Purveyor of Pleasure

Pleasure is my business, my life, my joy, my purpose.

Tag: Rhetorical Gymnastics Page 1 of 2

The Language of Gender

I’ve recently begun leading classes and workshops on gender. I have a degree in Gender Studies and am a theory lover and this is something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time but only recently did I get in touch with the right people here in Seattle to make that dream a reality. The more I think about gender the more I realize there is no basis for gender, the more I try to grasp and understand gender the more I realize there is nothing there to hold.

Now, this is not a new concept both in general or to me. As I said, I’ve got a degree in this and I’ve read quite a lot of gender theory and I know the concepts of “gender is constructed” and “all gender is drag,” but for the longest time that didn’t stop me from trying to figure out what gender is. How can we figure out what something is when there is nothing there in the first place?

I’m sure some would say that it’s obvious, that masculinity has to do with maleness and femininity has to do with femaleness, because that’s what we’re told, and that’s supposedly how the world works, but I (and hopefully you) know that is just not true. If it were there would be no instance of female masculinity or male femininity or genderqueerness or third gendered identities or all the other options that we now have words for. If it were true there wouldn’t be examples of trans* people throughout the entirety of human history and pre-history (or at least people who we can put our label of “trans*” on even though they may or may not have had a similar concept).

In looking at, studying, teaching about, dissecting, and attempting to put my own gender back together like some sort of Frankenstein’s Monster creation I came to the only reasonable (in my mind) explanation of what gender is: self expression. But I mean the core of the self, in the same way that art is or can be self-expression. And therefore too, perhaps, is gender art.

Whether or not a gender preference is inherent in all of us could easily turn into some sort of nature vs. nurture debate, but really, since gender is a language and gender changes throughout cultures and time periods there may be activities that we all have some sort of draw to, but I can’t say where that originates.

All I know is that gender is tricky and complex. If we look at it as a language as Riki Wilchins says (“Gender is a language, a system of meanings and symbols, along with the rules, privileges, and punishments pertaining to their use—for power and sexuality (masculinity and femininity, strength and vulnerability, action and passivity, dominance and weakness). Since it is a system of meanings, gender can be applied to almost anything” – Queer Theory/Gender Theory p35) then I think hegemonic socialization only knows enough for us to scrape by, it knows enough to survive but it doesn’t know how to write poetry, and I want to write poetry.

There are new gendered words springing up all the time these days, which I think is wonderful, and anyone constructing their own gendered way of living in the world is doing the work of learning the language, no matter how that gender ends up looking. We are starting to create the rest of the language that we have been missing, or discover the bits of language that have been relegated to the shadows for years. Because of this it is becoming easier to learn how to create our own conscious gender presentations so there are more people doing just that.

By Any Other Name

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I call myself, the names I go by. Scarlet Lotus (St. Syr1) for some things, Scarlet Sophia for others, and Scarlet Tai elsewhere. When giving my name I usually say “I’m Scarlet” as opposed to “My name is Scarlet,” a subtle but notable difference. Scarlet is less of a name to me than a title these days, which may sound a little absurd, but that’s how I feel about it. That is a whole other post, however.

The more I think about it the more I wonder about having these different names. I’m beginning to think I just need one that I use for everything, but at the same time that thought makes me nervous. I’ve also begun thinking I need a name for my growing male side. At one point I started using Quyn, but I don’t feel it fits anymore.

In all this thinking I was reminded of a post by Aiden Fyre aka Mina Meow titled What’s in a Name? where they talk about having been born with a bi-gendered (or, other-gendered) name and wonder about that chicken and egg aspect of their gender journey. I was also born with an other-gendered name of which Tai is a nickname, a nickname I’ve been called most if not all of my life. Most people hear the name as Ty, but either way it is usually masculine-gendered. My full name is exceptionally unique easily searchable so I’m not yet comfortable disclosing it on here, perhaps one day that will not be the case.

