Sunday, 30 November 2008


This guy "Spartacus II" apparently has an entire blog dedicated to mocking BDSMers.

Er, okay... whatever tickles your pickle, guy?

BREAKING NEWS: Tops Are Horribly Violent People. Film at 11.

....all I've got to say to this one:

There’s much I could say at this point, but I’m sure nobody wants to read through 10+ paragraphs of pure bile. I’ll just stick with saying that anyone interested in being a BDSM dom probably fits the same personality type as those who staffed the camps at Belsen and Auschwitz. Torture is torture by any name.

is that as I understand it, assuming that there was such a personality type is wildly misunderstanding what actually happens when societies justify evil through systematic campaigns of dehumanization.

Saturday, 29 November 2008


I'm about to head to bed, but random websurfing led me to this little study of SM, and I thought you all might like to read it.

It's nothing new to most of us I wouldn't think, but it's a fun brain snack. :)

And I'd love to see if Nine Deuce's promised posts in her anti-SM series include things like it.

I wouldn't have such faith in most who style themselves radical feminists, but although I find Nine's snarky manner eyeroll-inducing, she seems to have a far better eye for nuance than many of them.


I'm too tired to say much about this, but (as I said over there):

On tons of anti-SM websites, posts, and blogs, I run into this idea that SM is about "role-playing," that people who are into SM really get into acting out corny roles.

Honestly, as an eight-year veteran of the Scene, I find this rather odd, and I wonder where it comes from. I tend to see a lot more of people just straightforwardly doing stuff than I see setting up elaborate role-playing.

So, uh... where's this idea that we're all "role-playing" come from exactly? It doesn't seem to me to quite square with reality, tbh.

Really, "the sexual equivalent of Renaissance faires?" Where on earth am I supposed to get that kind of free time?

ETA: Also, didn't we do this already back in '06?

Friday, 28 November 2008

Personal Stories

I originally posted this over at my LiveJournal, as an answer to AngryScientist's "what motivates sadists?" over here. He doesn't seem to have been impressed with my story, but I thought some of you might be interested in it, especially as it does talk about gender norms and how they've affected me. Anyone else care to share?

My Story, Version Eleventysixish

As far as my own perspective, exactly what made pain-for-pleasure sexually exciting to me, I don't know, although I was attracted to stories with dominance and submission as themes (usually female over male, but sometimes the reverse. I'd probably have enjoyed stories about same-gender setups too, but these were rarer for me to find when I was a kid) since I was a very young child. I know that some feminist theories suggest that this is not necessarily a matter of personal nature, as patriarchy gets to us from early ages, but I honestly doubt that it is fully a product of nurture in my own case. (This does not mean, as some assume, that I take it to be fully ingrained/biological. It only means I question the idea that social construction is ALL of the story.)

I, like many girls, also got the clear message that I was expected to be fulfilled by submission to men, swooning over their masterful demeanor, etc. As a girl trying to "be good" under patriarchy, I often felt that my desires were "backwards" and worried that something was wrong with me.

I've also, as a person born with a disability, had a rather medicalized life from birth. I do not think this made me attracted to pain in some way that "broke" me, but I do suspect that some of the curiosity I have about the limits of the human body, and some of my lack of fear of things that hurt, stem from having experienced a lot of invasive things that demonstrated to me how the human body responds to a lot of stimuli and also how it heals (better than one might think!)

I honestly, because I connect my kinks and my disability in my head, feel that people who argue that people are interested in consensual sadomasochism must be "damaged" or "broken" by culture or patriarchy are using a similar logic to those who argue for the medical model of disability. I can't separate the claim that my mind is "broken" and I experience bodily pleasure in the wrong ways from the claim that my body is "broken" and functions in the wrong ways. I don't know whether you do or don't subscribe to the social model of disability, but I've never understood how people who do could be anti-SM. In my mind, SM is a product of how I experience the world, and my disabled body is a large part of that.

For me, dominance and SM are times when my body can not only be graceful (I actually find, and I don't know why this is, that my movement is least impaired when I'm topping) but also times when my body can express power. That's very heady given that all my life I've been told that my body made me weak, inferior, dependent. To be the one in control, and to have obvious physical manifestations of that, like physically controlling what sensation someone under me feels, is really intoxicating given all that.

