Saturday, March 13, 2010

Psychological Ethics and Taking Responsibility...

I am a firm believer that BDSM can be therapeutic. Anyone who's been in the scene for long enough has witnessed the cathartic benefits of playing with an understanding partner. I've always considered myself someone who is extremely open-minded when it comes to people exploring the darker aspects of their psychology. And I truly think that role playing these aspects can enable one to hold this darkness up in order for it to be examined, felt, accepted, and possibly transcended (if that is the goal).

However, recently I had to turn down a session in which the crux of our interaction would be me telling him that he is worthless. Worthless in reality, worthless because he truly believes that he can never please a woman, worthless because he's never had a lasting relationship, and because he is a failure in his professional life. He has been playing for 25 years, and apparently, no one has EVER asked him why he needs this said/done to him.

I also turned it down because he had some weird notion that a woman could not be dominant unless she was a shrewd, unfeeling businesswoman (as is his former Domme, according to him). However, he seemed to have a bit of ambivalence about this, because she was "all about the money, and nothing else", so he wanted to find someone less like that. Hence, his appeal to me.

I came away from our little chat feeling very confused, and very sad.  Shit, I even cried.

Is there some humiliation aspect that I'm simply not understanding? Or has BDSM actually reinforced the negative views this man has of himself? On the one hand, I tend to believe it has been detrimental, but on the other, also feel like he should have taken responsibility for his perceived shortcomings and gotten psychological help.

We left the meeting with each of us welcoming the other to keep in touch.

What does everyone think? I'm at a loss.



advochasty said...

Turning down the scene seems to me to be a wise choice on your part.

I love humiliation. But in my opinion the recipient of humiliation has responsibility to understand the need and, if possible, derive positive value from the experience.

More than his stuff, you are such a positive feel good kinda girl that being dragged into really truly degrading a guy who is in fact struggling wouldn't be good for your head.

My two cents worth! :-)

ThatBastidTim said...

Good for you. That session did not sound like play and I can't imagine how it would be therapeutic for him. Maybe encountering someone who doesn't think this is ok will be the impetus to his taking more responsibility.

As Advochasty points out, it wouldn't be good for you either.

Mistress Veronica NYC said...


You're actually a really great litmus test for this, because I consider you to be someone who does intense psychological play, yet has a wonderfully balanced "inner life"-- whatever you want to call it.

I am not someone who usually shies away from intensity, so I kind of surprised myself. It also didn't help that he looked very much like my father- who I love very much and could never, ever say that to, let alone think it.

While he was telling me about his scene, I was trying to imagine what it would look like, and for the first time since being an indy, my gut just told me that it would make me feel horrible. Sure, I've turned down sessions where I didn't feel I was compatible with the person, blah, blah. But never because I thought it might be detrimental.

On the other hand, I feel like making a judgement about how someone else relates to their kink is inappropriate unless they're hurting themselves or someone else. How to ascertain whether there is any actual "hurting" going on is quite difficult though.

Then that thought leads me to the overall effectiveness of psychology as a whole, because I feel like much of the time, they do not actually help people either, but make them worse.

All anyone can do is try to help themselves in the best way they can. However, when there is no drive to do that, I'm at a loss. Perhaps there is no grand solution.

I might call him, but am not sure yet.

Mistress Veronica NYC said...


I know I made the right decision.

I had the same thought, that maybe he realized something might be wrong with his scene and want to explore it with a psychologist. I hope so.

Ron in Florida (Ronald10021) said...

I don't have enough experience with BDSM to offer much of a comment, but know that from our e-mails last week and this post, you are a very special person with a real concern for active and prospective clients, and I hope to meet you soon.

Her Majesty's Plaything said...

Hi Ms. Veronica:

I have always approached play with a positive attitude and self image. I enjoy feeling that my Mistress cares for me and that I am worth something to her. I can't understand the desire to feel worthless. That said whenever I posted on Max that I felt this behavior was destructive people have argued vehemently for their right to be treated like dirt. *Shrug!*

The manifestation you describe in your post sounds particularly extreme. The client doesn't seem to gain any visible therapeutic value from sessioning. He seems to just repeat the same cycle over and over again. Not sure the sessions make him any worse but they don't seem to be making him better either. Therapy instead of (or in addition to) pro sessions might be advisable for someone like that if they expect to see improvement in their lives.

