Category Archives: community

An Open Letter to Wannabees

Dear Wannabees of the World,

We as a BDSM community are generally pretty accepting (though albeit a suspicious bunch). I can totally see why you’d want to land in our open arms and surround yourself by all that we as a people have to offer. Shit, there’s naked people, sexy clothes (on people of all genders!), fun play, public sex, and generosity and kindness that know no bounds. I can see how this could be misconstrued to people on the outside as there being lots of opportunity for exploitation – no, not that exploitation. (Side note – the only time I have ever felt exploited was when I allowed myself to feel as such.)

In my porn browsing I have come across all types of porn, good and bad. Type in “bondage” to any porn tube video site and you’ll come across a lot of decent stuff but also a lot of really, really bad stuff. Throwing a cheap collar on the girl doesn’t make it a “bondage” porn. Anal doesn’t make it a “bondage” porn. Spanking someone four times super lightly doesn’t make it a “bondage” porn. I have a lot of bones to pick with porn in general, but lately my main one has been porn producers using what you can tell are “vanilla actors” in a “bondage” movie. Now I’m sure the actors knew what they were getting into ahead of time and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but something tells me that someone (namely the producers) probably threw in an extra bit of money to convince an otherwise recalcitrant actor to agree to be in such a film. But when it comes time to actually perform? Oh man. It’s painful to watch. Not in that good way either. You can tell they’re not enjoying it even in the slightest and listening to the (generally) girl bitch and moan the whole time does not make for an enjoyable viewing experience. Quite frankly, I’d rather read the Sunday New York Times’ editorial section than watch a bad “bondage” porn performance.

I have seen a growing number of otherwise vanilla people try to claim an interest in “fetish” or “bondage” simply because they think it will get them somewhere. Perhaps it’s the old thought process of “Oh, she shows her tits in pictures so clearly she’s an easy slut” which motivates some. Perhaps it’s the lure of easy money in a large, but niche market. Those of us who genuinely have an interest in the things we claim to be interested in can sniff them out from miles away. I’m not saying I’m the most “hardcore” of players. There’s stuff I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. On the other hand, a lot of what interests me could be seen as too twisted. That’s okay. I repeat – that’s okay. We all have our own interests and while I may not agree or like yours, I’ll defend your right to be interested in it as long as it’s safe, sane, consensual and legal.

If BDSM isn’t your thing, that’s okay. If you only like missionary sex in the dark with your socks on, that’s okay … though I’d like to introduce you to a Kama Sutra book. There is a world of options out there. BDSM isn’t for everybody and please don’t belittle our interests and pretend you’re “hardcore into” it if you’re not. The first time we bring up anything a little to twisted for you, you’ll be running for cover. We’ll laugh and move on with our day. Because that’s the best thing about the BDSM community – there’s always someone out there who will share your twisted interest, even if they’re few and far between.

BDSM is serrrrrrrious bizzzness!

For the last week or so, I’ve watched with amused fascination at the non-stop barrage of incredibly philosophical and self-effecting posts fly by on my Fetlife feed. I don’t know if something happened to warrant such deep soul-searching posts and discussions of blame, victim shaming, and issues of consent, but something tells me I am way out of the loop in general. Actually, that’s just fine with me.

I don’t really want to be apart of those discussions even if I have something to say. I’d rather sit back with a bucket of popcorn and a finely mixed adult beverage and watch the fur fly, so to speak. You know why? Because one thing I’ve noticed among all these posts is the fact that everybody acts like BDSM and the life those in it lead are beyond the most serious thing ever. Don’t get me wrong – for a lot of the people involved in these discussions, these issues are very serious. I’m not discounting their experiences, whether good or bad, at all so don’t think I am. If something non-consensual happens to a person, whether to them or by them, I agree 100% that those events should be discussed and evaluated to determine if and where the blame may lie.