Point being, however, that Tai feels like home, but now so does Scarlet. I don’t just use Scarlet online, either, most of the people I know here in Seattle know me by that name. At this point I kind of see myself as having a feminine-gendered name of Scarlet, an other-gendered name of Tai, and in need of a masculine-gendered name. Part of this desire for multiple names may be to act as a cue to aid others in understanding my gender at that moment, but at the same time I’m not confident that this is a good idea. It seems like too much work in some ways. At the same time, though, I like the idea of having different names.

I’ve also been feeling a lot more of my male side lately. With the rise in my sex dissonance I’ve come to realize my lack of masculinity. I’m not that interested in being butch or masculine, but I’m interested as presenting as a male, specifically a femme male. I’m feeling more like a femme trans man than I ever have before, and I want a name for that other than Scarlet or Tai. Though maybe I don’t need one.

This all is basically me thinking and analyzing through this post, it’s not any sort of conclusion, just musings. I don’t know how I feel about all of this yet. I don’t know how everything is going to play out yet. I don’t know where this gender journey will lead me. I do know that I have been binding more lately, I haven’t been feeling female but I’ve been exploring the femmeininity that comes up in me when I feel male, which is extremely different. I’m not interested in passing as a woman, in fact I’m sick of it. The problem is that I’m separating maleness from masculinity and that is difficult to present.

I don’t know what to call myself anymore, the name dilemma is only part of the problem. I have been fantasizing about so many new things lately, almost to the point of uncomfortability. I’m still trying to figure it all out.

  1. though I am moving away from using this as my last name []

30 Days of Kink: Ethics

This is the eleventh of my 30 Days of Kink, coming after quite a long hiatus. I will be answering each of the thirty questions in different posts. I thought these would be interesting to answer and (hopefully) interesting for you to read. These will be posted in order, but not always back-to-back (as I have shown).

Day 11: What are your views on the ethics of kink?

I’ve been stuck on this question for a while now, partially because I don’t know where to begin there is so much that could be covered with this question so I’m just going to start anywhere and see where this goes.

First, I have to define ethics. Ethics are a type of moral philosophy. In the realm of kink/BDSM/WIITWD1 it can apply to a variety of things but mostly I’m going to talk about the moral philosophy of kinky activity in general. That is how we make sure that the play we engage in is itself ethical.

I’m a firm believer in RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) and SSC (Safe Sane and Consensual) which are both familiar terminology in the BDSM/kink world. They are slightly different but essentially mean the same thing. Some people say RACK is better because some activities–breath play, for example–are rarely if ever “safe” but they can be done in a “risk aware” manner or you can do things to make them “safer”2. Basically this means not engaging in anything without consent or thought. The more you know about what you are doing the less likely you are to make a mistake and actually cause damage.

Consent and intent are what separates bdsm & kink from abuse. Which is also why I have a difficult time playing with anyone who is angry or who has been drinking, as it is far more difficult for the intent to be acceptable to me when either of those have occurred. Mollena wrote an amazing post about intent: “The intention of the person in a Leather or BDSM interaction is mutual satisfaction, whatever form or means that takes. Sometimes it looks so much like an abusive interaction that our only signal is context.”

I agree with her assessment, also, that intent matters far more than consent since so many of us, myself included, love to play with consent and push that line between consent and non-consent. However, if mutual satisfaction is not the intent of the interaction then where is the line between play and abuse? When does it become taking advantage of the other person? It’s called power exchange for a reason. Just like everything there is an exchange: an exchange of enjoyment, energy, pleasure, pain, satisfaction, power, etc.

There are outsiders who think of kink as horrible, wrong, terrifying, and so on simply because they don’t understand this simple difference. They assume that all participants must either have been (sexually) abused when they were a child or victims of patriarchal socialization (especially for female submissives & male dominants), that in order to engage in such practices there must be something wrong with us. Little do they know, playing with power and pain can be a way to empower ourselves, to break away from the socialization, to make up our own minds about what we want, to use a “base” tool (sexuality/sexual interaction) for a “higher” type of liberation3. Of course, not everyone is engaged in kinky activity in search of personal enlightenment but I do think it’s a by-product of it, or at least it can be. This topic is getting away from me a little bit, though, so I will bring it back to ethics.

