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Feb 23 2006

“When Rape Is A Gift”

From the It’s Horrible, Yet I Can’t Look Away Department
Also from the I Mock Your Corny BDSM Lifestyle Department

You know how when you’re gaily traipsing along the World Wide Web, enjoying, say, a blog post about how antisocial and subversive it is to be a woman with biceps, or looking up a synonym for “crushing malaise,” when the the bell on your inbox chimes and you click over to see that someone has sent you a link to a website, and you follow the link, and what unfolds before you is so antithetical to truth and beauty that you sense it must either be a harbinger of the psychotic break you always knew would come one day, or some kind of—god forgive them—parody?

[thanks, Veronica]

177 comments

1 ping

  1. That Girl

    If it’s paraody it’s extremely subtle.

  2. hedonistic

    I’m afraid to look. Is it work safe?

  3. Sandi

    I feel my barfometer going waaaayyyy over into the red zone…

  4. Liz

    looking up a synonym for “crushing malaise,”

    Oh man, I would KILL for a copy of the Twisty Thesaurus and Style Guide. Whom would I kill? Oh, I don’t know, probably Sarah Cavendish, Ayn Rand and God. (Why yes, in fact The Fountainhead IS one of the “Taken In Hand” books. How’d you guess?)

    Now excuse me, I have to go lose my breakfast.

  5. laurelin

    omg, that’s beyond hideous. What a bunch of crap, poisonous dangerous crap.

  6. doggerelblogger

    That’s sexual fantasy – it’s not “rape”. It’s play acting, roll-playing, whatever you want to call it. The website author is a submissive, and she’s speaking to people who share her predilection, not advocating rape as fun! to society at large.

    Frankly, sexual freedom is important. If that’s what turns on two consenting adults, whatever. So long as you’re not hurting anybody (what did Pierre Trudeau say? Something along the lines of “staying out of the bedrooms of the nation”?)

  7. Don't Let's Start

    There’s too many pages on that site for it to be a parody. People making parodies usually give and after getting bored fairly quickly, or push the boundaries further and further until it’s obvious they’re joking.

    Unfortunately it has to be scarily real. Someone needs to change the “how do you tell you’re in an abusive relationship” article to be “your partner reads and agrees with this site”.

  8. Amayita

    Quoting: “I don’t usually think in terms of rape imagery, because I believe so strongly in my husband’s right to my body. It is not possible for him to rape me because he has automatic consent.”

    Yeah, right.

  9. Sharoni

    I’m confused. Actually, I’m with doggerelblogger; these people are into sexual fantasy big time. Now, they aren’t necessarily everyone’s tup of cea, but some people like it. I know some people who like the B&D stuff, and it seems to me that rather than the sex they like the ritual. And the paddles and the whips and chains. Personally, I’m into pleasure, plain and simple. No pain, no little games, I want him, he wants me, we have a certain amount of mutual affection and respect, let’s have fun! But I’m just a simple person, I guess not intellectual enough for all those rationalizations and rituals. I can’t blame the patriarchy, here, my sex life is mine own. But I will blame later. Pushing the button now.

  10. robin

    I second Liz’s craving for Twisty’s style guide!
    I was going to quote-and-admire the same phrase she did.
    Also, “corny BDSM lifestyle” is right – this site sounds like a parody of one of those awful “bodice ripper” romance novels – with all the heaving throbbing whatnot going on. Embarrassing and ridiculous.

  11. apophenia

    This is as far as I got on the main page before I fled back to patriarchy-blaming safety:

    “I don’t usually think in terms of rape imagery, because I believe so strongly in my husband’s right to my body. It is not possible for him to rape me because he has automatic consent. I can’t get into rape fantasies because they involve imagining that I would withhold myself from my husband and that is too disturbing an idea for me. However, now I have a better grasp of its appeal. Rape is the ultimate in forceful, dominating sex.”– Comment, by one “LadyK”

    Jigga wha?

    1) Husbands have no rights to their wives’ bodies. Well, okay, in the patriarchy, they DO, since women are meat, but, really: no.

    2) Nobody has automatic consent EVER. EVER EVER EVER. No still means no, even after 20 years of marriage.

    3) The idea of withholding her body from her husband is more offensive and disgusting to her than the idea of being raped.

    4) And yet, her brilliant rhetorical conclusion is that rape re-enactment is a lovely addition to her relationship.

    Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be bottoms.

  12. Puffin

    When submissives leave their bedrooms and start posting tripe on the internet about all the women who want to open a big box full of rape for Christmas, then it stops being sexual fantasy and starts being really political. She is advocacting rape as “fun” (or her version of fun) and it’s got major implications.

    Sexual freedom is important but it’s almost non-existant for women who live in the Patriarchy. The desire to be mock-raped by your boyfriend does not begin and end with the idea that forced penetration might be a jolly-good time. Play acting sexualized violence is not freedom in a world where one out of every four women is raped in her lifetime. It’s fetishizing your own oppression. And if that’s what a woman needs to get off, well I understand how that can happen when you don’t have many healthy alternatives. But let’s not wrap that up in shiny paper & a bow and call it sexual freedom. “Gift” my ass.

  13. Kristen from MA

    if i had come across that post/blog and didn’t have this beautiful site to turn back to, i don’t know what i would have done.

    i loves me the blamers!

  14. robin

    I am a gushing fount of admiration this morning!
    All hail to Apophenia’s concise and smart summation of the myriad idiocies of Lady K’s comment.

  15. Twisty

    Sadly, I often appear stupider than I really am; possibly it’s my wide-set pig-eyes and halting, uncertain gait, both of which contribute to my failure to adequately convey facetiousness through the written word. But I know the site is not really a parody. And sadly, I also know what the author/advocate of the “male-led” relationship is. Of course, when posting a link to a spanking site, there is always the danger of an ensuing discussion on BDSM, which discussion will more or less bore me painfully, since I have nothing but contempt for patriarchy, and so decline to give a free pass to “lifestyles” that fetishize it.

  16. doggerelblogger

    I’m sorry to have to jump in again, but it sure seems to me that everyone is very busy patting themselves on the back for being suitably disgusted by the website under discussion while COMPLETELY IGNORING the issue of sexual freedom. Consenting adults have a right to do what they like in their own bedroom. As Sharoni said, “they aren’t necessarily everyone’s tup of cea[sic],” which is fine, your option is to not participate (that’s the “consenting” part).

    And really, are we so downtrodden by the patriarchy that some of us can’t engage in a little taboo sex play? Is our position so fragile, and we, so weak, that something like this threatens all women, everywhere?

    I, for one, am a little tougher than that.

    (and no, since I KNOW you’re wondering, I am NOT into that sort of thing. I just think others have the right to be if they so choose).

  17. Grace

    This reminds me of a play I saw in college in which one character tells another that her ultimate sexual fantasy is for him to take her against her will. Much drama ensues. If I remember correctly, he refused to fulfil the fantasy, which she interpreted as rejecting her.

  18. Puffin

    doggerelblogger, did you even READ my post??

  19. j-ha

    Yup, freedom.

    Just like I have the freedom to wear 5 inch heels, miniskirt and a halter top, and giggle stupidly at anything a man says. Hey, I *like* the attention.

    Thankfully, since everyone lives in a vaccuum, our decisions to play along and/or celebrate patriarchy has no effect on anyone else or even on other aspects of our lives.

  20. robin

    I agree with doggerelblogger about sexual freedom, but weren’t the remarks about the rape-fantasy enthusiast’s belief in her husband’s absolute right to her body a little troubling?
    A wee bit diagnostic as to a certain lack of autonomy?
    OK, I will now step away from the coffee. Stop me before I comment again.

  21. antiprincess

    “Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be bottoms.”

    I bet you thought it would be cool to say that because nobody who reads this blog would even be a bottom, anyway…’cuz why would a bottom even know or care about blaming the patriarchy and stuff…so I bet you thought you could get away with it.

    I’m a bottom. I don’t see how it’s any of my mother’s business.

    are you saying “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to buy into fucked-up ideas about femininity and have these ideas poison their brains and make them do things that are stupid?” ‘cuz I could get behind that.

    but I’m mystified (and a little insulted) by the assumption that every bottom is somehow damned to a life of pitiable misery simply based on how s/he processes the sexual experience.

  22. wheelomatic

    Crap, I am at work and under deadline, and I still consider myself a novice Blamer, so even tho I so want to answer doggerelblogger’s questions, I have neither time nor expertise.

    Please go to the blog Den of the Biting Beaver for your answer. If you don’t want to do that got back in the IBTP archives less than a month for a very long (hence Twisty’s boredom with the subject) and revelatory (to me because I was of the same opinion as you) discussion about just this topic. Look for comments by “dim undercellar” and “biting beaver” especially, but there is plenty of other cogent discussion going on, too.

    Let’s just say that when others define and limit your options, taking one is not a choice.

  23. Erin

    Puffin, you just made my day. Thanks for saying that so well. And now, I blame.

  24. apophenia

    Thank you, robin, but I in turn bow down to Puffin. Word.

    Doggerelblogger, I’m not for one second saying people don’t have the right to do whatever the hell they want as mutually consenting adults. I’m not going to impede anyone’s ability to do that.

    HOWEVER. I don’t think that just because it’s mutually consensual means that whatever they’re doing is automatically good, or necessary, or even, y’know, interesting. Or useful.

    (Also, there’s the big question of whether or not someone of the sex class can ever give full, autonomous consent, which is possibly a big, fat: NO. This is another can o’ worms.)

    I’m not offended by any particular aspects of BDSM acts, or, to that end, any other “deviant” or “taboo” sexual acts (sucah as the patriarchy defines them)–so long as they remain far the fuck away from me until I expressly give consent that I want to see/hear/read about/participate in said events. Having had the experience of being in situations where I did not give consent to be witnessing what was in front of me, I learned two things: a) consent is a serious nuclear-meltdown issue, and b) I don’t think I’ll be doing any of those things anytime soon. They are not for me. And yet, I would not try to exert influence on anyone’s legal ability to do those things. I might try to persuade them to adopt another, less patriarchal perspective, but may my fellow patriarchy-blamers take away my blaming privileges if I ever start siding with bloviating politicians just because we happen to dislike certain sexual practices. Especially since the mental processes and knowledge bases that may lead myself and some godbag to some coincidental conclusion could not be more different.

    To get back on point, because I didn’t post what I did about “LadyK” because I wanted to condemn what people do behind closed doors: what I find offensive is the attitudes of “LadyK” and her self-deprecating notions that her body is her husbands and that consent is always automatic. THAT is a serious fucking problem, not whatever someone’s wearing or who gets spanked. This is something that is not merely vaguely behind-closed-doors; this is a present and pressing issue in political life, not to mention Western “culture” as a whole.

  25. BitingBeaver

    Twisty, it’s just another link in glorifying rape. No, the rape fantasy bullshit is just that, a big, squishy pile of steaming bullshit.

    What I hate about these conversations is that it always tends to drift to “Well, there ARE women who have rape fantasies” and then I’m forced off the path to explain to some patriarchy defendin’ commenter the error of their ways. By the time I’m done, the men who are doing this sort of thing are, once again, completely on the sidelines and they have won the ‘Project Much?’ game once more.

    A site like this is hideously dangerous for it promotes the idea that you can give a ‘gift’ to your partner through raping them.

    Excuse me whilst I go scream.

  26. apophenia

    antiprincess, no, I didn’t think that no one on this site is a bottom. You phrased it much better: mamas, please teach your children (of either gender) to relinquish control of their bodies and think others are granted automatic consent under any circumstances, especially the damaging ones espoused by the website.

    I apologize for causing offense. In my haste to fire off an alliterative comment, I used a term that I realize is claimed with pride by fine patriarchy-blamers.

  27. apophenia

    Oh, hell.

    it’s supposed to be: “mamas, please DON’T teach your children (of either gender) to relinquish control of their bodies and think others are granted automatic consent under any circumstances, especially the damaging ones espoused by the website.”

    The author regrets the error.

  28. doggerelblogger

    Sorry, Puffin, I was composing as you were posting – see the timestamps.

    I’d like to point out that traditionally, MEN have been submissives in most S&M scenarios (finding a submissive woman was actually pretty unusual). Why? Because it was such a taboo for a man to give up his power, and so very exciting (or whatever) for the participants. I can’t help but wondering if, “since we’ve come a long way, baby”, websites like this aren’t a little bit about that notion for women as well.

    And the lady talks about giving her body to her husband, not yours. That’d be choice, and it seems like we’re all for that, except when we don’t like the choices people make, hmmm?

  29. antiprincess

    it’s cool, apophenia. I got a little overly jacked-up and defensive about it, which was probably unnecessary. peace?

    I don’t blame my mama for making me kinky. I blame the patriarchy… ;)

  30. apophenia

    I repeat what wheelomatic says: “Let’s just say that when others define and limit your options, taking one is not a choice.”

    We’re allowed to not like the choices people make without restricting their ability to make them. I find the notion of “automatic consent” repellent and dangerous; were it not so intrinsic to the very fabric of patriarchy, we could consider it an interesting and even transgressive practice between two people. But I don’t.

  31. apophenia

    antiprincess: yes! peace. Your “jacked-up”-ness is understandable, when even well-meaning patriarchy blamers like myself throw the term about for (admittedly limp) comedic effect.

    I, too, blame the patriarchy! On general principles.

  32. M

    The first link was fun (though I am a bit over-defensive towards all terribly fit people). My gym actually has a poster on ‘Women and Weights’ to try and persuade women to use them, which is all ‘oh no, you don’t have to have nasty horrible biceps if you use weights, you can just use them to be a thin sexbot!’

    I’m not that fit, but I’m a natural muscle builder when I excercise (‘built like a prop forward’ is the general description of me). And men tend to get terribly stressed when they’re on the excercise machine next to me. Must go faster than the woman! Must lift more weights! However, this may be used in an evil plan – if all women my size and bigger were to get really buff, we could go to gyms around the world and workout at top rate. Hordes of middle aged men would try and keep up with us, and have cardiac arrests. All self-inflicted, not our fault, oh no. But since I haven’t been to the gym in a fortnight and have just eaten a whole packet of biscuits there may be major flaws in that argument…

  33. Hershele Ostropoler

    Amayita, I don’t think she’s saying everyone’s husband has “automatic consent,” I think she’s saying her husband has blanket consent. Which I wouldn’t want unless it was because my partner was genuinely always up for it, but hey, whatever makes her happy.

    In fact*, I think a couple of commenters appear to be conflating “has resolved not to say ‘no’” with “may not say ‘no.’”

