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30 November, 2008

Getting Real

Trin at SM-F linked to this post with a comment about "What is this equation of BDSM stuff and roleplaying, and where is the renfaire notion coming from again?"

I can't even say I wish I knew, because combining "roleplaying" and "sex" creeps me out so much that I don't even like reading discussions of it. It's probably not the biggest squick I have, but it's the biggest one I can see right at the moment (and I desperately need a nap, so I'm more myopic than usual, but hey).

If it's not real, it's not sexy to me.

And I think part of the reason that this distaste is so deep, visceral, and intense has to do with my experience of sexual harassment and my assault -- this constant barrage of people who wanted not-me sexually. Who had this pinup notion of me in their head, regardless of consent or reality, and made constant reference to it in their interactions with me, never letting me be unaware of this me-shaped blowup doll they were imagining me into.

That sort of thing, the creation of the role, reminds me too much of living in space where my sexuality wasn't mine, was regularly appropriated for other people's entertainment, where I didn't exist as anything other than the vessel for the game.

It burned me out on any notion of pretending to something I'm not where sexuality is involved.

And I'm a hell of a gamer. And in fact I've met probably a majority of the partners I've had in my life in gaming circles of one sort or another - let's see, flirting over Magic: the Gathering, met at a game store, playing Shadowrun (our characters wound up married, too), online roleplaying game, AD&D game, online RPG, at a weekly gaming gathering .... You're not going to get an "OMG the horrible gamers, the weirdos" out of me.

But I don't play games with sex.

I want my sex raw and real and present and accepting of the wholeness of me, without censoring away bits or tidying it all up into some kind of fantasy world that detracts from the genuineness of where and who I am.

It's not a place where I want anything other than reality.

And this is one of the reasons that my liege and I are intermittently working on a more or less formal contract that covers the full scope of our relationship and my service, because the whole of me is not willing to just pretend that I'm only his in the bedroom. The whole of me puts the kettle on when it knows to expect him dropping by; that's not in the bedroom. And it's not a game.

It produces real tea, not a fantasy. I'm not pretending to boil water, the water is actually, realio trulio little pet dragon hot. I'm not roleplaying a waitress or a maid or whatever other little game some people might want to give a thrill to their tea-making; I just make the goddamn tea.

10 comments:

Trinity said...

"And I think part of the reason that this distaste is so deep, visceral, and intense has to do with my experience of sexual harassment and my assault -- this constant barrage of people who wanted not-me sexually. Who had this pinup notion of me in their head, regardless of consent or reality, and made constant reference to it in their interactions with me, never letting me be unaware of this me-shaped blowup doll they were imagining me into."

*nodsnods*

That sort of thing (though I don't have the visceral squick you do; I've tried the roleplay thing and found it a nice place to visit every five years or so, maaaaybe) is why I have real trouble understanding people's idea that non-D/s, non-SM stuff is more "real."

For me, the vanilla world tells me what "woman" is, and "woman" is a thingy I only half fit. She's also submissive, which I'm not, and really likes roses and kisses and chocolate, none of which are so bad, but really, what the hell?

That's more of a role than anything is. And yeah, I know that vanilla radical feminists aren't much for that stereotype either, but they don't seem to make much room for what's actually THERE when I stop playing that official role.

"he whole of me is not willing to just pretend that I'm only his in the bedroom. The whole of me puts the kettle on when it knows to expect him dropping by; that's not in the bedroom. And it's not a game.

It produces real tea, not a fantasy. I'm not pretending to boil water, the water is actually, realio trulio little pet dragon hot."

*nodnodnod* That's the trouble I always had with the idea that D/s can be an only-bedroom thing. I'm sure it is for some people out there, and that's what they need. But for me, when Monkey serves me it actually means something, and that something is not just "I want to fuck now" (though yeah, it does also turn me on). It means he loves me and cares for me, and considers my comfort important and feels good when he creates that comfort for me.

It's funny, because these people rabbit on about how SM isn't intimate and D/s is fake, but knowing that someone really does feel warm and happy when he's made me comfortable grounds me wonderfully.

Labrys said...

I think this touches on why I shy away from role-playing games of any sort. And as much as I hate to admit it, possibly because on some level I actually fear losing myself to a role more attractive than myself! The thought of combining that hazard with the normal risks of sex....aaiiiieee, yep, screaming into the night stuff.

thene said...

