The Not-So-Great Trigger Debate

Plenty of people in the BDSM community have triggers.  To be clear, I’m not talking about things that make them uncomfortable or squick them out; I’m talking about things that put them in a really bad place, things that may require removing themselves from the situation and/or emotional care.  Heavy things.  Many of these triggers involve a past traumatic experience of some sort.

What baffles me is when people try to place responsibility for avoiding their triggers on other people.  It may not be any fault of your own that you have that trigger, but now that you do have it, it’s yours.  Just like a medical condition, it’s up to you to take care of yourself by whatever means necessary.  If you’re diabetic, it’s up to you to eat right, check your sugar, and take your insulin.

This is one reason I find the call for people to announce trigger warnings at the beginning of every scene preposterous.  I’m sorry that you have that trigger, but I’m not going to tiptoe around you.  You came to a BDSM event knowing that people will be engaging in BDSM there.  If certain types of BDSM trigger you, then you have the decision to either skip the event or risk being triggered.  (Obviously if you’re unaware that you have a certain trigger, that’s different.)  When you willingly walk into an area knowing that people are doing things there that could trigger you, you’re making a choice.

People aren’t going to stop their scenes to announce it every time they’re about to break out a different toy or move on to a different form of play.  And announcing what types of play they may be doing at the beginning of the scene won’t do any good; only those present for that announcement will know.  What about the others who walk into the playspace after that announcement was made?

On top of that, there are so many triggers that it’s impossible to avoid them all.  People may be triggered by knives, littles (especially if it’s sexual in nature) face-slapping, choking, the top raising their voice, resistance play, blood, punching, sex, using certain words, tears, or any number of other things which are incredibly common at BDSM events.  Lots of people have triggers.  Some have more than one.  Now multiply that by all the people at the event, each with their own individual triggers.  How can you avoid them all?

I only have one trigger that I’m aware of.  It doesn’t hit me every time I run into it, but when it does, it can knock me out of action for the night or longer.  My trigger is a fairly common thing at many events, so it would be unrealistic to ask everyone to avoid this one thing while I’m around.  I take the more reasonable approach of taking care of myself.  I avoid certain events.  Other times I may leave early.  Or step outside for a while to remove myself from the situation.  Or grab someone I trust and find someplace private.  My well-being is my responsibility.  Trying to foist it on other people as if it were their problem would be rude.

One reason people come to these events is because they may not be able to engage in these forms of play at home for whatever reason.  Maybe they have kids in the house or are taking care of an elderly parent.  They could have thin walls in their apartment.  They may live in a dorm or barracks.  Requiring them to act as if their Grandma was in the room at an event would only drive them away.  People go to cut loose.  To do all the filthy, pervy BDSMy stuff that we do.

When you walk into a BDSM event, you’re aware that you’re likely to see and hear all sorts of extreme things.  There is no need for a walled-off “trigger zone” since nearly every scene would be required to happen in there.  The entire playspace is that “trigger zone”.  If you’re not ok with that, you don’t have to go in.  (Alternately, setting up a private party of your own with certain types of play being off-limits is an option.)  However, requiring a bunch of random strangers to conform to your requirements at a public event which you choose to attend is not going to be met well.

Humiliation is Bad, M’kay?

I frequently see people online complaining that all practitioners of feminization (as a form of humiliation play) are misogynistic assholes.  While this is flat-out wrong (especially in assuming that all who share a fetish also share a hive mentality) I’ve already covered my thoughts on why this is. I’m not going to beat that into the ground.  The short answer is that some are, some aren’t.

What I find strange is these same peoples’ silence over something very similar, especially since they’re normally so outraged about feminization as humiliation.

One very common form of verbal humiliation is to call the bottom things like “slut” or “whore”.  This is much more common among female bottoms.  It’s essentially slut-shaming as a kink.  Why do they consider this ok but not feminization?  If people get off on being shamed for being/appearing “X”, then according to the anti-feminization peoples’ logic, they must feel that “X” itself is shameful and bad.  Personally I’d much rather delve into each person’s reasons for getting off on these things before passing judgement, but for those who like to lump everyone of one group into a category, where is the outrage?

In my opinion, many of them are simply playing with the shame society thrusts upon promiscuous women.  So if that’s easy to understand, why is doing the exact same thing with feminization an issue?  Society also thrusts shame on men who dress as women.  How is that any different?  It’s playing with society’s assbaggery and making something sexy out of it.

Likewise, what about those into small-cock humiliation?  Do they really feel that everyone with a small dick is worthy of ridicule?  Or is it simply something that pushes these peoples’ buttons?  I tend to go with the latter.  People can be erotically humiliated by a lot of different things, but it doesn’t mean that they’re against people who possess whatever particular quality they’re playing with.

Can we please stop trying to group everyone into our own little boxes and assigning our own thought processes to them?  Most Muslims are not terrorists.  Most Christians are not of the Westboro Baptist variety.  Judge people as individuals rather than making your own assumptions about what motivates them and how they feel.

Community Evolution and Waffles

I’ve been involved in the Pittsburgh BDSM community for over nine years now.  A lot has changed in that time.  Some better, some worse, some neutral.  It’s a completely different place than when I first got involved.