    Now to switch sides, at the risk of sounding like an anti-feminist’s image of the late Ms. D., exactly what has led her to resolve not to say “no”? If she’s really eroticized this, I don’t think it’s useful to tell her to stop. If she thinks this really his how men and women — in general — are, then yes, she’s got some fucked-up ideas about a lot of things, and it needs to be actively counterargued. Doggerelblogger, there is a practical difference between “choosing” to accept your socially-assigned role and choosing to have a facially egalitarian or female-dominant relationship. I’m curious, too, as to where you got the idea that there used to be a wealth of male subs in heterosexual BDSM

    *A self-described feminist once told my mother that using the phrase “in fact” is sexist, and subordinates women. My mother either never got or didn’t pass on the explanation of this, although I note “fact” and “cunt” share two letters.

  34. Perinteger

    I know if I had a wife who asked me to rape her, I would bend her over my knee right then, give her one real long spanking, and make sure she never took the idea of rape for granted again.

    My head hurts. It hurts, I tell you. I wonder if the above quoted poster read the entry in Roget’s that lists contempt as a synonym for irony?

    Perinteger

  35. Tony Patti

    Once you’ve noted that fetishizing rape in a patriarchy encourages the worst excesses of male assumptions and privileges you’ve really said it all; Puffin simply said it all, as plain as calling the sky blue or noting the sun in the sky.

    The hue and cry over sexual freedom is disingenuous at best, and often taken up with slavering jaws by the very lowest and most evil of male sexual predators, such as child molesters and serial killers. I wouldn’t want to align myself with their kind. How can there be this talk of sexual ‘freedom’ in a society where women can write and say out loud that they know they fucking belong to their fucking husbands, as if they were pieces of real estate with vaginas?

    I have an insight for those who are afraid of losing their sexual freedom: You’ve already relinquished it if you think you are a submissive, and thus must allow those of us who don’t buy into it to feel free to condemn or criticize the sick and twisted society that presented this lifestyle to you as a legitimate choice, rather than what it is, which is something more along the lines of an obsession or a fetish rather than healthy desire. Not that I think it should be against the law. I just think you should be a little more self-critical.

    Strong and self-destructive sexual excitement is not some god-given right, it’s something you learned thatt ignited your desire for whatever reasons. The sick and horrible state of sex today is not some utopia of freedom and love, but is motivated and managed by male adolescent fantasies come horribly to life, fantasies that have their shallow and obvious roots in male desire to control and hurt you.

    At some point, anyone with a shred of self-respect has to examine their sex life and ask themselves if they have really been as satisfied by slaking their raw desires as much as they would like to fool themselves into thinking.

  36. Finn

    Sorry, but I haven’t taken the time to read all the posts on this one, but has anyone posited the theory that the website author in question may actually be a male hiding behind a female name?

    I guess I’m having a hard time believing that any woman would ever fantasize about rape…

  37. Arianna

    Oooh! Twisty linked (albeit indirectly) to Krista’s site which, incidentally, I’ve always loved.

  38. Hershele Ostropoler

    The hue and cry over sexual freedom is disingenuous at best

    What do you propose as an alternative?

  39. Dani

    Doggerelblogger, perhaps I’d be more inclined to agree with you if I actually bought that there was this magical bold line between fantasy and real life. And I don’t mean the part about manifesting fantasy in real life, but more, what in real life cultivates these fantasies in the first place? Theoretically, the argument about keeping it in the bedroom is great (though practically, it seems like the author could be suggesting that her partner leap out of the shadows in a dark car lot for all I know: “such as by creeping up on her in the dead of night when she thinks you are on a business trip two continents away”, which I can’t see anyone defending), except how the hell did this little skit get into the bedroom in the first place?! Unless you’re one of those who go in for that “rape is a tool of evolution” crap, I’ve got another suggestion, and it starts with a “p”.

    So no, I guess it doesn’t directly affect me if some want to act out their rape fantasies in the comfort of their own bedroom, but I do think that the glorification of the domination fantasy, which we see all around, is a brainwashing tool designed by the patriarchy to maintain the balance of power just as it likes it- and that happens to affect me a whole lot, whether it be in more subtle ways, like been chastised for not wearing heels to work, or in less subtle ways, like making it necessary to carry pepper spray with me everytime I go for a walk in a badly-lit road at night. So whether you agree with it or not, let’s not pretend that it’s just a ‘personal’ thing, because rape fantasies did not emerge from a vacuum, they emerged from the patriarchy.

  40. jami

    isn’t inciting violence a crime? telling stupid rapists to go ahead fits that bill.

    i wish this were silly bdsm, with cuddly safety words. but there’s no indication that the woman or child involved gives any consent at all. this type of thinking is how dirty old men end up forcing their dicks down their 14-year-old stepdaughters’ throats.

    but of course she wants that. who wouldn’t?

  41. Kat

    Jami, or raping their stepdaughter as she lays dying from a head injury.

  42. doggerelblogger

    I am most astonished at the ability of some people to completely and thoroughly understand that website author’s desire; the deep-seated issues that surely must have given rise to it, what enflames it, what motivates it, why it’s so fucked up and, ultimately, why it’s wrong for her and everyone else, without exception.

    Amazing, really. I had no ideait was so easy to pare the human psyche down to the bare bones. I thought we were more complicated than that, our desires and motivators more complex and difficult to understand?

  43. Dubhe

    Whereas I am completely dumbfounded by the ability of some people to assume that women live entirely in a vaccuum, their agency and desires untainted by anything around them.

    Seriously. Next you’ll be saying “Some women just LIKE doing all the housework! Otherwise, they’d just stop!”

  44. PoliSi

    Right on Tony Patti.

    I have no problem with what people do behind their closed doors, but once you’re publishing on the internet, it ceases to be behind a closed door and as jami noted has a distinct possibility of inciting violence. I don’t give a shit if you think this is a perfectly valid lifestyle choice, it isn’t one we should encourage people to perpetuate.

    Yes, I think it’s really messed up to equate pain with pleasure, but there are plenty of messed up people in the world and I certainly don’t advocate locking them all up or anything. I also don’t support them spreading their messed up ideas and will try to stop them from spreading and being accepted. Sorry if you feel like I’m impeding your whip and chain play (although I don’t see how I could possibly be doing that over the internet), but I’d like to see a generation (both sexes) somewhere down the line that doesn’t confuse rape with sex and doesn’t equate sex with pain and I don’t see how encouraging people to talk about how they love to be raped and how pain gets them off or not speaking up when they do talk about it furthers the goal of eventually seeing that generation of people who equate sex with consent and fun rather than rape and pain. In other words we need to get the message to the kids that this stuff is not a healthy view of sex, whether you enjoy it or not.

  45. PoliSi

    Woops! Forgot to mention that this is WookieMonster, changing my handle, just an FYI.

  46. Burrow

    Oh my god. I can’t figure out if I’m happy I haven’t eaten yet or if I want to say it’s too early for this. Either way, I must go and scream now.

  47. whyme63

    “When Rape Is A Gift”
    see also: Swine, Airborne

  48. exitr

    There’s just a basic contradiction in the idea of “asking him to rape you.” Rape is defined by a lack of consent, so the act of “asking” makes it not rape, but “rape,” i.e. a fantasy. What’s so fucked up about the Taken In Hand post is that it–and not the blamers here–blurs the line between consensual sexual fantasy and real world sexual violence by using one word, “rape,” to refer to both.

    I also find it really creepy how the post gradually switches from a generic address at the start to, at the end, an imagined on-the-fence male who needs to be reassured that his act of “rape” is not only OK, but an act of possession: “Hold her. Stroke her hair. Kiss her softly. You have taken her. She is yours.” Yecch. If you wanna get off on play violence, by all means do so, but couching it in this New Age garbage language is refusing to call a spade a spade.

    “But it’s not rape and it’s not immoral if the woman wants it. Is it?” Well, no, it isn’t. But then rape isn’t ever a gift, either.

  49. doggerelblogger

    Dubhe, there’s no way of knowing what I will or will not say without insight into who I am and how I got here (and even then it’s not possible to predict my behaviour or motivation with 100% accuracy).

    However, something I would never dream of implying is that when someone makes a choice I don’t like, it’s simply an indication that they’re too numbed by all that’s bad in the world to make a rational, intelligent decision.

  50. laughingmuse

    And just because someone else makes a decision that I haven’t, I should just say “whatever floats your boat, man”, even when it is absolutely appalling?

    Rape does not equal sex. Rape fantasies do not equal rape.

    And the belief that your partner has access to your body whenever and wherever they want is truly appalling. I don’t care if it’s suppossedly willing or not. That is seriously fucked up.

    And Kat, I just saw that story too. Let’s say we round up a mob and grab some rakes and torches and go give that guy an orchidectomy.

  51. ae

    Using the words ‘rape’ and ‘gift’ in the same sentence is ghastly. Automatic consent = rape, also ghastly. “I want her/him to fuck me hard, scare me a little” is not necessarily rape, so why use the most vicious tool of the patriarchy to define your sexual “play”?

    Also, could someone define “freedom” for me, the kind which has “sexual” as its modifier? Seems like this might be co-opted, at best, under patriarchy, and no amount of pretending at being a charter member of the Orgasm Liberation Front is going to temper patriarchy’s stranglehold on power differentials.

  52. veronica

    “no amount of pretending at being a charter member of the Orgasm Liberation Front is going to temper patriarchy’s stranglehold on power differentials”

    I so need that on a T-shirt.

  53. thebewilderness

    Do women really fall madly in love with their rapists?
    Do women really mean yes when they say no?
    It’s impossible to rape a woman unless you beat her senseless because you cant stick you finger in a moving coke bottle.
    Thousands of patriarchy approved romance novels say yes.
    When I was ten and reading far beyond my age level this stuff sounded kinda strange to me, but what did I know. After all, I was only ten and had only been sexually abused a couple of times. I hadn’t been raped yet.
    I so totally thought we would be way beyond this shit by now. I blame the patriarchy.

  54. whyme63

    thebewilderness–
    I just realized something. I started blaming the patriarchy for romanticizing rape back in 1979, when Laura “fell in love” with Luke–her rapist–on General Hospital. I’d just turned 16, and I was utterly aghast at that plotline.

  55. ae

    God. Damn. I’m sorry, thebewilderness.

    I, too, thought we’d be way beyond this by now. When I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to be the age I am now (double that), because — get a load of this! — sexism would be over. Kaput. Finito. Not pining for the fjords, this bird would have ceased to be. The Arc of Progress, the impact of social justice movements, the glacial, eventual change in consciousness, how could it not? Sigh.

    Damn, where’s that blame button?

  56. miscellanneous

    Reading the comments here is what allows me to stay somewhat afloat after reading that horrific website and then the stepfather BBC report, on this day when the South Dakota Senate tells women we are the moral equivalent of dust. I wish the level of thought and general respect here were pervasive. (Along with that thesaurus.)

  57. LMYC

    Doggerel, I’m so terribly sorry to be the bearer of inconvenient news for you, but yes, if you say/advocate FUCKED UP SHIT, people will look at you fish-eyed and say that you are FUCKED UP. And no, you don’t get to compare the desire to beat the hell out of someone or get the hell beaten out of you to someone else’s lefthandedness or homosexuality. I’m so SICK of that “it’s innate” bullshit that I can’t even believe it.

    Pedophilia and lefthandedness both appear to be innate, and clearly one is harmless while the other is NOT, so just as clearly, the old “it’s not my fault I can’t help it” argument ain’t worth shit. You can’t distinguish anything’s worthiness based on whether it’s hard-wired or not.

    The way to distinguish worthiness is to LISTEN TO PEOPLE, LOOK AT THEM, and THINK ABOUT WHAT THEY SAID. To your face. On their website, even. I don’t have to get to know each individual person in the KKK in order to read their website (I’m sure they’ve got one) and come to the conclusion that they are some fucked-up sumbitches.

    What, you want to go through life doing whatever without ever being subjected to the examination of judgment of your peers on ANYTHING? You want to pretend you’re the only human on the planet? I mean, I’m seriously missing WTF your problem is, here.

    This woman said that her husband has an absolute right to her body at all times, whenever he wants it. You’re goddamned fucknig right I’m gonna jump on that as some fucked-up shit, just like if I go to an Aryan Nation site and find out that Jews are descended from rats, I’m gonna think they’re fucked-up, too. I judge people by what they say and do, and based on “the content of their character.” Your character, and ANYONE who advocates this sort of shit, needs some serious help. Deal.

  58. amaz0n

    And the lady talks about giving her body to her husband, not yours. That’d be choice, and it seems like we’re all for that, except when we don’t like the choices people make, hmmm?

    It’s a “choice” for women to enter abusive relationships. It’s a “choice” for women to develop eating disorders. It’s a “choice” for women to do proportionally more of the housework. It’s a “choice” for women to get hooked on drugs, become prostitutes, wear clothing that causes nerve or organ damage, never speak unless spoken to, continue to work in places where they know they’ll be sexually harrassed or worse.

    Unfortunately, being born into the patriarchy isn’t a choice. And when being born into the patriarchy gives women the choice between a shit sandwich and two shit sandwiches, you’d better be damn sure I won’t like it when women choose to eat more shit and not less, all the while smiling about it.

  59. Tony Patti

    “Pedophilia and lefthandedness both appear to be innate, and clearly one is harmless while the other is NOT, so just as clearly, the old “it’s not my fault I can’t help it” argument ain’t worth shit. You can’t distinguish anything’s worthiness based on whether it’s hard-wired or not.”

    Hear, hear, oh vehement one!

    I question the idea that an attraction to dominance and submission is ever hard wired in anyone or if it is learned behavior. It’s one of those things that’s impossible to prove. Homosexuality, which I remember observing in pre-school aged kids when I was that young, is something I have an easier time accepting as hard wired.

    The patriarchy is all about teaching us to do as our masters tell us, even better, to anticipate our master’s potential desires, to whore it up as garishly as we can or be consigned to oblivion, or to delightful blogs like this.

  60. Sharoni

    OF COURSE the most slavering, balls-out, ugly males on the planet will claim sexual freedom over all. But so will I! If some disconnected ditzy woman wants to “intellectualize” pain as sex, that’s her privilege and I would defend it. Yes, to me such sex is disturbing. Yes, such sex does not appeal. BUT THAT’s HER RIGHT and HER PROBLEM. I just don’t deal with it in daily life, is all, and I figure no one else has to either. If they WANT to, that’s another matter. I blame the patriarchy anyway.

  61. rrp

    Without getting into a fight about BDSM, it seems only fair to point out that the “Taken in Hand” folks are very clear that they’re not, not, not into BDSM because it is role-play. They see what they’re doing as something completely different and, I think, deliberately patriarchal, folks.

  62. LMYC

    Tony, my take on it is that we’re also “hard-wired” to drop our pantas and take a shit where we’re standing, but we manage to shoehorn that little instinct into a socially acceptable shape.

    It’s my INSTINCT to reach out to someone else’s plate, grab their slice of chocolate cake, and cram it into my gob, too. I don’t do that.

    We all enter this world as squalling blobs of id, and through a variety of things liek parenting and socialization, we will ideally learn things like the consequences of our actions, our own autonomy and self-worth, and the existence and validity of other human beings. Where we FAIL to learn this, this is behavior that shouldn’t be enabled.

    I’d like to hear one of these people justify the KKK’s desire to hang black people from trees by saying that “tension between blacks and whites” is a fundamental part of humanity, and that we need to be able to “accept” these things.

    Funny how, when you say it in that way, it sounds a helluva lot like JUSTIFYING RACISM, doesn’t it? And racism may indeed be as much of an inbred, hard-wired human state as anything else: the distrust of the stranger. But we don’t fucking glorify it. We say out loud, in the open light of day, that if you have an “innate” tendency to dislike or mistreat people based on their skin color, you’ve got something between your ears that needs some working on.

  63. LMYC

    BTW, anyone who wants to pull the rationalizing game — tell me that it would be perfectly okay for the KKK member to beat the hell out of the black person, just as long as they manage to find a black person with such a fucked-up self-image and low sense of self-worth that they think it’s okay and positive to let a white racist beat them up. Go ahead. I dare your ass.

  64. dd

    I really didn’t think I’d chime in on this one, but here it is:

    A couple of people have questioned whether being sexually submissive is innate or whether it’s learned, and cited preschool-aged children as evidence that homosexuality is hard-wired. If that’s the case, then my submissiveness is hard-wired as well. I spent a lot of time convincing friends to tie me up and/or playing damsel-in-distress as a child. My parents and all the adults around me were (and are) very loving and supportive, and didn’t have any idea that I was playing games like that.

    Once I was out of college, I found out that people actually did the things I’d fantasized about forever, and I met a lot of them to finally participate. Some of the people were great, and some were assholes, pretty much as often as non-kinky folks. I participated for just a few months before I decided to quit with it. I believed, like several of you, that thinking that I was “submissive” sexually must mean that I was messed up in some way.

    So I left it. I got into some therapy, had a couple of relationships (one horrible, one good), made a new set of friends, was successful and liberal and didn’t put up with anyone’s shit.

    I am still submissive. I still want to feel dominated in bed, and even sometimes in regular life as well. I don’t talk about it much, because I don’t want to advocate that type of a relationship when there are people who are actually being abused in the name of bdsm. As long as there are people who actually could get past being submissive, they should probably do so, to avoid being in a relationship with someone who will not honor their limits.

    I know people who are not wired this way don’t understand/appreciate/like it. If the people involved are self-actualized and emotionally healthy, however, why not just let it be? Yes, if you see someone in an abusive relationship, try to help her get out of it. If people are saying that all women should have to have sex with their husbands whenever they want it, yes, call their dumb shit out. But if someone is appreciative of being in a relationship in which her husband feels free to fulfill her sexual desires? Maybe lay off for a second and go fuss at her dipshit commenters.

    Caveat: I don’t think she should have used the word rape either. Anything that desensitizes people to what rape is in any way should be criticized for that alone.

  65. Teenagecatgirl

    Oh, Puffin. You are wonderful.

  66. alyx

    I’m going to quote Germaine Greer on this one:

    “One man’s sexual freedom is a woman’s sexual thraldom.”

    Precisely. See, the notion of ‘choice’ is null and void in a culture where the only two choices women have are ‘foetal incubator’ and ‘fuckbot.’ The government, the law, even the very notion of ‘consent’, have all been defined by and in the interests of the penally equipped.

    As for that public/private horse puckey, you do know that’s just a patriarchal division that was historically designed to hide things like wife-beating from the public eye, right? And that conservative libertarians were the ones who constructed this division which has you waxing poetic over ‘choice’…right?

    Don’t you get it? This is a PATRIARCHY. EVERY relationship is a sadomasochistic one! The only difference between the BDSM crowd and everyone else is, you guys like dress up in leather and advertise it.

  67. Burrow

    “no amount of pretending at being a charter member of the Orgasm Liberation Front is going to temper patriarchy’s stranglehold on power differentials”

    I so need that on a T-shirt.

    Me too.

  68. Kate

    It wasn’t that long ago that I pretty much accepted the line of argument that if someone chooses something, and providing they are a consenting adult, then that’s okay. Through reading Twisty (amongst other sources) I’ve realised that I bought the patriarchy’s line, hook and sinker.

    Puffin managed to articulate perfectly exactly why that line of thought is a dead-end. Not all choices are equal. Not all choices are helpful and useful. Not all choices are good. Some choices are downright rotten and damaging and no amount of “but they like it” can convince me that anyone who talks about rape fantasies is anything but seriously damaged.

    I also heart stumptuous.com and that first link was awesome. I can only wish to be as strong as that woman.

  69. cinder

    I’m not very well informed on BDSM theory, however I’d like to suggest that perhaps submission/domination games can be a powerful way of working through ones psychological issues regarding power. In a hierarchical society all of us have our own issues with “power”, be it a lack or an excess of it, and most of us have probably experienced a great deal of confusion and frustration about it. Power relations are obviously extremely complex and there are a lot of tools that can be used to explore them.

    I am into the idea of role playing power games in a sexual context, but really would like to see traditional roles reversed and messed with. Switching back and forth between which partner is submissive and dominant could be a powerful way to break through our conditioning and barriers. Power play can be (but isn’t inherently) empowering and challenging.

    When I was younger and much more passive, awkward and terrified I had a male partner who made it clear that he was willing to play however I wanted and put me in full control of our sexual encounters. I was too still too shy and passive to express interest in power play, but it was infinitely valuable for him to have volunteered that power to me when I was too submissive and scared to take it for myself. It helped me grow into my own power, and I’m glad to say I’m much more assertive than I used to be. No longer a terrified little girl.

    Having said all that I have some pretty big reservations about women and rape fantasies. There is potential in even the most sketchy sounding fantasies for empowerment, but that potential is certainly not manifest in every rape fantasy scenario. If the goal with the power play is to become empowered and find strength and independence than play on! My reservations are for any activity whatsoever that does not attempt to unravel oneself from servitude and subjection. Exploring those concepts as a means of deconstructing them is valid.

  70. antiprincess

    slagging on submissives is not going to get anyone anywhere. what – do you think you’re going to shame us out of getting our disconnected, ditzy, sick little jollies this way? (laying on the shame will only make it more perversely exciting, for some of us…)

    I’ve spent the past twenty-some years trying to make peace with my weird little secret, wrestling with my despicable, pitiful, sicksicksickness. talk about self-criticism – believe me, I’ve faced down an entire North Korean re-education camp’s worth of self-criticism, and its attendant self-loathing, self-disgust, self-destruction. I’ve thought long and hard about it, and come to the conclusion that I’m just fucked up that way, and the less I obsess about how pathetic and dirty and sick I am, the more functional and normal I’m able to be.

    so what should I do? I want to be progressive and politically aware and fight oppression, all of that – and yet you’re telling me that the way I process the sexual experience is so screwed up that I can’t blame the patriarchy like the cool kids.

    Tony Patti, LMYC – what would you suggest I do with myself, now that I’ve been enlightened? Do I go to the doctor and “correct” the way I process the sexual experience? do I seek therapy for my character or behavior defect? pray to god to remove the stain from my soul? maybe I should just not even try to be sexual at all, lest I call the wrath of the patriarchy (or the patriarchy-blamers) down upon us all. do I sacrifice my orgasm for the revolution? I mean, I might if you convince me that’s what I have to do to end the patriarchy.

  71. bitchphd

    First link, awesome. Second link? I feel physically threatened and unwell, just having read it. Ugh. Absolutely, revoltingly pornographic.

  72. AdamB

    OK, guy posting in feminist territory here, I know, dangerous territory .:)

    I am a switch, with some tendancy towards Dom, but more out of habit than prefferance. So is my girlfriend, though she tends towards sub. This works out rather well for us. I’ve even been encouraging her to be the dom more often.

    The woman who wrote the article in question really shoudl ahve used a different word, perhaps ‘ravish’, which Could be defined (for the purposes of the BDSM community) as being forceful, dominant sex with pre-arranged consent, but with the guise of non-consentual sex.

    Now, some of you may have issues with the fact that she and I enjoy these sex games. Well, how ever much it may not appeal to your personal tastes, you don’t get to tell us it’s wrong. What ever the balance between hard wired and coping with past issues may be, dom/sub play can lead to a stronger emotional bond. And to be clear on a point: Yes, I’ve played the part of the ‘victim’ before. It was fun.

  73. PoliSi

    antiprincess –
    You deal. You cope with it however you need to, I don’t think anyone is arguing that. You do what we all do living in the patriarchy, we do whatever we have to to get by, we all compromise on what we know is right because we only have a choice between something fucked up or nothing at all. But to present (or defend) rape as a gift is wrong, full fucking stop. Do you really want to encourage anyone to grow up live a life as vulnerable to abuse in every sense of the word that being a sub makes someone? If this inner quirk has really led you to self-loathing/disgust/distruction, why the hell would you advocate it as an OK lifestyle instead of acknowledging that yeah, something fucked you up bigtime and no one should have to go through the same thing?

    It seems a lot to me like people who grow up with domestic abuse. Some people will grow up and completely repudiate the kind of life that made their childhoods living hells. Others grow up and repeat the cycle because they don’t know any other way. I sure as hell think that the ones who break the cycle are better off for having done so, don’t you? Even if you can’t break out of the cycle, don’t you think that maybe encouraging others to break it rather than continue it is a worthy goal?

    I’m sorry if I’ve offended you, but you need to understand that we aren’t railing against subs, we are railing against the culture that creates subs in the first place. Just like blaming the patriarchy is not blaming individual men, but the culture that creates the hero/archtype/dom swaggering machismo bullshit and the damsel-in-distress/sub useless feminine bullshit. The culture needs to change and glorifying rape no matter how much it may flip someone’s switch isn’t helping anyone.

  74. veet

    I echo miscellanneous  re praise-the-lord for the level of discourse here. And thank you also Puffin, Tony, LMYC for putting it straight.
    I had to go check out doggerelblogger to see WTF, to as She said, try to get some insight into Her comments. Yeah, duh, first I assumed it had to me a male. sorry you guys out there. alas, just a happy mum.

    truthprincess: how about try the little exercise of substituting “pedophile” for your ‘weird little secret”. What do you think a pedophile should do, get into ‘self-criticism, and its attendant self-loathing, self-disgust, self-destruction’ so long as (he) is not asked to “sacrifice my orgasm for the revolution’?

    And yes, you could, maybe should, get some help. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is proving to be incredibly successful, and you can use a book or online. Instead of whipping your own self with ‘how pathetic and dirty and sick I am.’

    Frankly, I continue admiring you respondents for analysis in spite of the heat of the moment. Moi, a bit hopeless at that. I see how much I want to tear strips off these women, as in When The Fuck Will You Wake Up?? What is it that makes these apologists come to this site?? Now, of all times, when violence is escalating and freedoms diminishing, excusing actions that look like, sound like, smell like, feel like misogyny as fun and games is not only sick, but propping up all that is worst in society. And yes, unfortunately much of the global human project right now has to do with hard-wired tendencies. I believe for women to submit to and reinforce alpha male behaviour (patriarchal values) instead of honoring and supporting our own hard-wired collaborative approach is cowardly and societal suicide.

    And re sex and submission: there is another sort of sex that almost never gets mentioned. Most fully developed in tantra, the ‘valley orgasm’ has to do with being receptive. Not passive, not submissive, not Hollywood style. Open, accepting, allowing, like post-minimalist music, building note upon note. and so on.so that if it’s feeling ‘taken’ that you want, you can be filled with it through layers of gentleness. My body loves the feeling of being that open and relaxed. Choice would be sex education that educates.

    I hold a Jungian view that we all carry many archetypes within us. We’re aware of some of them some of the time. Others constitute our unconscious, which I don’t think we’ve yet analyzed out of existence. Especially in sex these energies are released. Believe me, I’m well aware of my Inner Bully, but it doesn’t make me want to act it out during sex. I’m hardly a moralist. But to justify cultivating the nastiest human traits in the name of freedom…well, bottom line is first blame the patriarchy. Then, take responsibility for your mental hygiene. truthprincess, you ‘want to be progressive and politically aware and fight oppression, all of that.’ Well then, the personal is political. Getting over your submissiveness and your self-loathing would fight oppression at its very root.

  75. Crys T

    “Getting over your submissiveness and your self-loathing would fight oppression at its very root.”

    Which pretty much says it all, really.

    I also wish these pro-BDSM types would, when they engage in arguments with the rest of us here, at least be willing to question exactly WHY it is that “sexual freedom” has had those special little velvet ropes put up around it, something that no other facet of human behaviour is allowed.

    Well duh: because getting rid of the bullshit and hatred and sickness and power games surrounding sex is precisely the key to being able to begin the dismantling of the rest of oppression–particularly the oppression of women, though other oppresssions as well. So that must not be allowed to happen. We must all be brainwashed into thinking that sex is somehow “special” and set apart from other behaviours, so we don’t look at it critically and we don’t call each other out on it and, consequently, no real progress is ever made.

    If you’ve been convinced that eliminating dominance/submission from sex will somehow eliminate or reduce the pleasure or intensity of sexual experience, it’s time to think about *why* you’ve been convinced of that. If you’ve been taught that these things are “liberating” or “hard-wired” into some people, or that it “helps people who’ve been abused process/deal with their issues,” it’s also time to question *why* that would be, and, especially, to ask yourself exactly who those beliefs really benefit.

  76. Random Lurker

    I’ll contribute to the gastly, kudzu-like growth of the BDSM thread. Here goes:

    I’ve been involved the BDSM scene in the past, and don’t really have any regrets about it. But there is no way in hell I want to be associated with this “taken in hand” crap. It’s creepy, it’s sexist, and I’m kind of horrified to see all the other BDSM people here defending it. Is my corner of the world just a weird anomaly pf harmless dorkdom* in the otherwise sexist perniciousness of things that go by the name of “BDSM”?**

    *Twisty is definitely right about the dorkdom. But I figure that if “dork” is the worst thing anyone can truthfully call you, then you’re well ahead of most people.

