A conversation about porn: BDSM and consent

(Originally published on the 18.06.2016. Italian version here.)

Probably the “conversations” will become my favourite writing method for what concerns opinions and politics: there’s no better way to express one’s point of view than dialoguing with someone. Wow, very Platonic.

OK, enough with playing the philosopher. This conversation has sprung from a post published the 12.06.2016, alas, on a feminist Facebook page, and the alas is because I wouldn’t like to see these things in feminist environments. The post refers to a link (here it is: http://flashes.ilpost.it/xhamster-stupro-stanford.html) where it is announced that xHamster, popular site of pornographic videos, has implemented a function which obscures the results when one searches the word “rape”; in place of the videos a writing appears which invites to consult a professional psychologist. The post then goes on stating the importance of the fact that those who run such a market are becoming aware that rape culture passes also through a normalization of violence (through porn, precisely), and wondering though if this is sufficient to free pornography from contents which incite to violence against women. The post ends with another link, which sends this time to a piece on the topic published on the blog of the author: https://ilricciocornoschiattoso.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/perche-notallporn-non-e-un-argomento/.

Here is the link of the original post, where you can read also all the comments: https://www.facebook.com/ilricciocornoschiattoso/posts/1139655592761174

And here is the conversation, begun on the same day, 12.06.2016, by a comment of mine to the post followed then by various replies:

(the conversation is translated from Italian. This will sometimes results in some absurdity as during the dialogue English words were often used whose meaning was then explained in Italian. Some of these are going to be eliminated in the translation because it would just be a repetition of the word. Where people were writing in a grammatically incorrect Italian, I’ve tried to give the same impression in English)

Stardust: a lost alien
I am conscious that the porn market is in good part sexist, and that in many pornographic production the woman is reduced to an object.
But there exists also BDSM sex, also violent and consensual sex exists, also the so-called rape-play, still consensual. Many kinksters, which in English is a nice term to indicate perverts, enjoy this kind of porn.
If all the actors of a porn video were consenting I see nothing bad in it, the bad is rather that a porn videos website labels kinksters as mentally sick.

F.C.D.N.
in bdsm though the research is done with other key words or with a series of combination of words. I agree with your point of view, but I am also happy of the attempt of xHamster

V.D.
Oh, the same old distinctions. Better like this, I prefer that female dignity is defended, with all due respect to those who look for BDSM. It’s not possible to please everyone, and if this means legitimizing and making socially acceptable forms of violence and prevarication I prefer a warning like this one which invites to turn to a psychologist. The border between fake violence and the real one sometimes is not noticeable.

C.B.
I don’t agree with whom answered to this comment. I looked for “rape” several times – and not to identify in the attacker, by the way – and finding similar disclaimers I felt like a criminal. But for what? What have I done wrong? The world seems to continually forget that not only men and sadists masturbate…

L.M.
That is C. you’re saying that you like to watch porn where a rape is faked? And doesn’t it seem to you that there is something wrong?

V.D.
All right, but what comes of this? Or we protect those who surf the websites with all their tastes, licit, illicit, right, wrong, or we passes the idea that to use violence on women and minors is wrong. Maybe it’ll be a moralistic, fascist, censorious and repressive point of view, but one must start from somewhere. For me it’s better to take away some individual freedom of a minority to defend the rights of a majority of women (and minors) which doesn’t love to be I don’t say treated, but represented as cannon fodder.

V.D.
But then I don’t understand, here does everyone get offended? Porn lovers get offended, BDSM lovers get offended, and I cannot get offended who am sick and tired as a woman to be represented (not me directly, but as gender it concerns me) in such a trivial and debasing way? All the minorities, justly, care about being represented in a non-discriminatory way, Jews, blacks, disabled people, is it possible that only we women must still be offended by the representations of us which are around? The world of porn is awful: I know, there’s a different pornography, but the mainstream one is like this, and the violence level is higher and higher, to the point that by now one can find all sorts of things, included indeed rape. Real? Fake? Pretended? I don’t care. I care that someone finally says to those who use this search key to become aroused that maybe there’s need to go and see someone because IT IS NOT NORMAL.

