Sunday, February 28, 2016

What Too Many Progressives Need to Understand About Race and Kink

I saw this article about composer Georg Friedrich Haas and his wife Mollena Williams, also known as The Perverted Negress, and it made me so happy.

And sad.

Because there are far too many well-meaning people looking down at this beautiful, consensual, healthy, and happy relationship and seeing it as something problematic, something abusive. Something it’s not.

There are far too many people claiming that this relationship romanticizes, glorifies, or sexualizes racism and oppression. That they find it offensive and wrong and they don’t want to listen to anyone else’s opinion on the matter, not even Haas's or Williams's. Because they believe theirs is the only right one. That their opinion is truth. Is fact. Because they don’t believe in “a black woman willingly submitting to a white man. ‘It’s a struggle to say, “This is genuinely who I am,” ’ [Williams] said. But she added, ‘To say I can’t play my personal psychodrama out just because I’m black, that’s racist.’ ” It is in and of itself oppressive to say that Haas is being oppressive because he consensually enjoys consensual behavior with a partner who consensually wants to do those things. If they both have discussed what they want and have agreed upon it, have consented to it, that’s what should matter, not race.

The issue is and always should be consent. If everything Haas & Williams do is completely consensual, that is what separates it from actual oppression. It is what makes it oppression’s opposite. And to say their races inherently negates or alters that is in and of itself problematic. It makes it seem as if you think people of color can only be loved by those of “our kind.” That, if a white person claims to love us, there must be something wrong with that. Must be wrong with them or their intentions. That that kind of love must require outside skepticism and scrutiny. As if you wonder how a person like them could possibly find a partner in, could ever love, a person like us? That the only way a white person could love us is if it’s predatory or fetishistic. As if you believe that the only thing our white partners must see when they look at us is our race.

It makes me wonder, if that’s what you believe, exactly what you see when you look at us.

And it is also extremely oppressive to think anyone has any right to say that Williams shouldn’t do what she consensually wants to do when it doesn’t harm anyone. No one gets to decide what is right for her and her partner. It’s tantamount to saying that, because of her race and gender and orientation, she isn’t capable of making her own decisions. That she, like a child or dependent, needs someone else to sweep in to tell her what to think and what she can and cannot do with her own partner. How could anyone think they have that kind of authority? How would you feel about someone making that kind of judgement for you? It’s paternalistically patronizing and offensive. And an oppressive thought pattern that seeks to impose one opinion of what’s right on everyone else, despite the fact that it’s no one else’s business but the people in the consensual relationship. Williams is a fully capable adult. And this is her decision. You may not agree with it. May not want it for yourself. And that’s fine. But it is no less her decision to make. And she has every right to make it without interference or judgement. After all, “If you don’t respect my yes, how can you respect my no?”

Like I said, I’m sure it’s meant to be well-intentioned. These people honestly think that they’re protecting people of color. But protecting them from what exactly? Personal freedom? Choice? Love they way they want to experience it?

The fact of the matter is, for the vast majority of kinksters—just as (perhaps even more so than) with the vast majority of vanilla people—we enter into our relationships willingly. Eagerly. This is what we want and what we’ve been looking for. No one’s making anyone participate in it against their will. And, if everyone is consenting and it works for them, that’s all that should matter.

And, honestly, people like Hass & Williams have probably thought more about the social and ethical implications of their dynamic than most people. Read some of the posts from The Perverted Negress about race and kink. Because, sure, there’s something inherently problematic about power dynamics if played with without thoughtful intention, particularly power dynamics that deal with race and gender, but there is something more ethically problematic, in my opinion, about passing judgement on a dynamic—on a relationship—that doesn’t affect you at all. No matter how well-intentioned or fervent your beliefs.

After all, people have been using that same type of justification for all sorts of things. Homophobes quote the Bible, saying that God said being gay was wrong, screaming to the heavens that what they believe is truth. Racists try to use faulty science or skewed statistics to prove that white people are superior to people of color, all so sure in their belief that what they believe is fact. Sexists are always talking about how evolutionary psychology proves that women are inferior to men, all too ready to say that they know the truth the rest of us are too blind to see. And far too many sex-negative vanilla people—often who would otherwise claim to be for people having the right to choose how to live their own lives in almost every other respect—tell kinky people that what they do is crazy and sick and wrong and anti-feminist and racist and abusive, even though those kinky people are living healthy, consensual, and happy lives with each other that in no way infringes on anyone’s freedoms, rights, or lives (look up the actual scientific and psychological studies on that, of which there are many), are so sure that their prejudice assumptions are fact. There are always people out there trying to use their personal “truths” to police other people’s personal lives.

