I have just finished reading Mac McClelland‘s excellent article, “How Violent Sex helped ease my PTSD” and some of the unfortunately unrelenting after effects. (“Offensive.”, “Shockingly-narcissistic.”, “Intellectually dishonest.”, “a racist and a f**ked up whore.”) I found her descriptions of the after effects of rape and insights into PTSD and her personal choice of a structured event as a path for healing rang true to me.
In a related article Elana Newman, research director for the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma and a professor of psychology at the University of Tulsa was quoted as saying, McClelland was “brave” as a journalist to address her struggle so openly, but she does not recommend that those with post-traumatic stress “put themselves at risk without controls.” I believe the BDSM lifestyle is not a place to go for Therapy, nor are the activities therein to be undertaken as such without professional guidance. But it is the subject of the controls that I wish to address.
So many look at the world of BDSM as a chaotic world of un-caring violence and dehumanization. One can find examples labeled as such with even a casual perusal of the internet. But in my experience I have found it primarily a caring community where one can experience intense human interaction within conscientiously chosen and negotiated limits and where each participant has the ability to change or stop the interaction at any moment, where the events are taken on with care and emotional support. What struck me most about Ms. McClelland’s personal choice of a therapeutic event were the last moments, moments I have seen expressed over and over within my community, where her violent lover repeated “…over and over and over something that he probably believed but that I had to relearn. ‘You are so strong,’ he said. ‘You are so strong. You are so strong.'”