Also, I think that everyone has a dark side. This isn't to say we're all evil, it's just to say that I've never met anyone who hasn't had the occasional violent urge or forbidden desire. For me, one of those forbidden things is anger -- which I think is common under patriarchy. Women are expected to be nurturing and quiet, not aggressive and claiming. And being kind and nonviolent is definitely a good thing to be, and not something I'd want not to be. It's just that I don't always feel kind... and I don't think any human does all the time.

I mean, even look at radical feminists again. Someone like Twisty enjoys being angry and snarky and mean, for fun. She doesn't mean she wants to destroy men, but she does seem to enjoy saying things in biting ways. For me, sexual desires to be cruel are similar. They're not who I am most of the time, but they're things I feel sometimes.

Having a partner not just accept but eagerly desire to "play with" the cruel side of me, enjoy not only sexual stimulation I give but *pain* I give is really fun to me in part because it's very radical acceptance. I do these things that are supposed to be scary and hurt, and instead of recoiling, he gets hard/she gets wet and begs me for more. It makes me feel that any part of me, whether socially acceptable or not, is worth loving.

And I think there's really something to which emotions are "forbidden" that feminism can and does have a lot to say about. Women are expected to be "nice", quiet, demure, nurturing, put others (usually men) first, etc. SM gives me a space where I can be greedy, insistent, impolite, harsh, and not Put The Guy First by default. It's exhilarating to let that go, and to know as I do that it not only is OK with my partner, but is also sexually exciting to him (or her, though I primarily involve myself with men, in part I think because I kink on reversing the patriarchal default. And no, before you ask, I don't think that just because I do so in bed this "empowers" women as a class. It's just a lot of fun.)

Many men I've topped have said the reverse is exciting for them: that patriarchy expects them to be cold, in control, not "soft," not "feminine" or having any traits associated with the "feminine." When someone like me consensually mock-"forces" them to submit, that allows them to experience and express things patriarchy tells them not to. For a lot of them this is a very emotionally powerful experience, and it makes me feel gratified that they trust me enough to experience a richer and more full palette of human emotions around me.

Some of this I'm sure doesn't apply for heterosexual males who enjoy the dominant role, but I'm sure some of it does. I've heard many a friend of mine talk about how cool it is to do something to a woman that is "supposed" to be bad and mean, only to have it send her into sexual ecstasies. I've heard many of them say they like playing with the forbidden, too, whatever that's been in their lives.

The men who answered Fortuny may or may not be this type of person; I suspect a lot of them were assholes with anger issues. But I don't think that means one can draw conclusions about BDSM from them, either.

Finally, I note that you wanted people on your thread to address your friend Jen's story.

I do think that such things can and do go on in some BDSM circles, and that they are bad things. What I question is how common they are. In many of them that I hear, the woman is isolated from the larger BDSM community. Either she's not involved at all and BDSM is just something hubby brought home, or the guy gradually isolates the woman from the larger community by asserting that she's worth more to him or more serious or more loving if she's more completely submissive. This is an abuse tactic and a recipe for disaster, and it's not something most people I know have any patience with or support for.

I am, however, not one of the folks who say BDSM has to be time-limited "play" to be healthy. Personally, I'm in a relationship with some small, very minor D/s rituals in and out of bed. I think this sort of setup, where the power roles exist but are faint and fluctuate, is common, but for whatever reason is rarely talked about. Also rarely talked about are the many people whose relationships begin as play-based but evolve into more serious D/s because that's what the submissive partner, rather than the dominant one, wants.

Thursday, 27 November 2008


I was going to post something serious and thoughtful right now, but, well, uh... HOLY SHIT!

I got an email from someone who told me she found this site hunting around for resources on SM and feminism, and wondered just how easy it was to find... so, well, here, let me show you:

(1:03:39 PM) trinityva: but wow, is sm feminist that easy to find
(1:03:48 PM) trinityva: maybe i shou;d see how far up on google ha
(1:04:02 PM) lugalzagazzi: Hee! Let me know ;-)
(1:04:21 PM) trinityva: omg
(1:04:22 PM) trinityva: omg
(1:04:24 PM) trinityva: #1
(1:04:25 PM) trinityva: ...
(1:04:31 PM) trinityva: *falls over dead from yay*


(ETA: It's not #1 for "sadomasochism and feminism", but it is also #1 for "s&m and feminism" as well.)