  • There are more groups.  Roughly 20 active groups in the area.  We have general BDSM groups as well as special-interest groups of all sorts.  Which leads to:
  • More events.  Parties, munches, demos, sloshes, happy hours, etc.  We average around 25 events a month.  It’s impossible to go to everything, both from a scheduling standpoint as well as a financial one.
  • When I first got involved, there was a clear distinction between community leaders and everyone else.  The leaders ran things, and everyone else showed up.  Now, anyone who is willing to take on some responsibility can start a group.  More people are willing to pitch in or volunteer at events.  People realize they have the power to change things or start something from scratch.  This is a huge positive step in my opinion.
  • The local dungeon went under.  It used to be a social hub as well as the one place we could play publicly.  Once that happened, people seemed like lost sheep for a while.  But within a matter of months, lots of folks stepped up and started filling the void with things like this:
  • There are a lot more informal events.  People may set up a bowling trip, movie, trip to an amusement park, private house party, and all sorts of other things in addition to the group-sponsored events.
  • Public parties took a few years to crop up, but they’re firmly in place now.  The tricky part has always been finding reliable venues that were okay with what we do, affordable, clean, and not halfway across the state.  We’ve found some venues that work well for us, and we seem to be on pretty stable footing.
  • There is more conversation relating to consent.  From my experiences as well as all I’ve heard about from long-time friends and acquaintances, consent was always a strong thread in the community; it just didn’t need to be spelled out.  It was a given.  Now, consent is being spelled out, which is good.  But that fact that apparently it needs to be spelled out in the first place now doesn’t sit well with me.  It says that these days there are a lot more morons who lack common sense.
  • Initially there was a huge imbalance in demographics.  The community here used to be about 95% male-dom/female-sub.  Now, those numbers are much more balanced.  We have a ton of switches too.
  • Along with that demographic lopsidedness, there was a general negative opinion toward submissive men held by many community members, including some in leadership positions.  This often manifested in hostility, harsh language, snubbing, and other social assbaggery.  Rather than giving up, I stuck it out and started to work on changing some minds.  And I continue to do so whenever the opportunity presents.  Years later, it seems that attitude has largely disappeared from all but the most insecure.
  • With how small the community was, we all got to know each other pretty well.  There was almost a sense of family with some groups.  Now, things are so large that it’s nearly impossible to get to know everyone on more than a shallow, passing level.  Maintaining super-close friendships with everyone I’d like to is impossible, though I do try.
  • Since the community is larger, divisions become more evident.  It’s natural to want to hang out with those who share our thought processes, interests, and opinions.  Before, we would spend time with other BDSMers, with that one common bond being all we had.  But with larger groups, it’s easier to find people who match a little more closely, and many spend their time exclusively with that particular subset of people.  There are some faces I recognize as regulars, yet I don’t know their names and may not have ever talked with them.  At the larger munches, by the time you make the rounds to everyone you want to talk to, it’s time to go.
  • Years ago, personal information was closely guarded.  Some people didn’t give their actual first name when they introduced themselves.  It was rare to know what someone did for a living and even more rare to know where they worked or their last name.  Now, people friend each other on facebook, granting access to lots of personal information.  While it’s riskier, it also drives home the point that we all need to watch what we put out there for the whole internet to see.

There have been a lot of changes, but overall I feel the community here is most definitely a better place than it was nearly a decade back.  These changes aren’t anything I would’ve thought possible when I first wandered into the scene here years ago; it makes me wonder what things will be like years from now.  Even today, things are changing in front of our eyes.  And I feel glad to be one of the people steering those changes.

Also, while you were reading that, I ate the waffles.  So I should probably get around to changing the title of this post.

Penis!

Toward the end of my last relationship, cuckolding was occasionally drifting back and forth in my head between a hard limit and a soft limit, or something I’d be willing to do for the right person given enough “persuasion” or outright force.  I didn’t say anything about it though; what if we decided to try it, and that day turned out to be a day when it was more on the hard limit side?  I wanted to make sure I was certain about it being a soft limit before bringing it up.  So I kept thinking on it and processing my thoughts.  Once I reached that point where it became a soft limit with no wavering (maybe a month after we split) I posted on here about it.

I’m currently going though that same back-and-forth process with another type of play.

Strap-on play has been something I’ve found hot for years, but I’ve never experienced a bio-cock other than my own.  At this point, it’s safe to say I’d be up for play and/or sex with a trans woman.  I’d need to be attracted to her (as is the case with any other play partners or sexual partners) but doing something like that is very much within my current limits and something I’m curious to explore.  So I’m not really doing the back-and-forth with that anymore.  That’s on pretty solid ground as far as being feasible is concerned.  I’ve come to the realization that I’m attracted to people who present as feminine, regardless of whether that person has a dick or a vag. With me attraction is more about the presentation, not the parts.

What I am drifting one way and another with is forced bi.  There’s a big problem though in that I have yet to meet a man I find attractive.  One possible workaround would be a glory hole, but not a true random-stranger type setup.  I rather enjoy being not dead and I’d like to stay that way, so random guys in seedy glory holes are absolutely not an option.  If we were to try this, T would know his identity and would need to have the STI conversation beforehand.  But prior to that, the first obstacle is to stop drifting back and forth on it.  There are occasions when I find myself thinking it could possibly be hot, given enough involvement from T in the scene.  Maybe.  But there are other times when it’s still a limit.  I don’t feel safe exploring something when I keep changing my mind on it from day to day; that’s just asking for disaster.

I’ve already been made to eat other mens’ cum on a couple different occasions, so that aspect wouldn’t really be anything new.  From what I can tell so far, the appeal of this type of play for me seems to be more of power and d/s.  Most of my major hot-button kinks are ones that push me hard and make more evident her dominance over me.  Things that cause my brain to scream, “Oh fuck, stopstopstopstop please make it stoppppppp!”  Considering that this is something that has always been firmly in hard limit territory for me, I think it may have that quality as well.  Maybe I’ll find out at some point.  This process took a long time with cuckolding though, so I don’t expect this to be any different.  One step at a time.