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In which I segue carefully into my thoughts about BDSM

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The way I feel in summer is the state in which I imagine that children perpetually exist– sticky, overwrought and full of angst. I have no patience. My skin is an exciting chinle formation. I wish to be covered in cucumber slices and placed gently on a bed of moss in a walk in fridge.

I feel vaguely disconnected from everything, because I’m so focused on finding work, any work.

I’ve read about the atheist kerfluffle, and the BDSM (mac whats-her-name) boondoggle, and the same sexist shit which keeps on coming in with the relentless regularity of these god damned fucking mosquitos.

For the first kerfluffle– I have nothing to say really except, fuck, the patriarchy is like a planarian. Cut off one half and it just grows itself back.

For the second. I’m a little afraid to write about it.  Because I have…dissonance (?) with BDSM. Personally.

Not in the you’re a bad person for your kink way at all. I don’t get to interrogate other people’s desires. Not in the you’re a bad feminist/womanist/anything else at all either. As a disclaimer, I should note that the way *I* work, is that sexy times arousal and violent times arousal are completely different physical, emotional, and even spiritual experiences for me. They are not routed from the same power station, the cables do not cross, the venn diagram has no overlap.

That is not how other people work, and there is nothing wrong or broken about that.

In the same way as an examination and dare I say hatred of the patriarchy is not about individual men, my discomfort with BDSM is not about individuals.

But. Here’s my problem. So much of the turn on with BDSM seems to rely on the paradox that while those participating are enthusiastically consenting, somewhere, someone is not. I could be wrong about this. Please, feel free to comment on my massive level of wrongness.

But it seems like if it were not really happening, somewhere to someone, in a non consenting way, that if it did not hold an echo of that, the appeal would be gone. It would be as arousing as anemone division, or flower reproduction or any of the myriad other ways and kinds of sex that go on unnoticed by humans.

I don’t know how to mentally or emotionally undo that paradox. That’s basically my problem the whole violent sex helped me get over my trauma about someone elses rape article which I will not link to.

Well, that- and also the person who deserves to talk about the trauma of that sexual assault experience or not, is you know, the survivor. Who happens to be standing at the intersection of some identities that are the opposite of privileged. I have real issues with the appropriation of marginalized suffering.

I feel like I should make it clear here, that I have no problem with sex bloggers, blogging about BDSM. I enjoy The Pervocracy, because despite my aforementioned issue, I think there is tremendous value in challenging my reactions to things.

I think that there is value in decentering my experiences, because I believe in the value of standpoint epistemologies.

But I can’t get comfortable with apples to orangizing trauma. I can’t figure out how to negotiate the weirdness I feel when viewing the connection between the arousal of play violence and it’s necessary component of real violence.

I suppose that I could throw up my hands and say, not my thing, not my bailiwick. I’m torn about posting this, because I am afraid that in the white noise of the internet, all the reader will see is that I think they are terrible bad rapey mcabusersons. I don’t. I don’t want anyone to be miserable or unsatisfied in their sex lives. I don’t want anyone to be shamed for their sexuality either. Be happy, be joyful, have fun, be open and proud. That’s the world I wish for, for all of us.

I sincerely hope that my respect for the individual if not the abstract, is very clear.

Although I don’t have a whole lot of anything other contempt for someone privileged who takes the severe trauma of someone else and uses it as a springboard into any kind of narcissism (I’m looking at you, Bono.), but that bit isn’t about BDSM.

Not appropriating trauma much more severe than any you, privileged white lady are likely to experience is baseline. I don’t care if you appropriated that trauma that was not your own into growing roses, or making paper mache canaries or climbing mountains without an oxygen tank or filling your vivarium with cane toads or whatever. Just don’t, ok?

Oh and also, privileged white lady, rape is not sex. It’s good that you had sex, but for the imaginary amount approaching infinity-eth time? Sex and rape, the mechanics may be superficially similar, but they are as alike as mercury and pluto.

I’m not asking to be educated, either. I’m just thinking out-blog, which I hope is also clear. I remain willing to go and read, and learn given the vasty resources available to my privileged white lady self.

I don’t have a grand finale, I personally have dissonance. I’m working on it.

