On Facebook Silence Regarding Charleston Shooting

I usually post a lot about current events on Facebook, and I have no qualms about bringing POC struggles into White spaces, but my Facebook friends list has a lot of POC and I’m going to be limiting these posts for a while [or, if needed, put them under heavy content/trigger warnings]. It’s important to raise awareness, and White people shouldn’t use “I don’t wanna traumatize POC” as a cop-out to NOT talk about these issues, but right now I am taking a step back and hoping my wall can offer more healing for my communities, and especially the Black folks with whom I stand in solidarity because even in POC spaces we aren’t the same.

To my Black loved ones:

I see you, I witness you, and I stand with you.

So consider this my main post, and read this news roundup by Autostraddle. I’m not quiet and I will never be quiet about these issues, but right now, my wall will not be the place for them. That said, as someone on Twitter so eloquently put, if you’re calling 21 year-old Roof a “child” and had no issue calling 18 year-old Mike Brown a man, you need to check your internalized racism. If you call Roof “a lone wolf” and focus on “wow, he must have a mental illness” instead of on the fact that this was a hate crime against Black people in a country that wholesale devalues Black people while it appropriates their culture, you need to check yourself. You need to recognize that the narrative of White crime is always “lone wolf” and “mental illness” whereas any POC get immediately labeled thugs and terrorists. As someone IN the mental health field, discussing mental health and care is vital, but NOT when it’s a tactic to derail conversations about hate crimes and structural racism, or try to explain away actions like the shooting in Charleston.

Beyond our U.S. borders, we need to open our eyes to see the connections between the mass planned deportations of residents of the‪ #‎DominicanRepublic‬ who are of Haitian descent and the “social cleanses” in other countries. The Holocaust is not our “biggest and baddest” systematic extermination of people, and we need to stop pretending it is or was. We need to see the connections with mass deportations and ICE holds here in the U.S./Mexico border.

If you think that racist jokes are harmless, and that “it’s not like my friend Joe Schmo would actually hurt Black people or something,” remember that that’s the same exact thing Roof’s friends thought. Think of how many POC have been forced to leave spaces they once considered home because of racism, big and “small.” Think of how many POC on social media now are needing to take breaks from all their platforms because this is too much to bear—too much violence, too much hate, too much White silence and complicity. Think of how many POC feel an undercurrent of fear and anxiety every day due to White supremacy in this society. Think of how many POC are not even in a PLACE to avoid most racism in their lives even if they try. Microaggressions are violence, period, and we need to stop acting like the only “real racism” requires a massacre to qualify.

If all you see when you look at videos of police brutality—and especially of police beating up 12 year-old Black girls, of police arresting and dragging Black youth at pool parties—is “police in a tough situation making the best of it,” you need to crack open a newspaper, read a good history book, open up social media sites, look around, and see what’s actually going on and has been going on for years. If you reply with “All Lives Matter” to Black cries for justice, accountability, and visibility, you need to stop and understand that BLM exists because in our current society, all lives are NOT seen as mattering, and that’s what some of us are seeking to change. If you “don’t even see race, and didn’t even realize the races of the people in the videos,” it’s time that you bucked up and acknowledged you do see race unless you are LITERALLY VISUALLY IMPAIRED and you’re pretending it doesn’t matter in this world. Your “postracial, colorblind” rhetoric helps no one but White supremacy and those who benefit from it. If you think this post involves or implicates you, it certainly does.

If you know the name of ‪#‎RachelDolezal‬, but don’t know the names Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi [the founders of the‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ movement], learn them. If you know Roof’s name, but don’t know the names of the people he murdered, you better learn them today:

  • Cynthia Hurd, 54, branch manager for the Charleston County Library System
  • Susie Jackson, 87, longtime church member
  • Ethel Lance, 70, employee of Emanuel AME Church for 30 years
  • Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49, admissions counselor of Southern Wesleyan University
  • The Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41, state senator, Reverend of Emanuel AME Church
  • Tywanza Sanders, 26, earned business administration degree from Allen University
  • Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, retired pastor (died at MUSC)
  • Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45, track coach at Goose Creek High School
  • Myra Thompson, 59, church member

I try to channel as much empathy as I can muster, and I work hard to educate others, and I remember when I was a teenager who had no clue how racism was still so very real because I was consistently told “it was still there, but mostly a thing of the past,” and I try to be compassionate…but once you see the belly of this beast, it is the most tiring of endeavors to have to unearth it again and again for people who claim there’s not even a beast in the first place.

