Being a Sadist if You Have Buried Anger

CloudyHead asked if he should be a sadist if he’s dealing with buried anger towards his mother and feeling resentment towards women.  Here is my response:

I completely agree that acting on buried anger of this sort is not healthy, and I can tell you from experience on the receiving end that it will not end well unless you’ve done one hell of a lot of work on yourself, by yourself, after you’ve recognized the problem – and you are really completely willing to accept your partner’s input and feedback.

You are at least ahead of the game in that you recognize the issue and are asking the question. What’s really scary is those who don’t recognize the connection between those pasts and present relationship issues, particularly in the D/s realm. Sadly, there are many.

So no, I don’t think you should avoid being a sadist, if that’s how you lean, but you do need to be extra careful to be sure where you’re coming from at any given time is healthy, as well as to educate yourself very, very well about wiitwd, and how to have a healthy BDSM relationship.

Learn the signs that indicate that your partner is having an issue as a result of something you are doing, and learn how to step back, evaluate that as objectively as possible, and to do something about it.

And if at any time you are aware of feelings of anger coming out – or your partner is complaining about that, cowering in fear of you, etc. – do not play until you’ve calmed down. Playing when angry is a recipe for disaster, especially if it stems from childhood issues such as these.

As to whether these are the “right” fantasies or not, there is no right or wrong when it comes to that. Your fantasies are what they are. The better question is whether or not you ought to act on them or not, and if so, how, when, under what circumstances, etc. Only you know how well you can control your own behaviour, what will set you off, etc.

And, as @FreakShow said, it’s also quite possible to have buried resentments you’re not even aware of, and behaviors that result from that that you are also not aware of. That’s one thing I’m struggling with myself. One very helpful way to deal with this is to watch your partner and others around you for clues, in the form of how they react to you – and to ask people you trust for honest feedback and to point out when they see you doing something. If you are not getting the response you want or expect, check yourself first to see if there might be something you are doing to generate that. Let the people around you, and those you are closest to, be your mirrors to help learn what your effect on others is and when.

Ask for feedback, and suggestions about what you might do better – and pay attention to it. It might not make sense to you initially, but if you already knew how to monitor your own behavior, you’d be doing it. This is another tool to learn how.

On the Use of Labels in the BDSM World

This has become more and more of a pet peeve for me over the past several years.

No one fits neatly into any of these little boxes, in my experience. Even those who most seem to always have elements that don’t fit what someone else sees as “the definition”, once you get right down to it.

The older I get, the more I realize this – and the crankier it makes me to see everyone else and their cousin still wanting to stuff everyone into the same little boxes, and to make those boxes and labels mean the same thing to everyone – or more precisely, the same as it means to them. I’ve ranted about this publically for years in a variety of locations, but I’m crankier than ever about it.

We are much too complex to be reduced to one or two word definitions as labels to fully describe who we are, whatever those labels may be – at least any of us with more than a few functioning neurons who aren’t so completely damaged that we let anyone kick us around any way they want. The more neurons, the more complex, and the less well these labels generally function as definitions or descriptions.

Even doormats have limits and issues that may often belie whatever simple label anyone might hang on them. And God knows that even the most fully M/s-identified people certainly do. It’s never, ever as simple or clear-cut as it may look from the outside.

These labels are, at best, starting points for a discussion. Shorthand, if you will. Continue reading

Can’t Get Rid of It…

Why can’t I get rid of this lust? This need?  This craving?

Despite abusive relationships and swearing I’ll never go near D/s or anything like it again on more than one occasion, I am still continually drawn back to… whatever it is about wiitwd that draws me and keeps me.  I’ve been saying that I’m going to go back to vanilla, but the thought is like death.  I’m afraid I’ll really be buried alive.

Reading Dreamwalker’s blog started reminding me of the kind of connection I’ve always sought, that I’ve missed so very much for so long, that showed in bits and pieces with R, but too quickly turned to dust because of…  well, because.  Because as amazing a lover as he was, and as “charming” as he seemed initially, he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) control himself in a way that kept me safe in any way.  Mr. Hyde won out, once he surfaced, and I finally had to face that that was who R really is, not the wonderful guy I thought I’d found initially (at least when I was able to ignore the red flags)…

And that’s no way to have a life or a relationship.  I can’t live walking on eggshells all the time.  I’m starting to learn more about why I put up with his shit for so long, but I digress…

I no longer believe that D/s is a particularly healthy relationship paradigm, since it’s now clear to me that too many doms in particular use it as a cover for abuse – but I can’t get away from it completely either.  Continue reading

Sadism For the Sake of Sadism – or What is Pure Sadism?