I.R. (author of the post)
Rape” means rape. Rape is a crime. To become aroused you need to watch a man who assaults a women and rapes her, and you don’t find anything odd in it? The fact of associating your pleasure to other people’s grief and sufferance, doesn’t it make you feel minimally uneasy about yourself?

C.B.
Actually I associate them to my grief and my sufferance because yes, I identify myself with the victim. And even if I identified myself with the rapist, you should read around and discover that rape fantasies are among the most widespread and that having them is not the same as being a lunatic. No, I am not a demented individual, and I write it after having required a medical opinion. Yes, I ask for respect, as everyone, and I think that education is not conveyed through repressing the sexual fantasies of anyone.
P.s. Please, before saying “odd” or “sick” to anyone give a read to the DSM, because paraphiliae have been removed, and not in recent times.
Thank you for the nice words :/

C.B.
Oh, V., I didn’t read your comments with attention. Really nice the sentence “let’s take away rights from minorities to give them to majorities”.As a bisexual transgender I think I have already heard it somewhere… 😉

Stardust: a lost alien
No, I don’t find anything odd in it and no, it doesn’t make me feel uneasy, because it’s a game. The key word, in rape-play as in all the BDSM practices, is consent. Or rather the key words are three: safe, sane and consensual. It is not an actual rape, and this is exactly the point. Yes, real rapes are terrible, but a fake rape is not. Then we should eliminate all books, films, songs, whatever represents a violent act.

Stardust: a lost alien
Stop treating who is different from you and doesn’t harm anyone as they were a dangerous criminal, only because their tastes or life-styles don’t match yours. Don’t you like videos of (FAKE) rapes? And then don’t watch them! Christ, not even I watch them who practice rape-play regularly because to porn I prefer my imagination (or practice).

V.D.
Have paraphiliae been removed from the DSM? Good, here are the results. After all also psychopathy have been removed and actually there’s an army of people around who cannot distinguish good from evil. What is disconcerting it’s that here it is all overturned: does your right to get aroused come first or the one of the victim of not to get objectified? You know it well, in paraphiliae the other is just a serial object over whom to project a crazed image of Eros. Our ego cannot be without limits and your freedom ends where mine begins. I as a woman get deeply offended to be represented as a sexual object because I am a person who suffers, endures, has feelings. If you cannot understand it I don’t know what to think, is it possible that your eroticism (yours and of those who think like you) is so narcissistic that you’re not aware to get aroused seeing a representation of sufferance. Look, in Nazi camps too there was who enjoyed to see internees suffering and dying. That then you are bisexual transgender is your business, which doesn’t add anything to this discussion, neither are a merit or a justification.

L.M.
But where is the fun? What does one take pleasure from? From seeing a woman who’s being raped? What is it?a game? But what do you have in your head? Then for fun I put a bottle up your ass, and if you tell me you don’t want, I go on, because I’m playing, it’s not like I’m being serious.

V.D.
I add for this mass of jokesters who jerk off with the blood and the screams which Isis sells on the web videos of the worst violences on yazidis little girls and women, murders included. Here it’s for real, people want true blood, not the actresses who yell. After all do you pay? You obtain what you want, the choice is vast, one has to have fun right? The web offers anything, zoophilia too, you’re certainly not going to tell me that it’s not normal to rape an animal? Who knows how happy this poor beast is…

V.D.
Stardust: a lost alien The rape-play? let’s say it in Italian: rape-play… everything all right, isn’t it?

Stardust: a lost alien
Good heavens, and then you say that I am the madman.
For V.D. it’s not about any right to get aroused neither about the right of the victim to not be objectified, and this because there’s no victim. If the intercourse is consensual, there’s no victim. If in the porn video all the actors were consenting, there’s no victim. There’s no trampling on your freedom, nobody’s taking away anything from you, nobody’s obliging you to take part in such a game and if someone should do that, if someone really obliged you to, then yes, it would be rape. The problem that you are offended by the fact that some women, men and everything in between take pleasure from being treated as an object, or as a victim, or as a subordinate, or what not, and that in return there is someone who takes pleasure from treating them like this (still everything by consent), honestly is just your problem.
And… I find nothing weird in “rape-play”, it’s just that I’m used to speak English in a BDSM context. I don’t know why it should sound worse.