It is painful, and often even lethal, to have your humanity and the humanity of those you consider family denied. It is horrifying to have friends, family, siblings in fraternal bonds, co-workers, colleagues, deny these realities and try to explain away these inequities. If you don’t see this pain manifested, it’s probably because the POC around you don’t trust you to share their pain with you. Just because you don’t easily see it around you doesn’t mean it’s not there. How many POC friends do you even have, if you’re White? For a great majority of Americans, the answer is zero/few. Think about that.

If you do have POC around you, especially Black folks at a time like this, don’t ask them to explain racism to you. Don’t force them to discuss these issues. Ask them how you can help. Work to honor their feelings, their likely rage, and their inevitable sadness. Help them heal, or give them space if that’s what they need. Respect their words, as well as their silence. Stand in solidarity with them, with us, and ACTIVELY do something to make the world better and less racist. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.


 

A version of this post was originally published on my personal FB account. Never fear: I will continue actively blogging on here and other platforms about these issues.

Header image source.

Dear White Friends, Lovers, Strangers

No, I don’t hate you as a person because you’re White.

I hate the structural inequalities that put White people at an advantage. I hate the legacy of racism in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. I hate that people of color can’t try to create a safe space for themselves without some White people commenting on how that’s “reverse racism” and “discrimination.” I hate that when people of color talk about race and inequality, many White people respond defensively, negatively, and/or with guilt that then makes them focus on their “feeling bad” and impairs them from seeing the realities we’re bringing up. I hate that many respond with “well, we’re not ALL like that” because I already know you’re not all “like that”–“like that” being overtly discriminatory and horribly racist, but most of you to some degree still perpetuate racism even if in small ways.

I don’t need your guilt or anger; I need your support and your allyship in action.

I don’t need you to hate other White people, but to call them (and yourself) out when something racist happens. I need you to stand up for people of color even when there are none in the room. I need you to examine your privilege and see how it affords you certain things that are not accessible (or easily accessible) to people of color. I need you to look at the history of how racial difference was constructed in the United States and understand the context of race.

I need you to LISTEN.

I do NOT need you to feel guilty, but I understand if you do. I can understand if you feel bad, uncomfortable, awkward, or anything in that realm, but those feelings are a byproduct of examining privilege and usually they can even be part of the process of becoming an ally.

No one said this would be easy, and we must not confuse safety with comfort.

NCAVP Monthly Update: Reports of violence affecting LGBTQH communities in December 2011


[trigger-warning for anti-queer violence]

NCAVP Monthly Update: Reports of violence affecting LGBTQH communities in December 2011
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) is concerned by reports of violence impacting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and HIV-affected (LGBTQH) communities across the United States and Canada since late November 2011.  13 reported incidents of violence have occurred in California, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montréal, Quebec, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, DC, Washington State, and Wisconsin. 
NCAVP is providing all information available regarding these reports and is not responsible for the complete accuracy of the specific details pertinent to allegations, police investigations, and criminal trials.  Initial reports of these incidents come from media reports of LGBTQH violence and not direct service provision from NCAVP member programs.  NCAVP has reached out to local organizations in these areas and is offering assistance to support their anti-violence efforts.
November 26, 2011: New Orleans police found Brenting Dolliole, a 23 year old gender non-conforming person, beaten to death in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Investigators believe Dolliole died as a result of severe head trauma.  New Orleans police have named Corey Kennedy, 24, as a person of interest but not a suspect in their homicide investigation.  Local LGBTQ organization BreakOUT! held a vigil on Thursday, January 5th in honor of Dolliole and Githe Goines, 23, a transgender woman killed in New Orleans in late December.
December 2, 2011: A gay couple woke up to find threats and anti-gay slurs including “Move or Die” and “Die” spray painted on their home in Columbus, Ohio.  The homeowners suspect that the vandalism was in response to a heated meeting among members of their condo association the day before.  The local Strategic Response Bureau is investigating the incident as a misdemeanor due to its threatening message. The couple has stated that they now fear for their safety.  NCAVP member program, Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO), has been in contact with the couple and is providing police and court system advocacy in response to this incident.

