Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Pulling out a comment

This was buried in the comments in the Respect, Again post and I figured it was best to give it a thread of its own, so here it is:

greenspade said...

First of all, I feel sorry for Orlando. Wish the best for you and your wife.

I've read some comments on ND's blog, only the first ones and last ones though, too many. And I also think they're quite close minded and intolerance.

Aside from that, I have a question, sorry if this is stupid but I'm curious, this is more about the bdsm, do you really have to do it that way? Can't be happy if you're doing it without hurting or humiliating?

I think every human have their own dark sides. I myself is trying to see what my orientation is, and that's why I came across this blog. But maybe not as extreme as stuffs in kink.com. Doesn't feel anything like hatred or disgust, more like amazed, wow these things really exist, but not my things. I guess I just have the mind of a bully. But I do like some, things.

So I'm wondering if you can do it in a more 'loving' ways, because when body's hurt, the pain is the signal sent to warn you, that there are something dangerous. I think putting yourself or your partner in a dangerous condition - lethal or not - is not really good. Just wondering...

Have a nice day...


David said...

The last paragraph seems akin to saying that cheesecake tasting really good is a sign from our body that it's good food for us and we should eat as much as possible every day.

agh. We can think!

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Now to actually respond to the question:

In the most trivial sense, yes, it's possible; the stuff you're equating with BDSM is none of it stuff that this particular BDSMer is actually interested in (I am not a sadomasochist, and "humiliation" is a good way of getting "kicked to the curb"). Which means that, at best, you're addressing a subset of the people you think you're asking - the subset who's into the stuff you're asking about.

Kicking it back a level to something less personal to me, though, there are issues with definitions of "loving" and "pain" there.

I'll address pain first. I think that fear-of-pain is extremely overrated, culturally speaking. And yes, part of that is because I have chronic pain, and thus the only way I will be free of pain is to be dead. But even for people who aren't living in my particular body, overrated.


Weight training hurts. Running a marathon hurts. Getting a tattoo hurts. Surgery hurts. Childbirth fucking hurts. Studying self-defense hurts in multiple ways. Dance? Hurts. Physical therapy hurts.

Is pain a signal of potential damage in these cases? Yup. Does it mean these things are "not really good"? Well, it means that people should probably take the whole pain thing into account when they're deciding whether or not they want to do any of those things. Me, I have ink and a baby and used to be middling competent at beginner tae kwon do and I had a wisdom tooth pulled once.

(I think a lot of people arguing from pain are listening too hard to their viscera. I mean - I am viscerally, awfully, transcendently squicked by most piercings. I could argue that they are pain and lasting damage to the body and false consciousness implanted by fashion porntriarchy or whatever else, but, y'know, some people like earrings and would think I'm a raving lunatic. I think of this a lot when I see people discussing BDSM from the outside.)

A while back someone made a post on some feminist discussion forum about roller coasters, and the thrill of fear in a safe environment, and pointed out the close parallels between that and BDSM. One can, like pain, argue that the fear-thrill thing is a Signal There For A Reason And That Reason Is Not Your Entertainment, but Six Flags still stays in business, y'know?

So that's pain.

What about "loving"?

This gets to be a much fiddlier definition of terms, for the simple reason that expressions of love are pretty damn subjective.

I have an ex who was only interested in what you'd apparently term "more 'loving' ways", to the point that kink intruding into our sex life caused him extreme distress.

End result? Our sex life by the end of our relationship left me feeling like an unpaid, degraded prostitute because it revolved entirely around his desires without consideration for my responses or needs; my having of sexual needs or desires inevitably caused drama. I have nothing against sex work, but that was not what I was supposed to be doing there, so I left.

From a strictly vanilla perspective, he was all about the loving sexual expression, right? But because it revolved entirely around him him him it was pretty unloving sexually.

I would say that loving sexuality is one which meets the needs of all participants, ideally fulfilling those of their desires that can be done within the risk-acceptability of the participants. What that means will depend on the people, their desires, what they're willing to do, what they find acceptable to do.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

So, we come around to "do you really have to do it that way?", after pulling out half the underpinnings of the question, heh.

