The Princess-slut @ the Dominion

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A part of the Dominion is the House of Cameron. At the House are only such devotees, that mentally can - and factually have – submitted to Lord Cameron and accepted and embraced His Mastery over them (yes, I know, a very wanton position).  Those who are not accepted in the House belong to the Court of the Dominion. In the House of Cameron, we find the so-called “Chiral girls”. This is not a Kajira ‘slave’ girl, a ‘harem’ member or an unpaid ‘whore’, but some of these elements can, but must not be, included. In the views of Lord Cameron, the Chiral girls are pure magic and real gems …
Perhaps the well-known phrase a Princess by Day and a Slut by Night can help us to shed some light on the matter.

Contrast between Princesses and sluts

If you have never puzzled about the contrast that is apparently seen between the (highborn) Princess and the (low and ordinary) slut, maybe it is time to have a closer look at this. This contrast is very similar to those that we do find between Master and slave, Top and bottom and all other forms where (total) power-exchange takes place in a sound and consenting way. In fact, not so much perversion, pain or dirty sex is typical for BDSM, but rather the play setting with roles that include and enable power-exchange dynamics.

The careful reader will notice, that we just did write ‘dynamics’. We added that phrase to indicate that even with a balance of power between ‘equal’ partners, there will always arise differences that are related to our personality, gender- and sexual identity and social roles. In this case, the reason for adding ‘dynamics’, is that even in an equilibrium, first power did flow freely and volatilely and eventually got balanced. Equality for the law - and a play contract is a legal concept - is an assumed equality (de jure). To keep BDSM balanced and fair, activity most likely is necessary in order to have a de facto equality, with balance and mutual acceptance and recognition. And like in most other kind of social contracts - irrespective if this is based on love, romance, tradition or kink - this equality as a legal right, remains a de jure condition and requires commitment, work and cooperation in order to get it – de facto - realized in true-life and between partners.

Does the Princess denote for primordial innocence?

Now, let us return to the contrast we noticed between the role of Princess and the role of slut. What would be the core properties of both roles? Things that are often mentioned are money, appearance and status; the Princess has it all: beauty, properties and wealth (and Knights on a White Horse). The slut is situated on the other side of the social ladder; used, abused, indecent, uncivil, dirty and poor. But there is more: the slut is also seen as morally inferior, because she trades sex and her body for other goods and services; like money, attention, love, orgasms, prestige or other forms of compensation that would one way or another do justice to her (or his) role as a slut.

When you ask teenagers, if they would rather be a Princess or a slut, very likely none of them would opt to be a slut, except some Lolita’s perhaps. And that brings us to the interesting fact, that so many kinksters on Fetlife and other platforms, love to play with the Princess/slut dynamics, but in reality, hardly anyone would openly identify with being a slut.

In the Dominion, it is Lord Cameron’s view, that in fact, being a Princess is much harder as being a slut. And the reason is that we – out of mere social solidarity - identify with being a victim. Inequality brings with it, that there are Masters and slaves and this is not a very popular social condition in today’s world, where we romantically cling to a golden age and the herewith connected belief that there was some kind of fall from primordial innocence. Further, it is seen, that this fall and inequality is a genuine problem and that this inequality – that denotes for inferiority, discrimination and weakness - should be removed, so all can again find the Holy Grail and be nourished and whole.

What does feminism have to add?

Consequently, regarding inequality, we find in D/s and other kinky relationships where (total) power exchange plays a role, this fight between the comfort of being a poor victim, and the disapproval of dominance, as this leads to the idea that not all animals are equal … Nevertheless, imagining eliminating ‘inequality’ is hard. At least, it is not obvious what this should mean, as people are not all the same and most value their own distinct individuality.

As a handy solution, feminist theory provides us with the distinction between power-over and power-with. Power over is that centralized control that we all fear to eat up our freedom and take away the cherries on the cake (or our sex-tools OMG!). Power-with is the free sharing and exchange of the power that we have, and let others take control in the belief, that the goods (body, soul and mind) entrusted to those on top, will be handled with care, dignity and respect to the one sharing their power with the top in the first place. Here we see, that not much time is wasted on what essentially would denote for equality or legitimation for power shifts, but rather we slip into the role play, because we know it is not real (but play), even when it is real (the pain, submission, the sex).

Now, what does this mean for the so-called Princess/slut mechanics? A Princess is basically rather dull (to the sadist eye), as she must be friendly, benevolent and responsible all the time. Hardly any time for fun, but a whole agenda with appointments, parties and events to attend, to speak, dance of give presence, but she can never let the beast out, let her self-control slip or simply be a slut (which obviously is why she needs the Master’s guidance). Yet, that is in real life context; in the kinky world, the Princess stands a bit for a spoiled Lady too; that gets what she wants and is treated like someone very special and important. Maybe even cold and arrogantly distanced, depending on whether the Princess is having a submissive, switching or dominant nature.