Part of the appeal of kinky activities is often walking that line between consent and non-consent, between acceptable and too much, testing our limits and finding out if we can handle as much or more than we thought we could. The thrill of it is just as fun as the taboo. In order to play with the edge without going over it requires skill, knowledge, and communication. If the intent is negative or one-sided that makes it far too easy to cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed or do negative damage.

  1. What It Is That We Do []
  2. just as it is now referred to as safer sex rather than safe sex []
  3. I put those both in quotes because I do not necessarily agree with all that connotes, but I do not have better language right now to express those ideas without writing many more paragraphs []

Owning It

I seem to have gotten past the point of trying to nitpick my identities and settled into a space of simply sitting back and enjoying them. That’s not to say that I’m not still analyzing and overanalyzing my identities at the same time, but I’ve gotten out of the “but what does it all mean?” funk that I seemed to be in for the better part of the last year or more. Instead of being obsessed with being seen by others as whatever given identity I want them to see me as I’ve settled into the realization that it’s not a failure on my part if I’m not seen a certain way.

Gender was a great source of questioning and anxiety last year in particular, before that it was my power/bdsm identity, and it seems as with my switch identity I have settled happily into a fluctuating identity. My genders seem to fluctuate greatly, there are times when I feel extremely compelled to present femme, which has been recently, and other times when femme just doesn’t fit as well and I lean toward the boi and fagette. I’m coming to feel like fagette is my home planet and femme and boi are the two I take frequent jaunts to on my spaceship (see: Gender Galaxy), which kind of makes sense in that fagette feels to me to be more androgynous, something else entirely, and closer to my core genderfluid identity than the presentation of femme or boi.

Overall I’m genderfluid, genderqueer, or any of the other words used to describe a non-fixed-in-the-ever-pervasive-binary and non-fixed-in-general gender. I enjoy playing with all types of gender expression. My gender is play. My gender is drag. While gender is definitely more than the clothes we wear that is a huge identifier and I do tend to dress femme most of the time, mostly because skirts are just damned comfortable (especially when you have long labia and multiple labia piercings). I also find it easier to find plus size feminine clothes that I like than plus size masculine clothes that I like. I have these damned hips to thank for that.

Instead of looking at presentation as a way of limiting myself by being unable to present the multiplicity or fluidity of my being I’m simply letting go of those worries about what others might possibly think of me and contenting myself in the knowledge that no one can have a whole idea of who and what I am because that is constantly in motion and constantly changing. If someone chooses to latch on to the idea of me as a fixed identity that is their problem and not mine.

I can content myself in the knowledge that I can be the inspiration for new and ever changing thought processes in others and in myself simply by being myself and allowing myself to be at every moment. I allow myself to simply embrace my identity at any given moment without the hangup of what I felt the last moment or what I might feel a moment from now. It’s truly freeing and inspiring.

Equality in Inequality

I was sitting at his feet as we watched a show, the most normal of circumstances, my head resting on his thigh and his hand in my hair, and I came to a micro revelation. This isn’t really new, I’ve written about this same thing before and it’s how Onyx and I have operated for quite a while, but I had not really put the pieces together as to why I’m considered a “bad” submissive by some and why I had such trouble accepting some of the submissive tropes I had heard in the past.

I used to have more trouble submitting than I do now. I was told constantly that in order to submit I must think of my Top/Owner/WhatHaveYou as someone better than myself, higher than myself, someone to look up to not just literally. I was told that in order to be a submissive I must think of myself as less than or inferior.

While I will admit there are things which Onyx is better than me at there are just as many things which I am better than him at. We’re pretty fairly balanced as far as skills and intelligence goes, I believe. For a long while I had trouble with this concept because I was trying to fit our equality, or equity, along lines of a differentiated power dynamic.

It was from me sitting at his feet, my hair being stroked as I laid my head upon his thigh and we both watched the screen before us, that I understood this difference. For me it’s never been about being less than someone else that makes me want to submit, it’s about relinquishing control to another and trusting someone else completely enough to do that. Enjoying being treated like Onyx’s pet or prized possession, has nothing to do with being less than him or inferior to him, but is simply the dynamic we choose to enact.