That being said, the whole thing has me totally amused. For a lot of people I know, BDSM and all things related to it is what we do for fun. We have high stress, demanding jobs and lives and often times want to get away from those issues we face 9-5. When I put on my “leather” or my slinky clothes, I don’t do it so I can sit there and have deep philosophical discussions about issues much larger and grander than myself. I consider them before hand, when I’m wearing my TOMS and leggings. I put my two cents in and then step away. I certainly don’t want to get embroiled in a debate where I could make an ass of myself, whether purposefully or inadvertently.

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about 90% of the BDSM community is that quite a few of them take the whole thing way too seriously. As the old saying goes, “they can’t see the forest from the trees.” There is a larger picture to consider and one that I propose should include some laughs and giggles. Some of the best times I’ve ever had were laughing with people about random, crazy shit that has happened to us in the course of our play over the years. Dominants or tops do not need to be scary, mean and intense 24/7. Submissives or bottoms should not be cowering in the corner with welts on their backside and eye makeup running down their face (women or men!)

BDSM can and should include a great majority of lightness and spirit. I’m a person full of laughter and I want that to be reflected in my personal life. I don’t want to have headaches about issues much greater and larger than myself unless absolutely necessary. I come to BDSM to get away from those things. The release from my thoughts is what I seek, not delving into them deeper.

Like I said before, there’s a time and place for everything. Should serious issues be discussed, both privately and publicly? Of course. For me though, I’ll prop my feet up and dive into that popcorn until I feel the need to chip in. I have enough seriousness in my life, thank you. BDSM is my diversion from that seriousness and I suspect I’m not alone in that feeling.

Where have all the “true” doms gone?

It’s something I’ve been encountering for years now. While I have been in the kink community for a very short time compared to some more seasoned members, I’ve had my fair share of “doms” attempting to pursue me. I’ve sometimes even been the domme pursuing someone myself. The joys of being a switch!

In all the time I’ve been in the community though, I’ve only encountered a few of what I call legitimate dominant people. It is as easy as saying the word to call yourself “dominant” but actually living the principles of the moniker are much harder and rarely done right. There have been a handful in my life who are excellent at it. Compared to the whole of “dominant” people though, they are merely a teaspoon in an ocean of idiots.

I think the thing I see most frequently is people assuming “dominant” means being pushy. The thought process is something like this: “Well, maybe if I ask enough/talk enough/push enough she/he will give in and I’ll have my way.” Clearly I have paraphrased here. Only pure idiots and jerks would think that exact line. But the thought is the same. If someone politely declines an invitation or says they will not be able to make it to an event/munch/play party/date, take that and be okay with it. Asking once if circumstances have changed and thus said person would be allowed to attend said event is allowable in my book. Asking 15 times is not. While 15 may be an exaggerated number, I don’t feel it’s that unheard of for something of that sort to happen.

Most of the “dominants” I’ve encountered in my time have been nothing more then pushy jerks who are frequently misogynistic. When you have no compunction or regard for women, it is easy to treat them like some object to be acquired instead of valued members of society who contribute equally to a relationship that should be built on time, trust and communication. Someone who constantly pushes me to do something I have neither the time, interest or wish to do will lose that trust I have in them, however small it may be at the time.

Call me naive, but I see kinky relationships to be out of the Victorian era. It’s about courting a lover, not throwing your will and assuming their life. Small steps and small favors go miles in my world. Trust is something earned over a long period of time, but can be destroyed with a very minor misstep. We are a community of protocols and hierarchies. If you know a submissive has someone in their life, would you instantly go to the submissive and sidestep the perhaps interested partner? Common etiquette and decency would say no, but oh so frequently I see it happening. It happens on Fetlife so often that I see many submissives/slaves/owned peoples put warnings in their profiles to contact their dominant/master/owner/etc. first before any communication is even made.

