Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Submission IS a Gift! On Condition

I'm going to start by saying right off the bat that you can call your submission—or by extension, your submissive's submission—anything you damn well want. You want to call it a gift, fine. You want to call it a loan, also fine. You want to call it the cherry on top of your vanilla ice cream cock, have it at; it really makes no difference in my life.
Ok? Good.
It seems to me lately there is a strong and vocal group on Fetlife who believe that submission is "not a gift." These anti-gifters get very intent on informing people of that so-called fact; especially people—especially subs—who state the opposing view.
The thing is, most of the time they're not arguing philosophy, or sharing ideas. They're mocking and deriding anyone who calls their submission a gift. They hurl insults at these people like they're uneducated rookies—

Let's not even talk about how we treat rookies. Or, let's, but in another post—
and end up in this little circle-jerk of snide contempt. They claim submission is not a gift because gifts are supposed to be given freely, with no expectation of exchange or return...didn't we all know that? If a sub is handing out their submission like candy to a baby, they're doing it wrong. They need to get a clue; go back to the basics.

Well, hate to break it to you guys, but not all gifts come duty-free. There is indeed such a thing as a "gift with strings attached." There is actually a legal term for this: it's called the Conditional Gift.

Conditional Gift: a gift of property which is revocable if the recipient does not fulfill conditions attached to the gift.

The most common example of a Conditional Gift is an engagement ring. In all but a few states, if a man gives his partner an engagement ring but the wedding doesn't happen, his partner is legally obligated to return the ring. It was not given unconditionally, "no strings attached"; it was given on the condition that a marriage takes place.
Another type of Conditional Gift is what often happens in people's wills. They bequeath money to friends or family, but with conditions how the money must be used. It may have to go toward a child attending college, for example, or the purchase of a house. If the money isn't used the way the giver intended, the funds must be returned.
This, my friends, is often what submission is in a D/s dynamic: a Conditional Gift. It is given with the assumption that it will never be returned...so long as the submission is treated the way the submissive needs and desires. In most cases I know of, the submissive wants to be made to feel like their submission is appreciated, respected, and cherished. As long as that happens, it need never end.

The submission need never be "returned" to the submissive.

(And yes, before any of you jump on me, Domination works the same way. No Dom I know is willing to dominate a sub who does not appreciate—or get turned on by—their style of dominance. It's just not fun that way.)
Submission is not a loan, because the truth is, it can never be returned—once given, the time and service spent in submission cannot be taken back. And really, who would want it to work that way? When care and thought is put into submission, it is personalized to the receiver. It cannot be simply handed over to someone else, traded in like a used car.

I have more than one person I submit to in my life—and I do mean in a kinky, D/s way—and they all get different styles, different displays, of my submission. The way I submit to one is not the same way I submit to another; they would not want me to submit to each one of them the exact same way.
And frankly, I wouldn't be able to, even if I tried. My submission is not generic. It changes, depending upon the person.
It is my gift given...conditionally.

I think it's funny how so many people here will jump on dictionary definitions to stand higher atop their soapboxes and claim submission is not a gift. These are often the same people who are sticklers for rules, protocols, and contracts in the D/s dynamic.

Yet if one wants to get all formal and legal, there is a term for what we do, what we submissives give...and the word "loan" isn't in it.

Or it doesn't have to be. If you want to call it a loan, fine. Like I said in the beginning, whatever makes you happy. Just don't try to serve me up a helping of sneers and jeers next time I call my submission a gift. I think this time contract law is on my side.

Here is a gratuitous Big Bang Theory clip, simply because it's so timely and funny:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I Was A Rape Victim, and I Didn't Know It. This Is My Story.

