WHO drops “diseases” BDSM, fetishism and transvestism off the sick list! (Part 1)

On 18 June 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a new version of its International Classification of Diseases and Associated Health Problems (ICD). The new version, ICD-11, included a substantially re-worked version of its section on “paraphilic disorders”. 

“Paraphilia” is an interesting word, by the way. It seems to have gained currency fairly recently. (I’ve got a 1983 Oxford Concise Dictionary lying about, and it’s not in it.) It was an attempt to provide a more “neutral” word than “perversion” for non-standard sexual tastes.

Two perfectly nice girls declared sane, at last. It’s a 1930s photo, so they waited 80 years. Tess, right, says, “Yay! I’m getting a bigger violin!” Violet, left, thinks Tess will be drawing a longer bow. 

But “para” as a prefix means “beside” or “beyond”; so there’s still a buried assumption that the paraphilic person has “missed” the proper target in developing their “philia”, that is, the objects of their sexual desires.

So prejudice sneaked back in, even when the people using the word were presumably trying to avoid it. Never mind. They tried, anyway.

In all the editions of the ICD up to the 11th, the paraphilic disorders section included sexual sadism, sexual masochism, fetishism and transvestism.

This year, they’ve all been removed. Sexual sadism on non-consenting victims is still included, as of course it should be.

 

I’m going to give a history of how and why this change happened this time next week. (My next three posts are going to be sexy rather than analytical, so I won’t have time to get back to this topic till then.) 

Oh, all right, here’s the quick version:

In the meantime, the short-short version is that three factors in particular fed into this change: 

1  A similar change in the ICD’s sister publication, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) in its most recent version, the DSM-V;

2  Activism by bdsm and fetishist communitiers and spokespeople, particularly in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and in the United States;

Trust me. I’m a doktor. 

3  Research showing that people who take part in bdsm are otherwise indistinguishable from everyone else. Except for being younger and hornier than the population as a whole.

The most powerful evidence came from the Australian Study of Sexual Health and Attitudes, 2003 and 2014.

Which I was involved in. Hence the gratuitous selfie on our left of the learned Doktor Mortimer taking a bow.

(Not a real doctor; just a real actual worm.)

The next post on this topic is here.

Wicked Wednesday: Darkness and light

I’m a dom. When I go to meet a bunch of people who also do bdsm, I’m likely to wear black: black boots with metal rings, black jeans with zips all over the place, black t-shirt, black jacket.

That’s traditional. It’s probably only thirty to forty years old, as traditions go, but I tend to go with traditions where they’re harmless. But in general I’m not an enormous fan of black or darkness.

Dr Frederick Wertham was quite right to say there was a strong fetishistic streak in comic book characters. (That’s Superman and Power Girl, by the way.)

For example I always preferred Superman to Batman; Superman’s story is about optimism and ethical issues, while Batman’s story is about poor Bruce Wayne being psychologically messed up because he saw his parents murdered in front of him.

Superman’s problem is essentially that he’s a god, and he has to work out ways of using his powers to help humanity without getting in their way too much. To me that’s more interesting and actually far more relatable that Batman’s dead-parents-bitterness problem.

Because we all have some power, and we all need to work out how to use our allocation of power to make things better.

 (Don’t get me wrong. I like the Batman mythos and I ain’t dissing Bruce Wayne. I just prefer Superman’s world. And worldview.)

Wertham’s mistake was in thinking there’s anything wrong with that. (Batman with Catwoman.)

Similarly, I’m not really interested in the problems of the traditional powers of darkness. I could never take vampires, werewolves, ghosts, demons and devils seriously. I don’t just mean that I don’t think they’re real. It’s that as story elements they seem kind of silly, rather than sexy or stylish or chilling or whatever. I can’t be scared by a vampire story or movie, because they just don’t feel real. 

Darkness, when I’m writing, tends to come in the shape of a corrupt or authoritarian politician, a racist cop, a violent husband.

Or just malign chance, like disease or car accident. 

