Information is for everyone

Information is for everyone, even if you’re uncomfortable with underage people seeing it. Keeping them ignorant just makes them more vulnerable to abuse. Like Franklin Veaux says in this tweet:

On a very much related note, you should also have a look at Why I Deeply Dislike Your Older Boyfriend by Heather Corinna. Basically, the less information someone has about how they should be treated or how a relationship or a scene should work, the easier it is to get away with outright abusing them or just treating them badly. It’s just as true when we’re talking about people just getting into kink as it is when we’re talking about young women dating creepy older men.

Let’s take hypothetical teenaged girl Alice for example. She probably got the half-assed talk in sex-ed about how it’s not okay for your boyfriend to hit you and if he does you should dump him. That’s better than nothing, but what if Alice’s boyfriend just says mean things to her? If he doesn’t hit her it’s not abuse, right? So why does she feel shitty all the time if her boyfriend isn’t abusing her? It must be because she’s a bad girlfriend and needs to try harder.

It might sound like I’m exaggerating there but I’m honestly not. That is exactly what I went through with my first boyfriend. When I was a teenager I really, honestly thought that it was only abuse if he hit me. It took literally years for me to put the label of emotional abuse on the way he complained about literally everything I said, did, thought, or felt. If I kept quiet I was cold and secretive and why couldn’t I just open up to him? And if I tried to open up, well, I was stupid and wrong about everything. Because I didn’t know to call that abuse I thought I was just a shitty girlfriend and needed to try harder. I mean, we didn’t scream at each other every night like my parents did, so that meant we just needed to keep working on our relationship right?

If I had been taught that it’s not okay to make your partner feel stupid and worthless and that’s just as abusive as giving them a black eye, maybe things would have been different for me. If I had even known the phrase “emotional abuse” maybe things would have been different. If I had had the slightest idea what a healthy relationship looks like and what’s reasonable to expect from a partner and what’s completely fucking ridiculous, things could have been different for me.

It’s pretty clear that a big part of preventing abuse is education, right? Well, that and building up people’s self-esteem or at least not systematically destroying it, but that’s a fucking gigantic topic so I’m going to stick with education for now. The more you know about what a healthy relationship looks like and what a good partner does the easier it is to recognize it when something isn’t right. “My boyfriend is a jerk sometimes” may not feel like a good enough reason to dump him, but “that’s emotional abuse, the word for what he’s doing is emotional abuse” might be able to get someone over the hurdle of dumping the fucker.

Just like teens (actually people of literally every age) should have access to all the age-appropriate relationship and sex-ed information they want to protect them from having shitty vanilla relationships and sex and to help them leave a bad relationship, I think people should also have access to all the age-appropriate information about kink and d/s relationships they can handle.

Ignorance makes people easy to hurt. How many horror stories have we all heard about the new submissive whose douchebag older dominant told her that if she really trusted him she wouldn’t want to have a safeword? And how do you protect that girl and everyone like her? By fucking telling them that people who are safe to play with will never try to talk you out of having a safeword! By telling them how many s-types never have a no-safeword scene in their entire lives! By telling them how much more fun they can have if they insist on taking the time to really build trust with a dom!

Education is what keeps people safe, not keeping them in the dark and hoping they just never develop an interest in kink.

To be fair here, I don’t have kids and don’t want to. And I totally understand why a parent wouldn’t be comfortable with their kid freely roaming Fetlife. I sure as fuck wouldn’t want my hypothetical kid talking with Master Douchebag from the secret European house, but if I can’t keep them from ever talking with anyone else who’s kinky (which is completely impossible, let’s just be honest), then I sure as fuck want them to also be able to talk to Sir Reasonable and Lady Normal Grown Up and Slave Been There Done That and Submissive Regular Guy. As much as I believe that kink in general and d/s relationships in particular are advanced stuff and everyone should get comfortable with vanilla sex and relationships first before making that even more complicated by adding kink, it’s not realistic to pretend that there are no teenagers who already know they’re kinky as fuck.