I've been debating writing this post for a while. I think the why of it will become clear as you read on. But a couple of posts that have recently made K&P made me think that maybe my experience could help someone else.
I was raped in college.
This is what happened:
I had a boyfriend whom I will now refer to as Slink. Slink was a rather shady character: charming, beguiling, but deep-down dangerous. He would manipulate me, control me in ways that rang my WARNING bells from the beginning…but that was part of the excitement. He liked to control me, but I needed the control.
I had not yet learned how to differentiate between "good" control and "bad" control.
He was a Bad Boy, and I was the girl who liked the danger. As many young women do, I romanticized it. (I stopped doing that shit a long time ago…but I understand why so many women do that. The danger is what's so fucking enticing and addictive.)
Slink and I were already having sex, but we had to be sneaky about it—quick fucks in dark corners and secret rendezvous, like a scandalous game of cloak-and-daggers. He was rough and forceful, always just on the cusp of turning violent. His aggression only added to my captivation. I was a little bit afraid of him, but I needed that fear, and he never went over the edge.
He never did, until he did.
He brought up the subject of anal sex. I was too embarrassed to tell him I was already well familiar having fun with that area of my body, but I replied with an enthusiastic yes: I was willing to try it, absolutely.
We met in his dorm room. I stayed after curfew started.
This becomes important later.
We got naked; did all the foreplay stuff. It was actually sweet for a while, because he didn't usually do all the lovey-dovey things I thought of as foreplay. He kissed me, caressed my body, and I felt good; I felt special that a Bad Boy like him would show me this side of him.
Then he flipped me over on my hands and knees and started pushing himself into my ass.
There was no pre-stretching, no lube, no preparation of any kind. It hurt like hell. I wanted him to stop, and I told him so.
He didn't stop.
I tried to maneuver myself over so I could look him in the face as I told him to stop; then he would have to stop. He grabbed onto me, onto my hips.
I started to struggle and yell. He didn't stop.
I started to scream and cry; scream because I couldn't believe this was happening, and cry because it hurt so fucking much. He still didn't stop.
Finally I was screaming so loudly, I got the attention of some guys outside in the hall. They started knocking on the door, asking why they could hear female-sounding screaming within—curfew was over, didn't he know?
The knocking distracted Slink just enough that he loosened his grip on my body, and I quickly wrangled myself away. In the time it took Slink to offer some kind of response to the guys outside, I put on my shirt and skirt—my bra was left behind, I never saw it again—grabbed my shoes, and swung open the door.
There was a small group standing there. They paused, and stared down at me in surprise. I bowed my head low, and kept it there as best I could so they wouldn't see my face.
I ran out of the building barefoot. I put my shoes on only when I was halfway to my own dorm building, and I could feel the gravel cutting into my feet.
I was afraid to tell anyone what had happened, because I didn't want to get into trouble: I was not supposed to have been in Slink's room after curfew. I was afraid if I told anyone at the school what had happened—what he had done to me—they might punish Slink, but they would punish me, too.
My fear was not unwarranted.
The next day, I did tell a counselor. In a very kind and motherly way, she told me that I didn't have to worry, that she would take care of things from there on out. She told me she would make sure I would not be punished for being in Slink's room after curfew—a favor she was doing me, she called this—even though that had been very wrong of me.
She made sure to remind me that this was why they had rules like curfew...that if I had just followed the rules, I could have prevented all this from happening. Prevented myself from getting hurt.
I could not argue with her.
Now, here's where we get back to the subject of this post. For many years, I never thought of myself as a "rape victim." I knew something bad had happened to me, yes; something terrible and wrong. But I never, not once, thought of it as rape.
I didn't think of it as rape because—and please, don't roll your eyes at me, okay?—since Slink never actually finished doing the deed, since he didn't get to come inside me, then it wasn't actually a case of rape. It was...something else. Something horrible, yes, but not rape.
The word "rape" never entered my mind.
It wasn't until a whole lot of years later, reading some article in a news magazine about another rape case, that I realized what Slink had done to me was rape, that he didn't have to finish inside me for it to still be rape—the fact that he entered my body under those conditions, knowing full well he did not have my consent, made it rape.
Suddenly realizing it was rape did not change anything. Or maybe it did, a little; putting memories in different contexts always changes them to some extent. But it didn't change the effect of what that night had on me.
That was done.
You might think I was stupid for thinking if a guy doesn't actually finish, orgasm, inside a woman's body, that it's not really rape.
I probably was. But there are a lot of reasons why women might not think what was done to them was rape:
  • Maybe the guy was really a nice person who would never do that, so it's not really rape.
  • Maybe they had sex with the guy before, so clearly the guy had carte blanche right to have sex with them again, so it's not really rape.
  • Maybe they were giving mixed-signals, so it's not really rape.
  • Maybe the guy was their boyfriend, lover, or spouse, so it's not really rape.
  • Maybe there was something else they could've done, some way they could have made their objections clearer, so it's not really rape.

