One HONY of a Debate: My Thoughts on BDSM

If you do Facebook, you’ve probably come across at least one post from the “Humans of New York” page. The stories are always fascinating. Sometimes tragic, sometimes triumphant, they never cease to make you think.

But a recent post is causing quite an uproar. This one is about a 21 year old girl whose parents think she’s in New York with friends, when actually she came to see a 55 year old married man with two children to engage in a BDSM relationship with him. She’s a very troubled girl, and according to Humans of New York, she feels that she has absolutely no one to talk to because people judge her.

BDSM Girl

[Image credit: HONY]

I don’t judge her. I judge the 55 year old. He’s preying on someone with profound problems, and is being a sick role model for his two children while betraying his wife. He obviously has no one’s best interests at heart but his own.

Have I ever been into BDSM? No. But as a long-time resident in the virtual world of Second Life, I’ve seen a lot of people who are very much into it.

I’ve seen women with dog collars around their necks, being led around on leashes. I’ve seen people drop to their knees on command and grovel. If this turns you on, fine, but it breaks my heart.

I was having a hard time speaking my truth about the matter until a dear friend in Second Life helped me put my feelings into words better than I ever could have. So what follows is something I’ve had prominently displayed in my Second Life profile ever since.

Power and Unequal Vulnerability

I like to think I’m open minded, but I can’t agree with enthusiasts of “Gor” or bondage or sadism of any kind.

Wanting someone that you love, or even just enjoy, to be disempowered & vulnerable is an illness. Valorizing “ownership” of people, even as fantasy, is depraved. Slavery exists in the world. It’s not a game.

Unequal vulnerabilty does great harm in real life. Tyranny, coercion, war; despair, collusion, debasement. The world does not need more people practicing the mentality of either domination or submission, even as fantasy. When you embrace any role, you give it more power over your inner being and your world.

I find it painful to be around people who are doing this. Especially if I care for them. I respect people who challenge hierarchies & heal inequities. I want friends who treasure their own agency and that of others.

Thank you to my dear friend Bau for putting these thoughts so eloquently into words for me, with only a few modifications on my part.

More than anything, I hope that young lady finds the support and love that she needs and deserves in this life. I wish her well.

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5 thoughts on “One HONY of a Debate: My Thoughts on BDSM

  1. Em

    I, like that girl, suffer from psychiatric issues, and I’ve been abused before (though not in a way as horrifying as hers). Seeing that picture and quote yesterday really shook me up. The sense of loneliness, the inevitability of something awful. The worst part was seeing people defending that behavior under the guise of an open mind. I hope she finds a way to break off from that predator and his wife does too.

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