December 2, 2011: An unnamed Public Works employee approached a transgender woman and grabbed her wig off her head at Z’s Bar inDes Moines, Iowa.  A witness recounted that when another bar patron tried to confront the man following the incident, the man hit her.  According to local news reports, the bar’s manager suspected that the man committed the act of harassment to win a $100 bet among city employee colleagues at an annual party at the venue. The woman who was harassed did not file a police report because she did not want to reveal her name.  Following this incident, Public Works Director Bill Stowe announced that the employee would receive, “appropriate disciplinary action,” and a Public Works supervisor apologized to Z’s Bar for the incident.

December 7, 2011: Jacob Rogers, a senior at Cheatham County High School in Ashland City, Tennesseecompleted suicide after enduring severe anti-gay bullying by classmates for years. Rogers’ closest friend, Kaelynn, reported that Rogers sought help from his school.  School officials say they were only aware of one incident and believed the bullying had been getting better.  LGBTQH bloggersTowleroadSlog and Joe.My.God, successfully raised $5,000 to support Rogers’ family to pay for funeral expenses.  The bloggers announced that the remaining donations will be distributed between the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education NetworkTrevor Project,American Civil Liberties Union and It Gets Better Project.

December 11, 2011:  William Adam Lane, 22, confronted a lesbian couple with profane, derogatory comments about the couple’s sexuality after he saw them embrace in Bellingham, Washington.  Lane then smashed in the rear window of the couple’s car before he was pinned to the ground by one of the women.  Police said they believe Lane was intoxicated at the time of the incident.  Local law enforcement are investigating this incident as malicious harassment and a hate crime.  The unnamed couple, 23 and 30, were reportedly not hurt by the incident.

December 12, 2011Montréal, Quebec boutique owner, Ghislain Rousseau, was closing his store when a woman banged on the window and tried to smash it in with her foot as she yelled, “this is a f—king faggot store!”.  Rousseau stopped the woman from attacking his store and shortly after two police officers arrived at the scene.  The city held a public council meeting to address violence in Montréal’s gay village where the mayor committed to improving the neighborhood’s lighting and increasing its police presence.
December 13, 2011: Pro Shots, a shooting range in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, put up a billboard that reads “Pansies Converted Daily” with an image of a target sign and a rifle.  Equality North Carolina has condemned this message as “veiled homophobic hate speech.”  NCAVP member program, Rainbow Community Cares, also released a statement denouncing this advertisement as supporting violence against LGBTQ people.  Pro Shots responded by announcing that they will take the billboard down.
December 14, 2011: Two men yelled homophobic slurs and attacked an unnamed man, 22, in Athens, Georgia.  The man, who identifies as gay, was walking toward his car when the incident occurred.  He was knocked unconscious and has shattered teeth as a result of the attack.  According to reports, the survivor wanted the attack reported as a hate crime.  Local law enforcement are investigating this incident as aggravated battery.
December 20, 2011A transgender woman, 56, was stabbed in the back with a knife by an unnamed man while at a house inWashington, DC’s Kingman Park neighborhood.  According to the police report, the woman was in the basement of the house when she got into an argument with the man which then led to the attack.  The woman then walked to a nearby apartment complex where she was found by police lying on the ground and bleeding from the stab wound.  Emergency responders transported her to a local hospital where she was treated for her injuries.  Local sources connected to NCAVP have reported that the survivor is now at home recovering from this attack.  This incident marks Washington DC’s 12th assault against a transgender woman where a knife or gun was used since July.  Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Liaison Unit announced that the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) is assisting in the investigation of this incident.

