Tag Archives: sex-positive

The City

It is windy. Very windy. At my left I can see the harbor and the lights from the The City. At my right, the open waters. Right in front of me, I see the Golden Gate Bridge. It is the last evening of a whirlwhind 48 hour short visit to San Francisco, where I travelled after Shibaricon. It feels like I could stand at this spot for the rest of my life. The air, the wind, the sea, the breathing that is possible to do, how every breath fills the lungs with such intense life. It is strangely grounding, a moment in time where everything else stops, except for time itself, as it keeps on getting darker and darker and colder and colder. My trip in the US is coming to an end, and it is here that I’m reminded of the experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have, they move through my mind like flashing images, or a brief reminder of a sensory experience; skin twitching or a muscle aching slightly, remembering the sound of a creaking rope or leather gloves, slowly closing over my mouth.  Not even 2 weeks in the US and it feels like I know who I am again. Like the skin is fits around the body and the mind can distribute itself over the thoughts in an even fashion.

The 48 hours in The City were made possible by two people whom I am honored to have met and eternally grateful for their hospitality; Bus Driver and Pink.  They happened to be two of the first people I met at Shibaricon on the first day, and Bus Driver also helped at one point to spot during a demanding suspension. They, together with other awesome and wonderful people, made the con even better.
In the end of  Shibaricon I was looking for somewhere to go as I would have a couple of extra days before the flight back to Europe, and had thus put up a note on a notice board saying something like Busty Swedish Blonde seeking Bedspace. With a limited budget, crashing at someones’ couch seemed like the best option. Not before long, I was suddenly invited to stay at Bus and Pink, an offer which was impossible to refuse. Said and done, ticket bought and bag packed, leaving O’Hare landing in San Francisco. Slightly dazed and rather confused due to tiredness from Shibaricon but  in the same time on a strange adrenaline high  I made my way through the airport and was met (after getting lost…) by my hosts, and their adorable Peanut.

When visiting people who generously open up their home to a Busty Swedish Blonde they have only met a couple of days earlier, I was hoping intensely for not being one of those annoying guests and pointed out I could be fairly self-sufficient so they would not have to interrupt their day to day life due to the Busty Swedish Blonde. Lets just say that I had no idea they would have none of it, as the following two days I was so well taken care, showed all the sites, taken to the kink-shops, parties, et cetera et cetera. After meeting the housemates, having a good night sleep and taking it slow in the morning, Pink showed all the kink-shops, including  MR S and a visit to Good Vibrations, which was fairly awesome to say at least. During lunch time, we spoke about the kink scene and leather and her and her partners involvement in the community. It is organised on such a different level that would make London look pretty much like a bunch of party obsessed perverts. Which we kind of are, but that is beside the point :). Pink  also showed me the SF Citadel, a great permanent BDSM space which was really huge and well equipped.
I the end I visited Wicked Grounds  more than 3(?) times in less two days, had one great lunch, a huge milkshake and just hanging out. After a quick change of clothes, I was dropped off at Wicked Grounds one more time, waiting for Bus who took me to Bondage a Go-Go (BaGG). Now, if there is something that is awesome, it is to experience different kinds of scenes different parties. I become like a horny sociologist, trying to take in as much as possible. BaGG had a great feeling to it, although I must admit that we spent most of the time in the play area so did not see much of the rest of the club. What I did gather though, was that BaGG managed to fuse a couple of things together which another club in London has tried but not succeeded  in doing: fusing the industrial/goth scene with kink. This was mainly done through the awesome music (as an industrial chick, it was heaven to get to play to so many great tracks). In either case, it was a really great place, with a small albeit very well managed play area.