 

 

 

 

 

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About Pepper

Pepper Lee Hales is a twenty something, married, vicious feminist liberal. She likes dogs, cats, spiders, epistemics and cake.

4 responses »

  1. Hmmm… OK. It may be Monday, er, Tuesday so maybe I’m misreading your out-blog but here are my thoughts.

    One, I think sex that can cause trauma or is without *enthusiastic consent* or is any other way not *bad sex* but actually *detrimental to one party sex* happens all. the. time. And it doesn’t need to have outward violence or BDSM-y-ness tendencies. Yes? Yes. I know you agree.

    To help with your more general ickyness, which I felt once too, I suggest actually BDSM-y people for your reading pleasure. By suggesting these, I don’t mean that I didn’t get your disclaimers about sex-positive-BDSM-good-if-you-like-that-etc. But. These reads may still be of interest:

    http://www.metanotherfrog.com/2011/05/15/how-to-dom-me/

    http://bitchyjones.wordpress.com/ – one post in particular, but I can’t find it. She’s not writing any more, but she has some good stuff in there…

    Reply
  2. @ Nikki

    Thanks for the links! Yeah, I really hope it comes through that I respect individual BDSMer’s, and I really respect that they place a premium on enthusiastic consent as a community. That’s something I wish the rest of the world could get the fuck on board with.

    And yeah, I completely agree that BDSM sex is not the only lonely kind of sex that can cause trauma.

    Really, I think it’s just the one part I get hung up on– that in order for the fantasy to be hot, the reality has to exist somewhere. I realize that that is a reflection of living in our fucked up kyriarchal colon of a world, and again, I’m not throwing stones here- I wear clothes made by exploited labor because I can afford them, I drive an old car, I eat what I can afford to eat, I’m an unwilling participant in the system.

    I guess for me, BDSM is sort of like wearing ethically sourced clothes but being aroused by pretending they were made by child labor. I….haz a confused. That being said, I believe it when people say they are BDSM oriented, and that their sexual happiness depends on free expression of that orientation.

    I’m not calling for an end to BDSM for all time, which I hope is obvious too.,

    Reply
    • I totally see what you’re saying… I’ve been thinking about it…

      What I come up with is that different people may have different feelings about violence, power, etc. And I mean, going way back over human’s evolutionary history. Obviously, some people *like* these things, or else we’d never have the issues we do now. We wouldn’t have power struggles, and dictators, and wars. Yet, over time, maybe that is disassociated from REAL violence, into just being turned on by the power-play. Add to it the culture of violence and power we live in. Add to it the pleasure-pain thing (which there is probably some evidence for the overlap in our brains? Not sure and don’t have time to look but…).

      What I’m saying is, I think there are probably reasons why getting dom’ed or whipped or dominating or whipping is a turn on. They could stem, in my thinking, from any number of places – and yet they don’t necessarily mean that person is actively turned on by *all* violence, or violence that is not within *this* respecting and safe place. Or that they really want to hurt women, or be a hurt woman.

      I think that’s the point, right? If you ask people who are really into the BDSM community, it’s that safe space that is so integral. It’s the intellect that goes into thinking around this kink, so that it IS safe – because that’s KEY to that community: that it is role-playing and ISN’T something that is unsafe or disrespectful.

      Further, what could be more clearly liberating and pro-ladies than a safe space and trustworthy partner that allows a woman to play out a rape fantasy, WITHOUT letting that affect how that woman is respected or loved by her partner? Know what I’m saying?

      Basically, I’d say what you’re feeling is normal – and I think it’s something the BDSM’ers are already all over, in terms of making sure their violent sex life isn’t a reflection of the rest of their lives. I think there is something really awesome, really thoughtful, really to be respected, in the that. You know?

      Hey PS – you guys still interested in guest posting? I know y’all are busy, so if you are, just send it over whenever you get a chance to write it… 🙂

      Reply
  3. I’ve never been one to confuse pleasure with pain, myself. One can be adventurous sexually without being choked, whipped, or spit on, in my opinion. It seems like a lot of that stuff is imagined up by men and women who have a hard-on for violence and try to make it look like a fun sexual stunt to try when things get a bit boring, only feeling good and all. Gotta push that envelope, I guess.

    Anyway, great blog. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has issues with this movement.

    Reply

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