I'd really like to talk to an ex-sadomasochist for real.
I mean sit her down and talk to her. About everything. About her bad experiences. About what the community was like for her. About who her friends were, who she had as a support system. Who she looked up to. Who she got advice from. Where she or her top or her bottom or whatever got their safety info, physical and emotional.
I read things like this and I just wonder if we even mean the same thing when we say BDSM. In that comment, miss_andrist says ". I was a BDSM sub for 17 years, passed off from one "owner" to another."
I have never seen such "passing off" myself. I've heard of consensual "loaning," but the only times it's ever been mentioned to me it's been by submissive folks themselves: "Sir, I have this fantasy of you loaning me out/offering me to a room of your friends to use/etc." I've never seen the idea that people actually "transfer property" as she mentions.
So I'd actually really like to sit down with someone like this and talk about the community she was part of. I get the strong feeling that the communities I'm a part of have norms of behavior that the community she talks about actually lacked. I wonder whether any of her opinions might be different if I'm right on this. If those who dominated her saw themselves as involved not just in consensual objectification for fun but in doing what every good partner should: being a positive, loving force in her life.
I wonder what having that conversation would do. Part of me thinks of ex-SMers as I think of ex-gays: just sad and lonely and self-hating. But ex-gays, it strikes me, don't have histories of abuse and of gayness being used as an excuse to abuse, where several ex-BDSMers have those stories.
So my question is, really: How can we stand up for ourselves as worthy people making a worthy and personal choice to do SM, D/s, B&D, whatever -- while still honoring those abuse stories and the fear they speak to?