Oh Waylon Lewis, if your aim was to “stir the pot,” then you have done a fine job indeed. If your goal was to gain more readers and paying members, I am certain you were also successful with that. However, since your site is supposedly “dedicated to bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society” then your recent post “10 Reasons Why Fifty Shades of Grey should never Tie any Self-Respecting Woman Down” is an epic fail. I will elaborate on that more below. After posting a comment or two and replying to a few comments and a few replies to comments, I opted to retire from the debating society. After all, I never want to earn the title of troll and frankly, I despise debating in the comments section of any website or blog. I am sure my motivation is purely selfish as I do not want to risk diluting any message I feel is worth sharing. Do not misunderstand, I thoroughly enjoy reading articles on the Elephant Journal, obviously some more than others. I am also a paying member, which is perhaps why I feel my indignation is justified.
Yes, I am home blogging on a Friday night, mostly because I’m just a regular woman with a boring 9-5 job and an energetic dog who needs long walks. By this time on a Friday night, I am tired and sitting at home on my couch is exactly where I want to be. More importantly, I am a mental health professional and when I grow up, I hope to help those who wish to be free from sexual judgment, of themselves and of others. Therefore, I take great issue with a writer, whose mission is to assist in enlightenment, who cleverly embeds the words “why-women-should-be-ashamed-to-read…” in the URL of a post analyzing a novel he has not even read. To be sure, I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey nor do I plan to. I am not writing in defense of a fictional account of an allegedly BDSM love affair. Furthermore, I am not going to participate in the debate about feminism and sexism because I do not believe the core issue is either. I do believe the core issue here is sexual repression, of both men and women, and I find it appalling that anyone feels entitled to inform me I should be ashamed to read whatever I choose to read. I have observed women to be just as scathing and judgmental of other women as men are, if not more so. So tell me, Mr. Lewis, of what exactly should I be ashamed? Should I be ashamed to be a self-actualized woman who knows what she wants and is not afraid to go out and get it? Technically, I have been sexually active for about twenty-five years and kinky for nearly fifteen of those. I say technically because I know I was both of those things long before I realized what they were. Thankfully, I let go of my own shame years ago. Unfortunately, our culture has not done the same and in Lewis’s post and the comments that follow, I smell the rotten stench of another iteration of the Madonna-whore phenomenon.
Anyone who has read anything I have written knows I abhor labels. However, if I were to summarize my kink it would read something like this: I am a dominant-leaning and slightly sadistic heteroflexible switch female. I may bottom for the right man but am rarely submissive or masochistic. One response particularly incensed me, “Perhaps you can provide some history and insight beyond the ‘cause I like it’ the other comments begin and end with, to explain what BDSM addresses, why women like to be dominated (or dominate), why men do, why people stay with their abusers, and how these are separate issues.” How do I even begin a rebuttal to something so ignorant and ill informed? Along with my shame I let go of my need to understand, much less defend, why I am kinky because the why is irrelevant and became overshadowed by the how. No one asks another why he or she enjoys being fucked silly, or giving and receiving oral sex or masturbating to vanilla porn…the why is obvious. Because we like it and it feels good. The very same is true of BDSM. More than once I have witnessed an exhibitionist masochist brought to orgasm by a sadist’s flogging. Personally, I have had high-powered executive men beg me to humiliate and abuse them. It is not my place to question why, as a play partner it is my job to discover how.
All healthy relationships require a good amount of integrity and responsibility; perhaps BDSM relationships require a bit more of each. A good friend of mine, who incidentally turned me on to Fetlife, once told me “this is heady stuff, not for the faint of heart.” One might argue that we could say that of all relationships wherein the partners are willing to be intimate and vulnerable with each another. In BDSM relationships as in all others, we have a responsibility to ourselves to cultivate healthy ego-strength and intact self-esteem so we can clearly ask for what we need and set appropriate limits and boundaries. To thine own self be true, always.