Day 20: Talk about something within kink/bdsm that you’re curious about/don’t understand.
I’d like to talk about two different topics here — one I don’t understand, and one I’m curious about.
“Stop doing kink that way! You’re going to ruin everything!”
I’m probably going to step on some toes here, but one of the things I don’t understand with regard to kink is why a significant cohort of kink practitioners/proponents feel a need to lecture or instruct others on what the “proper” form of kink expression is. Note that I’m not referring to people who talk about safety — it should go without saying that advocating safety is a good thing.
No, what I’m getting at is this idea that’s put forth that certain types of kink are beyond the pale, or that if anyone decides to engage in activity outside the protective confines of SSC or RACK then they have somehow gone off the reservation. Often it’s quite subtle, but I’m seeing it more and more online — and it baffles me. One of the best, most freeing aspects of kink is the basically subversive nature of it; in many ways, kink is a rebellion against the confines of vanilla sexuality or mores. I’m guessing that that very nature of kink is the source of at least some of its appeal.
There is an ongoing movement afoot to get kink entirely removed as a psychological disorder from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (commonly referred to as the DSM). The most recent iteration, DSM-V, while not removing paraphilias as a disorder per se, has demoted the status of paraphilias from a full-blown disorder by applying a nebulous if/then equivocation to potential diagnosis: if the paraphilia causes distress then it is a disorder, otherwise, go about your perverted ways, you sickos!
I think this particular type of reevaluation is a good thing indeed, despite the gray areas that remain in APA treatment of kink. Those who’ve followed along with me know that I usually hesitate to deem the experiences of the LGBT community as analogous to those of the kink community (it’s difficult to deem anything as a clear analog to kink), but it is worth noting that the evolution of the treatment of the two respective communities by modern psychology seems to be following a somewhat similar trajectory. The bottom line, to me, is that things appear to be (slowly) moving in the right direction.
But what I’m seeing more and more often is this tendency to “normalize” (read: homogenize) kink in the popular culture. When I see instances of it, the tone often feels like a clumsy sort of kink sales roadshow; frequently it’s discussed in terms or ways that are “lighter” or interspersed with (or drowned in) nervous humor. Perhaps this is an effort to make the “lifestyle” less threatening to people out in the vanilla world? Or maybe it’s just that these kink normalizers simply want to help destigmatize kink? If so, their motives are laudable. However, an effort to destigmatize kink that results in a watering down of the things that make kink distinctive is ultimately (IMHO) self-defeating. Maybe I’m weird — okay, not much “maybe” about that — but I don’t want kink to be “normalized”. Life is full of enough guidelines, rules, and laws as it is, so the last thing I want is kink forced into some neat, tidy, sanitized box.
It’s possible (even likely) that I’m not seeing the “big picture” with this normalization of kink, but what I’ve seen thus far is … troubling. If there are any out there who’d like to explain to me why this brand of kink normalization is a great thing, I’d love to hear from you — either in the comments or privately via the contact form above. I’m genuinely baffled, so I’m open to being edumacated on this subject:)
Now, on to the “curious” topic.
I think it’s fairly clear where my own orientation within kink falls. No, Sheri, bat-shit crazy is not my orientation:) Where was I? Oh yes. Curious.
I am very curious about female switches. Always have been. I’m going to digress a little here, but I promise it will eventually steer back on topic. In fiction, I’m not particularly a fan of femdom where the Domme treats the male sub as a disgusting worm, with really heavy humiliation, and where she generally regards him with outright contempt. That doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with that particular kink though. It’s just not for me. YKINMKBTOK.
What does sometimes interest me, if it’s written well, is the depiction of “strong” male submissives in a more loving (though still strict) D/s dynamic with their Domme. Joey W Hill does this particularly well. I’m certainly not normally oriented toward the male sub mindset, but when depicted in that way, I can definitely see the motivation, feel how that dynamic might work for the couple. It’s something I have to be able to do with female subs when I write about them, so I think it’s valuable to be able to get into that headspace with a male sub too. This is where female switches come in.
They are comfortable in both roles, though in my (admittedly limited) interaction with real-life switches, I’ve noticed that they often seem to lean toward one side more than the other. What fascinates me about them is that they don’t see things in a binary way; they don’t feel either dominant or submissive, rather they seem to have a fluid sort of orientation that’s adaptable to the situation at hand. I actually admire them for being that comfortable with themselves that they aren’t threatened by embracing both halves of the D/s dynamic.
Even as I admire them, I’m curious as to how they actually do it. To be blunt, I would not feel comfortable in a male submissive role (I think I’d be constantly trying to take over and do shit my way), so it amazes me when other people can be both dominant and submissive, depending upon the needs or wants of the situation or relationship. I don’t know. I’m not 100% closed off to trying it — I’ll try just about anything once — but it’s definitely not natural for me:)
If there are any switches out there who’d like to chime in with how they’re able to do it, I’d definitely love to hear your take.
Until Day 21.