Sunday, 26 October 2008

Tired Now

http://biodiverseresistance.blogspot.com/2008/10/consenting-adult-action-network-action.html?showComment=1225051440000#c6075961875289232077
In the book the Courage to Heal, there was a woman who had been brutally sexually abused as a child and was into S/M. She then realized this was because of her abuse and was not healthy for her and actually managed to change her sexuality so that she could be aroused by something else (in her case, a fantasy of a healing waterfall). I wonder how many people who enjoy S/M really have similar issues to this woman?
"Wonder" all you want, but why does your "wondering" always seem to involve things like... generalizing from one case you read about in one book?

And why is it that because I am both into SM and a survivor, my own understanding of my sexuality is always in question? Why is it automatically assumed that I am reporting falsely on my own motivations? That I cannot know them and must be unaware of them?

Yes, trauma harmed me. But no, trauma did not make me magically confused and convinced that my partner loves me.

That's the thing that pisses me off the most. I mean, it would piss me off even if we were just casual buddies engaging in mutual OMG USING ONE ANOTHER for fun, too. But the fact that I am with someone who really loves me, and yet people who don't know us and are probably presuming all kinds of things about how we relate to one another can claim that what we do is all some unresolved issue... that pisses me off the most.

FFS, I don't know why I like it. But I am very tired of this idea that others know better than I do.

11 comments:

Gaina said...

Bottom line (no pun intended! haha): YOU like it. So does your partner, and it's fully consensual. Weather anyone else understands it has 'nothing to do with the price of eggs' as we say in England.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I get amusedly cranky at the ones who figure my assault trauma "caused" my kink, even though I had kink fantasies before the trauma.

thene said...

A healing waterfall? Wtf? What's so 'normal' about being aroused by a waterfall?

Iamcuriousblue said...

I guess this doesn't surprise me, considering that The Courage to Heal is one of the main proponents of some very dodgy ideas about recovered memory therapy, satanic ritual abuse, and the like. Apparently, they think that the people who were acquitted in the McMartin Preschool fiasco are actually guilty. It doesn't surprise me at all that they'd also be anti-BDSM.

Trinity said...

"A healing waterfall? Wtf? What's so 'normal' about being aroused by a waterfall?"

If it's the anecdote I remember from _Trauma and Recovery_ (the commenter cites a different book, though I suspect both are by the same author, Judith Herman, and relating the same story), I don't recall it saying the woman was aroused by waterfalls. Just that she found her SM fantasies unwelcome, "put there" by the abuse, and decided to "put something else there" instead. In the woman's case, apparently it worked.

In mine, the one bit of advice I ever got to that effect was a shrink telling me "when you think of touching someone, imagine petting your cat" to try and get me to associate sexuality with gentleness. I never even bothered. For one thing, I couldn't see how in the hell it would work. But even if it did, why would I want a *beastiality* fetish over a pain fetish?

Trinity said...

IACB,

Ah, okay. There's a similar "SM fantasy replaced with soothing waterfall" story in _Trauma and Recovery_, which was a very scientific and well thought out account of what PTSD is, how survivors experience it, and how it is treated. That book, I found to be a very informative read.

The "waterfall" quote I didn't like, but it was about the one and only bad thing about the book. And even then, all I really wanted Herman to do was also say "And some people's sexuality just is what it is, and for them, sexually 'unusual' activity is not acting out."

shiva said...

Not to defend Ettina's views here, but she is a) asexual, b) autistic, c) a survivor of family sexual abuse and d) around 20. So i'm kind of more willing to forgive her saying that stuff than i am, say, some 40something neurotypical radfem who's never been sexually assaulted in her life, but considers all her (fully consensual) past het relationships to have been such...

But, y'know, i totally agree with you on this one, even if *some* of my views on sexual politics more generally come closer to the radfem position (eg., i do think "rape culture" is a valid term a real phenomenon), my most fundamental principle is the absolute right of the individual to decide what is and isn't best for hirself, which underpins my disability rights activism as much as anything i believe about sexuality, and a part of that is believing that both a "yes" and a "no" are equally absolute - hence my posting the press release of the CAAN demo, which was actually forwarded to me by a friend who is a disability rights activist and genderqueer domme who *extremely* reminds me of you...

I think the waterfall thing is bollocks, mostly because i really don't think it's possible to sublimate one desire into another like that. God knows i've tried and failed...

(It also reminds me quite a lot of the various "normalisation" things that are done to autistic or otherwise neurodiverse kids to make them superficially pass as neurotypical, and then proclaim them "cured"...)

Trinity said...

Shiva:

Thanks for that explanation, though I do have to say that I find it very odd that someone who is asexual would say something like that then. If she's not sexual herself, how can she look at us with a straight face and say "You're being sexual in ways that harm yourselves?" How would she know enough to even say that?

shiva said...

I strongly suspect she's probably extrapolating from her own experiences of "self-injury"/using pain to self-medicate for depression and/or PTSD, and assuming that the use of pain in BDSM is the same sort of thing.

(I also use pain to self-medicate, but deliberately *don't* call it "self-harm" or "self-injury", because i don't think of it as a bad thing... but i don't think it's the *same* thing as having a sexual kink for pain - although, of course, there is blur/overlao between them...)

Anonymous said...

As a professional Top, I've seen many women who wanted BDSM/fetish/etc. for very unhealthy reasons and for these women, I had to stop - it was doing further damage to them.

On the other hand, 50-75% of women will suffer sexual trauma in their lives; how can it be said that only 25% of women are qualified to do BDSM by absence of past trauma?

It's also very much possible that people who are in tune with their sexuality will also be much more forthcoming (and honest with themselves) about past trauma. Therefore, you'll see these histories more readily among BDSMers.

Trinity said...

Anony,

What were these unhealthy reasons? How often did you meet these sorts of women? Did they tend to be part of the organized Scene, or were they just people who hired you? What sorts of things did they want?