Another reason why consent is not enough to make BDSM okay

This quote by C. K. Egbert shows why we cannot make “consent” our only standard of whether an action is moral or not:

“Let’s presuppose that we live in the world the BDSM people would like, where the “physical details really only matter in the contexts of safety [sic]…and consent…” There are several problems with the idea that we should divorce harm from wrong. The first is that there is no longer any way to conceptualize bodily integrity (including the harm of pain or suffering); consent by itself cannot differentiate between the harm of rape and the harm of a stolen pencil. Any attempt at putting limits on the violence, or adding in additional constraints, will be merely arbitrary and ad hoc.

As a result, there are no limits to the abuse men can inflict upon women (even to the point of murdering women through sexualized torture, as happened in the Cindy Gladue case). It will be even more difficult for women to prove assault or abuse (in addition to the inherent problems with proving non-consent) because it will be presumed that a woman could have consented to anything.

… The only harm that is recognized is when the woman herself sees it as a harm, and yet she is being told every day of her life (through pornography, socialization, and through our social responses to violence) that she deserves to be hurt, used, and violated. This is especially pernicious given that women already minimize and deny their experiences of abuse…

We already know how “fantasy” plays out in real life. Many men would be willing to rape using physical force or intimidation, if they think they could get away with it (if we include emotional coercion, bullying, pressuring, and manipulation, no doubt the numbers would be much higher). Thanks to increasingly violent pornography and the mainstreaming of BDSM, men are coercing women into more painful, dangerous, and violent sex acts.

“Consent”, while it is certainly a part of ethics, cannot distinguish between rape (or murder, for that matter) and a stolen pencil. Our ethics certainly need to go further than that. And it does not become okay to violate and torture a woman when you (and society) convinced her she deserves the bad treatment.

Why would anyone want to be a BDSM bottom partner? Reflections from someone who struggles with BDSM fantasies

This is the words from someone who calls herself Ro. B. Warning: Please be aware that talk of rape, bondage, etc. may be triggering for some survivors of sexual abuse. Instead of placing a piece this long in a quote block, I will make the quoted passage blue. Note how – and women who speak like this are the only ones who explain their interest in being a BDSM bottom to me in a rationally understandable way – her self image problems is the main reason why this feels right to her:

This is something, rather long, that I wrote for a website a while back that never got published. I thought it wasn’t doing any good sitting on my computer where only I can read it, so I wanted to share it with you sisters. This is a personal story, but I wanted to use the use the plural pronoun because I’ve felt alone in this for too long, but I see now that feeling is a lie. Thank you for sharing your heart with me, now I would like to share with you]

We are out there. We exist. We probably don’t know each other because we tend to keep our sin a secret, but we are out there. Some of us come from traumatic pasts, but not all of us. Some of us can’t trace our shameful desires back to a specific starting point, and that troubles us. A few of us feel like sullied outcasts, even among communities of other women, but here is a chance to be open.

We’ve read before that sex is supposed to be the closest thing to a perfect reflection of the intimacy God wants to have with us. It is meant to be a glimpse of His communion with us. It is a gift where two people can become as close as any two people can ever be, and yet God still wants to come closer.

We get that. But it’s scary, you know? It would make us vulnerable. And we know without a doubt that we are so unworthy of an intimacy like that.

And so we slink away, looking for gratification elsewhere. A gratification with very little intimacy, or even a perverted intimacy, because we know that we could never measure up to that perfect communion.

We already know that we are unworthy, and the enemy and the world and our minds like to remind us daily of our faults and our mistakes and our less-than statuses.

And so we look for a way to feel okay about being unworthy. We are upset and hurt and deeply aware of our own imperfections, and so we look for ways to turn those feelings into something pleasurable.

We can go on feeling unworthy because now we can get gratification from being told we are unworthy. We can imagine scenarios in which we are treated just as we think we deserve, and we force ourselves to find pleasure and release in those fantasies.

It’s not a satisfying pleasure, or a lasting release. In fact, it brings shame and guilt and fear afterwards, and so the cycle continues. And in the back of our minds we know, we really do, that this is not the way it’s supposed to be. But in the moment, oh in the moment we give in, because those feelings seem so real and the perfect communion that comes from the promise of grace seems so far out of our reach.

We look for pleasure in being treated like a slave because we forget that we have been set free. Oh, we were slaves once, but we don’t have to be anymore. We were prisoners once, but our chains have been broken. Why do we insist on returning to the very bondage from which we have been saved?

