theotherside-205 asked:

(1 of 2) I want to say thank you for your commentary on the post pathologizing survivors who engage in kink. I started following you yesterday because I’d been triggered by a lot of posts on my dash about how kink is inherently problematic, sometimes adding, “But I guess I don’t hate survivors who are kinky, because they’re just victims using unhealthy coping mechanisms and I hope they get help.” I found your blog while looking for counters to that, as a way to cope with being triggered.

loriadorable answered:

(2 of 2) It meant a lot to see your posts go up today, and that inspired me to stop following the people who posted the triggering stuff. I find “for survivors, kink isn’t problematic, just self-destructive and a sign of mental illness” to be very triggering because my interest in kink and my mental illness both predate and do not interact with my sexual assault (How do I know that? Because I’m me and I said so). Thank you so much for reminding me of that.

Ack, all the virtual hugs for you should you want them. I also find it massively triggering to be told that my consensual sexual behavior is unhealthy despite what I think, the very clear implication being that I am too damaged to grasp my own reality. I won’t rehash what I’ve already written about sexual trauma, deviance, pathologization, etc. but yeah. It is never ever an okay judgement to levy on someone else, and I’m sorry you’re coming across that so much, too.

loriadorable:

unquietpirate:

loriadorable:

collaterlysisters:

loriadorable:

rolequeer:

I’m sure some people who say this crap are totally horrible. Like half the people who ‘criticize’ kink on Tumblr have a weird black-and-white ethics and know nothing about kink at all. 

But in between, there are some people saying that:

– The BDSM scene is statistically super super unsafe and if you go there you’re highly likely to become a survivor of more abuse and rape. Survivors need to be safe, the BDSM scene offers none of that safety and is in fact extra dangerous for survivors. We are badly in need of kinky spaces that do better, much much better. 

– Survivors who use coping methods need more options that just the one’s dominants find hot. 

– If you are a survivor you are still capable of supporting an abusive institution and you are still capable of raping people yourself.

This has zero to do with that ask. Like, that was just a complete non sequitur.
Yes, thank you, I am aware of the awful shit in the BDSM scene as I *have been assaulted there as well.* I’ve expended plenty of energy talking about that in other places. How ironic that you’re informing me of it with links to MayMay, who is a well-known abuser and whose theories on BDSM are ridiculously whorephobic. As in, they explicitly call submissive men a “marginalized group” in that post and elsewhere blame pro Dommes and porn performers in Domme roles (among whom they make no distinction) for contributing to ‘Domism.’ Nope nope nope. 

It’s fascinating that of three links peppered in to demonstrate that the “BDSM community” is “statistically” less safe than fucking in any other way in our awful society, one contains anything resembling a statistic. Specifically claiming that “30-65%” of the population engaged in bdsm “experienced a consent violation” compared to “20% of the general population.” What constitutes a “consent violation” is not addressed by the blogger, and the methodology of these studies is assumed to be sufficient and aligned with their point of view without discussion. This is how one lies with statistics.

One might suggest, for example, that people involved in BDSM are more critical of their consent and more likely to identify and report when it has been violated. To name one of several potential confounds to a causal relationship that come to mind quite easily even if I do accept the statistical finding as given. Which I don’t.

Like, listen, the BDSM scene is HORRIBLE, and I would not be surprised if abuse is more common there, but you’re right that these stats are way questionable (30- 65%?! That’s practically meaningless). In any case, I’d be super interested in having a discussion about relative rates of abuse, but rolequeer seems entirely unaware of the fact that this post is *a very personal one* about the specific topic of pathologizing the CONSENSUAL sexual desires of survivors. It is not a general discussion of BDSM and abuse, and it is a shitty thing for rolequeer to co-opt  theotherside-205?s ask to have that discussion. That can happen somewhere that is not this post, and it can happen without MayMay pretty please and thanks.

Ugh. BDSM practitioners have the world’s biggest Dunning-Kruger complex when it comes to their supposed superior competency with consent. If I had a nickle for every time I’ve heard concerns about higher-than-average rates of sexual violence in the BDSM Scene waved away with, “Oh, pooh! I’m sure kinksters just report more because they’re good at talking about consent…” The fact that nobody stops to consider any other possible explanations, and that everybody just parrots this exact same rationalization, makes it pretty clear that this is party-line rhetoric y’all are getting from somewhere.

