Systems that do harm, psych important things, typical mind fallacy, and argument dynamics

{crossposted from my tumblr here}

A dynamic I think I’ve run into repeatedly:

There’s some kind of thing that, as it exists right now, does levels of harm. At the same time, some people get psych important things out of it (to be clear, notout of the harm aspect itself, here).

Some people *don’t* get psych important things out of it, might get psych important things out of the other direction, etc. They might themselves get hit harder by the harm, or they just personally run into only the harm, since as noted they’re not getting things out of it. They can also have some typical mind fallacy about this (generally on the ‘underlying, wouldn’t even consciously think of it’ level). So when they call out the harm etc, they can take the approach of ‘get rid of the whole thing, it’s just awful’.

People who aren’t concerned with the harm *and* get psych important things out of the thing or have other reasons to support it then often regard those first people as enemies and reject the calling out parts. (Depending on people and dynamics, there might be typical mind fallacy here too, there might be not caring, etc).

This then puts into a pretty bad situation the people who *do* care about the harm and would want it not to happen, *and* get psych important things out of the thing. They’re unlikely to be comfortable with the first group, who not only don’t give weight to something psych important for them, but don’t see it. They’re unlikely to be comfortable with the second group, who aren’t caring about the harm. Neither group is likely to like them, and they can get caught in crossfire a lot. There isn’t particularly much space for ‘ok, let’s do work re things that can give this psych important things and *not* do this harm. How can we do that’ (this can often involve trying to identify the psych important things, which can also vary between people).

And then there’s often a lot of really sucky argument dynamics, on overt levels (what you see in arguments) as well as not (who might not even be entering the discussion even though the topic affects them and they have a perspective and etc). And other things.

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Some re negotiation thoughts sparked by a post

{this is a reblog of a post, and I thought WordPress would put the original post at the beginning, but apparently it puts it at the end. Not sure why, but, as such, scroll down to see original.}

[Not an essay or anything, just – some thoughts that showed up having seen this which I am trying to put into words and not doing very well.
Did not read linked article (the Creepy Dom one).]

I’m very much one of those ‘communication and negotiation and discussing and etc our kinks with my partner is something I value and really want to do not just for utilitarian use but as its own thing which I love’ people. Like, I’ve had literal communication fantasies and everything.

I often don’t and haven’t felt space for this. From domism, certainly and very much (not going to go further into this right now). But also in general. For talking, for having all the thoughts on myself and sharing them, for the other side of this. I don’t see it represented. I receive the idea that it’s not OK. I receive the idea that talking is a burden and a chore and no one actually wants to do it. I don’t see representations of a positive place for it. (And, to be clear – if someone *doesn’t* want to listen to mine, isn’t interested in/would not want doing that themselves or sharing, I wouldn’t want to do that with them or etc. This is something I’d *only* want to do with someone who also wanted it. But socially received ‘not OK’ for me feels like the idea that no one would want this and it’s bad/imposing/presumptuous for me to think someone would etc. Which is where this hurts me).

And, I definitely get this feeling when I see quotes like this. When things like this are just taken for granted etc. (I also get it when I run into ‘negotiation can be sexy!’ type things that again don’t leave space for wanting not-that. (Like seeing a lot of things going ‘it’s ok, bread can totally be made to taste like pastries’ when I like bread and and would like to have bread. (Which, to be clear, wanting your bread to taste like pastries is *also* a valid want and thing to want materials on.)))

I think there’s fairly clearly a typical mind fallacy thing going on here. I’ve read writings about how things work for them by people who write quotes like this, and this is very much a how-it-works and experience etc that exists and people have and etc, and it is valid to be/have. (Even as my experience also exists and I have it and this is valid). (Note, this is different from ‘negotiation is boring so let’s just do things and I don’t care if I hurt my partner’, which is not at all valid. Or ok. It’s valid for negotiation etc to *not be a thing people are in and of itself into and excited about*. Much like I don’t have to be excited by obeying safety traffic laws, but I very much have to abide by them. If I can find a way to make this fun for me, I can be happy about that, but if I can’t, then I need to either do it un-funly or not drive (general I, not specifically-I-I.))

And I wouldn’t want to do the typical mind fallacy thing in return – much like there are things other people like and are excited by and I don’t and am not, there are things I like and am excited by that other people don’t and am not. And I can and do want more representation and material and etc re how it is for me (the what-ifs of this post give me yes feelings!). But I don’t want to act like everyone is or should be like me in this.

Which makes me think, also, that this can be useful to conceptualize as one of those things where people for whom something is utilitarian have different needs in materials etc than people for whom it’s a/the thing-they’re-into. (Even as there’s the important difference caused by the fact that the ‘utilitarian’ purpose of negotiation is *trying to not hurt or violate your partner*). Just like people who are into bondage don’t have the same needs in materials as people who have found that they keep almost falling off a table when doing their actual target activity and would like to try restraints to solve this. But, for instance both groups need to know things about not cutting off circulation with restraints.

(I also very much want more material with negotiation, and really wish it was out there more and I could find it, because that’s not one of those things I just automatically knew or know how to do, and examples, aside from validating OK-ness, are also really major for that. (And I’ve gone looking before, and haven’t found nearly enough, so.))

The Ace Theist

author of A Field Guide to Creepy Dom*: It can be really hot, at first, because let’s face it– none of us fantasize about negotiations and limits.

me: First of all, speak for yourself, but second of all — what if we did, though?  What if we changed how we think about “negotiations” and “limits”?  What if we were no longer conceptualizing them as an un-fun technical obligation, a thing for getting over with?  What if we centered and celebrated and embraced communication about preferences as a treasured part of getting to know your partner and yourself?  What if that was something to look forward to?  What if that was part of the fantasy?  What if I wrote a flash fiction piece that was just about a couple discussing what they wanted?

