Dec 182014
 

So some interview with an actor I don’t know, from a movie I won’t watch, based on a book I haven’t read, published yesterday in a magazine I don’t read.

As reported by European academic journal ElleUK, in doing “research” for his 50 Shades of Grey role as gazillionare Twue Master Dom McDommersons, actor Jamie Dornan visited a “dungeon” and observed some goings on.

Dornan’s reflections on his visit has leather panties in a twist all over Kinkville:

The inference here, as I read it, is that he felt “dirty” after watching people play, or perhaps that he felt “dirty” after being in a “dungeon,” or maybe he felt dirty for having been a voyeur to other peoples’ play.

…and that’s to be expected, right? I mean, while the reality is that most play spaces are clean and safe, and the reality is that BDSM is a perfectly healthy expression of sexuality… the reality is ALSO that dungeons are supposed to make people feel dirty, and sometimes kinky people enjoy feeling dirty.

Kinky people often describe themselves and their play as “dirty” — being dirty, feeling dirty, doing dirty things, having dirty sex with dirty boys and dirty girls — so is it really such a big deal that Dornan inferred similar things?

I don’t think so, but I might be in the minority. The responses on Twitter weren’t nearly as sarcastic or layered as Carolyn Cox’s response over at The Mary Sue, but she seemed to read Dornan’s statements as insulting, too:

“Hahahah, how hilarious! Sexual preferences that deviate from the norm are repulsive, even when all parties involved are consenting! Unless, of course, you can exploit and chronically misrepresent those preferences in a highly problematic film, in which case deviancy is hot, hot, hot!
I know I’m being harsh on poor hapless Dornan [. . .], but the ease with which he dehumanizes BDSM participants is yet another indicator that the 50 Shades‘ creative team doesn’t understand or respect the very lifestyle it’s ostensibly showcasing. Considering the movie already promotes an essentially abusive relationship, further lack of nuance or appreciation is a genuinely scary prospect.”

Of course, Cox makes a larger point by juxtaposing the idea that consensual BDSM is “dirty” against a film/novel that appears to use BDSM as a means (a gimmick? a sleight of hand? a misrepresentation?) to glorify an abusive relationship. I mean, even though the larger point is true, and important, I’m just not sure what Dornan said about wanting to take a shower translates to finding BDSM replusive or dehumanizing its participants.

I guess I just find the outrage a bit overzealous.[1]

I mean, if you are (or you want to be) sensitive to people calling you (or what you do) “dirty,” then you maybe should stop calling yourself “dirty” and stop calling what you do “dirty.” Right? Otherwise, maybe just loosen up those twisted leather knickers.

Now… let’s get to the real controversy, shall we?

I was far more offended by Defamer‘s outrageous, egregious, and insulting error…

I am outraged, offended, incensed, and insulted — all of those. ALL OF THEM. (dominant is an adjective, and sometimes a noun; dominate is a verb)

As for 50SoG, I won’t read it — not on some moral grounds, but on the grounds that I just don’t read fiction (and if/when I do, it isn’t erotica).

As for ElleUK magazine, Jamie Dornan, and the rest of it, I’ll continue not giving 50 Shades of Fucks.

In fact, I give negative 50 fucks.

 


1. Maybe it’s an “outside looking in” thing? Perhaps kinky people are more sensitive to the language because of the speaker and the context–to my knowledge, Dornan doesn’t identify himself as kinky, and his comments appear in a “mainstream” publication (for the record, if you think BDSM isn’t more mainstream than it is underground, you’re mistaken). I mean… I can say “Gee, I look terrible today” because I’m talking about myself (and I don’t really believe it–I never look terrible). But if you say, “Gee, D, you look terrible today” I’ll fashion you a new asshole where an asshole doesn’t typically belong.
Dec 162014
 

silver apple

If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

 

Proverbs 2:4-5 was my first calligraphy project good enough to display — I put it in a lead crystal Mikasa frame that became mine after my grandmother died. It’s been on walls (or shelves) in nearly every place I’ve lived since I moved out of my parents’ house at age sixteen.

It was in my freshman dorm room, and later, in the college apartment I shared with friends. The ridiculously heavy frame tore out a chunk of drywall when it fell from one of the few walls in my grad school studio apartment. When I moved into a one-bedroom apartment with my boyfriend, I was careful to hang it from a stud.

When I moved away, I took the scripture, the frame, and most of my belongings with me, but I left the boyfriend.

I’m not sure when I lost track of it. It’s here somewhere — I’m just not sure where — it’s probably in a box of old college stuff in the garage.
line-break-flourish-sm

I don’t know why I chose those verses to practice my calligraphy— I can’t recall having any particular fondness for them at the time.