Certainly, this was a personal post, as was rolequeer‘s response. Are you suggesting that theotherside-205?s comments (and yours) are coming from a place of pure apolitical feelz whereas rolequeer’s are motivated by an abstract depersonalized politics? Because that seems pretty unlikely to me. This is a super personal topic for everybody involved, which is why differing perspectives on it lead to conversation getting so heated. There is no such thing as a “general discussion” of BDSM and abuse.

Meanwhile, typing that something is CONSENSUAL in all caps is not a get-out-of-jail-free card from having a critical consciousness about the relationships between our choices and the abusive culture we live in — not even for those of us who are survivors. Yes, it’s bullshit to shame people for their kinks, or to suggest that their kinks mean they’re crazy. That’s totally ableist victim-blaming.

But it is entirely appropriate for someone to step into a public conversation on the Internet, where a highly-respected and well-followed person such as yourself is blithely waving away any criticism of BDSM as inherently problematic with, “oh, but it’s consensual…” (or at least strongly co-signing that sort of irresponsible attitude) and say, “Okay, wait, but, it’s more complicated than that…”

This conversation can and does happen in places that are not this post, and it should. But it should happen in places like this post, also. And no, given that Maymay was one of the earliest and continues to be one of the clearest and most consistent voices holding the BDSM Scene accountable for its extraordinary perpetuation of sexual violence and abuse, it probably isn’t going to happen without Maymay anytime soon — not until other people start picking up the slack.

Who are you responding to here? Your first paragraph reads like it’s directed at collaterlysisters, so I’m not going to reply to that (I did not, after all, agree with collaterlysisters response and expressed that.) In any case I don’t think we need to start talking about complexes in a conversation that includes Maymay and their disciples.

I’m going to make two things very clear, and then I’m going to stop reblogging this post.

1. Coming onto a survivor’s post like this to remind them they can still rape someone is both out of left field and out of line. Just because I have what you deem to be a critical level of influence does not mean I’m not going to remind every single person at all times that they are still capable of being abusive and that BDSM is the inherently problematic result of living in a violent culture, because context fucking matters.

2. Maymay actively erases the violence that fetish sex workers deal with, including in that very post that rolequeer linked to. I’m entirely uninterested in their warped ideas about how abuse works. They are a misogynist and a whorephobe, and so their concept of abuse does not describe my reality as a sex working woman. I therefore do not dignify it with my further consideration.

rolequeer:

(why did this not show up in my notifications until unquietpirate reblogged it? How many other responses have I been missing? Ugh, Tumblr)

To adress those “what does 30-65% even mean???” comments: if they had just read the post and the links provided they would see that ‘what does consent even mean?’ is adressed in those studies and that the percentages differ precisely because consent is tricky. To specify (and again: you can find all this by actually reading the sources provided in that post):

  • The NCSF study showed that amongst BDSMers in the US 30% had experienced a violation of a prenegotiated limit and 15% a violation of a safeword.
  • Kinky Minds study showed that amongst BDSMers in the Netherlands and the Dutch-speaking Belgium scene, 46% had experienced a violation of a prenegotiated limit and 22% a violation of a safeword.
  • Amongst BDSMers in the Netherlands and the Dutch-speaking Belgium scene, 65% had experienced either a experienced a violation of a prenegotiated limit, a violation of a safeword or a scene being taken too far in ways that had not been part of the prenegotiation.

It’s all there in the sources. Nothing vague about it. People who go “it’s just too vague and complicated” just want to go on pretending that everything is fine in the BDSM scene.

Keeping those statistics away from survivors to focus on their ‘agency to choose BDSM’ is not unpolitical.

Hi Lori,

I’m writing because you apparently can’t stop talking about me, and I’d very much like it if you either moved up, or shut the fuck up. I’m even going to be nice about it, here, have a smiley face: :)

Here’s the thing, Lori: you’re a broken record. But worse, the record you’re playing harms the cause you say you believe in. You’re an actual obstruction to the goal of challenging an abusive status-quo because, ironically, you’re doing that thing you hate when other people do: you’re derailing the conversations people are trying to have that whitewash abuse and abusive dynamics. You do this again and again. They write about how BDSM is abusive, the ways that capitalism and sexism and racism support BDSM’s existence, but you don’t actually respond to what they write, you don’t give a counter-argument, you don’t engage their points, you just change the subject to something that is—I’ll use your words—”both out of left field and out of line”: me.

