20 November 2004

Grey zones

Maybe I should have kept my mouth shut. But I just couldn't. I sort of expected the reaction I got, but still, I was sorry that the discussion became one of censorhip and freedom of speech, rather than the one I was aiming for: one of sexual freedom which includes ethics and our sense of responsibility.

So here's the deal. I was surfing, encountered something which disturbed me a lot, and wrote a post about it. Pretty pissed off one, I know. SpankBoss, whom I was asking to reconsider using one of his sponsored links, replied in a post called Spanking Blog Editorial Policy Notes (November). Please go and read these posts (if you haven't already done so). I will not link to the website which is behind the sponsored ad in question. You can go to SpankingBlog, if you want to see it.

I have left that discussion now, and I won't post any more about the issue on my own blog. The tone simply gets too personal and too hostile too fast. I can't discuss this when the issue becomes what I am, instead of what they do! However, I still need the more general discussion concerning limits to sexual freedom, so I thought that this was the perfect forum. Judging by the comments resulting from the two posts above, I think some of you are already squirming in your chairs because I used the phrase "limits to sexual freedom". But this is exactly the point here. This is what I want to discuss.

As a lot of people have pointed out, BDSM should be "Safe, sane and consensual". But some folks have other needs and this is where the grey zone starts. If you like spanking or have sadistic urges, what if you can only get off on someone who does not get any pleasure from it? What if you get off on non-consensual S/M? How do you fulfill those needs? I don't know much about this particular type of sexual preference, but as far as I can see, you have only 3 choices if you want to act upon such urges:
  1. You can agree with someone that you play "non-consent". Create a fiction in which you can maybe gain that feeling that the recipient of the spanking/sadistic actions does not want it.
  2. You can pay your way out of it and beat someone to a bloody pulp. Their reactions will, as stated in the website I was arguing about, probably be a greater turn on, as the (often) women getting paid will express genuine pain and probably fear.
  3. You can just do it, for real. Spank someone till they bleed. And hope not to get caught afterwards.
Please correct me if I have missed any other options here. I'm ignorant of the "non-consensual" playground. I'm merely guessing. So here it is: everybody probably agrees that number 3 is beyond any acceptance. And most of us probably agree that number 1 should be okay, as it remains consensual in reality. The problem, to me, is number 2. And it is number 2, which the discussion is about. It's a grey zone.

Personally, I absolutely detest the concept of paying (probably) poor (and non-masochistic) women to get beaten up and whipped till they bleed. Because the concept of "choice" is a tricky one. It is way too simple to say that these women chose this for themselves. Some have said that maybe it's just an advertising hype, and that the women are just "professionals". Well, maybe. I just don't like the "maybe". And knowing stuff about Russia, what is really going on might even be a lot worse than what is displayed on the website.

I have been flamed pretty badly for being a fucking prude, who is judgemental and wants to censor other people's sexual preferences. Maybe I am? But I still think these things should, at least, be discussed!

In my book, there are limits which cannot be individual. There are things that cannot be accepted. Such as snuff or child pornography. And when it comes to grey zones such as this, there are ethics which must be discussed. Or what? Should one shut up and back off? Are the things going on in the grey zone not to be questioned? Should we put it all in the "free speech and sexual freedom"- category and look the other way?