Special Rules

Fantasies are great. They’re hot and fun and what drew many of us into kink in the first place. But they’re not reality. Clinging to a fantasy in the face of real life evidence to the contrary requires ignoring that evidence. Lack of evidence makes it just a little bit difficult to figure out what’s going wrong, let alone how to fix it.

For example, years ago on fetlife in the submissive men and the women who love them group, a man started a thread asking for guidance on being the best submissive he could be. All well and good, but he posted in all caps and replaced ‘E’s with ‘3’s. Person after person replied asking him to post in a more readable format, but he insisted they were all out to deny his self expression and eventually left in a huff because no one would tell him how to be a better submissive. I sincerely wish I was exaggerating, but he was actually that deluded.

This guy was clearly living in a fantasy land, and it worked out badly for him. If he had been willing to put aside his fantasy that he was such a special and unique snowflake that everyone would rush to do him favours no matter how poorly he expressed himself, he might have been able to learn something.

As annoying as that particular person was, he really only hurt himself. None of the people he so thoroughly alienated were actually harmed by trying to read a few badly formatted posts. Other types of fantasies, however, can be much more harmful.

There are three main categories of fantasies I see in the scene. ‘It would be hot if…’, ‘It would be convenient for me if…’, and ‘My kink would be okay if…’.

‘It would be hot if…’ fantasies are the all too common ‘this protocol turns my crank, so I’m going to use it everywhere, even if S/slashy speak on a simple message board makes people want to claw their eyes out’, or ‘all the female doms in porn like verbal humiliation, so you should you like it too’. If you willfully ignore other people’s complaints about how hard your posts are to read, you’ll be left scratching your head and wondering why you can’t seem to make friends with anyone. If no-one you approach will give you the time of day, there may be a reason for it.

‘It would be convenient for me if…’ is that much more irritating. I put ‘I declared myself dominant, so you must all bow down and address me as Sir Lord Emperor Black Dragon Wolf’ in that category. It would be great if simply calling yourself a dom/top/master made you effortlessly confident in all situations – believe me, I wish it had worked that way for me. I think ‘my way is the one true way and the rest of you are all wrong’ belongs in this category too. It would be awfully convenient if there were one true way to do things that was clearly best for everyone. If there were, we could all stop screwing around and just do the stuff that works. In the real world, insisting there is one right way causes people to laugh at you either behind your back or right to your face. It’s also a bit of a setback when you inevitably encounter a situation where your ‘one true way’ doesn’t work.

‘My kink would be okay if…’ fantasies probably irritate me the most, although all of them are abundantly annoying. This is where I place fantasies like ‘all women are naturally submissive, so it’s okay for me to be dominant’, and ‘I follow the ancient Japanese tradition of rope masters, handed down generation by generation in a secret ceremony, so it’s okay for me to like tying people up’. It’s okay to be kinky, dammit! A lack of permanent damage and your partner’s informed consent makes your kink okay.

What’s not okay is hurting other people while you try to convince yourself your kink is okay. I don’t feel safe in a scene where asshats can go around insisting that women are all naturally submissive without anyone calling them on their shit. Your need to put a band-aid on your insecurity about your kink does not outrank my need to be able to participate in the kink community without getting attacked just for being who I am.

Feeling insecure about whether it’s okay to be kinky is perfectly natural, and not what I’m complaining about. What I can’t stand is people deciding that because they feel insecure, everyone should act in a way that lets them avoid dealing with their insecurities. The scene is based on consent, and I do not consent to denying who I am so that you don’t have to worry about whether you’re ‘doing it right’.

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