Art and visual erotica that depicts masculine submission.
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The important thing about “rolequeerness” is not that it has a word. It’s that there is a shared understanding of what the word “rolequeerness” MEANS: a traitorous relationship to one’s own placement in a privileged position, a subversive orientation towards one’s own power, a subservient mindset to people in a position with less power than yours, and a hundred million other ways to describe the same thing.
Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is that if you can actually write out the hundred million other ways to describe that idea in pieces of writing other people will actually read—whether in erotica or in essays—then, by all means, please do that.maymay, Your Kinks Are Not “BDSM” (discussion)
Excerpted from “The BDSM subculture’s ‘D/s’ is inherently an abuser dynamic,” itself part of a larger discussion juxtaposing the parallels between “Sub Drop” and trauma response.
Also, because I know it’s going to get the typical BDSM’er pushback of “don’t talk about BDSM if you don’t know anything about BDSM!!!1!!” I’ll just remind y’all that this quote is from someone who was a self-identified Submissive in the BDSM Scene for almost a decade, who gave presentations about BDSM at national BDSM conferences, and who is literally on the cover a BDSM research ethnography. Just. Sayin’.(via maymay)
I really like this clear description of the distinction between an individual’s kinks and the inherently abusive BDSM subculture, so I added a bunch of links into the text that provide more background and supporting context for the juxtaposition.
BDSM and “kink” are not interchangeable terms. Webster defines “kinky” as “marked by unconventional sexual preferences or behavior.” That’s a HUGE umbrella including basically any erotic desire or activity not considered normative in your cultural context. “BDSM” is an extremely narrow subset of kink.
And this is important: The BDSM subculture is defined and controlled by a tiny minority of sociopathic humans whose kink is acting out rape, torture, and abuse fantasies “for fun” i.e. without any meaningful consideration for what it means to enact those fantasies on human minds in the context of a world where rape, torture, and abuse are already broadly normalized.
In fact, the sheer blitheness with which BDSMers — both “tops” and “bottoms” — treat sexual violence as No Big Deal is part and parcel of their fetish. It’s not just that they find rape arousing. (Lots of people get turned on by thinking about rape. Truth.) It’s that they find it arousing *that* rape turns them on; instead of being turned on by rape and finding that, say, disturbing, or confusing, or at least worth asking questions about. Their kink is not for rape-play itself. Their kink is for rape apologism.
Here’s where you come in: This sociopathic sliver of wannabe (and often actual) rapists are not the majority of kink-loving people. They are not even the majority of the BDSM Scene. But they do tend to be very powerful, influential people in both the world and the Scene, and they have a lot of control over how people understand “alternative sexuality.”
The fact is that most of the erotic activities lumped together under the “BDSM” label have almost nothing to do with one another. But by co-opting a vast diversity of unrelated kinks and fetishes and calling all of them “BDSM” — as if that is a single way to play — the abuse fetishists have created a fiendish cover for themselves. They’ve suggested that BDSM is all one thing, and thus if you criticize anybody’s kinks, you’re criticizing EVERYBODY’s kinks.
There are lots of kinky ways to play that don’t involve apologizing for rape or trivializing abuse. My classic example is puppy play in which all of the players are puppies. Teasing your partner with ice cubes. Rope bondage for the comfort of constriction and the joy of knots. There are even erotic ways to (very, very carefully) explore themes of rape, torture, humiliation, slavery, gaslighting, and physical, sexual, and psychological abuse without apologizing for or downplay the severity of horror and trauma involved when those things happen in real life….
But the BDSMers have convinced their flock that if anybody questions themjacking each other off to the fantasy that “Sexual Violence is No Biggie,” then those critics are also threatening every person’s right to get their rocks off in whatever other kinky ways feel fulfilling to them. That it’s either an 100% abuse-trivializing no-holds-barred free-for-all or vanilla sex in the missionary position with the lights off forever — and that you’ve already chosen a side, because you let someone blindfold you and fuck you with a strap-on once and you really liked it, so it’s only a matter of time until you’re a gibbering desperate perverted mess of uncritical rape-loving jelly.
How have a handful of abusive sociopaths convinced thousands of otherwise thoughtful and compassionate people to stick up for them?
“The pattern I’ve seen with BDSM’ers is *all about* exaggerating costs of failure; they want to believe they’re playing a higher-degree game than they are, and so they do all sorts of things to make that *appear* to be the case, even and especially when it’s not. This makes sense: the formalized BDSM structures are designed to put people who consent to uncomfortable experiences into uncomfortable situations, but not to the point of putting them in dangerous ones. Which means that BDSM’ers have a fantastically well-honed ability to dress up lower-degree [lower risk] games in the appearance of higher-degree [higher risk] games.”
They’re using you, kinksters with ethics, to protect themselves by convincing you that you and they are the same kind of people. But you’re probably not.
