Yes, I have a very peculiar sense of humor

I’m on a mailing list that introduces potential book reviewers to newly published books.  Today’s email was about “romances.”  I quickly scanned the list of books to see whether any were worth requesting to read and review.  None were, but this one caught my eye:

Kink is not my cup of tea, so it wasn’t the cover of the book that intrigued me, with its intimations of whips, chains, Great Danes, and three on a chandelier, nor was it the description of the various esoteric activities the book covers:

Christmas is a time of love and joy, and the New Year is a time of renewal. But they are also times of stress and strife, family drama, pressure and heartache – a potent mix of high expectations and conflicted emotions. Add in power exchange relationships, kinky gift swaps, and unconventional love in a sometimes unforgiving world, and you have a formula for a sizzling anthology of stories that tug at your heart.

Nope. None of that was interesting. What made me laugh, though, was this bit of information:

20% of all proceeds from O Come All Ye Kinky will be donated to the Domestic Violence Project of the National Leather Association–International.

First of all, I didn’t know there was a National Leather Association, international or domestic. Second of all, to the extent it celebrates, not just wearing leather, but using leather for “disciplinary” purposes (or, as it calls these activities, BDSM), it seems funny (to me, at least) that this organization focuses on domestic violence. I guess it’s not “domestic violence” if your partner agrees with the whole whips and chains thing.

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  • JKB

    Consensual BDSM would seem to be to domestic violence as boxing is to assault and battery.  

    I’ve read that some with domestic violence tendencies try to use BDSM as cover for their thuggish behavior so efforts are made to make sure those involved in such relationships understand the difference and have someone to turn to who understands the difference.   

  • gallagherwitt

    I’m one of the authors in that anthology, so your post came up on my Google alerts.  Just wanted to comment about the NLA-I and their domestic violence project. 

    On the surface, I know it sounds strange if you’re not familiar with kink. A few years ago, it would’ve had me scratching my head too. But the thing is…that’s exactly WHY they’re doing it: because there IS a misconception that kink (particularly pain play) is no different than domestic violence. That it’s abuse, mistreatment, cruel, etc. The NLA-I started their domestic violence project in part to work towards eliminating domestic violence, and also to clear up the misconception that what kink participants are doing *is* domestic violence. 

    Because yes, it IS different. Consensual BDSM is so much more than just sadists beating on their partners. There is a tremendous level of trust required between a dominant and a submissive. You have to have deep trust to let someone bind you or inflict any kind of pain on you. A submissive is not afraid of their dominant like an abused partner is afraid of their abuser. And yes, there are people who enjoy pain. Some people like their hair pulled or the occasional slap on the rear. Some like more than that. As long as everyone involved understands what’s going on and understands–and respects–the limits, then I’d hardly call it abuse. 

    For the sake of brevity, the biggest difference between kink and abuse? In a consensual kink relationship, the submissive is absolutely in control, not the dominant. Everything that happens is within the parameters that the submissive dictates (how much pain they like, IF they like pain since not all subs do, what things are off limits, etc), and will stop at once if the submissive uses a safe word or otherwise calls it off. If it doesn’t stop, or the submissive is no longer in control, then it’s not a consensual situation. A victim of domestic violence is not in control. 

    Hopefully I didn’t go on too long here — trying to summarize it without being longwinded, and this is a tough subject to summarize without oversimplifying.  Bottom line, BDSM goes much, much deeper than whether or not someone is being beaten. Some submissives enjoy significant amounts of pain, and some abusers never lay a hand on their victim. Part of the NLA-I’s domestic violence project is to help people understand the distinction between the two. 

    L. A. Witt 

    • Bookworm

      You didn’t take to long at all, gallagherwitt. I appreciate your taking the time to explain something that, on the surface, looked rather oxymoronic.

  • gallagherwitt

    Any time. :) 

  • Mike Devx

    This does look like a tough subject to summarize, but I have some general principles-style questions and comments.
    What’s the difference between a couple that engages in “rough sex” play-acting, just to “spice it up a bit”, AND a couple that *requires* S&M to get their jollies?  In the first case, they are merely playing and being a little adventurous, and can enjoy themselves with sex in any number of scenarios.  In the second case, they are incapable of enjoyment without the infliction of pain or the receipt of pain.  The pain itself appears to be the trigger for sexual enjoyment.  To me, that would indicate an extreme sexual neurosis.
    As a result of thinking along those lines, I believe the *NEED* for pain to be a part of the sexual experience is a fundamental dysfunction that should never be allowed to be considered mainstream.  I see no difference between that and the need/requirement for self-auto=asphyxiation to be a part of the experience.  Also, when it comes to pain being a necessary part of sex, consider those teenagers, usually young girls, who engage in “cutting”, the deliberate infliction of pain, over and over, on their arms and legs.  Why do they do it?  Almost without exception, they say it “makes them feel alive”.  They require the daily self-infliction of pain just to, oddly, feel good.
    Again, I’m not talking about the occasional experience of pain to spice up sex.  I’ve heard a number of stories from friends over the years of the occasional bout of sex where the woman clawed his back during sex with those long fingernails, even to the point of drawing beads of blood, and they never minded it and in some cases enjoyed it.  But a steady diet of such “clawing”, I don’t think they would enjoy or allow, and – most importantly – the guy doesn’t *require* it.
    So, yeah, go ahead and dress up as a traffic cop (“You’ve been a very naughty lady”) or as a fireman (“I’m here to rescue you”) or even at times do some rougher stuff, if you wish…  but I continue to believe that if you can’t get off without the deliberate receipt or delivery pain – if you require the pain – I’d suggest seeking professional help for a catastrophically deep and harmful neurosis.

