BDSM: If you see nothing ugly, let us agree to disagree

June 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm 1 comment

People show and accept love in different ways… Ever since i can remember, i’ve shown affection through compliance- before i knew there was a word for it, i would devote all of my time, attention, openness, and trust to someone i care about. From listening and obeying my father to tending to my boyfriend’s needs. This is the most natural way i know how to show love, and unfortunately, people have taken advantage of this throughout my life… His hunger for power turns into my hunger to surrender it. His sadistic urges become my masochistic ones… i’ve surrendered all control, even that of comfort. i’m enduring something unpleasant because i have no say- and that’s wonderful for me, because being in control on a day to day basis makes me anxious and sad. – Subself

These words were on the blog of a submissive, in answer to me (creating a tumblr under the nickname Cyberaza in order to start a conversation) when I expressed concern over the relationship she describe on her tumblr. She is in a TPE (Total Power Exchange) relationship with her master – he has all the power, she has none. At the time this was on the front page of her master, blogging under the name Amaster, ‘s blog:

The meaning of TPE: Amaster: I want to [have intercourse with] you in the hot tub while My hands are wrapped around your throat. I want to choke you and hold your head under water while … Will you be scared sl*t? Subself: No Master. If You decide i should die in that hot tub then i will be the happiest sl*t in the world … i dedicated my life to serving You and worshiping … There would be no better way to die.

Can you see the potential for something very ugly happening – consensually – to someone who, by own admission, complies to the point that she have often been taken advantage of, who does not have masochistic leanings of her own but simply gives in to the sadistic partner, who admits to enduring things she finds unpleasant, when she is with a power-hungry sadist who fantasize about strangling and drowning? Yes, I know not everyone in BDSM want to strangle and drown their partners, and even this guy probably will not, but that is not the point. The point is, I can see both current ugliness and a potential for even more harm between people like this. But some in BDSM will see nothing ugly (the drowning and strangling post got many “likes” from the BDSM community!) – and I agree to disagree with them. I think learning to make daily decisions is more mentally healthy than accepting cruelty from a guy who cannot answer the question: “What is this woman safe from when with you?”, but your idea of mental health may differ.  I may regard those who see nothing ugly in a relationship like this as blind. But I am not Jesus, I cannot make the blind see. So we can agree to disagree on this. Someone else recently linked to my blog saying this, among others:

There are many different facets to those involved in the BDSM lifestyle. Are some abusers? Sure. Do some suffer from a mental imbalance that makes it unsafe for them to participate in the lifestyle? Yes. Do the abusers and the chronically abused sometimes wind up in a relationship together? Unfortunately, that too is a yes. But the same happens in every day life, outside of BDSM, as well.

I find it bad when abusers and the chronically abused wind up in a relationship together – but I know you may find nothing wrong with it as long as the chronically abused consents. Because I cannot give you a heart that cares about those abused people who, for some reason, is incapable of saying “no” to abuse, we have to agree to disagree. I write my blog entries for those who do care and can see, to provide a counterpoint for the BDSM community’s claims that BDSM is healthy. (As for the same happening in everyday life, not that many parts of everyday life is set up in such a way as to make the abused and abuser think this is healthy.) I will quote another person who does not see what I see. Daddysbrat was a commenter on the tumblr of Amaster and Subself, and she said:

I have never once browsed this couples pages and thought anything negative.

She said that while the strangling and drowning post was on the front page of Amaster’s tumblr. Perhaps the reason why she thought nothing negative about drowning and strangling talk is that she is simply so used to drowning and strangling fantasies. (Is that perhaps common in the BDSM world? Do they say “we do nothing wrong” because they are desensitized towards hurting others?) Or perhaps Daddysbrat, like many people, do not see moral ugliness in anything:

Morality is subjective – the opinion of many people, including AwellLovedSubmissive, commenting here.

If morality is subjective, your opinion of BDSM morality is as good as mine. But then, the opinion the rapist or child abuser has on morality will be as good as both ours. If morality is subjective, consent makes no difference to the moral rightness of an activity. You don’t have to agree with me, but it is my contention that there is a moral right and wrong. For that reason, I know consensual BDSM is not morally the same as rape.

But I also know that a consensual relationship can still be extremely unhealthy. You get alcoholics (they drink by their own consent) in relationships with enablers who allow them to drink; people who simply never learned appropriate boundaries allowing mistreatment in relationships with abusers; co-dependency; battered wife syndrome (a battered wife consents to staying, even if she don’t consent to the beatings); trauma bonding; Stockholm syndrome; etc. You don’t have to admit any similarities between BDSM and these kinds of relationships, but let us agree to disagree. Don’t call me a bigot because I see similarities.

black-hair-anime-girlAs for me, when I read these things I cry. I lived myself into each lash and insult that BDSM submissives described, and thought how I would feel if a loved one treated me like that. Sometimes I had flashbacks at night of what I read on their blogs. A part of me wanted to react by cowering in a corner crying, and never letting any man touch me before I am sure he has no desire to hurt me or anyone who is not a threat. I thought talking about this, reading more and understanding it better, will be healthier than cowering in a corner and crying over BDSM people who (for the most part) don’t even cry over themselves or their partners. But the more I talk of the ugliness I see, the more BDSM participants answer. And instead of putting the ugliness in a context in which I can see a redeeming factor (I ask them, all the time, to show me the morally good part, the rational reasons for doing what they do), they simply say they like these things.

That seems IMO, to be another reason for concern. If you like it when a human (you or your partner or whoever) is treated as an object -even if it is just for an act – you seemingly do not adequately value how special humanity is, what worth we have. But once again, if you don’t see the worth in humans that make this a travesty in my eyes, we have to agree to disagree.

In my talking of this I also came to understand that there are things no safe word can protect against. Like the participant on my blog who seemingly wants scenes where she lives herself into rough treatment, verbal abuse, etc. – but who, as I understand, actually do it because she wants to be consoled and treated kindly afterwards, with the rough treatment putting her in the mood to really appreciate the good. She tells of a scene when one particular insult left her devastated. She starts crying. He stops and never gets around to the building up part. She is left to pick up the pieces herself. You may see nothing wrong because she allowed him to do everything he did. She, on the other hand, admitted to me it was “abuse” (her word, not mine).

Somehow, in the brokenness of this world, some of my fellow travellers through it fantasize about abuse. Sad, but true. I care enough about them to say that giving in to those fantasies – either the giving or the getting side – could be travelling along a very dark road. You may get taken advantage of. You may get to the point where you do not think anything negative about strangling or drowning. You may even get to the point where you regard nothing – no crime or atrocity – as really morally wrong, it is all just subjective.

Still, all I wish for those who disagree with me, and who cannot see ugliness in those things that petrify me, is healthy relationships. If you believe that you are already in one, that wish should cause you no offence.

———————————————

Note for commenters: Please do not link to BDSM sites in comments. If your name automatically links to one, log out and fill in a name and e-mail without filling in a BDSM blog.

I’d advise BDSM fans to also read this before commenting, so you do not repeat things I already heard and thought over under the mistaken idea that I never heard it. Thank you.

Entry filed under: Man/ woman, values. Tags: .

Is there anything good about BDSM?: Arguments that cannot be used to call BDSM morally acceptable Apologetics – when you are sick and tired of it

1 Comment

  • 1. Retha  |  June 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I realize, this is answering myself on the least visited of my blogs. (My second language, other stuff, blog!)
    Someone told me to stop caring about this because I am not forced to watch or partake. But that is the mindset that looks the other way when children are abused, or when someone you know needs help. I believe that people should care as much about others as about themselves.

Trackback this post



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: