I want to state up front this is NOT an "author behaving badly" kind of reactionary post to a less than stellar review. I'm using this as an illustration to show how it never fails to amaze me how someone can "dis the kink" when they were the ones who didn't pay a whit of attention in the first place and probably don't know anything about it. And keep reading, because I do have a destination in mind for this rambling journey. I also know that to many of you, I'm preaching to the choir, so to speak, so thank you for indulging me.
One of my books has the following disclaimer clearly included (by my publisher) in the blurb:
Content Warning: Contains subject matter that might offend some readers—graphic language, explicit sex, mf sex, mmf ménage, mm sex, anal sex/play, sex toys, Femdom and Maledom BDSM practices, bondage, Domination/submission, Master/slave, spanking, impact play, humiliation, cuckolding, public exhibition, public sex, and piercing sarcasm.I'd say that's pretty clear, no?
Here's a section of a reader review (and which the reviewer gave the lowest ranking available on the site):
...every one had certain needs that are not necessarily the "norm" in society but this just made me totally uncomfortable, threesomes OK, at little BDSM OK, role playing OK, but Master/slave, impact play and humiliation - no thanks.Umm...okay. Sooo...why did you buy the book then? They ranked the book based on their personal prejudices, not on the quality of writing/editing or on the story. I use this illustration to make the following point, that just because someone else has a kink you don't like or agree with, as long as the participants are all consenting human adults, who cares? Would they have read the book at all had they known I was an active participant in the BDSM lifestyle?
A lot of people who participate in the lifestyle, willing participants and nice people who don't bother anyone, have to live in fear. They have to live in fear of being outed because of their family situations, jobs, school, or some other reason. This fear is driven due to people who, despite not understanding or agreeing with something, make no effort whatsoever to try to make allowances for people who have different interests than them.
That's what it boils down to, right?
What if I told you a man liked to go out every weekend, without his wife, and got together with a bunch of his friends. They got all hot and sweaty, piled on top of each other, grabbing and pulling at each other, then ended with a group naked shower.
Would that shock you?
What if I told you they were playing football.
Oh, so that's okay then?
It's the same kind of double standard some men have that two women together are hot, but two men together are an abomination against nature.
Um, WTF? Why is that? Why do some people close their brains?
What if I told you that one couple I know, who've been married for about fifty years, have also been involved in the BDSM lifestyle for almost the entire time? Obviously, they're happy doing what they're doing. They're happily married. They balance their kinky and vanilla lives. Should they be looked down upon for the fact that they have a D/s dynamic just because it's not someone else's gold standard?
Obviously, this kind of discrimination isn't unique to people who are into BDSM. The GLBT community has dealt with it forever, as have religious and racial sectors. Having to hide a part of who you are, regardless of the fact that it doesn't hurt anyone, just because of fears of how others will react.
Isn't it time that people learn to take a "live and let live" approach to life? Are we not adults?
Here's the truth of the matter: people into BDSM are no different than people who enjoy golfing every weekend, or people who enjoy going to NASCAR races, or people who build ships in bottles. They are doing something that they enjoy that's not hurting anyone. (Well, not hurting them without their permission.) It's not abuse if it's consensual. It's not sick or twisted or demented, any moreso than spending thousands of dollars collecting Beanie Babies or basket weaving supplies.
There are people out there into some kinks that are definitely NOT my own kinks. But that's okay, because I don't have to choose to play with them or even associate myself with them. No biggie. How they practice their kink in no way impacts my life anymore than some duffer hitting the links every Saturday at holy-crap-thirty in the morning. It doesn't make them less able to do their job. It doesn't make them bad parents or horrible people.
It just makes them different than me. Just like I'm different than you, and you're different than someone else.
Did you know in some countries, women can be beaten (or worse) for driving? They can be killed for leaving their houses if they aren't covered head to toe in fabric.
So isn't it kind of silly to look down on people who willingly participate in something that makes them happy? Especially if you don't even have all the facts straight about what you're judging them for? Maybe if everyone felt free to pursue their happiness without worrying about someone judging them, perhaps the world would be a happier place.
Something to think about.