A guest post by TheBalloonGuy.
Had a talk with myself today. Told myself “Self, we suck.”
Self replied “Yes? We are aware.”
“Maybe we should try to write something positive today.”
Had a conversation with someone recently. Not someone on Fet, nor in the lifestyle, a Vanilla. Their only real understanding of Kink, and BDSM, comes from popular culture. 50 Shades, portrayals in movies, long-standing stereotypes.
“I just don’t understand how someone can be that mean and hit someone, it’s so violent.”
“Isn’t it just a wild sex party?”
“What do you people even do?”
This helped me to become a bit re-aware of the fact that the Vanilla world is still not given a fair perspective on what it’s like to participate in this lifestyle. When people hear “Kink” they typically think of the dank, smoky dungeons full of sweaty people having sex. They think all women who are dominant are always clad in black leather, all Doms are men who are sadistic control freaks, male submissives aren’t real, and the only kinks that exist are rope, blindfolds, bondage, and spanking.
People aren’t shown the aspects of the lifestyle that are more uplifting.
They aren’t exposed to the community side of the lifestyle. Groups of us united by the ties that bind us together (heh, pun). A community that supports one another, provides safe harbor for people who are violated in some way. The community looks out for one another.
They aren’t shown the D/s dynamic where the submissive is truly fulfilled as a person by serving their master/mistress. The sub who looks to their Dom for guidance and leadership and has put their faith and trust in this person that they will always look out for their well being.
They aren’t shown the sheer playful joy that happens in a lot of impact scenes. They’re always shown as a super serious event, depressing music, the bottom showing no signs of enjoying herself. It’s like the whipping scenes in Passion of the Christ but somehow even less sexy. That’s not been what I see happen during scenes. Bottoms laughing, squealing with delight, and giggling. Tops checking in on their bottom during the scene to make sure they’re doing okay. Movies don’t show the glow on the face of a bottom who’s in subspace.
They aren’t shown how seriously this lifestyle takes safety. I get that negotiation doesn’t make for sexy reading but it’s a fundamental part of what makes this whole thing work. It’s the establishment of boundaries, open and honest communication, and two (or more) people coming to an understand, together, in a way that way too many supposed adults can’t. I have seen better communication and working together in scene negotiations than most business negotiations. There are no portrayals of safety protocol during a scene. Most people are aware of what a Safe Word is but where is the emphasis on personal safety? Cleaning your toys after you’re done with them? Tools to get someone out of rope or restraints in a hurry? The self-policing that communities do to remove predators? And, of course, there’s no showing of how much consent matters. The kink community, hands down, aside from the people who are here only to be abusive, has a firmer grasp (heh, another pun) on consent as a concept than any other social group in this world. In no other group I have been in has the importance of consent been emphasized as much as it’s been in kink and that includes the supposedly “Morally Superior” folk who view kink and BDSM as “degeneracy that is ruining this country.”
And, lastly, and to me most importantly- they aren’t shown the love and caring for one another that exists in kink. I have not seen a single portrayal of BDSM in popular culture that included an aftercare scene. Not a single one. They don’t show the acceptance of people who are different. Things that the Vanilla world would scorn and shame people for- odd fetishes (BELIEVE ME), being a submissive Male (“Man the fuck up, men aren’t supposed to let women walk all over them”), having little tendencies as an adult (“You’re TOO OLD to be watching cartoons”)- in kink, and I know in my own community and hope it happens in the majority of them, people aren’t actively trashed for. We are accepted for the weird things we’re into. Instead of being seen as a pariah they can be seen as unique. A rarity. A person who can bring brand new experiences and perspectives to others. Kink Shaming is actively frowned upon. We not only care about one another as a fellow kinkster, we care about them as human beings.
There really needs to be more positive portrayals of the lifestyle in popular media. Maybe some day a kink-positive person strikes gold with a well written book. Maybe a director will take the time to immerse himself in this part of the world to truly understand it. Maybe none of that will happen and we’ll just have to continue on as we have. But, nonetheless, contrary to the stereotypes kink is a beautiful thing. It’s freeing, it’s acceptance, it’s about caring, forming connections that can run far deeper than friendships or even relationships. It’s looking out for the well being of another. It’s about respect. And it’s about love.
And I’d say that’s wholesome as balls.