My Activism Can Beat Up Your Activism!

I fail to understand the narrow-sightedness of some self-proclaimed activists.  We all choose causes to support that are close to us in some way.  There is no shortage of worthwhile causes to choose from- equal rights, lack of clean water, starvation, homelessness, cancer, heart disease, malaria, addiction, racism, sexism, various other -isms, poverty, child abuse, elder abuse, animal abuse, oligarchy, pollution, deforestation, etc.  You could easily devote your entire life and all your resources to any one of these causes.  The reality is that we each have limited resources, whether it’s time, energy, or money.  So we have to choose.

What baffles me is when someone takes the approach of, “If you don’t support my pet cause as adamantly as I do, you’re a horrible person.”  This lacks a basic understanding: The person they’re insulting may be fighting really hard for a different cause which is just as worthy of support.  Not everyone brags about their activism; some quietly work behind closed doors to make things better.  You don’t know unless you talk with them.

How lousy would it be for researchers to argue, “Heart disease kills more people than cancer, so I’m going to make fun of cancer patients and their caregivers”?  Or, “Deforestation is a huge issue, but pollution is such a minor problem, so I’m going to treat you horribly if you waste your time working against pollution”?  Yet we see this all the time with activism.  People don’t seem to get that the world is larger than their little bubble.

If you’re working to make the world better by any means, why not join forces with those doing the same rather than engaging in counterproductive infighting?  “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Petting My Brain

Emotional self-care gets a fair amount of publicity within the BDSM community.  Most frequently, it comes in the form of advice or classes on how to avoid drop, whether it be top drop, sub drop, or, con drop, though there are also other flavors.  I equate that to taking your car in to the mechanic when something needs to be fixed.  But what about regular tune-ups to make sure everything is running as it should?

I realized a need for this in my life a while back.  The symptoms of not doing this regular maintenance were similar to those of drop- generally “down” mood, increased irritability, and lack of energy and motivation.

Eventually I solidified a three-part plan to help me keep my head well-lubricated:

  • More introvert time.  While I very much enjoy social events and activities, they drain me.  I need time to recharge.  That means being alone and having free time.  I may go out mountain biking and enjoying nature, or I may stay inside, put on some jazz, and have some tea.  Most typically, I’ll need to set aside an entire day or two for this, though having just a few hours can help as well.
  • Going to more concerts.  Strangely enough, this is good for my head.  I say “strangely” because I listen to a lot of metal, and most people wouldn’t equate going to a metal show (and especially getting into a mosh pit) as something good for one’s head.  The day after the last show I went to (Eluveitie) I was still completely jazzed all throughout the day.  And it gave a substantial boost to my mood for weeks after.
  • Not getting involved in other peoples’ attention-seeking behavior.  Especially online.  It’s tempting to want to argue one’s own opinion.  Lots of people vomit up their beliefs all over the internet but then get offended (or start throwing around accusations of censorship) if anyone disagrees with them.  Others may back a cause that is very worthwhile, but they do so in an unnecessarily shitty manner.  Before, I’d spend lots of time composing a reply, then edit and re-edit, post, and continue following up and responding.  I’d waste hours on this, and I’d only have simmering aggravation within myself to show for it.  They didn’t change my mind and I didn’t change theirs.  Now, I walk away.  I close that tab in my browser.  I get back to enjoying my life and let the internet venom-mongers argue among themselves.

These are only three points of action, but they’ve made a huge difference in my mood and sense of well-being.  This approach has also had the added effect of making con drop after large weekend events less hard-hitting.  I recover better and more quickly.  I encourage you to do the same, even if your methods may differ.  Find out what works for you.  Get away from the daily crap for a while.  Get your head back together on a regular basis, not just when vacation time rolls around.  It makes more of a difference than you might expect.

