Don’t take away my “yes” [TW for sexual assault]

April 7, 2013 at 2:03 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Apparently, second wave feminist (and noted transphobe) Germaine Greer said this yesterday:

“Evidence of violent constraint is usually taken to be evidence of withholding consent, even after women have been softened up for sadistic interaction by having their brains beaten into Fifty Shades of Grey.”

I haven’t read the article that the quotation was taken from. In all honesty, I suspect it would make me feel so angry and triggered that it would sap my energy, and there are things I want to get done today. It is therefore quite possible that I am taking her remarks out of a context that would change the meaning somewhat.

But out of context and given Greer’s general known views, the implications of the quotation make me exceedingly cross, though in a reasonably energised and articulate way. It seems to me that she is implying, quite strongly, that consensual BDSM is not a real thing – and that only a woman who has been somehow corrupted by a badly-written book could believe that she has consented to it.

Firstly, the difference between consensual BDSM and Fifty Shades of Grey is… quite marked. Not that I’d expect Greer to understand the difference. But, fail.

Now, as readers will know, I am a survivor of rape, of child abuse, of sexual abuse within a relationship.

And on those rare but wonderful occasions when the Magician ties me up and scratches and spanks me, I am bloody well consenting. Enthusiastically. Happily. Freely. Intelligently. Not because my brain has been “softened up”, but because this is part of my sexuality, part of how my body and brain like to interact with a sexual partner. Because it makes me feel amazing. Because it turns me on.

Just as the possibility of New Person doing the same to me at some point turns me on. Just as the possibility of me doing the same thing to New Person also turns me on.

I have fought long and hard and bitterly for the right to my own body, my own sexual power, my own choices. For my right to a true and meaningful “yes” to a sexual activity that I like. For anyone to now say that my enthusiastic consent isn’t good enough – that they are the ones who will decide whether my consent is real or not… just… EWWW.

There is nothing good, or feminist, about undermining someone else’s “yes”. The idea that only a man can truly, fully consent to a sexual activity is part of the patriarchy. If you tell me that my “yes” is meaningless, then you are undermining my “no”. And, more crucially in my case, you are undermining my scared/exhausted/drunk, “oh all right then”, and saying that is no less consent than “OMG yay, please do that!”. And that, my friends, is rape culture. It is a whopping big part of the problem.

I’m not a believer in “all choices are feminist”. And the concept of the male Dom and the female Sub as the One True Way in BDSM is *incredibly* patriarchal and icky and disgusting, as well as ridiculous, and I have no truck with it (and hope I would have no truck if I were a male Dom or a female Sub – as a genderqueer switch, of course I know it’s bollocks!). But it is perfectly possible to have any of the orientations within BDSM and be a feminist, and oppose rape culture. Both of which Greer is singularly failing to do when saying things like the quotation above.

And also? This:

Tying me up and hurting me because we both passionately want you to = consenting.

Guilt-tripping, cajoling me and bullying me into tying you up and hurting you = not consenting.

This does not strike me as a complicated thing to grasp. 😉

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And now, the difficult stuff [TW for sexual assault, sexual abuse]

April 1, 2013 at 11:46 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

This being the blog in which I talk both about my kink/sex life and about being an abuse survivor?

There is something I’ve not talked about on here, but with my relationship with the Warrior over, it’s time.

The Warrior was not actually very nice to me.

For much of our relationship, he frequently guilt-tripped or otherwise pressured me into sex, and otherwise trampled on my boundaries. Even in the last 2-3 years of our marriage, I had to repeatedly ask and insist and argue until he would finally stop his habit of groping me and then not letting go when I said “no”, saying that he “liked fondling me” (so therefore my preferences about it were irrelevant? :-S ). And then there were other things – him getting in a mood with me when sex hurt me and I had to ask him to stop. And the time when he accidentally penetrated my anus rather than my vagina in the heat of the moment, and was furious with me when I was distressed about it and insisted that he wash before we resumed.

