Avoided topics

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This little essay came about because of my observation that people don't write about sex in personal ads.

This is, I think, an odd thing because couples do sex. Many people hook up and possibly within hours are doing the horizontal hula together. In fact they often get around to sexual explorations before they get to other nominal compatibility factors such as political leaning, education level, hobbies and so on.

Why don't people talk about sex in personal ads? Why don't personal ads say things like, "Must be intelligent, witty, professionally-employed and enjoy rutting like a priapic stallion?" Why are we so PC (politically correct) in ads? Why is sex persona non grata?

Here, undoubtedly, lies someone's university thesis.

More to the subject at hand though: Are things any different in the wildly wacky world of BDSM? Are there topics which we avoid discussing when we are considering compatibility with a potential dungeon partner?

On the one hand what we might call conventional or vanilla evaluation criteria apply - things like being intelligent, not hung up, gainfully employed, not living at home with parents, own car, attractive, not afraid of soap, familiar with deodorant, good sense of humour, similar political views, must not be vegetarian, and so on. I suppose that these are mostly very practical things having to do with spending lots of time together. These are all easy to talk about.

On the other hand there are the criteria which are relevant to BDSM - interest in bondage, dominant or submissive, pain enthusiast, into rough handling, curiosity about keel-hauling, well-insured, artistically creative in regards to wax and/or needles, own handcuffs, and so on. These are also easy to talk about.

So what isn't?

Well, sex is probably a good start. It always seems to be left as something implicit. I mean you might talk about dining preferences on a first date, even a first BDSM date, but who mentions having a propensity to insert alien objects where the Sun don't shine. Isn't it just as important? Well, maybe not in a cafe, but you get the idea.

People also don't seem to talk too much about looking for catharsis, even though it's quite common, or about having a desperate need to be helplessly crawling at someone's feet. Dominants and masters, when they're talking about finding a partner, might mention their skills with a flogger but rarely mention their own need to, say, inflict pain, see agony on their partner's face, taste blood, or smell their partner's fear.

I suspect that there are a few factors at play in regards to what we talk about and what we don't talk about:

  • There's a desire not to seem vulnerable or weak, even though a lot of what partners find attractive in us is what we keep behind that very wall we try so hard not to drop,
  • Though many BDSM activities, drives and desires are not what might be called socially acceptable, even within the BDSM community itself there are some things which other BDSM folk might find challenging to accept and saying that you're into them exposes you to the risk of being socially rejected, and
  • Finally, I think that there's an element of social conditioning involved, a return of the idea of political correctness in that there are some things which we just don't talk about. It's not because we can't - it's because we learn that it's somehow not appropriate to do so and instead we hedge around the topic or make allusions. We might not even think of it at all because we have been so well conditioned.

I think that we do ourselves a disservice with this. We're not furthering our own cause of having useful, productive and satisfying relationships by hiding away things which are often very important to us. So I'd like to ask you: Are there things you don't talk about even though they are vital and necessary to what you need from your BDSM relationship? What is it that you'd like to be getting (or giving) but haven't pursued with your partner?

I'm feeling all inspired now. I think that the next time you see me I'm going to be wearing a T-shirt which simply says, "Woman! Assume the position! Panties optional." Do you think that would be too subtle? It's only a T-shirt after all.