Most of the people in stories I write, including the erotica, are well-meaning. They may get ratty, and thoughtless, but that’s because they’re under stress. Given time to relax and think, they behave better. I write that kind of interaction not because it’s a fantasy world I want to live in: it’s actually the way that most real people actually do behave. I also think it’s more interesting: the struggle people have, in trying to find and make themselves do the right thing. And conflict between people who both think they’re doing the right thing, and are well-meaning, is more interesting that struggles between “good” and “evil”. 

Once we’ve got our black gears on, all male doms think we look like this. In our dreams…

As a dom, I give control, restraint and certain kinds of pain to women who want that, to be controlled, held tight, bound, given carefully measured touches of pain, while knowing that they are loved and looked after.

That doesn’t seem to me to be “dark”, or enhanced by pretending that it is. It’s colourful, the colours of blush and arousal, which vary with different skin colours, but are seldom really “black”. Sex, and especially bdsm, is not at all monochrome. 

It’s an exchange, for love, or at least affection, and pleasure on both sides. We give each other things that the other fiercely needs, while receiving the equivalent from them.

So I don’t deal much in darkness, or in black. Except for the clothes. 

 

I’ll be back to Maddie’s saga next week. 

 

The Rise of the Cocky Billionaire

Well, I’m a billionaire in Thai baht. I’m rising because I had a bad cold and now I seem to be getting rid of it. I’m cocky because I’ve got a cock. I am be-cocked. My cock works well,  rising in the presence of submissive women who want my attention, and later it sets, like the sun.

So that’s how I got “cocky” and “billionaire” into my title. I know, though, that “billionaire” and “cocky” are two words that make me avoid a book, especially if they appear on the cover. 

With “billionaire” it’s partly because it suggests the book is going to be derivative of the “Fifty Shades” books, and god knows that’s a terrible model. There’s also the way sex gets mingled with a kind of right-wing economics. No questions are asked about how the billionaire got his money, and that’s the most real human-interest part of “billionaire” to me. As well as, are they paying their share of taxes?

Instead there’s a sort of Ayn Rand approach, that the very rich have no obligations to the society they live in. They’re just desirable because they can take a girl around in their private jet or yacht, and they can take her shopping. 

There’s something faintly insulting to both men and women is this sexual idolisation of the billionaire. It suggests that a man isn’t a dom because of his personal qualities, but because of his wallet. He dominates the heroine because he’s rich. Similarly, it suggests that women aren’t attracted by personality, humour, eyes, and so on, but by wallets. That’s a shallow and cynical take on human nature, and also, thank fuck, a false view. it doesn’t remotely resemble the world I live in or the dominant and submissive couples I know.

Then there’s the “cocky” thing. The attributes of the “cocky” man seem to be that he’s good-looking and really, deeply knows it. So when he does something obnoxious to the heroine at their first meeting, and she responds angrily, he knows she’s aroused by him to the point of soaking through her jeans. 

So he says, “I know you want me,” to this woman he’s just met, and then, “but you’ll be begging me for it later.” And he saunters off. 

A “cocky” man, encountered in real life, would be what is usually called “an asshole”.

I don’t think it’s any surprise that “Faleena Hopkins”, the woman who took out a copyright on the word “cocky”, (which she did not coin, and she was not the first to use it in an erotic romance title) and started threatening to sue other writers who use the word, reviewed Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugs” on Amazon and said it was her favourite book. 

Most doms I know are trying to be decent human beings, and most submissives react to the person and not their wallet. And they struggle to work out how to be dominant and submissive together. That’s the most realistic bdsm story. It’s also, I think, the sexiest.

Vanilla and spice: Is bdsm a smaller box?

Nothing wrong with vanilla

I’ve never liked the term “vanilla”, used by some people in bdsm to refer to sex that doesn’t have bdsm in it, or the people who practice it. It seems a bit disparaging, and self-promoting in a way I find unattractive when other people do that to me.