As I had expressed an interest in Bus’ flogging skills (with Pink  politely pointed out that he is a sadist..) I felt slightly nervous, but also strangely centered as we entered the play area. Was strapped to the cross, and not before long the falls of the floggers started to rain over my back. This was one of those floggings which takes you so far away you are in lala-land. A warm up which was exactly that, not just a short interlude before the ‘real’ thing, but  carefully tempered and ministered. And it was the tempo and the sensations that got me;  florentine flogging at its best, moving with the music, but also creating music on its own; syncopations, emphasised beats, the sounds coming out from my mouth all of a sudden. It is like letting bodies do the talking, instead of the vocal chords it is the warm skin, the muscles, the un-planned guttural sounds, goose-bumps, the breathing, the pulse, skin involuntarily twitching, the back arching, moving away from but still drawn towards the pain. You simply don’t want it to end, but it always does. Something which was very special during many of the experiences in the US was that it felt ok taking time. Taking time sitting down and talk properly for a starter, but also, when in that state of bliss after play, it could take the time it took. Not always, but sometimes, it feels like I has to get myself together in a orderly fashion not too long after the play has finished, especially at parties (not on the private parties, but regular ones). But here I was, in lala land but also sitting at the floor, with Bus assuring me there was all the time in the world. Everything was like it was wrapped up in cotton, even the music was muted. And sitting there, at the floor, was like the most natural place to be in. It became a reminder to the self; to stay present in the moment. Around us, there were others playing, and the passion and skill people showed made my warm body feel even warmer.

A while later, when having landed, there was this little itch; I needed to tie someone. Was introduced to a lovely lass and we spoke a bit. She felt like playing, and I was borrowed a suspension ring. We set up, first rope is out of the bag, heart pounding already. People are busy chatting, standing next to the playspace with drinks, dancing. The suddenly, there is a stronger light and a voice announcing that a guest from abroad is here to demonstrate some of her rigging skills; and obviously people turn immediately around. For a brief moment I think something like: “SHITFUCKITYOHDEARGODSAVEME”, while pretending like I’m tying something really important behind the lovely girls’ back in order to hide what is probably written all over my face. Then one of those VNV Nation tracks comes on; a steady beat and a baseline,  a deep breath and then go. The adrenaline hits, the light makes it harder to see who is watching, and her body become the only thing that matters. With the adrenaline and the pace of the tying, it is almost like trying to scratch into her, dig deeply, removing layer after layer. It is not really pretty the rope, off centre and unbalanced, but god damn, it is so fun. Encasing her in a cocoon of rope and then just physical rope and bodies in motion; toying with her mind, moving in like an attack, forcing her off balance; a fistful of hair, her neck exposed. As the wham bam adrenaline wears off, I want to continue with the rope but with a less barrage of the senses, so the untying takes place on the floor, while sitting down, the rope is warm and so is her body, resting my cheek against her shoulder, controlling every movement, pushing her with my chest, adding tension rather than removing it even if the ropes are coming off. The last wrap around her wrists comes off; we have both forgot everything about the crowd. The evening continues, with more awesomeness, and when we walk back to the car, it feels like being wrapped up in cotton.

On the second day, I get showed around a very special and interesting place; my jaw dropping for each and every door that was opened. Suffice to say, I did not think about anything else than what horrible acts could be committed or was being committed. Those really abject, filthy, degrading, sadistic…..see, it is even hard to type anything about it!
Pink then fetched me and showed the touristy things, including Lombard street. We also found some sushi, and dear me, that sushi was basically perfect. Also walked on the Castro, which felt strangely touching. All this queer history and activism, the significance really struck, especially when visiting a LGBT-history museum. I am so grateful for those who paved the way, who fought back and stood their ground.

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That evening then finished with a visit to view the scenery described in the beginning of this post but also biting someone very cute in a dark parking lot.

I would like to thank Pink and Bus Driver who made the visit so unforgettable with your generosity and kindness. There is probably not words enough to express this gratitude, so I’ll just stop waffling.

 


Pr0n, baby, it is all about Pr0n

 

 

During a talk at Stockholm Pride this summer, we where listening to a talk about the possibilities or rather apparently the inpossibilities of feminist pornography. Now, I don’t view a lot of pr0n, simply because I’m not very interested in the expressions and most of the time find hot things in other places, even if they are not intended to be anything erotic. I’m sorry but I guess that is how I am wired. What I am interested in is different erotic expressions amongst people, and with that comes certain discussions that I do know are reoccurring and sometimes really frustrating.
There is doublebind and a difficulty when it comes to porn and feminist theory. Not because there is something inherently problematic about porn itself, but because it has been made in to being so problematic. It does not matter if you come from a rightwing nutplace like the one below

or if it is a rethoric coming from what is framed as a feminist, because they can both frame pornography as something pwetti evööööööl. It turns men into murderers, women into wanton sluts or depraved victims and wrecks families, lives and it is also the ultimate expression of the patriarchal society in which we live. I.E porn, according to some, is the blueprint of the oppression of women in our society. Etc. Etc. I could go on forever and ever on the massive effects that pornography is supposed to have on mankind. Yeah, that is MANkind, because it is the man who can never separate fantasy from reality, who can’t control himself, who turns into broken rapists and sadists (the bad kind).

