Saturday, January 3, 2009

How Would Broken Find The Bone?

I've been reading back posts from Alisa's Kink in Exile blog. She's an excellent writer, very insightful, funny, worldly wise, and since I'm having lunch with her next week during her road trip East, I'm shamelessly sucking up to her. Anyway, she wrote a piece about a year and a half ago called "You're Not Alone" in which she talked about not really ever feeling by her lonesome with her kinkiness because she had the Internet. She asked the following questions:
"For those of you who were kinky before the internet what did it look like? When and how did you get the language to talk about it and with whom did you talk about it? How did being kinky feel before you had the words or the context to describe it?"

I was very kinky before the Internet. I had my first pro session in about 1977 and was haunting bdsm magazine stores well before that. Screw Magazine ads were my source of contact with dommes. Letters to P.O. boxes were the email or Googletalk of the day. It all seemed very underground, clandestine and dangerous. I remember not really believing that dommes existed. Forget language to discuss kink, I really did very little talking about it. Up until this past year the only people who ever knew I was kinky were my former wife, long-term girlfriend, wife, shrink and all the prodommes I saw over the years. Being kinky felt isolated, lonely, volatile, uncontrollable, unstable, hot blooded and delicious. But I ended up feeling ashamed. I was a freak and a pervert because I was all alone.

In another post entitled "On Being and Doing" Alisa reminisced about kink, community and her exile as a relief worker in a remote area of Southeast Asia.
"I had the benefit of coming out in a college town, and of having patient mentors and a supportive community. And of course I have been lucky enough to play with some amazing people who never cease to challenge and inspire me.

So what happens when you divorce kink from community? From context and availability? One of the questions that I kept asking myself when I moved from my supportive college town to a rural rice farming community is 'am I still kinky?'"

Over the past year I've become intensely proud to be a member of a misunderstood minority - a card carrying constituent of an "outlaw" community. For me, kink divorced from community meant lost and isolated. I think Alisa is right that with the internet came a better chance at connection and social contact. In their best incarnations places like The Hang, Fetlife and the blog rounds I've made feel like the good high school experience I never had. It has been so liberating to be part of something, to develop language to talk about it, and to make friends. Lots more understanding and support.

Then again ...
If we lived in a world without tears
How would bruises find
The face to lie upon?
How would scars find skin
To etch themselves into?
How would broken find the bone?

12 comments:

Her Majesty's Plaything said...

Hi Advo:

Thanks for reminding me why I blog and why I hang around the boards. Since I am not really able to be part of the club scene the Internet gives me my only opportunity to be part of the "scene" and converse with other perverts like myself. It feels very liberating. I know I am not alone! BTW I still can't believe you live in the same apartment where I grew up! It truly is a small world after all!

All The Best my friend,

HMP

advochasty said...

There has to be some kind of cool, kink vibe happening with this building. I keep smiling to myself in amazement at the small world coincidence.

Alisa's comment on how she always had the internet really rung true for me. Though the day may come very soon that I will be freer to go to more munches, parties, and real time "scene" events, the e-conversation has been truly wonderful.

Miss Varla said...

"I've become intensely proud to be a member of a misunderstood minority - a card carrying constituent of an "outlaw" community."
Nicely put, and I concur.

I often find myself envious of those who were able to experience kink pre internet. It seemed darker, more gritty, and much more exciting to discover and live in secret. I always associate it with the smell of sweat and leather...when I try to imagine it.
On the other hand, I agree...the current online community has been invaluable for me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blog - it articulates many sub's experiences very nicely!

SME

advochasty said...

Varla,

Thanks for the nice words about my turn of phrase. It's really great to have a comment from you here.

I loved the sneaky, secretive, totally outlaw nature of pre-internet pro sessioning. It was hot to be so furtive and covert.

But as I looked at my motivations, "secret sex" ranked way up on the I-love-what's-bad-for-me scale. It's just me. For me, secret sex is way hot but completely shame inducing. That's why I've really liked the community I connect to on the internet, even though I'm largely still not in a position to do lots of munches, parties etc.

You imagine leather and sweat ... I had an erotic connection to the coin operated pay phone - an urban anachronism.

Anon -

Thank you so much. It was really nice to read your encouraging words.

Anonymous said...

