Wednesday, 30 May 2018

being judgemental...

OK this one may be controversial so after I press "Publish" I may go and hide behind the sofa for a while. But here goes...

I was going to start with, "I try not to be judgemental...".

But - no - I don't consciously try not to be judgemental about other people's lifestyles. I hope that I am genuinely NOT judgemental about other people's lifestyles as long as they are not harming others. In fact I try to be positive about their rights to live their lives in a way that is fulfilling to them, that makes them happy, content, satisfied, fulfilled, replete.

However, I did say, "as long as they are not harming others." 

*Sighs and takes a deep breath before daring to continue*

I know that within that I have always included, "as long as they are not harming each other."

And there is the rub. My definition of that may be very different to others. I know from emails from readers that they have reassessed their relationships after reading this blog. (I am sure that was not the only factor.) In fact I know of two women who have divorced their husbands after coming to a recognition that their relationships were not appropriately D/s but were in fact abusive.

My definition of "harm" may be different from that of others. We have discussed abuse on here lots and had recent discussions for instance about body modification, etc. There are demands from a Dom that can be just wrong. They may be in terms of physical demands. How strong does a beating have to be before it becomes abusive? Who gets to decide that? Do take into account the power dynamic within the relationship and emotional bonds before answering.

What about the relationship itself? Where something is happening within a "play" setting, it can kind of be switched on and off. One can discuss afterwards to point out where things went wrong and expect that not to be repeated. Guidelines and limits can be set out clearly in advance and revised when necessary. But if it is a lifestyle choice then how do the limits work then? Who makes the decisions? Always the Dom? But if it is a Master/slave or Domestic Discipline/1950s household type of relationship then how does that work?

When I believe that people being slaves or being controlled and beaten within a relationship is wrong in a vanilla setting then what makes it right if it appears to be exactly the same dynamic but has been given a label of Kink or BDSM or D/s or M/s or whatever? Can those labels themselves become an excuse for unscrupulous people to abuse others? That should also apply to emotional/psychological control and in relation to equality issues.

If I think a certain lifestyle situation is not ethical am I not right to call it out whether or not it is being self classified as BDSM? I know regular readers will see this post in the the context of what has gone before over many years. However I appeal to new or passing readers to recognise that this is not an attack on the BDSM scene from outside but a genuine attempt to address important issues within the community.

(Whilst I have written here with the implication of male dominant and female sub, as always I recognise the situations arise in gender relations of all sexual orientations.)

*Rushes now to hide behind the sofa.*


Bleue D'âme said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
abby said...

No need to hide a topic that needs discussing. I am more vocal...about everything...with M. Why..because he has encouraged me to use my voice. Bleue is right about consent...but sometimes those lines can get blurred. Talking, talking and more talking....never ending, even after you think you have said it what is necessary. (yes lots else is necessary, but do not want to turn this into a blog post...). hugs abby

Pygar said...

Thank you Bleue D'âme. I am very concerned that you are seeing more consent violations in play settings. I wonder if this is increasing then what the reason for that may be? Also what has made you aware of it.

Consent of course is the key. However I think part of what I am saying is that consent is somewhat different in a 'lifestyle' bdsm relationship in that the consent is to the style of the relationship. Of course consent can still be withdrawn at any time but that is much more of a major issue than in a play session as one cannot as simply pause a relationship. My puzzlement is partly because I am not in, and nor do I seek, a lifestyle bdsm relationship. (Please forgive me if I use that as a shorthand for all the very different relationships such as Master/slave, Domestic Discipline, etc..) So I have no direct experience of it.

It is not so much that it "looks wrong" to me. It is more that where it seems indistinguishable from a relationship that in a vanilla setting most of us might see as "wrong" then I am playing Devils Advocate a bit to say, "What is the difference?"

To answer my own question, I think it may be in the strength and power of the sub. I like strong women (like those who take issue with me on here!) I have written often here that I believe it takes strength to be a submissive. If things were not right then the submissive would put an end to it - as did the two subs I mentioned in the post.

I do feel it is an issue worth reflecting on - and I am eager to learn more from those in lifestyle relationships about this issue.

Thanks again

P xx

Pygar said...

Thank you too abby.

I think you describe a way in which such a relationship can work well - and seems to be doing so for you. It seems tome to be a very healthy relationship where the Dom is encouraging talk and constant communication so that any problems can come to light and he can adjust his demands accordingly. That takes good judgement from the Dom and as always mutual trust. Where the Dom has that caring attitude and commitment to truly meeting the subs needs then that seems to be a model of how lifestyle relationships can work well. It is that consent is not just assumed but is part of that ongoing dialogue.

Thank you for helping me understand better!

P xx

neriche said...

Bravo! A heady topic, but you had me giggling a lot in that first bit.