I can’t say I’m totally positive towards the sex industries, but that is in the same way as I am not totally positive towards many other industries. We are not perfect human beings, we can’t really claim that everything is alright, fine and dandy, because hey, I make a choice and if I make a choice that must automatically be good, right? Not really, but my point here is to discuss the implications of a possible feminist pornography. The project ‘Dirty Diaries’ from Sweden was filmed with mobile cameras, and with another approach than what porn production usually has. Furthermore, it was also given funding from the Swedish State (which many saw as proof of how twisted the Swedish society had become, funny enough…). Now, I’ve seen bits and bobs and for me it did not do anything, sexually, but I found the approach being interesting. With a mobile camera filming and the participants being a very active part of the creation, the lines between the viewer and the viewed became blurred. By turning voyeurism and exhibitionism on it’s head, I think there is a lot that can be done, especially if it is for someone else than the viewer. This is already in full throttle  with the masses of amateur porn that is produced each and every day by people shagging away in front of the camera.

The thing then is, for whom is pornography produced and why? Usually, the answer is something like, “People who want to get off on watching other peeps shag”. Now, I can fully understand that it is how it is defined, because definitions are important to us, especially in the West with our obsessions of taxonomy here and there and everywhere. But is not definition to narrow? Does it not exclude all of those who do amateur pornography for themselves, for their own private pleasure? Or those who view it with other perspectives than the hands-down-pants intention? There is of course a question of art here, if art is a part of all of this, and also a question of value.
I think many people would say that ‘The Swing’ is different from the picture from the CCTV with the creep who is harassing women. And I would agree.

 

The Swing, by Jean-Honoré Fragonard

 

I’m going to touch on the issue of consent first actually, just because it is a simple but still important bit. The painting depict a playing couple, whereas the CCTV image is, as far as I know, a man who clearly don’t respect women’s boundaries. A sexist pig indeed.
Second of all, I think I’m far more impressed by the work of Fragonard, simply because it is such a beautiful painting. I’m talking workmanship here now, the craft of an artist versus the developed technology which enables the act of the Peeping Tom to be caught on camera. The intention of one of these images is that it is an object d’art and the other is a candid image never meant be put on show or hung up in a gallery.

But to get back on track, or back to the pornography. There is also a thing about what the intention behind an image is. What reactions does The Swing conjure, and how do you feel when looking at the Peeping Tom?
First of all, the reaction to the Swing and Peeping Tom are contextual and situational. They depend on what society we live in, what kind of norms we have, so once in a time, the painting was erotic. It showed skirts, it showed nature and people enjoying themselves, it showed stockings, legs and hints of something more. And yes, the Peeping Tom-idiot can also be seen as erotic, although I personally have a problem with sexualizing images like the above.
In what I am going to say now, is not that we should not take responsibility, but that it is possible to shift the focus of struggles. Feminist pornography is used as a way of escaping the problem, by phrasing it slightly differently, it is supposed to be something completely else. In the discussion at Pride, a member of the panel started to connect art and feminist porn, like they are interchangeable and that pornography has to be art in order to be (feminist) pornography. I don’t know how many turns this logic can take, but it does certainly create a scary binary,  where pornography has to show something special, something specific, as if it would be responsible for for what the viewer might see.
Here is some news: you can’t control the viewer. You can adapt and work with different ways of influencing the viewer, in the same way as Fragonard works with his composition or in the same way as a CCTV erotic image can make us feel a bit uneasy, but I repeat, it is not possible to control the viewer. Just  about anyone can pick up any kind of pornographic movie and it would not matter what the intentions were of the producer. What is possible to control is the conditions that the people on the set work are subjected to, to push for safe sex practices whenever possible.  And this is where the focus needs to be.

I am a sex-positive feminist and don’t see anything inherently bad in connecting sex and money, but my beef is where the focus is and who holds positions of power. This connected with us living in a patriarchal society that does not help young people to shape their lust as well or learning how to take responsibility for ones fellows, in the same time as people choose to pinpoint blame on pornography, creates a really toxic situation.  And is really, really irresponsible and stupid. It is like bombarding someone with images, impressions, values, language, norms and feelings  but not giving them the tool to interpret and relate to them.