•Maybe the rape was partly their fault, so it was not really rape.

So. Hi. I'm Shelby, and I was, once upon a time, a rape victim who didn't know she was raped.
One of the big reasons why I was loathe to post about this is because I don't want this to change the way people think of me. I don't want pity, and I certainly don't want this to be the thing that somehow humanizes me in anyone's eyes. I was not the proverbial Rape Victim; I wasn't then, and I'm not going to become one now. I went through a lot worse than what that rape did to me, believe me; both before that night, and after. Take that as you will.
But I will say this: I did not deserve to be raped.
I liked going out with the Bad Boys. That does not mean I deserved to be raped.
I was in his room after curfew. That does not mean I deserved to be raped.
I made stupid decisions. That does not mean I deserved to be raped.
I learned from my bad decisions. I learned the hard way.
Maybe some people out there who read this post will learn from my mistakes, and save themselves from making a few of their own. "A smart person learns from their mistakes; a wise person learns from other people's mistakes."
I can hope so.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tools Are Good. Temperament Is Better.

I'll tell you Cats and Roosters a little secret:
As far as "Domly tools" skills go?
Husband has practically none.

He does not know how to throw a whip fluidly. He does not know how to throw a flogger with mastery. He does not know how to handle rope with the dexterity of an artist.
He knows how to handle a hairbrush, but that's about it.

He uses floggers to make me hurt. He uses rope to tie me down. He doesn't bother with whips at all—why spend the money on a whip, when there's a power cord right fucking there? 

He has a collection of canes, rulers, and sticks he loves to use on me. They are rather simple tools in that they are easy to use, and have a really good Effort:Reaction ratio.
You aim, lift, swing, drop...and the body beneath you is suddenly wailing in agony. Not bad, when you consider all the trouble you can get into with a whip; I don't know a single whip enthusiast alive who's never hit themselves with a whip. Whips are wily toys, and like snakes, they can sometimes bite their charmers.

Husband feels no great urge to learn how to use those toys, because the passion for him is not in the skill. It is in the results.
Is the wife contained? Is she subdued? Is she terrorized? Yes to all three? Then mission accomplished.

He will sometimes cuff me down to the bedpost when he knows he's embarking on a particularly difficult scene with me. I do my best to follow orders, but I'm still human, and when I'm reduced to the mindset of PREY, my instincts usually take over; and those instincts boil down to FIGHT and RUN.
Make no mistake, though, when he cuffs me down, he is doing me a favor. He is being nice, allowing me the freedom within those restraints, because it is ten times harder to control the PREY urges when I'm acting on his voice, and his orders alone.
It is hard. On the other hand, I am well trained.

But GOD there are times when I just want to beg him to put the cuffs on me.

You don't have to be proficient at this-or-that tool in order to be a Dom.
You just have to know how to dominate.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Failure to Protect

