Work work work
Life has been…busy. For me this is a good thing. This evening I am savoring spending a night home alone, something that last year would have thrown me into a depression induced panic. I am savoring the time alone, also, because I have been incredibly, overwhelmingly busy. Work has been driving fast and hard, KinkForAllSanFrancisco2 has been picking up speed, and I have been helping a friend with a time sensitive project they have going. Tonight, I was ready to stay home and catch up on some blogging.
I think we both know why we’re here. I’m a male submissive, and you are a nebulous mass of communities loosely bound around the commonality of sexual subculture. I represent ideas that are embarrassing and uncomfortable to the kyriarchy, and you, so far as I can tell, represent the kyriarchy’s seamy underbelly. I am sensitive to social issues and civil rights, and you are just now figuring out that saying the word ‘consensual’ over and over again doesn’t actually stop abusers.
I know. It’s clear that you’re working on that, the Scene, and I really appreciate it. But I think it’s too late for us.
I came into this relationship with a lot of hope, and I was ready to be patient. I think you know how fulfilling I find service submission; before I started this thing with you I had an amazing experience with S. Remember her? I love kink and I love sexual expression. If that was what this was about, the Scene, I’d love you too.
It goes on, go read it! This letter made me happy in a way – because it said in public what my partners have said in private, because it caused a stir, because I saw so many others agree and I felt some glimmer of hope, because it added more male voices to the conversation – but it also made me deeply sad. It made me sad because it reminded me of how much the people I love are hurt by the world we share, and of how little control I have over that. It made me angry too, but unlike some, I am not fueled by anger. Much to the contrary, my activism has to come from a place of love and care, because anger just makes me want to burn shit down and walk away. I actually just reread Maymay’s “Fuck the Community” in an effort to find some words that would help me explain, but it’s not quite the same. Anger – also sadness, rage, and sheer disbelief – make me all too happy to agree to the sentiment of “fuck the community” but none of those things help me make the world a better place.
I don’t think I want a better BDSM community. I’m over it. In my eyes, it is not worth saving. And yet, I am more optimistic than I was when I wrote this last September. I am optimistic because I know now that The Community(tm) does not hold a monopoly on the sex I want. I am more optimistic, also, because while I am losing my cultural home by stepping away from the BDSM community, I have started planting new roots, and I have found that The Community doesn’t have a monopoly on sexual freedom or weeknight get togethers either.
Yesterday I told the friend whose project I was helping with that I wanted to take a step back and think about what work I want to be doing. I had been feeling awkward about walking away from the BDSM community at the same time that I am organizing KinkForAllSanFrancisco2, and even more odd about working on things I perceive as improvements to the BDSM community while not thinking it was worth another iota of effort or energy. Certainly 5 hours on the couch with tea does not a decision make, but I think somethings have cleared up in my head. KinkForAll is important to me specifically because it creates space to discuss sexuality outside of traditional BDSM contexts. In other words, it proves to me that the BDSM community does not have a monopoly on sexual freedom, while at the same time helping me ensure that this remains true. It is also important because it is a touchpoint for people who are interested in alternative sexuality, but not interested in munches.
Keep in mind, thousands of American women learned how to tie up their boyfriends from this little Cosmo Q&A. Women for whom “When you and your guy are fooling around, roll him onto his back and straddle him, raise his arms over his head, and loosely bind his wrists with a scarf, his tie, or your stocking” is far more approachable than John Warren’s “…few things are done more poorly than bondage. Like Olympic-level gymnastics, to do it well is to make it look easy. It is far more than simply grabbing a length of clothing line, wrapping it around your partner, and tying a granny knot at the end” (Warren, 2000). The BDSM scene does a terrible job of supporting the casual participant, someone who wants to engage in kinky sex, but doesn’t want to sit through an M.A. worth of coursework on the matter. Mainstream sources of sex advice are filling in the gap somewhat, but wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could access the sexual information they wanted without being told they are about to perform rocket science and should not even consider doing this in the privacy of their own bedroom without the guiding hand of an experienced and much older mentor?
Anyway, I guess what I want to work on is creating environments where people can have the kind of sex they want with the people they like and with the lowest possible barriers to entry. To me this means many thing, from conversations about internet privacy and net neutrality, to finding ways to foster good communication, to combating sexual abuse, overcoming assumed gender roles and gender binary, and yes, even as much as I hate to admit it, dealing head on with privilege. None of these things, however, prioritize or privilege one type of sex over any other, and that is just as vital.