As a fan of queer pr0n, on many different levels, I believe that there is more to pr0n than exploitation and misery and I don’t really believe in feminist pr0n, but I don’t want to put the ones who are shagging on pedestal either.

But it is time to stop blaming the pr0n for everything, and turn the attention wider.

 


Too Much Pussy! A Queer X-show

It’s cold, I’ve got a bad version of insomnia and February makes me feel miserable. I’m dreaming about warmer times and thinking about the summer. One amazing thing that I got to experience this summer was The Queer X-show.

By Deborah Degouts

The Queer X-show was 7 women who traveled through Europe in a van, performing on various stages and all this was filmed. The ‘first sexplicit, queer, documentary road movie’ was filmed by Emilie Jouvet. And it was awesome

The heroes of my summer became this amazing group, which consisted of DJ Metzgerei, Wendy Delorme, Judy Minx, Madison Young, Mad Kate, Sadie Lune, & Emilie Jouvet. But not only did I get to see them once but twice.First time was in Stockholm, during Stockholm Pride. Queer Allstars, organized by Wotever was one of the best parties during the week. Then they had already toured around Europe with their sexpositive message and full-frontal (femme) feminism and fuckery.
I did not really know anything about them, more than they were not to be missed. And the show itself started while I was snogging a gorgeous woman, not being entirely sober. So my concentration was maybe directed more at my fistfull of her hair than what happened at stage. But suddenly everything else stopped and I was breathing harder than ever. I don’t know which part of the show it was, except that it was spellbinding, terrifying, sexy and utterly in your face. A couple of people became upset, and I felt uneasy too, but not because of the show but because of some of the reactions from the audience. Undressed women carry many connotations, and I for one was sad when the biggest response from the audience came when someone showed their tits. Not because of the tits (they were stunning!) but because of the almost mandatory, general reaction in the audience. You know, the alpha male ‘rapture’. I know that a couple of people in the audience also felt uneasy, and some left because they were not able to reconcile their personal and political identities with what went on on stage.

Anyhow, when Mad Kate, dressed in zentai suit, tied herself into a karada and masturbated with a Hitachi while having microphones enhancing every sound, I could feel the electricity in the whole room.

Pic by Jean Pol

Judy Minx then came out, all innocent, making you think about very naughty ageplay, spitting gruel all over the audience before stripping and pissing on stage. Her small-girl personae was really something else

A captivating technofiliac scene followed, with a doll-like performance and a nighmarish ghoul performing a slow, painfully slow, strip, finishing kissing each other and in the same time blood flowing en mass from their mouths. I think this was one of the performances that made me cry. This passive, made up doll being undressed by a tall, dark, deformed figure. These characters who rested in their relationship, taking each other so far as to streams of blood. It is so hard to describe all the feelings, but the interplay between Delorme and Mad Kate was heartbreakingly beautiful.

The final playpiercingstrip I could barely watch (at that point my needlephobia was still getting in the way), but I could not help but taking sneak peaks. The oriental theme, with a conclusion that gave me the connotations of a sense of community and love for eachother echoed throughout the evening in Stockholm. I even thought about it while being lovingly stroked and pampered in the dungeon afterwards.

Then, a week later, back in the south of Sweden we realize that the same show is going to be shown in our town. It was not hard to decide whether to go and see them again or not. As for the most of the summer I was feeling a bit odd as we drove down to the venue on our bicycles, and that evening I was feeling antisocial, to be more specific. But at some point, I got tired of that feeling and decided that it was rope that I needed. So I turned back on my bicycle, pedaled like a mad person back, fetched my rope and got first a hold of E and then K. And after some lemonade and some knots I felt better already.
So when they came onstage again, I could just sit back and enjoy the ride that these performers take you on. The venue was different and it was a very different crowd as well. The art-gallery made the setup very different, all in all.

Things that struck me in this show was how much closer you could come to the performers. At an early stage, Judy Minx performed her piece about BDSM, and I was crying so much that it felt like floodgates had burst. It reminded me of people I missed, touches that I had to imagine instead of feeling, and reminded me of a sense of loss, a loss of something that I almost never even had.