This one is on the House …

In the House of Cameron, the Chiral girl is a Princess-slut by nature. She loves to be taken, she loves to crave for cock(s), to feast on sexual energy and she dares to go all in and let herself fall as deep as she can fall, when orgasming into oblivion. The Lord, her Lord, is an awesome Master; he reigns her from above, bestows on her the heavenly goods and when he comes over her, she takes and relishes in his passion, his power, his love and his surrender to her own most delicious core and essence, knowing that the slut makes the Master in many ways by enabling him to take and enjoy what she has offered him. But we do not see the Princess in the slut in this way. If this was all, it would just be the Master turning the Princess in to the slut and be done after unloading his sticky proteins.

What, in essence, is going on in the kinky role play of the Princess/slut dynamics, is that in the context of consensual BDSM there are mostly winners. The top wins because they love topping, the bottom wins, because they love bottoming. As such, BDSM power exchange forms a nice form of structural inequality, that is not important, as it is by the very condition of inequality, that both top and bottom find their thing.

 Is there more to a Princess?

But again, we do not see the Princess in the slut this way, so how do we define the Princess - that beautiful benevolent and classy person? Well, the answer is a tad complicated, but it will show us much about what is going on in the real world. Particularly what is going wrong in the real world and what is being done well in the Dominion of Lord Cameron. This has to do with the idea, that any sane kinky Dominion, House, Pack or Group will have to embrace the properly basic human rights of all their members. This is the base of the equality that we seek for. And this has also been the base for consensual power exchange prior to play praxis, then after all, when we have no power to share, we cannot give it away or over into the hands of those we entrust with our power.

As the position or role of Princess is already part of the play context, in the Dominion of Lord Cameron this means that Princess is not merely what is stripped of, so the slut remains, but Princess is what will be added to the slut – who is already lovely to the heart of the top as such – so the Princess is not becoming the slut, but the slut is lifted up to become the Princess. Of course, the slut, in many ways was a Princess already, but it is the Master adding royalty to the slut, and not because she pays for that, or otherwise could demand this, but it is a voluntary gift of Grace.

Conclusions

The Princess/slut is the loved and valued person, that can trust to the entrusted and be rewarded first with meeting her slutty, filthy, nasty, wanton and horny desires, but also with being appreciated, loved and valued for being able to give and bottom in such a glorious way. On top of that, like any Princess, she will be held in high esteem, particularly outside the play context. Then as a Princess, she will not be the Master’s trophy, possession or trash whore, but an equal, and a person who is a able to perform bottoming in a masterful way. A skilled bottom is valuable, because of her capabilities to delight their tops; because of her knowledge, experience and wisdom that comes with walking the path, that is a mystery to tops and that they can only walk and get acquainted with by walking that path with a (noble) Princess/slut (whore).

Giving back the power, with interest payment, is also part of the power-exchange. Once we have played our games, we return to normality and we see the Princess that became the slut, transform again in the Princess that has been enriched, improved and beloved, by her Grace to let herself be a slut, in a suited, safe and worthy context. And such a virtual place, the Dominion of Lord Cameron desires to be and a magical place, where common sluts can be transformed to beautiful Princesses.

Play safe and have fun – Sir Cameron


As always, this is not absolute or ultimate truth, but an attempt to reflect and contemplate on things, mechanisms and praxis that is near to us and dear to us. For the form, we have used certain genders and pronouns for top and bottom, but this can, may and will vary. Most of the above remains equally valid, when we exchange her for him, Mistress for Master or hir for they.

Mansplaining

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Mansplaining was Christianised by the New York Times as the buzz-word of 2010. I had never heard about it, but today I encountered the word twice. For me that functioned as a clear sign that I had to put it on my agenda. As my views might interest others, I opted to post it in my blog/writings. It is addressed to a fictive and fellow feminist kinkster, so please keep that in mind while reading.

Dear sister,

As a kinky feminist, you will agree, that "mansplaining" as such is annoying in the sense that it forms an expression of the alleged paternal supremacy. And it is the sad truth, that our society - for the most of it – remains full of examples where men try to explain something to a woman in a condescending way, starting from an attitude of overconfidence and not taking that woman’s own base of knowledge, expertise and intelligence into account in a proper and adequate way.

