Sexual authoritarians and bdsm 3: the “bdsm is patriarchy” argument

Some anti-bdsm critics argue that bdsm is essentially a cover for male on female domestic violence. There is something that looks like evidence for this perspective in the mainly US Christian sects that endorse female subservience and in which girls and women are property, passed from their father to their husband, whose orders they are supposed to obey. 

There’s a knowing tone to a lot of “domestic discipline literature. For some of the women, at least, it’s about the sex

Many of those sects explicitly endorse non-consenting, or at best semi-consenting (where the woman consents to the relationship and its terms, but has little choice if she wishes to remain in the culture she was brought up in), physical violence under the name “domestic discipline”. 

“Domestic discipline” is a movement, again mainly in the US, in which women, again mostly Christian, accept their male partner’s right to spank them, or use harsher discipline methods involving belts or paddles. It’s a more complex movement than it may seem. 

The movement includes relationships in which the woman really is consenting, and enjoying being a submissive woman under her partner’s discipline. Women writing about their disciplinary experiences (which may include some pure fantasy), make it clear that they take their “discipline” as sexual and both partners enjoy it on those terms. 

In other cases it’s clear that the men in these sects have used the Bible verses that insist on the subservience of women to men, and are working out their own desires on non-consenting women, who are beaten and are largely unable to escape. Those men may be driven by the desires that drive on bullies, and not necessarily by any sexual enjoyment of the beatings they hand out.

But bdsm as a culture insists on clearly stated consent, without which nothing can happen. The rhetoric of “domestic discipline” may happen to suit a couple in which the man is dominant and the woman submissive, and they have no other vocabulary to set out the desired terms of their relationship. But bdsm is a very different beast. 

In theory and in practice bdsm is not about “men dominating women”. It may involve women dominating men, or men dominating women, or women and men taking turns, or it may involve only men, or only women. Moreover, most men and women in bdsm change their role according to their mood or their partner’s.

People may have complex preferences: a bisexual woman may take either a dominant or submissive role when she is with a woman but take only the dominant role when she is with a man. A man may switch with women but prefer to be submissive when with men. There is a kaleidoscopic array of possible combinations, in which the individual figures refuse to keep still to be counted. 

It’s also argued that bdsm perpetuates a male style of thinking and acting that oppresses women regardless of the gender of the participants. It “eroticises power differences”. Patriarchy, the argument goes, requires domination and submission to exist, so it preserves itself by conditioning people to be aroused by dominance and submission.

Bdsm therefore reinforces patriarchy even when the woman is dominant and the man is submissive, or no women are involved, or no men are involved. Inequality in sexual activity – of any kind – is “unnatural” and a betrayal of women. In a post-patriarchal world, with genuine and thoroughgoing sexual equality, people would only ever have gentle sex and only be sexually excited by equality.

The argument demonises a lot of human interaction that the people involved enjoy, and casts women as perpetual and permanent victims regardless of how they perceive their own relationships. It allows no improvement, except by the replacement of the human species by another, gentler, and perhaps duller species that does not currently seem to exist.

(To be continued.)

Wicked Wednesday: Very pretty stripes

The cane landed low across my bottom, and I yelped. It surprised me by hurting so much when Sir wielded it seriously. I tried to keep still, but of course I didn’t completely manage, and Lucy had to press hard on my shoulders. She opened her thighs a little, to push my head further down. 

It was the strangest sensation, with my face between Lucy’s lovely, softly plump thighs, and my bum out and arched up so Sir could hurt me. Lucy stroked my shoulder blades lightly with her fingertips, then resumed the downwards pressure. 

Sir said, “Good girl.” But then he swung the cane again. I heard it swish through the wind, a moment before it hit me. We were both silent and solemn, we two girls, so the crack of it landing on me seemed to fill the room. It might have echoed, but it hurt too much for me to notice. It was even lower, just above the crease of my thighs.

It cancelled out everything else in the world, and this time I cried out with the shock and pain of it. I kept myself still, so Lucy didn’t have to push too hard. After all, she’d get the same if she let me get up, so I was responsible for her. I said, “Oh, sirrrr…” 

“Quiet, Maddie. Keep that bottom up. Ten to go. If you’re good.”

The third and fourth strokes came quickly after that, each lower than the one before, so that the fourth caught me right in that sensitive junction just below my underbum. I was still yowling from the third stroke when the fourth landed, so that I screamed at the fourth, and my head ducked lower into Lucy’s softness while my bottom waggled from side to side. 