BDSM is the quiet, firm pressure of your arm on my skin, pushing into my flesh as if I were made of dough.
It is the way your eyes stare coldly at me sometimes, moving slowly on me, observing me, examining every inch of me.
It is the slightest gesture – a reassuring nod of your head, telling me I can hold ten more seconds, just ten more seconds, and be a good girl for you ; a quiet look in your eyes that says trust me ; a little patting on my head, to tell me you’re proud of me, to tell me how strong and good I’ve been ; a word or two, you know you don’t need more, I know what you expect from me, and I know how to obey ; or an interrogative look, with something of a warning in it, is this what I told you to do ? is this how a good girl should behave ? what’s getting into you, don’t you want to please me ? you wouldn’t want to disappoint me. you’ve been bratty enough for tonight. quit it. now.
BDSM is your hand at the back of my neck, just this slight, gentle pressure at the back of my neck that paralyzes me all the way down my spine, controlling my every moves.

BDSM is you to me
BDSM is you and me.

It is well worth it to visit Judy’s own blog and read the whole text. It sure made me cry more than usually, and I’ve been called waterworks more than one time. A different burlesque came from Wendy Delorme, captivating and almost hypnotic she carefully watered the flowers.

Wendy Delorme, by Emilie Jouvet

Mad Kate did one of her fast-paced aggressive numbers, forcefully making the audience think about the self, the participation of social networks on internet and how scewed the notion of being a member of such communities can become, in which every second is documented, written about/upon, every moment captured with the help of a camera-lense and all of the informations that we crave transferred every second by wires or wireless networks. Hearing her scream about how she had to update her Facebook, check the Twitter, has any one written?!, is there any change since she last checked?! , this was both fun and frightening. And I decided to stop being stressed about updating More Inches.

Mad Kate, by Emilie Jouve

One other highlight (among many, so many that I will not write of all of them here) was Sadie Lune’s invite from her to look at her cervix. All a part of the educational and sex-positive spirit in which the show was performed with. She sat down in a plush chair, started talking about anatomy and cunts and then she took out a plastic speculum which she inserted. With the help of a torch, she then did a cervix viewing, encouraging people to step forward and look at her cervix. While doing this, she also answered questions about female anatomy. Many people stepped forward, but it took some time before they dared to do so. This felt at no time inappropriate and no one behaved in an abusive manner. The performers were powerful subjects (or if objects, chosen to be such) with bodies of their own, and this was very much the strength of the whole of the Queer X-show. It might sound strange that I’m saying it at all, but there is such a twisted notion in the world, which is a notion about the female form that cannot be viewed without being exploited. And that is to a certain extent true, but what if we are still subjects? What if the exploitative model does not suit all situations? I think this is a very true case when speaking of Queer X show. They refuse the notion of the powerless hypersexualized body, in favour of one that is true to relating to a sex-positive message while still refusing the normative mode in which the female body is produced. Maybe it should be noted that even if all of them could be considered ‘pretty’ or beautiful (not always very useful notions them either) they were often reclaiming their bodies on stage, and controlled the way that we could view them. This meant that distortions were never far away, a stripping to the bone, or a body moulded after their own likings. ‘Uglyfied’ is maybe the wrong word, but definitely different from what we think a body of beauty should look like. This challenge was for me, personally, the largest turn on, in a way that made me participate but to also think about who is really watching who.

Sadie Lune by Emilie Jouvet

Another beautiful scene, was the last ceremony in which the group showed their solidarity which sex-workers ended the show it self, although the party continued afterwards with great music, friendly people and of course, a sauna on wheels, which was used by many. It stood outside the venue, half a meter from the water (we were in the harbor) and the evening became full of nekkid people who bathed, sat in the sauna, made out, had sex, drank, danced, talked, rode on bikes in the nude. You name it.
And what did I do? I took it all in, then continued tying. Dolly, the poor thing looked good in the middle of the night, naked and stuck.

And what is even better, the trailer for the movie shot by Jouvet, can be seen here

You can find Queer X show’s blog here


Gush! G-spotting?

