Cunning Minx of Polyamory weekly has a clever piece of advice for polyamorous people that I’m going to borrow and rework a little for kinky people. What Minx says is “What would you do if you were monogamous?” the point being that non-monogamous relationships aren’t magical beasts with nothing in common with monogamous relationships. I think a similar idea would be useful for kinky people.
For example, it’s sad how common it is to see submissive people asking if it’s normal for dominant people they don’t know and have no agreements with to order them to address the dom a certain way. What the fuck? How is that even a question? If you were a vanilla guy on a vanilla site who messaged someone and got ordered to call her Mistress, you’re write her off as a complete psycho, but somehow on Fetlife that shit is okay?
Being kinky is not some bizarre alternate universe where doms get to order around any sub they come across. You don’t suddenly become a second class citizen when you start calling yourself submissive. Anyone who treats you like you are has spent far, far too much time jerking off to Gor novels. When we run into people like that I think we should ask ourselves “What would I do if I wasn’t kinky?” If a certain behavior is unreasonable in a vanilla context, what makes it reasonable in a kinky context? Sometimes there are good answers to that question, such as “we knew this was a high protocol party and read the house rules before we bought our tickets”, but far too often I believe the answer is “I think I can get away with treating you any way I want.” That’s not kink, that’s blatant douchecanoery.
Another particularly irritating example is the ever popular “You have to ask my permission to talk to my submissive”. That one’s a huge pet peeve of mine because the people who say that really don’t seem to understand who they get to give orders to and who they don’t. Pro tip: you only get to order people around if you have a specific agreement with them. If you want to forbid your submissive to talk to other people without your express permission, go nuts! If you want to forbid me (or anyone else who has not clearly agreed to submit to you) to talk to your submissive, go fuck yourself. I’m quite happy not to talk to either one of you if you insist on being a pompous dickbag, but I am most certainly not going to take orders from J. Random Asshole. If it’s not okay in the vanilla world to assume your personal relationship agreements apply to everyone, why the fuck would that be okay in kink-land?
I completely understand why people (particularly submissive people) would be afraid of accidentally offending someone and getting a reputation for being a jerk, but I think asking yourself “What would I do if I wasn’t kinky?” is a good way to figure out which one of you is being an asshole. And if the idea of submissives calling you on your shit scares you then congratulations, you’re the asshole!