dw3t-hthr dug up this lovely post on "animal lust" here. Not specifically about BDSM, but I do think there's a lot about it that parallels some folks' interest in SM, and also that it touches on some of the gender stuff we as pro-SM feminists babble about in here:
"Let's have a pillow fight," I might have said, and I think, after some teasing and goading, perhaps it was he who first lightly, good-naturedly smacked me with his lumpy, worn feather pillow. I grabbed the other and smacked him back. We were laughing; he hit back again, a little harder. I jumped to my knees while he was still half-lounging below me, raising my pillow above my head to deliver a fatal smacking blow. While I still had the pillow raised over my head, he smacked his full into me, across my face.
And suddenly the air became charged. Delighted at his dirty fighting, I howled with the fake anger of wounded betrayal and pounded him with my pillow, seeking revenge. He leapt up out of bed and I pursued. We ran around the room and scrambled over the bed, smacking each other over and over, each time progressively harder. And each time I got hit, I loved it. And each time I hit him harder and harder, I loved it. It was like my whole life had been slow up to this minute, and now, now I finally knew what it was like to have blood coursing--rushing--through my veins. It was a delicious, delighted rage I felt. It was a heady insanity; an intense reverse evolutionary rush that changed us from adult to child to--yes, yes!--animal in mere moments. We ran, screaming and laughing and hitting each other harder and harder. And it was so good. I couldn't stop, now that I had found this feeling. I could feel him fighting and I fought back; it was so good; beyond words.
I hit and hit and hit and hit again, harder, harder, teeth bared with effort, noises coming out of my throat, hoarse and growling with delight... and it was better than orgasm; better than heaven; total release, complete freedom, no sense involved, just sheer rage-filled adoration and arousal---and I wanted to live there forever.
And suddenly he wasn't hitting back anymore...I heard him shouting something....I held back for a moment...and everything zoomed in to a hyper-suspended moment of stillness...
And there we were staring at each other...him barefooted, bare-chested, breathless, on the floor at the foot of the bed, looking up at me as I stood above him on the rickety bed, barely clothed, pushing my hair out of my face, panting, eyes locked with his. My pillow raised and ready to defend or strike, shakily balancing myself, watching him for any sudden move. I stared into his eyes, a strange kind of exhilaration coursing through me. I felt like a wolf, like a cougar, some wild thing, circling another of my kind, ready to run in for the final fight. And oh, I wanted it. I wanted to feel the moment of engagement. I wanted to feel the fight and the rip and the kill. I wanted to feel myself doing it and I wanted to feel him doing it to me. I looked deep in his eyes, ready to howl in ecstatic rage as we leapt at each other. And he looked back at me and I could see...fear.
No, no! I thought. Don't back down! Don't leave me here! Fight back! Stay up here with me in mad animal nirvana! Show me what you're made of! Make me fight you! Wrestle me down and roll with me on the ground, biting and scratching and growling and fucking and fucking and fucking me till we lose our minds.
I tried to say this with my eyes. But I could see the light had gone out in his; all I could see was fear. And then hidden close behind, anger and possibly disgust and...was it humiliation? But above all, a desire--a begging--to turn to back to normal. Not just begging for him to. For both of us to. For me to not be this thing I had become. And the feeling inside me, it was like a balloon slowly being leaked of its helium.
I have never found any man, ever, who wanted to stay there with me at that level of animal savagery; who didn't hold back or back down and stop it before we'd really gotten there--beyond. It is a crossing over, allowing oneself to be in that state, and one needs to be willing to turn certain things off to be brave enough to stay there. Most people are not comfortable with the absence of those things.
*Trin pauses for a moment to fribble in "Oh hell yes" style arousal at that excerpt*
I notice specifically that she talks about men not wanting to go there. I'm not sure if this is just because she's hetero (is she?), or if this is a statement about particular nervousness on the part of male lovers.
But I do wonder how many people really *get* there. According to some people (some of them the sort of feminists who are concerned with examining and pruning desire, some not), arousal fueled by the destructive sorts of animal passion is a big no-no. Sexual energy should be, is supposed to be, about creation and love and light and fuzziness. Not about smashing things.
But -- and I admit I'm coming at this from an SM angle and not just a rough sex angle (have a look at that link if you found the Sexeteria post hot; I think Ren is talking about the exact same thing in the latter part of her post, in the section after the one on SM) -- for some of us the power of breaking things
of tearing into someone's psyche by breaking their skin in SM
or by fucking the hell out of them and symbolically "tearing them apart"
or even just of letting go and letting emotions, whether dark OR light, ride us for a while and use our bodies as a conduit for pure lust
is really what we want the most.
And I think there's something really missing when people tell others to totally lock away negative emotions. It can, surely, become a bad idea for some people to practice being aroused by their own rage. I'm not doubting that.
But in some situations it can also be healing. I remember the first time I beat someone when I had PMS. According to standard Scene wisdom, one does not hit when one is not in control of her emotions. Ever.
I was bubbling with senseless and contextless emotions. Rage, sorrow, feeling inadequate -- a giant pile of intense bad feelings I just couldn't keep under control. I'd already found that my partner holding up a pillow and me hitting it could help, but I was worried to top under those conditions. Despite the only flogger I owned at that time being about as scary as a clump of matted dog fur.
He told me to let go. I did, flailing away with this tiny thing, hissing and screaming and seething and letting all the emotions that threatened to boil over inside of me, well, out.
I remember the calmness I felt afterward.
The PMS wasn't totally gone -- I could feel it lurking like a snake made out of estrogen, biding its time until it could pounce on me again. But the overwhelming feeling that either I or the world around me was simply so horribly rage-inducing that I couldn't contain my seething fury -- that was gone.
There's a lot said on both sides about catharsis. Whether it actually ever happens, for one, or whether it just fans the flames of negative emotions, training them to come back stronger later. For myself, I think that the problem comes when we expect catharsis to be an easy solution. Like if I'd thought "Bing, my PMS is now gone," neglecting to understand it would, in fact, be back later and that all I'd done was tire myself out enough to calm down some.
I think some people can get caught in cycles like that. "I'm a sadist because I'm trying to work through my misanthropy. *beat beat beat* Oh, it's not gone! Poor pitiful me, I'd better try again, harder!"
and the person ends up in a cycle, because he expects catharsis by itself to fix him.
When I think what a lot of dark fantasy and dark sex is better used for is: Hey, lover. I trust you. I trust you to see even this about me, this yen to hurt or be hurt that all humans have but I still fear in myself. I can show you that sometimes I want to be consumed, broken, used, with no thought but lust. Or I can show you that a part of me sees you and covets your body and I want to rip you apart, consuming, destroying, claiming.
And we can still not fear each other when it's over.
No human is respectful and affirming all the time. No human wants to be held up all the time, either, I don't think. Sometimes we want to lash out, or to feel small. I personally find it exhilarating to let that part of me exist, be, happen in safe environments.