Because it’s so easy to be pulled away from the Truth that we are worthy, that we have been made pure, that we are cherished, the beloved children of God.

And sometimes, we’ve let our flesh form a habit so strong that it can be hard to break. Sometimes, even after a day full of truth and freedom, one small trigger can send us spiralling back toward slavery.

But we still love Jesus, and He has still redeemed us. The struggle seems never-ending, but His mercies are still new every morning, and He still calls us Beloved, even when every inch of our flesh fights against that grace. He is still patient, and He gently leads us to walk in His freedom… so it’s time to start walking together.

Goodness towards a woman like this is to support her struggle for freedom. It is downright cruel to encourage her participation in the slavery-type activities that feels right to her bad self image.

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Note about commenting: I close down comments here right from the start, as the writer of this did not give permission to publish comments on her reflection.

UNsafe and HARDLY consensual: Arguments not to defend BDSM with

(Warning: Some links and the picture on this blog entry is NSFW. Trigger warnings for rape and other forms of sexual violence also apply to the contents of this blog post, and the links.)

You may have heard of people defending BDSM. Perhaps you have a friend who is into being a sub, and her words make you think she is okay. Perhaps you yourself consider getting involved. But she is most likely not as okay as she claims, and it a dangerous world to be involved in. Please remember that with this article, I do not want to shame bottom partners. I want their friends, and the police, to be willing to help them.

Arguments that are not adequate to defend BDSM

1) “It is consensual”:

a) In a study of the BDSM community, 1 in 3 kinksters reported to having had their consent violated. If that doesn’t sound very high, remember that this sample includes both dominants and submissives, of both sexes. The amount of consent violations among submissive women is in all likelihood a lot higher. Read, for example this testimony from Kitty Stryker: (Bold added, italics hers)

When I start to think of the number of times I have been cajoled, pressured, or forced into sex that I did not want when I came into “the BDSM community”, I can’t actually count them. And I never came out about it before, not publicly, for a variety of reasons- I blamed myself for not negotiating enough, or clearly, or for not sticking to my guns, or I didn’t want to be seen as being a drama queen or kicking up a fuss. Plus, …I didn’t feel traumatized because it happened so bloody often that it was just a fact of being a submissive female

As I reflected on the number of times I’ve had fingers in my cunt that I hadn’t consented to, or been pressured into a situation where saying “no” was either not respected or not an option, or said that I did not want a certain kind of toy used on me which was then used, I’m kind of horrified. When I identified as a submissive female, I was told that using a safeword indicated a lack of trust, or that if I was a “real” submissive I wouldn’t need to have limits… I had multiple times when I took more pain that I could handle because I developed a fear of safewording, since it was so rarely treated with respect.

I never thought of any of it as sexual assault, even though it was all non-consensual, because I blamed myself for attracting the wrong sort of Dominant, for not being good enough at negotiating. Speaking to other women, I discovered how many of them had similar stories that they laughed off, because if we stopped and really took it seriously the community we clung to would no longer feel safe, and we didn’t know where else to go…

How on earth can we possibly say to society at large that BDSM is not abuse when we so carefully hide our abusers and shame our abused into silence?… I can only speak for myself, but as a fat, insecure girl coming into the BDSM scene, whatever rhetoric I was told, actions taught me that my value was in my sexuality and my willingness to give it up. A good submissive, you see, is quiet, passive, and obedient…

Of course [sociopaths walk among us]- we treat that kind of sociopathic behaviour as dangerously sexycool. This creates a situation where predators are allowed to continue to be a part of the community, often an honored part, while past victims keep their mouths shut and hope that it doesn’t happen again to someone else…

… I have yet to meet a female submissive who hasn’t had some sort of sexual assault happen to her.

Continue reading

Why consent is not enough in BDSM

The first time Louise encountered Bondage, Domination, Sadism and Masochism on the Internet, she was revolted. How could anybody treat another human like that? She was so disgusted, that the pictures kept replaying in her mind.

And then a strange thing happened. From the replaying of these pictures in her mind, she starts to find them … dare I say it? She starts to find them arousing. This is a surprise to her, as previous pain in her life made her somewhat immune to sexual responses.

Now, Louise’s reaction is not abnormal at all. The female body reacts to the possibility of rape by at least making the chances of injury less. Her physical arousal at the thought of sexual violence does not mean Louise wants to be raped, but the opposite: Her body wants to be unhurt.

“So”, she thinks, “I am not that abnormal? I can respond sexually?” Continue reading