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Diversity Within The BDSM And Kinky Community

Diversity Within The BDSM And Kinky Community

by Simon Blackthorne at Wasteland.com

As a follow up to the many BDSM and Fetish holiday parties are being held, it seemed like a good time to take a look at diversity in the kinky communities.
What came first? The common prejudice about BDSM and erotic power exchange or the sometimes wrong charisma, erotic power exchange has? And is this charisma at least partially responsible for the prejudice?

Without doubt one influences the other. On one hand we have the ineradicable social prejudice, based on misinformation (mainly by mainstream media) and psychiatrists ventilating outdated or simply ill-based opinions. On the other hand however we see quite a lot of immature behavior from both individuals and groups around the world, that “helps” to sustain the prejudice. Not to mention the vast number of know-it-alls, wannabees and self-proclaimed experts in the erotic power exchange community. The EPE-community (also knows as the BDSM community) if such a thing exists at all, has several major problems when it comes to their “core business”. Problem number one is that the community simply is very tolerant, maybe even too tolerant, which allows for many people, that actually do not have true erotic power exchange emotions, to enter the “scene”. These may be either people that have difficulty finding contacts with people of their own preferences – such as transvestites and fetishists, but quite often also people that “confuse” erotic power exchange with a way to have it all their own selfish way. The other tolerance related problem is that the community fails to set strict borders between what is and what is not erotic power exchange (true, that is not an easy thing to do). The last problem is the fact that the community, at least until now, has never given a definition of what power exactly is exchanged.

Semi scientific pulp

On the other hand, the “scientific” world is not extremely helpful either. Many of those – confronted with human sexual behavior in a professional way – appear to be educated based on extremely outdated information. The best (or worst) example of using outdated information is Krafft-Ebings “Psychopatia Sexualis”, a book that is over a century old but still considered a standard work when it comes to alternative sexual behavior. Krafft-Ebing was the one that came up with the terms sadism and masochism as a description for mental distortions leading to either excessive cruelty or a traumatic need for pain and humiliation and both needing this to gain sexual arousal. It is the recognition of the difference between a compulsive need and a desire the scientific world has problems with.

Over half a century old Freudian opinions are also still widely spread in the scientific community and another phenomena here is that many scientists and doctors also do not seem capable of making the distinction between the description of individual cases (as Freud and others did) and more general social behavior. Next to this, most sexologists still use the McKinsey reports (1950’s) and Masters and Johnson (1960) as reference when it comes to erotic power exchange.

But mind you, it gets worse. Most schools for social workers, nurses, etcetera and even GPs- when it comes to sexual behavior – either teach nothing at all or will spend one entire page of a textbook on it. There – if at all – you will of course find sadism and masochism (often called sadomasochism by the way, as if both exist in person to the same degree and at the same time) under the “perversions” heading. Unexplained, just mentioned, together with necrophilia and others.

The trouble is politicians, legislators and law enforcement will usually base themselves on the same “information”, sketching a picture of cruel creeps and pitiful subs begging for more lashes, desperately licking the boots of their dominant. Especially some German semi-scientists – aiming for plain short term success – have contributed to all of this with some absolute pulp either on “historic descriptions” (such as “Cruelty in Russia through the Ages”, The History of Corporal Punishment” or “The Cane in School and Home Education”) that are usually incomplete, outright wrong and most of all for no real reason connected to sexuality (such as declaring Torquemada – the most prominent Spanish inquisitor – impotent without any proof).

In the wrong corner

The main question probably is: are we in the right corner? Erotic power exchange through the ages has always been the domain of psychologists, psychiatrists and sexologists. These are all people, programmed to cure people from diseases or disorders. In principle there is nothing wrong with that. The trouble however is that as a result of this the subject of erotic power exchange – from a scientific point of view – is predominantly handled as a sickness or distortion. Something that needs to be cured. By approaching the problem from a curative point of view one, by definition, acknowledges the problem researched is something unwanted.

Although erotic power exchange definitely has sexual connotations, the question is if EPE is something that should be dealt with exclusively or predominantly from a sexual point of view. The answer to that question is no. Erotic power exchange is much more – best described as a lifestyle – and should thus primarily be the area for social sciences and studies. Just as homosexuality and heterosexuality as such have sexual connotations, both predominantly have social implications and aspects that are more important and of a much greater social impact.

The BDSM, Kinky and EPE Community

Diversity Within The BDSM And Kinky Community

London Fetish Party In Full Diversity

For various reasons the EPE community – unlike for example the gay community – fails to tackle this problem. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that there is no EPE-community. At best there is a collection of small groups and circles that hardly ever manages to cooperate, team up resources but usually goes down in internal politics. As a result there is hardly any effort put into real and decent research, there is an enormous waste of already very limited financial and other resources and most do not come any further than copying what others already do. Available information is not shared, but every group starts to re-invent the wheel and will produce its own information, that is usually limited. Many initiatives go down in discussions about whether or not the parties in the discussion are “true” or “real” erotic power exchange people and if there is one thing the average group (and unfortunately many individuals as well) can not handle it is different opinions, resulting in tremendous flame wars. One of the best recent examples is what happened to the Internet based alt.sex.bondage (ASB) newsgroup that started out as a discussion forum, aimed to share opinions, thoughts, ideas and questions, but that has grown into a battleground that will probably soon need UN-intervention if it is ever to get back to what it was designed for.

Every leader of an Internet discussion group will sooner or later be confronted with the same problem and this goes for support groups and organizations as well. The lack of commonly accepted principles is the main reason for this, since this allows for all sorts of self-proclaimed heroes to try and have it their own way. And the trouble probably is that there are no common denominators, simply because nobody so far has taken the trouble of trying to formulate them. Which in some areas is extremely difficult to do, but that does not mean it should not be done. And without them it is not only hard to unify the community, it is even a lot harder to change the opinions of the outside world. Prejudiced politicans and legislators – that seem to have an almost perverse need to regulate people’s intimate lives – are all too happy with a playground where they have no reasonable opposition at all.

So, if the chicken and eggs situation is to be broken, it will have to be done by those who want it to be broken, i.e. the people that suffer from the prejudice. Since something between 15 and 30 percent of the adult population at least has erotic power exchange fantasies, unity could make a formidable difference. That, however, can only take place if politicians and legislators will be made to understand this large group might turn against them. As long as the groups stay hiding in the closet, accepting what is happening to them and complaining about it but not doing anything about it, the situation will not change.

See More Commentary, Movies and More from Simon Blackthorne at Wasteland.com

 

About Simon Blackthorne

Simon Blackthorne
Simon Blackthorne is a Dungeonmaster at Wasteland.com. With over 30 years experience as a MaleDom, he brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and wit to the BDSM scene. Simon was one of original directors and contributors to Wasteland starting in 1995 and is a respected leader in the New England BDSM community. You can see Simon's BDSM Video Demonstrations and Tutorials at Wasteland.com

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