This originally appeared as a guest post on Ozy Frantz’s Blog. Ozy has taken down their blog, so I am reprinting it here instead.
When we eroticize shame… is the shame “real”?
Expand that. When we eroticize powerlessness, helplessness, cruelty, punishment, power-hunger, fear… are these experiences “real”?
Here’s what I mean. I’ve just come out with a porn fiction book, “Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.” (Available as an eboook on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords: audiobook and print editions coming soon.) The book is, as you might have guessed from the title, pretty darned kinky: it includes dirty stories, meant to be hot and exciting and pleasurable, about fear, helplessness, cruelty, punishment, control-freakery… and shame. (In some cases they’re descriptions of consensual SM scenes; in some cases, they’re fantasies about borderline consent or non-consent.)
I’ve been promoting the book on Facebook, with excerpts. This promotion has resulted in some… conversations, with people who are unfamiliar with kink and are weirded out about how stories depicting such obviously negative experiences could possibly be considered pleasurable by anyone who’s emotionally healthy. And one person in one of those conversations made an argument I’ve seen a number of times — that the shame experienced in consensual SM scenes isn’t “real” shame.
It’s a point I’ve seen made by other kinky and pro-kinky people: SM shame isn’t “real” shame — it’s play-acting, pretend. The line from Dan Savage gets quoted sometimes (it got quoted in the Facebook conversation I’m talking about): that “BDSM is cops and robbers for grownups.” Even eroticized pain sometimes gets referred to by kinksters as “intense sensation” rather than pain.
And I started thinking: Is this true? [Read more…]