Stardust: a lost alien
For L.M.: again, same argument as above, if everyone is consenting it is not rape. If you put a bottle up my ass without my consent, it is rape. If you put a bottle up my ass (but I suggest a dildo, because with a bottle it is dangerous) with my consent, it’s not rape. It is still a bottle up the ass, what is changing is the consent of the participants.

Stardust: a lost alien
I find honestly ridiculous, and also a little disconcerting, that one must explain the foundations of consent on a feminist page. And it’s already the second time that it happens.

P.S.
I think that stardust is right, if they’re all consenting adults there’s nothing wrong (and personally I don’t love bdsm neither I’d ever do a rape-play, under the bed sheet I have very traditional preferences, I don’t want to have bottles up the ass and I don’t want to insert them, even anal sex is not interesting for me, I love the old dear vaginal coitus, with side dish of kisses caresses, oral sex both fellatio and cunnilingus). I don’t understand what people find in certain “role-games” with side dish of handcuffs, whips and what not but I’d never want to prohibit it.

E.M.
P.S., try for a moment to imagine the vastness of the horizon of the fuck we don’t give about your specific tastes under the bed sheet, and then ask yourself a simple question: “But why do I have to keep on fouling EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING speaking about myself?”

Stardust: a lost alien
E.M. ?

P.S.
E., I am not ashamed of speaking about my sexual preferences but I oblige no one to do the same, I’ll have a sense of modesty different from yours. Anyway if you care nothing about what I write why don’t you ignore me?

C.B.
You don’t have the slightest idea of what “consent” means, right?
The thing scares me. I don’t add anything more.

V.D.
Anyway that on a porn site there is a comeback of staying a little grounded doesn’t hurt. As the admin of the site has reminded, rape is a crime. Period. Doing harm is a crime. Period. Maybe in your dream world (but what ugly dreams…) no, here yes. Make sure of finding, in addition to complaisant doctors who tell you that you’re absolutely fine (not we, you instead feel like a million bucks), really consenting partners too, elsewhere someone could die. Anyway grant me the judgement, after all everyone judges, you too: but what an ugly way do you have to make love (love????), what a gloomy sex, sad, full of death drives and anger, towards yourselves or towards others. I can’t see a smile in it, a hug, a caress, a little kiss, it’s not that there’s something wrong in it, even with the lover of a night. Ask it yourselves sincerely, you who fake a rape: but where has this obsession born from, this desire to reiterate and dramatise such a violent act? Be honest with yourselves and don’t go around saying that you’re happy, at any rate nobody believes it.

Stardust: a lost alien
I repeat, for the fiftieth time more or less, that yes harming someone is a crime and it is wrong, which doesn’t coincide with playing rape. Playing rape is pleasant for both the participants.
Secondarily no, I don’t grant the judgement because after all everyone judges. Everyone has its own way of making love or making sex, and as long as it is consensual it is not a problem for anyone. Or it shouldn’t be. Besides, maybe before writing you should speak with the members of the BDSM community. If you did, you would know that cuddles, caresses, kisses are the norm also among them. You’d know that very often those who practice BDSM laugh during sessions. That there is a practice, called after care which consists of the dominator/aggressive part, let’s say so, which cuddles and makes feel comforted the one who instead has endured. That there are safe words, which are agreed upon by the participants to be used in case someone either doesn’t feel comfortable any more, either doesn’t feel okay any more or also simply is in an uncomfortable position. I have the safe gesture too, in case one is unable to speak.

Stadrdust: a lost alien
And actually many believe that we are happy and fulfilled by this type of sex. I have the clear impression that you need either to demonise us or to consider us the poor deranged ones, because considering this form of sex acceptable would be… what would it be? I don’t know what it’d be. I really can’t see any negative side in accepting it as normal.

