirth and joy.
I've long since remembered that it's not a bad kind of destruction or consumption, but for a long time looking at the world around me and sneering at American consumerism made it hard for me to understand where classist gluttony ended and sacred consumption began.
I'm a lot more suspicious of critiques of "decadence" these days, if they're not quite specific about who has too much and precisely how she's being frivolous with the resources in question.
And perhaps I've betrayed the left wing somehow, but I find the term "consumerism" less and less useful as time goes on.
Not because I don't think American culture has a problem with consuming. We do. Or with allotting ridiculous amounts of resources to people who don't really do much to better the world, like CEO's and astronomically rich sports stars. We do.
Rather, because I increasingly grow leery of American culture ever getting better about that if we don't specify what we're consuming and how, and understand that the problem isn't the desire to consume or devour, but the way that is aimed at inanimate objects rather than allowed to fuel passion and spirit.
And the way that we'll always be aiming that yen for excess at inanimate objects if we ignore that the desire to be consumed also exists. Which I think we have a big problem with. People who want to be guided by others, let go of the ego, submit, are deemed weaklings in a world where only literal consumption of inanimate objects is encouraged.
Because we don't remember what being burned by the sacred fire is. What it feels like. We only remember what it's like to toss the plastic wrapper aside once we've eaten the junk food. SO that must be what submission looks like.
Asking to be dumped aside because you think you're unworthy. That's all that shows up.
To me, that is the problem. Consumption without... passion. Consumption with desire, with little niggling yens that ads create and a new IPod might assuage, like scratching a mild itch, but without... transformation.
Yeah. That's it.
Consumption of objects. Which is a safe kind of consumption, a kind that doesn't bring you face to face with the possibility of being devoured yourself, or face to face with what it really means to channel the Devourer.
Consumption without transformation.