Friday, June 5, 2009

BDSM Open Thread...

Moving the tangent here, from there...I will actually write a post in this spot when I get a chance.

I lied, I'm just going to wait until I actually get to BDSM, in a series of posts on sex and sexuality I am going to write...Sorry, I just don't want to waste the time now, when I am going to have a place for a much longer post on the topic than I can address right here and now.

12 comments:

Jason Thibeault said...

Soooo, continuing where we left off at Stephanie's -- after rereading the whole thread, if I'm understanding your argument correctly, you're saying that because BDSM requires consent, you're not really "imposing your will" on someone, and thus one of those three criteria I outlined isn't actually being fulfilled, even though the act of domination requires that you're imposing your will on someone (who in turn wants to submit to this domination).

Maybe I don't know the psychology behind all this, I mean hell I'm just some computer programmer and barely have a handle on my own psychology, but I don't think I'm terribly off by saying that being capable of blending sex and violence (and I'm not talking about a grindcore movie), is a prerequisite to violent rape.

Jason Thibeault said...

Likewise (shoulda said this in the last post) -- if the person involved really does get off on being abused, then technically the violence is staged, even though the exact same level of violence applied to someone else might be considered painful or damaging. So, your argument is that because they consented, this violence isn't violent.

I don't think the human psyche can walk such a blurry line and not stray on one or the other side of it sometimes. Thus I'd contend that the "pretend" violence is every bit as violent as the real thing. Yes, the consent is paramount, but I would imagine it's hard to violently rape someone if you can't bring yourself to hurt them or physically force them. In those cases your rape would have to be via coercion or drugs.

DuWayne Brayton said...

...but I don't think I'm terribly off by saying that being capable of blending sex and violence (and I'm not talking about a grindcore movie), is a prerequisite to violent rape.

Actually, no it isn't - not at all when we're talking about someone with the sexual and emotional pathology that would motivate them to actually rape a stranger. While for some people who would engage in that behavior, that is requisite, the pathology behind the rape is due to a pathological inability to be assertive enough for normative sexual behaviors.

The problem I have with your assertion is the same problem I've been having with this whole discussion - you folks are trying to make generalizations that are simply not possible.

The human mind is simply not that simple. Human breaking points aren't that simple. And human sexuality isn't that simple either. You are trying to put things into neat little boxes, like the human mind is a generalization that fits into them. It just doesn't work that way.

There are way too many variables involved with all human behaviors to make generalizations like the ones you are making.

Jason Thibeault said...

So, is it therefore possible to violently rape someone without being capable of conflating violence and sexuality? Wouldn't the cognitive dissonance leave you "limp as a hot dog" if you tried? If so, then that person committed a violent rape, but didn't get off on the experience, making the whole thing a negative reinforcement experiment. And since we're talking specifically about the types of people that do get off on violently raping others, I think saying "they're capable of blending violence and sex" is neither a stretch, nor a fallacy, nor complete bullshit, nor a generalization. It's like saying "that fish is swimming", therefore "that fish must be able to swim"

The whole point of the thought experiment is to figure out whether a metaphor can be useful in determining what causes whole swathes of men rape whole swathes of women during wartime. I realize psychology is much more twisted than "let's flip a switch on and see what they do", which is why I came up with my slider-bars and probabilities analogy, which itself is still an abstraction of the real processes going on in the head. Without developing a real neural net and simulating every neuron firing, no abstraction is capable of completely simulating the human mind, but some abstractions are useful in understanding it, while others are less than useful.

Becca said...

I need a visual model; let's try a quadrant.
Put "consent" on the X axis and "violence" on the Y axis.

(upper right = both violence and consent, e.g. some BDSM; lower right = no violence but with consent, e.g. positive stuff; upper left = violence without consent, e.g. war rape; lower left = no violence or consent, e.g. necrophilia? roofies?)

Any given person can be represented by both a single dot (representing some average or their primary proclivity), and a "bubble of probability" around that space (which need not be regular in shape but could be thought of a little like an electron cloud- where the probability of occupying a given space fades to practically nothing at some point). It is probably possible to have multiple noncontiguous bubbles.

For an average person, war zones tend to increase the sample size of that bubble of probability toward more violent and less consent. They can also move the primary-proclivity dot (which may be related to why it's difficult to "turn off the switch").