The power dynamic between Onyx and myself comes from a place of equality. We are equals and because we are equals I can choose to be his property, because I have power I can choose to give that power over to him. If I had no power, if I had no choice, then there would be less enjoyment for both of us. It’s never been about inferiority for us, although there is nothing wrong with playing with that dynamic as well, but it’s just not where either of us live.

When I was having trouble submitting, when we were having trouble with our dynamic, I was told to think of him as better than me, to trust that he knows better than I do or that he is more capable than I am so that he could lead me. I had trouble with this. The real issue that was happening was I didn’t trust him and he didn’t trust himself, so we both were sabotaging the dynamic we both wanted but also feared. What I needed to do was trust that he knew what I wanted and needed and would choose what to give me, not to hold him up as greater than myself as I was told.

Although we play with power and pain there is no inequality in our relationship dynamic, which may sound like an oxymoron. I put my trust in him to take care of me and give me what I need and he puts his trust in me that I will take care of him and give him what he needs. We’re each giving and taking in different ways, but we’re both equally valued and appreciated and both getting and giving.

Perhaps equity is a better term for it than equality. Unfortunately equality comes along with all sorts of connotations that are not necessarily all good. Equality does not mean identicality or sameness, although a lot of people seem to think that is true. Equality doesn’t mean abolishing differences but it’s about celebrating sameness and differences. Really the way I use equality is the same as equity, but for the sake of minimizing confusion I think equity makes more sense in this instance.

Obviously by imposing a power dynamic on our relationship we are not equal in some senses of the word, but our contributions to each other and the relationship are equitable. They are valued the same and we are valued the same because of it. We are equals although we do not always interact in ways typically thought of as equal. We play with inequality in our actions because we are equals in every other way.

Tired

I’m just plain tired. I’m tired of having to explain how I identify, especially to the same people over and over again. I’m tired of people making assumptions about me rather than letting me make my own definitions and letting them know what my labels are. I’m tired of people thinking I’m straight because my partner is cis male or that I’m a lesbian because I enjoy women. I’m tired of people thinking I’m a woman because I dress femme. I try not to let it bother me when someone mislables me, but it hurts every time.

It’s difficult to inhabit middle identities while living in a binary world. There are many days when I wish I could just feel “one or the other” instead of seeing all the wonderful options out in front of me and wanting to have one of every flavor. Call me indecisive if you want, but when I can see the beauty and joy I could get from every option I can’t just pick one, it’s not in my nature.

I’m not straight or a lesbian, I’m queer. Bisexual, maybe, though I don’t like the binary aspect it implies and prefer other terms. Queer is the best description I have. Really I tend to be attracted to other queer people regardless of their gender and specifically because of their intelligence and/or personality. I’ve used intellisexual for quite some time, sapiosexual also fits which is a slightly more common term. I am attracted to people’s brains more than anything else, and usually those brains have to be queer in some way shape or form.

Similarly I do not identify with the term woman. It’s simply not a word that I identify with nor is it a way I see myself or desire for others to see me. While I may often wear feminine drag that does not make me a woman (or any spelling variation thereof). The same goes for girl. My gender identity is genderqueer regardless of the gender expressed within my gender presentation1. My gender presentation is always drag.

While I do associate with the term femme I embrace it as part of my gender presentation. I embrace the gothy glittery drag femmeininity that is all mine most days, though not all days. Femme is my presentation more than anything, but there are also days when I wear my too-small-sports-bra-slash-makeshift-binder and present as fagette. I do think that my “fagette” presentation confuses some people, however, because it still some femininity in it, dressing in boy drag is not a spectrum-banging event for me. I am realizing more and more, though, just how much femme and fagette go hand in hand for me. There are no days when I am femme that I am not a fagette, and no days when I am not genderqueer.

Recently I’ve begun using gender neutral pronouns when I am able and it makes my entire being sing. A friend of mine referred to me using ze and hir without my first requesting it and it nearly brought me to completely unexpected tears to be seen in a way that aligned with my own gender. I catch myself internally wincing when words and identities other than my own are thrown at me in conversation, but often I don’t have the energy or desire to confront the misconception of me in the eyes of others, which just ends up perpetuating it.

