Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Research 101 for perves

This post can also be labeled “I have no knowledge of my history but it’s real serious leather so it must be Old Guard!”

I recently had reason to look into the idea of collaring. This is an interesting concept because like many issues of protocol it requires me to wade through a plethora of miss-information and opinion-as-fact merely to find some simple things: when did collaring become popular in BDSM circles and under what circumstances, what are some common physical considerations in choosing collars, and what are some useful emotional considerations.

One of the first articles I came across was this piece from Albany Power Exchange. This article states, in it’s naturally authoritative voice, “The first collar offered is called the ‘Collar of Consideration’. This identification comes from the Old Guard Leather community, the same source of the Safe, Sane and Consensual code.” Well this is fine and good except that Safe Sane and Consensual (SSC) is largely attributed to a mid-1980s (I’ve seen both 1983 and 1984 listed as the correct year) Gay Male SM Activists publication. The mid 1980s, I will point out, was somewhat after what is generally referred to as the Old Guard period.

So let’s review — I went looking for sexual information. I found an article that divides BDSM communities into pre-internet (good) and post-internet (bad). This article puts forth the author’s opinion as the one right way of using collars in a scene and uses tradition and authority of elders as the pillars on which the author’s opinion is to stand. This article then provides factually false information invoking those same pillars of tradition and authority (you agree with SSC, so you must agree with what I say about collaring)

So here are 5 easy things to think about when doing research (kinky or otherwise):
1) Check your sources — how do you know what you know? Is your data coming from the CIA, a research institution, or the kid who lives on your floor? Is the article you are reading peer reviewed?
2) Check multiple sources — are you getting different numbers from different sources? Do your sources have different agendas?
3) Check publication dates — there was a time when the sun went around the earth and all the best scientists of the day would have told you so. Make sure your information is up to date; this is especially vital with medical information.
4) Fact or opinion? — Fact: collaring is a known practice in BDSM communities. Opinion: Collaring ceremonies are only valid between people who play really really hard. (Oh, and I will support my fact by saying that the many articles written on the subject and posted to BDSM community boards are indicative of a shared experience or in-group behavior.)
5) Validity based on what — Does the article provide data from a well-known source, or peer reviewed study, or does it ask you to believe what it says is true because it’s Tradition?

Written by kinkinexile

May 18, 2009 at 12:19 am

2 Responses

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  1. I’m a librarian who has taught critical-thinking-in-research classes. Your numbers 1) through 5) cover a lot of what we discuss.

    This would make a great example for class!


    May 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm

  2. Hmf. It seems in their little world, fisting is something only done to a woman.

    Wendy Blackheart

    May 19, 2009 at 10:43 pm

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