Lucy moaned slightly, and I could feel just a touch of wetness on my forehead. God! She was wet! My head had touched her cunt! Well, I couldn’t talk: I was wet too. We were both, in our different ways, loving this. I wanted to kiss that little cunt, but the angles were wrong. I couldn’t reach. I nuzzled her with my forehead again, though, and she moaned, leaning back, rocking a little, holding me tight.

 I had no idea what to do with a girl, and neither did she, I’m sure, but we both wanted to know. Maybe Sir might teach us, one day.

So I was smiling when the fifth and sixth strokes landed. Oh, I screamed and the tears ran down my face, and the stripes, all of them, hurt like fire, like being bitten by a snake, but I still smiled. 

Sir said, “That’s halfway, Maddie. Do you have any idea how beautiful you look? With your stripes?”

“I’ve never seen, Sir. I’ve never been caned, and I’ve only seen…”

“Don’t mention his name. Anyway, they’re very pretty on you.”

“I, uh, I’m glad you like them, Sir.” That sounds ridiculous now, when I say that’s what I said, but I meant it. I still do, whenever I get the cane.

There was a pause. With my head between Lucy’s thighs I had to imagine his smile, but I knew it was there. “Oh,” he said, “they’re something to be proud of, Maddie.”

“Yes. I think I will be. When I see them in the mirror.”

“Would you like a record? I mean a photo? Now and after the twelve?”

“Yes! I’d love to see. And …” I would have blushed, except that my face was already as red as a tomato. “Maybe it’s something to remember.”

“Good girl, Maddie. Lucy, it’ll be quite hard to take those shots without your thighs getting into the picture. Nothing else, just a pair of thighs. You can say no.”

I expected Lucy to say no, but she didn’t hesitate. “Yes. Of course. It’s an important moment.”

Sir said thank you. Sir faffed around with his phone for a while, and I said, “thank you,” too. I kissed Lucy on the inside of her thighs, twice on each side.

Then I felt the cane tapping against my bottom again.  

Sexual authoritarians and bdsm 2: The false consciousness argument

There is a more complex case against bdsm than conservative authoritarians have ever argued, promoted by the feminist faction that allied itself with conservative authoritarians on erotic words and images, and bdsm.

Anti-bdsm feminists often speak as if there is a feminist position on bdsm and theirs is it, but this has never been the case. There are feminists on both sides of the debate.

This anti-bdsm case rests on the assumption is that bdsm is inherently an expression of patriarchy, of male dominance, so woman only have bdsm desires if their sexuality is distorted by patriarchy. Women who engage in bdsm have simply internalised patriarchal values, even if they delude themselves by thinking they are feminist.

By this theory they may think that they consent to bdsm activity, but this consent is not “real”.

This is because the power imbalance between men and women in our culture is so great and pervasive that women who consent to bdsm have been coerced into doing so by cultural factors beyond their control. This argument is also made of all women who consent to heterosexual intercourse, but that version of the argument is less often made within the hearing of allies on the religious right.

This readiness to diminish and dismiss the moral and political significance of women’s choices and consents is commonly justified by the claim that women who have and (what’s worse) act on bdsm desires are victims of “false consciousness”.

False consciousness is a term derived from Marxist theory, to mean the tendency of oppressed people to accept the ideology of their oppressors and therefore to fail to perceive that they are oppressed. The term was used to explain the awkward fact that in developed countries working people on low incomes tend not to support Marxist political parties or campaigns.

False consciousness can refer to something real. It may be useful to use the term in relation to African American slaves who had accepted the idea that slavery was a just institution. But the term is best used humbly and tentatively.

For example, the reluctance of working people to support Marxism might be a sign of false consciousness, but it might derive from realistic evaluation of what happened in the countries where Marxists got into power. In practice “false consciousness” is a rhetorical device for dismissing the views of the people on whose behalf one claims to speak, because if those people were allowed to speak or vote or act on their own behalf they would say and choose the wrong things.

In this perspective only some choices arise from false consciousness. Consenting to heterosexual intercourse, taking part in the writing or filming of pornography, or engaging in bdsm: these things can be ascribed to false consciousness. Engaging in non-penetrative lesbian sex, going to an anti-pornography rally, or taking part in hours of doctrinal discussion may not.

Moreover only some women are subject to false consciousness. Others are immune. Anti-bdsm feminists are confident enough in the authenticity of their own consciousnesses to make their own sexual decisions and to feel qualified to force sexual decisions (for example on the availability and therefore use of pornography) onto other women.

Feminist women who suffer from bdsm’s false consciousness are, surely, fortunate that other feminist women know better and are prepared to edit their sexual desires for them.