But as they hung on my wall year in and year out, I read them often — without thinking much about the chapter from which they came or their surrounding verses. They stood in isolation, surrounded by lead crystal that separated them from whatever biblical context they once held.

When I was younger, I wanted to be like ‘her’ — she who was sought after, valued, and treasure(d).

As I grew older, I decided being like ‘her’ wasn’t enough. I wanted to be ‘her’ — she who was the key to knowledge, the gateway to God.

From where I stand now, I realize I am her — and she is God.
line-break-flourish-sm

If you seek her as silver, Proverbs 2:4-5

 

Dec 102014
 

I am not a religious girl. I had more than my fair share of religion as a child, and as an adult, I’ve seen the damage it’s done to people I love and whole countries of people I’ll never know.

But I was raised in religion, and perhaps that explains some of the reason I’m drawn to religious imagery — the art, the language, the mythology — all of it.

It doesn’t turn me on, per se. “Turn-on” isn’t the right word for it. It’s more that I find it… erotically compelling. Is erotically compelling a thing? If it isn’t, it should be.

I think of “turn-ons” as physical, immediate, fairly predictable and straight-forward. But something that’s erotically compelling feels more cerebral — deeper, somehow — it feels more nuanced and profound, but also, more abstract and fluid.

I enjoy the ideas of worship, reverence, and prayer, and I’m drawn to language that speaks of the divine, the ethereal, and the powerful. I find figurative baptism, confession, and communion compelling — as metaphors and symbolic action. I often find myself fantasizing in narratives of commandments and corruption, of the fall from grace, of absolution and salvation.

domme angel? domme devil? dumb demon?I’m drawn to the idea of the forbidden; of fruit (of knowledge) so tempting that you’d sacrifice eternity for just a taste.

In the days that follow, I’ll share bits and pieces of what moves me. I can’t say they mean much or add up to anything, but (to me) they are compelling… erotic… hot even.

I considered calling the series “Holy Fuck,” but that sounds too base. Maybe I’ll call it “Contemplating the Divine”? Either way, more to come… soon.
 

 
 
(If you’ve got a better title… let me know! I came up with the best series title in the shower… and then I forgot it. Two points to whoever jogs my memory…)

Dec 062014
 

Reader questions on good manners, dominant women and PIV sex, and D/s as dinner.

my name is notDo you think its good to answer all women with yes ma’am and no ma’am instead of just yea/yes? Thanks.

No. But you should always use good manners and be polite (to everyone). What form politeness takes should be governed by the situation and the person with whom you are speaking.

Before you succeeded at orgasm, was your control over J’s body a serviceable substitute for a place you couldn’t reach? What I’ve seen may be more anecdotal than I know; dommes claiming that PIV doesn’t do much, and neither does oral. Strapons have likewise been claimed unsatisfactory. This seems to echo your orgasm project prior to your breakthrough.

I get that I write about really personal stuff on the internet, but still, this question feels invasive. I haven’t talked about the orgasm project lately, and you haven’t provided any context for the question… and I’m not even sure I understand it (it is literal? or metaphorical?). Anyway, I’m not going to answer it…

Oh… oh god… oh god…

I just came.

Saying “no” turns me on. Sorry… what was the question?

Um, anyway… lots of women have trouble achieving orgasm (particularly with a partner). While individual women have individual experiences, generally, whether a woman identifies as dominant or submissive makes no difference.

The way you write and seem to genuinely enjoy crafting the narrative of your D/s exploits is a solid mosaic. The trials and tribulations of your relationship and it’s failings is very human; something the internet has never been terribly good at.
tapas-platesThere’s a question among the complements, of course.
As someone who has aspired and achieved success in career, intimacy, and publicity to varying degrees; would you say the D/s element of your life is akin to dessert-like delight, or closer to the main course? (casual players call it spice and cooking tends to be a creative outlet) Thanks for representing.

Thank you for the kind words! While I have achieved success in a variety of arenas, metaphors isn’t one of them. :)

I’ll give it a shot though… failure is part of my charm, right?

I don’t like the “main course” idea because it implies that if you don’t have it, you’re waiting for it… and that you’re hungry for it (as if there’s something missing). I’m not sure I like “dessert” either, because it feels like something extra, but less important than the main course.

I guess I’d like to think of life as tapas — small dishes of this or that. Tapas isn’t any particular course or flavor, but a style of service and dining. According to Wikipedia, the most respected source on things I’m not so sure about,

“In Spain, patrons of tapas can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal. [. . .] The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation, because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them.”