    **Maybe any harmless corner of the world is a weird anomaly. God, what a depressing thought.

  77. Quickstep

    Long time lurker here – love the site.

    Have to admit though, these BDSM discussions usually leave me feeling…not so good. dd and antiprincess’s comments especially made me want to comment.

    dd’s comment that such sexual proclivities being hardwired in – I am supporting this idea. Myself, I was raised in a forward-thinking, liberal household that was so ‘humans are equal’ it took me going to university to discover that society doesn’t view men and women equal.

    I have never, ever been into ‘vanilla’. I’m a dominant by nature. I like to hurt – and let us make this very clear, hurt those who themselves like being hurt. I like being the one in charge. I like tying my partner up.

    I struggled with this for years. The fact that I had sadistic as well as masochistic tendancies I thought made me a horrible, messed up person, and a bad feminist. I have a partner who is a submissive, and likes the attentions I want to give him. We fit very well together, but I still have trouble with the fact that I enjoy it when he is in pain. I don’t know why this is, or where I got this idea from. In fact, I find male domination themes make me very uncomfortable, sometimes even within a careful, mutually decided upon scene.

    I’ve had to accept this aspect of myself. There wasn’t any other option. However, this aspect only ever is displayed with someone with whom I have discussed everything with first. Consent is so important to me I can’t even think of fondling my partner of 2 years before he is awake, even though he likes the idea of being woken that way.

    Forgive the long post, but this is something important to me. While we don’t live in a society free of influence, we still can make choices. Nothing made me into sadist/dominant – I discovered this aspect of myself through entirely innocuous means. (If anyone thinks this can’t be true, I will tell you what they were, but it’s kinda irrelevant).

    I guess what I’m saying is that while being a female sub in this society can be seen as supporting a patriarchal worldview…how does the female dominant fit into this?

  78. Quickstep

    Ah shoot. The bit about feeling uncomfortable with male dominant themes? I mean such in literature/music/movies/whatever, not stuff I have done myself. As I’m not into that sort of thing, I don’t do it. Needed to clarify that.

  79. ae

    AdamB, there are men who comment at this site, just as there are men who are feminist. All thoughtful people are welcome, provided they’re advanced blamers. Do please think about your statement:

    Yes, I’ve played the part of the ‘victim’ before. It was fun.

    “Getting to play the part of the victim” is a luxurious choice for the dominant class. Unlike you, most women cannot turn this victimization on and off by “choice” or with a pre-arranged safe word, etc. Your choice of role, as you play it, is a replication of the prevailing power structure as we live it. Aye, there’s the rub.

  80. Liz

    Veet, #74 was articulate, insightful, and brimming over with well-made thought-provoking light-shedding points. Thanks. Well said.

  81. antiprincess

    it doesn’t bother me much any more, y’all. I’m over the self-flagellation I experienced in my young adulthood. now I’m just old and kinky. I’ve made my peace – maybe I didn’t make that clear.

    however, it bothers me that it bothers y’all. it bothers me that you think I’m damaged and dirty and sick and contributing to what we all hate, just by my being human and having a sexual experience.

    I want to be liked. I want to be useful. I want to feel like I’m a valued member of the community when I speak out against what I feel is wrong, when I help others, when I contribute in a positive way to society.

    but if I know that y’all think I’m defective, and worse than that, unenlightened, and the next worst thing to a pedophile, well, that makes me sad. and it gets me thinking all over again that yeah, maybe I am just not ideologically pure enough to participate in your revolution. is that the message you’re trying to send?

    I’ve gotten help. Help said I was okay, just kinky. now what?

  82. Puffin

    antiprincess, no one here has said anything that even slightly resembles what you’re accusing us of saying or thinking so what’s with the theatrics?

    Let me clarify for you, since you obviously haven’t read Twisty’s novice blaming clause: “patriarchy is a tyrannical but nearly invisible social order based on an oppressive paradigm of dominance and submission fetishizing class and status. Patriarchy’s benefits are accrued according to a rigid hierarchy at the top of which are rich honky males and at the bottom of which are poor women of color.”

    I honestly don’t think any person here cares at all that you personally enjoy being a submissive. I think most of us can grasp and even empathize with why some women do embrace such a sexual role. What we ARE saying is that your “choice” to be on the receiving end of a can of sexual whoop-ass is part of the system of oppression outlined above. It’s a “choice” that is indicative of all women’s subordinate status within the Patriarchy and it’s a “choice” that ultimately affects more than just you – especially when your submissive compadres start singing the praise of sexualized violence all over the internet.

    As far as the revolution goes, I’ve always found that to be a revolutionary, you have to be willing to think about more than just your own personal liberty. Revolution is about the common good. It’s about fighting for something bigger than your orgasm, for instance.

  83. dd

    ha – basically, antiprincess, we can’t be feminists – we have sex wrong.

  84. laughingmuse

    Can we all step away from the “look, it’s another BDSM thread!’ for a second, and at least point out possibly a source of agreement?

    That rape in actuality is VERY VERY VERY COMPLETELY different than a rape fantasy.

    That someone who believes that their partner has more rights to their own body than they themselves do might have some, oh, “issues”.

    And can we get off of the “hardwired” crap? “Innate” is a lousy word to use. How about “congenital” (found at birth)? Even hand preference may be related to in utero experience. Saying something is “hardwired” is like saying “that’s it, it’s over, I can’t control myself!” Bullhooey, I say to thee, bullhooey.

    Societies demand that their component members conduct themselves in certain ways. Sometimes by doing things that we may not be otherwise biologically disposed to do. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

    But we, as members of a society, 1) can point out what the heck is wrong with it, and 2) try to change it. Alas, the patriarchy is almost everywhere, which helps make it invisible. Like air.

    And props to LMYC, I lurves your posting.

  85. antiprincess

    Puffin – just speaking truth to power. I feel slagged on. I’m saying so.

    and unless you’re the same age or older than I am, I’ve it’s just as likely that I paid my feminist dues while you were still combing the manes and tails on My Little Pony. I’ve done my time in front of clinics at 4 in the morning, I’ve gathered with the herd on the Mall, I’ve waved my signs and done my homework and chanted along with the best of them. I am no novice blamer. (mind you, if you are my age – late 30s – or older, I take that back. not the novice part – the part where I’m deliberately mean and snide and attempting to punk you.)

    as I read this thread, I got the sense that while lots of folks had strong opinions on submissive women, very few had actually spoken to one. I mean, that makes sense, because why would you lower your enlightened selves and associate with people like me anyway? but I wonder if maybe people you know, and deal with every day, and maybe even like, and stand next to arm-in-arm united in struggle, are kinky like me.

  86. antiprincess

    would it ease your troubled principles any to know that the first community of BDSM people I encountered IRL were a group of leather dykes, and that the first book I read on the subject was Coming To Power?

    I never said I was a heterosexual submissive woman. does that change things? should it?

    someone brought up an interesting question upthread – why the “velvet rope” around issues of so-called sexual freedom? Well, I don’t really know, but I’ll think on it. are you asking why everyone just immediately says “it’s my own business what I do in my bedroom! I have sexual freedom! get off my case!”, thus shutting down further discussion?

  87. PoliSi

    Bullsh*t antiprincess. How in the hell can you possibly think that we can get through our lives without knowing submissive women, you aren’t in some rare minority that few people have interaction with. Submissive wome are the norm in this society, and I think that’s wrong. I don’t think there is much that can be done about the submissive women currently in existance (therapy, whatever, and BTW do you think maybe it’s possible that the “help” you’ve seen has told you you’re “okay, just kinky” might have, you know, bullsh*t patriarchal reasons for thinking it’s “okay, just kinky” for women be submissive. Nah all therapists are paragons of virtue who live above the patriarchy even as some of them use their power to screw as many of their patients as possible, so that couldn’t be it.), but I sure as hell think that we can fight for a future where women are allowed to be equal rather than sumbissive or dominant.

    Get over yourself, nobody is telling you you aren’t feminist, stop being so self-absorbed and look around, actually read our posts and realize that we aren’t asking you to do shit but stop promoting “rape is a gift” type bullshit just because you feel you have some sort of personal investment in it. Maybe you should spend the time you’re spending trying to tell us that we shouldn’t support the revolution because it makes you feel icky reflecting on why you have such a personal investment in the statements like “rape is a gift” and what that says to you about yourself.

    And once again, no one cares what you’re doing in your bedroom, once again it’s messed up in principal, but you do what you have to to get by. What we care about is the sh*t you’re pulling here in this public space, defending the idea that rape is a gift and that women who think their bodies belong to their husbands are making a valid choice. That’s messed up beyond reason, and yeah you defending it pretty much makes you severely messed up in my mind, not what you do in your bedroom.

  88. Crys T

    I’m still waiting to hear why sexual practice, out of all human behaviours, is the one that we are not allowed to question, let alone criticise.

  89. antiprincess

    me personally? not promoting or defending anything. I just don’t like the condescending attitude towards kinky people (esp. bottoms) that I interpreted from some of the posts. I don’t recall proffering any opinion on the relative merit of rape as a gift.

    I’ve been real-raped. No fun.
    I’ve engaged in highly-staged and carefully orchestrated “scenes” involving rather histrionic struggle and heightened tension and drama and the illusion of dire peril. Much fun.

    re the famous Taken In Hand woman: I think she’s read a few too many pulp-grade bodice-rippers, and it’s gotten a little out of pocket, I’ll allow. But thinking that she’s speaking for all submissive women is of course nonsense.

    “but nobody said she was speaking for all submissive women! why do you have to take things out of context! god! you people!…”

    yeah – well, the discussion around it led me to believe that it didn’t even occur to people that there could be diversity in the BDSM community. it was so pervasive a thought that it didn’t even have to be expressed.

    I think you do care what I do in my bedroom. you care very much. I think that the idea that some woman (say, for example, me) somewhere (my bedroom, maybe) has this sexual experience that you find disturbing makes you angry and sorry for the woman (me), and frustrated that she (I) won’t let go of patriarchal patterns, and perpetuates oppression right there on her (my) own body, while you’re out there slaving away fighting The Man on her (my) behalf. sure it bothers you what I do in my bedroom. we wouldn’t be having this discussion if you didn’t care.

    re the public space – if Twisty wants me to shut my piehole, then Twisty will tell me. until then, I’m enjoying the discussion.

  90. antiprincess

    crysT – see post #86 above.

  91. antiprincess

    and another thing – y’all are saying that women who engage in submissive sexual fantasies are tools of the patriarchy. how could I be a feminist at the same time that I’m being a tool of the patriarchy?

    yes, you’re saying that I can’t be a femininst and kinky.

    I happen to disagree.

  92. Tom

    The important thing in a situation like this is to look past the incendiary rhetoric to the underlying meaning. When you do that to tis particular piece of writing, you find…well, that’s equally repulsive.

    Never mind.

  93. Crys T

    Ok, antiprincess, I’ve read #86, sorry for missing it first time round.

    Well, in part I am asking why people seem to think they can say, “It’s sex, therefore sacrosanct, so you can’t say anything!” and, yes, shutting down dialogue.

    Also, what is it that people who feel that way believe sets sex apart from other parts of life. I mean, if you’re trying to say that female submissiveness or male dominance in a sexual context are not political issues, if they are protected by the maxim “between consenting adults” in a way that other behaviours aren’t, well, WHY?

  94. antiprincess

    Crys T: bear with me – I want to be sure I’m giving you a thorough and thoughtful answer. so please don’t think I’m ignoring you. I just don’t want to shoot my mouth off without thinking carefully first.

  95. Dubhe

    anti-princess: “just by my being human and having a sexual experience.”

    That statement is exactly as obfuscating as saying “People rape” rather than “Men rape”.

    At the moment, the type of “sexual experience” is rather important. You have to admit that your “sexual experience” of play-acting the most brutal types of rape our society has to offer is a bit different from the “sexual experience” of, say, two teenagers necking in the park. To use the generic, vague “sexual experience” term is to intentionally elicit pictures much more like the latter than the former, when the former is what we’re really talking about.

    No, they’re NOT the same. No, they’re NOT equivilent. No, they’re NOT equally “safe” or “sane”.

  96. piny

    The first link was fun (though I am a bit over-defensive towards all terribly fit people). My gym actually has a poster on ‘Women and Weights’ to try and persuade women to use them, which is all ‘oh no, you don’t have to have nasty horrible biceps if you use weights, you can just use them to be a thin sexbot!’

    Have you seen stumptuous.com? It’s a women’s weightlifting (among many other things) site, a real one with real routines, operated by a feminist. And she has a lot to say about the sexbot workouts.

  97. Anne

    Puffin: “antiprincess, no one here has said anything that even slightly resembles what you’re accusing us of saying or thinking so what’s with the theatrics?:”

    Veet said, regarding post 81, “truthprincess: how about try the little exercise of substituting “pedophile” for your ‘weird little secret”. What do you think a pedophile should do, get into ’self-criticism, and its attendant self-loathing, self-disgust, self-destruction’ so long as (he) is not asked to “sacrifice my orgasm for the revolution’?”

    I interpreted that as saying that BDSM participants are as sick as pedophiles. Did I interpret that incorrectly?

  98. Arianna

    As much as the rest of this conversation is disturbing, I’m happy to be seeing stumptuous.com getting some love. That site is so inspirational!

  99. piny

    Have you seen stumptuous.com? It’s a women’s weightlifting (among many other things) site, a real one with real routines, operated by a feminist. And she has a lot to say about the sexbot workouts.

    Heh. Show me not to click on things.

  100. antiprincess

    >>anti-princess: “just by my being human and having a >>sexual experience.”

    >That statement is exactly as obfuscating as saying “People >rape” rather than “Men rape”.

    Dubhe, in order to respond fully to that, I’d have to get into the fact that my very first sexual experience was a)with a woman and b)nonconsensual. with all due respect, may I decline to discuss that here?

    At the moment, the type of “sexual experience” is rather important. You have to admit that your “sexual experience” of play-acting the most brutal types of rape our society has to offer is a bit different from the “sexual experience” of, say, two teenagers necking in the park. To use the generic, vague “sexual experience” term is to intentionally elicit pictures much more like the latter than the former, when the former is what we’re really talking about.

