… or so William Saletan a writer at Slate.com would have you believe. Over the last few days he has written two pieces on the subject of BDSM The Trouble With Bondage and a follow up All The Kink’s Men . Please go and read them both. I’ll wait.
He says he knows people who practice BDSM and that he has read and watched videos on the subject… but, we can never go mainstream.
Here is where things go awry. We don’t want to be mainstream. We don’t want “You can bring her to the office holiday party. You just can’t bring her on a leash.” because that wouldn’t be inappropriate to the event. All we want is to not lose our jobs, our children, or be arrested for what we do in the bedroom. Does any of this sound familiar? Wasn’t this how gays and lesbians were treated not long ago? Was gay rights a fight to wear butt-less chaps to an office party? No, it was to be safe and secure in your life and your sexual choices.
This is where the argument that BDSM is a choice and Homosexuality is not, doesn’t apply. Gay people can’t help their sexual orientation and appetites and kinky folk can (this of course also overlooks that gay people might be kinky too) so we should all just ignore our sexual needs and not bother the normal folks with our twisted desires.
Here is the big secret. We are all kinky, even you Will. There is something about each of us that turns us on that is “outside the mainstream” That means that there is no “normal”, that our desires and fantasies are particular to each of us. I like to spank Molly, and she like me to spank her. Will says “S&M, by its nature, hurts people” That’s not true Will, their are lots of people in BDSM who have no interest in pain. These people like sensual BDSM and their kink might even be completely non physical. It might just be all head games. Will goes on to say that “BDSM can be quite dangerous. Responsible practitioners insist it must be “safe, sane, and consensual.” But it attracts people who like to push boundaries” Isn’t this true in all of life, shouldn’t everything we do with another person have guidelines like this? People hurt and abuse each other every single day, and most of them are not in the BDSM community. I’d argue that because we spend so much time learning about how to be safe and how to treat each other in a consensual way that we are a much safer place to be than on the streets of any given town. My wife and I attend munches, lectures, demonstrations and most importantly talk to each other about our fantasies, desires, fears, and hard limits. Do you do that with your sexual partners Will? Do most people who don’t identify as kinky? Learning and communication are a key part of our relationship, and I would not have it any other way.
“In most BDSM relationships, domination or violence is limited to agreed-upon sessions, known as “scenes.” Violence becomes abusive when it occurs “outside the scene.””
Since Will used the dictionary to define Domestic Violence I’m going to use it too.
- Behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
- Strength of emotion or an unpleasant or destructive natural force.
What Molly and I do to bring each other pleasure is not reflected in that definition. Do I cause her pain to bring her pleasure? Yes. Do I intend to hurt, damage or kill someone? Never. I would hate myself if I damaged someone I love with all my heart, and it is never ever done in anger. I cherish Molly and encourage her to grow and learn in all of her life. Anyone who knows us can attest to this fact.
Yes, there are people in this community that abuse kink for their own selfish ends, and there are submissives at risk of being abused. But that is true in all of life, and by building a community we watch over each other to try and keep everyone safe. A practice that would benefit the non-kink world greatly.
Consent is key to all that we do, and unlike life in general it is what gives us power in our sexual relationships. Molly has the power to withdraw that consent at any time (as do I) with the full expectation that her wishes will be honored. We use a safeword for that, (others feel they know each other well enough not to need that) but we all have a mechanism. How much better would the world be if the concept of consent and a safeword was extended to all of everyday life? Will tries to imply that what we do is so very dangerous not only to ourselves but to the world as a whole that no right thinking person could accept what we do because of these very safety nets we try to employ. Yet examples of this exact thing are readily apparent in the normal world. Why else would people recommend that you have your first meeting with a date in a public place and a safe call to someone you trust to make sure you are all right?
I am not an abuser. I do not cause anyone any pleasure at all without their full consent. How many of you can say the same?
I know I have not answered each and every point in Will’s articles here. It would take far to long to do so and, I suspect, in the end I’d bore you to death trying. What I want to do here is try to say that it is okay to have your kink, to practice it safely and with no shame and to those who Will has made ashamed of their desires I say, We are here, we are kinky, and so are you.
Will, I know that there is very little chance that you will read this. Even less of a chance that what I have written will change the way you think about those like me. But I challenge you none the less. Read this post. Read this blog and the thousands just like it. Hell, read your own employer’s website We’re Kinky, Not Crazy .Chat with us and anyone else you can find and see what we really want. A chance to live our lives free of the fear that someone might find out who we really are.
P.S. Just an FYI… we do not get a free toaster for every normal person we make kinky