When I was in college living abroad, I took some self-defense classes by a short little harmless-looking man I'll call The New Yorker. He had grown up in America, but had spent many years in the IDF, training soldiers in one-on-one combat. I don't know exactly how many years, or precisely what his job title was; he was the kind of man who kept many secrets...the kind of secrets I was safer off not knowing.
It was an honor to be trained at all by him. Those few lessons he gave me were a precious gift.
I don't remember anymore most of the maneuvers he taught me. But I do remember one moment quite well:
He asked me to punch him. I could not. He asked again; I hit, feebly.
"Don't hit me like I'm attacking you," he said. "Hit me like I'm attacking your kid."
The ploy worked. I hit much harder. Not hard enough to do him any damage whatsoever, of course...but he smiled at my efforts, which meant a lot.
Years later, back in the States, I was helping a friend shape up for a karate class. She tried to swipe a kick at the sandbag I was steadying for her, but I could tell she was holding back.
"Don't think of it like you're defending yourself," I said. "Think of it like you're defending your kid."
"But I don't have any kids," she said.
"Then your best friend," I said.
The ploy worked, and she kicked the bag much harder.
We are often able to let go of things done to us. When someone says nasty shit to us or about us, we're able to put it into perspective, realize the jerk is just being, well, a jerk, and move on.
It's harder to move on so quickly when the shit being stirred about surrounds a friend. Our urge is often to protect; we go all MamaBear on the asshole who dares to harm our loved one. We say things, and do things, we would never do to defend ourselves.
The problem is that by giving into this need to protect our friends—whom we often think of as family—we take away their ability to protect themselves. We scream on their behalf, and take away their voice. We choose who should know their story, and take away their choice. We guard them against further harm, and in so doing, trap them in place...making it impossible for them to move on.
When a friend is hurt, the thing to do is to listen to what they need. Sometimes they don't need anything else but for someone to listen.
And sometimes, yes, they will ask you for your support as they speak out. Sometimes this support is not so easy to give; sometimes it may cost you dearly. It is a choice whether you can emotionally, and psychologically, afford it.
I once failed to support a friend when she spoke out against her abuser. I regret that decision to this day; it still haunts me. I have long since forgiven any person who ever violated my consent in the kink community, but I cannot forgive this man who harmed her.
She, meanwhile, has moved on completely from this man. He no longer has any sort of hold on her life.
This is the way of it sometimes. We can forgive those who try to harm us, but we cannot forgive those who harm the people we love.
The people we often need to forgive are not those who would do our friends and family harm. It is ourselves we need to forgive, for failing to protect them.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bratty Shoelaces

If you tell a Brat to tie your shoes, and she's not feeling particularly bratty, she will kneel down and tie your shoes.
If you tell a Brat to tie your shoes, and she's feeling a little bit bratty, she'll say, 'No.'
If you tell a Brat to tie your shoes, and she's feeling a little more bratty, she'll say 'No,' cross her arms, stick her tongue out, and wait.
If you tell a Brat to tie your shoes, and she's feeling quite bratty, she'll come over, kneel down, and tie your shoelaces together.
If you tell a Brat to tie your shoes, and she's feeling extra bratty, she'll come over, kneel down, and start giving you a blowjob while furtively unlacing your shoes altogether.
If you tell a Brat to tie your shoes and she has a death wish, she will come over, kneel down, and spit on your shoes.
If you tell a Brat to tie your shoes and she wants her death to be slow and painful, she will spit in your face.
Now, if you are a smart Dom—and like having the Brat around to torture on a regular basis—you will not kill her. You will make her think she is going to die, but you will not kill her. You will, however, teach her a lesson she will never forget....
Until the next time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Consensual Non-Consent: This Is Where The Tea Analogy Breaks Down

Inspired by this video: 

Top and bottom negotiating CNC scene over PMs:
bottom: All this talk about tea has made me want a consensual non-consent tea scene. I want you to hold me down and pour tea down my throat. Don't be gentle about it either; I want to be fucking choking on that shit.
Top: That sounds hot. I've always wanted to do a tea-choking scene; sounds like waterboarding! Yeah!
bottom: Hey now, don't make it like waterboarding. I don't want any tea up my nose.
Top: Ah; okay. I'll have to hold you down vertically somehow, then. I'll use a dental gag—
bottom: No, dental gags are a big trigger. I gotta call RED on that.
Top: Uh, okay...no problem! I'll just, um...hold your jaws open. Fuck yeah, this'll be hot! Pour that scalding hot tea down your throat—
bottom: No fucking way! I don't want scalding hot tea down my throat, are you nuts? I'll burn. Make it warm.
Top: Alright; no scalding hot tea. I'll blow on it first. But I'll make you finish that whole fucking cup...maybe even the whole set of cups—
bottom: You got a tea set?
Top: Of course; I am well prepared. Like I said, I've always wanted to do a tea-choking scene.
bottom: What color is the set?
bottom: Ok; blue is okay. Pink would not have been okay. Pink squicks me out.
Top: Well, now that I think about it, the saucers might have pink flowers on them. But that's okay, I know someone else who has a plain blue tea set, I can borrow his—
bottom: HOLD ON THERE, BUCKO. We are not inviting someone else's tea set into our scene.
Top: I can blindfold you?
bottom: That might work. Maybe.
Top: Um...look, why don't we sit down somewhere and really go over this scene from beginning to end. You want to get together in person somewhere? Maybe have a cup of tea with me?
bottom: We're not done negotiating, and you already want to start a scene with me!
Top: No no, not a SCENE. Just two people sitting in a restaurant, having a cup of tea.
bottom: Oh. Okay then. Sounds good.
Moral of the story: Consensual Non-Consent is not like asking someone if they'd like a fucking cup of tea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The moment you start taking your relationship for granted is the moment your relationship is doomed