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


xposted from my lj

I left a comment earlier to this post on BDSM; it doesn't show up. I'm not sure if this is aggro-moderation or "I'm home for the Thanksgiving holiday," so I don't want to kick up a fuss. But I will post what I posted there here:


Before I say anything else, I’d like to ask you this: You seem to be suggesting that female sadists are totally beside the point, but wanting to know what it is that makes some men have the fantasies they do.

Would you, or would you not, then, be interested in hearing about how I see my own involvement, or am I beside the point because I’m not a man? Personally, I don’t think my fantasies or activities are all that different from the men I know who have similar fantasies and do similar things, so I’d think I could answer your questions too, but you seem to think the mere fact of my being female makes everything… different? Irrelevant?

Personally, I tend to think that discussions that say “Men who have or wield sexual power matter; women who have or wield it are odd plot points” are a bit… off. It seems to me to replicate something very patriarchal: as a woman, you have no power, so you are not worth talking to or thinking about.

But if you feel that my situation or my psyche is so different from a man’s that my saying anything is silly, let me know and I’ll leave you to your discussion. :)

There's another post that hasn't yet made it through moderation here.

The thing that intrigues me particularly about all this is the way that these posters seem to think they're "unmasking sadism," as if they've come across some new fact about SM or those who do it that makes their analysis a good one. When, as far as I can actually tell, the thing at the core of it is basically the same old
  1. refusal to take people who do BDSM at our word when we talk about endorphins, or play, or negotiation, or whether we see D/s as "egalitarian" (some do, I don't) or "fair" (I do); and
  2. anecdote by one poster/about one friend who was duped by someone using extreme, poorly-negotiated D/s to abuse or harm, by making the claim that "serious slavery" or "true love" or "being cool enough for me" involved never being permitted one's own life, interests, or personal growth, with
  3. no discussion at all of how common such a story is, or in what subgroups within BDSM it is common or uncommon, or whether and how we can determine whether it is representative or not.
(okay, okay, in this case there's also "My buddy the dominatrix was a mean drunk, and I didn't believe her when she said she wanted out of sex work." I don't know if I read that right, but is she seriously saying there that because her friend was mean, the friend must have been dominant and therefore enjoyed work she claimed she wanted to leave? That's how I read it, though I hope I'm missing something obvious.)

I'd really like an "unmasking" that tries a little harder, guys gyns guys -- didn't realize he was male.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

A Finer Point On It

Some people that I respect mentioned that my last post struck them as universalizing in a problematic way. They mentioned that for some people BDSM can be unhealthy or maladaptive. they wanted to be sure that I wasn't getting ahead of myself comparing into anti-SM theory to the theory behind conservatives recommending reparative therapy for gay people.

So I want to make this perfectly clear. I don't think that SM is wonderful for everyone at every point in their lives. I do believe that some people use SM to self harm. I do believe that some people bottom or submit because they believe that they are inferior or unworthy. I also believe that some people use sex and sexual pleasure, whether from SM or from non SM sex, in ways that are unhealthy for them.

However, I believe that this is all beside the point. Look, once again, at many of the reparative therapists' reasons for objecting to what they call "The gay lifestyle." They often cite such behaviors as promiscuity, drug use, partying, and shallowness as reasons why such a lifestyle does not ultimately satisfy the people who participate in it. People are actually looking for a lifetime monogamous relationship that is deep and intimate.

The problems with this are twofold. The first problem is obvious: not everyone wants monogamy, intimacy, or relationships. The second problem is different. For many people, the party circuit is indeed unsatisfying. However, this is not what being gay is about. A gay man may enjoy those things, but he may not. Being gay only means that he is attracted to other men, not that he will embrace particular social behaviors or not.

And I think a similar confusion is going on when people say "Wait, Trinity! You have to acknowledge that for some people, SM is an unhealthy fixation." no, I don't, because my point is not whether SM is always wonderful for everyone, but whether a particular sort of social constructionist theory captures what the SM experience is about for everyone.

It does not. Yes, for some people SM is a maladaptive coping strategy. But this does not mean that SM sex is fundamentally about self-harm, any more than sex, as a whole, for all humans is about self-harm. I'm sure we've all met someone who we at some point thought was using his sexuality in a way that was ultimately damaging to him. But very few people would say that he needs to give up sexuality. That therapy designed to make him asexual is wise.

