Can we do BDSM threads better? December 14, 2020 2:13 PM   Subscribe

Having to sift through a cavalcade of comments musing about it being trauma damage, or inexplicable perversity that is *clearly* doing real harm based on their gut feelings is hecking unpleasant and is one of the reasons I don't hang out here so much anymore.

Although plenty of comments people share are great, and metafilter was a key resource to figuring out my sexuality, can we at least get beyond defaulting to the trickle of "sick and wrong", even if it's phrased as harmless musing, efforts to be sympathetic or personal experiences extrapolated onto everyone's sexuality?

I hate to make the comparison, but imagine musing if a gay man was just pathologically scared of vaginas, or musing if it didn't replicate problematic old boy culture to allow men to form romantic relationships with men? Or anecdotes about that gay man who was very enthusiastic and a little pushy, but they weren't interested, and it was icky and kinda tone deaf of him?
posted by Phalene to Etiquette/Policy at 2:13 PM (7 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

I read the thread. And I thought about commenting and then I didn't. I didn't want to invalidate anyones ones feelings or disclosures, and I'm also not really a part of the BDSM world at all.

I was upset with how it went anyway.

Non consensual sex is assault, and that's true in all contexts.
BSDM is not sexual assault. Sexual assault happens in all kinds of situations and forms, and sexual empowerment (therapeutic?) sex can happen in all kinds of acts of sexual expression and forms.

I got my masters for social work at a conservative religious based university and lots of people, even people providing therapy have the belief that sexual acts outside a monogamous, married relationship is harmful and that doesn't even get into the actual things that are happening during it. That in my opinion is a frightening, invalidating belief system that discounts so much of the human experience. Our professors pushed back on this idea a little bit, but not as much as they should have. The initial article linked was definately aimed for people I've met in my field with unexamined deeply held beliefs about how sexuality should be expressed and what configurations of relationships work for people.

It's really really important for people to talk about how all kinds of sex make them happy and help some people process things or become therapeutic experiences. But not all sex is therapeutic, and some of it is downright boring or awkward or so silly it devolves into giggles and nothing else happens and that's stuff is worth talking about too. And there's also value in discussing the intersection of trauma and sexuality, and the struggles of navigating that in all forms of sexual expression , even the non BDSM types. These things overlap considerably.

I feel like there's so much normalization to do about sexuality in general. It's varied, just like people are varied.

I wanted the mods to intervene in the thread at some points, but I wasn't sure how?

Thanks for the initial thread homunculus. Thank you for the metatalk Phalene.
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:49 PM on December 14, 2020 [8 favorites]


I... thought this was a lot better than the threads used to go, and I remember those old threads because I didn’t like the way they went (and the way you, Phalene, had to defend yourself). Did I miss something? There were one or two comments that I thought had some iffy psychological theorizing but at least one of them was also drawing on personal trauma so it’s hard not to give that some leeway.
posted by atoxyl at 12:00 AM on December 15, 2020 [4 favorites]


I think the thread we're talking about is this one.
posted by brainwane at 3:44 AM on December 15, 2020 [2 favorites]


So as a kinky identifying person- I think the hard part is that there IS nuance and overlaps of trauma. There's overlap with a legacy of thousands of years of sexual violence and violence itself being normalized in human/animal evolution. And I feel like it's valid to want to have that conversation.

Because of all the literal persecution of people whose sexuality is "beyond the norm" it's obviously very hard to have that conversation without it feeling like being a judgement or attack on people who identify or practice bdsm/kink. I think that my complicated feelings about violence absolutely are influence by all the abuse that has happened to my ancestors both in my immediate family and for basically thousands of years. So many of us have had to endure it, why not adapt to find our own pleasure that might overlap with some of those experiences?

I think the issue with this is like many other issues- there are nuanced opinions on these issues coming from people within kink communities and who identify this way; but trying to discuss these things with people who have no experience and are spouting out random thoughts/prejudices/stereotypes they have on the topic makes everything feel more judgmental and oppressive- even ideas that could be discussed legitimately by people who are kinky themselves and aren't discussing it out of judgement.

Things that it should be ok to talk about from the thread:
-There was a commenter who shared their own experience of having a panic attack after a session.
-There was someone worried that the impact of bdsm might bring up sexual trauma for a survivor (or frankly for anyone)- sex of any kind can do that and I wish more people thought about this for each other.
-There was someone who shared that they had an abusive experience in a kink situation that did not validate their needs and pushed them in unhealthy ways

In the thread the people who expressed most concerns were people describing their own personal experiences with kink. I absolutely want to understand if there's stuff I missed which could easily happen, and to support better conversations on the topic. But it seems like people who practice kink should be allowed to have diverse experience and thoughts about it?

Kink positive communities tend to select for people have positive experiences- I haven't found any groups that allows discussion of how it's negatively impacted people. Those of us who have such experiences are further isolated because we're kinky and also not even allowed to discuss our sexuality among kinksters. So maybe places like this offer an outlet for people who are double ostracized being both kinky and not having the same perspective/experience about it popular in kink spaces.

Just some thoughts, if I missed some comments or something has been deleted it might help to know which comments are problematic in the thread so we can address the issues for future conversations.
posted by xarnop at 10:51 AM on December 15, 2020 [34 favorites]


I'm with atoxyl on this one....the thread seems pretty good for MeFi on this topic. Some stuff early that really kind and knowledgable folks (like the OP of this thread) jumped in and corrected. And the post itself is all about the positivity and healing. I guess I'm not seeing the "cavalcade of comments" referred to here - was a bunch of stuff deleted?
posted by lazaruslong at 11:14 AM on December 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


I was the person mentioning the panic attack experience. Normally I'd have tried to talk with more nuance than I did in that comment: I've had some very positive experiences in kink communities as well as some quite abusive ones, and a balanced perspective should cover both sides to this. That said, at the time I was commenting the experience was extremely recent and I'd suddenly found myself being treated very harshly by the same people who had topped for me in some quite intense impact play a couple of days prior, so the drop I was experiencing was very disorienting - I was a lot more emotional than would be ideal for a good mefi comment.

On the other hand, I think there needs to be space within discussions of kink that allow people to voice those experiences, even at the time that they are quite raw. It doesn't do us any good as a community (either mefi or the kink community) to pretend that those things don't happen sometimes. Kink can be a wonderful and healing thing sometimes; it can turn abusive at other times. My own thought is that a careful discussion of the topic should allow room to talk about both?
posted by the tulips are too red in the first place at 12:04 PM on December 15, 2020 [11 favorites]


And the post itself is all about the positivity and healing.

I mean, that framing of the post itself does lend itself it to talk along the lines of “being into BDSM must mean there’s something wrong with you” because it’s about healing. But I only saw, I think, two comments that really implied anything like that. And one of them was basically talking about a bad personal experience in a relationship (which seems like fair game even if the conclusion was not universally applicable). And another seemed like a clumsy but well-meaning attempt to address the post topic by somebody who was not a kink insider.

And then a lot of the rest was people who clearly are insiders even if they are sharing negative feelings.
posted by atoxyl at 1:24 PM on December 15, 2020 [1 favorite]


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