I’m trying to get to the point where I am not looking for the validation of others for any of my identities, but it’s difficult not to want that. I want to be seen rather than assumed away as something else. I realize that I am responsible for making myself a whole person in the eyes of others and do not put the responsibility of figuring me out completely on other people but I’m so damn tired of having to correct people. It seems like a petty difference to ask someone to not refer to me using certain language, and yet it cuts me deep whenever it happens. I just haven’t gotten to the point where I am comfortable asserting my gender identity, perhaps because it is such a fluid work-in-progress.

  1. I’m using gender identity and gender presentation to mean two different things. Someone’s gender identity has to do with the internal gender feelings the person has, whereas their gender presentation is the outward gender they show to the world. These do not always go hand-in-hand. []

What I Don’t Need

At some point before I’ve talked about relationship needs, that is the needs of the relationship, but in the last few months something that has been extremely important for me to realize has been a different sort of relationship need, that is, a lack of need.

When I was younger a relationship or, more accurately, the absence of and desire for a relationship was always the focal point of my life, with other things often working to fill the void I felt without a partner. I think part of the reason why I left theatre life is because I was so focused on the need to be in a relationship, the need for a partner, and I thought theatre would distract from that. The reason I have recently been able to come back to it is because of this new lack of a need.

The word “need” is thrown about so much even though so often it is impossible to accurately separate needs from wants when in the moment, one must step outside and analyze and discern in order to figure out what is really necessary and what is a passing fancy, and even that is difficult without hindseight. Luckily life is much like the philosopher Jagger sang1, and often these things work out on their own. Needs aren’t bad things by any means, so long as we can distinguish between need and want.

So often are we told that in order to be a complete and true person we must be in a couple, we are only part of a whole, and when we are told something over and over again it becomes like a need. We do not need others to fulfill or complete ourselves, though we often feel like we do because we are told that we do for various reasons. We are told we are incomplete without the perfect partner, not to mention marketing strategies which tell us we are not complete without some product or another, but that is a whole other post. The point is we need to be able to be happy and complete without external influences.

This isn’t to say that we don’t need relationships. After all, humans are social creatures, as the cliché tells us, and I’ve studied enough psychology and sociology to know that is basically true2. While love is part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs relationships in general aren’t the same as the idealized spend-all-of-your-time-together can’t-think-of-anyone-but-each-other completely emotionally dependent romantic relationships perpetuated by society. We grow up thinking that is what we need, to find someone to fill the void within ourselves, before realizing that no one can really fill that but ourselves.

Need indicates more than a desire. Saying that I need something is the same as saying that there is some fundamental part of me that requires something in order to survive, be complete, or be happy. I do need friends and relationships, but that doesn’t mean I need any one specific person. If that was true than no one would ever maintain friendships outside of romantic relationships.

Distinguishing the difference between the idealized relationship and a healthy independent relationship is something the triad taught me. While I knew in my head that it was best to have lives and friends and interests outside of the relationship I always had a difficult time engaging in anything like that aside from school. Once I graduated I lost my outside focus and my relationship with Onyx was strained ever since. He was also supporting me financially, he was basically providing me with the first three levels of my hierarchy of needs and neither of us was completely comfortable with that.

Spending time away from him really has done wonders for our relationship, for both of us. I’ve gotten to the point of embracing my autonomy and independence, enjoying time alone in a new way, which was truly necessary after the triad, which truly was a spend-all-of-your-time-together dependent romantic relationship. In addition to everything else I actually think rediscovering this independence has actually been a major catalyst for the rediscovery of my desire to be submissive for long periods of time rather than for short bursts during play. Now that I am not dependent on him my choice to be submissive is that much stronger. But I digress, that also is another post.