I do think that some people who do, and enjoy, SM are not orientationally sadomasochistic. (For example, some try it only because a lover suggested it, but find they like it. Some value being sexually "adventurous" and see trying SM as one part of this. And some, yes, may try it because of pressure, or low self-esteem, or trauma.) I also think that some subset of these people who are sadomasochistically active may be so because they are dealing with an unresolved issue or problem rather than because it is actually good for them. SM may be a horribly bad idea for these people, and giving up SM may, therefore, be a positive step for them, in a way that I don't think "praying away the gay" can ever be for anyone.

However, this does not reveal anything about SM being bad. It reveals something humans have always known about sex and sexuality: that sex can be quite emotionally powerful, and that sometimes we can harness or use that emotional potency in ways that are actually bad for us.

Saying that I believe that the underpinnings of anti-SM "radical" "feminist" theory are disturbingly similar to the underpinnings of the theory fueling an obviously life-denying organization like NARTH is not saying that any given person who gives up BDSM is unhealthy for it. For some people, that is a positive step.

But that's due to personal factors, and it's certainly not due to my orientation being a "patriarchal lifestyle." (I couldn’t resist snark there…:)

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Theories and Commonalities

I spent some time yesterday reading over the blog of Truth Wins Out, an organization dedicated to "fighting right-wing lies and the ex-gay fraud." As I was reading through some of the discussions and descriptions of reparative therapy and its proponents, I was struck by some commonalities I see between the theories underpinning that movement and the "radical feminist" theories that claim that SM desires are imposed by the patriarchy and bad for women.

Here's TWO's description of NARTH, a a self described “non-profit, educational organization dedicated to affirming a complementary, male-female model of gender and sexuality":
At the Feb. 10, 2007 Love Won Out conference in Phoenix, the “secular” therapist told the audience, “When we live our God-given integrity and our human dignity, there is no space for sex with a guy.”

Confronted with protesters at their 2006 national conference in Orlando, NARTH instructed its members to “sing a hymn or pray instead,” according to Mother Jones magazine, in its Sept.-Oct. 2007 issue.

...Dr. Nicolosi has said in his first book, “Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality that, “I do not believe that any man can ever be truly at peace in living out a homosexual orientation.”

The late Dr. Socarides, who has a gay son that once served as President Bill Clinton’s gay liaison, told The Washington Post on August 14, 2007, “Homosexuality is a psychological and psychiatric disorder, there is no question about it. It is a purple menace that is threatening the proper design of gender distinctions in society.”

Now, obviously this is religion-based, rather than based on a theory that sexuality is socially constructed in a way that's bad for women. But there's a lot that I see that I find very familiar.

First, the "there is no space for" remark. The most strident of the anti-SM feminists also don't usually claim right out that no one should do BDSM. They just remind us that living to our full potential would not include doing BDSM, and that those of us who continue to do it are misguided and confused.

Second, the comment about "peace." This is a big one. According to these sorts of "radical feminist," it's perfectly within our rights to behave as we want, but we can't possibly be happy. Being subordinated to men is a bad state -- and even female tops like me are supposedly "subordinated" to our partners, since only men could ever really want this stuff -- and some secret part of us, deep inside, knows it. We're not content, somewhere inside ourselves, and in five years or so we'll come to the revelations that saved the ex-BDSMer feminists and be unable to deny that we "weren't at peace."

This is a particularly nefarious one. No human being is ever totally at peace with herself over everything. That makes it quite easy for manipulative techniques like these to get their hooks in people. If you're sad, if you're confused, particularly if you're currently unhappy sexually, it's very easy to remember what someone, be they radical feminist or reparative therapist, said to you about not being truly at peace with yourself. It's very easy for that, in turn, to trigger a "purge" if you're insecure: tossing out your sex toys and vowing to "find peace."

I haven't here quoted the bit from the website describing what NARTH takes the origins of homosexuality to be. First, we've all likely heard it: distant fathers, dominant mothers, and other gender-nonconforming setups in our home life. Second, the specifics of that are totally unlike any "radical feminist" theory about anything.

But the similarity I see even there is that the "not at peace" sexuality is taken to be socially constructed. For NARTH, homosexuality comes from being around gender nonconforming people and copying them. For "radical feminists" of this stripe, it comes from being around patriarchy. In both cases, the sexuality cannot be inborn.