M.M.
By reading certain comments I believe that extremism is just the most stupid feminism. As if there weren’t real rapes of men perpetrated by women and especially hard (sic) films of rapes which are lesbian and/or of women towards men or again BDSM of women towards men. But rape is only gendered, isn’t it? Ahahahah

P.S.
well M. rape (real, not play) is done in the great majority of cases by men towards women or by men towards other men; a woman cannot physically rape and adult and healthy (that is not drugged or asleep) man unless she is way brawnier than him

D.L.
but an “other” vision of sexuality, maybe the one which focuses on emotional and sentimental reciprocal involvement, on a physicality of the actual senses, on an imagination who doesn’t taste of already-seen, of prepackaged, without voyeuristic performances and egopathic clinging to incredibly sad set-ups dictated by the selfsame leitmotif, with the help of equally impersonal mass-produced items, to the cribbing of dull shams passed off as erotic creativity… is it really so inconceivable to recover it?

V.D.
D.L. I agree. I hear talking about safe wordsaftercare and everything smacks of theatrical, not spontaneous, of a language shared by a community of people who share the same problem. That up to now nobody has died in your case consoles me but I repeat, I’d ask myself in the depth of your psyche (or even better soul) from what does this need spring in an erotic meeting of thetralizing a death impulse, because that’s what is is. Why if a man or a woman arouses me sexually MUST I (because it’s not a choice) take out all that nightmare world to feel good. Socially shared behaviours? Here one’s playing with fire, especially with those who are younger.

I.R. (author of the post)
Dear Stardust, we do know what consent is? Unfortunately members of the so-called “BDSM community”have proved in several occasions to not have a clear perception of it.
https://ilricciocornoschiattoso.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/sesso-e-stupro/ This lack of self-criticism, by its members, this getting rid off the concerns of those who are horrified by violence and sufferance and is simply anxious about the well-being of people (especially of the younger ones, whose imaginary is at this point dominated by violence and abuse perceived as erotic and exciting) denotes a big egoism. I understand the need of not feeling marginalised and blamed for something which goes beyond the exertion of will, but beside the desire of being accepted for what one is – absolutely licit – there should also be the desire to not endanger the safety and well-being of others, which is an aspect that instead is always moved to the background. “We know what consent is”, I’m always being answered. No, it’s not true, the overwhelming majority of people doesn’t know what consent is: sex professionals don’t know it (https://ilricciocornoschiattoso.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/james-deen-il-consenso-la-coercizione-e-il-femminismo/), those who engage in such games don’t know it, journalists who speak about “extreme sex” instead that of rape don’t know it. If the lack of consciousness on the topic of consent is so widespread, we all have to do an examination of conscience on the matter, and instead of limiting ourselves to defend our personal life-style, to start to wonder about how to improve the quality of life of everyone and to ask ourselves: which are the instruments that we can use in the field?S

I.R. (author of the  post)
https://ilricciocornoschiattoso.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/lo-stupro-di-shia-labeouf/ talking of rape of men…

V.D.
P.S. sorry but the “old dear vaginal coitus” really makes me smile, don’t take offence, it really sounds like the good old times, when berta spun (AN: “berta spun” refers to a very popular Italian song, and nice too Berta filava = Berta spun)

L.S.
I’ve been doing feminist activism for years and for almost as many years I’ve been practicing BDSM. The problem of violence on women is one of those topic which I deal with almost daily, I write leaflets and organize events about learning to recognise consent, on the problem of rape here in Italy as abroad in the university campuses I’ve read and reread documents. Women and girls and anyone else who has suffered a violence (from the inopportune street comment to rape) have all my solidarity and my anger.
As feminist and person who practices bdsm I wonder though also if demonizing those who have certain fantasies is useful? As long as for persons among them they do something in a consensual way without taking non-consenting people in between, what is the problem? And then why, instead of saying that if you have similar fantasies you are sick and can only go and see a psychologist, can’t one explain before the videos which stage those fantasies the difference between game and reality? Why not explaining consent? Why can’t porn sites become promoters of a different culture in which though fantasies can be accepted and not censored?
I am aware that in such a moment forbidding to see certain videos can look like a solution, but in my opinion a solution it isn’t. Discovering that we’re not the only ones to have particular fantasies and finding points of reference with which to share them allows us to live them in the safest and sanest possible way. It allows us to reflect on the consensuality of what we do. Being demonized in my opinion creates only damages.
(P.S. I remind to the fans of the list of paraphiliae considered illnesses that homosexuality too was among them, so maybe I wouldn’t be so sure of the validity of that list)

