Objects In Mirror May Be More Mainstream Than They Appear

Think about what makes you “different” for a moment.  It could be any trait you have, visible or not, but it should be something that brings up challenges.  Maybe it means that people will reject you, or make assumptions that aren’t true, or maybe it’s something that alienates you from your family or makes you bite your tongue in more situations than you’d like.

Now, imagine that there’s a sparkly magical wonderland out there that will fling its door open to whatever trait you have in mind, and tell you you’re special and fantastic because of it.  But then you get into the city and oh, crap, you just saw behind the curtain and that’s not really a wizard, is it?  It’s just some old man trying to pass himself off as one.

Maymay has plenty to say about this, and says it better than I do.  He seems to like pulling that curtain back, and then people sometimes get pissy because they don’t want anyone doing that.  The entry I just linked is what got me thinking about this post, since it’s about things that have been simmering in my mind for over a decade now.  And the main point of that entry was to give a “Hell Yeah!” to this.  It’s great, and if you have any interest at all in the BDSM “scene”, go read it and then I’ll tell you why I put sneering sarcastic quotation marks around the word “scene”.

To be totally honest, I should be more in the category of “people who perpetuate heteronormative standards when you see them at kinky events” and less in the category of “people who don’t feel at home in the kinky community and therefore stay away most of the time”.  I’m a white, fairly young and conventionally attractive-appearing woman who, although identifying as bisexual and a switch, is currently in a relationship with a man wherein she takes the s-type role.  I should be perfect for this, flaunting what is highly conventional within a group that likes to pretend not to be conventional at all!  What ruins it for me is my mind.  It’s sharp enough to see all the social norms that I dislike in “normal” spaces being enforced in “alternative” spaces.

Maymay says it better than me:   No matter what they say, the BDSM community does NOT hold a monopoly on your sex life nor on your ability to play safely, or to find partners who you love and who will love you.

I would love to see that printed on a large sign at the entrance to every event ever, and plastered on websites the way the Surgeon General’s warnings are on cigarette packs.  It sums up a big problem I have:

1) I often feel like my understanding of who I am and what I need and want is negated by the “rules” laid forth (usually implicitly) by “the scene”.

2) I get annoyed and don’t feel welcome, so I stay home and examine my feelings and needs on my own, then develop relationships that are healthy and satisfying to the people involved.

3) My lack of presence in the outside kinky world is taken as ignorance, so people assume such when I do go out.

4) The “rules”.  Again.  Repeat cycle.

And then the sarcastic quotation marks thing comes up.  I can learn a lot about specific techniques and make friends I can relate to and meet people I can talk with about things I can’t discuss with most people I know if I go out.  But everything I actually am and how well I know myself has very little to nothing to do with the “scene”.  That monopoly Maymay mentioned really doesn’t exist, but I have run into more people than I care to count who would have me believe it does.

Right now, things are wonderfully naughty in my personal life, and Sir and I have moved through more difficult communication and work than you’d expect after such a short time to get to the present stage in our relationship.  Which brings me to the True Story part of all this!

We went out this past weekend, and had a great time.  The night started with me getting restrained and then hit, a lot, with several different things.  This was the type of thing that looks totally normal at these events, but it’s not just for show when I’m the one up there.  I get so much out of it because all that hard work with trust and respect and understanding has been done.  It might make a good video, but it works for me when I’m with someone I feel safe with emotionally as well as physically.  That’s important, not just because it’s how I function (which I figured out on my own, thank you very much) but because all those warm fuzzy feelings are wrapped firmly in the D/s nature of our interactions:

After that part, I wanted to relax and have a few drinks and bask in the endorphin rush.  We ended up at a table where someone Sir knew and my old pal Jonathan joined us.  I struck up a conversation with Jonathan about books we’d read recently and what I’m studying in Microbiology right now.  The other guy stated flat out that I wasn’t “really” a submissive and Sir wasn’t “really” dominant in our relationship.  Then he pointed out, as if it proved anything, that after he’d joined our table he was able to talk to me directly.  (You can’t do that with a real submissive, as I’m sure you all know.  They all have shock collars preventing them from speaking, and they don’t read or go to school or anything, so they wouldn’t have anything to say anyway.  Eye roll.)