I sense that many find a deep attraction to the d/s dynamic, are drawn by the stunning and powerful (and often real) dominatrixes, but also have satisfying but very vanilla marriages that they would feel very guilty "cheating" on. This is a tough situation for which our culture provides no clear solution - it doesn't admit for both at the same time...

SME

Yin said...

Lovely blog. I began personally delving into S&M as a teenager before the internet blew up and it was a grittier and darker world, as dirty and shameful as the sticky floors of the Hellfire club (RIP). What I was doing at the time wasn't called kinky, it was called "wrong." The edginess was sexy, too, but the psychological cost of being so underground took a toll on players, pro-dommes, and clients.
Now, I read a lot of blogs from kinksters who no longer have to wrestle with the lonely side of S&M and I'm glad for them, as I am grateful for this online community, myself. Blogs, online kink dating sites, maxfisch--they are all comfort zones for our interests. Your voice will add to that grace. Thank you.
M.Y.
p.s. L.William's World Without Tears is one of my favorite albums.

advochasty said...

SME

I think it depends on the people and the marriage. Some are fine with secret lives. Some couples have some kind of understanding. But I agree, our society and general attitudes make pro domme sessioning while in a vanilla marriage a tricky proposition.

Yin

I'm honored and truly touched by your kind words. This past year has been a true transformation for me. It has affected practically every aspect of my life. What you say about the lonely side of bdsm past rings so resoundingly true for me. I love your reference to comfort zones!

I will do my best to live up to your lovely belief that my voice will add to grace.

Lucinda makes me ache in such a fine way!

lethrs said...

Just wondering--in your blog you talk about being part of a misunderstood minority--is the minority the D/s community or the kink community?

Its something I have been thinking about a lot, and I am pretty sure we all have our kinks. D/s is just a subset of the kinksters. My theory is that we all carry something, and its the minority who act upon it.

advochasty said...

Hmmmm, very interesting thought. I think you are right that D/s is likely a subset of "kink". I'm pretty utterly sexually submissive and feel completed with a compatible dominant woman. I think submissive men and dominant women are a misunderstood minority. Obviously, there are all sorts of subsets within subsets. But, in my opinion, things like the intimacy of such a relationship and the romance of it all is something that the many with a few kinks may not really get.

Subdued said...

There were things I liked about the scene pre-Internet. My first pro session was in 1984, when finding a domme meant scoping out the "Hell's Belles" pages of Screw magazine. I was confused about certain aspects of myself during this period, but I didn't blame it on s/m or the effects of isolation or social estrangement but rather my own clumsiness in dealing with the opposite sex. If anything, seeing pro-dommes in the underground days taught me to be comfortable with myself and with women. Sure, these women were pro-dommes, but they were also artists, students, and business people who I enjoyed knowing, even if it was briefly in a mediated client-domme relationship.

During these days, I was also confused about the nature of BDSM relationships and how they existed outside of a pro context. And now, after billions of bytes on Max Fisch and elsewhere, I probably have those same questions. The "openness" that now exists has its downside, which includes the deleterious effects of peeking behind the curtain. I do miss the days when you had less of an early impression of a domme before you first met her and were excited to find out something cool about her when the session was over. I also miss the more intellectual attitude towards s/m practice, the theoretical writing that one found in certain academic as well as underground magazines and that framed our ways of thinking about what we do. Everything today is so sensation-oriented, and what was once a taboo that could be symbolically redeemed is now just another consumer option to be discussed in an online review.

I'm rambling. My main point is that there were elements that constituted community in the pre-internet days. Maybe it wasn't about being able to meet someone at a munch or hang out in an online chat room. But it was about feeling connected to a kind of artistic and intellectual energy that reverberated across a kinky underground as well as a broader idea of culture.

advochasty said...

Subdued -

Wow! Hell's Belles! I'd forgotten! Great rush of memory.

I think for me, developing relationships which have allowed a look "behind the curtain" has made a huge difference in feeling good about myself instead of feeling, as Yin put it, "wrong". I suppose in this regard, the internet had been around for quite some time before I began to feel the curtain part.

I think for me this parting has led to feeling less sneaky and secret and more just private and better connected. My connection to bdsm is no less hot, it's very romantic and feels so much more like a cleanly powerful force for good in my life.

I didn't think you were rambling at all. Your comments and observations here and on maxfisch have always been thoughtful and full of insight. Thanks for dropping by!