Monday, February 15, 2016

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

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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.

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