Our lifestyle doesn’t affect yours. At all. That’s truth. That’s fact. Your opinion on our life choices doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. If you don’t like it, fine, then don’t do it and leave us alone. We didn’t do anything to deserve your judgement because, again, it doesn’t in any way affect you. And passing judgement on on a consensual relationship that doesn’t harm you or anyone in any way...aren’t we supposed to be better than that by now?

And, the fact is most of the people who would so adamantly judge this kind of relationship have no idea what it’s like to be in that kind of relationship. What kinky people of color go through. They have no concept of what our love lives look like. What they feel like.

And they could.


If these well-meaning progressives just stopped trying to paternalistically protect us for one second and talked to us. And really listened to us. Like I said, if you’re so worried about Mollena Williams’s welfare, she has an amazing blog that I definitely recommend where you could find out her state of mind and could learn about her experiences. If you really want to know, you could read stories by and about people in these kinds of relationship, like the one I wrote for Between the Shores: Erotica with Consent:

“[Kat] knew that there were people who thought, for all sorts of reasons, that she and Peter didn’t fit, who couldn’t look at the two of them together and see more than the color of their skin. She would be with Peter whatever his race, which meant that she at least in part was attracted to him because of his race. Because it was part of who he was and she was infatuated with the whole of him. Yes, she admired his strength and his confidence. She enjoyed his intelligence and his passion. But she also loved [...] to linger over his apricot skin, the color and feel of it soft and firm and so sweet. She liked to think that he was with her for similar reasons. That he found wonder in the whole of her too. She’d been with men who’d seen nothing but her skin, who’d gotten so lost in the look of her that they couldn’t see that it only contained the rest of her. She’d been with men who’d written whole histories of cultures over her, trying to mentally mold her into ethnic experiences and expressions that weren’t her own. And she’d been with men who’d tried to love her ethically, who made a point to color-blindly love only her inner beauty and feared looking too hard at the rest of her. They’d thought that desiring her physical beauty—to acknowledge it at all—hurt her, demeaned and cheapened her. In their care, her body had become a landmine of terms, with traps set in the shapes and tones of her, that seemed best left unseen and unspoken. They’d loved her despite her race and it had always made her wonder, if they would have loved her more—would have been able to love more of her—if she’d been a race they felt comfortable recognizing. Those men had all tried to love her and, in doing so, had left an ugliness inside her. Because she didn’t want to be loved in parts. She couldn’t bear to be with someone who, even with the best intentions, could only bear to see fractions of her.”

I’ve been in many interracial relationships with white partners. I’m in one now. To think you know our intentions, our motivations, our love, better than we do...ask yourself how that’s possible. How it’s possible that you’re a better expert on us than we are. And, if you really want to know how our relationships work—if you really are concerned with how we’re faring—you could just ask.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Why Do People Believe In This? - Urban Dictionary and Kink-Negativity

So I’m a big Dan Savage fan and this week he’s gotten himself in an ill-advised, cold-induced internet battle about—of all things—blumpkins.


It’d started all so innocuously with a pearl-clutchingly shocked question:

“What is the deal with a ‘blumkin’? Like, honestly, why? Why? WHY? They freak me out and confuse me.”

To which he responds: “blumkins aren’t for real, and they’re not really about sex. As you can see from the UD definition, it’s not about sex or kink, it’s about misogyny and implied violence.” Calm down, vanilla person, this is not a real kink; it’s a joke. Not even a funny one. It is someone doing their damnedest to shock you and you’ve just obliged them. Congratulations, Urban Dictionary. I’m sure you’re very proud.

Which really should have been the end of it.

Unfortunately, it was not.

For some reason, people—who, if they are Dan Savage fans, really ought to have known better—flipped out and began defending the term. Taking issue with Dan calling this term “sexist bullshit.” Accusing him of kink-shaming.

Are you kidding me?!