Now, as flattered as I am that someone as weirdly respected as you are would find it necessary or even appealing to speak about me as often as you do, doing so only advances conversations whose topic is me. (Duh?) I’d even be willing to entertain the notion that conversations revolving around me are conversations in which a critical analysis of the things I said or the things I did, or even the things people think I did after reading about me on some blog post whose author’s best-friend’s roommate’s dentist’s cousin named Alex met me once and Alex says I’m an evil evil who evils and Alex is trustworthy Because Reasons, hell, I’d even be willing to entertain the possibility that a conversation like that has some potential to fuel critically analyzing abusive structures of domination by using me as an example.

But that’s not what you (or our hypothetical and thoroughly journalistically-vetted source “Alex”) ever actually end up doing when talking about me. :(

So maybe having conversations that complicate and disrupt whitewashed narratives of abusive mechanisms isn’t your goal. Maybe you’re more invested in making sure certain perspectives, which are advancing certain, specific critiques, do not take root. For years, you futilely steer those conversations towards a kind of armchair psychoanalysis about who I am, as a person, Because Social Justice or whatever. You are empirically more dedicated to that goal than others, and it’s not hard to imagine why.

I have a harsh critique of the sex industry and its complicity in the perpetuation of (especially sadomasochistic) abuse, and quite a number of people involved in and affected by the sex industry find my critique compelling. Among the more vocal demographics who have found my critiques compelling are people who identify as female and dominant, and (this one will trouble your attempts at cherry-picked stereotyping more) pro-dommes. (Cue pearl-clutching gasp.) Moreover, I know you know this, because when these folks start discussing my critiques publicly, you do that derailing thing you do as if you’re the social media apprentice of a GamerGate troll.

Fact is, I find the sex-positive project’s goal of excluding sexual desire from the purview of acceptable critique to be, itself, an abusive practice and an ideology supporting abusive institutions, especially rape culture. A lot has been written about this, from Rashmee Kumar’s “Sex-positive feminism cloaks patriarchal notions,” to Lisa Millbank’s “The Ethical Prude,” to Priyank Jindal’s “Sites of Resistance or Sites of Racism?”, to Francois Tremblay’s “What Is Sex-Negativity,” to the sex worker rights movement’s own Audacia Ray in her “Why The Sex-Positive Movement Is Bad For Sex Workers’ Rights” essay. Tremblay’s essay in particular contains this excerpt I find especially on-point regarding this thread and my objections to you and your work, Lori:

“Sex-positive feminism,” as a movement, has as its objective to remove sexuality from the realm of feminist systemic criticism. It is therefore anti-feminist in practice, despite its proponents’ general commitment to feminism. It says that any issue which they deem sexual in nature, be it actual sex, BDSM, pornography or prostitution, must not be analyzed or criticized. Instead, they contend, we should fall back to the “default” position that “consent is the standard of morality.”

Sex-negativity, therefore, means opposition to this stance: that sexuality must be subject to systemic criticism like everything else, and that woman-hating in sexual areas must not be given a free pass. It is nothing more than the consistent application of feminist principles to actual sex, BDSM, consent in sex, pornography and prostitution. It is nothing more than the proposition that sex is affected by patriarchal norms.

You, Lori, are the spitting image of your sex-positive colleagues who don’t seem genuinely interested in discussing the uncomfortable intersections between the elements of sexuality that inform your personal desires and actions with the hegemonic cultural context in which your desires are formed or your actions are taken. It’s plausible that this is one reason why my work bothers you so: my work is aimed at that very intersection. I have spilled plenty of ink describing what I despise about people who are both male and submissive-identified. Their misogyny and entitlement runneth over. But that’s not the part of my critique that offends you. Not a peep of an objection from you at that element of my critique. No, the part of my critique that so deeply offends you, Lori, is the part where I point out how certain sex worker demographics—namely pro-dommes and BDSM porn producers—participate in, amplify, and encourage both the misogynistic attitudes of submissive men and the abuser dynamics on which the sex industry, like all capitalistic industries, depend. Now, take one guess which part of my critique offends your average “May I lick your feet, Goddess,” submissive guy on FetLife. So forgive me if your own knee-jerk defensiveness doesn’t strike me as radically different from the reactions my work gets from those dudes, ‘kay?