Yet, as a word that uses a specific gender – in this case male - mansplaining runs the risk of being a double-sided sword, then:
  • first, it might be regarded as sexist towards men in general - and thus be misandrous - and;
  • second, it might be regarded as essentialist in the sense that men should possess - or lack - the attribute of occasional mansplaining in order to be perceived as a man, and;
  • third, it may be, that men - as a victim of their own paternalist upbringing, culture or religious stance - behave in a mansplaining way, because they mistake that for actually proper behaviour in a genuine attempt to communicate something valuable out of good intention.


This latter use of mansplaining is, of course, still undesirable, but it should be regarded as a cultural default in some cases. And mansplaining as being a genuine expression of paternalistic cultural bias does not require radical scorn in such cases, but rather education and the careful raising of awareness for women rights. Especially in kinky environments, traditional roles are used instantly, instead of realizing, that we need to start as equals and intrinsically remain equals, even when in play, inequality may be intended.

On top of that – and a bit leaning on the above mentioned point three - as a feminist sadist and daddy-dom, I have to add, that mansplaining can be a constructive and enticing part of the role-play that I - together with my bottoms - wish to employ in, not dissimilar to using dirty talk, humiliation or force in an – of course – full consensual play setting. Let’s call this consensual mansplaining.

In this way, mansplaining can be taken for a form of deviant behaviour that functions in a specific context that draws its energy flow from the power-exchange that comes with given roles. Similar to the use of 'slut' 'anal-whore' or 'princess' are words that should not be carried outside the safe play environment, also the praxis of consensual mansplaining can be regarded as inherent to certain kinky roles and play-forms.

Proposals

As much as I oppose the general oppression of minorities, I have severe hesitations to apply feminist discourse to kinky settings. Shadow play, the left-hand-path, TPE; these are not the expressions where politically correct mental statements do apply to, but rather these are the free and unfiltered urges that sprout from our unreflected (animal) past or intentionally activated desires centred around primal sexual power-play.

For that reason, I plea, that: (A) philosophical, anthropological, psychological, religious and feminist reflection towards kink, is something we should endorse and promote in kink theory or reflection on kink, but like with any other world-view or scientific framework we ought to realize that such starting points often lack compelling warrant when we wish to use them for primarily non-logical praxis, like kinky sex or play.

Consequently, the human character of safe, sane, sound and consensual kink may likely not be fully grasped by mere rational reflection alone. And this, for the whole reason that our sexuality as such, is human behaviour that mirrors our pre-rational evolutionary past, our unconscious dispositions and our rational tendencies alike. Sexual behaviour is therefore not depleted from rationality, but it also contains and instrumentalizes the human dimensions of non-rational instincts and emotions.

Forcing any non-kink discourse over actual BDSM-play activity as such, runs the risk of being reductive in nature, because it could easily form an instance where rational arguments are valued above non-rational needs, like the need for humiliation, pain or pervert sex. Luckily, consensual kink is not a value-free space, as already the notion of explicit consent presupposes a rational and committed pre-play negotiating between adult equals. Yet, applying any kind of normativity to kink, should nevertheless be practiced with care and consideration, as logical argumentations are by no means the sole driving force of human behaviour - and particularly not when it is about kink or sex.

Therefore, I further plea that; (B) we specifically place experiential kinky play in a laboratory-like context; the kinky professor fucks around a little, and in doing so, finds liberty and discoveries that cannot be found outside this safe play-space. As such mansplaining a bunch of silly sissy girls in a play context, is both liberating and fun and in this context, mansplaining has nothing to do with reduction of women or exaltation of male faculties – per se -, but is simply playing with limits, roles and social conventions within the boundaries of the agreement between players.

Conclusion

One can object to this praxis or not, but the freedom of sexual expression of two consenting adults must have priority over patronizing (pun intended) feminist discourse that transfers rational arguments to explicitly not logically meant deviant activity between sane players.

This said, I again agree, that sexist male pricks that uninvited send lectures, dick-picks and other display of their allegedly dominant self-image to kinky women, displays very unwelcome behaviour and makes our communities less safe. At the same time, extreme femdom and feminist influence, or even alleged female supremacy, should be weighed on the same balance, as any form of gender related dominance and submission. As kink is not served by switching from paternalism to maternalism, we should instead creatively use and employ both of these cultural impulses in safe play and keep it there, for as far as we as imperfect humans can manage to do so.

Group rape, ‘taharrush gamea’, BDSM and sanity … after Cologne

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This blog entry is part of the series on BDSM and society

-         We mourn with all victims of sexual abuse -


Introduction
During the 2016 New Year celebrations hundreds of woman in Cologne and other cities in Germany, got introduced to a new form of public humiliation and sexual harassment of women: ‘taharrush gamea’ and it is a form of sexual amusement for men.