For example, there was a thing in the Sydney gay community a few years back where heterosexuals were referred to as “breeders”. Sometimes it was a joke, and a good-natured one, but I’ve also heard and read it being used in terms of extreme dismissiveness and contempt. 

I thought it was a shame when gays and lesbians were doing that, even if the het world has come up with its share of disparaging words for gays and lesbians, Hets have no moral high ground whatsoever. 

I think it’s a shame when we refer to the majority of the human race as having “vanilla” sex, with its sub-text that they’re having boring sex, poor people, while we fetishists, ministers, bdsm guys and girls are exploring all the flavours and having psychedelically mind-blowing sex, compared to those poor, restricted vanillas. 

But the term’s here now, and no one’s come up with a better one-word way of saying, “non-bdsm sex and the people who have it”.

When I’m talking about bdsm to people who aren’t into bdsm, I’ll explain that there’s this word, and I use it for its convenience. I don’t mean it pejoratively. 

Still, I’d rather there was a better term. 

I don’t know why but when I think, “sort of attractive but utterly not sexy”, this is the sort of image that comes to mind

I also wonder about my own sexual repertoire. Since I’ve embraced bdsm so strongly and so passionately, I’ve had occasional sexual encounters with women who aren’t into bdsm and don’t want to try 

I’ve found that there’s enough lust to carry me through vanilla sex (erection, ejaculation and so on).

But there’s no question that I’m not as turned on, as excited, as I am when I’m subduing and taking some sweetly or fierily consenting submissive girl. 

Have I become a sexual specialist, only really capable of enjoying bdsm-related sex? I think the answer is: not completely, but to a significant extent. I’ve fitted myself into a smaller box. That worries me a bit. 

I sometimes feel a little awkward because I’m monosexual.

That’s a word that some bisexuals use to describe people who aren’t bisexual. Obviously, you can be homosexual and monosexual, and you can be heterosexual and monosexual, which last is the Venn circle that I’m in.

He’s the sort of go-to image for “hot man”, just at this moment. But I don’t fancy Chris Hemsworth, nice guy though he seems to be, or anyone of his gender

Bisexual seems like the cool category to be in, embracing everyone, but I’m stuck with not fancying men whatsoever, and being amazed that so many women do, thank fuck. 

Anyway, I’m heterosexual, and so I’ve excluded half the human race from potential lust, and I can see that that’s a loss, of a kind. Similarly, I’d much rather be able to have vanilla sexual relationships, because otherwise I’d be excluding about 95% of humanity from potential lust.

But I have a feeling I’m drifting away from non-bdsm sex.

I don’t think I’ve had an erotic dream, certainly not a waking sexual fantasy, which isn’t bdsm-based, in years. Still,I guess that we all just have to be, and accept, whatever it happens that we are. 

Message of hope for baby-doms

The most miserable experience of my life was because of bdsm. I was twenty-two, and I was very deeply in love with a woman I admired, respected, who was beautiful, who shared my political passions, whose virginity I’d taken. She’d been eighteen, and she hadn’t told me. I’d been nineteen, and I didn’t know enough to realise. 

Later, when she told me, I was flattered that I’d been her choice, and sorry I hadn’t made more fuss. She should have had more cunnilingus, and afterwards a cake with a candle. Anyway, it was done.

I don’t really have any photos that illustrate this post. But here’s a pic I took yesterday, of a Prague manhole cover, depicting some sort of strife.

But there was a problem. My deepest and most satisfying sexual thoughts, and all of my fantasies, involved bdsm, and me being a dom. I don’t think the word existed at the time.

But in my sexual dreams I commanded, fastened, spanked and flogged. I guided, I rewarded and punished, and I took.

That was what I wanted, from a willing partner having fun.

It always had been what I wanted. I’d known it since I was four, long before I was sexually focussed, let alone sexually active.

But she thought that that sort of sex wasn’t just not for her; it was evil.

She’d read Andrea Dworkin and Robin Morgan on bdsm, and so she “knew” that. There could be no such thing as ethical, or even consensual, bdsm.

