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Monday, 15 August 2016

Is Angry Femdom a Feminist Issue?

It came up again today on Reddit: Is it OK for a dominant to administer a whipping in anger?

In the particular case, it was probably a bad idea.

However, one of the replies summed up the BDSM "establishment view" and went a bit like this:
Whipping in anger is wrong because you are out of control, and showing lack of respect and compassion for the other person. All this makes it abusive.
The implication is that you can only whip somebody if you are dispassionate, respectful and nurturing, in other words, a service top.

This is bollocks disingenuous.

What's happening is that dominants want to think of themselves as good people, and submissives don't want to think of themselves as losers.

Kinksters want the experience, but they want to pretend it's not real, as if the monkey brain that turns us on has a grasp of context and ethics.


Service topping is OK, but there are only three authentic dominant motivations for hurting a submissive (as opposed to scratching their masochistic itch from a position of power):


  • Instrumental: To get what you want, usually by punishing non- compliance or failure.
  • Anger: Because you feel angry with them or with what they are.
  • Sadism: Because it gives you pleasure to inflict pain.


  • None of these is a nice motivation. That's the point. This is the dark side.

    Despite the service assumption, sadism seems acceptable in most real world BDSM circles. However, can you be truly sure that your sadism is not tainted by... gasp... anger?

    Can you be truly sure that your 
    sadism is not tainted by... 
    gasp... anger? 

    Also, though there is debate about its efficacy, lifestyle BDSM people also use whippings as punishment. How can they be sure that their instrumental motivation is not mingled with irritation?

    And is sadism really any safer than anger?

    Aren't you actually more likely to get carried away if inflicting pain makes the blood rush from your brain to your genitals than if you are merely venting your anger, given that anger spends itself?

    Oh dear!

    The possibility of committing a thought crime! Better to attend a workshop on consent or do BDSM online than wield a whip if your motivations are not guaranteed 100% pure.

    Your pardon if as a submissive this service culture leaves me cold.

    I want to actually submit, not pretend-have-you-bean-a-naughty-boy submit.

    I like it when Xena wields the whip in anger. It's not just the thrill of genuine fear, it's also the reassurance that our D/s relationship won't just fall apart when things go wrong between us.

    And, if service top is the gold standard, what of dominants who have the urge to actually dominate with whip and flogger?

    Homing in on Femdom, I think there's a feminist issue emerging:

    Just as the Sexual Revolution mostly "freed" sexually active women to act like unpaid prostitutes, is the modern Kink Revolution in danger of "empowering" dominant women to act like unpaid pro-dommes?*
    *Not of course that there's anything wrong with sex workers! 


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    11 comments:

    1. This is one of the most interesting things you've ever posted. Definitely need some time to sort out where I am on all the ideas in here, but this part --

      "It's not just the thrill of genuine fear, it's also the reassurance that our D/s relationship won't just fall apart when things go wrong between us."

      -- is something I absolutely relate to. That particular kind of reassurance usually gets short shrift in these discussions.

      ReplyDelete
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      1. I think people lose sight of the distinction between BDSM scenes and D/s *relationships*.

        Delete
    2. Interesting debate here, Giles. Whenever BDSM protocols come into play there is often kind of a weird vibe when it comes to this topic and the accompanying topic of "is it possible to punish a masochist with ______?"

      Most of the advice given on this subject is rooted in cautionary tales. If you have ever known (of) a sub that was seriously injured/maimed due to heat of the moment knee-jerk reactionary behavior on the part of a Dominant it is much easier to accept certain idealiatic rules. These rules protect not only the sub from serious potential harm but also the guilt a Dominant might feel later if they were to inflict said harm.

      In regards to my own experiences, the happy medium between "heat of the moment anger" and "controlled discipline" was a time-out period for the sub and the corporal punishment was delivered after the initial anger subsided.

      Having been with Dommes that were able to keep a cool head as well as with those who were prone to act in anger, I am strongly in favor of someone that can exert emotional control. I am not a masochist and do not enjoy being hit, so it has never felt like she was a service top when I was being disciplined.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I think angry is different from berserk! I also think that you shouldn't do angry punishment with anything likely to cause real harm.

        Even so, there's an element of extreme sport about what we do. There are risks.

        Delete
      2. I agree, Giles. Depending upon the person anger can become berserk a little too easily. Occasionally this can happen with a bad day at work or some traffic... in other cases a repeat offense, etc. The problem becomes if there are no safeguards in place. If she hits the point of berserk anything that isn't off limits may be perceived as on.

        I knew a sub that was bound tightly with his hands behind his back and blindfolded and then she left. While she was cooling off she got a call about a family emergency and left town for 5 days and completely forgot about him. He barely survived off water from the tap and was left with permanent scars from the rope and nerve damage (in addition to some skin damage from not being able to clean himself after pooping).

        If you do digging you'll find much worse cases of subs being beaten to the point of internal bleeding, etc.

        The problem with berserk is that the person that is berserk often doesn't know that they are and their ideas and jusgement are often outside the realm of common sense.

        When you submit in a lifestyle situation you are putting a lot of trust in the other to take responsibility for your well being. Wanting to hurt you as a corrective messure is very different from poor judgement in the heat of the moment.

        Having been forgotten about twice while restrained in potentially harmful positions due to berserk I tend to favor caution.

        Delete
      3. Wow. Yes. You certainly need safeguards. And there's definitely an element of careful who you trust.

        Do you see a difference between "spontaneous attack outside a bdsm moment", and anger during BDSM ritual?

        Delete
      4. Generally when I think of anger, I don't tend to see it in what is designated to be a pleasurable BDSM ritual.

        I generally see anger as being reactionary and potentially dangerous.

        You may have found a system that works for the two of you with it but it is not something I would ever advise.

        I do expect aggression, but not anger.

        Delete
      5. I think we differ on where our BDSM rituals sit on the pleasure-punishment scale.

        Delete
    3. "...there are only three authentic dominant motivations for hurting a submissive"

      Yeeaeaaaahhh, nope *laugh*.

      I mostly do it because it's how I express passion, like my lust for him is too big for all normal expressions and now I have to punch him to physically get my desire for him out of my body.

      Arguably that falls under 'sadism', but 'pleasure from hurting' is not how it feels to me. It's not about hurting him, it's about his body being in the way of accessing his insides, which are mine and I want them.

      And sometimes I do it as a path to vulnerability, to see what's underneath the mask.

      I think you've reduced the complexity and the reality out of it with your definitive 'only three authentic dominant motivations'.

      Ferns

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I think I'd call that a kind of sadism. There are lots of flavours after all.

        But yes, possibly I've oversimplified. I have, however, kicked off an interesting discussion.

        Delete

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