V.D.
I.R. I agree, we live in a more and more violent world (I’ve been doing social work for a life) and sex is nothing but the expression. A violence often not-conscious, not managed, pointless, relieved of responsibility, all a I didn’t want, I didn’t know, it was a fit. Antisocial behaviours among the youths, who don’t know how to manage anger and frustrations, seen only as a narcissistic wound. The sense of limit goes off, only a gigantic and delirious ego.

C.C.P.
No L., if you get aroused in this way you are a pervert and cannot define yourself feminist, at least judging from the comments to this post. The tolerance and acceptance of diversities evidently is not a feminist concept.

I.R. (author of the post)
L., as far as I know the site at hand is not a site dedicated to BDSM. And why should the invitation to turn to a psychologist be equivalent to a demonization? Tons of people go to the psychologist, for an infinity of reasons, and nobody dreams of stigmatizing them. It is clearly a provocation, which invites to a serious and urgent reflection about violence and respect towards the other. Now, wanting to make this initiative pass as a stigmatization of a certain category of people, seems really surreal to me. Then what do we do, do we take the word rape away from the penal code to not disappoint the sensitivity of someone?

L.M.
I keep on not understanding. Is there really someone who says: “God I so want to get raped”? Is it this “the game”? Do we play rape? If it’s so, my God, what world do we live in?

L.S.
@I.R., xhamster is website of not specifically bdsm pornography, but also bdsm since it has a specific section in the site and since bdsm is one of the shades of sexuality.
It is a demonization because the writing appears only in that given kind of video, videos about rape have something wrong so they tell me to speak with a professional, all the others are OK. It is certainly a way of saying that you are sick, let’s not pretend it is not so, don’t pretend not to see the stigmatization which lies behind it, come on.

I.R.
I’m sorry I don’t see the stigmatization. There is a serious basic social problem which is keeping on being underestimated.

L.S.
Nobody underestimates the social problem, not me, I can tell you.
I am only saying that that proposal from xhaster is not in my opinion a solution really useful, and I explained you why.
And I see the stigmatization and I’m sorry to say, but if you don’t see it you have your head in the sand.

M.M.
I am of the opinion that as long as two persons are consensual they can do what they want, excluded harming each other obviously, but comparing the simulation of forced sex/tied person to an act of real rape really looks to me like bullshit.

I.R. (author of the post)
The influence of the physical and verbal violence which permeates the porn industry on the psycho-sexual development of teenagers, this is the underestimated phenomenon. The lack of consciousness on the concept of consent. The sexual dissatisfaction of a big majority of women who feel bounded to compete with a sexual imaginary which doesn’t satisfy them, which makes them feel uneasy, when it doesn’t make them feel violated: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2432591/Porn-pernicious-threat-facing-children-today-By-ex-lads-mag-editor-MARTIN-DAUBNEY.html I am aware that everyone cares about the community which they belong to, but I think that it’s important to give a clear message to all the society: violence is wrong, consent in sex is fundamental. And if this is true also in the BDSM world, I really don’t see the problem with such an initiative, because rape by definition is forcing a person to a sexual intercourse without their consent.

M.M.
Yes but simulated rape or forced sex is consensual, because they are simulated acts. So I see the comparison with an actual rape act, which in the end has little to do with sex and eroticism, as really out of place.

L.S.
But what are we talking about?!
I’ve written I don’t know how many comments ago: “And then why, instead of saying that if you have similar fantasies you are sick and can only go and see a psychologist, can’t one explain before the videos which stage those fantasies the difference between game and reality? Why not explaining consent? Why can’t porn sites become promoters of a different culture in which though fantasies can be accepted and not censored?
I am aware that in such a moment forbidding to see certain videos can look like a solution, but in my opinion a solution it isn’t. Discovering that we’re not the only ones to have particular fantasies and finding points of reference with which to share them allows us to live them in the safest and sanest possible way. It allows us to reflect on the consensuality of what we do. Being demonized in my opinion creates only damages.”

