bad things are bad; consent-to-sex boundaries are absolute

Ok, let’s try extreme analogies.

Let’s say I am hanging around actively arranging plans to murder my neighbors for fun. In the middle of this, I decide I would like to have some sex. I find an amenable person and am talking to them as we walk to my home. However, during this conversation it happens to come up that they think murdering people for fun is bad. This makes me not want to have sex with them anymore, so I don’t.

I get to do that!

The thing I am doing wrong in this situation is ‘arranging plans to murder my neighbors’.  This is bad. I shouldn’t do that. I can in fact legitimately be arrested for it. (As far as I remember law things). It does not mean I should experience rape, because literally nothing of the sort means that.

I can be doing something bad, which I shouldn’t do, and decide not to have sex with someone for a reason entirely stemming from that fact, and I still get to not have sex with them, because I always get to not have sex with people for any or no reason.

The bad thing I am doing is bad, and I still get to not sleep with people when I don’t want to.

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Detangling some different meanings in top/bottom

{I’ve had like, a completely different form for a post on this topic in my head for literally years. Doesn’t look like that one’s getting written at least any time soon, and I had some stuff that caused different thoughts since, but currently had some thoughts in a new form and want to write something!}

(Additional/general/underlying point: It is really, really common for these to be conflated, tangled, assumed to go together, etc, in ways that do harm, interfere with communication and self-understanding, etc, including domist ways.)

  • Who is physically or otherwise actively doing things (vs having them done to them).

  • If there is a power dynamic, who is the d-side.

    • I had a whole thought-set on how a meaning of topping was a kind of ‘semi-domming’. Then I read the beginning of The New Topping Book, where top/bottom are just used to mean d-side/s-side basically entirely, and ran into more posts and stuff, and – yeah it’s in fact often more than that.
      ~
    • One issue that comes up is that there’s not actually enough conscious attention to whether or not a scene in fact has a power dynamic. A lot of unspoken defaults and etc mean that things people will sometimes go talk about as ‘only physical topping’ in fact totally have an unspoken power dynamic going on. This is a problem in a variety of ways.
      ~
    • I think the combination of these two can get in fact kind of gaslight-y at people.
  • Who is leading/directing action.

    • Note that this is not actually the same as the active-doing meaning, though they’re often conflated. Example: telling someone how to hit/touch/tie/etc you.
      ~
    • Again, neither a ‘one person does one and the other does the other’ nor a binary. ‘Fluid (or for that matter non-fluid but say determined by preset signals) turn taking’ and ‘cooperative construction’ are things that can be done.
      ~
    • Also variation in how this can be done – ‘person 1 decides what to do and does it’, ‘person 1 decides what to do and tells person 2 to do that’, ‘person 1 has an idea and says to person 2 ‘how about this”, etc, can be possible and different dynamics.
  • Who is responsible for/doing ‘scene emotional work’.

    • I’ve come more to conceptualizing this as a category, and have struggled for a while with how to refer to it. At the moment here using the above.
      ~
    • Credit to Xan West for a lot of these thoughts – see Two Footing and Holding the Scene in the essay One Sadist’s Consent.
      ~
    • Scene emotional work is the work that goes into keeping things ok and well, noticing if there’s a problem and doing something about it, etc. One example, going to what Xan talked about, is ‘staying present’ in the ‘real world’ to notice things like ‘it is a bad idea to go farther’, ‘something has gone wrong’, etc. Another example is making sure aftercare needs get met.
      ~
    • One of the things Xan points out is that there’s often a very strong implicit idea/expectation that the ‘top’ (in the d-side sense and conflated/tangled with others) does this work, and the bottom does not (and that this idea/expectation is a problem).
      ~
    • One additional place I’ve seen this: there’s recently been more recognition and discussion of the fact that ‘tops’ can also need aftercare. (Which is very good and important and should continue and strengthen). However, at least I personally have not actually seen much discussion on how tops getting aftercare is conceptualized. I think this is largely due to this bringing up tension with ‘expectation that ‘bottom’ is not doing scene emotional work’.
      >
      (To be clear, wanting to be free from expectations of this scene work and have someone else take it on is a valid thing to want or to need for scenes to work for you. However, like wants and needs in general, dynamics of this ought to be part of negotiations and compatibility, rather than implicitly assumed in a one-size-for-all.)
      ~
    • I was going to put planning the scene here, then it occurred to me it could also go under leading/directing, then it occurred to me that leading/directing could itself be seen as under emotional work. I think the best model for me currently is to continue to separate them out, with the leading/direction (where I do think scene planning/genesis/impetus properly falls) being a type of emotional work in the broader sense but in a different category than this one here.

Fun fact: submissives who have specific desires, who have desires, needs, etc about how exactly they want things to happen, etc, are still submissives and as valid as anyone

Just because they’re not compatible with *you* doesn’t mean they aren’t themselves.

(You very much get to not do things with them! You don’t get to try to kick them out of the word.)

(This post is brought to you by me reading posts and being upset.)

the sexual object vs subject lens, and women

{This isn’t really a post; it’s on here basically for wordpress reasons and that I can’t comment on two posts at the same time.

Content note: I read two posts about marginalized groups I am not in, and ended up with a thought about a different marginalized group that I am in.}

So recently I read Xan West’s post On Internalizing the Cis Gaze When Thinking About Sex and Relationships, which linked back to a different post of Xan’s, Writing Fat Characters In Erotica: Why It Matters To Me. These posts both use a shared lens {I’m not sure what the right word here is?}, which is about being treated as always an object rather than a subject of desire – a setup where the ultimate hope is to be a successful object of desire, while being the subject of desire, having desire, isn’t even – in the room (and about resisting this and claiming desire).