December 24, 2011: Dee Dee Pearson, 31, a transgender woman of color, was shot to death by Kenyon E. Jones, 26, inside an apartment in the 1000 block of East 43rd Street in Kansas City, Missouri.  Jones told police he killed Pearson after paying her for sex and discovering that she was transgender.  Jones, who has a history of drug related offenses, has been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office.  NCAVP member program, Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, released a joint statement with the Justice Project grieving this murder and calling for respectful media coverage of Pearson’s death.  These organizations hosted a memorial service for Pearson on December 28th
December 25, 2011: Unknown suspects vandalized and destroyed depictions of same-gender couples in an art installation nativity scene outside Claremont United Methodist Church in Claremont, California.  Claremont police are investigating this incident as a hate crime.  The church plans to hold an interfaith vigil in support of LGBTQH communities in response to this vandalism.
December 25, 2011: Lyal Ziebell, 20, and Jake Immel-Rhode, 20, yelled anti-gay slurs and punched an unnamed man in the face outside PJ’s bar in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  Immel-Rhode then repeatedly kicked the man in the head.  The man sustained a broken jaw and brain injury as a result of the attack, and believes he was attacked because he is gay.  Ziebell has stated that he is “very homophobic” and attacked the man after he started “hitting on me.”  Winnebago County authorities have charged Ziebell and Immel-Rhode with battery causing great bodily harm, burglary, and a hate crime modifier.
December 29, 2011:  Local police found the dead body of Githe Goines, a 23 year old transgender woman, in a scrap yard in New Orleans, Louisiana after she had gone missing for two weeks.  Local media reports have not accurately identified Goines as a transgender woman in the reporting of her death, but New Orleans sources connected to NCAVP assure that Goines identified as a woman.  The Orleans Parish coroner’s office believes Goines was strangled to death.  Local law enforcement have not released information regarding possible suspects in their investigation of this homicide.  Local LGBTQ organization, BreakOut! held a vigil on Thursday, January 5th in honor of Goines and Brenting Dolliole, a gender non-conforming person killed in late November in New Orleans.  Goines’ death marks the 14th homicide of a transgender or gender non-conforming person NCAVP has tracked in 2011.
According to NCAVP’s report Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2010, there was a 13% increase in reports of anti-LGBTQH violence between 2009 and 2010.  NCAVP believes that together communities can prevent and end violence impacting LGBTQH people and calls on community members, anti-violence organizations, and public officials to join efforts to end violence within and against LGBTQH communities.
Prevent: NCAVP encourages communities to create programs, campaigns, and curricula to prevent anti-LGBTQH harassment and violence and to promote safety. NCAVP is available to provide support and resources to communities for their violence prevention efforts.
Respond: NCAVP recommends increasing support for LGBTQH survivors of violence by increasing funding for services and banning barriers to service and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Report Violence: NCAVP encourages anyone who has experienced violence to contact a local anti-violence program for support and to document this violence.
Get Involved: Join NCAVP in our efforts to prevent and respond to LGBTQH violence. To learn more about our national advocacy, receive technical assistance or support, or locate an anti-violence program in your area, contact us.
Contact Information for Responding Organizations
BRAVO
Hotline: 866-862-7286
BreakOUT!
Phone: 504-522-5435
Equality North Carolina
Phone: 919-829-0343
Kansas City Anti-Violence Project
Phone: 816-561-0550
Rainbow Community Cares
Phone: 919-342-0897
NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and HIV-affected (LGBTQH) communities.  NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs, affiliate organizations and individuals who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

Getting Into BDSM: Questions from a Closeted Kinkster

Header image by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid — Post last updated on 7/8/15

hi there, i saw you on twitter and noticed yr going to geeky kink! i’m a closeted young(ish) kinkster who would love to be the type that goes to cons, has play partners, etc, but doesn’t know anyone or have any connections. do you have any resources or tips? what was yr first bdsm con like? were you intimidated? do you have a kink coming out story? feel free to neglect any of my questions if they’re too prying.

The Resource Questions

Online Community and Building Networks:

Check out Fetlife—which is like a kinky Facebook, sort of. On there, be active on discussion boards for things that call your attention [though you should be aware that Fetlife can also be a hot mess, and that its founder is not a commendable dude]. This is a great place to find kink-related event listings, too! More on that later.

On Twitter, find folks that are awesome and engage with them. You can start by following people’s curated lists, like these and these, and by searching relevant hashtags.

Tumblr, as a platform, is also fantastic. Find BDSM bloggers, follow kink-related tags, reblog some things you find hot and start making connections with other people that share those tastes/interests! I’m especially fond of Happy BDSM and Perverts of Color, two Tumblrs that defy the stereotypical images of kink. Those online friendships can sometimes translate into in-person friendships or even relationships, too. Speaking for myself, my primary partner and I started talking through OKCupid. Many of the people I smooch and/or am GOOD friends with right now, I met online first through various means.