You can enjoy each tapas dish by itself, or enjoy the way they complement each other. And, since everything is roughly the same size and same value, you can focus on enjoying what’s in front of you at the moment (and you should, because sometimes the service is awful and it takes forever for the next one to arrive).

And also, tapas was meant to be enjoyed with drinks… and I like drinks.

Actually, fuck tapas. I’ll just take the drinks.

Nov 262014
 

jian ghomeshi assault charge press releaseToday, former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi is out on $100,000 bail after surrendering himself to Toronto Police this morning. He is charged with four counts of sexual assault[1] and one count of “overcome resistance – choking.”[2] According to his lawyer, Marie Henein, Ghomeshi will plead “not-guilty,” and is due to appear in court on January 8th.

If, somehow, you’ve missed the news coverage, Ghomeshi was fired by the CBC after three women filed reports accusing him of sexual assault. In an attempt to get a statement out in advance of the CBC, Ghomeshi took to Facebook to deny the allegations and frame his firing as discrimination against BDSM instead of what it really was — an issue of non-consent. While BDSM makes the story more sensational, his engagement in such activities isn’t what got him fired — it was his choice to violate the consent of the women who reported him.

Since the accusations first surfaced in October, I’ve read lots of responses published on established, commercial websites and on smaller, independent blogs. Most of them rubbed me the wrong way, in part because so many writers glossed over the issue of Ghomeshi’s sexual assault of (at least) three women and used the media’s interest and attention as an opportunity to “defend” BDSM. So many of the articles were more concerned with whether Ghomeshi might give BDSM a bad name, ruin kink’s image, or increase discrimination against kinky people than they were with the alleged sexual assaults, or with sexual assault in general.

While it’s understandable that people would want to defend themselves and their consensual practice of BDSM, in my mind, it was too soon, too defensive, and often, off topic. It seemed like folks were taking advantage of the situation, using the allegations and media coverage as an opportunity to defend the innocence of BDSM and the propriety of their own sexual expression. (To be clear, I’m not saying people have no right, nor that people shouldn’t use the opportunity — I’m just saying it rubs me the wrong way.)

While I have a few specific criticisms (some of which I may write about another time), my chief complaint is that most of the responses focus on defending BDSM instead of condemning sexual assault. While arguably, Ghomeshi brought BDSM into the equation when he claimed consent and framed his firing an an infringement on his freedom of sexual expression, that’s not what the issue, nor the allegations, were about. Ghomeshi wasn’t accused of, nor fired for, BDSM involvement.[3] He was accused of, (and fired for) violating women’s consent. Even so, most responses to the story use consent violations as merely context — as an introductory hook — for larger defenses of BDSM.

In “Let’s Not Allow the Jian Ghomeshi Scandal to Give BDSM a Bad Name,” Sarah Ratchford writes

“People who partake in BDSM have been feeling particularly pissed off about Ghomeshi’s Facebook post in light of what are very serious allegations, because if they’re true, what Jian engaged in is assault and not BDSM. Jian will have used his supposed love of rough sex to distract us from the women who came forward, and in the process, kinky folk will be dragged through the mud with him.”

Shouldn’t people be more “pissed off” that women were sexually assaulted than about whether or not those sexual assaults make BDSM look bad? Ratchford, and many others, seem more concerned about possible discrimination against good kinky people than about bad kinky people sexually assaulting others — assault that takes place within and outside of BDSM communities, that is perpetrated by and against kinky people and vanilla folks

The rest of the article goes on to discuss the importance of consent in BDSM, and to me, this sort of defense sounds eerily like “not all kinksters.” It’s the same sort of non-argument that, when phrased as “not all men,” met with justified backlash during the social media outrage following Elliot Rodger’s shooting rampage at UC Santa Barbara back in May.

To be clear, there are areas of overlap and clear distinctions between institutionalized misogyny and abuse in BDSM that make any comparison inherently flawed. I’m not suggesting one is “just like” the other; I’m saying I see similarities in the responses.

After a single paragraph summarizing accusations against Ghomeshi (quoting Amanda Marcotte’s excellent Slate piece, which gets it right), Jillian Keenan at Slate asks and answers, “Can You Really Be Fired for Being Kinky? Absolutely.”

“Even if you don’t believe Ghomeshi is a victim here, it’s worth recognizing that he articulated one of the biggest fears in the BDSM community: the possibility of being exposed and fired for our consensual (but stigmatized) sexual practices is a very real concern for many kinky people.”

