The Case for Kink

My latest article “The Case for Kink” just got posted on Carnal Nation. Here’s the opening, but you’ll have to go to the site for the rest of it (the link is below).

One of the criticisms that gets leveled at BDSM players is the claim that BDSM is violence and that it reinforces social oppressions such as sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. There’s even a Facebook group called the Sex-Positive Leftists Critical of BDSM. In my experience, these sorts of arguments often have just enough accuracy in some of their claims that it’s hard to tease out the distortions, misunderstandings, and plain old lies. This can be really challenging, especially for newcomers to the world of kink, because it can be quite shaming to read that someone thinks that your desires and fantasies are rooted in oppression. So I’m going to take a look at some of the claims that these folks make and offer a different perspective.

Before I get into that, though, I want to start by saying that in most of the anti-BDSM writing that I’ve come across, it’s rare to see language that reflects the diversity of human sexuality. Whenever I hear someone talk about sex as if everyone has the same desires or experiences, I take it with a grain of salt. It’s simply more accurate to use “some/many/most” language because there’s nothing about sex that everyone experiences in the same way. So for anyone to call themselves “sex-positive” and then use language that rests on an assumption that people are the same is, I think, a contradiction, and I see it in most of the anti-BDSM blogs that I’ve seen.

For the rest of the article, go to http://sf.carnalnation.com/content/11572/452/case-kink

If you haven’t checked Carnal Nation out, it’s a great site. They have lots of fascinating articles, some of the best advice columns that I’ve seen, and toy reviews (disclaimer: Good Vibrations gives them sample products to review). All in all, a fab site run by fab people. Check them out. Add them to your google reader feed, follow them on Twitter or just go to CarnalNation.com.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. (I was going to comment on this over at Carnal Nation, but it looks like your post there is closed to comments for some reason.)

    There’s even a Facebook group called the Sex-Positive Leftists Critical of BDSM. In my experience, these sorts of arguments often have just enough accuracy in some of their claims that it’s hard to tease out the distortions, misunderstandings, and plain old lies.

    […]

    “So for anyone to call themselves “sex-positive” and then use language that rests on an assumption that people are the same is, I think, a contradiction, and I see it in most of the anti-BDSM blogs that I’ve seen.”

    I would take the “sex-positivity” of the people behind that Facebook page with a grain of salt. Particularly seeing who’s behind it – it appears to be a project of Winnie Small aka Demonista, one of the more aggressive internet radfems (rivaling Nine Deuce, though Demonista is less active as of late), and a few like-minded cohorts from the Toronto area. She’s an odd duck – somebody with an active erotic life and also a writer of erotic fiction who nevertheless has some very strict radical-feminist derived rules about what is and isn’t OK when it comes to sex – basically, no penetration, no power exchange or play of any kind, total “equality” at all times, etc. And when it comes to her own sex life, more power to her. The problem is that she’s very quick to elevate these to moral universals and is very aggressive towards others who don’t share that view. In practice, this has resulted in her being completely obnoxious to other participants in several internet sex and ero
    tica forums in which she’s been active, often resulting in her getting the boot.

    In general, I’ve seen a recent trend toward some in the anti-porn radical feminist camp to adopt the term “pro-sex” or “sex-positive”. This isn’t based on any kind of half-way sympathy with what’s generally called “sex-positive feminism”, but rather as a kind of hyper-defensive or outflanking tactic. Basically, they’re upset with the implication that such terminology implies they’re being anti-sex or sex-negative (though I’d argue in the really extreme wing of that movement exemplified by Sheila Jeffreys, those terms definitely apply), and that, from their point of view, they are very pro “good” sexuality and simply against sex that’s been deformed by patriarchy, pornography, BDSM, and the rest of the usual suspects. As a corollary, they often say as practitioners of the latter are the ones who are really “anti-sex” because they advocate for a deformation of what good sex should be.

    Anyway, excuse the long digression, but a little background is useful here.

  2. Jenny says:

    I love you Charlie, with all of my heart. <3

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