28 March, 2008

Relating Through (Not Despite) BDSM

One hears ad nauseum that kink deranges the finding and building of solid relationships and abiding love. I disagree. Certainly there are many interests vested in the maintenance of that idea, not least of which would be the common culture and its perpetually reinvigorated puritanism. Love and a satisfying relationship are the peanut butter and jelly of erotic maturity - pretty easy for me to piece together (even with the handicap of a learned palate) if I just own up to my fondness for the simplest of tastes. My need for love (and expressing love) is as basic and atavistic as anyone's; my need for peanut butter nearly as much so.

It may yet take generations but these United States will eventually exhaust the world's importable supply of sexually backward mores (our foundational religious tolerance being since the dawn of the Republic a magnet for intolerance) and have to make peace with biology and its uncalibrated expressions. In the meantime curiosity about erotically flamboyant behavior will invariably come subtly freighted with pietistic (and peanut butter-less) scruple. Consider the suppositions below:

  • How do you find others with similar BDSM interests?

I traffic in artistic circles, model for artists, rig for hire, write on aesthetics, mysticism and altered states, and consort with other writers. I’m open about my inspirations, and much of that flows from my pervy experience. I make a point of studying the work of those by whom I’m inspired, and endeavor to meet with these people and join their projects. That has led me to participation on various bondage websites and as model/rigger for various photographers who have an eye for the spirit of BDSM. Since I either show up in the work or contribute to it, I am introduced to others in the community as effective and participating in my capacity, and inevitably the right people find their way to me (and I to them).

  • Do you feel your BDSM interests make it difficult to find a partner?

Quite the contrary; I feel that my BDSM interests enhance and deepen my social profile, even among those who have no interest in bondage as such. A counterintuitive example: I myself find petroleum chemists who are deeply passionate about subtle variations in carbon chain branching very interesting indeed, and will spend an entire party listening in rapt fascination to the latest advances in refinery by-product reclamation processes if the speaker accepts my ignorance and believes in my interest. I met one such person recently, had a most enjoyable evening owing to that person’s candor, and enhanced in the process my understanding of our fossil fuel-based economy.

Most people do not believe that who they are and what they spend their lives on could ever be interesting outside their domain. Whatever it is that someone does, however arcane, can read from them as an object of others’ fascination if they are willing to speak their truth with passion and alacrity. Preachiness may be a fault, but it works because consciousness seeks expansion more often than not.

  • What type of impact has your BDSM interests had on your relationships?
My BDSM interests have given me more and better relationships, and also given me a modality and even a narrative structure in which to render the happy accident of my existence comprehensible to myself. Furthermore, BDSM transforms what might be considered in a conventional view to be a character quirk (some would say a flaw) into an elegant and erotic competency that distills my rangy sympathies for the benefit of another person while accelerating insight into my partner’s humanity.

  • How has BDSM affected your sexual life?
The question appears to presuppose a distinction between BDSM as affective, and my sexual life as affected. There is no such distinction, much the same way that a top is not a top without a bottom in the picture (and vice versa). While I have and enjoy conventional, gentle intercourse as an extension of my affections, it is precisely that; affectionate in the way that walking hand in hand or a delicate peck on the cheek speaks my feelings for another person. The fugue of my high sexual arousal is inseparable from BDSM.

2 comments:

Samitch said...

I agree. The only really satisfying relationships I've had have come to me from outside the kink community. Although I'm active in my local scene, I have not had a lot of luck with the people I meet in it. Better when I go for partners in my other worlds - it's easy enough to tell them what I want and to take the occasional no when I get it. Best of all I get to hear myself saying what I want, and the more I do that the more what I want shows up - law of averages or large numbers or something. Anyway, the desperation in the scene taxes my patience sometimes, and nothing compares to perverting a virgin.

Mac K. said...

Thanks for your comment, Samitch. Here's an idea for which I expect to get a lot of static: support communities tacitly erode the impulses they support. To be completely accepted for your kink or under any circumstance, to be, in other words, comfortable, is to in a way vacate the project of the soul.

By soul I mean the half of us that makes us hungry again after we've fed - a principle of displacement and, hence, discovery. The soul shuns convention (and to a kinky sensibility a BDSM support group is convention). To extend the culinary metaphor, I'm big for getting really hungry and eating well, for doing things with fever and gusto. Additionally, I like doing things as much as possible precisely the "wrong" way and where they don't belong. Not defiantly, mind you, but so that I am displaced in the doing. The successes and failures that ensue from that kind of doing are satisfying to the soul either way, for the soul does not acknowledge whether you've succeeded or failed.

To your soul, the biggest risk is no risk and "no" is always the right answer.