Unlike “sex-positive activists,” I do not reserve my criticism for some demographics while excluding others from the same analysis. Empirically speaking, that is your forte, Lori. I need only point to this thread to showcase an example of this, though I could point to most of the rest of your published writings with equal ease. To wit:

[Maymay] explicitly call[s] submissive men a “marginalized group” in that post and elsewhere blame pro Dommes and porn performers in Domme roles (among whom they make no distinction) for contributing to ‘Domism.’ Nope nope nope.

I’m sure you know that the existence of one hierarchy (like sexism) does not in itself negate the existence of another (like domism). That’s elementary, Watson.

Simultaneous, interlocking influences are oppression culture’s primary support structure. Yet, for someone who insists “context fucking matters,” you perfectly mirror, if not outright cling to the BDSM community’s modus operandi of conflating a bunch of dissimilar things together into one monolithic identity-structure to proffer a rape-apologetic bumper sticker that prioritizes orgasms above consent. Your MO is to conflate a bunch of dissimilar contexts together into a muddled rape-apologetic denialism that prioritizes freedom from critical scrutiny.

Let me mansplain, Lori: claiming as you do that criticizing employment as a BDSM dominant can be discarded on the basis of an argument denying the experiences of people who disrupt the Man-as-Dominant and Female-as-Submissive gender essentialist norms of the BDSM subculture, like, say, self-identified submissive men (or dominant women) is shallow. Moreover, discarding such critique when that argument was made by a self-identified submissive man who is also an abuse survivor, is insultingly shallow. Your arguments aren’t merely unconvincing. They’re exactly the same kind of culturally-approved abuse sex workers are often subjected to. Empirically, then, you are both abused and abuser, but in your ugly cowardice you accept only one half of that premise. Don’t feel too special though, because this is a trait you share with many other people.

Must I remind you that I am mentioned by name in the “Domism” article? No? I’ll do it anyway, because I have about as much trust in you to actually engage with anything I say as I would trust a tadpole to score high marks in maths class:

It’s worth noting that claiming that there’s something broken in submissives — or in submissive men — amounts to an argument for etiology, yet there’s no consensus on why we have the kinks we do in the BDSM community, and no answer at all from the research, what little there is. There’s a plain inconsistency between sometimes very smart and well-informed people knowing and saying that there’s no available answer to why we do what it is that we do, and then saying (usually among our own) that we know why subs are subs.

This gets personal for me. I can’t tell you why I have the kinks I do, but I can tell you what I get out of bottoming. The challenge, the difficulty, the trust, the violation of gender and social norms with a partner, all amount to one thing: a site of tremendous intimacy, a shared physical end emotional journey where I am vulnerable to and connected with my partner … like jumping off a cliff. So that’s my answer.

What these prejudices amount to is a normalizing and centering of the experience of the dominant in The Scene. One way this is apparent is by the overrepresentation of tops or dominants among presenters. Presentations tend to be about skills, often bondage and painplay skills, and there’s a perception that it’s easier for the top to teach these skills. I don’t entirely agree with that perception, but between the overrepresentation of men among tops in The Scene, and the tendency for tops to do the teaching, that means that male tops to most of the talking. As one of Weiss’s informants put it: “[Janus is a] het male dom group. Every single presentation I’ve ever been to, every class I’ve ever taken … across the board, het dom male.” (Weiss at p. 241 n. 14.)

Maymay tells a story about presenting with a partner somewhere: he’s a bottom, and his partner started out by singletailing his back. And then the audience expected her to stop and start explaining what she had shown. But instead, Maymay, the bottom, started explaining what she was doing, as a top, and what he was doing, as a bottom. It’s a paired activity. It makes perfect sense that the bottom can explain skills for a paired activity. Topping a singletail scene means knowing something about both how to top it and what to expect from the bottom, and vice versa, but the ingrained expectation that tops teach skills was so great that the audience kept looking at the top, expecting her to take over.