More recently I was listening to an older relative of mine talk about some friends of hers. She was discussing their families, and about one of them said something like – ‘she never married – I don’t know why, she was so pretty’.  And it occurred to me – this is that same thing again, at women. Where the thing that matters, the thing to aspire to, is being an object of desire, meeting some metrics for success in that. While one’s own desire is – not even brought up to be thought about.

(Note, this (the re women part I mean) feels like totally the kind of thing that there’s already lots of writings about out there, that I’ve maybe even run into. But my brain isn’t coming up with specifics right now, and did have this particular thought in this way, and it was a something for me, so.)

entitled male subs, and domism

There’s a thing that happens where people respond to particular types of bad things being done by male subs by throwing domism at them. 

This is bad.

{reposted from my Tumblr}

(I want to talk about this better but I just read a post and am annoyed so.)

There’s a thing that happens where people respond to particular types of bad things being done by male subs by throwing domism at them.

This is bad.

If a person is doing the ‘treating a domme like a fetish delivery’ thing, sending dommes (etc) unsolicited fantasy messages or similar, etc, the thing they are doing wrong isn’t *having desires*.

Everyone gets to have their desires, and has equal rights to do so. They get to have as many desires as they do, in as much detail as they do. This is in no way something someone is doing wrong, and it in no way becomes bad or wrong if that someone is a sub.

The thing that person did wrong was *not considering the other person*. Like, that the other person also has desires (etc). (Which might mean an incompatibility, in which case that is not a person to seek that kind of connection with, or might have compatibility, in which case engaging with them is generally a part of seeking that kind of connection.) Like that the other person doesn’t want to be sent unsolicited fantasy messages. Etc.

Which is in fact just as wrong when doms do it (which also very much happens). And it’s wrong in the same way and for the same reasons. Which are consent, and boundaries, and consideration for others rather than entitlement, etc, and not some domist bs like ‘reversing d/s’ or ‘taking the power out of power exchange’*.

*[quotes slightly modified due to vagueblogging]

mulling over scene concepts

(Been meaning to comment on this post for a bit, commenting now by reblog to also have it around here.)

One of the things parts of this post made me think of, reading it, was a thing where when I was a kid I remember at one point wondering what adults did when they got together with their friends and such, because as a kid it was playing with toys, and I knew adults didn’t usually do that, but aside from talking I wasn’t sure what they did instead.

And the feeling that in some sense I didn’t really ever get an answer to that question.

Which – when I thought about it, I can in fact think of a bunch of things adults do together (outside of/in addition to talking (and its various variations – go to a coffee shop or a restaurant and talk, walk and talk, cuddle and talk, watch a movie and then talk about it…) (Which, to be clear – I do absolutely love talking to people, and this is a very awesome thing to do with people.))

From sports to working on projects together to table-top games and such to stuff like ‘cooking together’.

And then thinking about a kind of continuum, where the way all these things involve this some kind of external activity means they can span a range of ‘primarily want to do the activity and this person works as someone to do that with’ to ‘want to connect and have intimacy this person and are doing this through this activity’ (and the whole spectrum in between).

(And then there’s sex and such of course. And, all the everything re that.)

And then the feeling when I do want to do *more* with someone, do want it as connection etc, but *don’t have a thing*.

And just – the way parts of this post go to this ‘I want to do intimacy/connection/etc with someone’, for me. And feel like they… opened, or helped open, or helped reveal, or – this maybe grasped-for-area for me, with it. And valuing that.

The Ace Theist

Apparently nobody is going to do the work of spitballing ideas for nonsexual non-D/s weird intimacy for me (insert sarcastic self-aware mumbling about my very niche interests not being catered to), so, here, I’m going to try and manage a little on my own.

May contain food, bondage, role play, sensation play, roughhousing, and nonhumanity ingredients.

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Relationships and reading

Some weeks ago, I went to a holiday party at the house of some people my family knows. The hosts are a husband and wife who got married pretty recently (for the purpose of this post I will call them R and E). Before that, my family had attended some game nights hosted by him, out of some circumstances with which I knew that he was then polyamorous. (But did not know, going to the party, if that was still the case).

He greeted us at the door; when we came into the living room (we were pretty much the first people there) we saw a woman who I then assumed was E. However, pretty soon after that another woman came into the room and it turned out that in fact she was E, and the first woman was thus clearly not (I will call her J). I asked J if she lived there too; she said she did not. I subsequently (including while watching E and J interact) started wondering if they were metamours. This turned out to indeed be the case.

 

Later at the party, I overheard a different person telling a story about how she and her girlfriend went on a roadtrip and got repeatedly taken for sisters, despite the fact that they don’t look alike. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that kind of story.

 

Together, this made me think about reading relationships working out as this combination of getting impressions on some level, and then interpreting them with what you have in your mind.

On some level I got impressions about J not feeling like another guest, and my brain went to other options I might have associated with what I was getting. Since I did have polyamory and etc in my head to work with, I could think of that one. If I hadn’t, I can see myself having wondered if they were, say, sisters-in-law, or other extended family.

Similarly, some of the people the other couple encountered might have been on some level getting the impression of ‘something other than friends’ – and then again, going to other options they have available in mind as associated.*


*To be clear, the reason what-people-have-in-minds works this way is heteronormativity etc and this is bad. This is me having thoughts about its existence, not saying it’s ok.