Every new relationship starts off with hope and possibility. As you're just getting to know your partner, you're finding out their quirks, while they're trying to figure out yours, too; and while you're sure to step on a few land mines along the way, the hunt to find them is part of the adventure.
They don't call it "New Relationship Energy" for nothin'.
Eventually, if the relationship continues, it starts to sink into a sort of routine. You begin to make plans surrounding the other person's schedule—not just time-wise, but emotion-wise: you know if they greet you with a capturing smile, it's time to smile back; if they grin briefly then turn away, it's time to give them some personal space; if they give you an evil grin with a hint of mirth and a sparkle in their eyes...and you happen to be a sub-type...it's time to run.
You begin to understand the other person—what makes them tick, what shapes them, how everything in their history has led them up to who they are today.
And slowly, as you sink comfortably into this new routine, a new sense of security sinks in.
Which is wonderful. It may not be as exciting or titillating as the New Relationship Energy was, but it's got its own magic and appeal. There's the knowledge that you've gotten to know each other well enough, and come to care for each other deep enough, to be fairly certain that the other person will be there for you through the thick. The more memories you make together, the more certain you're likely to be.
This assurance feels great.
It can also be dangerous if you start taking your partner for granted.
You start making assumptions about their needs, their wants, their desires...what is a necessity for them in the relationship, and what your partner can live without.
Things you used to do for them, you no longer do. Sweet words of love you used to tell them, you no longer bother to say. Or maybe worse, you start saying things to them you wouldn't dream of saying to a stranger on the street.
Why are you being so rude to a person you claim to care about?
Little favors you used to do for them to make their lives better, you don't bother offering anymore...because why should you? Your partner isn't doing you favors anymore. They're just...doing what they've always done, and will always do.
Except there is no always. Not in any relationship.
I don't care what kind of relationship you have—D/s, M/s, O/p, or pure vanilla. Don't care, it's still true: people need to feel appreciated.
The moment your partner starts feeling like they are not appreciated? THAT is the moment a crack forms in the foundation of your relationship. Doesn't matter how old the relationship is, or what you've been through together, either.
A person who feels taken for granted is a person who starts slipping away.
I've seen marriages fall apart because of this; Master/slave dynamics crumble like wet sand, often leaving one partner staring at the receding back of the other, wondering what the hell just happened.
I thought we were fine, I sometimes hear. I thought we would last.
They stopped seeing their partner as a blessing, and started seeing them as something they would forever have—and deserve—no matter what.
People who've been in long term relationships can tell you, things don't work that way.
Let me be clear, I'm not talking about 'the-chips-are-down-extenuating-circumstances' situations here. When one of you gets sick, or loses a job, or suffers a death in the family...hell yes, you should be able to rely on your partner to be there for you. (At least, as much as they can be.)
But to take your partner's help for granted, and not consider once what their help is costing them? That rings out the cloister bell of doom right there.
Always remember, your partner's contributions to the relationship need to be acknowledged. They need to know they hold value in your life.
(Unless they don't. In which case, your relationship is doomed anyway.)

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Post That Caused So Much Controversy

I wrote the following post on Fetlife this past weekend, and it's caused quite a bit of controversy—more than I thought rational, frankly. 
I realize it's hard to get consensus on what should be reasonable grounds to get someone banned from kinky events. Many times, situations come down to the 'he said, she said' problem, and when one of the people involved in the 'drama' happens to be a friend, it's easy to let personal feelings get in the way. No one wants to believe their friend is capable of abuse; no one wants to believe their friend is capable of making up abuse. Proof and verifiable fact is often hard to come by.
But I would like to think we can ALL agree that these four types should not be allowed to kinky events. If we cannot agree on even THIS, we are, in my opinion, in trouble.

