Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fuzzy kittens and rainbows...

I know I haven't written in a while... but get over it. I have too many things to write about, and make a bunch of different drafts, but can't bring myself to sit down and focus enough to edit them. Oh well, your loss. So don't get all whiny because this piece sort of goes all over the place.


I am often struck by how BDSM seems to have a therapeutic effect on people. Sometimes it's obvious in session, sometimes more so afterward. Fewer things are more satisfying than making someone cry- either from pain or words. Not because, oooh, I'm such a heartless sadist, arrrgh! (or pirate?) but because there is a catharsis that occurs. It's a cleansing of sorts. At the risk of sounding namby-pamby- men need to cry more. I have one client who tells me that he can't, but only comes close when he comes to see me. This gives me pause, but also a sense that even though there is no scientific evidence to back this up, there exists profound experiential proof that BDSM is beneficial. You can't tell me otherwise when I have a grown man thanking me profusely as he wakes out of subspace. On repeated occasion with many different people.

BDSM is theater. Not to say it's fake (quite the opposite), but it is a stage for people to act out the deepest innerworkings of their minds (god, that phrase is overused, but fuck it). It's a forum for someone to be exactly who they are. Without judgement. (Or with! Depending...)

It pisses me off that there is no scientific data which even explores the possibility that BDSM could be positive. It is simply shelved away in the DSM IV, a collection of activities which fall under Paraphilia. Philosophy and fiction describe it, theorize about it, but still there is no one who has said, "This is exhilarating. This reduces stress. This makes people feel sane again. Look at this, this, and this data." However, most of us who have been mucking around BDSM for awhile know it's pretty terrific, no? Most versions of it, anyway.

Most likely the result of puritanical religious attitudes (endorsed and validated by the scientific community), BDSM is conventionally seen as "dark" or "disturbing". Which is really an impediment to being open and frank. And if we can't be open and frank, how do we expect to be understood? It is a catch-22. I have made the analogy before on this blog, that we are about in the same place that the gay movement was in, I'd say, roughly about 20 years ago.

Look, I know I'm preaching to the choir here. But I just feel like this doesn't get talked about enough.

That being said, I got to use an electrified knife on one of Wynter's subjects last week. He said it felt as if he was being castrated... ha ha! I have too much fun.


Anonymous said...

He said it felt as if he was being castrated...

It's good that he already knew what it felt like. It would be bad, for instance, to have a fluffy white kitty scratch ones eyes out and not know that was what it felt like in advance.

Novelty is never overrated but subjective comparisons to something i hope will never happen to me might be.

What i hope i'd say in a similar situation would be, "Mistress, it feels like Your smile is cutting over my balls along with Your sparky knife", or "Mphh... MHHHHHMHMMMM.. Mphhhh... (gurgle)...". The second option may require a gag of some sort. I'm thinkin' here...

The end of such a rainbow is a reassuring smile followed by a gesture toward the flogger about to go back into use.

advochasty said...

Sad as it is, I think you are right when you observe that real bdsm has the same level of acceptance that the gay movement had about 20 years ago. Maybe 30 years, as at 20 we'd be talking 1989. Those 20 year chunks always momentarily freak me out.

I was talking to a very close vanilla woman friend who I'm pretty out with about perhaps editing some of my writing to try to publish it. She's a great writer and I trust her not to be brutal. I was talking about doing it under my real name and she just became petrified. Not only was she horrified for me, but I got the feeling that she didn't want to be associated with it in any way, shape, or form.

As for the lack of positive data about bdsm? Young, brilliant, edgy, highly educated thinker like yourself could generate some. For real, no doubt.

Johnny Dominant said...

Great post. I know a sub who says that normally in his work life, when he comes into contact with very confident and attractive men, he constantly feels compelled to assert his dominance over them in petty ways that end up causing him problems. When he is getting his humilation fix regularly, he feels much less of a need to do that. So I think you are right on about the therapeutic value.

I have recently started writing a blog about my adventures as a Dominant. it's called We'll Do It My Way -- A Chronicle of Erotic Dominance Wanted to say hello and introduce myself.

Her Majesty's Plaything said...

This is a wonderful post. I hope that enlightened D/s practitioners of your generation (you perhaps!) continue to break new ground in this area. I hope you continue to portray BDSM in a positive light, reveal its therapeutic and transformational qualities and help D/s gain acceptance as a legitimate form of self expression. I also hope Ms. Wynter continues to introduce you to new electric kitchen implements! Keep up the good work! :)

Mistress Wynter said...

