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The ‘B’ In BDSM Does Not Stand For ‘Brutality’

April 18, 2012

Okay, so over on Dear Author there was a discussion going on about 50 Shades of Grey. For the record, I don’t like that series or what that author did. I just don’t like it, I think the writing is incredibly juvenile, and I cannot believe people are gobbling it up. But, there was one comment there that just offended me beyond belief. Rather than engage with that crackhead over there, I thought I would do a small post over here about the gist of her comment.

Actually, Christian doesn’t give up BDSM as a whole, although the more sadistic elements, like caning he does, because while she will play, caning is a hard limit.

and

He actually loses interest in that brutality (caning), once he realizes he doesn’t need it.

Both comments are by a person going by the name Cavalier Queen. I’ve learned in my long years on the internet that engaging such people isn’t worth my time or effort, but I did want to discuss somewhere why those comments really ruffled my feathers.

The equating of caning with being more sadistic and brutal than anything else within the majority of the BDSM spectrum really ticked me off. In fact, referring to consensual BDSM as ‘brutality’ at all pissed me off. I have fought long and hard to not be seen as ‘weak’ because I’m a submissive woman. For some reason, being that irks a lot of other women, as if the Doms in my life abuse me because I just don’t know no better. Please. I’m a submissive. My submissiveness is just as valid and real as any male’s submission. And what I enjoy with my Doms isn’t brutal. It isn’t even sadistic.

Sadism is a very, very special thing. Quite frankly, sadism is the enjoyment of inflicting pain regardless of the situation or status of consent. Bottom line. A sadist likes to dole out pain. They get a rush from it, be it sexual, emotional, or mental. They don’t care if the other person agrees to it or not. They want the pain. It’s not always physical, either. Some sadists love to mentally fuck their victims. There is a desire to be in control, to cause the pain—however they can—to their victims. To slap ‘caning’ into the category of ‘sadism’ bothers me because, while sadism has its own terminology within the BDSM community, that’s not what was being said here.

Then, this comment goes on to lump caning with brutality. When I see/hear the word brutality, I don’t think about being bent over the edge of a bed with my loving Dom who then works me up with the cane, lulling me into a rhythm, and then gently tests my limits and sends me flying. You know what I think of when I see/hear the word brutality? Rape. Assault. War crimes. Child abuse. Animal cruelty. Now, this may be my beef and not the original poster’s, but the choice of word was pretty damn specific. There was an image they wanted to be attributed to the act of caning within the BDSM context, and it wasn’t a pretty image at all.

And, let’s be honest. If you see the simple act of caning as the pinnacle of ‘brutality’ in BDSM, then you are showing that you have zero concept of the diversity of fetishes in BDSM. I mean… TENS units? Fire cupping? Sensory deprivation? Vampire gloves? Cock-and-ball torture? All of these acts—and more!—are far more visually ‘brutal’ than a thuddy little cane. There are submissives who literally act as human ashtrays or even human toilets for their Dominants. And yet, even these extreme acts are consented to on both sides!

Brutality? Really? Do you even understand the definition of the word? Or do you look at a fight scene on TV and wonder how much those two people must hate each other to so ruthlessly beat up on each other? News flash: BDSM is about mutual trust, mutual understanding, and a mutual desire for pleasure. There’s a word for BDSM-related activities that occur outside the bounds of negotiated consent—that word is ‘abuse’. And it is NOT the same thing any more than a stage fight is real, malicious violence.

While there were other comments in that thread that just… really made me see red, they were along these lines, too. The one person who said that people who engage in BDSM are just not getting what they need in their sex lives made me want to smack a bitch.

It’s actually the exact opposite: if I have vanilla sex when what I want is to be bound, spanked, and come on, then I feel something is missing. I mean, what exactly does this person think that I ‘need’ in my sex life? Is this like the “you’re not really a lesbian; you just need the right man to fix you” accusation? That people into BDSM are only such because they’ve never had ‘normal’ sex before, and all they need is that perfect vanilla lover to break them of their ‘unnatural’ desires? How freaking stupid are these people? What gives anyone the right to tell me how I am and am not allowed to get off?

But my need to be humiliated or caned or gang-banged doesn’t mean my life is somehow missing something crucial. It just means that my sexual tastes lean toward the more intense. Not everyone’s kink is my kink, and my kink isn’t everyone else’s. But I’m not crazy, nor do I lack in my life for anything that makes me happy and content. I respect everyone else’s right to enjoy their life however them deem necessary to be happy, and I just wish people would do the same for me and mine, you know?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Carole-Ann permalink
    April 18, 2012 1:37 pm

    With you all the way!!

    Although I ‘only’ read about BDSM, I’ve read enough to understand differences – and can TOTALLY accept the different levels that it can reach.

    So, good on you, SL! and huge thanks for explaining the difference!

    Carole-Ann

  2. April 18, 2012 9:07 pm

    Word. XD

    It’s always disturbing to read comments from people who don’t understand even the basics of BDSM. They preach like there is one true way to have sex, one true way to express love, and one true way to have a healthy relationship. If there was one true way for all that (and that way was according to that commenter), then there would be a shit-ton of unhappy people out there because they couldn’t reach that ideal. Fact is, there are tons of people who are happy in their relationships (BDSM, poly, etc.) that don’t fit into those parameters. Sad to see someone delegitimizing so many others’ happiness by labeling it ‘brutality’ and ‘sadism’.

    ~K. Piet

  3. April 21, 2012 6:53 pm

    Carole-Ann — I think someone can manage a pretty good grasp of BDSM if they read a lot about it. Maybe not from a vast majority of romance novels, but there are a lot of non-fiction resources one can avail themselves with. It’s uneducated responses to a valid sexual lifestyle like the ones on that Dear Author thread that send my blood pressure sky high.

    The judgmental attitudes don’t make me feel shame for what I enjoy, but they do make me feel outrage. I try not to get on a ranty soapbox too often, but… yeah. 😀 I did this time.

  4. April 21, 2012 6:54 pm

    K. — You know my thoughts on this. XD You’ve listened to me rant often enough. Blah.

  5. hrimmer permalink
    April 23, 2012 2:21 am

    Thank you for writing this! I totally and completely agree. Brutality isn’t something I associate with BDSM right off the bat, in fact, it takes a lot for me to associate the word with BDSM at all. The connotations of the word itself are so far from what those in the BDSM community practice.

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