It's not only that, though. I personally do think both homosexuality and BDSM orientation can be inborn, but that they need not be, and that using "inborn or not" as the barometer of whether the sexuality is okay or not is beyond stupid. It's that these theories of social construction/nurture are taken to be obvious and beyond reproach.

No one can really, truly prove for sure that social environment doesn't shape sexuality, sometimes radically. We believe that the "mother" theory is stupid as an explanation for homosexuality because there are tons of people it doesn't fit. I believe the "patriarchy" theory is stupid as an explanation for BDSM orientation because I've met tons of people who don't connect it to gender at all.

But unlike the "mother" theory, there's no way to say "this is what happened outside of patriarchy." If you accept their understanding of patriarchy as something that not only affects but shapes every part of our psyches, there is no way to prove them wrong either.

But notice, from what I say above, that this doesn't actually suggest that they are correct. It only looks like it does. Just like there's no way out of the claim that people who do BDSM are unhappy or "not truly at peace" because no human ever is, there's no way out of the claim that people's sexualities aren't fruits of patriarchy because no one is free of it either.

But all that that line of thinking indicates is that we have no idea what human sexuality would look like free of patriarchy. I've seen scads of discussions in feminist spaces about whrther there'd be SM in utopia. They've never come to resolution, for the very same reason: all that any of us, pro or anti, can do in such discussions is speculate. I speculate that SM would still exist, because pain play isn't about power, and that D/s would still exist, because power play isn't about injustice. Someone else speculates that pain and power are attractive because of oppression, and no one in Utopia would dream of it.

Problem so totally solved, there.

Third, both NARTH and the "radical feminists" are careful to inform everyone that they don't intend to impose on anyone. They acknowledge that their treatments or theories are not for everyone. Here's NARTH:
NARTH respects each client's dignity, autonomy and free agency.

We believe that clients have the right to claim a gay identity, or to diminish their homosexuality and to develop their heterosexual potential.

The right to seek therapy to change one's sexual adaptation should be considered self-evident and inalienable.

We call on our fellow mental-health association to stop falsely claiming to have "scientific knowledge" that settles the issue of homosexuality. Instead, our mental-health associations must leave room for diverse understandings of the family, of core human identity, and the meaning and purpose of human sexuality.

I hear something similar from "radical feminists." They are careful to remind any pro-BDSM person they debate with that they have no interest in preventing us from doing BDSM and no personal investment in any individual coming to agree with their theories or to change sexual behavior or orientation. They say instead that they only hope to get more people thinking about where their desires come from and why they have them. I've even e-met a few who've told me they agree with "radical feminist" theories about where their desires come from and kinda wish they could change, but know they can't.

The thing about this, though, is that neither NARTH's nor the "radical feminists'" theories are as neutral as they claim. No, no one is compelling anyone to seek change, if we do these folks the courtesy of taking them at face value when they say that. However, their theories assert that you're broken. If you're gay, it's because something's wrong in your life and you are so desperate for closeness with people of the same gender that you act out sexually, desperate for their attention. If you're kinky, it's because you have been so supersaturated with the message of male dominance and female submission that you're incapable of sexually relating to others in a positive way.

And that, in the end, is the big commonality: the theory that people are broken and need fixing. Homosexuality supposedly comes from family dysfunction; BDSM is often described as the result of abuse, despite many people enjoying BDSM who were never abused and many people who were abused thinking they had BDSM interests before any abuse happened. Corollary to this is the idea that as you heal, your sexuality may change.

I've spoken before about how damaging I feel this is, and I think it cuts straight to the heart of both what's wrong with reparative therapy and what's wrong with "radical feminist theory" about how abuse affects us. I quote from myself, elsewhere:
I don't in any way mean to suggest that I know better than that person [an ex-BDSMer who believed that her SM fantasies came from her abuse, and said that she replaced those fantasies with mental images of waterfalls] where her fantasies came from or how her healing should have gone. But I will say that personally, I found the assumption that healing from my trauma would involve no longer being a sadomasochist pretty harmful.

The people I relied on for mental health care told me that my fantasies came from my trauma, and that once I'd really healed, I'd not have them any more.

I spent so much time worrying about my sexuality not changing, of waterfalls or whatever else not replacing my self, that I didn't allow myself for years to take pride in the actual progress I was making toward healing. I became obsessed with the idea that my sexuality wasn't changing and therefore there was something wrong with me, even as I slowly felt better about myself, less inclined to self-harming (again, maybe to you the desire to do SM and to self-harm are the same, but in my experience they are very different), etc.

