Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Thought-provoking dinner with Miss K last night. She tried to explain to me why so many people seem to really want there to be a right and wrong way to be kinky.

I don’t mean the people who try to insist that everyone should do BDSM their way and only their way because it is The Only Right Way. That’s clearly ego and insecurity. We call those folks “One True Wayers” - or OTWs for short.

No, I mean all the people who write to me urgently asking what are the Proper BDSM Rules about how to kneel down/blow their nose/write a love letter/shave their genitals/whatever while in the presence of a dominant/submissive. Not my presence personally, you understand, just a random kinky person.

Is it okay to wear blue jeans while you do a scene, or do I have to dress up? Should I always address my top as "Master", even though he said I can call him Bob? Is it permissable to wear a collar even if you don't currently have a mistress?

What the heck? I’ve been saying for years “You get to do this however you (and your partner) want to.” Come one, people, do you really think there’s some great rule book in the sky dictating every single little activity in kink? Do you think you can look up “dominant nose blowing” and get some kind of spec sheet for that? Forget it. When it comes to configuring our kink, we’re making up most of this as we go along, both as individuals and as a culture. That, to me, is one of the coolest things about the BDSM community. I have never understood why some folks seemed to be begging to exchange one set of restrictive rules of behavior (vanilla culture) for another.

Miss K and I were talking about this and she said, “Look, the thing is, people are convinced that there must be rules, somewhere, and they just want to know what they are so they don’t break them and get in trouble. You try to tell them that they get to invent this, but they don’t trust that. It’s because somewhere, they broke a rule they didn’t know about and caught hell for it."

“Besides,” she went on, “there are rules in BDSM. Like, you don’t touch people.”

"That’s different. That’s etiquette towards people you don’t know well. That’s not about what you do with your partner.”

“I know you understand the difference, but not everyone does. You see having no rules as freedom, but for some people, it’s scary and hard to trust. What if we do it wrong? How will we know if what we’re doing is really BDSM?”

“What the hell else would it be if you put nipple clamps on someone and spanked them?"(I love that I can just rant with Miss K and she know how to take me.)

So I’m thinking about this. The reason that OTWs can convince people that there is a Real and True Way is because the idea that there are no rules scares them. Interesting…

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