    No, they’re NOT the same. No, they’re NOT equivilent. No, they’re NOT equally “safe” or “sane”.

    that is true. that’s a good point. but I spoke from my experience, which has taken me across many genders and types of sexual experience. I’m not backing down from that.

    I’m not sure I personally habitually act out the MOST brutal types of rape, although I’m sure some do. are some types of rape more brutal than others? or is rape by definition the most brutal of all abuses?

  101. Tia

    I sometimes read this blog, but never comment because I don’t really feel like engaging people about BDSM, nor do I feel like actively not engaging people about BDSM. I did want to point out, however, that I’m actually pretty familiar with that site, as profoundly mistaken as the decision to use the word “rape” (as opposed to maybe “rape scene” or “rape fantasy”) was, none of the proprietors are actually advocating anything nonconsensual. When they talk about being raped, or never saying no to their husband, what they mean is (and this is spelled out elsewhere) that they’ve issued a kind of blanket consent that could be withdrawn at any time if the sub felt like it. As much as they try to say “This is not BDSM” the fact of the matter is more like “This is BDSM, 24-7, without a safeword.” I think saying “This is not BDSM” is just one of the ways they like to sublimate themselves into the fantasy. That’s probably irresponsible, but they’re not taking quite the position ascribed to them here (though they certainly invite misunderstanding when they write articles with titles like “When Rape is a Gift”). There are people who’d I’d suspect as male abusers and other misogynists who comment there, but I’ve also seen them get criticized by other commenters who emphasize the ultimately consensual nature of what they’re talking about. There are also commenters on that site who self-identify as feminist.

    I’m not really interested in getting involved in defending subhood (I do it sometimes on Unfogged if you care to here it, which I imagine you don’t), but I did want to add some perspective on the site.

  102. veet

    Do I feel ‘that BDSM participants are as sick as pedophiles’? antiprincess (how did I get truthprincess the first time?) opened her gambit with: ‘slagging on submissives is not going to get anyone anywhere. what – do you think you’re going to shame us out of getting our disconnected, ditzy, sick little jollies this way? laying on the shame will only make it more perversely exciting, for some of us… I’ve spent the past twenty-some years trying to make peace with my weird little secret, wrestling with my despicable, pitiful, sicksicksickness…. I’ve thought long and hard about it, and come to the conclusion that I’m just fucked up that way, and the less I obsess about how pathetic and dirty and sick I am, the more functional and normal I’m able to be.’ I (Veet) wouldn’t have automatically applied the term ‘sick’. I’m generally more partial to ‘fucked up’. Nor am I into shaming and blaming. It seems to me this line of thinking is masochistic and circular: I have this tendency, it’s about being submissive (Wictionary: meekly obedient or passive, docile, meek, slavish, timid) I define it as liking kinky sex. And then I can flagellate myself for liking it. the pain feels soooo gooood. And I want to call myself a feminist, to be in your cool club.

    My first impulse to substitute ‘pedophile’ in antiprincess’ self description was to point out what I see as a pathetic self-victimization and justification. Do I equate the ‘sickness’ of females being submissive to men with the ‘sickness’ of pedophiles? Well, just look at it laid out like that. Don’t they look somehow related? somehow on the same spectrum? power imbalances and sex; submissive women as vulnerable and non-threatening as children, so that a man can reinforce his rightful place as dominant in all things, beyond the reproach of a woman who might face him off as an equal. (BB and Dubhe at DenoftheBiting Beaver probably offer a much more nuanced look at these issues)

    It’s beyond me to try to define feminist. But I believe that one strand of it has to do with personal responsibility. I, too, would normally refrain from entering into a BDSM discussion. But here I am. I’m a bit radical about mental health. I believe that those of us who are reasonably educated, living above the poverty line and have a tad of awareness have some sort of social obligation to at the very least THINK about things, how they affect us and others, how we affect others. And if there’s time for blog reading, then surely there’s time for engaging in some inner practice. Never has it been so easy to find some way of overcoming our mental and psychological challenges. There are enough techniques freely available to find one which suits even submissives (joke). It’s one thing to be born with or into or conditioned into a submissive mind-set and belief system, but it’s not ok (more politely, it’s not necessary) to die that way. The time in between is where we live our lives.

    None of us is an island. It’s not possible for Submissive’s attitudes and vibrations to not affect others, to not somehow make it ok for women and girls to continue accepting “meekly obedient or passive, docile, meek, slavish, timid” as normal. Whether it’s printing crap in public like “rape is a gift”, or being filled with self-loathing, the attitude is transmitted to all the other women you encounter in your life. Is this the feminist model you think girls should be exposed to?

    By the way, you just might find yourself post-menopause wondering what all the fuss was about. I know that’s a very anti-american thing to say, but once the body’s not pumping with all those chemicals, it’s a bit like washing dirty windows, you can see how much society kept you in thrall to what was, after all, nature’s desire to spread it’s DNA.

  103. Quickstep

    Alrighty…I’ve read all the comments, and I dunno about the rest of you, but what I’m getting is that we may be discussing different things here.

    The taken in hand stuff? OK, makes a lot of people uncomfortable. That’s understandable.

    On the other hand, it seems that people have taken this one instance and applied it in a wider sense. I can find sites with (hetero) female domination, which requires the male sub to basically behave in a similar fashion. Same goes for homo examples.

    Personally, I was attracted to BDSM 1) because of innate (yes, I will defend that idea) predilictions, and 2) because unlike other relationship types, everything is discussed and agreed upon before any activity occurs. Both parties know where they are, what is expected, and so forth.

    What is the consensus of (het) female dominants? If a sub is epitomizing a patriarchal ideal, where does the female dominant fit in?

  104. Lorenzo

    That was one disturbing site.

    I mean, it more or less defines self-objectification (in the strong sense, i.e. a woman becoming an instrument or tool of a man to do with what he will, literally). Blanket ‘consent’ is the self-destruction of autonomy, the willful denial of one’s agency as lifestyle. The only question that remains is whether this would be more, or would it be less disturbing outside of a patriachal context that normalizes and valorizes this kind of thing when it is implicit?

  105. Arianna

    Quickstep: I’m fairly new at this, so forgive me if my response isn’t as clear/eloquent as those of the more experienced blamers.

    No matter what role females are playing in a dom/sub relationship, they are still fetishized images for the male patricipant (as one person pointed out in a different thread, female doms and subs wear nearly the same thing!). When a male is a sub sexually, he can still step away from that role, which I’m sure is fun for him to play, and step back into the “real world” where he is in control all the time. For females, the sub position isn’t play, it’s a sexualised enactment of their real life oppression that they cannot step away from. Furthermore, the whole thing, regardless of who is dom/sub, serves to reinforce the dominance/submission paradigm that the patriarchy so loves.

  106. Quickstep

    Arianna: Thanks for the specific reply!

    On the one hand, that makes a lot of sense, and I would probably go with that sort of idea if I weren’t in the situation I was in.

    I guess I feel secure enough that I *don’t* feel in any way reinforcing the patriarchal viewpoint of sexual relationships. Actually, I feel more that way when I go out wearing a skirt, frankly.

    As for the fetishized ideal for the male…eeh, I’d go with a yes and no on that one. Pro-domme work, sure. They are catering to a market. In the personally-chosen stuff…it’s rather more casual. One of the points of humour in the bdsm world is all the work involved in a scene – the chains, the outfits, the toys, etc etc. Personally…we don’t do any of that stuff.

    As for the dominance/submission paradigm of the patriarchy…again, yes and no. Sometime I feel I could blame everything on the patriarchy, but… I dunno. Call me an idealist. Or someone young enough to have grown up with the rights we have now.

    On the other hand, I can understand that for me, this was all a free choice. I’ve read on other places women’s aversion to bdsm, and I can understand why because of the stories they tell. Then again, if I hated everything that screwed me over at some stage…I’d be a recluse.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is…I can see their point about all this. I wanted to show a different point as well. Hell, feminism (especially feminist blogs) have shown me other viewpoints and argued them well (lots of stuff involving the motherhood shift, that to me I have never paid attention to as I will never have children). I guess…a cigar is sometimes just a cigar (to one person anyway).

  107. Arianna

    Quickstep: Ah skirts… To be honest, I wear skirts about 90% of the time because I can’t find a damn pair of pants that fit me (long body, short legs). Shorts, on the other hand, are wonderful, but it’s a cold Canadian winter…

    Well, I don’t have much of a response for you given that I’m also pretty young (21) and I don’t really have experience in BDSM to form my own reasoned argument. I’m sure one of the veteran blamers will be able to reply though :)

  108. suezboo

    May I echo the wisdom of one of the commenters above and say – wait for menopause. What disturbs me the most, I think, in these discussions is the way in whicn the women identify themselves as their sexual fetish e.g. I am a sub, instead of I am a woman who likes this kind of sexual play. It is as if this fetish is the main fact about them, defines them, becomes their lifestyle.I am glad for you if you can find people who share your kink and will play along, but what’s next?

    I, and I admit to being celibate and post-menopausal, just dont see how one can define oneself solely in terms of one’s sexual activity – isn’t that how men define women. I think any feminist would want to move away from being perceived only in terms of what you do sexually.

  109. Twisty

    Veet in 102:”By the way, you just might find yourself post-menopause wondering what all the fuss was about.”

    Ha. So true.

  110. piny

    And then I can flagellate myself for liking it.

    What? No, no, no. Other people flagellate people like antiprincess for liking what she likes. She takes that to heart because, hey, they’re saying nasty things about her and she otherwise has respect for them. Some of the self-loathing is internalized, not internal. You can’t come onto a blog called I Blame the Patriarchy, into a discussion on the oppressive cultural tropes that have created BDSM, warped all our orgasms, and turned us into its unwitting dupes, and pretend that her shame is the result of an informed, independent moral choice. Gay people hate themselves, too. That doesn’t mean that self-hatred is the result of some quiet voice of conscience telling them that buttsex really is damaging to them and everyone they know.

    And saying that a masochist likes every kind of pain, or that a submissive likes being stepped on and humiliated in every context, is just as senseless as saying that a woman who has some sex likes all sex. Antiprincess obviously doensn’t like being shamed and ridiculed. That’s why it makes her so unhappy, and that’s why she feels the need to reject it.

    My first impulse to substitute ‘pedophile’ in antiprincess’ self description was to point out what I see as a pathetic self-victimization and justification. Do I equate the ’sickness’ of females being submissive to men with the ’sickness’ of pedophiles? Well, just look at it laid out like that. Don’t they look somehow related? somehow on the same spectrum? power imbalances and sex; submissive women as vulnerable and non-threatening as children, so that a man can reinforce his rightful place as dominant in all things, beyond the reproach of a woman who might face him off as an equal. (BB and Dubhe at DenoftheBiting Beaver probably offer a much more nuanced look at these issues)

    Wouldn’t that make antiprincess a raped child?

  111. Delphyne

    The problem with heterosexual female submission is that it requires a male dominator. Men have enough power already without women handing theirs over to male sadists. Politically it’s a very bad move.

  112. Twisty

    Heterosexual female submission is pretty much the problem with everything.

  113. Tjurri

    One thing on that site I do agree with, “No decent male wants to be a rapist.” They got *that* much right.

    FWIW I used to fantasise about rape before I got years and many years of counselling over being raped at 3 1/2 years old. It’s very difficult for women to have genuine sexual freedom of choice when they’re being constantly bombarded with images of pornography in music videos, advertising, movies and the like… all instructing them on how *good* women should behave.

    The comment that “women want it” is the sort of thing underlying the Kyriarchal bulshit that goes on in Private schools, basically teaching the next generation of “leaders” in medicine, law, business and politics that women really are only sex objects.

    Thomas Aquinas wrote in the 11th century that “a woman is a misbegotten man” and sadly that is where Western culture has stagnated.

  114. SisterJ

    What Puffin (#12) said.

  115. Pony

    It took her about 2/3 of a page before she said “Ayn Rand” but I knew the bitch was there.

    Now lets put some spin on this comment about the horrors of withholding your body from your husband Lady. Does that include him with holding his body (sexual gratification) from you? Uh huh. How many women–our mothers, and yes, some of us, still–settle for sex for one (him) because he doesn’t (won’t) understand that drilling doesn’t do it for us.

    That’s withholding sex.

    “Your honour, he withheld sex; he refused to go down. He came, and then turned over and went to sleep”.

  116. Sarah Cavendish

    Goodness! What a fascinating discussion of Taken In Hand and my piece, Rape As a Gift, in particular.

    Several posters have argued that in choosing the kind of relationship I write about on Taken In Hand, I am working against the cause of women, and for patriarchy. I strongly disagree, naturally. It seems to me that one of the mistakes some parts of the feminist movement make is in trying to replace one set of prescriptions and proscriptions with another, instead of advocating free choice. It is no good making compulsory that which was once forbidden, any more than it would be a good thing to make that which was once compulsory, forbidden. Until we all uphold the freedom of others to make their own choices for their own lives, whether their choices are ours or not, I think there will still be a problem to solve. We are all individuals, with our own individual preferences, and the mere fact that you find my preferences repugnant does not make them wrong or harmful in any way. Similarly, if the day came when Taken In Hand were about to be made compulsory, I would be fighting to the death to prevent that appalling outcome. As many posters on my site have said, it would be an abomination if it were compulsory.

    I understand that some posters writing here think that my site may adversely influence impressionable and vulnerable women (and perhaps turn perfectly decent men into rapists), but I personally don’t take such a pessimistic view of people. I don’t see other people as the weak and easily-influenced sheep some of you seem to see them as. I think that people can make up their own minds, and that they are perfectly capable of reading my site criticially.

    Thanks for the interesting discussion.

  117. louiseculmer

    Everyone on here seems to be getting very excited about the When Rape Is A Gift thread on TIH. I’m puzzled as to why it should freak you out so much that some women have rape fantasies, and enjoy acting them out. A lot of women on TIH are turned on by the idea of being forcibly taken (I’m not one of them), why does this bother you so much?

    It’s of little use to deny your sexual nature, I have discovered this myself. I don’t relate to the rape thing myself, but I do relate to a lot of other stuff on TIH, and I have realised that my own submissive feelings are not going to go away, it’s no use fighting them.

    There are a lot of divergent opinions on TIH (I seldom see eye to eye with LadyK for instance) but the thing that most of the women who post there have in common is a desire to be in a male-led relationship. Whether ‘the Patriarchy’ is to blame for this or not, I don’t know. Personally I am inclined to beleive that some people simply have submissive inclinations, and there’s no point in denying it if you do. You’ll be happier if you admit it.

