Words mean things

One of my many, many pet peeves is people who refuse to understand that words mean things independent of what they intended when they wrote them. You would think that would be kind of hard to avoid understanding when you’re using a written goddamn medium,  but I guess some people are particularly resistant to common sense.

Taking this thread about sensual domination as an example, if every second reply objects to your use of the word “violence” to refer to consensual pain play intended to be fun for everyone involved, that’s a sign that you might be using the wrong word! Obviously people are free to use whatever words they like, and it’s not as if anyone can be forced to express themselves clearly, but you’d think people would get bored of their threads being derailed and just start using the generally accepted words for what they really wanted to talk about.

It’s totally okay to not know the right words for things, especially if you’re new to kink, but when a number of people all tell you that x is a better word than y for what you seem to be getting at, stomping your foot and insisting you can use whatever word you want is just a huge waste of everyone’s time.

Not only does failure to communicate bother me as a writer (why oh why would you bother to write so much as a Fetlife post if you don’t want people to understand you?), but it scares me as a kinky person. The only way we can do kinky things in a way that’s safe and enjoyable for everyone involved is to communicate clearly. It sounds simple, but communicating well is hard enough without deliberately making it even harder by using the wrong words for things when you’ve been told over and over that there are better ones.

To use another terrible example, I would never in a million years play with anyone who tried so hard to be completely incomprehensible. Not because that makes them a bad person (pretentious, yes, but not necessarily bad), but because there’s no way to negotiate clearly with someone who doesn’t appear to want to be understood. Again, you can write however you like, but if everyone who replies to your thread says they don’t understand what you’re talking about, it just might be possible that you’re doing a shitty job of expressing yourself.

Also, if your response to being told that something you’re doing isn’t working is to keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing, well, that makes it pretty clear that you’re not willing to think about what went wrong or do anything to fix it. Just what I’m looking for in a play partner! Oh, wait, no, that’s actually the exact opposite of what I’m looking for.

Communication is hard for a lot of good reasons. There’s no need to make it any harder than it has to be.

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