Or they may wish to tell them to take a running jump.

(To be continued)

Sexual authoritarians and bdsm 1

When people discriminate against people who take part in bdsm, or support the harassment of bdsm clubs, publications and so on, by police and other authorities, they usually believe that they are reasonable people acting virtuously. People ply themselves with reasons when they treat other people badly.

If you enjoy bdsm, Robin Morgan, feminist-except-for-women-who-make-choices-she-disapproves-of, says you’re a traitor to all women.

Harassment and discrimination happen because of political, religious, ideological and other frameworks that define certain people as outsiders, generate dislike for them and provide reasons for messing with them as individuals and suppressing their meeting places, books, videos and so on. Discrimination is hardly ever mindless, though it can appear so. Nor is it “natural”.

People make up reasons for hatred, and those reasons are generally rationalisations, intellectualized and argued, to keep the emotional dislike behind them out of sight.

But discrimination against and harassment of bdsm people comes from other, more emotional partskinds of thinking.

Conservative authoritarianism

One framework that drives legal and other activities directed against bdsm people can be called conservative authoritarianism, which is often religious in inspiration. The conservative authoritarian case against bdsm consists essentially of the premises that deviant sex is evil and that bdsm is deviant sex.

Bdsm is therefore, syllogistically, evil. If more arguments were needed, then there are the considerations that bdsm looks strange, often involves non-procreative sex, may involve people who are not married to each other, or are people of the same gender, and so on.

What’s more, bdsm is part of a category that includes oral sex, homosexuality, lesbianism, bdsm, fetishism, paedophilia, window-peeping and flashing, Satanism, group sex, polygamy and many other things. Tolerating any one of them will only encourage the others.

The Reverend James Dobson strongly supports the beating and whipping of terrified, non-consenting children, but if an adult spanks another adult for pleasure, that is, of course, the devil’s work

The distaste felt by conservative authoritarians for bdsm isn’t so different from their distaste for homosexuality, oral sex, and so on.

The impulse that drove a Massachusetts police officer to force his way into a private party in 2000 and arrest a woman who was spanking another woman with a wooden spoon is the same as the impulse that in 2004 led a Virginia policeman to arrest a 21-year old woman for getting oral sex from her boyfriend (the penalty for oral sex in Virginia is up to five years’ imprisonment), and in 2006 led Republican Ralph Davenport to put up a bill to prohibit the sale of vibrators in South Carolina.

No-one who promotes such laws, and no police officer who selectively upholds them, can possibly believe that these laws prevent any harm or protect any person. The laws simply reflect the reality that other people’s sexual expression can rouse emotions in some other people that can range from discomfort to terror, from dislike to hate.

Dialog in a delicatessen: sometimes there are no sexual secrets

Coffee

Ana guarded the last table while Svitlana brought over coffees and bagels. Svitlana put Ana’s coffee in front of her, and sat down. She looked at Ana over her glasses. “No, I’m not a lesbian because my husband used to punch me around. He started punching me when he found out I’m a lesbian.” A few heads turned, at the word ‘lesbian” loudly and cheerfully spoken.

Ana had wanted to go for lunch with Svitlana – she’d swapped her lunch hour with one of the salesmen to make it possible – because she’d thought they both had sexual secrets, and she’d wanted to talk about hers. She’d just learned that Svitlana didn’t actually have any sexual secrets. Svitlana still seemed the best person to talk to, about being a girl who liked obeying, and who liked it when her boyfriend bruised her, so long as he did it carefully.

Ana said, “Sorry.”

“Why?”

“Because I didn’t mean, ‘How could your life have gone so wrong that you became a lesbian?’ But I must have sounded like that. And that must be annoying.”

Bagel

Svitlana smiled and put her hand on Ana’s wrist. Ana made herself not move her arm. Her discomfort came from the things she’d been taught at home, from her own mother and then Senemelia, and from the First Samoan Church. She knew those lessons were wrong, but she’d never had to confront them before. If there were lesbians in the First Samoan Church they were careful to hide it. But she had no right to inflict her upbringing on Svitlana.

“No, honey. You’re not a hater. There are things you don’t know and you asked me. That’s the right thing to do. I’m not going to beat you for it.” Ana looked at her, astonished. Svitlana grinned, and looked much younger for a second. Mischievous. “Not like your boyfriend.”

“Ah. yeah You saw my bruises. Don’t you think I’m weird? For liking that… sort of thing?”