We know that abstinence only “education” (it’s not education goddammit, education involves teaching actual facts) doesn’t work, so why can’t we admit that not teaching kids about kink doesn’t keep them safe? I know, I know, it’s super fucking obvious that our society is all fucked up around sex and especially taboo sex, but I really wish we could get the fuck over ourselves when it comes to keeping people safe.

16 thoughts on “Information is for everyone

  1. Talking about BDSM, tailoring information to the specific, basic needs of absolute newbies requires a mediated approach with language, concepts and level of detail. This is why I wrote the ultra-brief orientation _free_ ebook “No shades of grey – What BDSM really is, in black on white”.

    You can find and download it at http://goo.gl/cNCaGR , or floating around on torrent sites.

    • Share away! I usually prefer my writing stay on my site, but seeing as you just want to share it on google plus it seems unlikely that you’re trying to make advertising money off of my writing 🙂

  2. Re: abusive relationships: I think maybe schools should just forget about teaching kids what constitutes abuse and just go with “If you consistently feel bad when you’re around someone then you probably shouldn’t be around them, if possible.”

    I mean, I dunno. In high school they taught us that an abusive relationship looks like a guy hitting you and then apologizing and being all lovey-dovey afterward (and yeah, I think they actually did make it heteronormative and assume the dude was the abuser).

    So I was totes on guard against men who would punch me and then go “Awww baby I couldn’t help myself I just want you SO MUCH and when I saw you talking to that other guy I got so jealous” and then sucked up to me and bought me gifts. Nobody would get away with abusing ME, nuh-uh. I knew what to look out for!

    Except the pattern with my first few partners (also my dad from the time I was little, WHAT A COINCIDENCE) was that they would initiate “play fights” with me – not hitting, more like wrestling – and I didn’t like it and struggled to get away and would usually end up accidentally kneeing them in the balls or something. One time with my first boyfriend I tried to just walk away and leave his house entirely and he literally grabbed my ankle so that I ended up dragging him across the floor, giving him carpet burns on his elbows. And after these incidents the guys would whine about the wounds they’d sustained from me so that I ENDED UP APOLOGIZING TO THEM. There was no “honeymoon period” where they treated me super well. There was only the period where they told me I was horrible and violent and made me feel ashamed for overreacting so badly when they were “just goofing around.”

    Abusive relationships don’t all look like an After School Special.

    • “If you consistently feel bad when you’re around someone then you probably shouldn’t be around them, if possible.”

      You know, that’s probably more useful than trying to persuade a teenager to label their boyfriend/girlfriend an abuser anyway. It takes a lot of work to put that label on someone who you thought loved you even if it’s blindingly obvious in hindsight that they were abusive, and honestly getting away is much more urgent than being able to put any particular label on the person who made you feel like shit.

      Plus, there are plenty of terrible relationships that aren’t abusive. Not getting hit or otherwise abused doesn’t mean you should keep trying to force a relationship to work with someone you just aren’t compatible with. I think “leave if you’re consistently unhappy” covers more area than “leave if he hits you” and has the benefits of not needing anyone to label their experience abuse.

  3. Well as a teen I can say we can just make Different emails and lie about our age but I agree I never understood why teens learning about this stuff when they want to is so wrong and taboo then again BDSM is already pretty taboo I also wanted to thank you for making this blog it helped me accept who I am and not think I’m an unloveable beta male who can’t satisfy a women and would have to watch other “real” men fuck her (which makes me feel like shit) so thank you if you could also do a blog post about other good blogs about this stuff I would also really appreciate it if you already made one then could you link me to it sorry for the long ass comment by the way.

    • Well as a teen I can say we can just make Different emails and lie about our age

      That too, it’s just not realistic to keep anyone from accessing information on the internet, so we might as well face facts.

      I used to have a whole blogroll of other blogs I liked (and I have zero patience for the “submissive men are worthless” bullshit, so you can assume anybody I bother linking to doesn’t pull that shit), then wordpress killed the blogroll feature. If nothing else I can always make a resources page with all those links.

  4. This point about knowledge is really important.

    I was a kinky submissive adolescent, and without any kinky knowledge, what that led to was me embracing the idea that women are naturally submissive and wives should submit to their husbands. That idea I read propounded by religious folks really appealed to me, and I now realize the reason is that the ladyboner liked it. But alas, ladyboners are no more intelligent than boyboners and no better at discerning what would constitute good social policy.

