anti

Aly Sinclair's picture

China: Anti Porn, Anti Choice, Anti You

Make no mistake my dear friends, China doesn’t like you.

I say you, as I imagine I am most likely preaching to the choir, as whoever reads my article will most likely be of an open mind and or producing some adult videos of their own.

China had decided that it’s citizens should not have the ability to view any adult media in their country on “their” browsers and computers. China had tried to maintain its wholly imagined squeaky clean image by taking a stand against porn. A totalitarian regime is never satisfied until it has consolidated all the power available to it. And, China’s leaders sure would love to tout this feather in their cap. It would beat the drum toward their March toward moral superiority.

Though, to spoil their impressive effort, porn has a foothold that China can’t move. Porn is tied to business and a poke at business would be problematic for their burgeoning international relations and their interest in a free market economy. Smartly, for these same reasons, China’s citizens recognize the importance of porn in this instance. And, just for these same reasons it is a battle they can win. For its citizens, porn represents something much larger than the enjoyment of high definition moans and groans. Rather porn has become a weapon of the abused, which for them come along very rarely.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Anti-BDSMers pretending to look out for us are dangerous

Maymay, the brilliant BDSM activist who was recently attacked and labeled a pedophile on the Salvation Army’s human trafficking email list, has drawn my attention to another lovely little initiative from Citizens Against Trafficking: BDSM: A Case of Human Trafficking (PDF file), by Donna M. Hughes and Melanie Shapiro.

Firstly, the title. “BDSM: A Case of Human Trafficking”. What the paper actually outlines is one single abusive BDSM relationship — the famous Glenn Marcus case — that is, a sadist who seriously mistreated, raped, and threatened the family of a female submissive. So why does the paper’s title imply that BDSM is one huge crazy orgy of human trafficking? If the authors aren’t trying to convince us that S&M is dangerous and scary in itself, then why is the paper full of blanket statements like “A sadist’s goal is the progressive destruction of a victim”?

And what the hell is going on with bits like this:

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One of Marcus’ other sex slaves testified in his defense saying that Jodi was a willing participant in sex games. She said that Marcus was harmless. When prosecutors showed a photograph of this woman’s breasts punctured with dozens of pins, she still insisted it was consensual: “I love being around Glenn. He’s a lot of fun.”
:::::::::::::::

Well, the “sex slave” probably “insisted it was consensual” because it was, you know, actually consensual. I have consensually had pins stuck in me as well, so I can see how someone might “insist”. In fact, the first time I ever did piercing, I purchased the needles myself and explicitly propositioned my partner … then handed him the box.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

5 sources of assumptions and stereotypes about S&M

Why do BDSMers often feel bad about being into S&M? Why do so many of us freak out once we discover our BDSM identity, or live in secret and repress our desires, or write only under false names, or fear openly joining the S&M community, or ….

Well, here’s a particularly sad example of how bad some of us feel. A BDSMer friend works as a therapist who does couples counseling. He once told me about a couple who had some random argument in his office — the argument, apparently, wasn’t even about sex — during which the wife lost her temper and turned away from her husband. “You know what this freak likes?” she snapped, and proceeded to describe her husband’s biggest fetish. Her husband looked humiliated and was quiet.

Now, from the perspective of my kinky counselor friend and my kinky self, the husband’s fetish wasn’t particularly weird — in fact it seems much tamer than, say, my own desire to have needles slid through my skin — but I can see how the fetish would seem weird to the mainstream. More importantly, it was obvious that this poor kinkster’s wife had been using his fetish as her ace in the hole — her secret back-pocket weapon — for quite a long time. Whenever she wanted to shut him up or shame him, she just mentioned his Deep Dark Fetish and he was silenced and shamed.

So. Obviously, there are a lot of poisonous assumptions and stereotypes surrounding S&M. There are so many of them that lots of kinksters have taken them into ourselves: not only do we fear society’s judgment, but we also feel tons of anxiety from internalized social norms.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Salvation Army attacks sex-positive activist through its human trafficking email list

Sometimes people try to tell me that no one has a problem with S&M; that all stigma against S&M is in our heads and that if we BDSMers would just get over our victim complex, we’d discover that society has no real problem with us. I’ve got tons of counterexamples, but today I’m only going to talk about one: my friend maymay, a sex-positive activist and kinkster who has now been painted as a child molester, starting with an attack from the Salvation Army (specifically, two women named Margaret Brooks and Donna M. Hughes).

