Sexual identity(13 Posts)
This is going to be clumsily phrased, it's a kind of spew of consciousness.
Ok, I'm a dominant woman. I like my BDSSM, I like my sex that way. It is what I am inside, I've always had fantasies where I was in control, even before I was old enough for them to be sexual. I'm well aware, as I've said in another thread, that I need complete and utter control and that I'm capable of being exceedingly sadistic. (I don't cross boundaries, I don't ever do anything without consent)
I tried to conform, did the married/kids/blah thing - it isn't me, it doesn't fit me. My ex was passive in a lot of ways but not the right ways <ahem> and he let me be in control of a lot of things (not sexually - but that's a whole other thread right there!).
But, as a result of reading threads on here, I'm wondering about my sexual identity. How much of my sexual identity as a dominant woman is or was an innate kicking against what I may have been perceiving all my life (even though I didn't name it as that) as a patriarchal system which pissed me right off?
Err, dunno, but will have a think...
I don't know either, but to be perfectly honest I think it's unlikely to be because of that - or rather, it could equally be because of any number of other things.
A formative sexual experience in childhood that made you feel helpless, so now you can only become aroused if you are in a dominant, "safe" position.
A formative sexual experience in childhood which left you with the impression that men like to be dominated, and because you're socialised to please men, that is what you learned to find arousing.
Discomfort with your sexual desires, which you deal with by punishing men.
Not necessarily any of those things, but you see what I mean? If your theory were correct, the Venn diagram of feminists/dominatrices would have a hell of a big middle bit.
No sexual experiences that were helpless or dominant at all until I was 40+ ish, so not that.
I dunno, maybe I'm overthinking
BTW I don't punish men - that's not how it works.
Well, I do, but not in the sense of punish as is generally meant.
arse well I know what I mean
:grin: Don't worry, I know exactly what you mean.
I think everyone's sexuality is shaped by their socialisation. I don't want to make this personal so I looked for something else that explains what I think and this pretty much sums it up:
It's an essay by Dorchen Leidholtd from The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism published in 1990. It's only 7 pages.
On p. 5 she asks where sadistic and masochistic fantasies come from and she says:
"To begin to answer these questions, we have to look beyond fantasies themselves to the culture in which they develop. It is not just coincidence that they imitate the violence men do to women and girls. Think about the implications for our sexuality of the following statistics: More than a third of us were sexually abused as children (Russell, 1984). For many of us, our first sexual experience was a sexual assault. Forty-four percent of us will be raped (Russell, 1984). The environment in which we learn about and experience our bodies and sexuality is a world not of sexual freedom but of sexual force. Is it any surprise that it is often force that we eroticize? Sadistic and masochistic fantasies may be part of our sexuality, but they are no more our freedom than the culture of misogyny and sexual violence that engendered them.
"The inescapable fallacy of the sexual repression thesis, as applied to women by the pro-sex people, is that it looks at sexuality within a context of largely mythical sexual restrictions and outside an environment of real, ongoing male sexual exploitation and abuse. In doing so, it turns what is done to women's sexuality by external oppression into something we do to ourselves in our heads. It suggests that if only women can beak through internal "taboos", we will have sexual freedom, indeed we will be free. It ignores the real political lesson of women's sexual experience: women cannot have sexual freedom, or any other kind of freedom, until we dismantle the system of sexual oppression in which we live."
On p. 6 she says:
"I've come to believe that a human being can learn to eroticize anything - including banging one's head against a brick wall."
This wasn't just about men dominating women in BDSM, she (and other writers in the book) were also talking about BDSM in the Lesbian community.
Thanks Flora - I will have a look at that. I wasn't sexually abused though
In the essay she makes it more clear that she's talking about cultural impact rather than personal and that themes of domination and submission are culturally endorsed. I see that's not so clear in the section I typed but on p. 3 she says:
"It's not that "cross-generational sex", fetishism, sadomasochism, and trafficking in or using pornography are never punished. Sometimes they are, but never enough to dampen their popularity. Just enough to make them seem forbidden and keep them exciting. It's not that there are no sexual choices that truly violate society's rules. What I am suggesting is that the "deviant" sexual practices defended and promoted by the pro-sex people aren't really pro scribed by society; they're pre scribed. They're not really deviant at all. They're good soldier conformity."
She goes on to talk about that in more depth and gives examples of why she thinks that. I don't want to put too much emphasis on the passages I've typed but I know not everyone will want to read a 7 page article so I thought these passages were pertinent to your question.
I know this isn't exactly the question you asked but here are some other aspects of that feminist school of thought that might put the essay in context.
www.feminist-reprise.org/docs/lordesm.htm - Audrey Lorde interviewed about Sadomasochism in the lesbian community
www.feminist-reprise.org/docs/hein.htm - Sadomasochism and the Liberal Tradition by Hilde Hein
Interesting links Flora, thanks for posting them. I'm in agreement with Dorchen Leidholtd
FrauHelga, I suspect that you may not get a lot of responses to this thread because of a reluctance to discuss something that is personal and important to you, in a political manner.
My view is that BDSM is a very conservative fetishization of submission and dominance, and, that submission and dominance are deeply patriarchal values. In other words the practice of BDSM is very conformist (no matter who is playing top) - in a different way to marriage and kids, I grant you, but conformist all the same.
Forgot to say - I also think that BDSM is a fetishization of the concept of consent. And I find the concept of consent, as it exists currently in society, deeply problematic.
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