I’d mentioned it once, and on seeing her reaction, I gave up. I thought it was a pity. I loved her so much I wanted to be with her forever. and that meant I’d have to bury my bdsm. Lose it. Forget about it. Cut it off me.

Of course, sexual desires and needs don’t go away. Sometimes it’d be too much, and when she was absent I’d have my fantasies and masturbate. The miserable thing happened because we were staying with her parents, and moments alone just didn’t happen.

Eventually, the desires got too much, and I took a book I liked (“The Coming of Age of Françoise Cocteau”, which I’d expected to be more stylish, though the flagellation scenes were hot) to a local park, overlooking the sea.

It was twilight cold, and no one seemed to be there, and no one was likely to come to the park at that hour. I found a place among the trees, partly sheltered by a rock, and masturbated. But I felt desolate. I was in love with a girl who loved me, and I was still utterly isolated. Part of me was disgusting to her. All of me, just then, would be disgusting to anyone who saw me.  

So I was in tears, streaming down my face, before I came, and after. Body fluids everywhere.

That’s it. That’s the experience. I cleaned myself up, binned the tissues, waited a while for the onshore breeze to remove the smell from my body, and trudged home. Despising myself.

 But here’s the thing. She left me the next year, because in the feminist circles she was moving in it was wrong to have a boyfriend at all: sleeping with the enemy, and withholding wimminlovingenergy from other women, that’s what loving me was. Eventually it got too much and she moved in with women from the sisterhood. I was collateral damage. 

It was not the happiest time of my life.

Sitting at a cafe in Prague today, keeping an eye on the square. Because life is ok.

But humans, thank fuck, are fickle, and after a mourning period I noticed that a man who’d been with one woman for four years, despite a roving eye, was a subject of sexual interest from other women. I had opportunities, and I started taking them. The second significant girlfriend I had wanted me to spank her. We explored further, and I found that I loved spanking her, and I loved what happened when we went further, too.

I moved to another city when I finished my degree, and found that my very next girlfriend wanted to be spanked and commanded too. So I’d met and bedded two women in a row who were submissive, when I hadn’t even included that in my selection criteria. I realised that my life wasn’t going to be as miserable as I’d expected. Instead life set about being fun and bringing me joy. I learned that a male dom is not short of women who want male doms, so long as those doms behave themselves like gentle men.

Because life is random, and for other reasons too obvious to explain, here’s a picture of a dog-washing shop, two days ago,  in Geneva.

Anyway, that’s my message to baby-doms. The term “baby-doms” isn’t meant to be dismissive. It’s derived from “baby-dykes”, who are among the most charming people on the planet, even if they don’t want to have sex with me.

Babyhood is a time of infinite potential. Baby-doms are people whose experience of bdsm is in its infancy, who are just starting out, and who have, perhaps, only recently become aware of their desires. Don’t despair. Life can go hard on “perverts”, and so can your own mind.

Keep your code of ethics, try to do the right thing, and persevere.

There’s nothing wrong with being a dom, so long as you obey the same rules about consent and avoiding force or manipulation that people expect in other kinds of sex. A lot of people are submissive, and they are looking for you, or someone like you.

Life gave me some miserable times because I’m a dom, but it also gave me the most wonderful experiences and times I’ve ever had. Those outweigh the bad times by a factor of, I’m not sure, but at least a hundred to one. I’d never give up being a dom, now, even if the thing were possible.     

So, be hopeful and of good cheer. Life offers paths to doms, to fit their sexual “kink” into a good, ethical life, with lots and lots of incredibly hot sex and love. 

Fiery, faerie sex 1

There is a word for having a fetish for fire: pyrophilia. It involves setting, or watching, fires for sexual arousal and gratification. 

Fire is dramatic!

It’s supposed to be different from pyromania, which is compulsively setting fires for other, non-sexual, reasons.

Me, I’ve been a psychiatric nurse, and I’ve studied psychology as part of an undergraduate degree. So although I’ve seen how the diagnostic system works in practice, I’m not any sort of expert at all. 

