Friday, 1 August 2008

Today's Linkitude

Is Kink the New Gay, Or Is Gay Just another Old Kink?

You’ve spent the entirety of your adult life engaging in all sorts of delicious (and consensual, thanks for playing!) sadomasochistic activities. And when you’re not, you’re fantasizing about it. And when you’re not fantasizing about it, you’re thinking about fantasizing about it. And when you’re not thinking about thinking about fantasizing about it, you’re reading badly-written porn on teh internets. And even when you weren’t yet an adult, your thoughts were half-formed toward that final intrinsic thesis, be it homosexuality, sadomasochism, or just wanting to have sex in a tub filled with baked beans.

Chances are then that you’ve probably spent some portion of your life wondering just What in the Good Name of Fuck is wrong with you. You may or may not have been abused, excessively shamed, converted to Catholicism, or afflicted with TITC Syndrome (Trapped In The Closet).

But let’s get real here. Correlation does not mean causality.

Your emotional sugar-packets may or may not be over-crammed with a Splenda of self-loathing, or an aspartame-OD of animus toward the gender opposite. You’ve no signs of death-wishery, be it sexual or otherwise. You’re not diseased nor a deviant (okay, you totally are, but at least not in the sort of way that ends up getting made into a bad German porn film).

Paraphilias are the clinical term for sexual deviations or perversions. Until recently, homosexuality was listed among them. Sadomasochism is still on the list. Pop culture has a love-hate affair with the concept of BDSM. It’s incorporated into fashion, referenced on sitcoms, and plastered all over the intertubes like Java-animated low self-esteem. Yet it’s still somewhat taboo, in that “tee-hee” sense.

Which brings up the issue of what is innate and what is learned. There are the assorted teams of researchers searching with intentions smeared across their lab coats for the genetic key to homosexuality, for a varia of reasons. And they’re well on their way; some scientists say they’ve unlocked a few genomes that, after commingling together for awhile, really enjoy the taste of Bacardi and Diet Coke. So what do you think the chances are of them finding a genetic sequence for liking to be tied up? Or not wanting to clean one’s bathroom? Or enjoying FOX News?

Desire is innate, like ball-scratching, over-sharing, douchebaggery, and mawing down triple-cheeseburgers. Laughing at a really inappropriate joke. Or the sorts of Japanese rope-bondage that take an engineering degree and a poppy field of patience. Or not laughing – humorlessness is most definitely a learned trait (see blogosphere, the). Not talking during a movie is totally learned. BDSM as a catchphrase or open-ended search-field is learned, but not the coveting of it – unless you’ve been talking to the Druids – who probably get less play than the weird kid whose play dates always get cancelled by concerned moms.

Liking or not liking penises isn’t learned. Liking or not liking vaginas isn’t learned. So how can it be, whether or not one had a childhood of varying fucked-up-itude, that liking to spank/be spanked is learned? I mean, I wanted to hit from the time I was walking. I think that was what compelled me to take my first baby steps – the shimmering visage of Suzanne Pleshette winking back at me from the TV, the oh-so-naughty glint in her eye whispering, “spank me, Baby Misanthrope!”

....Time for some armchair junk science of a whip-handed bent. Let’s go way back, back to our prehistoric stage. Life was tough. Life was pain. To keep reproduction going, isn’t it conceivable that the DNA would work in a tolerance/appreciation of some kinds of pain? Lots of biting and shrieking and clubbing of heads and dragging about – you know, Clan of the Cave Bear type shit. I mean, sex probably didn’t become really comfortable for everybody until the mid-50s. And that’s just for the menfolk.

So wouldn’t that mean kink is sort of a memetic thing that’s already built-in, like power steering or hi-beams? It’s not an add-on; it’s not a luxury option – it’s just a matter of meme-activation. Kinda like The Manchurian Candidate. With more sexay and less assassinations.

We evolve in ways that make us stronger, like watching reality TV and videotaping ourselves doing stupid shit for YouTube.
Not saying I agree with him, but it IS food for thought. And I'm honestly far more sympathetic to the idea that desire for SM, in people like me who knew we were intrigued by pain or dominance or submission at an early age, is hardwired in us than I am to the idea that it's socially constructed, or a coping mechanism, or trendy these days, or whatever. (Okay, so trying it may be trendy these days in some hip liberal circles.)

I didn't rebel against everything people around me said women desired sexually to be cool. I thought I was a freak and broken. This was something I couldn't turn off, not something people told me to be like. I thought if I didn't get myself submissive and eager to be penetrated early and often, I'd never have an enjoyable sexual life.


miss sunday said...

interesting post. i've always thought it was funny that my masochism runs so deep, and yet i have no past correlation to how messed up my childhood was. i had a really happy love filled childhood. yet my desire to be tied up, spanked, and degraded is a part of me that is inherent, and every day easier to love as a part of me.

Trinity said...

Yeah, I think this whole notion of "society creted it" is really quite silly.

There's a lot society can be blamed for, including forcing people into sexual roles that they hate -- or squeezing people who almost fit into sexual roles that are only sort of right.

Creating what they like, though, seems a huge stretch to me.

Trinity said...

and, well, broken record time, but: we no longer ask these questions about homosexuality. "what made you this way?" used to be an enormous deal. now it's not.

why people want to preserve "what made you this way?" and "it's not inherent" for fetishes, kinks, etc. i don't get.

well, i do: holy edifices of theory.

when, well, every masochist has a different story. my Monkey tells me "you know, I always wanted harder massages. this feels like the massages I could never convince people to give me. thanks."

is that some serious Viewpoint On Sexuality or is it just I like heavy massages?

And for the next person it might be some totally different thing about relationship to one's own ego, or animalistic feelings, or whatever. everyone has such different stories.

but people want to say... it's social. it's abuse. it's patriarchy. it's anything but, well, whatever your own story says it is.

hysperia said...

Can't believe I found this site. Thanking my lucky stars just now. See ya.

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