Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

Emptiness

Something happens when I sit down to blog these days.  Something unexpected that keeps me on the verge of that cool post I want to make about how lessons learned from the quantified self movement can inform orgasm control and chastity play but never with enough oomph to sit down and write it.  Something that intensifies each time I have a conversation about the BDSM scene.  I feel…empty.  Maybe not empty, maybe illegible or unseen.

I think it looks like this:

  • Kinky sex rocks, but the BDSM scene has caused enough fucked up things around me that it is toxic to me.
  • Talking to people about these toxic things usually results in “but this scene I’m a part of is awesome unlike those other ones”
  • I have heard this enough times that no instance of this is believable
  • I try to explain either a) the disconnect between some of my core values and what the BDSM community brings to the table, or the many cases of abuse within the scene and hear something along the lines of “but what else is there.” “How else do you meet kinky people.” etc.
  • I give up on shared meaning making around BDSM. (Translated for those outside the Bay Area as: I give up on finding common ground.)
  • I feel invisible because the BDSM scene is protecting rapists why aren’t you outraged!

But you see, I am a child of the Internet.  I know I am not alone.  I am not alone in the sex I want, sure, yes, we know that, but much much more importantly, I am not alone in my discontent.

Last night I told a friend that many of my issues with the BDSM scene are basic Gen Y vs. Boomer issues – I don’t like positions of power or people in them.  I don’t like secrets.  I don’t like centralized information accessible only to the “right” people.  The BDSM scene has insisted in subtle or obvious ways on all of these things, it is not a place where I can make my home.

The question is: let it burn itself down – move on, write that post about quantified self and then the other one about behavioral modification as learned from advertizing – or stay – swim upstream and convince the people in power that rape in the ranks has got to go?

Written by kinkinexile

December 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

Privacy, personalities, and personal ties

Humans aren’t fact-friendly creatures.  We like stories, personalities, personas, but not just cold nameless advice.  When we do take cold nameless advice we build a whole archetype around the person giving it: doctor, accountant, etc.

What does this have to do with anything?  Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about anonymity and blogging recently.  I realize it’s rather hard to be a truly anonymous blogger – you can have a blogger identity that is different from your real identity, they can be so different as to be very hard to pin back together, but I don’t think you can have a successful blog with no identity.  You still need habits, a consistent topic perhaps, a turn of phrase you like, a way of interacting with other bloggers.  You build a social chain; you create an identifiable patter and you are no longer, truly, anonymous.

Without that, it’s hard to hold people’s interest.  People don’t like to interact with a void – even Anonymous has a recognizable image.

So I’ve had, for a long time, a rather Japanese ideal of privacy around this blog.  If you know me, you can probably stumble upon this blog and confirm my identity.  If you don’t know me, you could probably find more details than I’d freely give you if you dig a little.  I tell you about my sex life and I ask you in turn to help me pretend we haven’t had this very intimate conversation when we meet over the family dinner table.  And you know, it works.  It has worked for years and it works in part because of the company I keep and in part because really, the stakes are just not that high for me.

But then it makes me nervous too because I believe in privacy by design not privacy by wishful thinking.  So I’ve been wondering how I can batten down the hatches, add a little distance here, a little filtering there, but you know, I don’t think I can without also losing a measure of impact.  Making my writing private defeats it’s purpose which is to put more information (about kink, privacy, and so forth) out into the world.  Erasing this blog and starting over, more privately with the benefit of what I know now loses the history and experience I gained here.   And yet, continuing to rely on good will for my security doesn’t really leave me with much peace of mind.

This blog exists for a number of reasons including: my desire to share and connect with like-minded people, my belief that more free peer-to-peer knowledge = a more informed populous = more units of awesome in the world and my related desire to force peer-to-peer knowledge sharing in the BDSM community, and my belief that transparency is always good and conversely that closed systems are dangerous (again, translated on the micro level to the BDSM community).

And when I think seriously about the risks or fears that give me pause I realize that while I am protective of the non-kink aspects of my life, my actual fear is of the BDSM community or members of it acting in ways that are disruptive to me.  And that’s interesting.  My threat doesn’t come from Concerned Women for America or some similar boogie man organization; the real reason I am battening down the hatches is because of, not in spite of, a community that places such high face value on protecting each other’s privacy.

Ah, yes, ritualistic hazing and high cost of exit/failure is the glue that holds many a community together – remember that.

So anyway, I’m still thinking about this one and about its implications, but what better way to think about privacy than out-loud to the universe?