Service, Sadists, Slut-Shaming, Subs, and Sasquatch (Okay, I’m Lying About That Last Part)

I’ve noticed a huge discrepancy when it comes to service and gender, at least among hetero couples.  (And once again, there is a divide between online and real life, which I’ll touch on later.)  Online, it’s common to see women looking for men to do their housework.  When they don’t find what they’re seeking, they rail against submissive men as being a bunch of wankers, not really submissive, etc.  Then when you look at the dominant men, they take the approach of, “I got this, I’ll take care of my stuff and you take care of yours.  Now suck my dick.”  And you don’t see many subs of any gender clamoring to do housework.  They exist, but they are far more rare.

One obvious part of the equation is that women in our society aren’t allowed to own their sexuality.  If you like sex, you’re a whore.  If you make the first move, you’re a skank.  Men on the other hand are encouraged to own their desire for sex, and being the aggressor is pretty much a requirement in dating.  All this gender-based baggage clearly carries over into how much a particular dominant person is pushing for sex to be part of it.

It’s important to break things down further.  There is a difference between sex, play, and service.  Sometimes the lines between them can get fuzzy, but most of the time they’re pretty clear-cut.  Some people enjoy casual play; others don’t.  Same goes for sex and service.  Out of those three categories, I know lots of people into casual play and sex, but not service.  Those types seem to be in far shorter supply.  We all have to get something out of what we do, whatever that “something” may be.  Those who get something out of doing someone’s housework aren’t exactly the most common people out there.   Dominant men seem to understand this; yet many dominant women will bash male subs who don’t fall into this category because they’re “selfish” and “thinking with their dicks.”

In that light, when a submissive woman offers casual play or casual sex, the dominant men don’t make fun of her and say she’s not a Real True sub™.  Yet this is the treatment submissive men get frequently.  Is it any wonder so many men have trouble coming to terms with their submission?  Not only do they have to overcome all the crap society shoves down their throats about being a “real man”, but then they get into this community and are told their desires are not valid, that sadists don’t exist, and that if they want anything kinky, they’ll have to pay for it either in housework or in cash.  And forget sex; real dominant women never have sex with submissive men.

All the behavior I mentioned so far in this post occurs almost exclusively online.  In the real world, service hardly ever enters into our community’s vocabulary.  You see it sometimes, but it’s a fringe interest.  Many people, like me, just aren’t wired as service-oriented.  (I’m prone to feeling taken advantage of and developing resentment if we’re not both pulling our weight.)  In our community, casual play and casual sex are all over the place.  Service, not so much.  Especially casual service.  Yet all the things that submissive men online are told don’t exist (casual play, casual sex) abound.

How do we correct this misrepresentation so common online?  Lots of people (including me when I was new) are discouraged from getting involved in the BDSM community because of the way it’s portrayed online.  Getting in arguments with random internet strangers is rarely productive.  From my experience, correcting misconceptions is more similar to erosion than demolition.  Live your life, lead by example, and slowly wear away at fallacies.  It’s not a quick or easy path, but it’s one of the most effective processes we have.

Armchair Subs

One commonly given piece of advice to those who are new to BDSM is to read.  Go online, browse writings, blogs, fetlife groups, etc.  Educate yourself.  There’s one problem with this: There are built-in assumptions that the reader will be able to discern between the solid advice they’re reading and the total crap.

I hit that trap head-on when I was new.  As I read so many things online I told myself, “I thought I was a sub, but I guess not.  After all, I’m not willing to give total control of my finances, I don’t submit to just anyone who capitalizes their pronouns, and I have limits.”  I questioned whether BDSM was for me since apparently I wasn’t doing it right.  I almost didn’t get involved in the local BDSM community because I was worried I didn’t fit the mold.  Luckily I ran into a few people who told me it wasn’t like that in real life, and that provided me the encouragement I needed.

I run into this in lots of new people as well.  Quite a few new people have very, um,  misguided ideas of what the BDSM community is about and how it operates.  Many of them have the same reservations I had about getting involved because of that.  So I try to blast those fallacies out and replace them with some general ideas of how this works in the real world.