As a kinky person, I suppose, I’m glad that people are trying so hard to live by the “live and let live so long as no one’s getting hurt” mentality we’ve been asking for for so long. But, really, guys, there is such a thing as taking YKINMKBYKIOK too far. And, defending these kinds of urban legend, Urban Dictionary terms, yeah, I’m okay with that being my line.

Because, while under normal circumstances—while dealing with real kinks that real people have—I would agree with you, but I don’t think this is that case. If a person is into this particular act and they’ve properly thought about it and negotiated with a consenting adult partner, go for it, guilt-free. Because you’ll have done your due diligence.

But I agree with Dan’s opinions in his initial response. I don’t think this is something that people really do. Or at least not enough people for it to deserve the popularity the term on UD gets in popular culture. I’d bet this is a term that people made up for shock value. Chances are really good that the term was made up by some vanilla person—most likely male—who wanted to come up with the grossest, most degrading thing he could think of to do to a woman.

If there is a community of people who do this, who embrace the term, and do do the due diligence to make this SSC, I would be surprised and I will apologize. In that case, YKINMKBYKIOK.

But I doubt it. 

Cause look at that Urban Dictionary definition for a minute. Look at the user-submitted definitions and examples:

  • “That New Jersey hooker gave me a blumpkin and a scorching case of genital warts for $3.62”

  • “then yes you die. If you dont believe me try and find someone who has. There are no examples for a Blumpkin. Everyones dead.”

  • “guy- give me blumpkins now BITCH! 
  • crackwhore- as long as i get paid for this shit....”

  • “After I knocked the crack whore’s teeth out, I made her give me a toothless blumpkin.”

These are not the words of someone who finds these acts arousing. These are the words of someone who doesn’t realize that they’re just not that funny. Whose quality of humor is that of a sixth grader who’s just discovering the kinetics of sex but still thinks the opposite sex’s no-no parts are gross. These are the words of someone who is not having sex. And who is, very likely, bitter about it.

Which makes the defense of this term—particularly in terms of kink-shaming—ridiculous. Because look at that definition! In one of them, the kinksters involved inevitably die for their kink. In the rest, the kinksters are johns and whores in the worst, most offensive stereotypes.

And this is what you want to defend?

The definition of the term is kink-negative in and of itself. It deliberately attempts to portray kinky people in the worst possible way. And far too often this is the kind of thing that vanilla people bring up when they find out a person is kinky. This is where their minds go when they hear a person has a fetish. Everyone wants to know if—wants to imagine that—the kinky person does all the boogyman-esque “weird stuff” other vanilla people whisper about to freak each other out like flashlight-wielding children at a sleepover. It allows some smartass vanilla snot, trying to shock people, to be the one in charge of telling everyone else what kink is. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being defined by this kind of crap.

And, sure, given the vastness of the world, there very likely are people who are legitimately turned on by this act. Rule 34 exists for a reason. However:

1 ) that in no way necessarily makes it not sexist. There are quite a lot of misogynistic—as well as racist and homophobic and bigoted—things that turn some people on. Being turned on by something does not suddenly exclude it from being subject to ethics. BDSM, as a subculture, in particular can attest to that. It’s why kink culture has embraced terms like SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) and RACK (Risk-Aware, Consensual Kink) and PRICK (Personal Responsibility, Informed, Consensual Kink). It’s why we stress things like consent-culture and proper care and ethics, because we are aware that what we do could be misconstrued as—and, if we’re honest, can be used as a cover for—unethical behavior. Ethical kink seeks to not be misogynistic, homophobic, bigoted, or hateful in their play, whatever the scene may look like to an outsider. And one can do that by thinking about what drives their kink and how they can consensually explore that. Kink culture does that in a way—is introspectively and socially consciously aware in a way—that I highly doubt the creators and most of the users of the term “blumpkin” do.

2 ) again, I’m sure there is some small percentage of people out there who are legitimately turned on by this act, but I highly doubt that most of the people using the term are. It is a term that exists in our popular culture as a joke, not a kink. It, like “dirty sanchez” and “donkey punch,” are terms that are significantly more often used by people who do not and would never do those acts. By people who are titillatingly horrified by those acts. They are most often vanilla people laughing at what they think those crazy kinky people do. More often than not, they are men laughing at what they think would be funny to do to women. Whether they actually, physically do that act or are aroused by it doesn’t matter so much.  Regardless of the small percentage of people who may be turned on by this act, their usage of—if not the very existence of—the term is sexist. As well as extremely and offensively kink-negative.

