Sex: A Better Way
"I am a bit troubled. I believe my son has a girlfriend, because she left a dirty magazine with men in it under his bed. My son is only 16 and I really don't think he's ready to date yet. What's worse is that he's sneaking some girl to his room behind my back. I need help, God! I want my son to stop being so secretive!"
From Fundies Say The Darndest Things
"All this gay sex is thanks to Sean Hannity."
From Eric Nelson
And times when you can't:
"The report said that one pledge was nearly passed out and wearing pink fairy wings and women's underwear. Another student was found passed out on the floor. He was wearing a pink tank top, women's underwear and a blond wig. A third student, a rainbow-colored wig and a diaper was found in a corner crying and in pain."
Link from Shakespeare's Sister
(And a far milder version of the same story.)
Most of the time, it's just a case of shaking my head at idiocy, as in "How are these folks intelligent enough to breathe?" *shakes head* And that's all.
But sometimes I wonder how it is that these desperately ignorant and frightened people can view sex in such a (excuse the term) fucked up manner? What drives someone to such an insane view of sex and sexuality?
Yes, I know about rape being not about sex but about power, but that does not remove it from being a seperate activity. Skating is skating; if you add sticks and a puck, you get hockey, but that doesn't change what skating is.
I understand power shifts being used in sex: that is the entire purpose of B&D and S/M. Power is why that game works, but what is vitally important is that everyone who is participating understands that's why it works. It's out in the open. Hell, it's studied with great devotion in some quarters. Trusting someone enough to surrender to them is an astoundingly brave act, so you have to know who it is you're dealing with.
So what's my point?
Recently, a co-worker has started asking me questions about a B&D group that the Significant Other and I visit now and again. This is a good thing, as I like people who are curious more than those who aren't. It was a fairly standard set of questions from someone who hasn't had that much variety in their sexual diet: what do you do; what kind of people go to these things; and the recurring standard: aren't you scared?
The answers are: hang out; people like, well, me; and no.
Let's compare, shall we?
If you go out to a night club, especially if you are a reasonably attractive single woman, you are going to be harassed for the entire night. The people around you are either expecting you to want sex, or are trying to determine such. You are going to be surrounded by folks who are there to have sex, and will drunkenly fumble around until they get it, or end up bitter, frustrated, horny and smashed. You're going to be subjected to a barrage of unwelcome advances, unwanted hands, and quite possibly fed intoxicants you don't know you're taking. If some asshole becomes agressive, you have to hope the bouncer sees before anything goes too wrong.
If you go out to one of the parties the SO and I have attended, expecially if you are a reasonably attractive single woman, you will be approached a few times, it is true. And it will be enirely up to you to accept or decline the invitation. If it becomes known that you haven't been before, and only want to observe, you won't find a friendlier bunch of folks anywhere; in fact, you'll probably be invited to observe them "show you the ropes" (no touching necessary!). I also guarantee that you will NEVER be forced into any situation that makes you (mentally) uncomfortable, and no one will press the issue. Anyone becomes overly agressive here, and first they'll be told to piss off; second they'll be told to leave; and if they go further quite bad things can happen to them. They will, after all, be surrounded by very angry people who are disturbingly good with whips and awfully creative...
A big misconception is that S/M can be forced upon you, and frankly that's bullshit. Playing with this is a high-risk proposition, physically and emotionally, which is why people do it: the risk provides the reward. But there is also quite a strict code, the details of which MUST be worked out by those involved before playtime starts.
1) Work out distress codes for "I don't like that" and "Stop NOW!" (These codes often start by being something odd and meaningful to the person, but eventually everyone goes back to "yellow" and "red". You need to think less.);
2) Go slow with someone you haven't played with before (including your own Significant Other);
3) Communicate constantly;
4) Don't forget aftercare - the sub/bottom/"victim"/whatever is probably (hopefuly) going to be pretty wiped by the end of the scene, so meke sure they're okay;
5) Play in public.
Yes, I actually mean that, but with a caveat: by "public", I'm talking about at a play party. There are a lot of people around, and none of them want anything to go wrong. If someone calls for help, help comes at a dead run.
Now compare this lot with the folks at the (now disbanded) fraternity at the Shakespeare's Sister link above. One group doesn't look at sex as some kind of perverse, fearful thing (unlike, say, these folks). They view sexual variety is just another person's groove, and not really a big deal. They are, to put it bluntly, educated about sex.
This doesn't mean that anyone has to try anything they don't want to! I for instance, have no interest in having sex with a sports mascot; but that doesn't mean I hate furries, or want to see them arrested! I'm not actually afraid of them, you see, and when there is no fear, there is little opportunity for anger.
Then again, I've got a bit of a head start on some people as far as exposure to sexuality goes: I practically learned to read using my dad's poorly-concealed pornography. So maybe it's just me.