Not very secret lesbians

“Heavens no. If it comes from a sexy, loving place…” Ana nodded. “The day you waltzed in with those marks on your legs, I saw your face. And the way you were walking. You really enjoyed earning those bruises. And getting them. So he’s doing what you want.”

Ana frowned. “No. I have to do what he wants. That’s how it works.”

“You think? The only thing about you that’s weird, Ana sweetie, is that you take men far too seriously. But that’s not very weird. Statistically. Everybody does that.”

Note

I’m happily being busy with my girl at the moment. But this is an extract from the novel I’m writing at the moment. 

In the air tonight (my girl is)

 

Suggestive pose! She’s been working on choreography for a moose movie

My girl is flying towards me. So life is good. 

In fact, she’s just now cleared the Arctic and arrived in Kiruna. If I were a road, I’d end in Kiruna. If I were a person, I’d end it all, in Kiruna. Unless I had a ticket on, up and out. Which my girl, fortunately for all of us, does.

Next stop is somewhere in the damn world, then it’s me!

So: you want to know about my problems?

Somewhere – damned if I know where – I put my pussy-whip down and didn’t put it away.

Where the fuck is it?

Generally I’m a cunt-sayer, when I refer to lovely ladyparts, so I should logically say “cuntwhip”. But there’s a misogynist expression, “pussywhipped”, referring to a man who takes women’s needs seriously, that’s meant to discourage men from doing that. So I like to pervert the term, to refer to a real whip. I suppose it could also be used as a cockwhip, though not by my hands.

Anyway, it’s short, it’s cute, but unlike my girl it’s multi-thonged. I’m afraid I don’t know where it is, though.

So I’ll have to tidy my office, until I find it. Then, I shall use my pussywhip to whip my girl’s cunt. And her nipples. In particular.

I’ve got bigger worries than that, though. I hope she still loves me, in the flesh. There’s no reason why she shouldn’t, having managed to love me in the first place, I guess. But we’re anxious little creatures, we humans. I have no doubts about whether I love her, or how much. 

And where in the fuck is this?

Beyond that, I intend to collar her. But I haven’t found a good collar yet. I’m after a day collar, not some leather dog collar thing with bolts, spikes and tether points. I’m looking for something more subtle, full of meaning but not too obvious to others.

So she can wear it in the vicinity of her mother, say, without setting her off. 

Can I get a good collar, in time to collar my girl? This is on-going, with no guarantee of the good, happy ending. Stay tuned!

I’m also hoping to introduce her to the joys of anal sex. And myself to the joy (I have no doubt) of having my cock in her rectum. But I’ll desist if she’s not enjoying, or is hurting more than is fun. So… can I manage that difficult… passage? I hope so, but I don’t know. 

And keeping her happy. My girl deserves a good break and a good time. Regular fuckings and spankings will help, obviously. But her energy reserves are low, and food intake needs to be regular though usually small. She is very low and miserable if she runs out of fuel, so I need to be always ready to provide something small and just right. Can I manage? I intend to, that’s for certain. 

And then, within all the parameters, there has to be room for joy.  Girl bound, and joy unbound!

Wicked Wednesday: Do I smell like that?

So Lucy pulled her skirt up. She wasn’t wearing anything else, except a white, uniform bra. She sat on the edge of the desk. She looked at Sir, and then at me, and she opened her thighs. 

“A little bit further back, Lucy,” Sir said. “Just skootch your bottom back a bit, so Maddie’s got room to bent over and put her head between your thighs.” Lucy blushed – she was being so bold! – and moved back as she’d been told. 

“Good girl, Lucy. Maddie, you know what to do.” 

“Yes, Sir.” I stepped forward, and bent at the waist. It seemed a very formal thing to do, though I was naked and had six stripes blazing across my ass. And I was about to get six more. And another twelve if Sir could make me jump up without permission again. 

My face face pressed between Lucy’s plump thighs. She was such a sweet girl. I wasn’t into girls, but I liked her softness. As Sir liked mine.

Lucy put her hands on my head. She pressed me down so my face got closer to her pussy. 

“Lucy, you’d be safest if you pressed on her shoulders. Remember that I’ll cane you too, if she gets up. So I expect you to hold her tight. Firmly, girl.”

Lucy said, “Yes, Sir.” I felt her hands on my head one more time, pushing me lower so my cheeks pressed against the softness of her inner thighs. Her legs opened a little wider. She smelled like ice cream. Or maybe it was just that I liked the smell of ice cream. She smelled of sweat, really, and traces of piss, and something like almond. It was delicious.

Sir had taken me once already, with his mouth and his nose in my pussy, until I screamed. Did I smell like that? No wonder he liked it.