As you might guess from my comment about my ex (who I'm still fond of, and who I consider a good person, we're just really ill-suited as partners), no, I can't be long-term happy in a situation in which I am forbidden to express my kink.

That is, however, a moderately extreme point.

My relationship with one of my husbands is pretty vanilla most of the time, because we have very little successful kink overlap. But if I wind up getting into a kinky frame of mind with him, he's entirely happy to run with it; it's okay for me to do. If I want to break out the rope, it's okay, not something to cause existential angst.

My relationship with my other husband, who is also my master, often has 'vanilla sex' in it, or stuff where the kink aspects are very much non-obvious, so obviously it's not "required" even in a formally d/s relationship. At the same time, though, just because you can't see the kink right now doesn't mean it's not there.

So. Does that huge swath of verbiage respond to what youw anted to know?

Anonymous said...

The tricky thing about BDSM is that for any two people doing it, there are at least 3 different ways of doing it!

On a more helpful level, BDSM is a composite term, so doing it "that" way may refer only to one part of the whole, and not everyone involved uses all the parts there are.

The term breaks down as "bondage", "discipline", "dominance/submission", "sadism/masochism".

Since sadism is sexual pleasure from causing pain, and masochism is sexual pleasure from feeling pain, then the "SM" part (which is what appears in this blog's title!) really does have to involve pain. But such pain can certainly be applied in loving ways and with loving intent, and can be accepted in the same manner.

The pain sense is originally designed to warn of damage or danger, it is true - but hearing was originally designed for similar reasons, and one would not describe music (not even loud music) as representing a "dangerous condition". Similarly, one way of looking at BDSM could be that the pain sensation used in BDSM is a novel and developed way of using what evolution gave us to create something beautiful, just as music does with our sense of hearing. (BTW this analogy may need more thought and work, I only just thought of it)

You also ask about humiliation, whether that is a necessary part. It isn't needed for SM, that is for certain. Likewise, it's not important or necessary for bondage. It appears most often in a Dominance/submission context. But even there, it is not required. Some couples enjoy playing emotional games that involve humiliation, because it feels like the submissive partner is giving hirself up to hir partner by allowing that partner to but hir through these torments. But for others it doesn't play any role at all, the dominance and submission is expressed in other ways, maybe through discipline, or clear commands, or just through everyday reactions that are shaped to make one person "in charge" of the other.

I personally enjoy humiliation play as a Top, but can't stand it as a Bottom; but as a Top I am never cruel or degrading about the ways in which I do this - while I might seem that way, or act that way, anyone who knows me (and I would hardly do such things to someone who didn't!) can see that there is always a kindly aspect, a figurative twinkle in my eye, you could say - so even humiliation can be done in a loving way, if both partners know what is going on.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, one last quick point about pain:

You will often hear masochists talk about "good pain" and "bad pain" (I do it myself as a masochist, and I know several others who do the same).

"Good" pain is pain that is enjoyable, consensual and safe.

"Bad" pain is the stuff that is horrible, imposed by nature (or arsehole humans), or unsafe.

Whether illness or injury caused, "bad" pain is a signal that there is danger, risk or damage; which in turn means that "good" pain is understood by the body on some level as being NOT a signal of imminent danger or damage (damage here meaning beyond a few welts or bruises, which the body routinely repairs by itself).

BDSM is all about enjoying the good pain.

Trinity said...

(I think a lot of people arguing from pain are listening too hard to their viscera. I mean - I am viscerally, awfully, transcendently squicked by most piercings. I could argue that they are pain and lasting damage to the body and false consciousness implanted by fashion porntriarchy or whatever else, but, y'know, some people like earrings and would think I'm a raving lunatic. I think of this a lot when I see people discussing BDSM from the outside.)"

THIS. Thank you.

greenspade said...

@Trinity: Thank you for noticing me :D

@David: well if you eat too much you'll get stomachache :)

@Dw3t-Hthr & snowdrop: Thank you very much for your explanation. I really thought about it carefully.