Because this isn’t about whether it’s real or not. It is the context in which the term exists and is used; that is what makes it offensive. Stop using it offensively and use it only and specifically for actual people who actually are into this act and do so ethically, and I no longer have a problem with the term. 

But, really, how often do you think the term gets used in a non-offensive context?

So can we stop pretending these terms have anything to do with kink or sex in any kind of significant or real way?

These terms are meant to be jokes.

One whose punchline, more often than not, is how much wasted time vanilla people spend coming up with them and spend willfully suspending their disbelief to flip out over how people could find them sexy.

They’re not sexy.

They’re not real. 

They’re not funny. 

Let’s move on.

Monday, February 15, 2016

You Cannot Have "Total Control" and, Trust Me, You Don't Want It

Image Original Source
So, I’ve been getting more messages than normal from Dom(me)s looking for relationships with “total control” or “true power dynamics” or “24/7 roles.” And, I’m not really sure why.

For one, I'm not a submissive. And two seconds of checking anything I’ve done on this site really should tell you that. 

Especially since, two, I’m of the belief that “total control” or “24/7” roles or dynamics, while a fine fantasy, rarely works well in real life. And, to be completely honest, I’d thought with now being so post-Fifty Shades that we, as a community and a culture, have kinda talked that fantasy to death by now. I mean, we even see this kind of deconstructive thought on kink in mainstream media now, in the primetime lineup on television and in popular gaming now. I would have thought this was now pretty basic common knowledge and am baffled and disappointed that there are still people not paying enough attention to the things they claim to be interested in.

Because, as a bottom, I firmly believe that, if tops serve as gas pedals in-scene, you need bottoms to act as the breaks. It is the acknowledged truth that, whatever the scene looks like from the outside in, the bottom actually holds more control in-scene than the top. Their limits, their consent, dictate what happens when. 

That acknowledged truth is the only thing that separates kink from abuse. It is the only thing that keeps bottoms from being victims. If you take away a bottom's ability to say no, to decide what happens to them or not, what happens to them when something they are not okay with happens? What recourse have you left them?

In addition to that, you'll have made it seem like their abuse is their fault, because they signed away their consent to you. And, as an abuse survivor, believe me when I say that is the most insidious part of abuse. It's what makes you stay longer than you should. It's what makes you take more than you should. That, more than anything else, is what breaks a person.

I don't know any real Dom(me)s who want that. I don't know any real Dom(me)s who fantasize about that.

But terms like “total control” or “true power dynamics” or “24/7 roles” often look like that in real life.

Even if that wasn't what the Dom(me) wanted.

You may not know it yet, but you want a partner that can say no. At any time. For any reason. You want a partner who knows, whatever the scene, they have control too.

Or how can you be sure that you're not abusing someone? How can you be sure that you're not breaking someone? And, if it—god forbid—should come back to bite you and someone accuses you of abuse or rape, how do you defend yourself? Because if you broke someone—if your play went too far—and your partner didn't  feel like they had the ability to tell you so in the moment because of the rules you established, what else can you call that but abuse?

And, to be fair, you can play with the fantasy of “total control” through thorough and exhaustive negotiations before each and every scene—with the knowledge that, even with all that, safewords still exist and must be respected at all times and “total control” is a fantasy that only exists within that scene and only at the consent of both parties. 

But that's something that takes time to get to. And really shouldn’t be something you try to negotiate before you’ve already established a long history of play with each other. Much less in a blind, first-off, introductory message to someone you don’t know online. Because, to make that fantasy work in real life, you need to already have a working and firm knowledge of someone’s limits and abilities. As well as you own. It’s not something that’s safe or sane for either bottom or top to get into without proper preparation.

Situations like that are how horror stories happen and the kink community as a whole could use less of those. 