Moving on, Lori, I’ll further note that my many critiques of pro-dommes bothers you, I’m sure, because you are a sex worker. I’d like to believe that you know critiques about sex work are not critiques about sex workers, but you’ve shown no evidence that you can understand the scope of such critiques. Other sex workers can, yet for some reason you’re stuck obsessively playing “Cult of Personality” by opportunistically constructing some cartoonish caricature of who I am based on little more than the Internet equivalent of a game of Telephone and your own personal triggers. At best, that’s immature, and at worst, it does the cause of sex worker’s rights, not to mention anti-abuse advocacy more generally, disservice. Since the late 90’s, when I began advocating against social stigmas about mental illness, I’ve been forced to get used to other people working out their own shit by using me (non-consensually, I’ll add) as a foil on which to project whatever inner demons keeps them up at night. But this lack of self-awareness is especially aggravating coming from you because you’ve been doing it for years with an unadulterated hypocrisy that’s even more galling when paired with your self-righteous rhetoric portraying yourself as agitating for justice by fighting against the system, given that your actions so obviously fight against critiques of the system.

Stop being such a tool. Or, just admit that your real priority is not to challenge the status quo, but to shelter yourself from incisive analysis about the ways in which you support said status quo. Enough of this schoolyard personality-politics already. Grow up, FFS.

Your sophomoric sex-positivity is constantly regurgitating ridiculous cliches about consent, which would be bad enough if you weren’t also obsessed with instituting a kind of ad-hominem obstructionism to meaningful dialogue. Thankfully, such dialogue is growing, your personal issues with me notwithstanding. Apparently you’re really bothered by people continually linking to my blog posts and reciting arguments I’ve made previously, but you have nothing of substance with which to refute my arguments. Hell, you don’t even have any alternative point of view that’s useful to the survivors having conversations critiquing unhelpfully simplistic ideas of abuse. The best you can do is ramble something about “context” intoning practiced indignation and some Social Justice Warrior slurs? Slow. Clap.

If you’re not trying to be a sex-pozi Yes-Man, then frankly you’re an incompetent anti-abuse advocate, not to mention one with some deep personal issues. Having deep-seated personal issues is not in itself a disqualifying mark, of course; we all got issues, and there is no qualifying authority in the first place. But it’s pretty damn disingenuous to bible-thump on your Tumblr about the importance of context and whatnot when your primary concern is earmarking who can or cannot be critiqued so you can curl up into a fetal position within an ideological cocoon and insulate yourself from critiques that aren’t even about you in the first place. As others such as Meghan Murphy have written before me, “It’s not about you.

If you actually cared about context, you would have acknowledged, even just once, that your oft-cited accusation of my busily “typing away, absorbed in something else” while you were talking about your abuse during the #Consenticorn meeting those many years ago where we met was, in fact, part of the meeting, not disrespect of it or you. There was a video livestream of that meeting, along with a couple of people live-tweeting the event, one of which was me. But reminding people of that context doesn’t make you look good, especially after you trump up some claim about what an evil evil who evils I am, does it? No, better to just delete your post, you decide. Classic SJW moral high ground move, that.

If you actually cared about context, you would have acknowledged, especially in this thread, that introducing the idea that “abuser” and “abused” cannot be cleanly delineated categories in a hegemonically abusive culture, as unquietpirate did, is an extremely relevant contextual point. Being an abuse victim does not magically prevent that person from doing abusive things. Writing “CONSENSUAL” in all-caps does not magically negate the coercive influences of the context, to say nothing of the fact that you’re still saying “it was consensual” as though “giving consent” is no different than notarizing a contract, which is literally the argument rapists make. Slow. Clap.

People who actually care about context do not derail these points with some over-the-top ad-hominem about a person who wasn’t even participating in the conversation. And before you go on to deny, again, that you’re derailing anything, just fucking scroll up; it was you who deflected rolequeer’s points by invoking my name, as if my name is some kind of Social Justice trump card that automatically wins your Debate Team points. *rolls eyes* I wasn’t a subject of conversation here, until you tried talking about me.

So come on, Lori, let’s not pretend that what really matters to you here is conveying accurate “context.” As convenient a deflection as stomping your foot and saying “because context fucking matters” is for distracting whoever it is you’re trying to impress with your ridiculous political melodrama, the rest of us think it’s getting a bit old. Move up. Or shut up.

I don’t think you’re capable of moving up and offering any significant contributions to this discourse whatsoever. But believe me when I say there are few if any people who would be more pleased than I if you proved me wrong on this. And for as long as you continue to invoke my name with your stupid hand-wavey bullshit to distract or derail from those more productive conversations, you should expect to face whatever criticism of your half-formed, half-assed arguments I choose to make. After all, you’re the one who brought me up in the first place. ;)

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