By "not really good", because I didn't see any benefit for the body, except to get used to the pain. The other things you mentioned may have some benefits:
running marathon isn't hurt btw you just get tired, maybe some muscle cramps but when you get used to it, you can be more agile, your breath is more composed, and so on. Surgery hurt but to discard the greater pain caused by a disease. About getting tattoo I don't quite understand what's good from it, but I guess it can make you looks cooler, at least to the one who appreciate it. Studying self defense also has benefits, like to... self defense :D

A little about myself, I played a rape scenario on my barbie doll when I'm in elementary school, and a lot of fantasies about pretty woman being captivated and tortured. I don't even know how man and woman doing it at that time. I just get excited when I'm doing those things (not sexually because I'm still a kid anyway, it's just fun). As my knowledge and my age increases, I began to feel, since I'm a woman myself, that raping woman is very cruel and unforgivable. Because woman is generally weaker than man in physical strength, I think man should protect woman. So the object of my fantasies changes to a male. It is done by a male to btw, I'm always just like a watcher, or maybe positioned myself as the dominant male.

I keep telling me to stop doing those things, although it's only in form of fantasy. But then I think that it's not wrong because it's only in my fantasy, and my other self said it's wrong because hurting someone is bad and evil.

And so, I was trying to find the explanation, about what I'm not too sure, it's just that I think I'm a sadist so I began to look for information about these stuffs.

greenspade said...

Too bad, or maybe fortunately, I don't know, instead of finding "devil", I found "human". So there is love in bdsm, at least for what I've read, it can be practiced in a way so that two sides can benefit mutually. There's even a manual about how to do it.

But I still thought that it is wrong. My heart says it's wrong, but now my logic can't find anything to support it. Thanks to the your explanations about love and pain :)

It was, I kind of want to prove myself that it is not wrong, since there can be love inside it. So I can continue to do it without feeling guilt. But can it be because I want to do it so bad, that I look for excuses such as, my partner also want it, so I'm actually not hurting anyone, both of us will be happy so nothing wrong with doing it? While I want to keep fantasizing about those things and also keep telling myself to stop, does it actually make me a masochist? Anyway, maybe it's a different case from this because in my case, I don't like it to be consensual, just plain torture and evil.

And then, all of this information makes me thinking about something else, from reading ND's and other anti-kink writings and those who are trying to explain what bdsm is.

Is it wrong or not? You can say that my term of wrong = sin. My friend said that maybe (because he doesn't really sure too) bdsm is wrong. Why? Because it is extreme. Something extreme might be hard to control, so it may lead into another extreme things. Of course we debated quite a lot before he can actually conclude the reason why he thought that bdsm is wrong.

I myself didn't really satisfied with that answer, but if I keep pushing him maybe he will get angry so I think I'll give it another deep thought. It's just that I don't want to carelessly judging people. And since my logic can't find the reasons why it's wrong but my heart also can't accept it as right, I'm also curious.

Anyway, thanks again for responding my question. This is the first time I've ever really talked to other people about this. Thank you and have a nice day...

greenspade said...

Btw, sorry for typos or anything like that, I'm not too good in English. But hope you can understand what I'm saying

Ernest Greene said...


"I keep telling me to stop doing those things, although it's only in form of fantasy. But then I think that it's not wrong because it's only in my fantasy, and my other self said it's wrong because hurting someone is bad and evil."

What's in your head is ulitmately a purely private matter, though people like ND want to make it everyone else's business to police, despite claims to the contrary.

What matters is what you do. If you can find a partner who genuinely enjoys acting out your fantasies with you and derives pleasure from doing so, there is no harm. Physical pain associated with BDSM play is usually minor and significant physical damage is far more rare than in competitive sports.

Is it good for you to do? Pleasure is part of what makes living endurable. With all the real and unavoidable pain out there, the self-initated pain of BDSM can act as a sort of antidote that neutralizes suffering by mixing a little bit of pain with a lot of sexual pleasure.

I believe that pleasure is good for people and helps them live. I do not think, as long as consenting adults (and I believe firmly in the concepts of consent and free will while recognizing that outside influences inevitably condition these things to some degree) that it deserves to be critiqued, examined and analyzed to death.

I see no real difference in the judgments thrown down against the pleasure of others by political ideologues like ND and her pals and that employed by patriarchal religious authorities to prevent indivdiual pleasure from subverting the constant state of misery that sustains any extremist belief system.

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