Meanwhile, the “kink shamers” have fallen right into the BDSMers’ trap by decrying ALL kinky eroticism “shameful” and making the BDSMers’ whisper campaign into a reality. By attacking “kink” as a whole and making it about random individual peoples’ sex lives, rather than specifically targeting the rape apologism and abuse denial of BDSM’s priesthood, they’ve pushed people with kinky desires but some skepticism towards the BDSM Scene, people who might otherwise be on the fence, right into the lion’s den. They’ve made the abuse-denying sociopaths’ prophecy self-fulfilling: “Anyone who’s a threat to us is a threat to you.”
Of course, I understand the desire to push back against anyone who is shaming and limiting your sexual expression. Erotic fulfillment is a core human need. But when you push back against the “kink shamers”, make sure you’re standing up for YOURSELF, not someone else. And stop enabling sociopathic abusers by describing your healthy, thoughtful, and ethical kinks as “BDSM”. Unless what you gets you hot is trivializing others’ experiences of abuse and violence, they’re not.
(Links added by me.)
Do people think that the similarity between “sub drop” and the responses to trauma are actually all that different?
Oh yay! I talk about this all the time, but I’ve never seen it laid out in such a clear juxtaposition like this. Thank you!
Also check out This One’s For the Invisible Girl for some of my own experiences working through this thing. And basically the entirety of The Bandana Blog for some discussion of the inherent rape apologism and abuser dynamics in BDSM and, most importantly, the fact that it’s possible to have creative, interesting, “kinky,” exploratory, psycho-emotionally charged, political boundary-pushing, deeply healing-oriented, super hot sex without including that kind of unconsidered abusive hierarchical D/s power dynamic.
Yep. The BDSM subculture’s “D/s” is inherently an abuser dynamic. It’s intentionally created in that image.
It’s a binary: two things, kept in direct opposition to one another, that are believed to require one another to be whole. This is how straightness works, too: compulsory heterosexuality is cultural programming that tries to instill a fetish—and I use that word advisedly—for “the opposite sex”. Its goal is to make women feel like they need men for sexual fulfillment, and to make men feel like they need to not be women to be men.
We know culturally enforced straightness is bullshit Because Lesbians (and queers and bisexuals and on and on), but some people (men, mostly) still get ragey when they contemplate the fact that an entire demographic of people (“men”) are completely unnecessary for an entire other demographic’s (“Lesbians”) sexual fulfillment.
In a word: it’s abusive. Don’t do it. But BDSM’ers do, all the time. Here, I fixed one of their stupid Tumblr gifs where they did that thing:
But “D/s” cultural programming is actually worse than straightness because rather than saying “given demographic A needs given demographic B to exist for sexual fulfillment,” it’s saying “given demographic S needs to be submissive to given demographic D for sexual fulfillment.” If the demographics you said that about were “women” and “men,” a lot of people would think you’re scum.
In a word, saying that is abusive. Don’t do it. And yet BDSM’ers not only do do that, they loudly declare that this is something that makes them “no different from anybody else.” Hell, I’m not even saying they’re wrong about that: the actions of the pastors in The Church of BDSM doesn’t strike me as very different than the actions of the pastors of The Church of Jesus Christ. But that’s not something I consider a point in their favor, y’know?
The BDSM subculture is the aggregate set of ideas, beliefs, and arts of the people (a culture) who eroticize the pain, torture, suffering, and abuse of a specific demographic of people (Submissives). For an individual, on an individual level, eroticizing trauma can sometimes be healing, but turning that individual experience into a social institution, especially one with political and legal force, is totally irresponsible. It’s irresponsible in the same exact way creating a religion, like Christianity, or FIFA fútbol (World Cup Soccer), would be.
And for all their chest-thumping, BDSM’ers are not even ambitious. They’re just further atomizing sociosexual facets of human beings into yet-more-dichotomous components for the benefit of a certain demographic’s orgasms. “MAKE ME A SAMMICH, SLAVE!”
Been there. Done that. Can we please do something else, now?
—maymay, who self-identified as a Submissive in the BDSM community for almost a decade, was a subject (and is on the cover of) Dr. Newmahr’s ethnographic research book about the BDSM subculture, and who lead BDSM workshops and presentations at national BDSM conferences, and has one of the most visible blogs about the BDSM subculture on the Internet.
This perspective isn’t coming from “some outsider who doesn’t understand” what’s going on there. Check out these posts on their blog:
- Explaining ‘Dominants are rapists’ in excruciating detail: a step-by-step walkthrough
- You Can Take It Back: Consent as a Felt Sense
Kind of throws a wrench in the whole “kink shamers just don’t understand!!!111!!eleventy” argument, don’t it?(via maymay)
LifeHacker’s update to their Predator Alert Tool for OkCupid article.maymay)