Still, I know there’s evidence that for various reasons (academic publishing pressures, the fact that getting conditions into the DSM makes it easier for patients to claim financial support for treatment, among others) psychiatrists are – perversely – rewarded for finding new diagnoses. So behaviour that has a range of motivations may get labelled as if the motives can be separated into, for example, sexual and non-sexual. 

Flames of passion, and so forth, didn’t become cliches for no reason at all

Still, a very small number of people have had their genitalia hooked up to various devices measuring sexual arousal, and responded more strongly to images of fire than to images of an attractive person of their preferred gender. The fire is hotter than the hottie. 

Still, in most cases it seems that there’s a range of motives when someone starts a fire, especially one that places lives and homes at risk. 

One motivation is hostility to the people who are likely to suffer from the fire’s impact. Even if they’re unknown, the arsonist may think of them as “rich bastards”, or “adults”, or whatever. They may also be a hated racial minority.

As well, there’s anger, especially in young men, that they’re not getting the things – female company, money, fame, respect, etc – they think they’re entitled to. There are other motives.

At the same time, fire is warmth, it’s energy, it’s wild, unpredictable and free. Though it can be tamed. Those are sexy qualities.

Guess who likes fire? Jerusalem Mortimer, that’s who

If I’m with a girl on a beach, and I pile up some driftwood and make a fire, and we sit together staring at it, the chances that we’ll have sex are as close to 100% as makes no difference.

Setting a safe fire, and enjoying it together, is one of the basic human sexual scripts.

And from hotties to flames of passion, burning love and fires of desire, so much of our sexual language uses fire images and metaphors. We’re just… drawn to fire. 

I’ve got a bdsm-flavoured fire story of my own to tell, I mean a true one. I’ll write it in the next couple of weeks.  

 

Don’t do that! 3

Remember: those knickers only count as consent if she’s signed them

Gavain thought. What had he learned about himself, from smacking Cassie’s bottom? “Spanking you felt good, I mean as a sensual experience. There’s that.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Gawain. That’s so appalling I can’t even tell whether you’re trying to talk your way out of trouble. I tell you what, though.”

“What?”

“I know you. We’re friends. I know you’re not a psycho or a misogynist. But that pat on the ass thing, that gets harder when I’m getting closer to coming: I noticed that.”

“Didn’t feel subtle, then?”

“No woman wouldn’t notice. Thing is,not everyone knows you’re not a nutcase. So there are a lot of girls, probably the majority, who aren’t going to all that delighted when a man offers to hit them. Even if he means it in a nice sexy way. Cause they don’t think there is a nice way or a sexy way. So your chances of getting them back into your bed are close to zero.”

Gavain nodded, considering that. It seemed likely to be true. He said, “Yeah.”

There’s no sneaky way of spanking someone. They will notice.

“You know, even for girls who aren’t shocked, maybe even girls who’d like to be spanked more than me, it still feels like you’re trying to be sneaky. No one likes that.”

“Yeah.”

“You’re an ok person, and you pay attention when you’re fucking. I like the way you fuck. I bet lots of girls like fucking you. Or they would. So I’m not getting at you.”

“Yeah.”

“No! You don’t get to sulk! You’re the one who smacked my ass.”

Don’t do that again! 2

NOTE

This is Episode 2 of a short story. Well, it’s short by my standards: I expect it to take only three or four episodes. Episode 1 is here. Read it if you haven’t and you feel like it, then come back. 

Don’t Do That! 2

Gavain groaned. He had, indeed, spanked Cassie without her permission. He said, “I’m an idiot. I’m sorry. I mean, truly: I apologize.”

“God, you’re fish in a barrel. I was teasing you. You’re easy. Truth?”

“Ok.”

“It was mildly pleasant. It’s not one of my turn-ons, particularly, but I didn’t hate it. How, um, I suppose I should ask, how was it for you?”

“I’m not sure. I mean, your ass always feels good to me.” She looked irritated, so he corrected course.