1. Anyone who has been convicted of rape, sexual assault, or attempted murder.

I shouldn't even have to explain this one. Seriously people.
(Except, apparently, I did and do have to explain this one, because people on Fetlife started asking me things like 'What if the attempted murder was in self-defense?' and 'What about actual murder, and not attempted murder?' So here's my answer: IF SOMEONE HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF MURDER, THEY SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED IN KINK EVENTS.  Jesus, the fact that I even have to type this out....also, I am not interested in 'what if' situations. 'What if the person deserved to be murdered?' Really?....Really?)

2. Anyone who engages in child pornography.

It all comes down to consent: children cannot consent. If you don't get why that is, you do not understand consent, and you're a danger to the rest of us.
(This is where I had on Fetlife people telling me how this is too vague because different countries have different ages of consent, and in some countries it's eighteen while in others it's fourteen. To which all I can think to say is, IF YOU ARE HAVING SEX WITH A FOURTEEN YEAR OLD GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME.)

3. Anyone who is on the National Sex Registry/a registered sex offender.

Don't tell me how easy it is to wind up as a registered sex offender. I don't want to hear your one-sided version of how it wasn't your fault, how you were duped, how the judge was out to get you.
If we allow known sex offenders into our play spaces, we basically throw any semblance of caring about the safety of our community out the window.
(This one caused a huge stir. Yes, I understand that people who are not a danger to society are ending up on the registry; yes, I think that's sad. But if we get so bogged down with every 'what if' situation, we keep no standards whatsover. To every rule there is an exception...and to every exception there is a rule.)

4. Anyone who is a self-admitted rapist, abuser, stalker, sociopath, or psychopath—whether they have been convicted of any crimes or not.

I am not talking about those who made a mistake or two on their journey, owned up to their mistakes, learned from them, and moved on. If we banned every Top who ever acted "unDomly" (read: like an asshole), we'd end up with play spaces with no Tops; if we banned every bottom who ever acted like a childish brat, we'd end up with play spaces with no bottoms. I am talking about people who have admitted to violating consent, perhaps publicly justified it, perhaps even braggedabout it, showed absolutely no remorse, and shamed their victims into silence in the process. I am talking about those who would probably face conviction of a crime if their victim(s) were willing to come forward.
I am talking about those who glorify their own abusive and criminal behavior.
(For some reason commentators on Fetlife read the heading, but not the paragraph. I am not talking about safe sociopaths here. I realize there are plenty of people with different mental illnesses in our communities who are good, upstanding, model citizens; I am not talking about them. Like I said, I am talking about those people who do evil and feel no regret, remorse, or shame about it.)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Living With an Anti-Social IMPOSSIBLE Dom

Him: Do you want to do anything special for your birthday?
Me: YES! That sounds great!
Me: Notices the notifications for a party on Kink.com's Upper floor, RSVPs "YES."
Early October
Him: You want to go to Vegas for your birthday?
Me: YES!
Cancels RSVPs to Upper Floor party.
Mid October
Him: We can't go to Vegas for your birthday. Make other plans.
Me: Maybe, um, a party?
Him: No.
Late October
Him: Make plans for your birthday!
Me: Like what?
Him: YOU decide.
Last week of October
Him: Did you make plans for your birthday?
Me: Yeah...we can go bowling or...something.
Him: You don't sound very excited.
Me: Will you at least take me to the munch? Please?
Him: Maybe. I'll think about it.
Two days before my birthday
Him: We're not going to do anything exciting for your birthday, are we?
Me: Can you PLEASE take me to the munch. ONCE A YEAR, that's all I ask.
Him: Fine, I'll come to the munch. But it's too bad I won't be able to give you your birthday spankings there.
Me: ...You want to give me birthday spankings?
Him: Yeah. Too bad we're not going to a party.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

