Through a Glass, Darkly

Today I was tweet refered to a superb post by Renee Randazzo (Unfortunately, no longer found).  While the context was primarily from a female Feminist point of view I found the words strongly echo within me.

“Me and my sexuality have had a tumultuous relationship.  I have been paralyzed by shame for the better part of my existence, thanks largely to growing up in a culture where women’s sexuality is simultaneously feared and exploited.  Any expression of the ongoing process of my negotiation of my sexuality made me vulnerable to victimization, or short of that, over-simplification of my personality.”  [Emphasis mine]

The shame I live within is palpable.  I am a mature, white, Anglo-Saxon, male who identifies as a sadistic Dominant.  I enjoy causing pain to people I love.  I am one of the people who are automatically identified as an Abuser.  While I accept who I am, I still feel the inborn shame that sixty-four years of living in this society has given me?  Every day I look at people I would wish to meet or relatives, ones I know and love and have no question that because of who I am sexually, they will have difficulty accepting, respecting or even seeing who I am.

“The ways in which I choose to express my sexuality might look very different or very similar to the ways female sexuality has been conceptualized by our culture and our media.  As much as I want to create new ways to express myself, I find that at my starting point I am given limited materials with which to work.”

I do not deny, on any level, the inequality and denigration of women created by our male centrist society.  But at the same time I grew up experiencing the extremely limited choices presented young males within this society in order to “Be a Man,” at times to the point where misogyny is given as a right of passage to adulthood.  Certainly it is protection against being labeled “Gay.”

“What my sexuality looks like and how it interacts with other (equally impressive) aspects of my personality changes on a daily basis.  And I refuse to hide my sexuality from the world for fear of victimization, over-simplification, or shaming from feminists for another minute.  My sexuality is powerful, a bright light shining from within me.  If it blinds you to who I am, that speaks to a deficit in your vision, not a problem in my presentation.  My advice to you is this: Put on your fucking sunglasses.”

Sex negativity damages all of us, male and female, and it often comes from the most gender supportive communities.  “A Feminist can not be submissive to a Male.”  “A Respectful Gentleman (is there such a thing as a masculist?) can not be aggressively sexual to a woman.”  Why Not?  What is required is respect for the choices of each, willing communication and negotiation, and the acceptance that anyone at anytime has the right to say no.

To say that acting or dressing like a “slut” causes rape is saying that men have no sexual control, that they are unable to resist committing abusive acts.  It is just as much a condemnation of masculinity as it is of femininity.  I do not accept that as a characterization of who I am.  I tell you with great joy, I have gazed upon some phenomenally beautiful women in the most pornographic of attire and accepted it as a wondrous gift and thanked them with respect.  Go thou and do likewise.

The Eroticist


  1. I’m glad to hear you speak more about this. I have noticed that whenever you talk about the shame you feel, or that others might want to impose, judgment of behavior and judgment of intent seem to be conflated. Is that something you have noticed in the people you feel have judged you only, or is it something also that you find conflated within yourself?

    As a politically conservative born-again Christian from an upper middle class family, I think I fall squarely within a demographic that most would expect to be kink-hostile. I don’t think I am, though (feel free to tell me differently). For me, the essence of healthy sexuality is the give-and-take between (or among) partners. From what you’ve written, that seems to be true of you too, whether the give-and-take is a consensual dominant/submissive relationship, sadist/masochist, or anything other set of compatible behaviors.

    Non-criminal sexual behavior given and taken between or among loving partners seems morally equivalent to me, no matter what the actual behaviors are. A “sadist” who takes sexual pleasure from inflicting pain on those who do not wish it (a criminal act) can be condemned as a batterer, and I don’t think anybody disagrees about that. But a “sadist” who takes sexual pleasure from inflicting pain on those who DO wish it (a non-criminal act) is, I think, morally equivalent to somebody outside the lifestyle who takes sexual pleasure from serving breakfast in bed. It seems deeply strange to me that anybody would think differently.

    • Speaking on the judgement of others, the behavior and their interpretation of intent seem joined together. The behavior implies intent, the social rule that no one would willingly cause pain to a loved one without a concurrent intent to do harm. I think that coexists with the interpretation that someone who states they enjoy pain must be confused or in need of therapy because no healthy person would wish to be hurt. The forced conclusion is that any social interaction involving sadomasochistic behavior MUST be de facto and de jure abusive.

      As to myself, I feel pretty clear on the distinction. I have met and experienced time with enough people who I believe are healthy, actualized and affirming humans who enjoy this kind of behavior in a supportive caring and mutually loving way, and have done rather extensive introspection through self examination and professional therapy to feel quite comfortable with the ability to purposely and creatively cause extreme sensation to those I care about while keeping constantly open to their right to say “no” at any time, and give me valid feedback as to their feelings of validation and affirmation.

      And with a bit of humor, may I thank you for your positive judgment from a politically conservative born-again Christian from an upper middle class family. I wish you the best.

      The Eroticist

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