A commenter at Feministing, Ladylicious, has something to say about the poor name that BDSM has been given lately for reportedly enforcing wrong kinds of patriarchal tendencies.
If we’re going to fabricate causal relationships between sex and oppression, I would much rather argue that we should try to eliminate sexual practices that do not lead to female orgasms.
The post, titled Invidualism and the problem of treating women as a monolith offers actually a very delightful read. But I especially enjoy the comment section. There seems to be lot of us, submissively or somehow BDSMly inclined women, who have been scarred and limited by the very act of protecting us. That’s what patriarchy has used as an excuse to take away or limit the civil rights of women, like always, just so they would be safe. And now radical feminists are using the same pliers on us?
In my eyes, it’s the same lame line that’s been used to prove sex-workers’ perceptions of themselves as not viable, since they are wilfully submitting to opression. I’m not saying sex work and BDSM have anything at all in common. They don’t, although I do know at least one woman working both the industries at the same time, and she has no inclination to those activities classified as BDSM outside her work. The point I’m trying to make is this, if we’re trying to stop oppression of women, how can anything we take enjoyment out of be on the black list?
It’s a first class privilege ride to say, what is and what is not normal. I wonder how does this kind of radical feminist group take submissive men into consideration? What about kinky lesbians and gays?
My point of view is pretty practical. Orgasms are my milestones. So, as a feminist, I will not stand for someone advocating that I or any other woman give up something that gives her satisfaction, whether it’s sexual or headspacy or a kind I haven’t even discovered yet.
I will be the judge of my own well-being and the consensuality between me and my partner. As many others have remarked throughout the interwebs’ tangles, there’s a lot of hurt and abuse and uncommunicating in the wide world of sex. I’ve been much more hurt in my sexual escapades before I met Wonderboy, and one of the reasons for that was that I could never admit to myself that I wanted a little oppression with my cup of tea.
Unselfconsiously I tried to trigger the power dynamics that work for me sexually, and got into a lot of trouble and abuse, because there was no set limits, and no parameters for me to steer my course by. I had no way of controlling the actual events when they unfolded, because it was very chaotic, and my submission to it very real and emotionally tormenting. There was no negotiating, and consecuently I had no say in what took place after a certain point.
Kind of like what happened to Asher Bauer, whose mixed feelings about his transgenderness made sexual abuse a reality. His heart aching essay Suffer in Silence is eye opening for those never abused. Point being, that others will judge that you asked for it because, fill out the box, you are a) transgender b) a mischievious woman c) into BDSM d) a minority of some other sort.
My inability to come into terms with my own sexual potential and needs came from the strong uniform of feminism. Oppression in the society and submission in the bedroom looked a whole lot alike, so I couldn’t take any part in that, could I? There’ll be no submission here! But there I was, partly unsatisfied and steering towards a catastrophe.
I do believe that different sexual needs (notice that I don’t even use the label kink here) are somewhat inherent, and therefore have to be taken seriously, consiously into consideration. All fantasies are maybe not to be acted upon, but a whole part of someone’s sexuality? It’s ludicrous to even suggest that.
Consider this then. When we met, Wonderboy was a wonderful lover, caring, devoted and eager, but he never did anything out of the ordinary. I had no idea he was into dominating before we talked about it. And guess what? He’d been dominating me the whole time, in his mind. I’m tiny compared to him, I have a full head of hair that he’s been known to keep his hands on, caressing my thin neck… get the drift? Anything sexual was coloured by the themes he needs to get off. I, on the other hand, had my own fantasies, which I didn’t quite know how to share, and certainly didn’t want to act on.
So, the difference between today and a couple of years ago, is that now we are playing in the same fantasy. We are not caged in our secret, dirty (or just plain different) fantasies, out of touch with each other. We are actually exploiting the mutual inclination in order to connect even more deeply.
If someone chooses rather to keep their fantasies to themselves, and maybe in the process have their sexlife wane over time, because they are only fulfilling each others’ mechanic correspondences and ignoring the emotional or intellectual, they can go right ahead. Why does their generic actions have to be the means of marginalizing and demonizing mine?
It really is just honesty, if you ask me. We women are not of the same flesh. Let’s try to live with that, m-kay?