“I need you” now leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t want to be needed or to need anyone else, it puts too much pressure on the relationship. I would rather everyone involved was coming to the relationship from a place of want and desire, a place where the relationship is fun, voluntary, and exciting rather than necessary or required. Thus I am officially striking the phrase “I need you” or any derivative thereof from my romantic repertoire. I choose instead to employ phrases such as “I want you” or “I crave you” which are equally as powerful but are less dependent.

edit

Brought to my attention by the wonderful Kristi, Amanda Palmer’s cover of “I Want You, But I Don’t Need You” is fabulously in the exact same vein as my post above, and therefore needed to be embedded and shared. Not to mention it’s Amanda Palmer which automatically makes it that much more awesome.

  1. Referencing both the pilot episode of House and The Rolling Stones, of course. []
  2. I do have a degree in Psychology, which basically just allows me to go “hmm” when presented with any personal information about a person. []

Go PoMo!

I seriously want a shirt that says “Go PoMo!” now. How I hadn’t seen this video before today is beyond me, but thanks to the PoMoSexual group on FetLife I discovered it today, and will forever be on my list of favorite videos, much like Fagette. It also helped me discover PomoWorld.com, which I am now delving into.

At the end, post-credits: “The makers of this film would like to extend a special thanks to homo sapiens; the breeding oxymorons who lurk this giant mudball floating in this vast abyss we refer to as “The Universe”. Do not deny your human fallability. Without you, Dear Expatriates, this concept wouldn’t have been realized.”

I thought some of you may enjoy this as well. For some background: I do have definitions for both PoMo and PoMoSexual in the lexicon. I recently acquired PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality by the ever delightful Carol Queen, a book I’ve been desiring to get for quite some time, but due to my long list of books to buy I only recently bought it when visiting Powells in Portland on my recent trip. I’ll be sure to post a review once I’m done with it.

Empowerment and Submission

A fast-write to help me with my paper, and to entertain you all, of course.

How is it empowering to be a female submissive in a heterosexual relationship? That’s the question, really, and sometimes I’m not sure how to answer it. Although I feel empowered within my relationship, in many ways, it’s also a question of power and choice. If I was ordered about and such in a relationship where I had no choice, no power, and was still ordered and bossed around it would be far from empowering. Or, in a relationship where I was spanked, slapped, and had my hair pulled on a regular basis and I didn’t enjoy it or didn’t want it or didn’t request it, I would be far from empowered.

I’ve heard the argument said that since patriarchy imposes these ideas of submission onto us, as female subs we are essentially just buying into that patriarchy, into that system which subordinates us, into that perpetuation of gender stereotypes and roles.

Now, I’m not one who believes in gender supremacy. I don’t think that just because my Master is male he therefore has some right to be dominant or some right to be above me. That’s just not true. It’s due to my desire to serve and his desire to be served that we come to these roles, and not anything else. Now, speaking as a feminist as well, I can see the previous argument. I can see it as a valid argument, I just damn well don’t agree with it. I believe in individuality, which could also be said to be a product of the culture we live in. However, I extend individuality to much more than male/female roles.

I use the terms M/f and F/m and so on because there are these ideas such as gender supremacy and patriarchal brainwashing which often accompany bdsm (and wrongly so in most cases). I think there are some trends that many M/f couples follow and many F/m couples follow, and there are differences, but those are largely regarding individual differences and choices. While there may be similarities, I don’t think that those are wholly based on gender. However, I do think the terms M/f and F/m and M/m and F/f are all useful, just as I think labels in general are useful. That is: as long as we don’t stick to rigidly to them. I use these terms because of the patriarchal and social connections to them, but not meaning to generalize to those groups.

That said, I don’t really identify as a femsub. I identify as cuntpet and submissive, but female isn’t really something I cling to, though femme is, but I still don’t identify as femsub, mostly for the reason I’ve already mentioned. The majority of the time, there is some sort of lumping or categorization of all fem subs as this and all male subs as that, and etc. And I just don’t buy it.

Now, back to the original point: empowerment. How is BDSM empowering? How can I say that through giving up power to another person I am empowered? Well, BDSM is all about power, it’s all about playing with power and what it means to have power. Through playing with power we are able to recognize that there is no innate or natural power which one person has. All power is constructed, all power is socially given, and none of it is inherent to the person.