I don’t mean to kink-shame these people, because they can explore the things that turn them on in safe, sane, and consensual ways but often their approach to it makes me think they need to do a lot more research and soul-searching on their kinks and how they work. Because I don’t think—and lord knows I hope—most of these people aren’t doing this to find victims. I don’t think and I hope that these people aren’t the monsters the world still too often fears we are. I think and hope that these are people who just don’t know any better. Who jumped into a world they want to belong to but don’t yet understand too fast and without thought.

So, yes, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and throw them lifesavers in the form of lectures and links and resources. Because I think that we owe it to each other to save each other, when and where we can, in the hopes that the life we save is more than just theirs.

Friday, February 12, 2016

You Are Normal

I love this talk. Not because it's new or groundbreaking ideas; I've heard all this before.

Rather, I love it because I wish I'd learned it earlier.

These are hard truths that I had to come by on my own. Over years of my life.

Years wasted thinking there were so many things wrong with me.

Years thinking that I was fundamentally flawed.



I love this talk not because it could teach me that I am worthy, am normal, but because it has the potential to teach others that.

Hopefully, sooner than it took me to figure that out.

Because we waste so much time as a culture, as a people, as a species, worrying about how things should be, how we should be.

What a waste.

It took me so long--and is still something I have to remind myself sometimes--to learn that, if it's not harming anyone, it's fine.

It's normal.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Just Ask For What You Want Already


For all the people who ask me for advice or "just want to talk" but who really just want a hook-up or a date or to trade nudes...just stop. Cut out the middleman. I know--you know--we know that you're just going to ask me anyway. 

It will not be any less awkward then. 

It will be more so, because you'll have asked me for advice or asked to get to know me better, I will have given it, only to have you completely disregarded it in the next message.

If you want to know my advice for success in the kink community, here it is: Do your research. 

  •  Join forums here. 
  •  Read. Read books, read blogs, read articles. Read things you agree with. Read things you don't agree with. Read everything and form your own opinions. 
  •  Listen to podcasts. 
  •  Ask questions. 
  •  Join groups. Go to munches and meet up with and befriend the people whose lifestyle you want to be a part of. 
  • And, when you meet those people, respect their boundaries. At every step. Because not doing so is the fastest way to never get what you want.

For the love of whatever god you subscribe to, learn who we are, as people, and don't automatically treat us like some shady personals ad in the back of a porno mag or your personal walking, talking sex-doll fantasy come to life.

Don't assume that just because we're kinky or sex-positive or sexually open that we're obviously and inevitably going to be interested in every sexual invitation extended to us. 

That's not how this works.

In fact, studies show that the more kinky, sex-positive, and sexually open a person tends to be--particularly for women--the more likely we are to believe in advocating for ourselves. The more we're going to believe in and act on our right to say yes and no to whomever we please. For whatever reason we please.

And the less likely we are to put up with the bullshit dance of people who try to weasel around our "no."

And, I know, that's hard to hear. 

But it's a good thing.

I promise.

Because it means you can stop doing the bullshit dance. You can take us at our word. When we say yes, you can enjoy a partner who is as into it as you. Who's going to be an active and enthusiastic partner.

And, when we say we're not interested, you can be sure that we're not and you can move on to someone else without needing to waste anymore time, either yours or ours.

So, please, learn to simply ask for what it is you really want.

If you want a hook-up, ask.

If you want to date, ask.

If you want head. If you want anal. If you want cuckolding. If you want age-play. If you want D/s. If you want ball-busting. If you want a threesome. 

Just ask.

Do yourself a favor and learn the best ways to ask. There are groups for people looking for most things. There are groups and services for people looking for threesomes and hook-ups and dates. There are groups and services where you can trade nudes or dirty talk with people. There are groups and services for people into ball-busting and cuckolding. There are munches for age-play and D/s. Search in places where others are searching for the same thing; you're much more likely to find what you're looking for there. 

After all, you wouldn't go up to a stranger and ask for a job. You wouldn't apply to a retail store for a medical position. You wouldn't randomly try to sell your car to your waitress. 

If you already know what you want, look for someone looking for you. Who is already looking for what you have to offer. Who actively wants what you have to give. It's how we treat every other aspect of our lives. I promise, sex and love can work the same way. 

So very little in life is guaranteed, so set yourself up for success as much as you can.

And, finally, understand that, by asking, all you're requesting is an answer. 

No one owes you an answer. 

And, certainly, no one owes you the one you want to hear.