Belenen (belenen) wrote,

on tools to create balance: power and immutable-self-determination

Thank you to all those who explained your feelings about BDSM. Reading them helped me to understand it better, I think. I started out thinking that it wasn't ever positive, and through your sharing I learned that it could be. It seems to me that it's a way of using power to create balance -- either between you and your partner through discussing and deciding together, or between you and your public self, or both. Obviously those are positive things; where my personal preference differs is the tool used to create them -- power.

Rather than the tool of power exchange, I prefer to use the tool of immutable-self-determination to create balance (it's ironic that a single word for that concept does not exist). I have the goal of eliminating power/control/authority/roles from my styles of relating. Most people believe that authority is inevitable in human styles of relating; I don't, because I have experienced relating without authority (and I vastly prefer it). I strive to refrain from giving away my authority if I am able to take care of myself, and I strive to refrain from taking responsibility for someone else if ze is able to take care of zirself. I don't want to interact with anyone in a way that uses control, power, authority, or any kind of role -- I want to completely eliminate those from my relationships. This is possible, at least in my reality.

How this relates to [power exchange]*: even if everyone involved wants it, the fact that authority/control is given/taken/used is something I consider a hindrance to equality. Even if the power between a dom and sub is equal, the deliberate USE of power is something I cannot appreciate. The reason I don't participate is not because I see it as unequivocally 'wrong,' but because it falls under the umbrella of relating styles which I have found to be unhelpful for building equality in my life. In my goal for my life, [power exchange] would be a side track that doesn't lead to my goal. Others who do not share the same goal of eliminating use of authority/power exchange/control/roles from their relationships would obviously not be hindered by [power exchange].

I have some friends whom I highly respect who participate in BDSM, and I believe that they have good motives and know what they are doing. I do not have a stereotype of people who participate in BDSM -- I realize that they're just as varied as the rest of humankind. (I do think it is possible to be a feminist and participate in BDSM) Yes, I will feel that those who ONLY have sex with roles are missing out on other possibilities. The same way that I feel that anyone who hasn't tried Bliss pomegranate ice cream is missing out; unless I also say, "people who refuse to try it are [negative adjective]," I am not making a judgment, but rather am making a statement of my faith in how the ice cream is just so good it would appeal to everyone. Objectively, I believe that all paths are equally good, but that does not mean that I feel the same way about each of them. Obviously I'm going to like mine the best. I like it, and I think others would like it, and so I say so.


In response to being called intolerant and bigoted: I'm not showing "stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from [my] own." I'm not saying you have to agree with me or else you are [negative adjective]. There is nothing intolerant about my beliefs. Being 'tolerant' doesn't mean liking everything the same, or associating with every person on the planet -- it means recognizing each person's journey as valid, which I do. Your way works for you, great. In your reality, BDSM may be the very best and highest action anyone could possibly take -- but it is not, in mine. I don't have to like what you do or consider it the best way, subjectively, in order to be tolerant. Being tolerant means that if I was suddenly given the power to stop anyone from ever using BDSM, I would not do it. If I was suddenly given the power to force every BDSM participant to read my opinions on the subject, I would not do it. A belief in the sacred self-determination of every person is mutually exclusive with intolerance.

comments screened. And no, not because I believe that my opinion is the only one that merits being shown, nor because I'm afraid of how people are going to react (people are generally much more rude privately). Because 1) I prefer one-on-one discussion on this matter for maximum openness/honesty (even the disrespectful kind), and 2) publishing comments is not the purpose of my journal. If you want your opinion to be shown, take it to your own LJ.


*I previously had used the acronym BDSM in this paragraph and now that I understand it better, know that I was using the wrong word for what I meant. BDSM does not necessarily include power exchange, and I have varied feelings about the elements that don't include power exchange.
Tags: bdsm, sex, social justice / feminism, the essential belenen collection

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