Monday, February 16, 2009

Pre-SL uneasiness

I approach this year's Shadow Lane party (less than three weeks away now) with a little nervousness. It's my usual pre-party trepidation combined with additional feelings that have arisen over the past six months or so. Much of it is a feeling that the scene that I once felt very safe in is changing, that there are a lot more aggressive men wandering around, that women are seen more and more as objects to be snatched off a shelf, perhaps examined then put back on the shelf...

More people seem lonely, and, as a result, desperate. If you don't have a partner, being in the scene can be painful. If you don't even have people to play with, of course it's worse. I feel for the people in these situations. I really do; I've been there. But my empathy goes out the window when they use their loneliness as a rationale for assaulting women, for touching what they shouldn't touch, or, when given permission to do ______, push the envelope and see if they can get ______, too, never asking the woman if she wanted _____.

On top of that, there seem to be more angry men walking around. Not just at BDSM events, but in the world in general. When someone seems to think he is OWED something and he doesn't get it, anger tends to result. I don't need to find myself in a play situation with an angry man, especially one who's angry at women.

There was a reason I started going to parties and clubs eight years ago: I did not have a partner and I wanted to increase my chances of meeting people who were into what I was into. Being public definitely helped improve my social life. Along the way I discovered my exhibitionist streak and my voyeuristic streak.

Being allowed to get naked (you can do this at Paddles) helped my self-esteem tremendously. It feels divine, and I never thought I would feel this good about my body!

That said, there is a whopping difference between going natural and saying yes to sexual play with strangers. My husband and I are sexually exclusive. Intercourse, oral sex or penetration with others is off-limits. I may be a spanking "slut," but I'm not really a slut. I simply like pain, punishment and submission, and I sometimes seek it out from various sources.

But even if I were completely free sexually and chose to have multiple sexual partners -- it's up to me to say yes or no to someone. It's not up to HIM to take it.

I don't really have to explain this, right? Maybe I do. Maybe it needs to be said many, many times until the message sinks in. Public play is where people are getting to know each other, or they're getting other needs met (it's not about sex, for many, many people). It's in private, with someone you trust, that more intimate play occurs. But only if agreed upon!

I'm simply not going to put up with any bullshit this year. If someone violates me or any of my friends, if someone harasses me, stalks me, gives me angry glares from across the room, touches my butt unasked, enters my scene space, makes lewd comments about my body, and won't stop the offensive behavior when asked, I'm filing a complaint. I'm there to have fun, and I'm tired of the nonsense.


Radagast said...

This was very well put in every way and I agree with what you're saying. Whether you're male or female, no one has the right to violate you or intrude where they are not invited. They also don't have the right to assault you mentally whether with insults or attempts to make you feel guilty for nothing that you've done wrong.

People really need to wise up and take better control of themselves. Really.

A.S.S. said...

Wish we could go to this next Shadow Lane. Would love to see you. Shame that you've seen the changes you have. We've only gone to parties for a couple of years... and sadly, we've seen some of the things you're talking about. Thing is, at least for us... the first instinct is almost a... 'oh, he just doesn't understand that that's not appropriate.'

But then you look more and you listen... and you realize that it's not a one time thing. It's a strategy! It works too because most of the time the victims don't wish to make a scene... or they think it was a mistake... or they blame themselves for not being clearer... etc-etc.

The only way to stop that is to do what you plan... and report 'em.

Have to say though, we've grown more interested in private or smaller play... with people we know. Have run into that stalking thing at SL... and... have no idea what to do about that. Doesn't come up when you know all the players in the room.

~Todd and Suzy

Wednesday said...

Wild--one of our local BDSM lists is discussing the same thing. I guess we had more than one problem with it at the party I attended Saturday. I am very sorry to hear it is infecting SL. :-(

I am not going to this event--but I am wondering if it would help if something was said at the first event about "how it is OK to say no" and "who to call if someone won't quit harassing you." If it is unpleasant to someone who has been around awhile it must be downright scary to a newcomer.

I wish I was an SL chat board member now--I'd bring it up. Best of luck.

Indy said...

I'm sorry I can't be at SL this time, either. I didn't see much of the behavior you're describing, but I'm not surprised. These are tough times, and that can lead to anger. I'm not excusing it, but I suspect that's the way it is.

Personally, I found the size of the Labor Day SL party to be overwhelming enough that I really only played with people I'd met before, either in person or on-line. Of course, being so new to the scene, that was still plenty of adventure for me!

I have to say, I don't understand being so focused on "scoring" in some way that one doesn't get a chance to socialize and get to know folks. Not only is that likely to engender the trust a potential partner needs to feel safe playing, but it's also a lot of fun. For me, it's about the connection, both with play partners and other friends. If I just wanted to be spanked, I'd buy a machine-- it would be cheaper in the long run.

I hope you and Rad both have a great time, your natural uneasiness notwithstanding. See you in April!

Dayzee said...

I wish I was going....
hope you and Rad have a blast. Lisa

Ms. Cassandra (Sandy) Park said...

I really like Wednesday's idea -- maybe I'll host a topic-specific chat one night this week.

Ms. Cassandra (Sandy) Park said...

Lisa, wish you were going, too.