So, ‘recent’ research has showed that apparently the G-spot does not exist. Or does it?
I don’t have any scientific credentials, but here is my own take on the matter:

The G-spot phenomena has been thoroughly exploited on many levels. This is nothing unusual when it comes to female anatomy and sex. While Dr. Whipple and John Perry in 1982 coined the term for a sensitive area right after the entrance of the vagina they probably could never imagine what it would lead to, in terms of hype. Let us consider how this can be and how the issues concerning female sexuality are so easily exploited and how they constructed as truths or falsifications. We can do that by looking at another part of the female body that has been considered, used, reconsidered and now even re-named. I will not at any point claim there is or is not a ‘ G-spot’ though, for that I’m not enough qualified.
But my main theme in this text is about control. The control over women’s bodies. So, let’s take the hymen as an example that has to do with female anatomy and power over women’s bodies.
It is now proven there is actually not any membrane covering the entrance of the vagina and thusly, the patriarchal invention is one of mythological proportions A mythology that still haunts our modern society as well as many other societies. I’m not going to dwell to much of the impact it has had, but let’s just say that people has died because of it, and that there is a huge business, now, in the 21st century, in to ‘restoring’ something that has not ever existed. It’s big bucks…to maintain an idea about the whore and the madonna.

For those interested, it is more of a wreath, following the anatomic contours. That is why in Sweden, they have renamed it to ‘vaginal wreath’ in order to dismantle to dangerous notion of a membrane.

Now, what the fuck has this to do with anything? Well. I would not dare to say that there is not areas within the body that react in certain ways, and that gushing does not happen. What I do doubt though, is the exact specifics of it and how it’s been used as a holy grail.In one sense we need more research, but it comes with a problem. The problem of how science can become ridden by assumptions that are not scientific. Bodies change, lust is not the same for everyone, and sexual activity is not always streamlined.
The G-spot phenomena has been an amazing thing to exploit, and also something that has benefited many women. But as many as swear by it, there is also many who claim to never found, no matter how many hooked fingers with a bit of a bent, pressuring against the wall of the vagina they have experienced.That does not mean that one is right or the other is wrong. It means that we are different, and react differently.

I soaked the sheets less than a week ago, but for years I did not understand what people were going on and on about. The toys specified for g-spotting was ridiculous. And I would not say that my gushing has anything to do with the spot and it might be that my largest objection is against the name. The Spot.
I had a reaction on a action at is was very pleasurable and fun. I had the benefit of being able to enjoy that and is that not what it comes down to? Enjoying your body in a way that gives you pleasure that is not haunted by a competition.

It can be hard though. I’ve meet so many women who have been frustrated because of their partners frustration in the quest of g-spotting. I remember a moment that I’ve classifed as the biggest turn off ever. The guy was fingering me, kinda nice, then did something with his fingers, and very smugly said “And there..!..is the G-spot.” The expecting look of his face, very much like a kid waiting to recieve an applaud for doing something, implied that I would turn into a gushing mess, screaming like a banshee while orgasming. I might add I did not. Instead, it became boring and I was annoyed. My body is not a map, or a quest. I am not a problem to solve or a puzzle to piece together.

The competition to find the map to the g-spot is utterly bonkers, not helped by porn, crap sex-industry, ill-informed advisors and wrong focus on lust and education. Not helped by bad research, ridden by old and weird assumptions of the female body and lust. Assumptions that haunts the appreciation of the male lust as well.

So, how about trying to move away from the competition, appreciate that there is an AREA inside the vagina that can react in a very distinct way, but that it is not only technique that create a reaction, it is not about a direct correlation between action and reaction? In the same way that our sex-drive is not constantly exactly the same, our sensitivity is not.
NO-ONE, NO-ONE has the right to make you or anyone else feel pressured when it comes to sexual activities. You are the person who can decide what you want, and roam around in any way that you need to make that decision. Make mistakes, laugh about them, hit the right notes and come in any way you like, but always, always remain sceptical. And you don’t ‘need’ to come. Don’t allow anyone to treat your sexuality like a problem, or non-consensually turning you into an experiment, and

For more, really, really good reading on the G-spot take a look at this link:
Yes, there is a G-spot


The Lies about the Ten Lies-part 3

We have Zxenu Cronstrom Beskow onboard as our guestblogger. He examines the radical feminist claims abut ‘lies’ told by BDSMers.

