Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Embrace the Pain, Dammit!

Wow... so this is kind of a scary discussion. There's a whole series of it, by the way, and I am not the only one who's taking offense, apparently.
ND, speaking as someone who generally likes your stuff, not cool. Why would you ask these questions if you don't think there's a possibility of changing your mind? Why, if you're going to discuss BDSM, would you only take on this one aspect of it? And I don't know how you can agree with your commenters who treat the sub (and dom) women (and men) who answer you as though their actual, lived experiences don't matter. As though they're crazy, brainwashed, anti-feminist nutjobs if they're submissive women, and sadistic misogynist serial-rapist bastards if they're men.
I mean hell, where do I even fit in with all that? What am I, chopped liver?
It's hard not to take it as a personal attack on my own agency and sexuality. I'm a bisexual feminist in a relationship with a Dom woman- so what does that make me? Deluded, abused, not actually extant? Is it better because Ferret's a woman, or worse because she's butch, so that makes her "like a man"? 
FFS, nobody "groomed" either one of us to like what we like. We just do. And yes, I've been in relationships that were strictly "vanilla" and it was fine. So? Just because I can be content with that, does it mean I should limit myself to only "plain" sex because anything else is "disgusting"? 
Just because I can enjoy sex and relationships with men, does that mean I shouldn't be with my Ferret, because Xtian fundies think it's "disgusting"?  
Because my partner enjoys being dominant, rough, and violent in bed with me, that makes her an abuser, sick, demented? Because she enjoys that dark side of herself, she should kill herself? Come the fuck on.

I enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with fear during sex-- it's controlled fear like a rollercoaster, not the sickening helplessness of real rape-panic. I enjoy the endorphin rush that accompanies pain done well, and wouldn't do it with anyone I didn't trust totally. 
I love my partner and I'm sorry but I get a little offended at anyone telling me that what I like is "sick" or "abuse". I was in an abusive relationship, thanks. He never beat me, the sex was vanilla, and I was still miserable. Now I have a partner who sometimes whips me with a belt during sex and I've never been so happy. I've given a LOT of thought to BDSM and its feminist implications; thought about whether I'm defective, thought about whether I really enjoy it or whether I'm just doing it because Ferret loves it. 

Is it kinda weird? Yeah. Is it abuse? I'm gonna say no. Do I know the difference? I think so.

I can understand why ND feels the way she does; I get it. It's hard for me to watch a man tie up and flog a woman and NOT associate it with "actual" torture, even knowing the woman in question has not just consented but probably requested this treatment- because she enjoys it. Because yeah, women have been and still are abused that way and it's hard not to see enjoyment of it as a pathology. 
So I get how it would horrify her. 
But...but! It's not the whole story, and it is indeed a long and complicated story. And reducing it to a few sentences- leaving half the numbers out of the equation- means you get a flawed answer. And telling the multitude of men and women who swear they enjoy BDSM that they are sick, deluded, or brainwashed doesn't give enough credit to the agency or free will of strong, intelligent adults- myself among them.