Joining pre-existing networks of kinksters makes your circles grow exponentially. If you’re in college/that demographic, there are some colleges with BDSM groups, most notably Columbia with Conversio Virium, and locally to Rhode Island, College Hill Kink. Beyond the college setting, though, there are “munches” where kinksters gather to chat and eat at places like food courts in a low-pressure environment. These are usually organized by a group, like BTNG—Boston’s Young and Kinky. [Pro-Tip: If you’re under 35, specifically looking for “TNG” groups—The Next Generation—can be fabulous so you’re not awkwardly the only 19 year-old in a sea of 40-somethings.]

Events And Dungeons:

Go to events, definitely, if you feel comfortable (or ok) doing so. The Internet is awesome, but in-person interactions can also be very important, especially if you want to engage in play and, say, need specialized gear or other humans to help. There are a wide variety of cons (some that allow play, some that don’t) for different demographics (trans folks, queer women, youngsters, yada yada) and different proclivities (e.g. rope cons, high-protocol cons, etc.). You can search for them, and here’s where Fetlife also comes in handy.  A safe way of dipping your toes in might be to go to conferences that don’t allow play (e.g. Fetish Fair Fleamarket, which is also pretty cheap) or going to conferences with curious friends and sticking together. Generally, though, here are some names of cons/events you could check out [including them here doesn’t mean I’ve attended or personally endorse them]:

take Classes / Learn Some Things:

The best book for newbies that I’ve found so far? Playing Well With Others  by Lee Harrington and Mollena Williams. It’s a primer on everything you need to know as a new kinkster, or just someone curious about breaking into “The Scene.”

Beyond official conferences, different organizations host parties and/or do classes too, and some of them are free and open to the public (e.g. New England Leather Alliance, New England Dungeon Society, The Society in CT, MOB New England, and those that tackle sexuality though not limited to BDSM/kink, like the San Francisco Center for Sex and Culture).

My ultimate favorite resource, though, is KinkAcademy.com: a treasure trove of information from a variety of different perspectives. Awesome multi-media education on-demand (by subscription). Totally worth it, and they have been very supportive of their educators and workers, so from an ethical standpoint, I love recommending them.

Final Words of Wisdom:

Don’t feel pressured to have 69 play partners and hundreds of toys. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s about satisfaction, not numbers. Similarly, it’s not about being on ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS EVARRRR, but being happy with the stuff you’re on and making the best use of them for your needs.

The Personal Questions

My First Con:

was the Fetish Fair Fleamarket in Providence back in 2009. Fun classes, cool fashion show, lots of people, vendors, the whole thing—but no public play, no dungeon. It was a “safe” con in that respect; no need to put myself out there (even though I would have done so if I’d had the chance). Didn’t feel intimidated,  but instead thought “holy shit, these are my people” when I walked in. Super happy to see so many kinksters in one place. It was joyous. Not everyone feels that way, though; some people are overwhelmed, intimidated, scared, nervous, and the list goes on. It’s about seeing what ways make you interact, but also feel comfortable. As of last year or so, the conference has moved venues and I haven’t attended for a while.

Coming Out:

I’m always coming out to new people! My favorite stories usually stem from trips in airports or on mass transit. Hilarious conversations usually ensue. One involved 2 drunk guys talking to my boss/colleague and I when we were in Florida for an adult novelties convention, and us showing them male chastity devices because they wanted to see toys and those were at the top of our bag. Perfect coincidence. On a more family-related level, I came out to my mother indirectly when she read my chat logs and some stuff in my journals when I was a teenager. I’ve come out to her again since, both directly (saying I’m into a variety of kink stuff) and indirectly (hello, bruising!). I’ve come out to friends, but usually without making a big kerfuffle about it because sexuality is such a huge part of my life in general, that it’s not super surprising or unheard of in the circles that I travel.

My Kinky Root:

The first big inklings came when I was 14 and I had this kind of random role-play via chat with a guy (he was 18) from an art-site I frequented (deviantART). It started out pretty mellow, and then it turned into this sexualized, chatty but violent thing. I don’t even know. It was bizarre. I was confused and turned on and mildly horrified…and that began my first online dating situation. Looking back on it, that was such a strange time in my life…? Anyway. The other big milestone was watching Secretary. Classic. I have SO many fond memories of that movie (and making my MSN nickname—back when MSN Messenger was  A Thing—basically “Aida loves tree trunks” due to a scene in the film). It’s kind of become code for kinky. If someone tells me they like that movie, it’s usually a sign that they’re not the most vanilla of people. NOT always, but often. For some people, it’s like flagging—the hanky code, but with movie choices.