The first part
Second part

Part 3: “Sadomasochism versus Radical Feminist dogma”

If Farley had openly accused sadomasochists of not conforming to the dogmas of her particular brand of radical feminism, then she had been correct. But this is not what she is doing. Instead, she’s exploiting mainstream society’s contempt for BDSM in an attempt to establish her very special discourse as if it was a objective reality or consensus viewpoint. She’s establishing a world view where society itself is “sadomasochistic” and where her own brand of radicalism is the ONLY valid resistance against mainstream society. Lets take a look at the remaining four points.

2. Sadomasochism is love and trust, not domination and annihilation.

Good relationships, sadomasochistic and vanilla (conventional/mainstream) alike, are based on love and trust. Of course, there are also bad relationships. There are also sexual relations that are based on mutual lust rather then love. Such a relationship can still be mutual and non-abusive if it contains enough trust and respect.

Farley’s examples are not even examples, merely shallow propaganda. David Koresh was a destructive religious cult leader, not a sadomasochist. Of course HIS kind of dominance was bad – and so was his heterosexuality and masculinity. If he is being to be used as an example of sadomasochism being bad on a general level, then he can just as well be used as an example of heterosexuality being bad on a general level, or of men being bad on a general level. Then again, there are radical feminists who would agree with that kind of argument.

Farley also uses some sexual fantasies as examples. And indeed, these particular fantasies certainly do not seem loving. Then again, they are fantasies. The love and trust is not about the fantasies themselves, but about how they are handled. Also, there are a lot of sadomasochistic fantasies that are very much about love, and many heterosexual and homosexual fantasies that have nothing to do with love.

4. Sadomasochism is consensual; no one gets hurt if they don’t want to get hurt. No one has died from sadomasochistic “scenes.”

Regardless of her sexuality, a victim of abuse is a victim period, not a masochist. She may or may not ALSO be a masochist, but this is entirely beside the point. By the definitions that sadomasochists typically use, abuse (sadistic or otherwise) is not sadomasochistic. The word sadomasochism include the word masochism, and this word implies that the person on the receiving end is there as a masochist, not as a victim.

Thus, BDSM and sadomasochistic sex can never be abusive, but only in the same way as vanilla lovemaking can never be abusive: If it turns abusive, then it is no longer lovemaking.

Of course, there are many sexual relations – vanilla and BDSM alike – that have started out consensual, but later turned abusive. This is a real problem, but it doesn’t men that all sadists (in the BDSM sense of the word) are abusers, and it does not mean that all heterosexual men are abusers either.

Furthermore, there are people who have died from vanilla lovemaking, so of course there are also people who have died from consensual BDSM play. Heart attacks are a common cause in both cases, but when it comes to advanced forms of BDSM there is also the issue of people being inexperienced and lacking proper safety education. Just as with mainstream sexuality, porn is NOT a good teacher for how to do it in real life. Even in its advanced forms, BDSM can be LESS dangerous then vanilla sex – but only if people know what they are doing.

Deeper in her argument, Farley practically claims that it is impossible to consent to BDSM – that the masochist is a brainwashed victim who does not know what she really want or an addict unable to say no. While a convenient excuse to disqualify the experiences of women who don’t share Farley’s dogma, it is simply not true for masochists in general, regardless of gender. (Farley’s argument seem to assume that the submissive is always female and the dominant is always male.) Of course there are individual masochists and victims of manipulative sadists who fit this stereotype, just like there are destructive vanilla relationships that contain addiction or cultlike tendencies.

6. Sadomasochistic pornography has no relationship to the sadomasochistic society we live in. “If it feels good, go with it.” “We create our own sexuality.”

Mainstream society is most definitely not sadomasochistic in any definition of “sadomasochism” that EITHER the sadomasochists themselves OR the mainstream society would agree with. Farley is taking theoretical constructs of radical feminism for objective reality here.

10. Sadomasochism is political dissent. It is progressive and even “transgressive” in that it breaks the rules of the dominant sexual ideology.

Seen from a non-totalitarian perspective, this statement contains an obvious truth. Although sadomasochism, just like homosexuality, is becoming more and more accepted, it is still far from mainstream.

To deny this, one must reduce reality to two groups. On one side, the one and only true resistance (in this case radical feminists) and on the other side the evil conspiracy and all its minions, including all resistances that do not conform to the orthodoxy of the one and only true resistance.

