It took me a long time to learn that I was not a member of the BDSM community, and that in fact, what I represented was abhorrent to them. The BDSM community, like any community, has core values that define it, and if you don’t believe in those values, you are by definition not part of that community.
It certainly seemed initially like I was part of this community, at least in some sense. From a very young age, I fantasized about strong women restraining and physically dominating me, well before puberty, and many years before even beginning to understand these urges. For example, when the Linda Carter Wonder Woman series was on television in the mid-70’s, I would have been 5 or 6 years old, and one of my earliest childhood memories (and I think, my very earliest memory on this particular subject) is seeing her and being absolutely captivated. Something about her captured my imagination, even though I couldn’t understand why at the time.
At my first opportunity, I bought bondage magazines in college and masturbated to the images. (This was a few years before the Web was invented.) As I recall, the material available was only about women being tied up and blindfolded, but I imagined that it was me instead, and I imagined what things might happen in this vulnerable state.
In later years, I went on sites like FetLife and openly talked about all the things I talk about in this blog: ideas that torture me, ideas that I came to learn directly oppose the values of BDSM. The foundation of their beliefs seems to be that the activities they engage in are not real, they are fantasy, and everyone involved is playing a role. Within this narrow range of activities, the prevailing behavioral convention is "Safe, Sane, Consensual" or SSC (there is also RACK: Risk Aware Consensual Kink, which is only slightly more realistic, but not widely embraced as far as I can tell).
What I talk about is not safe, not sane, and not consensual. It is real, not fantasy. I am being my authentic self, not playing a role. After all, if its just fantasy, just role-playing, then what is the point, why bother? Mere fantasy simply does not interest me in the least. I want to truly embrace and live out my desires; it needs to be real. I need to experience real fear, real emotional pain. And quite frankly, much of the pomp and ceremony of BDSM just seems silly to me. The honorific titles, the special clothing, the props, all of these things just remove you further from reality, and that is exactly their purpose. I accept that others disagree, but for me, fantasy is not nearly enough. At best its a starting point, not an ending point. Or for those unable to live their true selves, it can be a temporary escape from the unreality of the normal world.
For example, I reject the use of safe words. If I can stop an activity with a single word, then I am in control, and I don’t want to be in control. A safe word discourages progress in the activities, and reinforces the sense of unreality, because we can stop and step out of the activity at my whim.
And we must also recognize that consent is not something you can give to another person, but that it is merely something that another person might allow you to have. The BDSM notion of consent has no foundation, it simply does not exist. Its common in BDSM to assume that consent is not only real, but that in fact, it cannot be escaped. But again, this may only true within the context of fantasy role playing, if its even true there, which I doubt. In the real world, examples of lack of consent abound. Abuse, rape, murder, and many other acts of violence are all quite common, and no amount of fantasizing can wish them out of existence. Consent can only exist where there is agreement on its existence, only where social convention allow it to exist.
I have much more I could say on this topic, and in future posts, I will try to explore my own developing philosophy, although admittedly, it will be very nascent. On the surface, guidelines like SSC sound good. But even the most basic examination of them reveals that there is really nothing there. Suffice to say for now that I find the core values of BDSM to be extremely inadequate, even for those who practice them.
FetLife actually had a significant number of members open to these ideas. Most would only go so far as to say they practiced "consensual non consent". Some talked about erotic domestic violence, for example. People interested in Female Led Relationships and total power exchange were more open to what I had to say, as their lifestyles didn’t fit neatly into BDSM either–they lived that reality. I even found people who were as attracted to the evil of women like Jodi Arias as I was.
I met a few nice, understanding people, even if they disagreed with me ultimately. But more often than not, I was met, not only with rejection, but with anger! Questioning their core values, merely questioning SSC, made people immediately furious! I suppose that’s to be expected when you question someone’s deeply held beliefs, but it puzzled me at the time. And I felt even more isolated than ever. Even among all of those freaks, I was too freakish.
What eventually became amusing is that these interactions followed common, easily predictable patterns. I usually wouldn’t get very far before I offended these women somehow. It is so difficult for me to open up and share myself with others in the first place, but to then be subject to ridicule and rejection only confirmed that I am alone with these feelings.
Toward the end of my time in BDSM, the most common interaction was that a woman would ask me to send her a "tribute" before she would "consider" me. Basically, I had to pay her for her time, she was just a prostitute. In recent years, this has become increasingly common and BDSM is now saturated with these people. Some might claim that these women are not really practicing BDSM, but if that’s the case, then BDSM has become irreparably corrupted. Maybe one in a hundred women who call themselves dominant on these sites actually wants a true, meaningful D/s relationship. Once the request for money comes up, I know the person is not serious, not even about BDSM. I always ask them: would you send money to someone you’ve never met, whose name you don’t even know? Then why would I? (How would I even know if you’re actually a woman?) This response makes them irate. How dare I not be duped!
The fallout from all these interactions also follows a typical pattern: they will attempt to shame me, and usually with the exact same critique, as if they all met beforehand and decided on exactly how interactions like this should be handled. Usually "your’re not a real sub/slave" is part of it. Another is: "you should find a prostitute, that’s really what you’re looking for." (Its not, and I found one anyway…you.) Finally: I have wasted their time. Again, its almost as amusing as it is discouraging, I’ve heard it all so often before. I know exactly what they will say before they say it.
Eventually, I addressed these people in a public forum on FetLife, and I did it from a position of strength. I asked: do you honestly think you can hate me more than I already hate myself? That’s a joke. Your hatred for me is powerless compared to my self hatred.
Afterward, I left FetLife, and similar sites I belonged to, as they were so damaging to my already fragile self esteem. I don’t intend to return. I am now as appalled by these people as they are of me. I decided that I must strike out on my own and develop a different strategy for how to live my life, and for how to find the woman I need.