C.B.
Please keep on ignoring the reality of the situation and on throwing on us a guilt that we don’t have, be sure.
I fly toward other shores. I’ve had enough of insults and insinuations.

L.S.
BDSM harks back to all a series of words which lose their whole real meaning. One speaks about slave and Master/Mistress and uses a lot of words because they open to a type of fantasy, but being a bdsm slave is not the same as being a slave in the ancient egypt.
Rape play works in the exact same way as the word slave. One pretends to obstruct the consent to a person who in reality consent has given. Isn’t it better to explain it instead of advising to go to the psychologist?
By the way in any bdsm porn videos at the end of the video the people involved tell that they felt good, to have enjoyed it, to have gotten aroused, they tell they were consenting etc, so why not doing it also for this practice?

I.R. (author of the post)
C., but where would the insults be sorry?

I.R. (author of the post)
L., if a person is part of the BDSM community doesn’t need to be provided with this information: you said that, is a language only yours, a jargon which belongs only to you, where words have a different meaning than that they have for everyone else. Why a website open to everyone should use a language which is not comprehensible to everyone? Why a website open to everyone should conform to your parameters, and not to the Italian language which is present in the dictionaries? As far as I know in porn websites there’s not the translation of dialogues in Sicilian or Neapolitan, and not because those who love dialect are stigmatized.

M.M.
What kind of arguments are these? Does a library have all the classifications and sections or only those politically and socially correct?
At any rate censorship will always lose, in whichever way it is proposed. These look to me like those discourses of fifth category parents who don’t send their sons to the disco or to parties because there could be drug. If you don’t know the danger you can’t avoid it.

I.R. (author of the post)
M., slaves still exist today, anyway, there’s no need to go in the ancient Egypt. there are the sold and trafficked women, the exploited children, the immigrants in the fields etc. You are a small community which has fun, and it pleases us. But slave, master, rape are heavy words, they are realities towards which one desperately tries to make an egoistic and indifferent society aware of, in the conviction that this battle passes through language as well. If you don’t realize that your games leave themselves open to the exploitation of a society which aims to minimize and trivialize violence – the real one – and that there is no “moralizing” intent in opening a debate on this, I don’t know what else to say.

L.S.
Because bdsm is not an elite community and before entering it and doing it with the partner you have to pass a test.
Those who practice bdsm have watched and watch exactly the same porn which are on xhamster and it would have been nice that a boy if he has certain fantasy finds explanations to what he feels.
If you see the video of a guy who takes a lass for the hair and slam his penis in her throat (do we put this also in the bdsm website with disclaimer about the meaning of words?) and you are a little boy and realize that what arouses you in that video is a little to humiliate the woman and a little to force her, wouldn’t it be nice anyway to have a disclaimer in the website which tells you that if certain fantasies are put into action with consenting people, without abuse and being then both happy, they are OK? That it is important to be certain of consent? Or do we also want to ghettoize bdsm videos only in specific websites where you can enter with the password like secret society?
And then who decides what is or is not bdsm? Let’s leave in porn sites only sex with cuddles because also the spanking while one’s banging in doggy style could be an incitement to violence.
And no, translation is not needed, it is needed to sanction a certain type of sexuality, it is needed to teach that sexuality is OK in all its forms if it makes you feel good, makes happy and if there’s the consent of all the participants.

L.S.
And anyway there aren’t we who practice bdsm and you who don’t, there are infinite shades between us and you. There is the one who lives it all the day long all days and the one who once in a month makes sex using handcuffs because it makes it more titillating. There are those who like to bite during sex and there are those who like to whip. They are different shades and different ways to experience things. But there isn’t a we and a you.