Of course, this only covers the matter of dissent. Far from all dissent is constructive, progressive or transgressive in any good sense of any such word. If one can reasonably consider BDSM and sadomasochism to be good things depends on your point of view.

In BDSM, dominance and submission is optional and not based on gender. One can be dominant, submissive, both or neither, regardless of whether one is a man, woman, intersexual or a gender-undefined queer-person. Being a dominant doesn’t give you any right to dominate someone who doesn’t want to be dominated by you or in a way that he doesn’t want to be dominated. Being a submissive gives you a right to chose who to submit to, when, how and to what extent.

From a queer-feminist perspective, this is very liberating and a useful tool in the struggle for freedom and diversity. From most other feminist perspective, it is neutral: Neither a good thing and a help, nor a bad thing and a threat.

From a totalitarian conservative or radical feminist perspective however, it is inherently evil. It is, by definition, a lie – Or at least a contradiction in terms. One core belief shared by patriarchal conservatism and radical feminism is that men are, by definition, dominant/oppressive, while women are, again by definition, submissive/oppressed. While the conservatives consider it good and the radical feminists consider it evil, both sides agree that That’s Just The Way It Is. Thus, the dominant women and submissive men of BDSM must be explained away for their worldview to remain intact. And an all-out attack is always the easiest defense.

By Xzenu Cronström Beskow

The author is a  queerfeminist veteran, active both in struggles against sexual abuse and  for the rights of sexual minorities. Xzenu has  academic degrees in psychology and sexology.


The Lies about the Lies, part 2

First part by Xzenu Cronström Beskow can be found here.

To recap, the ten lies that Melissa Farley claims to uncover, are:

  1. 1. Pain is pleasure; humiliation is enjoyable; bondage is liberation.
    2. Sadomasochism is love and trust, not domination and annihilation.
    3. Sadomasochism is not racist and anti Semitic even though we “act” like slave owners and enslaved Africans, Nazis and persecuted Jews.
    4. Sadomasochism is consensual; no one gets hurt if they don’t want to get hurt. No one has died from sadomasochistic “scenes.”
    5. Sadomasochism is only about sex. It doesn’t extend into the rest of the relationship.
    6. Sadomasochistic pornography has no relationship to the sadomasochistic society we live in. “If it feels good, go with it.” “We create our own sexuality.”
    7. Lesbians “into sadomasochism” are feminists, devoted to women, and a women-only lesbian community. Lesbian pornography is “by women, for women.”
    8. Since lesbians are superior to men, we can “play” with sadomasochism in a liberating way that heterosexuals can not.
    9. Re-enacting abuse heals abuse. Sadomasochism heals emotional wounds from childhood sexual assault.
    10. Sadomasochism is political dissent. It is progressive and even “transgressive” in that it breaks the rules of the dominant sexual ideology.

Part 2: The Strawman Sadomasochist
To some extent, all ten points listed in part one are to some extent a “Strawman Political” version of sadomasochists. In this part I will focus on six points where this “Strawman sadomasochist” is the main problem, while the next part will instead deal with the four points where the main problem is radical feminist dogmatism.

1. Pain is pleasure; humiliation is enjoyable; bondage is liberation.

For some people, the RIGHT kind of pain in the right degree and context can indeed be enjoyable. Same thing goes for humiliation and for being tied up with ropes – which is what the word “bondage” refers to in a BDSM context. (BDSM stands for sadomasochistic sexual practices: Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism.)

During my decades of experience with the BDSM scene, I have *never* encountered a person who claims that all pain is enjoyable. However, I have often encountered this stereotype among people who are prejudiced against sadomasochists and their BDSM practices.

It is also worth noticing that this first point of Farley’s is homage to the novel 1984 and the propaganda of the evil regime in that novel: “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.” The problem here is not the homage itself, but that she attributes it to the sadomasochists. The strawman sadomasochist she is “exposing” have more in common with the villains of children’s comic books, standing on mountaintops shouting “Muahaha, I’m EVIL!” to the raging thunderstorm, then it has in common with actual people. I assume that Farley has made up the ten points herself, incorrectly presenting her prejudice against sadomasochists as if it was the actual opinions of actual sadomasochists. If the list actually do come from someone who claim to be a sadomasochist, and Farley has not twisted the words or ripped them out of context, then Farley has indeed been extremely lucky with finding a source that is easy to mock. Continue reading


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