I admire maymay; he’s done some incredible sex-positive activism. He created the sex-positive unconference model KinkForAll, which swiftly went viral, and co-created Kink On Tap, a smart sexuality netcast with tons of audience participation. Maymay is also out of the closet under his real name, which is an incredibly ballsy and badass move on his part, but one that puts him in all the more danger when absurd and libelous personal attacks like these are launched.

What I find most notable about the Salvation Army attack is that — although maymay’s events and activism focus on general sex-positivity more than BDSM in particular — it’s BDSM that got up their noses. When the Salvation Army’s Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking jumped on maymay, they implied that the “The specific goal of the event [KinkForAll] was to foster an acceptance of bondage, discipline and sadomasochism.” Well, I attended and presented at the first KinkForAll in New York City, and while there was a lot of BDSM information shared, the specific goal of the event was definitely to be generally sex-positive.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Get your gun: it’s open season on BDSMers

I don’t normally blog about every little link that crosses my screen, but a recent email update from the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom drew my attention to this article from Indiana: Bloomington Man Sentenced to 30 Years For Manslaughter of a kinkster.

Here are some excerpts (I’ve run some paragraphs together):

Moore said he was working in Afghanistan as a defense contractor for Blackwater in 2008 when his wife, Laurie, sent him a disturbing e-mail. She said she was having an affair with Morris. Their marriage of 24 years was over. Moore’s time overseas had been the most stressful of his career, and he decided to fly home to deal with the affair in person. Back in Indiana, Moore learned that his wife met Morris through a “bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism” Web site.

“She said a man had been keeping her in a relationship she didn’t want,” Moore said. “I could tell it wasn’t her.”

Really? What were her exact words about her relationship? Did you actually, you know, ask her what she wanted? Or could you just, you know, tell?

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Sex-positive women aren’t out to steal your man

Originally posted at Clarisse Thorn.

Note: This post is a bit feminist-theoretical.

Radical feminists* attack BDSM (and many other marginalized sexual identities) on a variety of ideological grounds — usually claiming that it’s Patriarchy Stockholm Syndrome (an assertion that is not only unproveable but is also usually stated in really hurtful terms, thereby serving mainly to drive kinky people away from feminism or guilt-trip kinky people into suppressing their desires).  But another tactic many radical feminists use against us is slut-shaming, including resentful declarations that sex-positive women (they often patronizingly call us “fun feminists”) are getting all the sexual attention.

If I make the mistake of announcing that I’m into S&M in an unfamiliar vanilla group, then yeah — it’s true — I do get hit on more.  Because the stigma around BDSM is particularly sexualized. But that kind of attention isn’t actually what I want, and it frequently takes really unpleasant forms.  For instance, before I left Chicago I went on one of my friend Ken’s Chicago Sex Tours.  Because it was a sex-related event, I introduced myself to the tour group as Clarisse the S&M activist.  Immediately, people had questions, which is fine and great — that’s part of why I’m an activist: to answer those questions.  But they also had assumptions — most obviously the man who grabbed my ass while I was ahead of him in a stairwell.  Obviously, that dude’s tiny mind was thinking what most similar dudes (and many radical feminists — but I’ll get to this in a minute) think: “Woohoo! A girl who’s into S&M!  She must have no boundaries at all!  Clearly I can grab her ass with impunity!”

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Evidence that the BDSM community does not enable abuse

How can you tell BDSM from abuse?

People ask me this all the time.

The idea behind that question is that BDSM “looks like” abuse. BDSM can leave bruises or other marks of pain. When two people are having a BDSM encounter, then — if an outsider were to walk in in the middle — it might look like a scene of abuse. Hence, one of the biggest fears that people outside the BDSM community have about BDSM is that — although it appears to be consensual — BDSM enables abuse, or is used as a mask for abuse.

Are some BDSM relationships abusive? Unfortunately, some are. But abuse happens, sometimes, in all relationships. There are lots of non-BDSM relationships, whose participants have never even heard of BDSM, that are abusive. And the fact is that the majority of BDSM relationships — just like the majority of vanilla relationships — are completely consensual encounters between adults who have specifically sought out, opened themselves up to, their own BDSM desires.

Just as importantly, there are swaths of the BDSM community that actively work against abuse within the community.

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