“I don’t know,” he said. “When I had the thought about my, uh, client, I mean, when it occurred to me to spank her, I had a kind of flash, like a vision of what it’d be like. It was hot as fuck. I went, full on, this-is-awkward, unwanted erection. In about five seconds. Took ages to get it down again.”

“Did she notice?”

“Oh yeah. She laughed at me. A lot.”

“Oh, poor you.”

“God no. I was relieved. Could have been much worse.”

“I suppose. Anyway, what’s that got to do with how hot it was to spank me? Or not?”

“Because when I imagined it she was really into it. That’s what made it so hot.”

“So my reaction was… disappointing?” Cassie didn’t look sorry.

“I wasn’t sure if you hadn’t noticed, or you were putting up with it, or it was sort of okay but nothing special. So that wasn’t so hot.”

“On behalf of all womanhood, I apologize for not being a porn star. You’ll just have to put up with real girls.”

“You got a porn star’s ass. Very superior ass.”

“Huh.” But she waggled her ass, just the same.

Don’t do that! 1

Cassie astride and above him, jockeying vehemently with her eyes closed, was focused on her orgasm. She had no notion that he, specifically, was there. Gavain, providing her fulcrum, knew she’d reached her point of no return.

He moved his hand down from her hip and smacked her bottom, experimentally. There was a small sound, a slap, but she didn’t open her eyes or change her rhythm. Gavain considered the sensation. His handful of her ass felt great, of course, but it always did, whether she was still or bouncing, whether his hand arrived hard or soft.

But did he get off on spanking her? Did it add an edge to the already excellent experience of having sex with Cassie? He smacked her again, on the other side, a little harder. Cassie still didn’t open her eyes, but she expelled her breathe, once, hard, through her nose, and lowered her body so her breasts touched his chest and his cock slipped further into her. She sped up, frantic for speed.

By way of encouragement he smacked her in time with her movements, until she arched her back, all muscles clenched, and made her orgasm noise, low and loud. It sounded to Gavain like an engine racing between gears. He thought that was her, her enjoyment celebrated lustily with no concern for whether she sounded beautiful. He’d got over loving her, after she’d left him. But he still loved that.            

He let her rest, happy, without coming himself because she knew she’d want more in a few minutes, and it’d take him about twenty minutes to half an hour to recover if he came. He kissed her forehead and her ear, and she opened her eyes. “Hello you.”

Gavain said, “Hey you.” He put his hand back on her left buttock where he’d smacked it. There was a tiny glow of warmth.

Cassie frowned. “Um. Gavain, that was new. New for you, anyway. Were you trying to spank me?”

Gavain felt himself blushing. “It was… sort of an experiment. Did you mind? Or did you like it?”

“Um. It was ok. I didn’t mind. I suppose I wondered how come. Have you got some new girl who likes that?”

“Er, not exactly. Or not at all. There’s a girl, and I found myself thinking it’s be a really good idea, and amazingly hot, if I spanked her. And it wouldn’t be a great idea. It’d be a really stupid, unethical, terrible idea. To do anything with her. But I don’t think I’ve ever thought that about someone before.”

“Ahhhh huh.” Cassie wriggled very slowly on his cock, still inside her, but down to half hard. “So. This girl’s a client, yes?”

“Ump. She is.”

“She has that honor, my lord. And she probably does need spanking. But I can see that you can’t. But what were you doing with me?”

“I, uh, haven’t spanked anyone. I wanted to see if I thought it was hot.”

“So you conducted experiments with my ass. Non-consensual experiments.”

Gavain said, “Um…”

The politics of people who take part in bdsm

Still a right-wing shitbag, though.

I was at a munch a while back. I got into an argument with a guy who was a strong Liberal Party supporter (the right-wing party here, currently in government) about economics. He supported tax cuts to the rich, eliminating government involvement in the economy,  and so forth. He said these were classic Adam Smith ideas.