‘Taharrush gamea’ forms a big problem in several Middle Eastern societies, like Egypt. Similar to other forms of group rape in societies where a culture of rape, patriarchal structures, anti-feminist thought and sexist males leads to customs that do not respect the equality of females, their rights to sexual self-expression and bodily integrity.

Besides that ‘taharrush gamea’ is problematic, because it thrives on sexual and criminal acts that are non-consensual, it is also an expression of the above mentioned underlying thinking patterns that can be seen as patriarchal, macho and possessive. But as some of those patterns also form the spice in consensual BDSM, so do we have reason to be worried?

We shall see what the problems are: with ‘taharrush gamea’ and for BDSM and why we have to commit to both sanity as too clear communication of consent and our right of sexual expression of kink.

(As always: This blog is about exploration, not doctrine …)


What is our problem?
The phenomenon of ‘taharrush gamea’ is in my opinion a form of group rape where women - against their will – are intimidated, touched in intimate places and often sexually abused, all in the public space. The abusers are usually a group of Islamic men that find pleasure in degrading women by abusing and harassing their victims, while such men at the same time admire their bodies and sexually desire them.

For those of us that perform BDSM as consensual activity, the phenomenon of ‘taharrush gamea’ is clearly something that is a false expression of power exchange, resulting in non-consensual sex, violence, degradation and abuse; it is the kind of action that we – and other sane persons – would call sick. Just as all kind of rape - whether this happens in the back of a bus in India, in African suburbs, or by soldiers in one of the many wars all over the world - is sick.

The basic idea behind sexual violence against woman is that males are superior to females, or they feel inferior to them, so they must prove their superiority by degrading and objectifying the female body and soul to an object of use. With ‘taharrush gamea’ we can add the idea that female sexuality belongs to males and by taking the ‘property’ of other men, the superiority of the aggressor is displayed over the victims and their families. Feminism, universal women rights and respect for the female sexuality are the proper answers, and - I suppose - we should add consent.

Now, as I see it, this new phenomenon of taharrush gamea confronts us as society with serious tensions. But also regarding BDSM I see two major problems when the wrong kind of sexual submission of women now gets into the focus of mainstream media, then will now not chosen submission be questioned too? So, a) how sane are we kinksters to get our kick on actions that so closely relate to abuse? And, b) how will we be able to defend our thing, in a world that gets an increased sensibility for the connection between submission, human rights and female sexuality?


Causes and stances
It is obvious that in a humane society all forms of abuse must be tackled, the thing I fear, however, is that the reaction on female unfriendly mechanisms, like patriarchy, sexism and discrimination, can also turn against role play that involve inspiration from such and similar mechanism. The reason is that with ‘taharrush gamea’ as an expression of cultural failure, similar expressions – like gangbang parties in a BDSM club - may not sufficiently be distinguished, particularly not in a society that re-evaluates its own moral identity and is still largely focused on heteronormativity and monogamy.

Again, it will be a discourse regarding values. Previously I wrote:

“When it concerns BDSM, is will be clear that the ‘good old’ family values will be challenged at the least.”

As family values, we identified: monogamy, fidelity, chastety and morality. Regarding those “good” old values, we can say that underlying assumptions like male supremacy and female submissiveness were and are sort of an understatement in earlier times. As with any idea where status difference is presupposed, it will come as no surprise that when sexism, macho culture and patriarchal structures have a dominant stance on culture and society, the family values were not equally valid for all sexes; particularly in cultures where the phenomenon of ‘taharrush gamea’ thrive, we see that the ideas of male superiority and sexual dominance go hand in hand.

Potency is an expression of power and thus overpowering women, is stealing power from these women and their families and sexually exciting on top of that. By lowering women, by shaming them and their families, by displaying their vulnerability and intimate body parts, those who gain power from that are – seen from a feminist point of view – powerless, as it is not given to them as persons who seems worthy of receiving power, but stolen by abuse and fuelled by self-delusive views on superiority.

Yet, also in Western culture we see gross injustice and sexism; a cheating man is a lady-killer, where as an unfaithful woman is a slut. As a sexual sadist, I love sluts and I am also acquainted with rape-fantasy and know its formidable sexual stimulation, as well as its narcissism. To submit another person, to shame them, to use them for my own pleasure and to toy with their pain, vulnerability and sexual energy is something I get my kick from. The big difference is however, that sensible sadist do care about their bottoms, lovers and play partners and that their satisfaction is part of their motivation. Ultimately, we all want to do the kinky stuff we are engaging in.

From this it is easy to understand, that those who engage in sexual harassment of women in a public space are driven by different and quite contradictory ideas, which are built on the premises of false superiority and misunderstanding of the way on how societies that endorse human rights actually work.

