Friday, June 16, 2017

"Is there a right way?" is the Wrong Question

Please do let me know if splitting this rant up into three separate mini rants makes me seem like less of a sad little hate-monger banging away in the darkness on a keyboard in a parent's basement with nothing better to do.  I don't live in a parent's basement.

Hopefully this will get it all out of my system.

As I've written in the past, I try to be a collector of perspectives when it comes to the lifestyle.  I try to learn enough to understand the different perspectives.  I don't need to like them, want them, or agree with them, but I figure if I know enough to understand their merits, I can at least empathize a little bit, and at worst, act as a translator when two parties end up looking like they are speaking different languages on the same topic.  By doing this I also learn all sorts of fascinating tidbits and reasons that I may not have thought of before... and this has done so much to enrich my own ideal version of the lifestyle I would want.

Hell, half of what I write about comes from taking some concept from a completely different type of relationship than my own and delving into it.  The "why" is often as important as the "what."  The "how" is what makes it feasible. 

My last two posts have talked about frustration with "the one right way" as well as frustrations with the "we are unique, there is no right way."  If you've read my blog for years you are probably familiar that I like to classify, categorize, and define things.  I completely agree with the statement that "there is no one size fits all version of BDSM." 

I will make a completely outrageous statement here.  There are like 5 sizes of BDSM that fit 90% of the population.  Well, I'm half-joking/half-serious with that statement.  I'll expand a little bit in how I tend to view things like "people involved in BDSM."  If you took biology in high school you might remember taxonomy and graphics like these:

It is basically a means of grouping organisms from most general to most specific.  The higher you are on the rank, the more organisms are encompassed.  I view BDSM through a very similar lens.  I've never actually taken the time to break it down, so some of these might seem out of order but I figure I need to actually break it down a bit so I am winging it on the fly.

Domain: All people involved in BDSM.
Kingdom: BDSM is a lifestyle.  BDSM is negotiated consensual scenes.
Phylum: Monogamous.  Poly.
Class:  Loving.  Non-loving.  Non-romantic.

Order:  F/m, F/f, M/f, M/m covers mono.  Poly gets a bit more complicated as it also includes F/f/m, F/F/m, F/f/M, M/M/f, M/m/f, etc.  There are also switches. 

etc. etc.

A married F/m couple with a 24-7 relationship will be something like:
BDSM is a lifestyle > Monogamous > Loving > F/m > and so on.

Once you hit the species level, things feel a bit more unique.  The farther up you trace the progression, the more you start having in common with other people.  I have also found that most disagreements that happen on a fundamental level tend to happen due to differences higher up the ladder.  As you filter down into the smaller distribution groups you will find the people who are similar to you, are in fact similar to you because you share fundamental beliefs about the lifestyle.

This becomes a little more complicated than 5 sizes but I think you will find that as long as you match up with someone on the Kingdom/Phylum/Class level that you will have quite a bit in common with them.  There is a good chance that it will diverge at some point further down, but is that enough of a reason to fall back into the "we are unique, there is no right way" and the accompanying belief that we can't learn from them and they can't learn from us?  The frequency with which people act in that way actually disturbs me. 

Wow... this didn't feel like a rant.  Welcome to a view of the way my nerd brain processes information.

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!"

Why I Hate Clichés...

I've attempted to write this post 10 times and deleted it every time... it ends up being too negative and ranty.  I hate not writing for long stretches so I may as well just unleash it in a more focused form.

Over the past few months I've been interacting with quite a few people that are newer to the BDSM scene (less than a year experience).  I really enjoy helping people who have a genuine interest to learn.  I find it very rewarding to connect with someone and be able to teach them about topics or ideas that have aspects about them that fall below the surface and aren't necessarily evident when they are presented to people for the first time.

I have also found myself following a lot more blogs, mostly on Wordpress.  I'm reading a lot more M/f blogs now than ever before and again I am reminded at just how much more attention is paid to those blogs than male sub authored F/m blogs.

Seeing a much larger volume of comments on the blogs that I post reminded me about something.  I hate cliches.  It's not that I dislike what is said in a cliche or its meanings... I dislike that cliches steal from active thought.  In BDSM, cliches are drilled into newcomers to the scene and nearly anyone who takes part in a local or online BDSM community can probably recite all of them on cue.  It brings me back to the days of memorizing multiplication tables.  We don't need to know how they work, we just memorize the answers.  While some may take the time to get into it and seek the answers of how and why, eventually the words become law and anything that violates the law is considered taboo.

Granted, a lot of the reasons behind cliches often fall into the realm of common sense, but this is kink, which commonly causes large numbers of people to lose half their brain when they think about it.  Every day you will read blog posts explaining why the cliches are necessary.

Over time, cliches too often end up being the Swiss Army knife of fixes.  Have a problem?  Spout a cliche.  Need help understanding something?  Spout a cliche.  Something doesn't feel right?  Spout a cliche.  When I see the run of cliches I start wondering if people have actually made any effort to understand the person enough to, you know, give them an applicable and personal response.  It's much easier to spout a cliche... because it doesn't require you to know someone or understand their situation at all.  Is that a good thing?

At other times cliches lead to interesting scenarios when they begin to conflict with one another.  Think of how many kinksters you hear use the phrase "there is no one true way."  It ends up being the view of well over half of the people who post anything BDSM-related anywhere on the internet.  This becomes their mantra until confronted with something that violates another cliche.
"There is no one true way... except all of the following must be true:
-trust cliche.
-communication cliche.
-consent cliche.
-safety cliche.
-limits cliche.
-generic BDSM-oriented cliche.
Failure to comply will lead to ridicule and shame."

When this happens it seems so strange that it looks a lot like they believe there is one true way.

I'm going to cut the rant off here.

I hope you have a good weekend.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Consensus: Not a little

I finally have some clarity on the subject that had been lingering for a while now.  I was lucky enough to chat with a few people both have a little space and those who have spent a lot of time with them and after sharing a bit about my situation the consensus was that my slavespace is not little space.

According to their descriptions, little space is meant to be a happy place that acts as a shield from stress and the like.  My space is a place of constant anxiety and driven mostly by fear.  The one with the most experience in this area cited it was most likely PTSD and that the hyper-sexualized state was mostly resulting to the traumatic sexual humiliation I suffered in early childhood. 

Another topic that was brought up was why is it that my memories keep returning in April-June range (at least for 2017 and 2016).  My guess on that has to do with that being around the time that my SAD seems to wear off when the weather finally stabilizes in a good way. 

Interesting stuff and it has alleviated quite a burden that I have been carrying.  Some questions still linger, but this one has been answered.