This is our truth, tell us yours
In a galaxy far, far away two people started writing about their sex lives, with a focus on the sex between them, which played with power and desire. Neither believed all that much in many of the rules which seemed to be prevalent about how BDSM had to be done, and that informed their writing.
Now, dear reader, this blog has wandered quite far from its roots, but occasionally it is still a place where the exploration of the intimate is brought into the glare of the public gaze. Recently my thoughts have been around the roles we play, and role play. Part of my work is understanding the performative nature of sex. Whether the performance be almost so close to my genuine sexual desires, or a highly structured role play, it is one I can never step out of. That is my choice, a decision I make about how sex work works for me. I do not wish to be “myself” – whatever that constructed self is, with clients. Even if I feel relaxed, and am enjoying the physical act of sex, I remain behind a self constructed, self chosen wall.
That so much of the sex that I have is performative, playing a role, means that the early rule, which was not a rule, of no role play, has an importance I never realised at the time. To leave that sense of playing a role behind, the sex which I chose solely for pleasure has to be as authentic as it is possible to be.
This does create a problem when it comes to BDSM. It was Carter who once said any man who can say “on your knees bitch” without seeing the absurdity of the situation needs to take a long hard look at themselves. There is, of necessity, a certain artifice to Dominant and submission. The use of an honourific (in our case usually Sir, although it wanders elsewhere at times) is in its self symbolic. Partly acts as a reminder, this is not a friendship, or a love affair, but a relationship based on certain shared, and agreed fundamentals. It also delineates the space we inhabit, so a phone call can move from chatting about race times to reminders of my willing choice of submission in a single word. But, that is of course, touching on performance.
Another aspect which may touch the idea of performance is the exploration of fantasy. We all have them, being willing to dress up, and behave, as naughty secretary or giggling school girl is a lucrative addition to my usual, vanilla girl friend experience working persona. The frequency with which clients desire something more taboo, their auntie or best friends mum, suggests Freud would have a field day. Fantasy, and exploring it, is as much a part of BDSM as leather cuffs and getting wet when someone makes you call them Daddy in public, so how do we square this circle? How do we approach fantasy with authenticity?
A recent meeting between Carter and I left me wondering at the difference between exploring roles and fantasy with him, and enacting the fantasies of clients. If you read most BDSM writing on what makes role play good ir seems to be around the attention to detail, the effort put into making every little thing exactly as the players demand or desire. I believe that is what makes role play good for clients, when they are buying (into) a performance. To move beyond this you need to let go of the details, as they only exist to say, in this space I am this, and this alone, and embrace the idea that in a particular moment a thousand different potential reactions exist, and exploring a fantasy is about choosing one of them, and that choice resonating with the others exploring.
Choice, when it comes to sex, should be at the heart, but, brainwashed by Hollywood ideas of romance, and fetlife ideas of BDSM we tend to assume the more conscious a choice is, the less meaningful the sex it. We have been fooled into thinking lust which is unthinking, is somehow better. When it comes to role play this means we often are fooled into the idea that scripted adherence to the fantasy is the better way to approach role play, because it removes the idea of choice.
I am all to aware that I can only write of what works for me, and hopefully Carter. We have often said we do not do BDSM 101. If for example Carter puts a pillow over my face, to muffle any cries, we do not have a safe signal, or other preordained way of withdrawing my consent.For many this puts us beyond the pale of respectability, but then, they seem to think leather kilts are respectable. If I go to kick Cater in the head, struggling away from a sex act, he has a choice to make, and a risk to absorb, and in that moment, whilst a fantasy is being explored, role play is not. This is because we both, fully, accept the multitude of choices which can exist in any moment. The choice of me saying, no, is not scripted, or part of a role play because it is always there, a possible outcome to any action. In this way the moving beyond role play can occur because the outcome, just as in real life, is never known.