Written by kinkinexile

September 4, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Posted in blogging, privacy

Non-required reading

Cause I didn’t reject the status quo so that I could follow someone else’s rules, duh!

First off, a nice summary of Weiss’s book called Silicon Sadomasochism in a new-to-me blog called Color of Passion gives a run down of the main points of Weiss’s thesis and some Bay Area BDSM demographics:

Sociologically [Society of Janus] members are predominantly white married heterosexual professionals, with lots of Silicon Valley ‘techies’ and internet-based workers. They represent the ‘rich’ side of the polarised rich/poor society of the Valley and the Bay Area suburbs. They inhabit a superficially casual and non-hierarchical world of work with a strong culture of intense and flexible work plus equally intense consumerism, leisure and play. They have come to BDSM with no personal experience of the old closeted world of word-of-mouth groups and underground cultures. Instead, the new culture of BDSM fits comfortably into certain middle class values such as privacy, free choice, individual agency and autonomy. Unlike some segments of the middle classes, they are not risk averse, and are more like those who prefer to escape from their safe lives into high-risk leisures (BDSM for some, but rock-climbing or surfing for others).

Thinking further on the gendered aspects of the BDSM scene – the prevalence of male doms and female subs – Color of Passion had this to say:

… The rhetoric becomes increasingly problematic as Weiss examines the actual social moorings of play and roles in the day to day practice of the community, much of which mirrors wider oppressions in society. Many participant males were widely recognized to be sexists and clueless Doms…Yet community norms seemed to tolerate this. Men often assumed that women in the community were subs and there was a lot of low grade sexism and homophobia. Male subs had a very low status in the community and were often derided and seen as weak. Male Doms might refuse to see themselves as part of broader gender inequality in society, but many feminists in the community recognized that players cannot simply unilaterally announce their withdrawal from the world of social power. In effect, many male Doms simply embrace male privilege while finding an alibi to free themselves from the label of oppressors by claiming that sexism is ‘irrelevant’.

The BDSM culture is entrenched in the over culture and brings with it all the sexism, classism, homophobia and relationship problems found in larger society.  Strangely, this is exactly what I have heard as a defense for the BDSM community, as in “yes the BDSM community has problems with rape and sexism but it’s reflective of larger social problems!” A sort of bad apples in every bunch defense.  Which seems to me, but perhaps not to defenders of the BDSM community, like it should stand in direct opposition to the other argument they make of how BDSM is Safe Sane and Consensual and also deviant, dangerous, and darkly sexy and special.

Finally, the post offers a critique of Weiss’s work…

Weiss’s analysis is useful and plausible, but it could be pushed further. Firstly, by focusing on the Society of Janus it does not adequately portray the diversity of BDSM experience in the Bay Area. The Society of Janus, for example, has a particularly bad reputation for sexism and male domination and it may not be more broadly representative of BDSM. Behaviour in private play, professional domination, and associations with very different cultures may be very different.

If I understand correctly, Weiss’s Techniques of Pleasure is based on her dissertation so while the scope is certainly not exhaustive, I also wouldn’t expect it to be.

 

Anyway, I learned about the above article from Dirk Hooper’s Fetish Week roundup which I learned about in turn because my Fetlife privacy or lack there of post was featured in it.  Thanks!  Check out the round up for cool breadcrumbs of all sorts including a lot of continued chatter about 50 Shades of Grey.  (You know, if you stop bitching about 50 Shades it’ll go away faster…this isn’t the making of an American classic, it’s just the hot summer read people will forget by Sept.)

 

Written by kinkinexile

July 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm

The internet, I’ve missed it

Or more accurately, the blogosphere…

First, I finally had time to sit down with Work Is Never Over a tumblr featuring images of sexually submissive men.  This blog is awesome, beautiful job of curation that uncovers images I haven’t already seen on the other relevant blogs, nice, though only semi-consistant tagging, gooood archive.  Maymay introduced me to this blog back in May and I should have paid more attention!

And before I go on a reblogging fest, I’d just like to highlight that I am seeing a trend emerge…in 2008 Male Submission Art was created in a response to the lack of quality (hot, sexy, representative, etc) images of sexually submissive men.  FuckYeahSlaveBoy showed up in 2010(ish?) Work Is Never Over had two posts in 2010 and then didn’t add anything until August of 2011.  2011 is also when I started keeping tumblrs and when I started noticing a conversation emerging about the treatment of sexually submissive men in the kink scene.  Beyond images, the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012 also welcomed a pair of new submissive identified male bloggers to the scene: Peroxide and MasculineSubmission.  Yes, this is a drop in the bucket, and yes this is a filtered crowd, but I’m curious, is anyone else seeing a trend emerge?