I hope everyone, even s-types reading this who actually do have public rules forbidding them to speak, is also rolling their eyes.  If anything, the fact that such rules don’t exist for me proves the OPPOSITE of what that guy was trying to say!  I’ll tell you why:

The person with the fancy title and capital letters is in charge, right?  He (or She, but I’m referring to Sir – see?  A capitalized title!) is the one who makes rules, and if I choose to accept His role I will follow them.  See that bit about how He gets to make rules?  If all His choices were based on some OTHER set of rules that some OTHER person handed Him, would He really be any kind of Dominant at all?  No, He’d just be a cardboard cutout controlled by a set of expectations He was blindly following.  Any person who can’t make their own choices based on what they desire and what brings out qualities they want in their partner is no kind of Dom at all, but a Scene Puppet.

How could I have a real relationship with someone who wasn’t strong enough to know Himself and understand His own needs?  If my Sir is pleased by my intelligence and education, isn’t it better that I show it all off in His presence, rather than conform to a set of expectations that He would never want?  I’m fulfilling my half of the relationship by recognizing Him, not some off-the-rack “scene”, but Him, as being the Serious Business One In Charge.

Every time I’m visiting the Emerald City (to get back to my earlier analogy) and some silly person makes an observation like this guy did, they’re pulling back the curtain for me.  I’m going to call that guy Toto from now on.  So how do you find that magical place, when your illusions regarding the wizard are long gone?  It’s not my favorite movie, but let’s finish this analogy by suggesting some heel-clicking and, “There’s no place like home”.

Lots of us will never really be “home” at events.  Personally, I enjoy them for the most part, but I am really at home when I’m, well, at home.  As an individual, examining your own mind and kinks and soul free of the conformity the “scene” has to offer is way more valuable than trying to fit into the norms offered there, which are often sexist, classist, racist, and tend to be very narrow.  Once you know what you’re about, maybe you can play with the community and get something out of it.  Just remember that you have to learn about your own sexuality and social needs first, since a lot of those “rules” people want to give you won’t work.  As far as relationships, or even casual encounters, are concerned, there is far more learning and growth to be had from finding people you actually match well with and talking and exploring together than there is from trying to make yourself fit into a predetermined role and then finding another person in a predetermined role to match it.

The parts of the “scene” that I sneer at the most are the ones that don’t recognize us all as individuals with our own desires and needs.  I never, ever, want some younger or newer-to-events girl to see me being handled the way I often am and assume that’s “how subs are”.  I would rather they see something that clashes with their own vision of things and decide they want something totally different.  That takes nothing away from my kink, and would enhance their own.  It would mean more to me to have someone watch me and realize they never want to even try impact play than it would to have a hundred “scene” people praise me for taking it the way I do.

At its best, sexuality of any kind can flourish in ways that make your entire life and sense of self stronger and better.  But sexuality is personal, and relationships are personal, and there is no way a real sense of self can happen if you’re just trying to express sexuality and develop relationships within a narrowly-defined set of rules you did not ask for or agree to.

And that, readers, is why I do not belong to the Scene.





3 Responses to “Objects In Mirror May Be More Mainstream Than They Appear”

  1. Thanks for writing this. It made me smile. 🙂

    • And thank you for everything you have written! Frustrated as I get at times, it’s uplifting to see someone ready to point out all the flaws I see in the “scene” – and even a few I hadn’t noticed before!

  2. Any person who can’t make their own choices based on what they desire and what brings out qualities they want in their partner is no kind of Dom at all, but a Scene Puppet.

    I love the way you put this. It boggles my mind that some people actually seem to think that making themselves a puppet whose strings are pulled by sad stereotypes would make them *more* dominant, not less.

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