    Fortunately, I finally did get exposed to some kinky stuff and learned how to put a name to *why* dominant bossy men and submission ideologies appealed to me. I learned what it was I was looking for and how to distinguish it from abuse, and how to distinguish it from non-egalitarian stupidity. I learned that some men feel the exact same kind of submissiveness towards women, so that it’s not really about gender, so the existence of this kinky desire in me doesn’t prove conservative Christians right about the natural role of women. Problem solved, and now I have a happy relationship in which I both get my kinky desires met *and* am respected as an equal.

    But if you’d tried to talk me out of my non-egalitarian attitudes without addressing my sexuality, I would have resisted, because the sexist stuff sounded really right to the submissive ladyboner. So reading about kinky sexuality when I was a teenager (i.e. reading stuff most adults would have been horrified to know I was reading) was really the only way to protect me from pursuing unhealthy relationships.

    • Thats awful I can actually relate quite a bit since I went through a lot of hate directed towards the world due to my submissiveness but may I ask how you were able to break free from that way of thinking?

      • I guess it was probably complicated, and it was when I was a teenager, which was so long ago that I don’t have a clear sense of how it worked for me anymore. The crucial thing was just having the knowledge: understanding that I am submissive, and what that means, and what it doesn’t mean, and reading lots of different people’s accounts of relationships they’d had as submissives, good and bad, so I could think more clearly about what my options in life were, and what I actually wanted for myself.

        I might not understand your question though. Why did your submissiveness lead to you having a lot of hate directed towards the world?

        • Where’d you find the accounts I’ve only been able to find insane female supremacy femdom sites and accounts that say they don’t like submissive guys and I think it was a defense mechanism my subconscious was displacing all of that anger and hate I mean it had to go somewhere and I wasn’t going to direct it at me since I didn’t really hate myself for being submissive but I’m still angry not as much as I was a while ago but it hasn’t fully gone away so I’m guessing my hate is coming from other things I’m not fully aware of maybe it’s my diet maybe it’s testosterone since I am a teenager and I am a guy or maybe I still feel like I’ll be alone but I’m planing on going to a hypnotherapist to get rid of the anger.

          • “I’ve only been able to find insane female supremacy femdom sites and accounts that say they don’t like submissive guys ”

            …You do realize you wrote that on the blog of a dominant woman who’s not a female supremacist and doesn’t hate submissive men…?

          • I like the “Denying Thumper” blog (from a submissive husband), and another nice blog (besides this one) from a dominant woman’s perspective is Domme Chronicles. There are lots of other blogs too; it helps to look for blogs by submissive husbands (who are probably in real, loving relationships) to see what they say about their experiences.

            I can see why you might get disheartened by googling; a lot of the stuff on the internet about submissive men is not very pleasant. Many submissive men are aroused by being humiliated or treated in a contemptuous way, and so there is a lot of material aimed at submissive men that talks that way. But if you’re not into that, it’s not very nice to read. I wouldn’t like it either. Fortunately, there are also submissive men and dominant women who prefer loving and respectful ways of interacting.

          • There’s no shortage of terrible on Fetlife, but one group I really like is Submissive men and women who love them. There are lots of women there who sincerely adore submissive men and have had long and happy relationships with them.

            If you’re going to post there, read before you post! There are lots of topics that come around over and over that all the regular posters are bored of, and there are lots of examples of people blatantly insulting the people who post there and getting raked over the coals for it. For example, it never ever goes over well if some asshat shows up and complains about how there are no genuinely dominant women. What goes over just fine is if somebody says “I’d like to read more blogs by dominant women who love submissive men, does anyone have any recommendations?” or “I’m having trouble finding dominant women, does anyone have any suggestions for what I might be doing wrong?”

            Edited because I failed at making my link actually link.

    • But alas, ladyboners are no more intelligent than boyboners and no better at discerning what would constitute good social policy.

      Ha! So true and I love how you put it 🙂 The idea of all the terrible things that could have happened to young submissive you if you ran into someone fully willing to take advantage is absolutely chilling, though.

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