I attended a submissive women's discussion group last month during which several of the 10+ women had been previously abused in non-BDSM (i.e., vanilla) relationships. Once in a D/s relationship later in life, they used the element of CHOICE as a form of therapy for their past abuse experiences. In other words, "Talk dirty to me within these boundaries on these occasions and to this extent" provided them a level of control where before there was none. Several of them said they found that therapeutic. Same with the physical aspect.

It was yet another light bulb moment for me in learning how things are not always what they seem in this community. Having seen the victim mentality among family members, I did judge them before hearing about the therapy they found in their current relationship (i.e., I assessed them as someone previously abused now in a BDSM relationship as a way of legitimizing ongoing abuse with another partner...I could not have been more wrong).

What concerns me, and to date always has, is the dynamic involving: 24/7 Master/slave consent-non-consent. There appears to be no room for negotiation, for CHOICE by the sub, or for safe words. Should anyone -- even the most kind Dom such as yourself -- ever be given that level of power over another person?

Pygar said...

Thanks Neriche. I'm pleased to have made you giggle!

I found your discussion on abused women who have found BDSM as a safe haven quite fascinating. Yes, I think there can be a view that abused women turning to BDSM are just legitimising that abuse. It is great to have you disabuse us of such notions. You explain the reality you have found in a very illuminating way.

I guess the point you make in the last paragraph is at the nub of the issues I am addressing. However you may find that even here appearances may be deceptive. I wonder in how many D/s relationships the sub is really the one in control - and perhaps that is how it should be. That is explored in the movie I mentioned in the previous post. It can feel a little slow and repetitive at times but it is worth watching to the end.

P xx

neriche said...

To the end I will watch then, thanks!

Pygar said...


"good girl"


P xx

Jz said...

Yep - arms are flapping again.
Going out on my own wildly-unpopular limb...
I get incensed by the whole “Thought Nazis” attitude of what many promote as “acceptance”.

There is a lot of extreme shit that goes on in this corner of the world and a lot of it concerns me. Because, no - I don't have to think that whatever anyone does is okay. I am every bit as entitled to hold (and express) an opinion on how someone else lives their life as they are to live it how they want to, despite what anyone thinks.
What I am NOT entitled to is to impose that opinion upon others - any more than they free to impose theirs on me.

But to tell me I cannot speak my mind? I have to call bullshit on that. A differing opinion is not inevitably judgemental. If you feel judged by my opinion, that's just as likely to be a function of your own head than it is of mine.

(Would you care to guess how many drafts it took for me to work this down into fairly moderate words?)

Pygar said...

I'm really worried about what I am doing to your blood pressure Jz! And I promise I wouldn't dare (oops, I mean dream) to tell you you cannot speak your mind. However, there are a lot of places on the internet where people feel it is their right to speak their minds and some of those places end up full with hate fuelled garbage. I do want this to be a place where people feel free to express themselves openly about their views and lifestyle and that where people disagree they will do so in ways that are not aggressive or intended as hurtful. I have been very lucky that so far I have not been troubled by those types of comments.

I know none of that applies to you and that you will continue (I hope) to express yourself strongly and freely here. So yes - the reason for me writing this post was because of exactly that. There are things in the BDSM world that I feel strongly concerned about. Some of that is just that it is not my cup of tea. However there are aspects where I think it is just wrong. I want though to be able to discuss such issues with people in different BDSM lifestyles and not to have them feel excluded. If I make this a space just for people who think the same way I do then I will have few readers!

I notice already that a reader who wrote a very articulate and interesting comment to this post has chosen to remove her comment.

Thanks Jz. I would love to read your fist draft!


P xxxx

Jz said...

You are absolutely correct - trolling, bullying, and hate-mongering are no less reprehensible than the Thought Police and I don't mean to give approval to those, either. I also acknowledge the difficulty in defending one while reviling the other, given that they are pretty much two sides of the same coin. Much as being entitled to an opinion is kissing cousin to judgement - there are a whole lot of fine lines at play here.

I agree that the way to greater understanding is to foster open communication. As you say, to be able to discuss the differences of opinion and not have anyone feel excluded. I strongly believe in that myself. Not everyone responds to differing viewpoints in the same way, however. There seem to be a significant number of people who assume that disagreement means disrespect - a viewpoint that can make the open exchange of ideas challenging, to say the least.

On which note, I shall now shut up and go off and practice being vapid.

Bleue D'âme said...

My original comment: Consent, is the answer to a lot of those questions.
And if it looks "wrong" to you and you don't know for sure that it hasn't been consented to, than yeah, that's being judgemental.

Dynamics/relationships/play don't just happen. Its unlikely that a sub just shows up one day and says, "Yes" blindly and deafly. Power exchanges tend to happen with a conversation or two or five thousand.