    As Sarah observed to someone who asked her what if they didn’t like the idea of being in a male-led relationship and preferred equality “Then you are not the intended audience for this site” The site’s there for people who do like the idea of such a relationship, if you don’t, then don’t read it. Get over it.

  118. tigtog

    “By the way, you just might find yourself post-menopause wondering what all the fuss was about. I know that’s a very anti-american thing to say, but once the body’s not pumping with all those chemicals, it’s a bit like washing dirty windows, you can see how much society kept you in thrall to what was, after all, nature’s desire to spread it’s DNA.”

    Reminds me of Sheri Tepper’s Gibbon’s Decline and Fall: have you wondered how much simpler it would all be if human females went into heat once or twice a year triggering the male sexual response, but otherwise sex just wasn’t on people’s minds? Think how much we could all get done!

  119. Twisty

    Well, louiseculmer, thanks for your concern for my mental health, but I assure you, I am “over it,” for I was never under it. I merely looked over the site, found it repellent, and wrote about it on my own blog. It’s not like I’m, you know, leaving defensive comments over there.

  120. Puffin

    I hate to break it to all you S&M proponents, but the the sexualized violence you so heartedly promote is nothing new, it’s no sign of women’s new freedom, it’s not subversive, trendy, or empowering. It’s not something that has ever been forbidden and you’re not paving the way for millions of modern women to start fulfilling their long-suppressed desires of being raped. (And, newsflash, just because the Religious Right may have a problem with anything other than the missionary position, the fact that you embrace violent sexuality doesn’t mean you’re progressive).

    Even long before Marque de Sade started writing about how liberating it was to sexually abuse women, women were being being sexually abused and told they should like it. Long before Tristan Taormino started telling lesbians that inflicting pain on your lover shows her how much you care about her, lesbians were re-enacting these tired old heterosexual norms in their bedrooms. And long before the TIH site came along comparing rape to trip to Disneyland, women have been negotiating the choice between joining a cloister of nuns or making the most out of the sexual choices offered to them by men.

    So Cavendish & Co. aren’t doing anything ground-breaking or particularly liberating. They’re throwing around words like “personal freedom” and “individual preferences” as if these abstract ideas mean concrete things. But in a world where women don’t have full personhood or humanity (for doubts of this, see South Dakota, Myanmar, Detroit, Kenya… oh hell, just spin a globe and point), liberty and choice for women are veritably non-existent.

  121. Delphyne

    “I’m puzzled as to why it should freak you out so much that some women have rape fantasies, and enjoy acting them out.”

    I don’t know about anybody else but what really freaks me out is men who have rape fantasies and enjoy acting them out or who use something like “Rape as a Gift” to bloster their sick (but rather mainstream) views.

    They shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near women. Unfortunately a lot of them are.

  122. sully196

    I write from the TIH perspective. I have given my husband blanket consent because I know and trust implicitly that he will not abuse that consent or me. He has the right to my body any time he choses. A right that he takes advantage of very frequently and I love it. Wouldn’t the world be dull if we all thought the same.

  123. louiseculmer

    Well, what’s your sexual fantasy then? A threesome with Betty Friedan and Andrea Dworkin perhaps? Of course, they’re both dead, but you probably wouldn’t notice the difference anyway.

  124. Lorenzo

    Well, what’s your sexual fantasy then? A threesome with Betty Friedan and Andrea Dworkin perhaps? Of course, they’re both dead, but you probably wouldn’t notice the difference anyway.

    Wow. Intimating that women who oppose the normalization of sexual violence and unequal power relations are prudes. How original.

  125. Delphyne

    “Well, what’s your sexual fantasy then? A threesome with Betty Friedan and Andrea Dworkin perhaps? Of course, they’re both dead, but you probably wouldn’t notice the difference anyway.”

    OMG, you’re so *rude*. Take your nastiness out on someone else.

    Didja not like someone pointing out that men have rape fantasies? Bit scary when we start noticing what’s really going on isn’t it, Louise? Women might start making a few connections and stop putting up with the rapist fuckers in our midst.

  126. Delphyne

    It was an accusation of fridigity actually Lorenzo.

    Although fridigity in the face of patriarchal rapism seems to me to be a pretty good strategy so I’m not going to knock it.

  127. ae

    Well, what’s your sexual fantasy then? A threesome with Betty Friedan and Andrea Dworkin perhaps? Of course, they’re both dead, but you probably wouldn’t notice the difference anyway.

    Bwaahahha! Hoo, that was the best laugh I’ve had since, well, a while. Louise, how quickly you move from defending sexual fantasy to condemning it. The abhorrent “rape is a gift” is just peachy though aspersions must be cast on anyone who calls the underlying patriarchal paradigm inherent in it into question. And I find it highly ironic that you would condemn feminists in desire of a less punitive sexual experience in which women’s submission could well be taken to represent their, you know, death, by consigning sexual fantasies to them in which they are having sex w/ dead women. Wow. Just wow.

  128. thebewilderness

    Louise,
    If you cannot understand how women who have actually experienced rape and all its horror can be freaked out by the idea of women fantasizing and promoting it as a gift you are a moron. It really is that simple.

  129. veet

    right on Puffin!

  130. louiseculmer

    If you had read more of Sarah’s stuff on TIH you would know that she HAS experienced rape, as have a number of other women who have written on there about their rape fantasies. Being raped in real life does not, apparently, stop women fantasising about it.

    The whole rape thing leaves me personally cold, but I have also had fantasies that I have struggled to suppress, and I know that in the end there’s no point, your fantasies are something you’re stuck with, and if you can find a nice man who’s willing to act them out with you, it’s better in the end than denying them.

    Of course, the philosophy of this site is presumably that there’s no such thing as a nice man, but I think that’s anovelry pessimistic view. They do exist.

  131. Kate

    To hell, I’m not reading through all these damn posts defending BDSM.

    You people (Dog and a few others) miss the point entirely because you have your heads jammed up your own self annointed, righteous asses, seeing questioning of anything relating to BDSM as a personal affront on your ability to practice your spanking or whatever.

    And thus you lose the point of the thread in that such a post is inadvertently advocating and justifying the rape of women. This being of course a traditonal activity engaged upon my men to oppress women, that causes much intended suffering on the women, in case you weren’t aware.

    Once posted out there, the ‘sexual freedom’ argument loses ground. The information now flows freely to every asshole that chooses to consume it to satisfy his own justification of an activity that is abhorrent, violent and used as an instrument of oppression against women on a daily basis.

    Nitwits who need to post their most personal and bizarre views to in order to gain righteous justification from somewhere amongst the millions of possible viewers/readers can’t seem to grasp that their ‘message’ has the potential to encourage and further incite what is mentioned above.

    I will stop there and refrain from posting more of my opinions on BDSM as it is not conducive to this thread.

  132. sparklegirl

    I think the discussion of BDSM here is missing the point of the post–the “Taken in Hand” post is so sickening precisely because it advocates the enaction of rape fantasies without mutual consent, negotiation, and safe words. It blurs the distinction between rape and fantasy to the point where it’s almost claiming that there’s no such thing as rape within a relationship.

    I wouldn’t say that there aren’t problematic aspects to BDSM–there are, and they’ve already been discussed in other posts–but I think it’s worth clarifying the distinction between “safe, sane, consensual” and “my husband can have my body whenever he wants, because it belongs to him and I wouldn’t even think of ever saying no.” The latter is just…fucked up beyond belief.

  133. louiseculmer

    I think you will find that women on TIH who have decided to give their husbands ‘blanket consent’ to have sex whenever they want it, have done so of their own free will, and because this is a turn-on for them as well as their husbands.

    It is not something I made any conscious decision to do myself, what I have found though is that since I started having a TIH relationship with my husband I’m ready for sex whenever he is, and I never want to say no. The only thing that ever puts us off having sex is if one us is too tired (usually him) or, very occasionally, if one of us is ill. Being TIH is just a big, big turn-on for me, and I think the same is true for most of the women who post on the site.

  134. Delphyne

    What amuses me is that these so-called submissive women are usually so very aggressive in their defence of their sexual practices, especially towards feminists.

    The anger engendered by being bullied in the bedroom must have to find an outlet somewhere and what better way to express it than to take it out on other women.

  135. louiseculmer

    I think a certain amount of anger is quite reasonable in response to being told that one is sick and perverted and shouldn’t have the kind of sexual fantasies that one does. Wouldn’t that piss you off a bit? Like most women on the TIH site, my submissive response is reserved for my husband, not for anyone else, and certainly not for a bunch of bossyboot feminists.

  136. sully196

    I can’t speak for anyone else but I am not in any way “bullied in the bedroom”. If I felt bullied or abused then then, in my view, I would be with the wrong man. I am cherished adored and very much loved. The situation has never arisen where he wants sex and I don’t. If I am unwell tired etc he does not make sexual advances towards me he has the desire to care for me. He is a kind wonderful and loving man who in no way what so ever abuses me.
    Prior to this relationship all of my other relationships have been based entirely on “equality” and I found them less than satisfying. I actually instigated the changing of my current relationship to be “taken in hand” and have found it to be highly fulfilling. Many of the women on the “taken in hand” site have also instigated the change. It is not something that the vast majority of women would want and probably no-one on this particular site. I am not in general a submissive person and if any guy tried to treat me as such he would soon find out that is something I find totally unacceptable. I have just chosen to give my man rights over me. If I was unhappy with the situation I can take the “blanket consent” away or end the relationship. That is my choice and I am very happy to live in a country where that choice is available to me. No woman or man for that matter should EVER be forced to do something that he/she is not totally comfortable with and fully consenting to. To me consent is the key word. The “when rape is a gift” article is one that needs to be read with the consent issue in mind and with an open mind. Some women LIKE the idea of being overpowered and sexually taken by THEIR man and this is something that turns them on. Others on the taken in hand site do not, as the comments that follow the article indicate. Not every taken in hand realtionship is the same. Some women allow blanket consent others don’t. Some have physical punishment, such as spanking, as part of the realtionship other don’t. There are even a few contributers who write from the same sex perspective. I can fully understand why some people would have difficulty understanding my relationship I’m not entirely sure I understand it myself sometimes. I just know it makes me very happy.
    Good wishes to all.

  137. Hershele Ostropoler

    What amuses me is that these so-called submissive women are usually so very aggressive in their defence of their sexual practices, especially towards feminists

    Why does this “amuse” you? I don’t notice anyone being particularly comical about it. Do you mean it’s ironic, which is what “amuse” often means in Internet fora populated by smart people? If so how?

  138. Delphyne

    “I think a certain amount of anger is quite reasonable in response to being told that one is sick and perverted and shouldn’t have the kind of sexual fantasies that one does. Wouldn’t that piss you off a bit? Like most women on the TIH site, my submissive response is reserved for my husband, not for anyone else, and certainly not for a bunch of bossyboot feminists.”

    Your aggressive and insulting response was to my point that men who have rape fantasies are sick and perverted. There’s no reason to get angry at that statement, it’s an accurate assessment. Your anger is misdirected.

    I haven’t said anything about women and submission apart from the fact that their actions are a political mistake.

  139. antiprincess

    for what it’s worth, “the change” is a-creeping up on me, and I no longer swing from chandeliers every night flying my freak flag (as if I ever did), and it becomes harder and harder for me to work up a righteous rage about sexual freedom. but the menopause argument, “you won’t want to define yourself solely by your sexual preference when you’re menopausal”, only works as a way to shut me personally up, right now. it won’t work for the young women who come after me, who are growing into their sexual identities.

    Crys-T has been waiting patiently since post #84 or so for an answer as to why a critique of sexual habits is taboo. I’ve thought long and hard about it and can’t really come up with an adequate answer. I mean, it’s not like I can cite line 3 of paragraph 6 on page 79 of Random Feminist Classic to back it up :) . However, a couple things come to mind.

    disclaimer – I am not a sexologist, nor do I have a perfect memory. if I have made an error, please feel free to let me know.

    I have read that in the mid-late 1800s, the female orgasm itself was considered evidence of depravity, mental illness and tendency to spiritual corruption. as we evolved through the century and beyond into the 1950s, finally women were allowed to have orgasms and not be considered sick, but only if the orgasms were “vaginal”. if your orgasm was not “vaginal”, there was something wrong with you. into the 70s, women began to develop a concept of healthy sexual experience for themselves, one which was not quite so judgment-heavy. Perhaps people are reluctant to overanalyze the meaning of sexual behavior due to the stink of patriarchal analysis still clinging to the issue of female orgasms themselves. so that may put a damper on further discussions.

    Also, it is too too easy to co-opt the catchy slogans and assertion of female autonomy of the pro-choice movement as a handy and unassailable defense when one is faced with someone who’s questioning her behavior – i.e., “got a problem with me? too bad! my body, my choice, my right to decide!” there’s really no room for further discussion or analysis or critique at that point.

    as I said, this is no kind of answer for you – just more topics for discussion.

    and I have to stand up for the right for women to say what’s on their mind sexually. of course, as much as I feel it’s important to be able to say “I like this kind of sexual experience,” that means there should also be room for women to say “I think these kinds of sexual experiences are not healthy”. I wish there was some way to have a reasonable, respectful discussion without it all immediately going to shit.

    for my part in the discussion going to shit, I apologize.

  140. Arianna

    Reading these comments, I have a scene from the (rather awful) recent remake of The Stepford Wives playing in my head.

    I’m seeing the part where Glenn Close admits to everything at the end, and when asked why, she says “I just wanted the women to be adored!”.

  141. antiprincess

    Delphyne on Feb 27th, 2006 at 10:43 am

    “I haven’t said anything about women and submission apart from the fact that their actions are a political mistake.”

    this is where I start to get all messed up.

    I imagine that if I met Twisty or Delphine or Puffin IRL, and we started chatting about important issues and patriarchy-blaming, we would all feel pretty good about agreeing with each other and respecting each other as fellow patriarchy-blamers. Maybe we’d all start thinking together, or writing together, or working together, and really feeling united in struggle. and as long as we don’t get around to comparing notes on what we like between the sheets, everything’s fine. BUT, I will always fear that if the REAL feminists knew the REAL me, they wouldn’t want to stand next to me anymore, or work with me or write with me or think with me or even tolerate my contaminating presence.

    worst of all, if they knew the REAL me they would not respect me. because, after all, heterosexual female submission is pretty much the problem with everything. and same-sex female submission is just mimicking heterosexual female submission which is the problem with everything. so no matter what work I’ve done, no matter rigorously I adhere to ideological purity in every other respect, no matter what I do – the important people will have no respect for me.

