Vancouver
2 min

Our parallel universe

Double standard applied to SM practitioners

Credit: Xtra West files

Something is puzzling me. It’s the hints from mainstream media that leatherfolk are seen as nasty, twisted and totally outside the norm. But why? What are we doing that’s so different from everyone else?



Let’s play the comparison game.



Bondage aficionados tie knots. So do sailors, and those strange folks who make a hobby of macramé. Rodeo stars use a rope lasso for flying takedowns, although they don’t ask permission from the cows.



BDSM players do roleplay. As do professional actors. Heck, the Society for Creative Anachronism folk, in the course of medieval recreation, commonly dress up in costumes, assume play roles, and whack each other with rattan sticks. Yes. In public.



Many of us wear leather. Cowboys and motorcycle riders wear leather too, and for some darn good reasons. It’s protection against the hostile outside world. It looks great with zippers and buckles. And leather feels warm and supple and deliciously sensu-I’m sorry; I digress.



Kinky people often have physical marks after an SM encounter. But rugby players come home from a game singing and smiling, and covered in welts and scrapes.



BDSM play can be dangerous. And rock-climbers regularly pit their skill and strength against gravity, risking life and limb to attain that transcendent feeling of achievement, while skiers break limbs far more often than do kinksters.



Sadomasochists seek pain or extreme sensation, often as means to an end, just as marathon runners train relentlessly, striving for the endorphin high.



We perverts play with dominance and submission. In the mainstream, there’s the film industry (the last known feudal society), and of course, the military.



Fetishists collect and admire odd objects, like shoes. Well, among my closest friends are two non-kinky men who openly collect Hot Wheels cars. I comfort myself with the idea that they could have been philatelists.



Everything we do has a parallel in the mainstream vanilla world. The mainstream action is done openly (except maybe the macramé). One can tell one’s parents about it, or ship books on the subject across the US/Canada border.



So why is BDSM seen as such an awful thing? Why, when the only thing that differentiates ours from the mainstream behaviors is that we’re probably having more fun, finding it hotter….



Oh. Wait. I get it. It’s the sex, isn’t it? Anything we do as a hobby is fine, as long as we don’t mix it with naughty, uncontrolled fornication? Fuck that.



Our culture has never made it past our historic religious condemnation of open sexuality. Writhing under the disapproving gaze of our mind’s eye, we censor ourselves routinely, when what we really need is open discussion, learning, and acceptance of our true desires.



Be an activist. Go have some hot, kinky sex. Then talk about it over the water cooler.



* Elaine Miller owns her own water cooler.