Abuse of weaker persons is not a sign of strength or an honourable thing. Abuse of women who belong to other families or lovers or husbands, is not making you a true master, but show that you regard women, their bodies and their sexuality as commodities that you can own. Mastery on the other hand is when others line up in the desire to serve you, voluntarily and without force, aggression or pressure.

Those whose view on humanity actually belongs to times long past are in need of an enlightenment similar to what we have seen in the Western post-Christian world, which step by step has led to improvements in female rights and as a consequence led to improvements, like the right to vote, to divorce, to use contraception, to have an abortion, to have equal working rights and payments, to receive social benefits and child support and so on. At the same time, also the position of other weak groups in society, like children and fugitives, has improved.

With regard to ‘taharrush gamea’, a particularly sad thing - on top of the pain of the victims and their families and friends - is that the perpetrators violate the sacredness of sexual intimacy between human beings. Their selfish, narcissistic and delusive sexual excitement actually only shows inferiority and also gross disrespect for healthy male sexuality and deprives the culprits from genuine pleasure in a sound loving and caring environment.


Threads and chances
If we as kinky persons play according to safe, sane and consensual rules and clearly communicate that we love our play partners, and not want to harm them, we will stay on the right track, even when we still have to be careful to play as safe as we can.

The danger is that conservative powers and overly zealous feminist views get back or get even more influence on law making, media and education to promote their view on sexuality and by returning to a more narrow view on sexual diversity, prevent alternative genders and sexuality to enfold further and instead make them flee back in the closet again.

I personally experienced that it is okay when one of my female friends has her boyfriend kneel for her, as that is seen as liberating to her female sexuality, but when I have my submissives serve me and I treat them like the sluts they desire to be, I get accused of being a macho-pig and having no respect for women and it will be presupposed that I suffer from a sick sexuality and worldview. That my sadism and the joy of my bottoms as bottoms is also sexually liberating to all of us, is not as easily accepted. My fear is that phenomena like ‘taharrush gamea’ does not add to a social climate where more tolerance for sadism and consensual play with gender roles is thriving. And this is a thing that worries me: it worries me that my whips could be forbidden, that erotic spanking will be regarded as domestic violence, that rape play or enjoying a sex-slave will get me in trouble with the law and authorities.

We must of course take a stance against sexual violence and abuse of any individual, regardless of gender, age or culture and as kinky folks, we should expressively do that. But we should also take care, that sick behaviour does not render the liberation we worked for in the past thirty years useless by letting conservatives and starry-eyed idealist turn back time and put their old values upon us.

Remember, this is just thinking out loud. As always, I wish you good luck on your journeys, in- and outside of the dungeon: be cautious and play safe and with a heart.


Enjoy – Sir Cameron

And the cancer is spreading: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-22/britains-grooming-gangs-part-2

How do BDSM and Commitment relate?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

This blog entry is part of the series on BDSM and Sexual Identity


Introduction
Much with regard to BDSM is focused on describing praxis, like play or the sometimes herewith involved sexual activities. Also the technical part of how to play and perform are basically aimed a practical issues.

This blog will more focus on BDSM as activity between people, and more particular on their commitment. Often BDSM is seen as consensual activity, power exchange and alt-sex, which can all be the case in healthy leather play, but not only power, sex, violence or trust are essential, also is commitment. Commitment, first to yourself and to the relationship you have, second to the roles you play.

We shall also see, why I think that commitment in the SSS-triad should be connected with S, rather than with S or S.

(As always: This blog is about exploration, not doctrine …)


About relations
Ever since working on an article regarding the ‘analogia proportionis’ and the ‘analogia proportionalitatis’ - both Latin phrases related to the theory of the ‘analogia entis’ - I have been aware of the link between the words, ‘to relate’, ‘relation’ and ‘relationship’.

Personally, I find these ‘relations’ between the meanings of a word very interesting. What I will try to do today is to look if the terms ‘commitment’ and ‘relate’ can teach us something about the important distinction between identity and role.

As this blog is not about the philosophy of language, I will not go into the meaning of words, how words relate to reality or truth, but rather with Wittgenstein simply phrase that the meaning of a word is its use in a language.

When we use the verb ‘to relate’, we express that something or someone is linked, connected or correlated to each other. A relation can denote a coherence, a proportion or an affiliation, a relationship can often bear similar meaning, but seemed to be reserved for interpersonal bonds. This latter coming close to what we see as a commitment.


About commitment
Basically, I will here just use what Jack Rinella wrote in his ‘Master’s Manual’ in the Chapter about Contracts and Commitments. The first thing Rinella does is pointing out, that a contract is a written description of how people will behave as a couple. On the other hand he sees commitment as the underlying inner condition.