I consider a pure sadist, in the BDSM context, to be someone who gets off in some way from hurting others, regardless of whether or not that person likes it, and even prefers it when they don’t – or at least doesn’t let the bottom’s not liking it or not being able to take what gets dished out get in the sadist’s way of doing it anyways.

As long as the bottom agrees to those parameters, everything is copacetic.

There’s nothing wrong with consensual nonconsent – and many people definitely get off on it.  But it’s *got* to be agreed upon in advance.

That consent is also the only thing that separates BDSM-type sadism from the form described in the DSM that is considered pathological.

If there is no agreement that pushing those limits to the point that the bottom really cannot take it is OK, and especially if it’s stated in advance that it’s *not* (and is therefore a hard limit), then it becomes abuse instead – or even outright assault and battery.

It can certainly take some time to learn where those limits actually are, but once established, if not respected, then deliberately exceeding them (except by obvious accident) becomes pretty much a nonconsensual act, even if the overall play is consensual.

Obviously this can also take some real technical skill to avoid stepping over those boundaries in some cases – as well as a desire and intent to respect them.  It also takes open communications with one’s partner to determine when those limits may have also changed for some reason, especially things like the time in the menstrual cycle, any health issues, etc.

A pure sadist of the BDSM type may or may not also be a dominant as well, but often is not.

Criteria For a Play Partner

When I think of the phrase “play partner” per se, that to me automatically implies something casual, not a relationship per se.

For a casual play partner, I don’t have really set criteria, except that I must like them (usually platonic friends beforehand), usually must know that they are exceptionally skilled players, and know them well enough to have reason to believe that I can trust them to respect my limits, keep me safe, and not injure me.

Similar kinks are critical, at least enough of them to create a good scene, even if it’s only one single activity – and sometimes I will seek out a particular top or dominant precisely for that specific activity.  As long as they’re willing to respect my hard limits, I really don’t care if they share them or not for a casual scene.  I’ve also got to have at least a basic level of attraction to at least something about them physically as well as mentally, and not think they are totally revolting.

Every situation is different otherwise.

I will actually not play casually at all any more with someone to whom I am wildly attracted – especially if I might see him as potential life partner material unless he is legally single, monogamous, and on the same basic page as I am with respect to both play, life, relationship preferences, availability to be in a relationship, and a whole lot more that falls more into the criteria I have for a life partner type relationship, which are definitely more extensive than for a casual play partner.  At that point, I’m going to want to get to know him better overall first, before I play with him, like as in actually dating. Continue reading

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Alternative Sexual Practices – Kent State article response

first posted 9/17/06 @ 5:34 PM EST; updated 12/17/09

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In response to the 9/14/06 article in the Kent State “Stater Online” entitled “Alternative sexual practices abound among college students“, I would like to offer these remarks.

While it is true that sadism and masochism are still listed in the DSM-IV, and that there *are* some people who enjoy these practices when they are nonconsensual, when you start to speak of *most* practicing sadomasochists, consensuality is a *very* important part of what we do.

As a community, the kink community decries people who inflict pain on others without their consent as much as any other normal people do. Those nonconsensual practices are *not* part of what we do. Such people are *not* welcome in our midst any more than they are welcome anywhere else.

I also concur with Susan Wright‘s comment that the DSM-IV is quite clear that as long as these practices do not interfere with a person’s daily functioning, they are not considered mental illnesses – although that clearly only applies to people who are practicing these things consensually in the first place, not to the rapists and torturers of the world. Ms. Wright it quite correct, but I don’t think that her comment fully addresses the actual issue raised by Laurie Wagner’s comments, and how they are reported in the article, and that is the distinction between consensual and nonconsensual behavior.

It is exceedingly unfortunate when people in positions of authority and in a position to educate young minds such as Ms. Wagner don’t even have their information straight, because it is uninformed attitudes such as this that perpetuate this myth that what we do is somehow evil and dangerous.

The distinction between S&M and dominance and submission is also *not* as Ms. Wagner has stated it, and I concur with Ms. Wright’s assertion that she clearly has no idea what she is talking about, either on the psychological diagnosis side, or especially on the side of referring to the most common practices that typically carry these terms. Continue reading