Eh, offhand I bet she's not even thought the analogy through that far; she's just letting us all know that she's one of the cool kids.

Squid said...

But for me, when Monkey serves me it actually means something, and that something is not just "I want to fuck now" (though yeah, it does also turn me on). It means he loves me and cares for me, and considers my comfort important and feels good when he creates that comfort for me.

The thing that most aggravates me about the idea that BDSM is for the bedroom only is that it doesn't leave room for this kind of sweetness, which is like the best part.

Trinity said...

"The thing that most aggravates me about the idea that BDSM is for the bedroom only is that it doesn't leave room for this kind of sweetness, which is like the best part."

Yes.

Daisy said...

Very interesting post.

I think vanilla people are *comforted* by thinking/assuming BDSM is role-play, since costuming and such are things they basically understand and can say, ohh, I get it, it's like a sex play or scenario, which many of them can get into also... i.e. pretend the husband is Steve McQueen or Brad Pitt, maybe have him wear a cowboy hat or racing stripe or something.

However, the idea of BDSM as "real" is beyond their experience, therefore, prone to misunderstandings (at best) and full-fledged attacks (at worst).

Very descriptive, great writing, Kiya, as always.

Trinity said...

"I think vanilla people are *comforted* by thinking/assuming BDSM is role-play, since costuming and such are things they basically understand and can say, ohh, I get it, it's like a sex play or scenario, which many of them can get into also"

Daisy,

Likely true. It saddens me that SM people took this and ran with it, to the degree that the debate (even at the time) became "Is this really 'play' or is it 'real'?"

THAT'S NOT THE RIGHT QUESTION.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading through your whole blog, DH, and I really wanted to comment on this (especially because I can do it anon, and not linked to LJ). You see, this is my sexuality, the role-playing thing. This is my kink, to the point where I can't really feel arousal without it. I need some kind of D/s-y roleplay because I'm so dominant otherwise and he's so submissive, and there's a part of both of us that's opposite that and the RP brings it out. I never talk about it, because I fear being told my sexuality is ridiculous, that it's disordered, that it's based on abuse (which it kind of... is... and yet it's not, and I don't know how to parse out what is and isn't from wrongness and abuse when I was young.

And now, with my disease, it's all... gone. I am not flexible enough to masturbate (I've tried vibrators, they don't work for me), and having him penetrate me hurts like you wouldn't believe, both inside and with my back. I have no access to sex anymore, and I'm trying to figure out how to express my sexuality without, well, sex. I keep hoping we'll hit on some RP that will relax me enough to get me back to it.

Is it so bad that I need a certain context around my submission? (I feel like this whole comment is so TMI, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to say it anyway. Like I said, this isn't something I normally feel comfortable talking about.)

-PP on LJ, the person who you recently linked this blog to with the public entry that I flocked.

Dw3t-Hthr said...

I have an ex whose primary kink, so far as I can tell, is roleplay - nothing wrong with it, just not at all compatible with me.

I don't think you're talking about what ND was talking about either (the post I'm responding to), which was an attempt to create a vision of BDSMers as people doing frippy costuming and unrealistic posturing rather than having authentic sexuality.

It looks to me like you say that you have this authentic thing that you want to get out, and you need/prefer to have a structure of particular stuff around it in order for it to be functional for you. You're not doing fakey-fake prancing about like ND wants to insinuate, you just want to have a goddamn sex life.

(I know some folks who have medical issues that affect their sexuality to a greater or lesser extent. I hope you can find something that works for you.)

Anonymous said...

No, you're right, I'm not prancing around in costumes and faking anything. I guess that's what I really wanted to say-- my roleplaying is still real. Well... he's not some kind of evil overlord and I'm not really a concubine or whatnot, but the feelings are real. What it pulls out of us is real. I've never known what to call it-- it never occurred to me until I met you and read your BDSM journey that this is what's really going on there, but it is, I'm always submissive and it's always about power. I just never had that language. But it's not the stereotypical BDSM, no bondage, no flogging, nothing like that. Just power exchange. Which is half as potent as it could be because I think he only half understands that part of me.

*sigh* I've been so afraid to express any of this for fear that I'll be ridiculed because simply fiddling with my girly bits without first engaging my brain doesn't produce anything.

Thanks for giving me a place to say it and an ear that understands where I'm coming from.

-PP