Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Letters from readers…

Hi...I was wondering if you have any ideas or know of any websites on how role playing of this nature can be adapted to character playing in MMORPG games? I ask cause I play World of Warcraft and me and another person I play with have started a background game of sorts, she plays the dominant personality that demands to be respected and addressed as Mistress and I play the submissive role; But my limited experience in this makes it get repetitive way too quickly because I simply don’t know the types of things to say to advance it beyond basic stuff like "Yes, Mistress, as you command Mistress" & "How may I please you Mistress". I don’t know how familiar you are with MMO's if at all, but the basic thing we are looking for is mostly to adapt our regular communications needed to complete game objectives to this style of role playing and occasionally just do some text chat role playing of this nature. Also, not sure if it would make a difference but She is in real life female and I am male but in the game both our characters are female (I know, typical guy makes a female toon...what can I say, it's fun and unlike many guys I actually get into the roleplaying part and play as if I were female to the best of my ability) Any ideas you can share or websites you can point me too would be much appreciated.

Okay, I just ran out of geek credibility, because I actually do not play these games, and I have only a very vague idea of what this reader is even talking about. Anyone want to offer this guy suggestions? Because I got nothing.


I am 19 yr old girl looking to get into BDSM, I want to be a sub. I was wondering if you could either direct me to a website or had any advice about staying safe? I have concerns about (unasked for) violence or other problems.

I have read your blog a few times, and I love it and the Stranger.

Thanks for your time

Young lady, I’d like to help you, but I’m afraid this letter falls into the “intellectual laziness” category. Sure, I have advice for you about staying safe: don’t play with strangers. But I bet you could have figured that out for yourself. If you want more specific information, tell me what you’ve already done to educate yourself. Have you Googled “BDSM safety”? I bet not.

If you want more information from me, work harder at framing a specific question that’s easy for me to answer in three minutes or less, because that’s about all the time I can devote to each of the many individuals who want me to be their pro bono kink advisor.


My name is *** and I enjoy your column very much. Have only been reading for the last year, but I've gained a lot of insight, so thank you. :) Though I've no interest in the lifestyle, I do have a heavy interest in bondage and links for Japanese bondage have helped me immensely so thank you.

On the topic of BDSM, I'm trying to understand the lifestyle and the people who choose it without judgment or preconceived bullshit ideas. I think I've grasped the fundamentals, I hope, but I do have a serious problem with Doms who call their Submissives degrading names, such as, "Look at me when I'm talking to you, you stupid bitch!" or assaulting their Sub, i.e., punching/slapping the face, body.

I have not seen this in action, I've only "heard" about it and of course, seen the requisite silly examples from TV and film. The questions I have are these: Is this a condoned behavior from the Dom? If so, is this a behavior the Dom has either picked up or been told by the Submissive that it's what they want to hear/receive? And why would a Submissive tolerate this sort of abuse? Am I not nearly so enlightened as I think I am? ::cringes:: If this name-calling/hitting behavior isn't condoned, or something the Sub wants, could it be something only a wannabe or control freak thinks they should say?

First, a style note - it's not really customary to capitalize the word "submissive". It's not strictly necessary to capitalize the word dom, domme, or dominant, either, although some people do. (Also, the word "sub" is, in my opinion, a blot upon the face of the kink world, unless one is referring to an underwater boat or a sandwich. But I acknowledge that I'm in the minority here.)

Now, to the meat of your letter. There’s a saying in BDSM: Your Kink Is Okay, My Kink Is Okay. What I’m hearing is that you don’t want to get slapped, punched or verbally humiliated at this time. (Please refer to item number 11 here to learn why you shouldn’t say you never ever would, though.) But many other people actually like those things. Porn and popular media are the worst possible way to learn about what real BDSM looks like, so you shouldn't take them at face value. But as a player, I can tell you, yeah, I’ve slapped people’s faces, I’ve punched people’s bodies, I’ve said and done extremely mean and humiliating things to people. It was negotiated and consented to, and we both got off on it. That's why we did it.

So, no, you're not quite as enlightened as you think you are. But to give you credit: I think you’ve let go of judgment about the activities you like in BDSM. That’s a legitimate thing - lots of people never stop hating themselves for their desires.

Now, the next step is to let go of judgments about stuff that doesn’t turn you on. And you've definitely got some judgement going on, with words like "assault" and "abuse". It is harder to unlearn judgemental attitudes when there's no compelling reason to do so, like getting off. I’m not going to lie and say I myself have never turned up my nose at a scene that I wouldn't choose to participate in. But part of being a compassionate and mature member of the community is learning some acceptance of others. I don't like oysters, so I don't eat them. But it's fine that other people enjoy them. Right now, somewhere, someone is saying, “Ew, that Japanese bondage stuff is icky, why would anyone want to do that?” But you know that regardless of what it looks like to them, to you, it's a good thing. Try to remember that when you see someone doing a scene that wouldn’t trip your trigger.

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