People give total garbage advice online.  One gem I saw recently was in regard to cuckolding.  Someone who was new was trying to understand how anyone can get off on cheating.  I explained the whole consent thing and that it’s only cheating if the sub doesn’t consent to that.  Some Official Internet Expert chimed in with (paraphrasing here) “Dominant women can do as they want.  They know what’s best for us.  It’s not cheating because she can do whatever she wants with no regard to the sub or the relationship.”  This guy, as is the case with most Official Internet Experts, was single and not involved in any kind of in-person BDSM community.

These are the kinds of people pro-doms often cater to.  They generally have this big totalitarian fantasy that they want to live for a short time until they get their rocks off.  Nothing wrong with that.  However, there is something wrong with pushing that on other people and telling them they’re wrong for not doing things the same way.  BDSM is an incredibly individual experience.  Telling someone they’re not doing it right because they have limits is a dangerous approach.  The people receiving that advice may feel pressured to push themselves well past a level of activity they’re ok with.  While many people are able to take the advice they read with a grain of salt, some are more prone to sacrifice to some degree their desires over to the will of another.  This is why education is important.  This is why I find myself countering the online wanker armies at every turn.  And I encourage you to do the same.

Inactivism

“I’m signal-boosting!”

“I’m raising awareness!”

No, you’re just a loudmouth prick.  Getting in arguments with random strangers on the internet accomplishes nothing.  Nor does preaching to the choir; Your friends are likely already aware of the causes you support, and are probably on the same page.  Telling them things they already know is not progress.  When I hear people claim to be “signal-boosting”, I often translate that as, “I’m running my mouth and telling other people to do the heavy lifting while I sit on my ass!”

What do you actually do to support your cause?  What kind of actions (as opposed to words) do you use?  What do you do when no one is looking?  How much do you give of yourself when you know no one will ever find out?

There is no shortage of worthy causes out there.  People want to fight for something bigger than themselves; it’s a natural drive.  So is wanting to be part of an in-group.  As is wanting to receive accolades.  Fighting for a worthy cause accomplishes all these things.  It feels good to say, “I’m an activist”, doesn’t it?  But is there any depth to it when you say it?  Are you actually doing anything to help your cause?  Or are you just regurgitating words and throwing around hashtags?  Actions and words are two very different things.  The people who are suffering and dying don’t give the tiniest fraction of a fuck about your hashtags; what they care about is any genuine aid you can give them.

Saying, “This sucks and someone should do something” is worthless.  Be the person who does something.

People are Dumb (part 7,845)

So you’re poly.  Congratulations.

And you over there- You’re in an open relationship.  Good for you.

The person back there is monogamous.  Yippee freakin’ skippee.

Way over there is someone single but with a lot of play partners.  Yay.

Does that mean you need to knock everyone who doesn’t share your preference?  All too often, I see people posting about how poly is “the natural way” and that monogamy is some artificial construct.  Others point to various animals to “prove” that monogamy is the right way.  Some claim that one arrangement or the other is more “evolved”.  There are also the ubiquitous assertions about certain emotions being unnatural or primal, emotions that should be pushed away or swallowed.

Why do people feel the need to stick all sorts of bogus claims behind their personal choices?  Do they really need this shaky “evidence” to bolster their own decisions?  Why not just say, “This is what I prefer” and stand behind your desires rather than grasping for flimsy reasons to back them up?  Does it come from a lack of confidence in their beliefs?  Or a desire to be looked up to and admired as being more evolved?  Maybe a sense of wanting to belong to an in-group, with the need to knock others who aren’t members of the in-group?  I really don’t see what’s so hard about not talking down to others.  If someone is in a relationship arrangement that you’d never go for, so what?  That doesn’t give you the right to act smug and look down your nose at the infidels.  Personal preferences are just that- They’re not some universal standard.

