Against her will? – Ponderings on BDSM, leather and kink

Monday, June 10, 2013

“Against her will?” is part of the series on BDSM and psychology

Introduction
Against her will, a challenging title and an equally challenging subject to write about, as you will see. It seems we humans have a thing with power, will and sexual feelings. Basically we should have sex as human beings; meaning, our humanity is presupposed and as such also the acceptance of the other as equally human. What happens afterwards, if the princess becomes the bitch, if the lover become the servant or if you just spent a lovely hour of sharing passion, that is up to you. What is important for now is the awareness that by living out sexuality in a humane way, the issues of power and will (or consent) will be defined by your morals, which, when they are humane, endorse sexuality as typical for human functioning and as good in itself. When we err, it is us who are to blame for our choices, not sex, sexuality or a positive attitude towards sex.


Is normal sex boring?
Perhaps this is not a fully legitimate question, even when on first sight some kinks feel innerly inclined to answer it confirmatively. I remember a conversation from last year where the Mistress I was chatting with, expressed her concern about the many tops she knew that were no longer able or willing to have normal sex. Of course I share her ideas and advocate a healthy mixture of all kinds of sex; after all, you do not eat the same nice food each and every day, do you?

So, let us take a closer look at this concept of ‘normal’ sex. Instead of seeing vanilla sexuality as the normal and opposed to that to regard kinky sex as an abnormal form of human sexuality, we have been arguing on this blog that, in general, human sexual urges and wishes are much more versatile than that we might be able to put them in just two classes. Examples of what I mean we do find in dualities as ‘kink & vanilla’ and in the infamous ‘same-sex & opposite sex orientation’. What about trans- or bi-, or queer? What about fetishists, switches or a-sexual people?

They have always been there. The diversity has always been there, but due to word-views that had only two options, there was no room for expression. It is only in the last 50-or-so years that surveys started to ask after alternative designations, but even in that relatively short time it has become apparent that the existing diversity cannot be put in dualistic classes.

Statistically speaking there are hardly persons to be found that are pure vanilla or pure kink in their sexual urges. So stigmatizing one side does not make the other better, true or more real; in fact this way of thinking is contra productive and does not help our understanding of sexual diversity; it just favours one.

Over the last two decades quite a few BDSM theorists have put on the agenda that neither kink nor vanilla should be used to make a diversion where there is none. I heartily endorse this stance, as this way of separating between different ways of expressing parts of our selves is biased from the beginning. Not only with regard to our freedom to express our sexual preferences as we see fit, it is also biased by reducing our expression to an either/or choice, instead of enabling us to opt for an and/and approach.

Most of the time, a struggle to accept deviation is the result of assuming that many differences – or nicely called; deviations - are wrong and that we are entitled to label them as a perversion of normality. Such ideas start with the hypothesis that we actually can decide what normality is and of course, that those who decide this do essentially know what is right and wrong. The most likely two candidates underlying this need for splitting up and to differentiate are firstly many versions of religious systems and secondly the historically grown sex-negativism that combines Victorian morality with Freudian terminology.

Such principles were a common good a century ago and do still resonate in our idealization or romance a la ‘Holywood’. Such ideas and principles developed gradually after the renaissance where mankind got rid of medieval praxis like slavery or other feudal customs like ‘ius primae noctis’. For those unfamiliar with the later; Wikipedia describes this as the ‘Lordly right’ or ‘Droit du seigneur’, a “putative legal right allowing the lord of a medieval estate to take the virginity of his serfs' maiden daughters.”

Now that is terrible! Why did we stop with that for G’d’s sake? Believe me, Sir Cameron in his virtual Dominion for sure would like to reinstall this right of the first night! But I am drifting off. Seducing a bunch of teenie’s by an older man is so bad, yes, to the extent that grossly 2/3 of the males fantasize about doing it. Any teenage girls who are having similar wishes; please mail to Sir Cam-moron (big sorry, to Sir from himself- even more drifting of …. You want a few of those email addresses you say? Shame on you!!!)

Allegedly, Perfect 19th Century sex
If we would take a tad of Victorian prudery and mix this carefully with some steamy Freudian psychological assumptions, like the terrific concept of penis envy, we finally would end up with the definition of what it is that constitutes perfect sex. So, get ready: The recipe to perfect sex would go something like this: take two - married!  – persons (of the opposite sex, mind you!) that are having regular intercourse – for those kinks who forgot how that goes: it is sex without tools, whips, canes, belts, clamps, ropes, and badges, without leather, without watching porn and even without using hands or tongues – simply with the woman on her back, man kneeling between her spread legs, tender insertion and then up and down.

Now, I do not know if kissing was allowed, but at least orgasm was; ideally simultaneously (at the same time), but for the situation that the man came first, it was of course perfectly normal for him to roll off, close his eyes and fall asleep. After all, it was first with feminism that the idea of wanton women was born, and even they do not climax after one minute and twenty five seconds of intercourse. At least, not many that I know – but gosh, what do I know?

Ouch! Don’t you love the textbook crap?

Today most of us probably bring forth a wry smile regarding this former ‘perfection’, but if the above description actually reminds you of your own relationship, please do yourself a favour; do not feel guilty for reading this blog. It is good to learn and understand how you can improve your sex life. Looking around in this blog and to inform yourself with other sources of quality information are indeed excellent ways to get more fun into your relationship. Striving to give your partner good, fulfilling sex is after all an honourable thing and something we all seek – I hope (all nod yes!).

Yet, with such a definition of ‘perfect sex’, there are probably not many real people left with a ‘normal’ sex life. This on itself should already make us realize that what some see as normal, may not always be normal to others, even within the same (sub) culture. And why should it? We are all different persons and that is what makes sexuality so exciting in the first place; to get to know each other and to enjoy what we have in common or complement in each other is a wonderful thing to do, and believe me, it is mostly not boring, considering the fact the population of the world has now passed the 7 billion mark.

Sharing what you have to give in a loving and caring attitude and with the freedom of mind to enjoy the many sexual pleasures that people can give each other is never something we should joke about, look down upon or feel worse about. Such intimacy is never boring, contrary to many of the porn productions that in their commercial monoculture show their alienation of sexuality with regard to how it functions in the reality of most people. Of course, Rocco is an exception … and we have to remember that porn is made for masturbation, not as an instruction of how to best make fun together.

The whole idea of perfect sex or copying porn ideals has a sting attached to it. It is a striving that contains the elements of performance and comparison. It has this feeling of obligation attached to it and this more often as not kills our lust. Beside that, it also takes the joy out of that what is actually not hard to do at all. Just follow your instincts, play around a little and use your own imagination to be happy; and if you run out of creativity, you can still se an external source for occasional inspiration.

And yes, it may be funny at times and for sure very embarrassing too, but as trust and curiosity is more important as perfection and performance, it is as good as it gets. This even more goes for kinky play; even when good technical skills can greatly improve a scene, it can never replace the emotions we feel and the tension in the room whether we play for the first or the seventh or seventy-seventh time. However, with kink there are, beside the regular save-sex precautions, a few other things to consider; including our health, our borders and our consent, and yes, legal issues too.


Is BDSM without consent evil?
In a previous post “Satan and Sadist” we have seen that there is something erroneous when ethicists define evil as the infliction of pain upon sentient beings. For BDSM as a reasonable praxis is definitely not evil. It does not feel like it either. Admitted, it might be a tad dark, but consensual pain is not near to evil whatsoever. Perhaps we can even argue that it is closer to pleasure as it is to displeasure; the reason for that is not as much to be found in the notion of consent, as it is in how we as sexual being process painful experiences. Many people ask: when it feels so good for both of the players, how could it be wrong?

Now, there may be quite some valid exceptions to this question.  Most prominently would be that definitely not everything that is feeling good, actually is good. Abuse of substances, or other persons, can feel good, yet it may be harmful to one or more of us. Distortion of reality or damaged relationships may be the result. So seen, experience may thus not be the most perfect guide to ethics, but it is for sure a helpful one as it will naturally filter out that what does not work. This said, it is clear that some kind of justification for administering pain or showing humiliation or derision to other humans is necessary: particularly in order to keep BDSM out of the range of pathologizing definitions.

