Friday, June 16, 2017

Guides and Edumacation

Welcome to rant #2 of the day...

First off, I want to state that I respect those that take the time to create guides.  It is a lot of work and rarely yields any type of reward except for a few back pats, and at best, the most common result is plagiarism. 

Recently I have had a few people request that I write some newbie BDSM guides.  My first reaction was, "why would I take the time to do that when there are already so many resources available?"  Then I went to look for the resources that I learned from and they are either completely gone or buried so deep in SEO that they may as well be gone. 

Honestly, I keep running into people that are confused or burdened by the fact that they are working from a singular definition of a term or concept when there are multiple definitions for said term/concept.  "The guide I read said it was _____." 

I respect those that take the time to create guides... but c'mawn... be thorough.  The reason so few people write guides is because they are a hell of a lot of work (I know first hand having written many guides in other fields).  If you google the word "sand" and look for a definition you will find there are three of them.  One is a noun and refers to a sand like on a beach.  Two are verbs.  One is the action of smoothing something with sand paper.  The other is spreading the noun version of sand on something, like a road in winter.  If you came across a dictionary that had one or two of those definitions (and not all three) you would probably think it was a pretty shitty dictionary.  I'm going to stop at that.

Guides in general are rather interesting.  If you hunt them down, and I have read dozens over the years, there are basically two types of guides:  One that is supposed to be universal but is obviously targeted at submissive women.  One that is purposely directed at men.  If I had to give those guides titles to summarize them, it would be something like this:
  • Newbie guide for women:  How to not get abused and raped in BDSM.
  • Newbie guide for men: How to not repulse every woman on the internet.  
For those looking to delve further, there is the "Big Book of BDSM Clichés," that I talked about in my last post.

I'm not actually making fun of these guides.  Sadly, they are necessary.  Almost too necessary.  So necessary it's kind of frightening.  Yeah.  You know exactly what I'm talking about.

While there are plenty of BDSM 101 resources, what I have noticed that is completely lacking would be BDSM 201, 301, and 401 guides.  It took me a while to figure out why.  Just about everyone that has been in the lifestyle for a long period of time has a wealth of knowledge and lessons they have gathered over the years.  This applies to people who have been with the same partner for a long time as well as those that have not. 

When I try to dig into it, I realize it's the effects of cliches.  "Everyone is unique, there is no right way."  I actually hate this statement for several reasons.  The first is that it is an easy justification for making zero effort to understand someone's situation.  The second is that it distances us from other people.  I am unique, you are unique, we are too different for anything to be applicable to the both of us. 

Having been treated different for reasons like weight, build, physical appearance, and the like, I think that feeling unique is isolating.  I have spent years searching for SIMILARITIES between people rather than differences.  I have seen ways for people to come together rather than remain apart.  Special little snowflakes melt alone.

I find the lack of material written about "intermediate BDSM" to be rather shocking.  In its place you find "There is no one right way." 

Maybe they were right and I should write guides.  In the future I can find a post on someone's blog where they bitch about my guide being inadequate and I can pump my fist in the air and shout, "OMG, someone read my shit and took the time to write about it!"


  1. Comment two of the day :):

    I'm writing some basic 'How To' femdom guides.

    Why? Because people ask me, and every forum that I'm on, and anyone who will listen the same questions over and over and I think that the large 'cover everything' guides are too much, too big, too intimidating for a lot of people. There will always be newbies who are stumbling about not knowing what to do, and they get little snippets of information from a lot of different places and struggle to make it into something cohesive and practical, so I'm trying to plug that gap.

    "While there are plenty of BDSM 101 resources, what I have noticed that is completely lacking would be BDSM 201, 301, and 401 guides"

    I think there are no intermediate or advanced guides because by the time someone needs that, they generally have the experience and resources already (friends, community, online forums etc etc) and have access to information that they need. They don't need to be rescued from themselves by a random 'expert'.

    "In the future I can find a post on someone's blog where they bitch about my guide being inadequate and I can pump my fist in the air and shout, "OMG, someone read my shit and took the time to write about it!""

    Heh... Right?!


    1. Thank you, Ferns. It is good to hear from you, especially twice in one day :)

      There is definitely a void when it comes to F/m guides and a whole lot of people hungry to learn more. Back when I was in my learning phase 99% of the resources out there pretty much assumed everyone was M/f and conveniently ignored most F/m-only concepts.

      My complaints about thoroughness was mostly in regards to definitions for terms and the like. I'm finding lately I have been having to translate questions for a few blog authors working on 30-days prompts because their fundamental views differ so greatly from the authors writing the questions that they are at a loss on how to begin to answer the question, and/or their research leads them to very incomplete term definitions.

      That is an interesting observation on the intermediate guides. I hadn't seen it from that point of view before. I do come across quite a few people who hit confusion points and/or encounter an obstacles they just can't figure out on their own. In a lot of those cases they don't know where to turn and end up just getting strings of cliches as advice. I will be thinking about this more.

      Take care.

    2. "My complaints about thoroughness was mostly in regards to definitions for terms and the like."

      I'm finding in writing these 'how to' guides that I have to set boundaries (from 'these are my assumptions' to 'this is an 80 percenter') because every topic has a rabbit hole where you can spend FOREVER trying to cover everything. From definitions to concepts to common outliers to edge cases, and then you've written 10,000 words and not even come close to saying anything useful.

      That is, for every statement you make, there are a million exceptions and if you try to cover it all, you may as well give up before you start.

      The discovery of this truth is why my second 'How To' book in the series is taking forever. Ugh.


    3. Thank you, Ferns.

      I do agree about the rabbit hole. That even happened with this rant hehe. If I were to clarify in my statement on that, I do agree that something like covering 80% is very fair and I've found that people who choose carefully will also make a note like "There may be other forms not mentioned here" etc.

      When I get most frustrated/concerned is when the distribution isn't so clear cut and it is written as if it is the only demographic that exists.
      e.g. All subs are masochists. No BDSM relationships are loving and monogamous. In all relationships the D/s lines stop at the bedroom door. etc.

      I do know I am probably hyper-sensitive to some of this due to the people I have been helping recently and their confusion when the resources make too many assumptions without any mention that it is common for other styles to exist.

      Take care.

  2. My hat goes off to Ferns for even attempting to write a guide, and I'd offer my sympathy for what she's going through with the "rabbit hole". I often get asked for advice, and unlike Ferns and you, fur, I wouldn't know how to begin writing a guidebook. I'm somewhat reluctant to offer anything in response to "how do I do this" questions, as there are so many individual variables involved, and so much that I don't know about the questioner.

    A guide for the beginner seems like such a herculean task that I'd be loathe to get involved. Good luck Ferns!!