Perhaps in a rush to sexual liberation and freedom we’ve forgotten what it means to be courteous. I post pictures of myself on Twitter and Fetlife all the time, but that doesn’t mean I’m a whore or a slut. More so, it doesn’t mean I’m YOUR whore or slut to treat and do with as you please. Would you go up to a girl in a bar and flash your cock at her? Public decency laws would have you arrested for exposure. Sure, there is a form of anonymity on the world wide web that most people take as license to do how they please, but it seems to be there is a renaissance of people who would rather have a good conversation than a good fuck.

Being dominant does not have to mean being an asshole. Being submissive does not mean having to be a doormat. Stand up for your rights and take back your title. Respect and trust is earned. Say what you want about my views, but I prefer intellectual conversation that leads to great kink than crappy kink with no trust.

Sex Postive? It’s Just a Buzz Word

For the longest time I’ve seen references to and people claiming to be “sex positive.” I find many people throw this term of art around, not knowing exactly what they’re talking about by using it.

If you actually search for the definition of “sex positive” you’ll come across many meanings. It seems like nobody can agree on a cohesive definition, but that most definitions you’ll find include central idea to put sexuality in a positive light and be open to all expressions of sexuality. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it “glorifies” the sexual creature, but it usually means that a person who is highly sexual by nature is not looked down on. Sexualized people will be treated just like a non-sexualized person. That is to say, all people are equal. But from that simple statement arises many problems.

The biggest problem I have found is that some people espousing “sex positive” views are typically not positive about sexual (or non-sexual) interests that are not their own in the first place. You can’t look at a population of people and say that just because they like (fill in the blank fetish) or (fill in the blank fantasy) that they aren’t apart of the sex positive community. I watched a short interview with Nina Hartley awhile back who put it very well. She was asked if she ever had encountered a fetish and had reacted something like “OMG that’s so gross! You’re wrong and going to burn in hell!” Of course she hasn’t. Reacting that way is the irrational person’s way of reacting.

The correct and more “sex positive” view is to look if there is consent between and among the parties and then look if it’s harming those who are not participating. If there’s consent and it’s not harming others, then it’s a perfectly acceptable activity to engage in. Those are the two most important questions to ask when viewing other’s actions or interests, not if society views it as morally “wrong” or “right.” What may interest one person may not interest another.

I’ve found myself guilty of this a time or two, whether it be some type of edge fetish play or a relationship style. When I was very strongly pro-polyamory, I found myself looking down on monogamous couples in a way. “How could someone ever want just one partner?!” I was saying to myself, not realizing that I was doing exactly what was being done to me. People looked at me like I was crazy for saying I could and would love more than one person at a time. I’ve seen edge fetish play on Fetlife where my gut instinct is to be grossed out and view it as “wrong.” But then I take a step back and reassess my thinking. The people who participated consented and they were not harming others in doing whatever it was they were doing. The play just wasn’t for me. And that’s okay.

For awhile now I’ve hesitated in labeling myself as sex-positive because it comes with loads of baggage. It sets a bar that if you fall below it, you’re instantly relabeled as some type of repressive heretic. If you make one small comment that could be viewed as “sex negative” you’re shunned and seen as anti-feminism (which is a school of thought I find very sex-negative itself.) Even the most sex-positive person still has reactions and thoughts that they cannot control and that they should be able to express without fear of losing that sex-positive atmosphere.

I’m not sex-positive. I refuse to be called or labeled as such. What am I then? I’m “consent positive.” I’m “free speech-positive.” I’m “share your thoughts and don’t fear the crowds with pitchforks-positive.” If you have something to say about something you see, hear or watch in terms of sexuality, it’s my view that you should be able to express it. There are simply some fetishes I do not find attractive. At the same time though, I can understand how some people would find them attractive. That’s okay. I don’t need to be into your fetish to appreciate you as a human being. I don’t need to be into your fetish to give you the respect you deserve. And I certainly don’t need to be into your fetish to be pro-really really good sex.

Sex positivity isn’t about exclusivity; it’s about inclusion of everyone. We are human beings. We are sexual beings. That should be enough to bring us together, not some buzz word.