Out of considerations on practical kink the famous trio of safe, sane and sound evolved. For beginning leather folk the idea of consensual kink may have an unexpected twist to it and also those involved in risk-aware kink and edge play will get the point; consent in a way takes of the idea we have formed with regard to what the ‘real’ thing is.

From actual incest, rape and abuse cases, as well as form forced marriages and prostitution we know that being forced into non-consensual sex is having devastating effects on the victims self-esteem, their ability to enjoy their sexuality (even with partners they trust) and their experience of feeling safe. Any sexual act ‘against their will’ is consequently no glorious fun factory, but rather a vile pool of distress.

Nevertheless, the questions remain why forced sex has such a strong attraction potential and at the same time consensual kink seems to be the less appealing alternative?

One partial answer we can find in the difference between fantasy (in our head) and reality (in our bed). To start with the first; pondering on consent is not something that does play a large role in our fantasy. As usual, our fantasies can tell us a lot about ourselves. The demons that haunt us in our sexual dreams, the villain that kidnaps you, the brutes that so shamelessly make use of your weak spots and force you to serve them; they are all parts of our own imagination or are derived from images we saw somewhere else. In either case, we use to go through an intimately sexy experience within our minds. And as it turns out, what is in your mind will most of the times greatly differ from what is in someone else’s mind.

Not only do you consent to your own thoughts, even the limits you feel are carefully stretched and exploited, as fantasy normally is rather edgy too. Just as all parts of our identity naturally seek to develop and mature, equally this is the case for our sexual identity. We evolve by playing out our urges in both dreaming and realising.

Yet, as this process is equal to all the people we meet and play with and as we are all very different in our urges, needs and fantasies, there is an equally large potential for disappointment as for pleasure. Despite the fun sex has to offer, despite the absolute thrills BDSM has to offer, we still run the risk of being disillusioned. Most of the times this however has nothing to do with consent or appearance, but rather we need to learn that fantasy is simply not transferable to reality on a one-on-one base.

The good thing however, is that fantasy can be realized in a different setting. Yet, for this it will be necessary to understand your wishes and to communicate them in a way so that others do understand and respect your thing. Similar as with consent, a negotiation seems so unsexy, at first. But on a second thought this does not have to be like that at all. On the contrary, planning a play session, planning to get fucked hard, planning to get those tits tortured actually is a very sexy activity. It will not only bring your thoughts on the same wave length, it will also create an atmosphere of trust and expectation. After a while it becomes a part of the ritual and can have similar effects as foreplay: you can hardly wait to get started; images in your head all day and those feeling in your genitals tell you all there is to say.

Why then, you ask, do we not consent, plan and scheme much more? Likely we are more interested in finding the perfect partner that telepathically reads our wishes; a real God or Goddess can do that, don’t they?

And blaming others for being so disappointing, technically under par and insensitive for our needs, has certainly nothing to do with our lack of communication or the quality of our communication skills.

And as you in this world have to take care of yourself, it is normal that you take advantage of an opportunity when it offers itself. After all a one night stand is nothing to be ashamed of and a change in diet increases your appreciation of what your regular partner has to offer.

No matter how many truths the above three remarks may contain, dreaming idle wishes, projection or egoism will not easily set you on the path of enjoying sexual liberty by which you have your needs met with. As with any other reasonable praxis, living out your sexuality is worth some consideration. And I know that those subs are often irresistible, and you indeed have to lick those boots, but ages of false religious, politically correct and sex-negative beliefs should warn us to distrust those who know the ‘real’, the ‘true’ and the ‘right’ thing.

Just start with what you have and improve on it. This is a fail-save mechanism and will result in having more fun in the way that you and your partner(s) are. And if you have these hot fantasies, you ask? Then find people you feel secure enough with to share them, perhaps you are in for a treat. I wish that to all of you.


Enjoy – Sir Cameron

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