    No, I no longer define “the REAL me” only by what flips my sexual switch. but it’s an aspect of the REAL me. it’s there. it exists. and it seems to undermine all the other aspects of the REAL me for some people.

    if that’s how it goes, then that’s how it goes, I guess. but I wish it didn’t have to be that way.

  142. sully196

    The women in the rather awful (I agree) remake of Stepford Wives did not give their consent. They were forced to take up a role which they did not want. That is very wrong. I’d be a crap Stepford Wife anyway. I’m not good at making cakes, my husband does most of the cooking because I hate it. I’m really very untidy and can’t even dance that well. I do get to enjoy lots and lots of very satisfying sex though. I don’t have to worry about the financial issues either I’ve asked him to deal with those very annoying but necessary telephone calls to large companies who make one press 18 buttons and you STILL don’t get to speak to anyone. AAAGH.
    Anyhoo I’m digressing. The bottom line is it comes down to choice and consent. If the choice and consent is not there then it is wrong.

  143. Crys T

    Antiprincess: I can’t claim to speak for anyone but myself here, but I feel you’re misinterpreting something important.

    “worst of all, if they knew the REAL me they would not respect me. because, after all, heterosexual female submission is pretty much the problem with everything.”

    Again, speaking just for myself, I don’t believe that’s the case. I think most of us are well aware of the massive pressure ALL women in this culture are under to be sexually submissive. I think that we all understand that most women have also had some sort of personal experience that pushes us even further down that path. However, a lot of us here are also well aware of how female sexual submissiveness (and indeed, the whole dominance/submission thing in sex–regardless of biological sex of participants) plays a massive part in perpetuating the patriarchy.

    Condemning the submissiveness itself, and the whole apparatus of the patriarchy that comes into play to normalise and justify and further perpetuate the idea that this submissiveness could in any way be “good” is NOT the same as condemning women who, for myriad reasons have been trapped into it. Even though it may feel like it. Just as in other aspects of life, it’s possible to note the damage patriarchy does without blaming women for being its victims.

    Another point is that most feminists also recognise we all have to make our deals with the patriarchy just in order live our lives. That’s not to say we should give ourselves free passes for those things that are hard, but that when laying into another woman for her choices, we need to be aware that we also fall off the feminist wagon at times. So no, buying to the submissiveness game, or the dominance/submission game in general, is not a feminist choice. Feminism can explain it, but it can’t be twisted round on itself in a half-arsed way to justify it. But that in no way means that a woman like you is automatically stripped of all feminist credentials. None of us live up to a perfect feminist ideal.

    But you’ve got to be honest with yourself when you’re making your deals, and not try to rationalise them into something they are not.

    I personally understand all too well the allure of falling into that role, and for a long time bought into the arguments being trotted out here by the pro-BDSM people about how it “helps you work out issues” and all that. It took a long time before I wondered why if that were true, how come so few people seemed to come out on the other side feeling healed, and why so many seemed trapped into playing out the same trauma over and over and over.

    Seriously, I don’t think it’s anyone’s intention here to make you feel like some sort of pervert or loser or whatever. Myself, the only intention I have is to suggest that you, in the privacy of your own mind, seriously think about WHY it is your therapist/psychologist/counsellor/whoever it was might have told you that your sexual submissiveness was “okay” and “just a kink.” Who benefits from having that belief as part of the general culture? Who benefits from the idea that sexual practice is something that should be beyond criticism? And what exactly are the consequences if we accept that position and refrain from analysing sexual practice from a political perspective?

  144. Delphyne

    “I will always fear that if the REAL feminists knew the REAL me, they wouldn’t want to stand next to me anymore, or work with me or write with me or think with me or even tolerate my contaminating presence.”

    Nope. You’re misunderstanding feminism. It’s not about judging other women. If I was with you I’d say the same things about BDSM, I’d probably wonder why you were doing it, feel like your actions were anti-woman and feel frustrated that you weren’t accepting my argument, but that’s not the same thing at all as thinking you weren’t a feminist or belieiving that your presence was somehow contaminating.

    Almost every feminist has probably done anti-woman, anti-feminist things. That doesn’t mean that she isn’t a feminist. Being a feminist is amongst other things about being prepared to examine the actions that patriarchy expects of us, and change them where possible. You’re not prepared to look at BDSM in that way at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a feminist elsewhere in your life.

  145. louiseculmer

    A political mistake? How on earth can what I do with my husband be a ‘political mistake’? My sexual desires have nothing to do with politics, I had fantasies about being spanked by a man long before I even knew what sexual desires were, and certainly long before I knew what politics were.

    Like sully says above, and like, I think, the majority of women on TIH, the impetus for this kind of relationship came from me rather than from my husband. There’s nothing oppressive about it. Since the change ‘the new era of detente’ as my husband puts it, we are more relaxed with each other, communicate better, argue much less, and generally like each other better than we did. And our sex life is better too, I’m more turned on by him than before.

    It has nothing whatsoever to do with politics. I do not believe that all women should be in this kind of relationship, and I don’t think it likely that most women would want to be. I don’t have this kind of relationship because I think I should be in it, but because I like it. I’m glad that my husband likes it too, because there are a lot of frustrated women who post on TIH about the fact that they can’t find a man who wants this sort of marriage, or the man they’ve got isn’t interested, or doesn’t get it, or whatever. I’m lucky I’ve got someone who does ‘get it’.

  146. antiprincess

    I hear you, CrysT. I stand by my previous post but I hear you.

    is it a “love the sinner, hate the sin” thing?

    I feel pretty healed day-to-day. I probably did more damage to myself here re-opening old wounds than I have within the context of sexual activity (such as it’s been) lately. but I have to say you ask a really interesting question. I had never looked at it that way before.

    so thanks for asking an interesting question that may lead to personal growth. I appreciate it a lot more than being compared to a pedophile.

    (et voila! meaningful dialogue that does not degenerate into a crapslinging contest.)

  147. Tia

    Oh, damn, I just can’t help it.

    Look, I’m a sub. I say that not to encapsulate every aspect of my identity (I’m also a blonde and a size 10 and a Democrat and a vegetarian and a New Yorker and these descriptors have varying degrees of permanence and significance) or even of my sexual identity–sometimes I feel like being in control.

    There’s a lot I don’t like aboout Taken In Hand, but when I was first thinking about experimenting with power exchange in sex it was helpful to me because I didn’t like the idea of lots of props or a lot of advanced scripting–it all felt kind of Dungeons and Dragons–and frankly I was never that interested in safewords, so some of what Taken in Hand described gave me a model for what I might be interested in, and in fact, I’ve had some pretty rewarding sexual experiences of that type (not prenegotiated, not with a safeword). Fine, when I hit menopause I might not give a shit about sex, but that’s not now, and it’s important to me to have exciting and fulfilling sex that bonds me to my partner. That’s a deeply important part of my life, though certainly not the only one.

    I think a lot of BDSM is horrible and problematic when uninformed by feminism or serious self-awareness; I’ve encountered plenty of men who said they were doms when really, the word for them was just “asshole,” or “fucktard” as Twisty would put it, and there are plenty of women who say they are subs who are totally disconnected from anything they want, other than attention and approval.

    Yes, saying “It’s my choice” as if your choice wasn’t conditioned is not adequate to defend a choice. Yes, sex is not exempt from political considerations; far from it. On the other hand, I can’t get on this “women have zero autonomy in a patriarchy” train. Everyone’s choices are profoundly conditioned. If we’re going to say that no choice that could possibly be informed by conditioning is real, then no one has autonomy ever–not men in a patriarchy, not anyone in a non-patriarchy, whatever one would look like. Frankly, I find this “I have no autonomy” ideology dehumanizing. I know what Twisty would say to this–”Don’t blame the messenger; it’s patriarchy that’s doing the work” and yes, patriarchy is doing plenty of it, but I’m not sure this notion that I don’t have free will even though I pay my own bills, I’m materially comfortable, I’m emotionally stable, and I have a fair number of legal rights (if not quite as many as I should) isn’t doing a little of the work too.

    I also think that yes, BDSM is rooted in part in patriarchy, and in part in even more fundamental (and yes, I do think there is something more fundamental than patriarchy) in the individual’s experience of pain and fear. I don’t think this damns it. I know that I’m reenacting past trauma, but there are all kinds of endeavors in which I enjoy experiencing negative emotions. When I saw _Boys Don’t Cry_ I trembled through the rape scene; I cried at the end–all of this was part of what I loved about the movie. I like feeling, period, even when they’re negative emotions. It makes me feel more alive. I thought _Secretary_ stated one aspect of the attraction of sexual submission well (I paraphrase): It’s the desire to experience the full spectrum of emotion in sex–not just pleasure but pain, not just joy but fear. If there were no patriarchy, I think there would still be BDSM; there would still be negative aspects of human experience people would be interested in reexperiencing during sex.

    Another, different emotional state that can come from submission–sometimes, just doing what someone else tells you to, it feels like your whole ego just floats away, and you’ve recaptured a kind of merger with the other that you don’t have when you’re busy enacting your personality or making decisions. Regular sex feels like that too sometimes, I know, but I can sometimes feel it more strongly in a BDSM
    context. Sometimes, the pleasure I can get from this kind of sex and the pleasure I can get from yoga feel remarkably similar.

    I also think nearly all sex, even if it solely involves pleasure for both participants, usually involves power exchange. I know sometimes I feel a triumphant surge if I’m really giving my partner a lot of pleasure; it’s not pure generosity; there’s even an underlay of antagonism there. Just choices about what physical position you’re in–or who moves how–involve displays of power, or relinquishment of it. What’s exciting about orgasm? To me, one of the most exciting things about it is that just before, I am so out of control; it’s going to happen whether I like it or not and I have to give in. BDSM just takes an already present aspect of sex and takes it farther; but there’s no bright line.

    So yeah, there’s a lot to criticize about a lot of BDSM. But I don’t see how exploration of it, even public exploration of it, is supporting patriarchy, if appropriately self-aware and informed by feminism. I’m a pro-D/S presence on the net, and I don’t think anyone walks away from anything I’ve said with the idea “yeah, I want a bitch like that, one who will do what I tell her to.”

  148. Malcolm

    I like the TIH site, find it interesting and enjoy the thoughtful articles. I also read the TIH yahoo group quite often, though I don’t think I have ever posted there.

    The “Rape is a Gift” article even offended quite a number of regular writers on the TIH site at the time it was posted. It didn’t offend me, though I have no interest in raping anyone, I like things to be consensual, and don’t like to force anyone even with their “consent”.

    I have noticed that as long as anyone blames others for their condition they are likely to remain victims, as many commenter on this blog appear to be. My own wife has no attitude of blame, is a strong, though quiet, person and is very willing to “submit” if I wish it. I don’t think it has ever ocurred to her to withold sex, because a) she likes it, and b) she wants to satisfy me, just as I want to satisfy her. We function as a couple by trying to give each other whatever the other one wants, we find happiness that way. Dare I say, we love each other, or is that taboo on this site? I have written a one-sided piece about our relationship here should anyone care to read it.

    Malcolm

  149. thebewilderness

    antiprincess,
    Reading Alice Miller could possibly help you separate a few things.

    Louise:your fantasies are something you’re stuck with,

    You have my heartfelt sympathy. Most people actually have some control over their imagination and thereby choose their fantasies.

  150. antiprincess

    alice miller the psychologist? “Natural Child” Alice Miller?

  151. kactus

    Reading this comment thread reminds me a lot of back in the day when there was so much rage and strong opinion about lesbian butch/femme dynamics. During the 70s and 80s those of us who identified as femme and were very attracted to butch women really got beaten up for it, as did butch lesbians, who were “identifying with the patriarchy”. Is anybody else seeing this? What I’m wondering is whether in the lesbian community there still exists that antipathy toward butch/femme, and if it can be likened to sub/dom. And if, indeed, the lesbian feminist stance toward butch/femme has become more accepting, is it possible that the same will happen with the feminist stance toward sub/dom?

  152. louiseculmer

    To thebewilderness:

    Thank you for your sympathy, but is quite misplaced. I enjoy my fantasies and always have, being able to act them out in real life is a lot more fun though!

  153. BritGirlSF

    Sexual freedom? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.
    Hey, I’m pretty pro-BSDM, but this is another thing entirely. Your husband has a “right” to your body? Are you smoking crack? Did someone drop you on your head as a baby?
    Creepy, creepy shit. Also, you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, and a lot about a website and/or writer by those who admire them. Note the preponderance of scary-sense-of-entitlement-having assholes and I-don’t-want-to-take-any-responsibility-for-my-own-life-because-I’m-a-whining-little-baby women on that site.
    Excuse me while I go wash the bad taste out of my mouth. This brief contact with those whe fetishise the big strong man and meek little woman nonsense has left me feeling a bit nauseous. It’s almost like being back in South Texas.

    PS There is however some amusement to be derived from the attempts of Louise et al to convince everyone else what strong, independent women they are.

  154. BritGirlSF

    Malcolm said.
    “I have written a one-sided piece about our relationship here should anyone care to read it.”
    That pretty much sums it up really, doesn’t it? Because heaven forbid we should actually hear what the wife thinks…

  155. BritGirlSF

    Also, just to be clear, not trying to restart the BSDM discussion here – please, no more BSDM conversations on this site! It just leads to a lot of us who are natural patriarchy-blaming allies getting upset with each other, and that helps no-one except the patriarchy.
    My point was that this is a whole other animal than people who just kind of like dressing up and playing spanking games. The women on that site genuinely believe that they have no right to their own bodily autonomy once they get married, and the men are actively looking for a woman with that attitude. Plus, imagine some typical shit-for-brains frat boy running across that web site and saying “see, I told you they want it, this chick said so”. I’m trying very hard not to even think about what it might do to an impressionable teenage girl.
    This stuff is poison. Not to mention the logical fallacy at work – if one is giving consent then what is happening is not rape. It is not possible to give one’s consent to being raped. The only way this crap makes any sense is if you believe that women don’t have any bodily autonomy as a matter of course, and anyone advocating that view needs to be taken out to the woodshed and shot, quite frankly.
    Of course, if we followed that policy we’d have to get rid of the entire state of Utah (see FLDS posting above).

  156. Crys T

    Kactus: I sure as hell hope not because that would mean that we’re folding up our tents and going home, just admitting that patriarchy wins and there’s nothing to be done about it.