I love your mind. It twists along the same corridors that my thoughts inhabit, and that makes me endlessly happy.

Now, in regard to anon's comment regarding the sensation of the knife: I don't think you have to have experienced castration to know when you're feeling exactly what you fear. When asked what the sensation was, the response was 'I feel like I'm being castrated'. If the sensations of S/m need be reality based, and comparisons must be related only to one's personal experiences, there would be very little descriptive terminology in the scene at all.

I'm pretty sure everyone has cut themselves at one point or another and can imagine that that sensation applied to the testicles would be a good indicator of what castration might feel like.

Don't know why that comment bothered me, but it just seemed overly judgemental from one who clearly has no experience with the implement. 'Sparky' gave that away.

irishcabinboy said...

I too would like to see some hard data on this, as I am a living testament to the healing powers of BDSM. I don't think it will ever happen, though. We have anecdotal data- after all, pro-bdsm literature is all too readily available- but the fact is that BDSM is only as helpful as the psychological attitude one starts out with. Just as BDSM can be wonderful and cathartic for me, I know all too well that it can also be what you'd call 'dark' and 'disturbing,' if I let it. BDSM is practiced outside of the supervision of mental health professionals (unless one of the practitioners happens to be a mental health professional...) and it involves physical abuse. It's the same reason parents are advised never to hit their children, ever. The psychological community is loath to condone any activities that may result in abuse. I suspect, however, that many, many professionals recognize the health benefits of BDSM, but on a patient-by-patient basis.

Mistress Veronica NYC said...


Thank you, again, for being the voice of reason. I had the same thoughts about that comment as well. *sigh*


I definitely have started interviewing people for just this purpose. It frustrates me that there is no systematic research in this area. Not to say that my interviews are all that systematic, but it's a start? Which reminds me that we need to finish yours.

You can make an analogy between BDSM and herbal medicine- they've both been around forever, have been beneficial for many people, and yet, we only have anecdotal evidence to back this up. Herbs can have positive or negative effects, depending on how they are used. Same for BDSM.

I am not a huge fan of making delineations between what is "healthy" or what is not... I feel that should be defined in the broadest terms (re: on an individual basis) but I do feel that there should be a formal investigation, before a decision is made for BDSM to remain in the DSM V (expected out in 2012). I know the NCSF is working on this, on the basis that there is a lack of evidence (showing that BDSM is a neurosis), but it would be more effective if there was evidence to the contrary (studies which show the benefits of BDSM). But there's nothing. Except one Australian study done last year, which was one of my first posts.

Miss Troy Orleans said...

While there may not be data specifically about the healing powers of SM, there is certainly plenty of data about a lot of elements of a scene that relate to sex/relationships, e.g. touch, sexual acceptance and validation, intimacy, approval, emotional connection, crying, etc. I don't see much point in taking the position that what we do in BDSM is compartmentalized away from what everyone else does: it's all a continuum. Much like with the gay community, I do think it benefits us all to recognize the parts we have in common.

Mistress Veronica NYC said...

Miss Troy! Hello and welcome!

Although I definitely agree with you that sexuality is a continuum, and it's incorrect to separate some forms of sex from others too stringently- I also feel like the studies you are referring to have not explored unconventional forms of validation or caring- re: beating someone's ass till they bleed.

I am aware that much research has been done exploring the healing powers of touch and compassion. However, although you and I see BDSM in this light, I do not feel it is conventionally accepted as related at all. That is why I think that a BDSM-specific study would be useful.

Further, I have a theory that people subconsciously invent their kink-predilictions as a sort of ingrained way to deal with psychological stress. It's a weird analogy, but some pregnant women get cravings for dirt, which can actually be good in terms of minerals and such- and it is suggested that they eat it out of some evolutionary instinct. Simply, their bodies crave what they need nutritionally. This, of course, is not the only example of that.

I feel the same can be true for psychology. The mind develops an innate sense of what it needs to nourish itself. Perhaps BDSM is a version of that.

Cut and paste the article for more information on dirt-eating here:

Phew, that was a doozy!

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hoodman said...

Exactly, i've always thought that BDSM really need scientific evidence or supporters who fully understood what it is.
It would certainly feel different, people complain and say o you're just manifesting those feelings through society.
But the truth is a lot of people really enjoy BDSM for therapy it's a fantastic release for some and for me it is much more arousing than vanilla sex.

Thankfully of this college crowd i've finally met some people that are at least more understanding of it.

Mistress Veronica NYC said...


Yeah, unfortunately, since it is currently understood as a paraphilia, I feel scientific evidence to the contrary is needed as well.

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