Trigger warning: Sexual violence
I never met a kinkster who wants to honestly discuss BDSM. They never want to talk about pain. They do not want to tell me what tops/ doms/ sadists get out of BDSM. They only give me platitudes (“…safe … sane … consensual …“).
Today, I want to do what nobody in any of these conversations ever allowed me yet: To share, from my angle, what I saw on BDSM blogs, forums, discussions, and information pages. “Do your own research”, they challenged me – and I did. Being autistic means I see some things others miss and miss some things others see. These two articles may thus include points you did not notice before, brought to you for free by the insights of Retha Faurie. (If you do not care how kinksters are affected by BDSM because they consent to it, then ignore part C – parts A and B have ways others are affected.)
A) Ways in which BDSM affects mainly the rest of society – not just practitioners
A1) It makes women in porn and prostitution suffer
BDSM desires tend to be fueled by, among others, watching violent pornography. One of the (many) problems with porn is that the vast majority of sex trafficking victims report having porn made of them against their will. If you watch violent pornography, there is no way to vouch that actual, non-consensual humans did not suffer for your pleasure.
BDSM lovers also tend to take out their violent fantasies on prostituted women. While some of these women are trafficked, even the others prefer not to have pain and insults inflicted on them, as BDSM-loving johns are likely to do.
It also causes some who are aware of BDSM to care less about human trafficking victims: If a sex slave means both (a) a kidnapped woman who is raped by twenty men a day, and (b) a willing BDSM participant playing a sex game with her boyfriend, then sexual slavery becomes a nuanced thing – not something to fight tooth and nail.
A2) It encourages the wrong questions
When someone is beaten, the right first questions are not: “Why does she (he) allow it? Why do they stay?” It is “why does he (she) beat her (him)?” BDSM people make a consistent practice of telling us the subs asked for it – they never discuss with outsiders why the dom enjoys beating his (her) partner. They teach, by this practice, society to question the motives of the wrong person.
A3) Some victims of rape/ sexual slavery are traumatized when their rapes are used to fuel entertainment
I think Andrea Dworkin says it best in “Letters from a war zone” (although potentially, some abused men could also feel like this about the things BDSM acts out, and she talks of women in particular):
“[w]e see the torture of women as a form of entertainment, and we see women also suffering the injury of objectification—that is to say we are dehumanized. We are treated as if we are subhuman, and that is a precondition for violence against us…
When your rape is entertainment, your worthlessness is absolute. You have reached the nadir of social worthlessness… One lives inside a nightmare of sexual abuse that is both actual and potential, and you have the great joy of knowing that your nightmare is someone else’s freedom and someone else’s fun.”
B) Ways in which BDSM probably affects both practitioners and the rest of society
B1) At best, BDSM is anti-intimacy
BDSM, according to its defenders, is about pretending to be someone you are not. At best, the BDSM dom is not really dominating and not really happy with the bottom’s pain, he is just pretending. At best, the BDSM sub is not really the slave of a violent sadist, but just putting on an act.
But ideally, sexual intimacy is about being not just physically, but emotionally naked before someone you trust. Ideally, you can show your whole self, without pretense, to someone who truly cares. BDSM, as participants explain it to those outside the scene, is all about pretense, and markets pretense as good relationships.
(When the pain, inequality, and sadism is real instead of a show, the problems get more grotesque than merely a lack of honest intimacy, of course.)
B2) It brings verbal and physical cruelty into the deepest and most vulnerable of human experiences
Women, and even perhaps men, are never more vulnerable than when naked before a lover. According to BDSM, this is the ideal time, and the ideal type of relationship, in which to degrade, punish, insult, and inflict physical pain.
(I know that the average kinkster now wants to answer with: “But we/ they enjoy it!” Really? I hear of women jerking their bodies away with each lash which lands, not automatically moving closer. If their bodies literally enjoyed the lash, their bodies would have instinctively drawn closer. I hear of subs struggling to sit down the next day after a beating, never enjoying to sit down because of the great feeling in their butt. I hear that when choked, they fight for breath – if they enjoyed being choked, they would have relaxed under the -to them- great feeling of not breathing.)
This not only affects people who consent to BDSM relationships, but also the rest of society who knows about it: If it is no big deal to inflict (physical or emotional) pain on a lover, and some people even ask for it, why should it be a big deal when some people hurt their partners?
B3) BDSM makes sex violent and violence sexy
This mindset – sex as violence, violence as a sexual mindset – is a prime influence on rape and sexual slavery. It is also a reason why women and girls, in general, have to put up with so much mistreatment from men and boys.
B4) It spreads false information about what domestic violence is/ is not
Without exception, every kinkster I ever met said that consent makes the difference between abuse and non-abuse, that beating or choking a partner who allowed you to do so is not abusive. But DV sources simply do not back that up. In short, in a relationship where one person dominates the other, you could expect the submitting partner to allow unwanted behavior. Their “consent” does not negate the abuse.
This false information IMO includes a too tiny definition of non-consent.
B5) Even while consensual, it is based on an interest in non-consent
At its best and most consensual BDSM is the equivalent of a rape joke, with a sexual thrill instead of a laugh as the result. Even while consenting, the scene is based on an interest in non-consent. If both partners whole-heartedly loved consent, the thought of acting out a rape/ slavery scene would disgust them, not thrill them.
It would be good for all to live in a world where people whole-heartedly chose the side of consent – where the very idea of continuing when a partner does not seem willing would abhor men and women.
B6) It makes it harder to spot and to prosecute rape and murder
The website We can’t consent to this documents cases where violent murders and assaults have been defended – often successfully – by claiming that the victim consented.
B7) BDSM is sexist
The majority of doms are male and the majority of subs female. Many insults used for women (wh*re, sl*t, etc.) have no real male equivalents. So-called “female doms” are often prostitutes paid to do only what their male clients want. Even in gay, lesbian, or femdom BDSM, there are insults that male subs are not “man enough” and masculine symbols like dildos for female doms.
It also aids sexist men in believing women want submission. This infamous quote (quoted by Jared Wilson in response to why women read 50 Shades of Grey) is only one example of a sexist man aided by awareness of BDSM:
“Because we have forgotten the biblical concepts of true authority and submission, or more accurately, have rebelled against them, we have created a climate in which caricatures of authority and submission intrude upon our lives with violence… This is what lies behind sexual “bondage and submission games,” along with very common rape fantasies. Men dream of being rapists, and women find themselves wistfully reading novels in which someone ravishes the “soon to be made willing” heroine. Those who deny they have any need for water at all will soon find themselves lusting after polluted water, but water nonetheless.” – Doug Wilson
But female submission is not natural: It is taught to women from a young age.
B8) BDSM “feeds the wrong wolf”
Most people know the story of the Native American who said everyone has a good and an evil wolf inside them, and the one you feed wins. It seems to me that if someone enjoys or gets off on inflicting pain, it is better to starve than to feed that side of himself (or herself). This also counts for a side that wants someone to inflict pain on you.
The same can be said about everything in BDSM: Do you regard freedom as being on the side of good, not evil? Bondage is the opposite of that.
Is equality a worthy goal for you? Then you should be against master-slave and dom-sub relationships.
Are you a kind person, who prefers healing to pain? Then you will abhor sadism and masochism.
Do you believe in justice? Then you will hate the one-sided punishments involved in BDSM “discipline”.
Do you love openness and honesty? Then role-playing and pretense, as kinksters claim they are doing, will be a weak excuse for a relationship in your eyes.
>> To be continued here