  • Ymarsakar

    Submissive and dominance are psychological traits, which only incidentally show up in sex. Thus there must be a system with rules, otherwise what you get is something skewed.

  • Mike Devx

    To me, submissiveness and dominance as psychological traits are part of human nature, and everyone expresses either as part of their own make-up.  But that’s completely different from S&M, which I reserve for the deliverance and receipt of physical pain itself.
    The requirement for pain to exist to achieve sexual arousal cannot be considered mainstream, to me.  Again, I am speaking of the *requirement* for its existence, not the occasional use of it for the purposes of adventurism.
    This is also completely different from what I guess is called the “bondage culture”, which I will allow can be directly associated with this word, “kink”.  (Though all three concepts seem to be tied together in this subculture: submission and dominance, sadism and masochism, bondage)  It seems to me that someone who gets unusual kicks out of being tied up or restrained is actually not submissive at all – that this is an unusual act for them which they don’t express in their everyday lives; in their everyday lives they are probably much more dominant.  Just a guess.

  • Ymarsakar

    Sexual relationships and relations have always been an individuality based system. Thus normal or abnormal, is something set by society, externally, with no real idea as to what is going on, other than that which society wants to go on.

     S and M, like all the other techniques in sex, work better or worse based upon the individual. That has always been the case. What has not always been the case is standards of norm as set by society. The Greeks, Romans, Spartans, Colonial Americans, Pre and post Victorian English, all have or had, different ideas.

    While business executives have been known to hold power on the surface, but prefer submission acts in private, that is simply the fact that it’s less stressful being out of power than in power. That’s the case whether you are a good or bad leader. Since recreation requires relaxation to start, many people find it easier to relax into roles that require the least amount of real world stress components. The fact that they incline towards this, may indicate their natural personality is one of submission and subordination, and that their external role of being in charge all the time is either an act or a mask they wear with heavy weight. The permutations are pretty much endless when it comes to humans.

    Males and females get together because one plus the other makes a complete package. Both in terms of evolution as well as more modern social schemes. S and M replicates the model in a different sense, that of Subs requiring the attention of doms, and vice a versa. It is actually psychologically uncomfortable for subs to act out the role of a dom or a person uninclined towards the role, to act in the role. Since there’s no pleasure, people tend to try to avoid it, so you get a one sided relationship. Human relationships are predicated upon mutual trust, loyalty, and most important, benefit. Such that even if one partner is getting treated unfairly, they will still stick to the game out of either loyalty or because they are getting a benefit. If only the benefit of co dependency in drugs or domestic V.

    There is no way in fact to avoid the issue of mutual dependence, reliance, and benefit. If you don’t have mutual benefit, you don’t have a relationship. People may debate about what exactly constitutes mutual benefit, but that’s never going to affect what each person sees as their reward in a relationship. People have tried for a long time to get rid of certain things humans do because they don’t think humans should do it. But so long as humans have a desire, and a mutual desire for it, partnerships and social schemes will form, irregardless of how many people try to stop it.

  • Kevin_B

    Am I really the only one who looks at all this kink, dom/sub and BDSM stuff as rather weird sexuality, if not downright sexual perversion? I do NOT think it testifies of good mental, spiritual and sexual health, I think of it as an unhealthy, unloving and potentially self-centered form of sexuality, and I do not see how it could ever be beneficial. I’m not talking about the occassional element of pain here, I’m talking about the hardcore stuff.
    I my country some years ago a judge was ‘outed’ as engaging in BDSM practices (some of them apparently rather extreme) with his wife and some other people in special clubs, basements et cetera. When this came out somehow, the judge and some others were brought to trial. The judge was convicted of assault and battery and incitement to prostitution. He was removed from the bench and had his civil and political rights revoked for a period of 5 years. The case of the ‘SM-Judge’ got quite some attention around here back then. They even made the story into a movie.
    While I find it somewhat said that the judge and his wife had their lives basically ruined in many ways, and while I understand some of the controversy, I’m not entirely sure whether the conviction was unjustified.

  • Ron19

    Thank you, Kevin_B.

    Reading these comments, I was starting to wonder if a vast knowledge of “kink”is a sign of being a conservative/non-statist.

    A lot of this stuff is a sign of relativism; but like it or not, there are absolute truths.