Kudos to you for not participating in a scene that makes you uncomfortable. I very much respect a Domme who picks and chooses her scenes and her clients. Playing is a very freeing and positive activity for me and I want to keep it that way. I understand exactly where you are coming from!



Anonymous said...

With this economy you could have taken his money and not think twice and instead you followed your conscience. Bravo! I hope he finds the help he needs.

Mistress Veronica NYC said...

Hi Ronald,

Thank you for the compliments, and I look forward to meeting you some day as well!


I posted this blog in some of the kinky chatboards that I am part of, and the general consensus seems to be that I did the right thing, which I am happy about.

Like I stated previously, if he had simply said, I want this, but I don't really believe it's true, then I would not have gotten upset. I'm not sure if I would have done the session (degradation is not really my bag), but at least I would not have gone away thinking about the "why's" and the "how's" so much.

It is this melding of fantasy and reality which I have a hard time with.


Thank you. I hope so as well.

greg said...

I Guess there is a difference between feeling humiliation and feeling worthlessness

some may find bdsm as a release but it seems like this bloke found it to reenforce everything he thought of himself..

which is a sad place to be

Miss Troy Orleans said...

It's important to follow your instinct in situations like this. Even if your checking account is pleading yes, if your gut is saying no, listen to it. You'll find whatever gain you get by listening to your bank account is short term; your gut will keep you in the game much longer, and stronger.

That said, I might have even seen that guy. I remember writing about a scene much like that on Max during my Luxuria days. As I recall, I was sobbing and fetal when I finished the scene. It was like I'd spent an hour puking up all the dark bile buried inside me. All the nuggets of negativity from both work and other parts of my life that, for whatever reason, I'd swallowed and been holding onto were released in this consensual way. In the end,I found it cleansing. Really purifying. Like a colon cleanse.

But I never want to do that again.

Her Majesty's Plaything said...

Hi Troy:

That was incredible and slightly disturbing to read!



Anonymous said...

I think the key to understanding this guy is what he told you about his previous mistress, a cold businesswoman in it for the money. He wants to be abused, for real. Some Dommes will do this, it's good that you won't. I imagine its lucrative to get this type of client. I wonder why he's not still with his previous Domme. Did she drop him? Or did it start to feel stale for him? Good for you that you won't enter into a truly abusive relationship.

Mistress Veronica NYC said...

Miss Orleans,

I had a feeling that I would feel the same way after his session. Shit, I felt horrible just talking to him, so a session was only going to amplify that.

It really had not occurred to me that it could feel cleansing. Out of all the emotions that I feel in session, I have never felt myself cleansed, but am happy when someone else.

Thanks for your comments!


I have posted this same thread on the FemDom Scene, Irene's board, and apparently there are some people who claim to understand his scene, and do not think it is necessarily bad.

You may find our conversation here:

brutlstrudl said...

Interesting that your in the Domme trip and having trouble saying,'no". But That may be the source of the tension that gives your gallery such power. And, may I suggest, help a man to trust you with a whip.

Anonymous said...

This comment is only tangentially related to your post.

Recently I watched a movie and thought of you, Mistress Veronica. The movie in question was "Behind the Lines," which stars Jonathan Pryce. The movie (set during ww1) tells the story of a military hospital where English soldiers who are shell-shocked are treated. In the movie the character Dr. Yealland (who like a number of the figures in the film was an actual historic figure) treats shell-shocked soldiers who had become mute in response to the horrors they had witnessed, by applying electric shock to the throat and larynx. While doing so he would say things such as:

"Remember, you must behave as the hero I expect you to be ... A man who has gone through many battles."

The actual Dr. Yealland seems to have regarded his patients with contempt. In the wikipedia article on the man it is said that he "practiced a form of therapy based on punishment."

At least amongst the psychologists which serve the military today the attitude seems to be different.

When I watched this movie I wondered what your reaction would have been, and how you would characterize BDSM in contrast to an actual intent to degrade or torture.

Your post and your comments answered my questions. Particularly when you said:

"How to ascertain whether there is any actual "hurting" going on is quite difficult though."

If there is "hurting" going on the subtle question has to be answered within your own heart.

Thanks for the thoughtfull posts and comments.


Mistress Veronica NYC said...

That is very sweet, Anonymous.

I actually read Yeallan's scant Wikipedia article, which claims he became known for curing people and sending them out into the field quickly. I would be interested to see how his patients feel about his treatment today, because it sounds more like brainwashing to me.

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