This is our truth, tell us yours
There has been, to put it bluntly, a lack of sex around here recently. Carter, to some extent, explored part of the reason why from his perspective here. The idea that a Dominant who writes about his view of sex is in some way performing, in the way a sub (or perhaps its a gender difference rather than D/s difference) is not intrigued me. It seemed to suggest a sub (or woman) writing does so from pure motives, while a Dominant (or man) is seen as suspect, with an agenda that must be challenged or uncovered.
All writing is a performance of course if it is on a public blog, even a private blog can be written for the unknown reader, be it your future self or posterity. Writing about sex is an interesting exercise in considering your audience, the who, but also the why. For a long time I have been writing about my sexual experiences as Carters submissive, it started as a way to try to understand things I did not. It became a way of reaching out to others who like me did not think sub meant weak or in love with some mythical idea of women as naturally submissive. People who also like their sex with a side of sadism and lashings of, well lashings, seemed to enjoy my writing. In between the posts on being bound, were what might be called my political posts, on sex work, socialism, the world I saw around me.
Then one day something happened that caused me to stop in my tracks, and reconsider why, and how I wrote. Someone who has known me pretty much since I joined twitter, who follows this blog and its predecessor, who raved about my BDSM writing produced a post on sex work that could have come straight from the Pad Poems about sad sex workers tumblr. Could we say no? What happened if we didnt like the client? How did we cope with having to have sex with strange men?
I paused and wondered how could someone who had talked to me, read my writing, presumably thought I was not chained to a radiator somewhere, produce something so offensive? And perhaps most importantly, why was I bothered? I think it goes back to that performance idea again, and made me consider why I was wtiting. In doing so it became apparent that the audience had become a motivator of my writing, and this is something i never wanted to happen. Of course so much of my writing is for an audience of one, as it has been from the beginning, and Carter has made clear how much he enjoys my musings on sex. However when the wider audience can divorce it so much from the rest of me it takes away a lot of my motivation, and raises a fear that by considering them I have entered into artifice.
Valery North explores this performance/ artifice distinction brilliantly here. They and Carter are having a conversation that I am enjoying watching and learning from and this line struck me.
Is all performance artifice? Yes, in that it all must be contrived and constructed for the benefit of the audience. But that doesn’t mean performance is false
I could have responded to this by writing about a recent meeting between Carter and myself, which certainly had an element of role play to it which is not usual for us, but where the emotions, the underlying reality was in no way false. If I had done so I would have explored how for a few moments there was a self consciousness, borne i think of lack of familarity with this way of being together, which could have lasped into actine. However in this most intimate of performanes the words of Valery rang true, Carter had with his instructions for dress constructed something containing artifice, but it was not fake or contrived. However I now have that disconnect between wrtitng about sex and wondering what I may be conveying to my reader that makes the performance of wrting move into artifice, in a false, self conscious way.
To answer the very question I posed, that prompted Valery, all perfomeance is to some extent artifice, what makes it not false is the level of self consciousness we have about the performance, the artifice, and whether we can let go enough of the idea of performing and simply do.