L.S.
The point, dear I.R., is that I am opening the debate on this, I am trying to find a solution which explains the difference between sexual fantasy and abuse, I am looking for a way to raise awareness without ghettoizing “the little (?) bdsm community”, without hiding it under the carpet like you want to do.
You cancel and cancelling and censoring you believe to solve the problem, I propose solutions (maybe not those which will solve the problem) but at least I’m proposing something better than hiding the problem under the carpet.

M.M.
Apart the fact that I don’t practice BDSM, so I’m not part of any “narrow groups”, but censorship is not raising awareness, is censorship.
One makes society aware with instruction, explaining through sexual education, not entirely denying certain things, this way you only stimulate the curiosity of those who don’t know and don’t understand.

I.R. (author of the post)
But I don’t want to ghettoize anyone! But L. I have a point of view on the matter very different from yours. You are convinced that the little boy goes and looks for violent porn because pushed by an innate drive to feel pleasure in humiliating and punishing. I instead believe that porn has an active role (together with many other social conditioning), and contributes to bring up generations which associate sexual pleasure to subjugation, to violence or to passivity and submission. Sure it’s not true for everyone, never generalize, but that enjoyed violence has a tangible influence on the development of the personality of youths is a scientifically ascertained date. So I don’t believe that a disclaimer is enough, it’s all. We need something else.

L.S.
Then also films, video games, books and TV series and who knows what else should be censored, according to you?

L.S.
And anyway I have enormous criticisms towards the porn industry, the image of woman which comes out of it, etc. etc. But it is not by censoring that one solves the problem.

I.R. (author of the post)
But why does censorship terrify you more than the enormous quantity of rapes? No, really, I’m curious. Censorship, prudery, they seem the worst threats to civilization. As soon as one criticize a content which concerns violence towards women, immediately the fallacy of the slippery slope is evoked: “there, then all films will disappear, video games, beer, nobody will more be able to make sex, the “different ones” will be burnt on the public square…” But why? I have just said, in this post, that I found positive that a porn website rouse the problem of consent among the consumer of the genre, and that the discussion had to be opened, because the problem is serious. I’ve heard people calling me Nazi, one who wants to stigmatize this and that, disrespectful of diversity, you name it. I have just expressed my opinion, and my opinion is a certain imagination is pervasive and omnipresent when one speaks about sex, far from stigmatized: it presumes to include all and everyone. That there is need of education to respect, more clarity on certain topics, and that respect passes also through language. I seriously doubt that a person who only make consensual sex can feel offended by the message spread by that site, I sincerely doubt it. Because he indeed knows the difference between a game and a rape.

P.S.
prude people who with very similar arguments dream about censoring films (not porn, TV series, comics and so on exist.

V.D.
I.R. I think exactly as you and I am perplexed in not reading a doubt, a perplexity on the use of a violent imagination and of words which indicate serious things but by which one is kept amused. Indeed, L. is the only one in this group to hint at the real violence on women. The other keep silent or answer piqued; I am astonished, my right to play comes before my social duties. It is really a mirror of the times: censorship, real or imaginary looks like the only taboo because it limits my ego, what happens outside my little circle doesn’t concern me, that little boys grow up violent doesn’t matter. The reference to slaves of Egypt then is exasperating: there is the traffic which moves thousands of desperate women, a global market of pedo-pornography, to say nothing about the endless number of slaves who produce low price goods for us… and the only reference to slavery outside BDSM little games is this one. Sure, keep on playing…

I.R. (author of the post)
Don’t misunderstand me. V, everyone can play the games they want. But here we’re not speaking about goods for sale, not about people’s sexuality, we’re speaking about an industry, not about the freedom of everyone of us of living their sexuality as they want. They’re two completely different things,, in my opinion. Sexuality existed way before porn industry and I’m sure that if tomorrow porn disappeared, by magic, this wouldn’t damage the quality of the sexual life of people. Maybe it’d improve it, some assert. I remember an old interview with Shere Hite, that one of the Hite report on the topic: “The key of a new sexuality is listening to your body and the body of your male or female partner in a continuous non-verbal communication. Without paying attention to habit, expectations, conformities, one should concentrate on the physical signals emanated by the two bodies and follow them, indulge them and let oneself carried away by the flow. If we succeed, this will conduce us in a magic and new atmosphere, to orgasm and beyond the frontiers of orgasm, making us reach the highest tops of sexual arousal, making them last as long as we wish… Pornography is something which ends up distancing us from sexual pleasure, like a drug that, the more you take it in massive doses, the less it satisfies you, therefore you must always increase the dose and the pleasure keeps on diminishing. So every commercial attempt to elevate porn, to make it a trend, looks pejorative to me, hypocrite, counter-productive.”
http://ricerca.repubblica.it/repubblica/archivio/repubblica/2006/04/30/incontro.html