If we ignore Keenan’s piss-poor framing (does anyone really believe Ghomeshi is the victim?), the article appears to respond with “but… bad things happen to kinky people!” or, “what about the menz kinky people?” Yes, stigma is real, and it’s unfair, and it was unfairly used (by Ghomeshi), but this sort of discussion shifts the focus away from sexual assault and victims. Should there be a discussion about discrimination against kinky people? Sure, but perhaps using Ghomeshi as a framing device isn’t a great idea.

In “Dear Jian Ghomeshi: Keep Your Abuse Out of My Kink,” Margaret Corvid critiques Ghomeshi’s Facebook defense, but her underlying concern isn’t consent (which applies to all sorts of sexual expression), but what negative press will do to BDSM culture and practitioners:

“Kinksters have spent years patiently explaining the difference between kink and abuse to the media. It’s not just an abstract point. Abuse or BDSM can look the same if you only consider the shrieking, writhing person being restrained, beaten and shagged silly. It has taken a monumental effort by kink activists to convince media to observe the careful, patient negotiation that happens before that moment, in a consensual kinky scene [. . .] With his defense, Ghomeshi could wipe out the many years of patience and hard work by kinksters.”

Is Ghomeshi a bad guy for undermining the “monumental efforts” of kink activists to educate the media? Sure I guess so Who cares? Ghomeshi is a bad guy for raping and assaulting at least nine women (only three have filed formal complaints). Flinging criticism at Ghomeshi for undermining BDSM’s image is a bit like criticizing Elliot Rogers for making men look bad. Did Ghomeshi/Rogers make BDSM/men look bad? Sure… but isn’t the more important issue that Ghomeshi raped a bunch of women/Rogers killed a bunch of women?

And while kink activists work to educate others that BDSM =/= abuse is a good thing, I have to wonder why there aren’t more activists working toward actually ending abuse? (or at least, more reporting on the work of those activists to end abuse). If we got rid of abuse, there would be no need to separate it from kink — there would be no need for “white knighting” on behalf of our own sexual expressions to prove how consensual, ethical, and upstanding we are.

For what it’s worth, Amanda Marcotte got it right in “The Jian Ghomeshi Accusations Are Not About BDSM. They Are About Consent.”

There is, of course, a lot of lingering prejudice against people who enjoy consensual BDSM. But that shouldn’t distract from the only issue that matters here, which is whether or not there was consent. The difference between BDSM with consent and BDSM without it is simply the difference between consensual sex and rape. Ghomeshi’s protestations about being kinky only serve to confuse the issue, but it’s actually quite simple: If the interactions were consensual, then Ghomeshi shouldn’t have lost his job. But if the women didn’t want it—whether “it” is sexual intercourse or whether “it” is a punch to the face—then it’s violent assault and needs to be treated that way.

In the wake of the UC Santa Barbara massacre, we were quick to correct (and condemn, as the case may be) responses of “not all men,” and “what about men’s problems?” and white knighting in order to keep the focus on what was more important — violence against women. While it’s true that “not all men” are misogynists, and it’s true that men have problems, and it’s true that lots of men get it right, articulating those things in the wake of horrendous violence against women isn’t the right time, nor the proper context.

The same goes for Jian Ghomeshi’s sexual assaults and the recent media attention. No, “not all kinky people,” and yes kinky people have problems, and yes you may be doing it right, but perhaps now isn’t the right time or the proper context in which to have those discussions. Right now, all of those things should be a footnote in the condemnation of sexual violence — not the other way around. Sexual assault shouldn’t be ancillary to, nor a way into, defenses of BDSM. Not now, and maybe not ever.


1. According to the “Information Guide for Victims of Sexual Assault” from the Toronto Police Service Sex Crimes Unit, sexual assault is defined as any type of unwanted sexual contact – from touching to intercourse.
2. According to section 246 of the criminal code, “overcome resistance” is (a) attempts, by any means, to choke, suffocate or strangle another person, or by any means calculated to choke, suffocate or strangle, attempts to render another person insensible, unconscious or incapable of resistance, or (b) administers or causes to be administered to any person, or attempts to administer to any person, or causes or attempts to cause any person to take a stupefying or overpowering drug, matter or thing, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.
3. Of course, Canadian laws governing bodily harm and consent are unclear. The law states that a person cannot consent to having bodily harm inflicted on them, though interpretation of that law varies widely and in different contexts such as consensual, planned street fighting, BDSM, etc. However, the Ghomeshi firing isn’t about unclear legal interpretations — this isn’t an issue where both partners gave consent, an issue of miscommunication, or taking things “a little too far” — we’re talking about a serial abuser/rapist.