Traditionally commitment is seen as a motivational thing. Something you engage in, support and want to promote and stimulate. With regard to commitment in a relationship between lovers or spouses, commitment has often carried the whiff of exclusivity with it. Rinella here mentions: “family values, including monogamy, fidelity, chastety and morality.”

When it concerns BDSM, is will be clear that the ‘good old’ family values will be challenged at the least. From feminist and polyamory activist, we know that we can and should reclaim some – if not all – of these values, by deconstructing them and – de facto – remove their ‘relationship’ with certain doctrines and worldviews and put them into a new context.


Commitment to identity …
Continuing from where we just left, by playing BDSM in safe, sane and sound ways, we distinguish ourselves as sexual minority sub-culture. We relate to values, but these are now more based on psychology, exploration, curiosity and freedom.

Rinella sees the first and primal commitment that we as players have, towards our own identity as sexual beings and quotes from Shakespear’s Hamlet ‘To thine own self, be true’. As your sexuality and your sexual identity is yours, so is your commitment with regard to how we wish to live out our sexuality.

If we play with others, we – normally – first relate to these others. I say normally, as there can be others involved in actual play, like anonymous fuckers in rape play or gangbangs. Philosophically, in such cases, one could bring up the difference between relationship and occurrence or happening. But we also – more practical – can say that previous to such play a negotiation or agreement of some sort was made.

So, if we play with others, we relate to these others. In this sense we are not only committed to exploring our own kink, but we do it together with others who similarly wish to express their sexuality in such a way. This is what I call the commitment to your identity and as sane players also to the identity of your partner(s). This of course includes consent, care for the wishes of others, their personal integrity and safety of body and emotions.


… and roles
This said, I will now turn to the expression of our commitment in play. Is the relational commitment to ourselves and others based in our sanity, the next question is how sexual identity and play relate. The way I see it, is that in play we explore parts of us by focusing in on them and express them in particular roles, rituals or actions.

For Rinella three operative words come to mind: “clarity, honesty, consistency.” Knowing what you want and what not. Be honest enough to communicate this properly and sometimes say no. Consistency can be seen as being true to yourself. So even if experiences can and will occasionally change your preferences, you should be consistent in pursuing clarity and honesty in your play.

Yet, I think we can add something more regarding commitment. As BDSM role play enables us to be – in a way – someone, or something that we normally are not, or not as intense. Roleplay is a method of exploring our sexuality by simplifying relationships in roles that are just there for the moment – and yes, in 24/7 slavery it is different –they say, but I beg to differ; as, e.g. a concept such as serial roleplay comes to mind.

Commitment to the role we play is also an identification process. In a way, we attach a part of our imagination to a model or role, so we can by playing this – a treat we learned as a child, in order to understand how some roles relate to the world, to others and to ourselves. It is the way we learn and grow and relate to what we identify with.


Example
Take e.g. being a bully. Most kids are not a bully, but they may want to be one some now and then – when they are angry - but social conventions mostly prevents them. When playing out my sadist side, I can tell you it is extremely cool to be a brutal nasty bastard and to whip that whimpering slut until her eyes show that look which I want to see and expresses: you are my master.

Very dry analysists will now point out and say that this look is not really towards me, but towards the role I play and how that is dependent how it is perceived by the recipient. And we know that, just as we know that a bottom sees her side of the show and not particularly what I think she is reacting on. But, somehow we connect and communicate anyway and we also know that there is still that part that goes beyond the role and when I identify with my role as malevolent being, there are genuine parts of me get involved in the role too. The role is the vehicle of our amusement.

The relation between the – say – two sides of our play: the cold interrogator and the poor victim, has its own dynamics. The energy flows from one pole (victim-role) to the other pole (perpetrator-role) due to an intentional inequality. Commitment to your own role is constituting to that of the other. Here it is more a matter of how one part relates to another part in the role play.

Concluding we can thus say, that a relationship between parts (of roles) that are played out, can be distinguished from the more inner commitment or relating to others and our individual self.


The clue regarding the SSS-riddle
We can and should be committed to safety and soundness in our play and behaviour. Yet, commitment for me has to do most with sanity, particularly as expression of an inner motivation of which safety and soundness are manifestations.

As sanity is often related to mental health, this inner attitude of being committed to both a BDSM relationship as to BDSM play. Commitment to a cause, shows that it is a reasonable choice for which we have other motivational arguments, just as we could have opted not to commit.

Just as we last time have seen that a safeword, as such, is founding for consent and thus sane play, we now can conclude that commitment as inner motivation add to the identity of whom we are when we play. Both as a consenting individual, as in the roles we play.