Stardust: a lost alien
I find the majority of these comments delirious (and it’s saying it the one who goes around for Facebook calling itself Stardust, which says it all xD).
I cannot answer to all the last things which have been written, and this is going to be the last time I write since I cannot spend all my time commenting on Facebook, but anyway:

Stardust: a lost alien
To I.R.: it is absurd to bring up the fact that some kinksters (allow me that, it sounds way better than “perverts” AN: there’s nothing such as “kinkster” in Italian, there’s only “pervert” with a negative meaning) actually commit rapes. It would be meaningful if in the BDSM community there were a higher incidence of rapes than in other brackets of population, but as far as I know this is not the case. On the contrary, such community is one of the most open I’ve happened to find, at least in the city where I find myself, and topics like consent and safety are debated tons of times, and their importance reiterated to the point of exhaustion, and for obvious reasons I’d say.

Stardust: a lost alien
And then nothing, I got lost doing something else xD

I.R. (author of the post)
Well thank you Stardust, now beside the argument “notallmen” I’ll add also “notallkinksters”; I was missing it. Nobody here has asserted that in the BDSM community there is a greater incidence of rapes in respect to… I wouldn’t even know what’s the basis for comparison. I really don’t believe that anyone have ever dreamt about filling in such a statistic, because it would be meaningless. It is by now ascertained that violence on women is a phenomenon absolutely cross to rank, culture, class etc. It is a problem which everyone should take on, everyone, leaving aside sexual preferences and tastes, ethnicity, social class… It’s about questioning ourselves about the collective responsibility of a society which in its entirety is still strongly patriarchal, with all that this implicates. But obviously there are those who have different priorities. I understand it for heaven’s sake. Just avoid to label people as bigots only because they see about a phenomenon which you evidently are not only not interested in, but on which you are also uninformed.

Stardust: a lost alien
More and more absurd. Right, indeed because violence on women is across-the-board it’s meaningless to rage against those who practice consensual and BDSM sex, against those who watch violent porn, against those who produce that porn (violent or not) consensually. Porn is one of the many expressions of sexuality. Feminism has been fighting I think since the beginning for a free and consensual sexuality. Telling people that one shouldn’t watch or make porn is antifeminist. I don’t have other priorities, it’s exactly my feminism which makes me support with firm belief the right of men and women and everything in between to make sex how they please and to not make it if they don’t want, to watch the porn they like, to masturbate how they like.

Stardust: a lost alien
Society is still patriarchal and misogynist. Censoring porn will change nothing, on the contrary it would contribute to relegate again sex in that obscure and mysterious and prohibited zone from which it’s still getting out. I’d like that in porn websites there were disclaimers and introductions to videos where the importance of consensuality is underlined, I’d like that porn were generally of better quality. Writing that those who watch violent porn are madmen  is incorrect apart from being an idiocy.

Stardust: a lost alien
And then. The poor young lads in blossom who are strayed by all this violent sexuality. May society, parents, teachers, everyone, teach them gender equality, respect toward the other, the difference between reality and fiction. These discourses remind me of the philippics against Marilyn Manson and his music of the devil and his bad influence on the foolish youths. Do me a favour.

 

I conclude with a beautiful piece by Dan Savage – whom I am a faithful reader of – on the topic (posted also in another of the comments to the post) and with an adorable video by one of my favourite bands, just for the taste of horrifying those who think that this stuff is “dangerous and deviating” and that sexual perversions give the heebiedabajeebies.

Dan Savage – The Ethical Sadist

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One thought on “A conversation about porn: BDSM and consent

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