My Response to Master James' Post

My response to Master James' post, slightly edited from my Fetlife version:
In his post, Master James tries to turn SSC into a triangle.... thing is, SSC is not a mathematical algorithm, and it's not a geometric equation. Words like "safe," "sane," and "consensual" are completely subjective. But MJ would like people to think SSC is straight and true, and he gives an example of his point: the guy who found someone to butcher and eat him.
This is, obviously, an extreme example. There's a reason why MJ's example had to be so extreme: get any less extreme, and you'll have people arguing over what's safe, what's sane, and what's consensual. Which they did, in the comments section of his post.
Who gets to decide what's abuse, and what's not?
According to Master James, "abuse is not a question of whether or not you can scrape together some people who have been at the nasty end of your abuse to defend you. It's that your triangle is clearly missing a side to it. And it remains abuse no matter how well you sensationalise it. No matter how well you sexualise it. No matter how well you managed to target people who are so new they don't know enough about this stuff to know they don't have to blindly accept whatever you tell them. Or no matter how well you managed to target people who had become so accustomed to abuse in their past, that they were willing to accept your abuse as normal."
Which basically means that we, as a community, get to slap on the label of "abuse" on any behavior we think is abuse...whether the "victim" is calling it abuse or not.
This is where MJ and I disagree.
It is a very dangerous, slippery slope, deciding that we, as a community, can judge what's safe, sane, and consensual in other people's relationships. It means we are taking away the ability of bottoms everywhere to decide for themselves whether what they experience is abuse, or not; whether what they're asking for is abuse, or not.
We end up infantilizing bottoms everywhere, as an entire group.
We take away their right to consent.
Bottoms have the right to call 'abuse' when that is their personal experience. I take that as an absolute statement—period, the end. If you don't agree with that—if you think bottoms should have to jump through hoops just to be able to share their truth...like, saycall the police before they dare complain, or take "personal accountability" for the part hey played in their own abuse, or make them apologize for taking so damn long to gather up the courage to say anything—then you and I are going to be on opposing sides to this argument, and there will be no compromise here.
(Do bottoms feel comfortable with sharing their stories of abuse? No. But they should.)
The thing is...if we want bottoms to feel comfortable sharing their stories in cases of abuse, the corollary must also be true: bottoms should feel comfortable sharing their stories when they do NOT think it's abuse.
Personal story time: A while back, I had what many would call an 'extreme' scene with my Top. There was chain, a spreader bar, and whips involved. There was a lot of screaming and swearing going on. There was sobbing, too. There was choking on snot and tears. There was loudly wishing him a deadly case of hemorrhoids.
It took me a few days just to start processing that scene.
I was wary to talk about it. But people were asking me, so I felt obligated to say something.
"It was intense," I would answer them. "Very intense."
"I'm sorry it was bad for you," more than a few immediately jumped in. "That's hard."
"I didn't say bad," I replied. "I said intense. It was not a bad scene at all. Just...intense." It was the only word I could come up with.
Some scenes are like that. They are beyond articulation.
Frankly, I feel lucky to have experienced scenes like them.
We want bottoms to feel comfortable sharing the experiences of their own scenes. We want them to have safe, sacred ground to tell their stories, and bare witness to others.
The best thing to do is often to just listen. Do not judge, do not critique...just listen.
I could end my post with that. But that would be dangerous, too.
Because some bottoms are grappling with the idea that what they experienced is abuse, and they lack the articulation for that, too.
What you end up with is a bottom who is beginning to feel the effects of the abuse—they might be small, they might be well hidden, but abuse always has an effect on the body and mind—and the bottom doesn't know what to do.
On the one side, she has a Top who is making damn sure to tell her whatever he's doing to her, or did do to her, is not abuse. No how, no way; she's crazy if she thinks it is.
On the other side, she has friends who are telling her "It's up to you to decide what's abuse and what's not, dear. We support you either way."
And on the other side...she's got the entire kink community doing a very good job of showing her that if she comes out with allegations of abuse, she will be mocked, shunned, ostracized, disbelieved, and possibly outed.
...Gee, I wonder what she'll choose to do.
There is no easy answer here, no right or wrong way. Every case is different, and every case must be handled with compassion—and hopefully, a sense of principle.
Like I said, this is not a mathematical algorithm. This is the human condition.

(If you would like to see the full Fetlife version, click here to be redirected to Fetlife: https://fetlife.com/users/925156/posts/3331581)