And btw, if you didn’t have ammunition a-plenty already, the lovely images from the tumblrs I mentioned, might make a nice comeback when your local playspace tries to tell you they’d replace the tired old pictures of slave girls on the wall if only there were good pictures of men!

And with that, it is very much dinner time, but I wanted to highlight just one more blog post: Galiana recently said some lovely things about service which I had to share because I so understand how hard it can be to receive service, and how sometimes having your bathroom scrubbed feels so much more taboo than beating your lover bloody.  This, exactly this, and good on you for working through it!

 

Written by kinkinexile

July 2, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Toys I’ve been thinking about…

(AKA, a break from the hard stuff)

I have been meaning to write about the Lelo Alia since I got it a couple months ago.  I hadn’t actually realized that this was a Lelo toy, but now that I know that, everything makes perfect sense.  Lelo is the be all and end all of sex toys far as I’m concerned (and no, they didn’t pay me to say that; they didn’t even pay for the toy).  The Alia is perfect for an unusual reason though; it doesn’t cause wrist strain and that’s, sadly, been my selection criteria for toys since I fist struggled with tendonitis in 2009.  It has a nice grip opening in the middle to slide your fingers through so unlike other clitoral vibes it’s easy to hold.  Awesome job Lelo, keep up the good work.

I’ve also just come across DreamLover Labs, apparently a company that makes electrostim attachments for male chastity devices.  You know, like those electronic training dog collars!  It’s funny, some men talk about having a Pavlovian response to chastity; it’s difficult to put on a chastity device because the idea of putting on a chastity device makes them hard.  Strangely, I seem to have developed a similar response to the thought of my lover in a chastity device.  I see something like a remote control (mild) electro-shock correction mechanism built into a chastity device and I go completely gaga, lose my words entirely and blush like there’s no tomorrow.  Did I mention it has a lock detection mechanism?  How about the fact that CBT rocks my little red wagon?

And thinking of toys, I am going to be experimenting with doing some toy reviews for Good Vibrations again.  Last time I tried toy reviews they sorta took over my blog, which is not what I want, but I do want to alternate the politics with some sex (this being a sex blog and all) and I think some prompts might be good.  I’m also trying to wrap my head around how to make toy reviews into actually valuable content rather than just promotional pieces.  I would totally appreciate your feedback, questions, or ideas!

 

 

 

 

Written by kinkinexile

April 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Creation of the other

Five years ago I wrote this.  I was mystified at the time by what I described as a “splintered scene.”  After five years, I understand the social underpinnings in the BDSM community’s need for us vs. them.  It is identical to the religious right’s need for that language and to the left’s need for it as well.   Defining the other makes us feel safe.  This is why yesterday’s playground nerd is tomorrow’s bully, and why I am not at all surprised that homophobic men are aroused by gay porn.  Othering is protective and rules make people feel safe.  I don’t think the other actually matters even, as long as they are different enough from you and have distinct enough characteristics that you can position yourself as *not* them.  They can wear funny animal costumes, or they can have wider noses or they can wear their keys on the ‘wrong’ side, doesn’t matter.  The other gives the BDSM community power because it forces people to band together and police eachother’s behavior; it’s the same power that insular nations enjoy, and much like a xenophobic nation I don’t want to see it rise to the top.

What interests me, is that the answer may not be making space for “others” in the BDSM community as I had previously thought, but rather, mainstreaming the whole deal and washing away the borders.  Taking the other to lunch is a vital first step in bridge-building, but it still leaves room for us vs. them…and what’s more it creates room for a model minority…

 

Now, sleep.  Later, thoughts on how BDSM and main stream sources support people in having the sex they want with the people they love in different ways.

Written by kinkinexile

March 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Posted in blogging, politics

Unfocused

I started working on one of my drafts but didn’t have the focus.  I’ve been traveling, essentially just passing through for over a week now, this hits me differently. Sometimes it gives me focus, lets me sit and write for hours.  Other times, like now, it makes me fidgety, disorganized unclear on what I’m doing or when.  I plan tons but none of my plans make sense.  Eventually, I relax and learn to go with the flow, I plan but don’t attach meaning to the plans. But writing just ain’t gonna happen right now, sorry folks :-p

Written by kinkinexile

February 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Posted in blogging