BDSM · Love and Relationships · Uncategorized

BDSM Stereotypes and Rape Culture

I have mentioned before in passing that I consider myself a feminist. In the context of BDSM, I feel that a person’s sexuality is their own business and no one else’s. No matter the gender, sex, sexuality of the person. This post is not about the REAL Dominants who feel honored by the control their submissive yields to them willingly. This is about Rape Culture and how it affects the preconceived notions of submission and control. I promise I won’t get political often, but I am not one to shy away from a good discussion. However, because rape is not isolated to cisgender, heteronormative females, I will try to keep my pronouns gender neutral. My understanding of kink is intersectional or it is bullshit.

Rape Culture is defined as “a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.” I have already discussed the difference between abuse and BDSM, so I want to keep my focus on sexual assault today.

Rape itself is not about sex. It’s about control, about hurting someone. BDSM is about control as well, not always sex, and pain is often involved. But the philosophy of BDSM is control yielded willingly, not taken without consent. This is the crux of the issue. One area of BDSM, which Master and I have touched on briefly but not to the extent of an entire scene, in consensual non-consent. It’s a rape role play. My research indicates it is considered “edge play” in the BDSM world: anything involving the risk of physical harm. The umbrella term includes breath play, blood play, scat play, fire play, etc.

Consensual non-consent is controversial, even in the context of BDSM. Wikipedia indicates that this is usually done in 24/7 Master/slave relationships. The point, the major difference, is there is still consent. This is the reason that safewords are necessary. During a usual scene I can say “stop” and Master will stop. I can say “No,” and Master will stop. The lines get blurry when pretending to not consent, and “no” may not mean “no.” That’s why we have established “red” and “yellow”. I can still withdraw my consent from a scene that I consented to, just like any other relationship. Both people agree that this is either on the table or off it. Both people have equal say in what can and can’t happen. Both people agree how to stop it.

A section I read in “The Master” by Tara Sue Me defines it for me perfectly, when Cole and Sasha are discussing slave service. Cole says something to the extent of “There are days you’ll feel your only worth is tied to your arse, your mouth, your pussy, and how often he decides to fuck them.” Sasha protests that it’s not like that all the time. Cole counters that his previous slave can attest that it was like that enough of the time. Sasha replies “Then there was some part of her that needed to be used like that.” Cole then informs Sasha that there are some M/s relationships that don’t use safewords, which is a big trigger for her because she suffered at the hands of her ex when he seriously injured her after depriving her of a way to safe out. And she states she would never engage in a relationship like that because one of her hard limits is that her relationships will ALWAYS include safewords. This scene here is not only describing a relationship in which consent is implied, but that a power exchange relationship has a contract to which both parties must agree.

Another pervasive stereotype is that kinksters are promiscuous. It is already an issue in our society that promiscuity equates to “willing to fuck anyone”. It is already an issue that some feel entitled to others’ bodies. It is not uncommon in the kink world for people to practice polyamory, even in committed relationships. Some may consider that “promiscuous”, in which case it could be perverted into implied consent. And we’re back to “if you didn’t want it, why were you dressed like that?” We’re back to police and defense attorneys requiring victims to defend their sexual histories and prove that they didn’t consent. It doesn’t matter how many people anyone has sex with. Everyone is entitled to deciding who is allowed to touch them, when, and in what ways. If I were, for instance, to decide to screw every single person of age on this planet except one, I STILL have the right to say no to that one person.

Yet another harmful stereotype is that because a submissive enjoys pain, it means any potential assault isn’t as bad for them. Tie that in with promiscuity, and we go right back to victims being told that what happened to them was not rape. Just because a person enjoys being spanked, or slapped, or choked, or burned, or literally shit on, does not mean they enjoy having it done to them outside of the context of a scene. And yes, some people live in a “scene” permanently. But every scene, no matter the duration or the limits, even if the limit is “no limit”, does not mean consent can not be withdrawn.

For example, I enjoy performing oral sex or engaging in anal sex. Master will still ask me what my limits are for the night. If I’m feeling a bit queasy but otherwise fine, I can take oral sex off the table. If I’m not in the right headspace for anal, I can say no to it before the scene begins. I can say no during a scene. Consent is fluid. Master asked me in the middle of play the other night if I would object to anal. My response is not relevant, but I consented to what happened. (Also not relevant, but I was thoroughly satisfied afterward. I believe Master was as well.)

I’d like to wrap this up by asking for any harmful stereotypes I may have missed, getting some feedback, and anyone adding their thoughts. Please, leave me a comment.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s