  157. Crys T

    “I think there would still be BDSM; there would still be negative aspects of human experience people would be interested in reexperiencing during sex.”

    I don’t agree. I believe that some people believe this because they are unable to conceive of a society without patriarchy. If there were no patriarchy, our attitudes towards sex wouldn’t be so profoundly fucked-up. We’d accept it as a part of life and not feel the need to enact other aspects of life through it.

    I think that whole need to use sex as a way of experiencing feelings that we’ve otherwise shut ourselves off from, or have to repress, comes from how profoundly sick our culture is in the first place. Get rid of the sickness and you’ll get rid of that need.

    The problem is, hatred, self-hatred, violence, loathing for the body, loathing for sex itself–all those things are such a part and parcel of the culture, and they’ve been glamourised and sexualised to the point that most of us are brainwashed into believing that sex without them just isn’t “sexy”.

    It’s time to fucking call bullshit on that. Realise exactly who it really is you’re working for when you stand up for the whole sub/dom crap mindset.

    And, btw, this has been stated many times before, by me and by others, but it bears repeating: there’s no real difference between what’s considered mainstream sex and the whole sub/dom, BDSM thing anyway. To my mind, the only real difference is that BDSM people are more open about it. Which in a way is better (just like it’s better when misogynists actually come out and admit they hate women rather than hiding behind bullshit prevarication), until they start trying to claim they’re being “subversive” or in any other way working against the norm. They ARE the fucking norm. No worse, perhaps, but certainly in no way any better.

  158. louiseculmer

    A strong, independent woman? No, I’m not that, and have never claimed to be. But I’m not meek either(ask my husband). What I enjoy is the occasional battle of wills with my husband, and I like it when he overcomes me. I like it when he can bring me out of a stroppy mood with a few well-chosen words, or just a look. I like the way I respond to his dominance. I enjoy it.

    The deep loathing you have for anyone who has tastes that differ from your own leads me to believe that is probably you who were dropped on the head as a baby. Why are you so terrified by the idea that some women might prefer a different lifestyle to the one you choose?

  159. Tia

    I’m gonna continue this discussion in a moment, but first I wanna do some blamin’. Malcolm, you shouldn’t even have commented here–did you read the commenting policy? I’m not even sure if I should be commenting here, because perhaps I have further rungs on the patriarchy blaming ladder to climb, but if I am an African grey parrot, you are a flatworm. Anyway, don’t you think it’s awfully convenient to those who do harm if the victims of the harm refrain from blaming others for it? There’s nothing mutually exclusive about working on healing and examining the nature of the harm and assigning responsibility for it where it belongs–in fact, the latter is pretty much a necessary element of the former.

  160. Tia

    “I think there would still be BDSM; there would still be negative aspects of human experience people would be interested in reexperiencing during sex.”

    I don’t agree. I believe that some people believe this because they are unable to conceive of a society without patriarchy. If there were no patriarchy, our attitudes towards sex wouldn’t be so profoundly fucked-up. We’d accept it as a part of life and not feel the need to enact other aspects of life through it.

    Okay, maybe you’re right. It actually doesn’t affect my main point. I totally agree that much of BDSM is a reenaction of patriarchal trauma.

    And, btw, this has been stated many times before, by me and by others, but it bears repeating: there’s no real difference between what’s considered mainstream sex and the whole sub/dom, BDSM thing anyway.

    Agree with this too. See the penultimate paragraph of 147. I don’t particularly think BDSM is subversive; the one element of it that can be subversive is not being ashamed, but plenty of practitioners fail to meet that condition. I do think that some BDSM people get a fair amount of shit from all sides; bullshit, you say, the culture rewards displays of feminine submission, and I say you’re conflating two definitions of submission. Sure, if sexygirl69 says “puurrr. i am a sex kitten. will u pet me?” that behavior is rewarded (in one context, anyway. It’s punished in another.). But a more serious “This is what I want; no more, no less” is either not rewarded, or misunderstood by fucktards, which is also not a reward. “Conflating two definitions of submission?” you say, you’re fooling yourself into believing there’s a difference. I say: the difference lies in my attentiveness to what I want and my unwillingness to be bullied into someone else’s idea of what I should be.

    Here’s how it goes.

    1) Woman, say me, is traumatized by patriarchy ‘n’ other misc. badness.
    2) Woman starts having sex. Woman is raped.
    3) Woman starts fantasizing about not being in control during sex–about ceding control and power to the man she’s with.
    4) Woman examines the source of these fantasies and agrees, yep, came from patriarchal trauma.
    5) Woman reads about BDSM and decides there’s a way for her to make her fantasies real without giving up anything she needs, or giving in to anything she shouldn’t.
    6) Woman has a new kind of sex, which, as rightly noted by CrysT, was not so different from the old kind, but made some things more intense and explicit.
    7) Woman likes it. Woman doesn’t like it to the exclusion of the old sex, but she likes it just the same.
    8) Woman feels like her new sex is allowing her to reexperience old pain in a safe space, and feel safe at the end. Woman notes the similarity of this feeling to what she feels when she watches some especially cathartic or wrenching piece of art. Woman further notes a similarity to roller coasters, though woman actually doesn’t like roller coasters. Woman even further, just upon reading a blog thread, a similarity to cognitive behavioral therapy for phobia and PTSD, which involve reexperiencing trauma and feeling safe at the end.
    9) Woman still blames patriarchy, still makes clear to the world that no one has a right to her body, that the only people who will have access to it are the people she loves and trusts and wants to fuck, woman doesn’t claim that the original trauma which gave rise to her fantasies is A-OK, but does argue that, within patriarchy, BDSM, appropriately and clearly defined as the consensual exploration of sexual fantasy, even though it’s a reaction to patriarchy, is okay.

    Which one of these steps is anti-woman, other than 1 2?

  161. sully196

    Oh my! There in an awful lot of anger on this site isn’t there.
    No I wasn’t dropped on my head as a baby, not that I know of anyway. I’ll give my mother a ring and get back to you on that one.
    “Meek little woman”. Umm there’s an interesting one. I am 5ft 8inches I have a third dan in Taekwondo, and used to fight men predominately because I kicked too hard for most of the women. So, sorry not sure I qualify for that title. Sorry don’t smoke crack either. Not even sure where I’d get some from if I did want to.
    Strong and independent. Independent yes I earn as much as my partner and strong well yes strong enough. I couldn’t toss a caber or get through Sommersby without blubbing but I’m very happy with my level of emotional stability and physical strength.
    One thing that has really shone through, to me though, is how much happier the women who write regularly on the TIH site are compared to the women who write here. I wonder why that is?

  162. antiprincess

    I don’t know, sully…ignorance is bliss?

  163. sully196

    Hummm… Ignorance is bliss?
    No having given that thought due consideration I don’t think that’s it because many of the women on the TIH site have had relationships based on total equality and are happier and more content now. So no its not that ignorance is bliss. Try again…

  164. Adrienne

    I know nothing about the topic of BDSM but the impression I get from those who have come here to defend their lifestyles is this. They want to abdicate all responsibility for their lives to someone else. Not have to make any choices, not have to say no, and not have to be involved. Just submit. They seem very aware of it, abdicating responsibility, and are happier when they do not have to actually do anything. Someone else does everything for them. I find that interesting. Something to think on more.

  165. sully196

    I am very curious about the BDSM sideline that’s going on here. What thoughts are there about the women who take on the role of “mistress” are the men who are the “bottom” men who have been, at some point, traumatised by women?

  166. hedonistic

    Sully, I don’t think you get it. It doesn’t matter who is tied up, or who is the “master” or the “mistress.” Whatever role a man might like to play in this drama, he is still worshipping at the alter of his own dick. And any woman who plays this game – - – in whatever role, in whatever outfit or with whatever props – - – if she is doing it in service to a man’s orgasm, she not “liberated;” she is simply worshipping at the Altar of the Dick, just in a more stylized fashion than the rest of us. And in a sillier costume.

    I’m convinced that Priapism is the true World Religion.

  167. sully196

    Oh thank you hedonistic. That’s the best laugh I’ve had for ages. (am wiping my eyes as I write)
    I have this vision of a quiet serene church and at the end of it sits a pair of massive bollocks clamped in a ball vice with top of the vice being the massive altar. Its all finished of by having a pair of candles either side (on top of the bolts) and a giant flacid phallus drooping over the top.

  168. louiseculmer

    What it all boils down to really is a deep contempt for women. Any woman who aspires to anything other than a radical feminist lifestyle has been ‘brainwashed by the patriarchy’. In other words, women are incapable of free will, or of understanding themselves or anything else (except the women on this site, of course, who are blessed above all others). “a woman’s right to choose” does not extend to a woman being able to choose anything that differs from the feminist PC agenda. If a woman enjoys sex she’s been ‘brainwashed by the patriarchy’. If she wants to get married and have children she’s been ‘brainwashed by the patriarchy’. If she wants her husband to be in charge because it gives her a thrill she’s been ‘brainwashed by the Patriarchy.’ The real message of this site is not “The Patriachy is to blame” but “women are stupid”.

  169. sully196

    I’m bored with this now. I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to know that I’m going away and won’t be writing again. So have fun ranting away and all happily agreeing with each other.
    I have a very sexually and emotionally fulfilling relationship with my husband and I have the deepest sympathy for most of you guys on this site. I have come to the conclusion that many of you must have either very poor relationships with your husbands or no relatonship at all.
    Its been fun. Take care all and find your own way to happiness.

    In the immortal words of Vinnie Jones in Lock stock and two smoking barrels.
    “It’s been emotional” :-)

  170. hedonistic

    Louise, no one here has suggested, EVER, that the pleasure you feel while submitting to your husband is faked. I for one am certain your pleasure and happiness are real and true, and your choices (such as they are) were made willfully.

    What the Patriarchy Blamers are saying is that the whole taken-in-hand dynamic, just like the BDSM dynamic, is patriarchal to the core, and therefore (by it’s very definition) completely fucked up. Sort of the way I know my sexy-shoe-fetish has its roots in patriarchy, and therefore is completely fucked-up (Note: I accept my fucked-up-ness and wear my stilletto heels anyway.)

    But I suppose you don’t want to hear this, sooooo, “whatever.” Carry on.

  171. Adrienne

    I’m a novice and even I know the whole point of this site is to blame the ‘system’ not the ‘individual’. This is made very clear in the FAQ. If you can not understand that, you simple do not understand what the point of this site is.

  172. hedonistic

    Sully, many of us can and do enjoy – greatly! – “no” relationship to any husbands, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy your life.

  173. louiseculmer

    To hedonistic: Well, having read the messages on this site, I have come to the conclusion that however fucked up patriarchy may be, it could not possibly be more fucked up than the version of feminism I read on here. a patriarchal world is infinitely preferable than one run by manic extremist feminists who even want to control other people’s fantasies. I spend a lot of time on TIH arguing with people who believe that feminism is the root of all evil, but honestly after discovering this site I don’t know why I bothered.

    I hate shoes, I only own two pairs and don’t want any more. But if I did like them I would know that it was because I liked them, not because ‘the patriarchy’ was making me. I don’t regard myself as a puppet of ‘the patriarchy’, but if anything could reconcile me to being one, it is the notion that the alternative is to be the puppet of the Loony Feminist brigade.

    Ever since I told my husband about this site he keeps asking me “Am I oppressing you dear?” at frequent intervals. To which my answer now would be “Yes, and thank god for it” It’s infinitely more enjoyable than the alternative.

    Like Sully, I’m outta here. Enjoy being oppressed.

  174. kate

    #134 Delphyne on Feb 27th, 2006 at 7:38 am

    What amuses me is that these so-called submissive women are usually so very aggressive in their defence of their sexual practices, especially towards feminists.

    The anger engendered by being bullied in the bedroom must have to find an outlet somewhere and what better way to express it than to take it out on other women.

    Aboslutely, well said. I find angry women everywhere, who unable or unwilling to vent at the appropriate target (their oppressor), they vent at and scourge other women whenever they have a chance.

  175. Adrienne

    Of course because anyone not submitting to the will of their husband must have really shitty relationships with men! And of course, women are to blame for everything.

    I’d like to thank sully and louiseculmer for enlightening me.

  176. BritGirlSF

    “One thing that has really shone through, to me though, is how much happier the women who write regularly on the TIH site are compared to the women who write here. I wonder why that is? ”
    I strongly suspect that anyone who can look around at the world we currently inhabit and be perfectly happy just isn’t paying attention.
    It’s easy to be happy when you have low expectations. What you percieve as unhappiness is actually more like a strange form of optimism -those of us here genuinely believe that a better world is possible, and that if it is possible we have responsibility to try to make it happen.

  177. Blizz

    One of the posters here wrote:

    “Without getting into a fight about BDSM, it seems only fair to point out that the “Taken in Hand” folks are very clear that they’re not, not, not into BDSM because it is role-play. They see what they’re doing as something completely different and, I think, deliberately patriarchal, folks.”

    I read through the site and one of the things I remember reading there casts a slightly different light, and one that you may be missing.

    One of the women there said that if she were to be coerced or compelled to do something, even if it is something she would normally do anyways, she would rebel against it. Feminism has created an environment in which they are not forced to take that position, but now that they are not compelled to do so, they CAN choose to do so, and it really is THEIR choice.

    I thought that one of the things about feminism was giving women the right to choose. Doesn’t that mean that they have the right to choose not to be feminist, or to choose exactly how much of themselves they offer to their partners?

    Hedonistic wrote:
    “What the Patriarchy Blamers are saying is that the whole taken-in-hand dynamic, just like the BDSM dynamic, is patriarchal to the core, and therefore (by it’s very definition) completely fucked up.”

    The TIH dynamic can’t exist in a patriarchy as you envision it because(and this is something that they seem to stress often) in order for it to be TIH the woman has to choose to follow that path, and in your vision of a patriarchy she doesn’t have that choice. In fact, without feminism TIH wouldn’t be possible.

    Also, someone commented that if you put something on the internet then you are forcing other people to be subjected to it. They have created a site for likeminded people. If I want to sit around blaming all the ills of the world on the patriarchy, I go to http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/ and if I want to read about TIH relationships I go to http://www.takeninhand.com. If this material offends you, don’t read it, its that simple. It is really easy to NOT go to that website…

  1. Do It Till You’re Satisfied at I Blame The Patriarchy

    [...] In defense of the tawdry and divisive BDSM threads Please, no more BSDM conversations on this site! It just leads to a lot of us who are natural patriarchy-blaming allies getting upset with each other, and that helps no-one except the patriarchy. [*] [...]

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