Conceptualizations of Sex

The sex itself? It’s sweatier and it’s sweeter, all at once. When it’s tender, it’s not tender like a Hallmark card, but like a cookie fresh out of the oven: steaming, moist, delectable and melt-in-your-mouth. When it’s forceful, it’s not so because one partner is being assaulted or dominated, but because the energy and strong unity of a shared desire feels so urgent and deeply wanted that both partners leap upon it like someone who has been on a hunger strike for a week might approach an all-you-can-eat buffet. Her expectations and the experience of her sexual initiation seem less like a country-western serenade and more an 80’s power ballad.

And another quotation, because it’s what I want out of my sex-life (and so far, what I have):

This sex doesn’t just feel okay, nor is it good simply because it is painless. This sex feels freaking magnificent. Sure, sometimes it’s magnificent like riding a rollercoaster or having a near-death experience, and at other times it’s magnificent like soaking your feet after a long day, but it’s always so much more than just okay.

Via Scarleteen: An Immodest Proposal (which, is in turn: Reprinted from Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti, Seal Press, 2008)


Pain vs. Harm (and some other thoughts)

Via Nonzer0 (which you should check out because it’s fantastic).  
Emphasis mine. 
——

From my limited experience:
Pain is different from harm. Whether the two coincide often has to do with intention or context–the pain felt during childbirth is processed and experienced differently (and usually not as psychic or emotional harm, even if the body is injured) whereas an equal amount of physical pain felt when being tortured in someone’s basement or in a POW camp I would guess is much more likely to be harmful.

In less dramatic senses, I think there is more risk of harm when we are acting out of any sort of malice, retributive anger, hatred, resentment, defensiveness, aggression–anything that Yoda would put on the dark side of the force.
This purtains to kink in that, when it is done in a “safe, sane, consensual” manner, one of the intentions may be to cause pain–physical or emotional–but not to harm. Anyone who wants to do you lasting damage isn’t someone that it would be healthy for most people to get kinky with. A good top, when you are not “playing” with power or other kink stuff but doing something more serious, is more like a spiritual guide, knowing when to push and when to slow down, open to feedback, offering support and encouragement when necessary, with steady love beneath whatever else is going on or whatever the expression of it is (you know I don’t necessarily mean romantic love). And in this context, the sub has the opportunity to experience and confront some of the things we struggle most with as humans– perhaps, physical pain, which she will learn is easiest when one surrendors to it or accepts it wholely; mentally, humiliation–which can be an joyful release from selfhood, an entry into intense trance states, a way of taking the ego and breaking it against a rock, failure or guilt–which, in going into fully in the safety of the setting she will learn to fear less in daily life, and to meet fully when it arises, her psychic and physical limitiations–which may help release her from some of the perfectionism conditioned into us by our culture, fear–which she will become intimate with and learn to and enjoy, create for herself the tool of imbuing the terrible with the erotic thus helping her to face it, to make it bearable.

It is a grounds, perhaps most of all, for giving and recieving unconditional love. There is incredible risk on both sides to exposing “shadow” sides, in asking for obedience or giving it, in giving a command or following it. The scene can exist only when both parties conspire together, are in it together. And it is amazing, to humiliate oneself completely in front of someone, to for a period of time exist in a state of utter trust and let someone cause you pain without trying to escape, and instead of leaving, the person stays, appreciates, loves you all the more. And the top, I would guess, has a reciprocal experience–to demand, inflict, command, humiliate, and still be loved. It’s breath-taking, isn’t it?
The difference between this and actual abuse has much to do with explicit consent and intention. Abuse often comes from intentions to harm, defend, protect, intimidate. Kink, in good situations, comes from intentions to expand and open emotionally and experientially, to achieve intimacy, to give and recieve love, and often includes inflicting pain in the service of these things.
Of course some people use kink to channel hatred of various sorts, or to put themselves in harm’s (rather than pain’s) way, and in those scenarios, there is great potential to damage all involved. But in the best cases, sex can become a pretext, a means, a background, or simply a component of a deeply intimate, alchemical process.