I think promoting the idea that SM fantasies are *always* scars from trauma is harmful.
In a nutshell, that's my major problem with both reparative therapy and anti-SM "radical feminism": this theory that you're broken, and if you just pray enough or "examine your desires" enough you'll heal, but that if you don't you must just be too hurt, too broken, too weak, or too easily seduced to get over it.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Ren's defense of BDSM

The inimitable Renegade Evolution, giving voice to something I've been thinking for a while:
Why do I defend and talk about BDSM fairly often? After all, I, personally, am not even into BDSM except for on very, very rare occasions and, why yes, for money. It’s not my thing…it has similarities to my thing, but the differences are vast and noticeable to anyone who actually knows anything about BDSM. I’m a crappy submissive because really, I don’t have the right attitude or wiring for it. I’m a crappy dominant because I am, sexually, a selfish and greedy asshole. The whole service aspect, or aftercare, or the endless and needed negotiation, the often seriousness required, and bonding, so on? Let’s put it this way: I totally fail. F – report to the first row of remedial education fail. I would probably be worse at being in a healthy and respectful and fulfilling BDSM relationship than I ever was at algebra, and that is saying something. And really, aside from some of the cool looking outfits, equipment, and dungeons, BDSM does not appeal to me. It’s too complicated, ordered, ritualized, and rules-laden for me. It is in no way unhinged and chaotic enough for my tastes. As I, and countless BDSM’ers have said before, there is a huge difference between what they do (BDSM) and what I’m into (rough/gonzo/porny sex).

But I still talk about it and defend it for a reason…a few really. One, I do not think what I do and enjoy sexually is better than what anyone else does, but people into BDSM, just like those into gonzo style sex, or swinger style sex, or countless other less than mainstream forms of sex and sexuality, are marginalized and stigmatized- rather heavily and relentlessly. Two, there is a tendency for people without in depth information, or without any consideration towards the words of those actually involved, to look at a brief snippet of what people into BDSM do an label it as abuse. There are too many ill-informed calls for them to examine (as if they have not), and sure enough, way too much speculation and usage of universals.

And yes, sure enough, I have read words out of people, women specifically, who say they were really into BDSM, loved it at the time, left it, and looking back, see how abusive and horrible it was. Okay. I’ll take them at their word…but just as folk question the kinky people endlessly, well, I have questions to ask as well, because sure enough, do some assholes use the cover of BDSM (or gonzo style, or swinging, or whatever) to be abusive fuckheads? Why yes, they sure do…are they the majority? I tend to think not…so, this is what I want to know:

1: Were you, as an ex BDSM’er (or whatever) engaged in full scene, part of a community, or is it something a lover, solo, worked you into? Did you go to clubs, or play parties, or was it something engaged in solely in their/your home?

2: Did you meet your D/s on line?

3: Were there negotiations, safe words, limits set?

4: Was your involvement in whatever kink then used by said partner to shame or isolate you from others?

5: Were you denied access to friends, family, or other people in the fetish community?

6: Were your boundaries and comfort levels ignored?

7: Did you endure the “kink” or “rough stuff” merely to get the attention, praise, or “love” from your partner?

8: Did you get into this life style because, for whatever reasons, you thought abuse and pain were the best you could do or all that you deserved? Did your partner make you feel that way?

9: Did your partner threaten you with telling the world about your involvement in kink, or posting photos of you, or whatever else to keep you where you were and doing what they wanted?

Guess what? In this case, I sort of feel like saying “Oh shit, you’re doing it wrong”. And I hate to say that. I do, I fucking loathe those words. Hate ‘em. But those sorts of experiences do not, to the best of my knowledge, at all capture the spirit and what is really intended in BDSM (or whatever other kinky stuff a lot of folk are into), and do sound like manipulation on the part of an abusive asshole…and sure enough, that sort of shit is never going to be loving or empowering or healthy. It is also in no way typical of what goes on with most kinksters. There are, you see, no universals.

And just for the record, if women are abused in droves in any sort of kinky scene, why is the protest of it by those women a virtual whisper? No, I am not questioning any ones experiences, but since women who are happily in the kink are forever and endlessly questioned, called out, taken to task, dismissed, and told to examine, I feel it is a fair question…after all, I do hate double standards in “feminism”.