I don't think it's self-evident that moving from the upper right to the upper left is "easier" (more likely) than moving from the lower right to the upper left. Some people would have lobe shaped sample spaces such that they can function during consensual nonviolent sex with a lover and violent rape of "the enemy" during war. Of course, whether a particular individual is comfortable with the mental compartmentalization that would require to avoid triggering massive cognitive dissonance is another question.

rystefn said...

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with you classifying the "positive stuff" as falling outside the BDSM spectrum.

Other than that, your general concept may be pretty close to reality. Especially the acknowledgment of the same person having multiple noncontiguous areas.

Jason Thibeault said...

See, that works a lot better for me, Becca. I get that it's not self-evident that upper-left is capable of moving to upper-right easier than lower-left is, however on that diagram there seems to be less distance between them (the diagonal is longer than the sides). Assuming that this pressure from a war zone applies its pressure evenly on both axes, then it would take longer to reach the opposite corner. That's a hell of an assumption though, not one I'd be willing to make.

And that's not to say you couldn't have a diagram that looks like swiss cheese with all the weird unrelated proclivities stemming from different and contradictory things that you might be capable of doing.

And there's probably more dimensions to add to this graph -- respect for the person (e.g. the dehumanization of the indigenous people to facilitate killing the opposing forces), for instance.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Jason -

Email me please.

I think you need to understand that people who have certain sexual pathologies that cause them to rape (again, not all rapists by a longshot) are not doing it to get off. They are doing it because they are frustrated at their inability to assert themselves in a normal sexual fashion. They are able to get it up because they've snapped and have taken to an extreme.

But honestly, that is a complete aside from the notions you have about people who are into BDSM. There are a lot, probably a majority even, of people who are into BDSM that isn't violent and is more about addressing power differentials, than it is about a need for one to be dominant and the other to be submissive during sex. The dom is sometimes going to be the partner who is contributing less financially - or who is the one who makes less of the household and ultimately the relationship decisions, and is seeking an opportunity to compensate for their lack of power in the relationship. More often, it is the more socially dominant partner seeking the opportunity to be freed of decision making/breadwinning responsibilities and to be the one who is "helpless" and "beneath" the other partner. Sometimes that involves actual violence, sometimes it doesn't.

Then there are people who are totally into it because they are in high power, high authority positions, who need to be dominated. People who turn to professionals for help. There, violence is a factor, but it isn't about the sex for the pro and really isn't about sex for the paying sub. This is about a pathological need to let go entirely of one's power and more importantly the responsibilities that go with it.

I will go into this more in a post that will be coming down the pike. I am just not prepared to write it tonight - nor am I going to write more about this specific question about BDSM, because I am going to address that in an upcoming, comprehensive post about BDSM fetishes - that plural on fetish being key - BDSM is a catchall for a whole lot of fetishes.

But essentially, you were actually close with this; "So, your argument is that because they consented, this violence isn't violent." This is true with a whole lot of folks who are into BDSM. For the most part, BDSM fetishes are more about the psychology of power differentials, than it is about sex. I realize that the same it true of rape, but in rape it is generally a completely different psychology of power differentials.

But seriously, please email me...

DuWayne Brayton said...

Oi Becca - I may just use that at some point. I am getting set to write a series of posts on sex and sexuality and that may be a very useful point...

Jason Thibeault said...

All right, done. It's obvious that I should get educated before trying to argue any point on the matter. Like every other bloody thing in the world, it's always more nuanced than the dictionary definition.

Jason Thibeault said...

And it isn't even the dictionary definition I was using, so I'm even more ridiculous for it. The really violent end of the BDSM spectrum, being the outlier, gets blown out of proportion in the mind of an outsider and opinionated asshole like myself. Mea culpa.

Anonymous said...

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I identify as sexually submissive and my "Daddy" or Mr. if you'd like, is only interested in dominating naughty fuckdolls like myself.
We have been together a long time and everything's good.
So-we recently discovered something new.I suppose you could call it a "scene".He picks me up from a bar(i'm working if you know what i mean) and we decide to go to his place.Not only is it consensual forced play but he murders me!Takes pictures etc;! I love it!!!