Remember, this is no rocket-science, just thinking out loud. And as always, I wish you good luck on your journeys, in- and outside of the dungeon.


Enjoy – Sir Cameron


Consent and Safewords

This blog entry is part of the series on BDSM and philosophy


Introduction
Recently a lovely friend of mine and I disagreed on the use of safewords. When pondering on the cause of our difference in view, I consulted others, both tops and bottoms. What I found out is that some ideas have an edge to them, particularly the concepts of RACK, SSS and Total Power Exchange (TPE).

Consenting partners will always be an issue; but the idea of the continuity of consent in kink is in a way a pain in the ass, particularly in situations of altered mind states. For BDSM consent nevertheless forms one of the criteria by which we regard ourselves as sane or as sick.

(As always: This blog is about exploration, not doctrine …)


What the heck is RACK?
Wikipedia describes this as follows:

“Risk-aware consensual kink … is an acronym used by some of the BDSM community to describe a philosophical view that is generally permissive of certain risky sexual behaviors, as long as the participants are fully aware of the risks. This is often viewed in contrast to safe, sane, and consensual which generally holds that only activities that are considered safe, sane, and consensual are permitted.”


Are questions about safety wrong?
Basically, I do not think so. For the factual consequence of what RACK tell us is that we cannot ever exclude all risks, mistakes or bad scenes, in other words there is not such a thing as a safe place. Even when RACK and SSS (safe, sane & sound) are often presented as contrary, it depends on how you use and interpret the different stances; either position can be regarded as  a conversation, an intellectual interchange, which neither leads to truth nor sets one on a course to find it. But on the way we can learn and get smarter.


Why is consent such an issue?
In a previous blog I stated that; “generally speaking we can regard kink as sick when we lose control over our urges and get other people involved without their consent. So we can distinguish between healthy and unhealthy BDSM depending on the presence of mutual consent and the span of control. Not consenting BDSM is dangerous and can lead to the kind of situations that are used by non-kinks to label that what we do as ‘sick’.

For those who love BDSM and are not ‘sick’ - but simply have a healthy curiosity for the somewhat out of the ordinary sexual praxis - the rationality of what we do by consenting – even when some of the acts involved can be irrational – gives us an argument over against the views of BDSM as sick, mental or abusive.

The problem is, however, that the regular non-BDSM concepts of slavery, total power exchange and submission precisely challenge the notion of consent. The origin of BDSM play is often found in fantasy. As in our dreams, we have consenting partners by definition, otherwise they would not be there and doing those things we crave for. In a way, we make them up on the large screen of our minds projections. And for doing this, for this imagination we take the necessary images out of our head, our memory, our experience.

In your dream, capturing, seducing and raping that adorable person you work with is perfectly fine and sexy. In reality however, you probably not have them answering to your unbelievable hot urges, but rather have them sewing you, resulting in losing your job and land behind those kind of bars we explicitly do not want to see in front of us.

Simply stated, the difference between fantasy and reality play is consent. In the SSS credo this is captured in the notion of ‘sane’. Doing nasty and pervert things between consenting adults is fine, as long as safety is an issue too.

Where imo RACK and SSS differ is the amount of risk that can be accepted and safety that is needed. I will exemplify that with the notion of ‘safewords’.


Wikipedia describes a ‘safeword’ as:

“… a code word or series of code words that are sometimes used in BDSM for a submissive or bottom to unambiguously communicate their physical or emotional state to a dominant or top, typically when approaching, or crossing, a physical, emotional, or moral boundary.

Some safewords are used to stop the scene outright, while others can communicate a willingness to continue, but at a reduced level of intensity. Safewords are usually agreed upon before playing a scene by all participants …

Safewords of BDSM fall under the guiding philosophy of safe, sane and consensual. Those who practice the more permissive philosophy of risk-aware consensual kink may abandon the use of safewords, especially those that practice forms of edgeplay or extreme forms of dominance and submission. In such cases, the choice to give up the use of safewords is a consensual act on the part of the bottom or submissive.”

There we have it. Giving up safewords is not safe (according to SSS), but might be regarded as consensual (in RACK), particularly in edgeplay or TPE.

So with my friend, she likes to be in total control, but what does this mean? Does such a thing as total control or total power exchange exist?

With the help of the notion of consciousness I will try to shed some light on things as control, consent and identity.

Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. So whatever control might be, it must be conscious and consciously applied in BDSM-play.

But like most things labelled with adjectives like ‘true’, ‘real’, ‘total’, ‘complete’ the question is what the scope of meaning of such words is in the practical context of BDSM-play.

Total control is a in a way a futile concept, as we are not even in control of our own thoughts, most of our actions are steered by our unconsciousness and nervous system, not by our thoughts. Also total power exchange is immediately limited by consenting persons that exchange power.

