Friday, July 8, 2011
I've been a part of the kinky community since I was 18. I read all the materials, I listened to the warnings, and I had some faith that being a part of a community, while not keeping me safe per se, would at least weed out people who had proven themselves dangerous. I did have a sexual assault that I have been out about, and I had some support about it- but one of the things I was repeatedly told, over and over, was "ah, but he's not part of The Community".
I started to think about this, and it really honestly scares me. When I start to think of the number of times I have been cajoled, pressured, or forced into sex that I did not want when I came into "the BDSM community", I can't actually count them. And I never came out about it before, not publicly, for a variety of reasons- I blamed myself for not negotiating enough, or clearly, or for not sticking to my guns, or I didn't want to be seen as being a drama queen or kicking up a fuss. Plus, the fact is, these things didn't traumatize me, and I didn't call it sexual assault or rape, because I felt ok afterwards. There was no trauma, no processing that I needed.
I've been noticing more and more an attitude akin to bragging about being manipulative, whether that be by submissives who style themselves as being "bratty" because "passive-aggressive" isn't as sexy, is it, or Dominants who talk smugly about being excellent at pushing through boundaries and "doing things because it amuses" them. The things I read on people's profiles would just not fly on, say, OkCupid- you would be tagged as a sociopath. So why, then, is it "cool" to pretend to be "hard" in this way in BDSM? And more to the point- why do we, as a community, let them? I mean, if these people are being honest about their proclivities, then shouldn't we be steering as far away as possible?
We need to have a better way of handling this stuff. Because whether we like to admit it or not, the BDSM scene is the perfect place for abusers to find targets. There's a desire for status, and a desire to please, that, when mixed with a sociopath, can fuck your brain right up. There's a lot of trust in the idea that "the right Dom for you will know what you need without talking to you about it", suggesting an awful lot of romantic naivete that can be extremely dangerous. Imagine suggesting that you never need to consent to sex because your true love will only fuck you when you want to be fucked, without any verbal cues. That wouldn't fly, so why does it pass unchallenged with kink? Possibly perhaps Dom and sub are so linked together that it feels like you're missing something when you're one without the other, so maybe we overlook the issues in order to feel like part of a pair. That, and the Cult of Masochism, the idea that it's good to suffer, that your ability to suffer is what makes you valuable, that maybe if you suffer enough it will finally become pleasurable.
various kinky sexy films, and the dominants in those situations- 9 1/2 Weeks has a guy who repeatedly violates his lover's boundaries. Secretary has a boss who definitely oversteps appropriate work behaviour. The Night Porter... well, do I even have to go through it? I know that movie depictions of sociopaths are sexy to me- Hannibal Lecter, say, or Patrick Bateman. Loads more women find Spike attractive than Xander. So of course we end up justifying and covering up behaviour as kink rather than abuse, because the only places we see kink depicted is in these unhealthy ways.
So, then, community- what're we going to do about it?Cause I don't think hear no/see no/speak no evil is good enough.
Links addressing this subject:
Kinky Little Girl
Field Guide to Creepy Dom
Intimate Partner Abuse in the BDSM Lifestyle
And also a great resource on another, less-acknowledged type of consent: