BDSM and public acceptance is part of the series on BDSM and society
Sexual freedom today
A recent survey by the
based National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) mentions that “large
percentages of respondents view the general society as hostile to BDSM”. It is
thought that almost 85% of the people that are not in the BDSM lifestyle do
think that there is something wrong with kinky persons. In clear words; this
means that they think we are sick, sinners, perverts or mentally disordered.
Particularly our vicious sadists are dangerous for public safety and our dear
subs are poor little things that are the victims of abusive bastards. Sounds
It sounds like someone needs to hear about how things really are. In the survey it is additionally stated that as a result of the widespread rejection of BDSM by the general public, 95% of the interviewed kinks think that it is therefore important that the general public is better educated about BDSM. A topic that this blog is intending to contribute to, even when it is primarily aiming at our own community.
Furthermore 74% of the respondents do not feel comfortable to talk about BDSM with their families. Regarding co-workers this goes up to 75%, which makes clear that both private and at work there is a huge reluctance to speak about our BDSM urges or practice. Whether or not you are in such position yourself, I guess we all know situations where we have to avoid openness and fall back on little lies or lame excuses. Personally I do not like that at all, but I sometimes see the necessity of it.
Sir Cameron remembers a situation at a business party where he was luring two pretty ladies into a mysterious net of eroticised thoughts. When noticing how he indeed felt rather comfortable playing the game of double meanings and charming courtesy the most daring and less cautious of the two hotties let the first sexist remark slip; “You are a real Casanova; you know what woman want, but you would never hurt them.”
As Sir Cameron was just thinking about caning that neat Polish behind of her neighbour; our brave Sir, for a brief moment, faltered and looked down at his shoes. She had hit the nail; he would love to hurt her sexy nipples. The sweet Russian goddess now realized that she dropped a brick; her own arousal had converted my dominance over her into more acceptable romantic ideas of the mysterious lover that would put her on the throne; instead it would be the dungeons.
The prolonged silence that followed her remarks said more as shouting ‘I’ll dominate you two honeys until you beg for more’ could have done. Yet, it was a normal party and it offered no room for play or confrontation, so I just let it be. From their reactions they had sensed it anyway and soon after the incident the Russian beauty left with her rather irritated husband, who must have spotted that his wife was a bit confused. The Polish lady stayed glued on her chair and we had a very inspiring conversation, as she was just as smart as sexy. At the end I handed her my card; she never called.
You see; quite an ordinary situation with open minded people having modern values; yet, I was not free to say that I am a sadist and that I like to play out women –or men’s - fantasies with those who are brave enough to do so. On the other hand, why should we, most of the times it is perfectly fine to keep your ideas to yourself, but still.
Acceptance of openness
So what is it? How to navigate between wishing to be clear and open about who you are and finding a way to give others room to read between the lines, instead of pushing your kink upon them? How can we best do this?
Perhaps, pointing out the differences between fantasy and reality can shed some light on the issue, just as the notion of consent. We will start with the latter.
A part of the NCSF-survey showed that the interviewed thought that consent should be an ongoing discussion in any relationship, not just in kinky play; a thesis to which 94% agreed. Almost 96% shared the opinion that consent should be revocable at any time. An alarming 1 on 3 kinky persons expressed to have experienced a consent violation. A clear sign that our community is not as ideal as we perhaps think it to be, despite the agreement on consent (96%), roughly one third of them has problems recognizing or respecting this once involved in play.
Unfortunately the survey does not answer if those who violate the rules that make our play reasonable are selfish dominant males or ever more demanding pain pigs that run over their top’s limits and cause him to get trauma treatment right after he had delivered her to get first aid at the ambulatory clinic of the local hospital. Why is it that maso and macho do not really match most of the times?
You think I am too cynical? Well, remember those 33% of the people that got abused instead of being ‘treated’ in the way they like. The sad thing is that these people were kinky and into consensual kink; they likely would have complied anyway, given a bit more attention, care or negotiation. Control is a nice thing, but it works best when it goes in two directions; violation of consent is a lack of control, not a virtue of ‘real’ dominance.
But tell me, why am I not surprised? And we did not even talk about hygiene and disinfection of tools did we? The point will likely be the next issue we had planned to look at anyway: the difference between fantasy and reality and the risk of overplaying our hand.
Dream a little dream with me …
Just today I responded on a comment that made it clear to me how important the distinction is between abstract fantasy on the one side and our play in actual reality on the other side. The reason is obvious - if I may refer to
and Hardy once more: Our fantasies are
all inside our head. We have agreed them to be there and we will never daydream
about an act for which we do not have an inner consent. Easton
Yes, of course the villain that brutalizes us in our fantasy is a bastard, yet, he is so sexy with his knowing smile and whatever he does to us, our body reacts on him in such a shameful way … because he precisely know what to do. And that lovely Mistress too, how mean she is when she pinches our nipples with her long red nails, that cause us to immediately get hot tears in our eyes; for which she mocks us with her humiliating remarks while she pushes our face closer and closer towards that soaked spot on her leather string thong ...
In naked reality however, the bastard does not smell as good as expected and goes into sex way to quick and somehow he cannot read your mind on how you precisely prefer him to give it to you. And what a pitty; but that sexy Mistress is not really open for your wishes, because she can only top without nurturing. But are these tops to blame for being as they are; for not being able to read minds and know everything?
In reality, we need time to build up trust and self-acceptance, in reality we need to learn how our body responds in a scene with factual distress and pain. In reality we have to find a way to deal with differences in limits and technical skills without feeling awkward afterwards. In reality we have to communicate in order to get what we want. Dreaming about the ‘one’, ‘perfect’, ‘true’ of ‘real’ person runs the risk of getting close to self-delusion by confusing dream and reality.
But there is hope; BDSM is just as much a process of careful negotiations on getting what we want as it is fun. And the mental kick of abusive fantasies will for sure kick in when you are involved in a well prepared consensual scene. Just give it some time; practising is just as pleasurable as the final act of perfect play where our passions and bodies merge in blissful clash where we become the stars on the famous stage of the ‘realized dreams theatre’.
Bliss, bless, public
It is the bliss of working and functioning BDSM that the general public both understands and misunderstands. Most people are familiar with the blessings of hot and steamy sexual encounters, likely from their own fantasies, but hopefully from their active sex life too.
When on Monday morning at the university library those two vanilla women question their kinky submissive friend and ask her why she let herself being humiliated all weekend and the bottom answers that she simply needed those 23 orgasms to show her master how she admires him, some women would perhaps think that she is sick; most other women likely wonder how it would feel to have 23 orgasms in one weekend and if they would like or need that themselves, yet all of them understand that it must be pretty awesome experience that shows a lot of intimacy and expertise.
When we engage in consensual acts that add flavour and spice to our BDSM lifestyle, we chose to do so. We seek it and we seek the suited surroundings for putting our secret longings into practise. The public’s negativity may first come from not respecting their privacy; when the neighbour goes out on his balcony to smoke and sees how your five Mistresses have tied you to a tree, hanging helpless in ropes, visibly aroused, not all neighbours tend to be sympathetic to what you do. Okay, it may be your garden, but it is also his balcony where he perhaps wishes to smoke without being confronted with a bondage scene. So, when we are as we are, we most times have to respect the limits of others. This goes for limits of our play partners and limits of outsiders; a limit that may involve not wishing to know, to see or to hear about what it is that we do.
Just as BDSM-acts result in heavy emotions in us as participants, it also can evoke strong reactions in others; shame, disgust, curiosity and fear, to name a few of the more common ones. When a vanilla person is confronted with our perversities, we can expect them to run against limits that are part of this person’s convictions, experiences and emotions. Just as we, they have the right to have limits, particularly in the public area. Yet, unless they are knowledgeable in BDSM theory, they are to a much lesser extent entitled to judge on what we think is fun, unfortunately they more often as not judge and reject that what they in most of the cases do not know or understand properly.
In fact, for this reason it might indeed be one of our tasks as a BDSM community to spread the word and to inform those who wish to receive such information about what it is what motivates us, what we get from it and why we still hold to BDSM as a sane, sound and reasonable sexual practise.
Feeling hurt by rejection, feeling frustrated for not being able to openly be as you are, feeling lost and alone with your urges because you sense you are not properly understood and accepted, moreover, accused by labels that do not fit your own perception; yes this is not nice. Nevertheless, when we abide to consent between players, when we wish to respect hard and soft limits from those in the scene, why would we not be more relaxed when it comes to accepting that our branch of sexuality is not very well understood and thus not very often approved on. The reactions of the public are first and foremost theirs. Where we share a common responsibility would be in refraining from pushing our urges upon those who have not asked for it and in informing those who wish to understand. Whatever emotions the public has after that, they are theirs to cope with.
Like the Scriptures says in John 21: “Peter, seeing him, says to Jesus … and what of this man? Jesus says to him … what is that to thee? Follow thou me.”
In this sense, let us all follow our own call and do not bother too much with how others think about our practise and simply follow our path to fulfilment and happiness. Let us be realistic about differences in fantasy and their realization, let us be realistic about the factual limits of the public and let us be realistic about the increase in openness that our society as a whole is showing to alternative sexuality. We have a long way to go, but I am glad you are with me …
As always, enjoy – Sir Cameron