For me - as top – sane use of power involves both control and awareness, but also letting control go and be dependent can be sane practise. Thus both TPE and sanity are rooted in consent.


Consent of whom?
The idea that a safeword would be some kind of topping from the bottom is definitely misleading, but I guess this will always be an issue between the RACK and the SSS camp.

One way of dealing with this issue is to look at different levels of identity. To our core identity belong things like gender-identity and sexual orientation. Naturally, when we consent in BDSM activity, such identities play a major role. The basic respect for the integrity of another person we play with, as a fellow human being, is paramount to consent. Before even one bit of power exchange can start flowing, it is obvious that giving consent to this process presupposes sane persons on equal footing that get involved in play, by their choice. Consent thus functions as mechanism to preserve identity and integrity of the persons that wish to get involved in BDSM play.

Consent is therefore founding for any form of BDSM according to both RACK and SSS. So when we link consent to identity, we may connect BDSM with exploration regarding our sexual preferences and urges. BDSM role play is thus in a way ‘at variance’ with both identity (which we exploring on) and with mainstream culture. Playing roles thus enables us to learn, grown and own our experiences, as a person.


The clue

We take those risks, because our psyche craves for realisation of both the conscious parts of our identity and the hidden, dark and unconscious parts. BDSM-play is thus transgressing in nature, and therefor risky. The clue is that consent can change. And even then, as seen above, a safeword will sometimes not help. I have had bottoms in my power, seeking my will and not caring about consent. That can sometimes be seductive, but that is the nature of playing with power. You can use it according to your own perception, but tops get into their BDSM-role too. So when our self-perception changes, also our limits can get fluid; including limits that define us as sound or sane - and that is very un-safe and risky.

The power we have been given, by consent, can turn into dynamics that are not steered by respect for the integrity of the other person – the factor that makes consensual play sane. The idea that the top is in ‘real’ control, might reveal itself as mistaking the darker side of our top-role for justified and allow power with to change into power over – and the herewith connected notions of abuse, violation and deprivation of self-integrity of the bottom. After all, coercive sexual interaction is part of many kinky roles that the BDSM community likes to fantasize about or tries to realize in active play; being kidnapped and kept captive by that vicious female pirate or being interrogated and searched for drugs by that mean couple of custom officers.

So playing rough and edgy roles can be tremendously rewarding, but it can also be scary and result in a change of mind. Passwords are an expression of non-consent and a change of mind of one of the players must have a way to be realized and heard. For me, besides trust and consent, also pre-scene negotiations and safewords can help to diminish the risk of our play going awry; in fact for me playing without an exit strategy would indicate we have to do with unsafe play partners. Within RACK, we have not simply “safe”’ but rather fifty shades of "safer" and "less safe”. Having a safeword that is available to both tops and bottoms, we make it safer as it forms one (last) straw that enables us – when we still can – to claim our right to conscious self-definition, a thing we all consented to in the first place.

The idea that a slave is then having power, is simply acknowledging that real power is not taken, but shared and given over freely. This is willingly and consensually done by another person, which presupposes the inherent quality of having power to share or accept in the first place. Playing a slave and being a slave are two pair of shoes.

Playing a master/mistress by seizing control once a bottom has lost it, places all the responsibility on the top and luckily most of us can handle that, as we are adult and sane persons that play with kinky urges. Like the continuity of ‘consent’ is sometimes for a while out of our control, so can we for a short while feel and experience how it is to be ‘on top’. We then perhaps accept that the consent of our bottom(s) as being exchanged to us for the duration of the scene. Again, as a friend said; “Tops should then safeword for their sanity when it is their conviction that the bottom has had too much.” Being a top is first and foremost an inner attitude and a matter of self-definition, experience, knowledge and technical skills are only the result thereof.


Conclusions
In this blog I argued about the importance of consent for both RACK as SSS. Not only have we seen that consent is the founding base on which BDSM-role play is resting, I also suggested to connect safewords with consent, so that the pursuance of kinky and sexual happiness always stays legitimate and humane.

In order not to do this at the cost of others, I stressed the importance of understanding that risk cannot be avoided, but that the respect for the integrity of our partners may include their basic right to self-determination and self-identification on which a given consent is based in the first place: power to choose is a given and just as founding as consent is. Finally, I emphasised that the notion of playing and being master or slave is in a way a discontinuation of both consent as power. This brings us deep into the land of archaic imagery. For my part, I opted for safewords, as total power, true domination or real control are just adjectives blurring the crucial border between facts and fiction.

As always, I wish you good luck on your journeys, in- and outside of the dungeon.


Enjoy – Sir Cameron