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What is BDSM and What is Harassment and Abuse?

I think we can all agree that it's hardly a major revaluation that 2017 has sucked. There are countless reasons for this, but one of the uglier ones has been the--almost nonstop--allegations of sexual harassment and assault perpetuated by various public figures, from the various lewd advances made by Harvey Weinstein, to the out-right (and at this point, probable) actions of rape by Danny Masterson. All of it is enough to make one physically ill.

I bring it up, not to be part of the daily dose of bad news we all constantly have to force ourselves to swallow (along with some of our own vomit), but in contrast to the practices of real BDSM.

It's a question I hear fairly frequently. What's the difference? Somebody hurts some one sexually, why is that okay one time, but not another?

There are a  number of factors, but the main one is consent. If someone says to me that it's desirable or permissible for me to slap delicate parts of their body, that's okay. If I casually put my hand on someone's arm with out an invitation, that is not. Plain and simple. We know each other and have talked and made agreements, I can not only touch you, I can hurt you. I just met (or are even friends or acquaintances with you) and we haven't even discussed contact...then I can't. Not even your shoulder.

A dude once caressed my leg. Then he put his hand in my crotch. I didn't know him, nor did I give him an advance. It quickly turned into me getting mean with him. Most women don't have that luxury. Not that they realize. They just have been told, move his hand away and politely say, "Thanks, but no thanks." That doesn't even address the "friends" who move in hard. Being a "nice dude" doesn't make you an attractive dude. Being an attractive dude, doesn't make you a "nice dude." Women like men they trust and respect. Plain and simple. Gay men like men they trust. Plain and simple. Yes, it's true, gay men are more promiscuous, but they still have to have some reason to trust you before you just walk up and put your hands on them or act weird...believe it or not.

Long story short, don't assume and don't touch without a clear okay.

Uh... I'm swallowing a bit now. Some of it seems solid. This is tough.

Okay. Anyway...

Also, watch what you say. A lewd comment can be just as off-putting as a touch. Cat calling, propositioning, complementing someone's body... No go ahead? No way. If you do it without invitation, guess what? You're creepy.

Consent is everything.

Another thing to factor in is communication. One of the things that I noticed when I started "dating" within the community was that sex, what turns us on and off (fetishes and hard limits) came up very early, often before movies, books or music we might be interested in. Sometimes it was the very first conversation we had. Such a thing would certainly be weird in the vanilla world. That was still not an invitation to act like a freak. Just because we had extreme intimate requirements and wanted each other to know them didn't mean we could suddenly become aggressive sexually. We could talk frank, but we still had to be nice. Not being so was a red flag that you were not genuine, but instead, an asshole, simply looking for a cheap time.

Kinkiness, however, is not all that us kinksters bond over.  A reasonable and responsible practitioner would never do something like messaging a woman they were not in some sort of intimate arrangement with and say, for example, "So, are you a filthy little slut who loves cum?" or send them a dick-pic. They certainly wouldn't approach someone they'd never negotiated with and touch them.

Of course, negotiations are part of communication and are intended to result in an agreement  about what is and is not okay to say or do to each other. One girl I got with said that I could literally say to her or call her anything but a whore. That was one of her hard limits. I could grab her by the throat and call her a cum sucking, piece of fuck trash and it turned her on. But, a "whore"...that was off limits. I took note and never even mumbled it to myself. She was promiscuous. Even selfish. But I respected her limits, which were few. That made me NOT a predator.

...And when I did cross a line with her later (purely by getting carried away), I threw up my hands and backed off. Because, I wasn't a predator. I wasn't trying to hurt her...not genuinely. And when I was afraid I was getting close to doing so...I stopped and I apologized and tried to help her. That was when I was still ignorant in BDSM and I still knew enough not to be a villain. She was fine. I was not and had a lot of "me work" to do for a bit to make sure I hadn't slipped into a weird area. The fact that I recognized it, let me know I was okay. The guys who think, "I can take this girl's pants off, the one who just passed out next to me,"...they aren't. I was dealing with a sexually strong woman while being a sexually confused man.

Ultimately, you have to have strength in your sexuality. Not aggression. Not fascism. Not selfishness. Not meanness. Not a sociopathic approach, certainly. You have to be true to what you crave, but also considerate to what someone else craves and is uncomfortable with, and capable of telling yourself, "No. keep it in," when the time comes. You have to hear your partner's desires and have your wheels start turning frantically.  When that happens and your inner pervert goes, "Yeah," and then you've found the yen to your yang. If you meet someone and all you think is what you can get from them...you're probably doing something wrong.

Then, there are things like safe words. See, in the BDSM world, sometimes, "no," really means, "yes." That is absolutely not the case in the regular world at all. But acting out fantasies of rape and torture are a big part of BDSM. That's why safe words exist. She's getting into having you bang her really hard in the ass, slap her face, pull her hair, spit on her and call her a "nasty cum dumpster?" Fine. But the second you touch her feet, she cries out, "Red!" or "President!" you need to stop. No joke.

In 2015, porn actress Stoya accused her former boyfriend and frequent co-star James Deen, of rape. She cited an instance where he didn't respond to her telling him, "no," or asking him to stop. Nor did he respect her safe word. He just kept abusing her. Let me repeat that, a porn star was having sex with someone she was dating, it got too rough and he didn't stop when she asked or used her safe word. Stoya was dead right when she went public with it. She was raped. She and Deen may have had the kind of relationship where things could get super kinky and even aggressive, but the second she said something was off-limits or out of line...he should have stopped and suddenly become a supportive and loving partner who wanted to make sure she was okay and care for her until she was.

See the difference?

To reiterate, in a healthy BDSM relationship, things are discussed and agreed upon. Even when those agreed upon things suddenly begin to make one or more parties uncomfortable, they can still grind to a hault. When someone else doesn't respect that personal space--whether a stranger or acquaintance, or even a loved one--that's harassment and/or assault.

Long story short, if you don't have a green light, consider it a hard, hard red.

Here are a couple of links that are relevant. As always, enjoy yourself, but be safe.

https://www.verywell.com/difference-between-bdsm-and-abuse-4065395

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2015/dec/04/how-stoya-took-on-james-deen-and-broke-the-porn-industrys-silence


Comments

  1. Kelly, you have several wonderful posts here for those just getting into the lifestyle or wanting to know more about it. This lifestyle is built on trust and learning your own limits, as well as your partners, and when to use a safe word. For readers interested in this lifestyle, please know that it is not something to be toyed with and participating with the wrong partner can do harm to your body, not to mention your life. Always remember...safe, sane, and consensual. Nice blog, Kelly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tanya. That means a lot to me. And your advice is solid as well. I've seen people get hurt and it's ugly. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

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