The tactic of insulting monogamous people is not the best way to get people to look at poly in a favorable light.  And saying that poly people are sick, indecisive, and have purple tentacles  is not the way to win any friends for the monogamous side.  If people genuinely want to gain social acceptance of various relationship dynamics, talking condescendingly about people who do it differently is definitely not the way to go about it.

The Prequel

One of the classes I teach is  “How to Find a Partner“.  After my first time teaching this class, I posted the class material on fet, and it shot to the top of Kinky & Popular, so apparently this is much-needed advice.  Because it started off as a class on how to be a non-creepy submissive man, most of the material is aimed in that direction.  However, many people don’t know that final copy I posted was the most polished incarnation of that material.  My first attempt gave advice that was a little off the mark.  For example:

  • How you present yourself at events doesn’t matter at all.  People go there because they’re into BDSM, not because they care about silly things like hygiene or clean clothes.  Our common interest is enough.  They aren’t so shallow as to avoid you because they can smell you from ten feet away.
  • When messaging someone online, save time and copy-paste your messages.  Make them generic as possible.  That way you can send those messages to multiple women with maximum efficiency.  If you send it out enough times, you’re bound to get a bite sooner or later.  Or even an irate message berating you for your lack of basic social skills.  Which is a win, really, since humiliation is hot.
  • Don’t fret over proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, or content.  They’ll get what you’re trying to say.  And if you have nothing to say, “hey” works just as well.  Most women don’t get very many messages and just sit at home, refreshing their screens, waiting for something to come in.  They will jump on the chance to talk to you.
  • People will be much more impressed with you if you come with credentials.  Make sure to let everyone know just how experienced you are.  The time you spend in chat rooms and wanking to BDSM porn counts as experience.  But it works like dog years- multiply the number of years you’ve been jerking to kinky porn by seven.  That’s your real total.  So if you’ve been fantasizing about this for six years, that means you have 42 years of experience.  Nevermind the fact that you’re 27; that’s irrelevant.  Everyone must know that you are the most experienced person in the place so they can swoon and line up to give you sexual favors.
  • To convey proper respect, be sure to address all women as “Mistress”.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a conversation online with strangers or a munch in your city.  You must show your proper place by bestowing this title upon anyone vaguely female-ish.  Even if she’s submissive.  She is female, so you are beneath her, and thus she is your Mistress.  You can earn bonus respect points by requesting to kiss her boots immediately upon meeting her.  Don’t waste time with minutiae like introductions and names.  That crap isn’t important.  She is Mistress, you are slave.  Done.  No need for words.  Now kiss her boots.
  • If she doesn’t knock you out after that last bit, she’s a keeper.  Follow her around all night.  Never leave her side.  Even when she goes to the bathroom.  After all, you never know if she’ll need your assistance in delicately cleaning the golden nectar or creamy goddess butter from her sacred orifices when she’s done.  Be sure to offer multiple times.  She may be demure and say no the first few dozen times, but be persistent.  She’s just testing your devotion.
  • When you’re at a party, you’re with a bunch of like-minded people.  Just the fact that they’re there implies consent.  After all, they wouldn’t be there if they weren’t into it, right?  So go ahead drop to your knees and start kissing random women’s feet.   (This works especially well if they’re currently in the middle of a scene with someone else since they’ll be hot and bothered already.)  Reach into other people’s toy bags and start using their toys too; they wouldn’t bring them if they didn’t intend for people to use them.  If anyone complains about any of this or gets violent, you can accuse them of censorship or of trying to run a dictatorship.
  • Make sure to send women multiple pictures of your dick from slightly different angles.  And set one as your profile picture so she knows you’re submissive from the start.  Nothing says “submission” more than a zoomed-in picture of a penis as the first and most noticeable part of your profile.
  • Any time you disagree with someone, make sure everyone knows about it.  Tell the world that they are evil oppressors who are abusing their privilege.  There is no such thing as a simple disagreement, difference of opinion, or opposing views.  Anyone who disagrees with you is an oppressor who is trampling on your personal rights.