“Put your arms around her, Maddie. She’s looking after you. So hold her tight.”

“Yes, Sir.” I slipped my hands along her plump bare thighs, and clasped her bottom, one cheek in each hand. Her hands on my shoulders caressed me.

“Good girl. Good girls, both of you. Now, Maddie, be careful not to get up.” I felt the cane tap against my bottom. Once, twice. Lucy stopped carressing and pushed firmly down. I was helpless. But in such a beautiful, confusing, world.

Then the cane was gone. I braced myself.

Hail, pretty horrors, hail! Halloween and bdsm

I was never a fan of Halloween. Until this year. 

The first thing is that Halloween, in its current form, is pretty much an American thing. The country I come from isn’t very culturally similar to America, and people there just didn’t want it. Like a lot of non-Americans I first really became aware of it through the Halloween sequence in Spielberg’s film, ET.

So it’s something about kids dressing up in marketing outfits for various US franchises, and going door-to-door begging for sugar. So, I thought, it’s tacky and a bit greedy, And the voices of my parents, sounding in the back of my brain, told me that this was a dumb, kind of ugly festival. 

I had another objection. Halloween is probably (not certainly, but probably) the Celtic festival of Samhain, which took place at the same time in the year, and had a theme of death and the lost souls of the dead. In taking it over, Christians gave it a Christian veneer. In this case, it was a night of licence, for indulging the wicked flesh, before everybody goes to church in the morning and people are then supposed to reject the flesh and the devil, and return to Christian asceticism, anti-sex, anti-this world doctrines.

The “trick or treat” thing is focussed on mischief, rewards and punishments. So it turns to bdsm very easily

That idea, the wickedness of the human body and the natural world, is one of the things I most dislike about Christianity.   

But it’s been steadily losing its religious roots, both Celtic (believe me, ancient pagans mostly get a good press, but they really don’t deserve it) and Christian, and it’s steadily evolved into something much nicer.

Basically these days it’s a festival of geek, a cos-play extravaganza. And there are no threatened “tricks”. The slight blackmail element of the old festival has faded away.

So I got visited by a great horde of seven-year-old girls, a couple of moms standing a  carefully calculated distance away. They were all dressed as princesses, mostly Disney princesses but a few fairy princesses too, a sort of ballerina, and a couple of girls in home-made Wonder Women costumes. (So Yay to their moms!) They were far too charming to lecture about this dumb festival. I didn’t have anything prepared, so I gave them dried raisins and apricots, and chocolate.

So the transaction wasn’t, “Trick or treat”. It was, “don’t we look amazing? We dressed up for you adults, so pay us in sugar!”

The Halloween-bdsm links haven’t escaped the cartoonists

Later I went shopping for bread and milk and such, and there were Goth girls everywhere, and real estate saleswomen, shop assistants and a woman I always notice in the chemist all dressed up, as Goth girls and other fantasy costumes. Anything that brings out women in velvet corsets, black lippy and choker collars is ok with me. Plus there were witches, Wonder Women and an amazing Cat Girl or two.

Next year I’ll be in it. I’m going to find me a blind harpist, and dress as a bard, we’ll go door-to-door singing Welsh Death Ballads until they give us marijuana and ask us to go away. You have to be polite to a bard. We can immortalise you in poetry, and its up to us whether you look good or stupid.

Anyway, Halloween! Not Christian, not Pagan: it’s a festival of slightly kinky cosplay!

Sinful Sunday: Something simple

 

This always feels right, to me. 

Beneath the sexiness of spanking, which I’ve discussed here, there’s something very comforting in being spanked, for many submissives. 

I read somewhere that one of the reasons it’s so emotionally soothing is that it has sensual links to something that human, chimp and bonobo mothers all do. A common form of comforting is when the mother holds the baby against their body, and almost absent-mindedly smacks the baby’s bottom. Gently, while swaying or rocking back abd forwards, up and down. 

The meaning of this gesture, it’s been suggested, is:

Hand on bottom: It’s okay, I’ve got you.

Hand away: But there’s no emergency, you’re safe, so I don’t have to hold you tight.

Hand back on bottom: But if there were danger, I’d hold you tight and protect you.

Hand away: But there’s no need.

Hand back on bottom: Still, I’m here.

And so on. Not quite forever, but it can go on for quite a while.

 

So this kind of comforting still carries a sort of physical memory for the submissive. He or she is being looked after, and they’re ok.

Anyway, my girl will be back in this position as fast as possible, once she’s cleared Customs.