Periodically I’ll ask someone within the nontraditional (alternative) sexuality or relationship communities 5 specific questions. Here are one person’s answers.
- If you could offer people in your community just one bit of advice based on your experience, what would it be? Be skeptical about every bit of advice and information you get about BDSM on-line or at play-parties. The best person to listen to is someone who has achieved the results you’d like to achieve and who can prove it to you by the relationships they have and the way they live. Anyone can pretend to be a BDSM expert on the Internet or for a few hours at a club. Anyone can learn to use a toy really well too. It’s making BDSM work long-term in 3D that’s the challenge.
- Is there anything you see as particularly positive going on in your community right now? The biggest and best change is the influx of younger generations of people who did not grow up feeling as guilty and ashamed of being kinky as previous generations. Their more enlightened/less inhibited attitudes have helped us broaden the definitions of kink and make the community more open, more public, and more fun.
- Is there anything you see as particularly negative going on in your community right now? A sense of entitlement that’s resulted in political apathy. Now that BDSM is so much more open, a lot of people don’t realize that we are still as vulnerable to legal persecution as we were 30 years ago because sex laws haven’t changed. For example, a court may elect to see spanking as an assault, even if the partners consented. Many BDSMers are in denial about this state of affairs….until something goes wrong and they are personally affected.
- How could your community best be improved? We need to see changes in two important arenas: how the legal system perceives us and how the medical/helping communities perceive us. I strongly believe that forming new coalitions to support sexual freedoms for all Americans, combating unfair sex laws and working to educate psychiatrists, doctors and others, is crucial to positive change for the BDSM community.
- Think ahead 10 years. Where do you see your community heading? I don’t believe we hold our fate in our own hands until we change our role and our rights in American society. For example, a political backlash against the current administration could drive BDSM back into the closet unless we continue doing the hard, often thankless, work of changing the way society sees us.