And this is no way me trying to say “try it, you’ll like it”. Not in the least. If anything, I am all for women experiencing, doing, enjoying what they like, and not doing what they don’t like, on their own terms and via their own determination. Lord knows I’ve had more than one asshole Top type suggest that I, liking the gonzo sex, had truly not just evolved enough, or did not know what I really wanted, or liked, or needed, and sure enough, he could show me! Well, sorry, I ain’t into calling anyone master (unless the fee is damn fine) and my patience with people of those sorts (of either gender) is very, very thin. Sexual mercenaries make shitty subs, after all. So yes, I do know those types exist. But they are a rare breed, and to assume universals about all people into BDSM based on them, or the experiences of some women?

Ill advised and ill informed. Once again, I say such is shoddy schoolwork. But then again, happy BDSM’ers make not the impressive headline or study now, do they?

And now, herein this long and winding rant, is where the Renegade cringes and makes a confession/statement that she knows, one day, some how, some way, will come back to bite her in the ass. I’d even bet money on it, but I’m going to say it anyway:

Often, I see BDSM discussed in terms of rape, of sexual cruelty, of true psychopathic sadism, of true force, or true emotional abuse and humiliation, so on, so forth. If you’re looking for a true dark side of sex, well, you’re looking at the wrong kink. I see more of that in the swinger scene than I’ve ever seen in SSC BDSM communities. And (big cringe) as for as unhinged casual use of peoples bodies in the pursuit of sexual gratification…well, I think the gonzo style sorts make BDSM'ers look like virtual saints…I mean, they (BDSM'ers) tend to at least catch names of or like the people they are fucking…not always so in my social circles. But be that as it may:

There are no universals, and pretending that there are helps and empowers no one.
This, exactly. I don't doubt people who say they had bad experiences doing BDSM. I'm sure that some people are into it precisely because they see it as an excuse to be selfish, be cruel, be rapists and get away with it: "But you're my slave!"

But I find myself wondering why there are so few names. I know several people who are ex-radical feminists (including myself, though my "radical feminism" was a bit different from what generally passes for it in the blogoverse, and a lot of people would claim I was doing it wrong, I'm sure.) They talk fairly often about the things they used to do, think, and like.

I very rarely see the same thing out of ex-BDSMers. I've never seen any of them volunteer anything like "My scene name was Slaveslut Lily," much less "Here's my old slavejournal, wherein I argued that 24/7 submission to men was totally feminist. Here are the inbetween posts, where I started to change my mind. Here's me now."

And I just wonder why that's so rare. Not because I doubt anyone's particular personal story, or think that it's anyone's duty to provide it. Rather, because I hear a lot of vague stories out of anti-SM feminists who say "I know a lot of people who escaped, and are really emotionally scarred." But if this is common, if this goes on a lot, one would think there'd be message boards, be webpages offering support to former submissives, or at least "post-submissive" blogs, or... something.

One would think that someone, somewhere along the line, would be more public about this, like the ex-radfems I know have tended to be about what it was like to be part of that community.

Which is what leads me to wonder, like Ren, whether most of these ex-SMers were involved in the community as a whole, or whether they just met a man who suggested rope to a nervous girlfriend who wanted to be GGG. It's not that that's not BDSM, and it's not that that's not worrisome. It's just that when they then, as many do, start discussing the Scene, I start to get skeptical.

Particularly of the claims that everything in the world is M/f. Now, I do think that much of the time, heterosexual circles and gay and lesbian circles are cut off from one another. Gay leather and straight leather aren't all that connected.

But as a person who has mainly done F/m and some F/f, I can confidently say I've very rarely felt unwelcome anywhere. There was one party I went to, held by a small group I didn't usually attend, where I felt like F/m dynamics were unwelcome and felt uncomfortable. (I actually had people telling me my way of doing things weirded them out because submission was "womanly," etc.) But that was once!

So... yeah. I want more information from anyone who's *willing* to volunteer it about what their community was, what it was like, how large it was. Were they involved in major orgs, like Janus, TES, APEX, Black Rose, or were they at home with a Daddy they'd met on CollarMe last week? I really want to know, because without *anyone at all* volunteering such information... I remain skeptical. Not skeptical that any one person was abused, pressured, or hurt, but skeptical of the claims that a lot of submissive women get out and realize they were involved in something inherently damaging.

Which I see now and again from the ex-es.