I’ve read essays about Adam Smith, which said he wasn’t simply a neo-liberal monetarist, but envisaged something a lot closer to the welfare state that his followers are busy dismantling.

So I argued that those aren’t actually a set of policies that Adam Smith would support. Our argument got a bit obscure. I’d say I lost, actually. I haven’t read Adam Smith directly, and he’d read The Wealth of Nations, so I couldn’t cite chapter and verse. I’d have been better off arguing that that tax cuts to the rich, and so forth, are terrible for the economy, because they make most people too poor to buy the extra things that keep the economy going above subsistence level. But though that’s true, the munch was a social occasion, and people tend to get angry when you get on to topics like that. So I picked the more academic issue.  

Anyway, most of the other people at the munch disliked the government, but mainly because it’s been pandering to the Christian right on gays and lesbians, funding to Christian schools and paying for Christian activists in non-Christian schools. That sort of thing. So our economics argument was boring, and they politely ignored it. 

From my point of view politics is mostly about economics: you need to tax those who can afford it so you can provide government services that make life better for everyone, especially health, education, welfare, public housing, and necessary infrastructure. Businesses do better where there’s a decent level of social infrastructure in place.

Other issues, even including things that I have passionate feelings about (for marriage equality, and against censorship, for example), are important, but less important than whether people can get jobs that pay them enough to live on, and get wage increases.

So that’s my politics. I’m largely socialist on economic issue, and pretty much anarchist on social and sexual issues. Anything sane adult humans want to do with other sane, consenting adult humans is ok with me. People having the right to say or write or hear or read what they want: that’s ok with me too.

(Racist, sexist, nasty, and generally horrible speech should be countered and mocked, not suppressed. Happy to argue that, in some other post, if people want.) 

Generally I hate Nazis. But this guy seems to know what he’s doing

As a bdsm pervert, I sometimes get annoyed by writers, especially those involved in pseudoscientific schools like psychoanalysis, making grand statements about the politics of people who take part in bdsm, or want to. The gist of those sweeping claims is that we’re all Nazis. We like leather boots and dressing in black: so did the SS! Case closed!

That gets old, and it was irritatingly silly and insulting the first time.  

As far as I can see, we people who involve ourselves in bdsm, or dream of it, cluster to the centrist left. There’s never been a research project on how people who do bdsm vote. So I can only base my claim on anecdotal evidence like my munch, and some logic.  

First, as I’ve argued before, turning power into a toy of erotic play is inherently subversive. It undermines power, and refuses to take it “seriously”. Power in bdsm doesn’t go to the man, or to the richest person. It doesn’t go to the person with the most impressive job or title. Power goes where cocks and cunts want it to go. and only stays there while the people involved are sexually pleased by that arrangement. Power in bdsm is sexual, it’s voluntarily given or assumed, and even if the play raises welts or draws blood it’s playful.

Bdsm culture emphasises informed consent. I think that emphasis is the reason why people who practice bdsm are, research studies have found, notably more sex-positive, more aware of consent and less sexist than the general population. 

We are more likely to be in the sex-positive feminist or feminist-supporting faction.

BDSM eroticises voluntary power differences, but it also eroticises consent. There is nothing hotter, to me, than a submissive’s bowed head and “yes, Sir”.  

Still, apart from general social and sexual liberalism, I’d guess that people who do bdsm aren’t, in general, far to the left or right of the rest of the population. Thpough we’re more likely to be in the anti-authoritarian faction of the left or right. But bdsm doesn’t force people into any political box.

Feminist women in bdsm may reasonably feel irritated when other feminists insist that their politics must be anti-feminist because of their sexual needs and choices.

So bdsm people are more likely to be liberal than authoritarian about sex, because authoritarian sexual attitudes are likely to do us harm. There may be a general lean to the centrist left on other issues, too.

Otherwise there’s no clear intrinsic political bias to bdsm, whose practitioners may be radical, conservative or entirely apolitical. People practice their bdsm, and their politics, as they do other things, according to their beliefs and the kind of people they are.