Now, through play with power and the recognition of this I am able to realize that, also, there is great power in the giving up of power. Even though vulnerability is so devalued in this society, that does not mean that there is not power in it. I also get to practice passive aims, which I do not see as a bad thing. Passive aims can be described as “being active through being passive,” and can be considered manipulative, though I don’t believe that they always are. Through giving over power I am putting myself into the passive role, into the subordinate role, but in doing that I am achieving my aim, my desire, and getting just what I want out of it. If I wasn’t getting what I wanted out of it, I wouldn’t be doing it.

That brings me to another point. All power play, even that which is commonly referred to as Master/slave, where, basically, the slave has no power, no rights, and has little ways to get out of the situation short of leaving it all together, there is still the ability to leave. Even in Venus in Furs we are able to see that Severin is able to leave, and he does so when it goes too far, though he realizes that he is a man of his word. Granted, there is a lot of psychological turmoil which may occur due to leaving a situation which you have agreed upon and pledged your life to, but there is always the choice, even if we can’t make it.

Because the sub always has the choice of leaving, or safewording, or calling limits, the question comes to: who really runs the show? Is it the Dom/me, even though the sub has continuous veto power? Is that like saying that the President has no hand in passing bills, even though s/he has the power to veto them? I don’t think anyone would make that claim. It’s the same here. However, that’s not to say that the sub has all the power, but it is a power exchange, not just power giving and taking. There is power given up on both sides, otherwise the Dominants of today would look much more like the sadists of DeSade.

Which brings me to my next point: masochism and sadism ala Deleuze. While I agree with Deleuze’s points, that sadism and masochism as literary forms, taken right from the works of Sade and Masoch, are not complementary. Sade’s sadists Sade-ists, if you will, are remarkably different from the contemporary use of the term sadist. Sade-ists do not desire consent, and, even, desire no consent. Their play is completely one-sided. Contemporary sadists, however, are generally part of this greater term BDSM, and submit to either RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) or SSC (Safe, Sane, and Consensual), and are not rapists or mutilators, but partners. Sade-ists as depicted are rapists and mutilators and humiliators, and ones which are not desiring of consent.

This brings me to yet another point: consent. BDSM is not BDSM without consent. Not in my view at least. Consent is key, as can be evidenced by two general theories of bdsm play previously mentioned: RACK and SSC, both of which center around consent. If there is not consent, it is abuse. I believe that in order to get consent, there must be trust on both sides. Master and I have had a lot of trouble with our relationship specifically because of lack of trust, either in each other or in ourselves. We both have struggled with trusting ourselves in these roles. I have struggled in trusting that he will not see me any differently if I submit to him (logically I know it’s true, but I still have struggled with it). And so many other little things which have hindered our process.

Without trust, consent is impossible. Without consent, BDSM and RACK or SSC are not possible. However, when you have both of these, the feeling is amazing.

Topics

Some days I have very little to say D/s wise, and on these days I’m quiet.

I’m working on a paper for my Queer Theory class exploring BDSM, which should be interesting. I’m having a very hard time narrowing down a concept. I’m thinking of exploring gender, using Venus in Furs and Secretary, or possibly Venus in Furs and a scene which I will describe. Another option is marriage and BDSM, I know quite a few Dommes and male subs who won’t participate in it due to the misogyny associated with it, and since it pretty much goes the opposite of their roles, similarly, in ViF Wanda asserts that she could never marry someone who was subordinate to her, if she was to marry it would be to a Dominant man. I also know many female subs who want to get married to their Dom. And then there’s me…

Other than that… marriage would be easy to do, but I’m not sure if I could write twelve pages on it, though… possibly. I may add marriage into a paper on gender, and I could add something on gender supremacy within BDSM and also some things I’ve already talked about in here.

My Prof. agreed that basically at this point the hardest part for me will be narrowing down a topic. I think I just need to choose one and run with it, but there is so much that I would like to explore. Whatever I do I’ll end up posting it here, to be sure. It’s two weeks from the end of the semester, so I may be quite absent these next two weeks.

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