It was no wonder that even though he is a switch, in the latter years, as I started to recognise that I am allowed physical boundaries, I had no interest in submitting to him. I simply did not trust him at all. Dominating him still appealed, but I confess with some shame that my main motivation in wanting to tie his wrists was not lust, but to keep his hands from touching me in ways I did not want or like. It was, by the end, about the only way I could bear to be sexually or kinkily active with him. His submission started to pall, to feel false and even rather nauseating. He fawned on me, but he did not respect me – in the bedroom or out of it. He had me on a pedestal, but did not admire or truly love the fullness of the person that I am. And whenever I fell off that pedestal, he was harsh, patronising, even a little emotionally abusive. He supported me financially and (at least until the Magician came on the scene) was also my primary carer in my disability. Unfortunately he also believed this gave him an automatic moral high ground in our relationship, he resented my neediness and did not deal with that resentment. He treated me as though I were not an adult, not his equal. He was dismayed by my coming out as genderqueer, dismissive of my childhood experiences. The Magician put his finger on it absolutely when he said that even at his best, the Warrior mostly regarded me as a cross between a pet and a social secretary – and I never even noticed the damage that was doing.

Getting together with the Magician changed me, and in ways the Warrior did not like. The Magician’s love, and respect, and care for me made me value myself more. He gave me the courage to explore myself, and to learn to like what I saw. The dissonance between the way they each treated me was often confusing and even painful. Though it still did not really clue me in to how dysfunctional my marriage to the Warrior actually was.

I never consciously noticed it at the time, but while I loved the Warrior for the whole time we lived together, his treatment of me and my subconscious awareness of his own unhappiness in the relationship were a constant, dull, horrible pain and sorrow.

Realising that I was abused as a child was awful and overwhelming, but it also gave me an excuse to just back the hell away from my sexuality and kink-self, and so escape that part of my relationship with the Warrior entirely. The Magician is grey-A, only sporadically kinky and/or sexual himself. And even if that were not the case, he respects me utterly. His attitude was: whatever I needed, was no problem for him at all. But the Warrior hated it. Throughout that whole two years of processing the child abuse, he almost entirely failed to have my back. He saw it as just another example of my being too weird to deal with, and thoroughly resented the lack of sex.

And now? I’m free of him. And, you know, in many ways that freedom hurts! In a few months I will start living on my own for the first time in my life – and I have anxiety, depression, monophobia, agoraphobia and ME/CFS. It’s going to be a massive challenge, and I am afraid. Meanwhile, my living temporarily with the Magician has screwed up his disability benefits (basically because the DWP is run by sociopaths). I’ve gone from a comfortable middle class lifestyle to a poor one, and inevitably that was something of a shock.

So, there is fear. There is grief. There is hurt. And more fear because, you know, anxiety disorder.

But oh goodness, also a joy so fierce it’s sometimes unbearable. The relief of pressure from no longer desperately trying to please and love someone who did not respect me is more powerful than I can describe. And between that and the tremendous support I’ve had from the Magician and various close friends, my mental health is actually remarkably okay right now considering. I feel that with a tremendous weight lifted from me, I am gradually drifting upwards.

And then there has been the last three weeks! To have, suddenly, two partners who both truly respect and love and value the person I am is almost brain-breakingly wonderful. I’ve been actively poly for over 4 1/2 years, but I don’t think I ever truly understood what that meant until now.

And the idea of sex and kink is pleasing and appealing again – and actually, more wonderful than it has been at any time, because I am so much more healed from my childhood from all of the processing I’ve done over the last 2-3 years, as well as being without the Warrior. I don’t feel triggered or trapped or panicky at the idea of doing things, watching things, thinking about things. I’ve been cheerfully watching clips on Dreams of Spanking, and looking forward to when I can afford to get some paid content! I’m looking forward to having both the Magician and New Person take photos of me – neither are photographers at the semi-professional level of the Warrior, but they’re also both pretty good, and could do with the practise. 😉 Above all, I feel I can respect and love myself, as a person with a sexual appetite, as an obedient and hedonistic sub, as a caring and sadistic dom. As a powerful person, whichever form my kink is taking – and I am, at the least, much less scared of that than I have been in the past. As a beautiful genderqueer person, who is now free to explore the possibilities of life with a great deal more freedom and integrity than ever before.

None of which is to say that I’m healed entirely, from the child abuse, from being raped as a teenager, from what I am (with sorrow) coming to regard as a sexually and occasionally emotionally abusive relationship of thirteen years. I am not. But I am closer to it than I have ever been.

It was the Warrior’s decision to leave me for his other partner when she made him choose between us, and while it was mine to end the actual relationship, it was clear that he was only holding back from doing this himself due to lack of courage. The decision to divorce was taken jointly.

It is hard, right now, to feel very grateful to him or his other partner for anything! But I am really, really glad that he chose her over me. However devastating and terrifying many aspects of all this are, it is, I think, going to prove one of the best things that has ever happened to me. 🙂

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