The issue I'm seeing more of currently, is consent violations to the Dom/Top in a play setting.

I was writing on this in reply to how I read the post; whether or not things have been consented to; not whether or not it is something *you* would consent to (consent vs abuse and how consent is the safeguard).

Absolutely, judge away. Exercising judgement here keeps us sane and safe.

I was watching a really cool scene at a play party, sub was tied to chair, Dom was flogging her, his tools were laid out on a table next to them. There was another sub tied to the chair. It was a really cool scene. The Dom puts down the flogger he was using and goes to pick up another instrument, the tied-up sub shakes his head at him, he puts it back.

Subtle. Would that be enough for a DM to step in? Probably not. Did I get all judgey on that sub and was like, "I would never in a gazillion years act like that", yep I did. I couldn't help thinking how disrespectful that looked. But I had no idea whether or not this Dom/sub/sub triad had that as an agreed upon cue. I had no idea if that was their safely signal or if Dom doesn't mind if sub shakes head at him...not my dynamic.

In my dynamic, if I shook my head at my Owner like that, play would come to a halt. He would read that as something being seriously wrong. But in our dynamic, I don't brat in that fashion, we are CNC and that kind of behaviour has never been acceptable.

I can't say what is safe for someone else, even if it looks wrong to me.

Pygar said...

"I agree that the way to greater understanding is to foster open communication. As you say, to be able to discuss the differences of opinion and not have anyone feel excluded. I strongly believe in that myself. Not everyone responds to differing viewpoints in the same way, however. There seem to be a significant number of people who assume that disagreement means disrespect - a viewpoint that can make the open exchange of ideas challenging, to say the least."

Thank you Jz. I wish I had written that! As I guessed - we are in total agreement on this.


P xx

Pygar said...

Thanks for being clear Bleue D'âme. As I wrote in reply to your original post I am concerned that you are seeing consent violations in play settings. Especially if this is becoming more regular.

As you implied though, it might be that their dynamic was different - or that they had different safe protocols. As you say though, if something feels wrong then it is difficult to disregard that. I had the same feelings at an event a little while ago in more than one setting. I felt uncomfortable, but did not know the people or the dynamic so was just left with that uncomfortable feeling.

Thank you for taking the time to explain further.


DM said...

Ok, I think I may be one of those divorces??? I am submissive. I love a strong Dom. I enjoy everything about the two and how the interactions play out between consenting adults. I crave direction and strength. There is a difference between consentual and abuse. Once a line is crossed between the two and the trust within the partnership is broken, there's no turning back. Once your eyes are opened and you see the abuse for what it is, self preservation kicks in (at least it did in my case) and one is forced to act on that knowledge. In my case the facts were far worse than I ever imagined when My instinct led me to research just wjat this lifestyle should be. My X went to jail for what he put me and my family through. He single handedly sent himself there. He tried to use the lifestyle to justify his sadistic behavior. He was diabolical and in essence everything a Dom shouldn't be. I face life altering complications because I trusted a man who wasn't worth my devotion, who was a coward hiding behind a mask of strength.

You my friend were and integral part in saving my life. A debt I'll never be able to repay.

Pygar said...

Thank you for your comment Dani. It explains a very real situation where a manipulative and bad person used the lifestyle as a cover for abusive behaviour. I am just pleased that you saw it for what it was in time. I know there are still long term consequences but there are lots of positives too. I am happy that things in the main are working out well for you despite some unimaginable turns on the way!

You asked me to rectify some typos but I'm afraid that Blogger doesn't give me the facility for that. I am sure readers will forgive them.

Thank you for your kind words Dani.

I am sure all readers of this blog will join me in wishing you well.

P xxxx

Princess said...

Of course I'm judgemental. I take what I see around me, examine it and see on which side of the scale it falls. I seek balance but every so often, I dip on over for little excess.

Does that mean I think I'm better or worse than others? Nope. My judgement is focused on how things will or will not benefit me, not how I can feel superior, scornful or haughty towards others.

I apply this definition of the adjective:"Of or concerning the use of judgement."Not this one: "Having or displaying an overly critical point of view."

People will do as they wish in any relationship, no matter where it falls on the spectrum. What I'm on is how do I best work on things that I'm facing.

But I'm fickle and mildly self-centered, so hey. ;-)

Pygar said...

Thanks Princess. Yes, of course we all make judgements all the time. I think I am using the term "judgemental" though in the sense you describe of "Having or displaying an overly critical point of view."

I try not to be judgemental in that sense but I suppose I am asking about situations where one might think it was appropriate to take a strongly critical point of view that might seem judgemental in this sense to others.

You've made me smile again with your last sentence!

P xx