*cw for rape and abuse narratives

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Brainstorming: ‘non mainstream’ and ‘connected-to-bad-things’ are not equivalent categories.

{Originally posted on my tumblr on Sun Jan 5 2014}

Subtitle: this asexual masochist would like to have a word on some anti-asexual attitudes in kink-shaming.

[My last brainstorming post kind of turned out to be a proper post instead. This one, I think, is closer to brainstorming, which is to say, I think I know what I’m trying to say, but I don’t think I’m yet at the ‘saying it very well’ point].

In both of my previous posts about kinks-connected-to-real-world-bad-things, I’ve been specifying before I start that I’m using the ‘I have a thing for this’ meaning of ‘kink’. In the same post where I talked about that definition, I also talked about another one – “Often, kink doesn’t just refer to having specialfeelings for anything, it refers to having specialfeelings for things outside the mainstream”. Now, as far as I’ve seen, in a lot of anti-kink circles, it is common to see that definition of kink and the connected-to-real-world-bad-things category of kinks as one and the same.

I strongly disagree with this. First, there are absolutely kinks-connected-to-real-world-bad-things that are perfectly mainstream – virginity is a big one there. However, more to the point of this post, there is a whole subset of non-mainstream things that I would say are not connected-to-bad-things. This would include the subset of things that people like on a purely physical-action level. Which, in my opinion, includes some forms of pain things.

One of the things that tends to severely put me off the radfem type of anti-kink people is that they have a tendency to put all pain things in with the connected-to-bad-things category. Which, as far as I can tell, tends to look rather like ‘well, I (and people I know) find this unpleasant, so therefore it’s bad’.

Now, to clarify. Lots of pain kinks are absolutely in the connected-to-badthings category. Example: kinking on enduring pain that you hate but are being forced to keep taking, or on the idea that you’re being punished with pain for being a bad person, or on pain in the context of roleplaying torture. However, lots of sex kinks are also in the connected-to-badthings category (example: being used), for pretty much any sex act one can name, but these physical sex acts themselves tend to be much more positively regarded. I am talking here exclusively about the ‘I like it because I/my partner finds it physically/mentally pleasurable’ type of pain kink (‘mentally pleasurable’ here means ‘my brain just likes and desires this’). (Note: a lot of my own pain kinks are the connected-to-badthings type. I’m talking here about the ones that aren’t).

The reason, I think that this is such an issue for me is that the things that it is most common/accepted for people to find physically/mentally pleasurable don’t really work that way for me. As a major example of this: I don’t like open-mouthed kissing. In fact, while I’m not particularly sex-repulsed, I am much closer to kissing-repulsed. It feels wet and squishy, it sets off my hygiene issues and meanwhile it causes me no physical and mental pleasure whatsoever. Most sex acts, for me, are incredibly emotionally complicated and not particularly physically pleasurable. Being hit with things, on the other hand, is something I desire, it gives me physical and mental pleasure, it’s what can get me happy and euphoric and after-glowy.

But the thing is, I know my feelings are not universal. If I did – if say I thought that everyone experienced kissing physically the way I do – it would make perfect sense to me to go around to people who talk about liking kissing telling them how awful they are for inflicting such an unpleasant sensation on their partner, and don’t they know it’s dangerous and can transmit diseases, and they’re not even using a dental damn. It would make sense for me to tell them that there must be something really terrible making them think they like it, and I feel really bad for them and hope that someday they’ll be able to heal and get past it and start experiencing a healthy sexuality by liking the things I like instead. But because I’m a minority, I know that my feelings are not universal. I know that when people say they like kissing, they’re saying this because to them it feels good and is awesome and desired and endorphin-making. But also because I’m a minority, people tend not to realize this about the things I like.

Anti-kink people of the type I’m talking about will tend to hide behind the idea that causing pain to someone who doesn’t like it is violence. Which, yes, it is, and that’s horrible. But kissing someone who doesn’t like it is sexual assault, so that’s making the wrong comparison entirely.

This also connects to the reason why I feel asexuality ties into this. Because, for any physical interaction, there are going to be people who experience it negatively. Any physical interaction, when done without consent, is a violation. So saying that some physical interactions are uniquely and always bad, while others aren’t, means the distinction has be made based on some intrinsic assignment of value: ‘these are the bad things and these ones aren’t because that’s just the way it is’. And, pretty much invariably, the things put in the ‘not bad’ category, the good category, the healthy category, the category being privileged, are the very things that are likely to be unpleasant or not positive for me and people like me, and the things we are likely to be pressured into doing and abused for not liking.

So I guess to come to a conclusion: I get my physical and mental pleasure off of different physical actions than is standard in our society. It bothers me when people treat the things I enjoy as things no one could ever actually enjoy and if they think they do it must come from something terrible. It bothers me even more that this seems to come with its own form of compulsory sexuality, where a particular set of intimate physical actions (a lot of which are not particularly positive and even negative for me) gets held up as what should be the healthy, pleasurable, positive intimacy that is the ideal for everyone. And what this comes down to all together is: if you tell me that my preferences in physical enjoyment are wrong, then either you are being a part of compulsory sexuality (whether in a ‘you should do this’ or ‘hopefully, if you get the healing [‘fixing’] you need, you can do this’, or ‘this is just better and healthier’ way). Or you are telling me ‘well, you’re so broken, you just shouldn’t get to experience this kind of pleasure at all’. I don’t think it’s very hard to see why this upsets me.