I follow Happy BDSM. It’s a pretty fantastic (NSFW) Tumblr and I like it a lot. Its images of people having fun and laughing with each other even while playing with ropes and gags and paddles are really quite lovely. I recommend it pretty highly to people who like joyful porn and kink. It’ll put a smile on your face.
But it’s not me.
I play as hard as I can. I routinely cry and scream. I struggle, I suffer, I’m so afraid that my partner can smell it sometimes, and I almost never have a good time in scene. I get a lot out of it, but it’s not joyful for me. It’s much closer to misery—-it’s just misery I feel awesome about later.
I’m extremely serious about it. I’m really into doing things I don’t want to do and suffering as beautifully as I can—-while genuinely suffering. All of that play that actually seems like “play” with the giggling and silliness doesn’t appeal to me at. It’s not what I do and it’s not what I want. I like to see it, partially because it’s a great PR move, but I feel the fact that it’s not me pretty acutely.
I suppose I shouldn’t be upset. I suppose I’m the common face of BDSM—a crying cis female submissive being beaten on by a cis male dominant. I suppose that I am culture and this is counterculture and so I shouldn’t bitch, nor do I have any right to be upset.
I’m just in a slightly awkward position where most of the folks who take kink as seriously as I do are passels of 47 year old dudes who identify as “Master,” and hardcore TPE slaves who don’t capitalize their names or the word “I.”
And by and large? Those people kind of blow. I don’t really want to be in their company. The fun crowd is filled with people who are actually more fun and more interesting—-not to mention younger. But I don’t play like they do and I don’t feel the same way about play as they seem to. I feel like the love for and prevalence of happy BDSM leaves me in the lurch and it’s a weird place to be.
Mod’s note: Something a little different that caught my eye [for obvious reasons].
I always hope that I have made it clear that this Tumblr is absolutely supportive of non-happy BDSM, too; while it began as a personal trove for the type of pictures I loved (but only ever occasionally came across), since growing far more than I ever thought possible, it has also taken on more of a PR face for the critics who dismiss BDSM because of grimaces, or tears, or stoic sadism.
In an ideal world, I would be able to represent the sort of satisfaction you describe- “misery I feel awesome about later”- because I honestly believe that it’s a part of happy BDSM, too; the happiness doesn’t have to occur in the moment, as a scene is ongoing, and it doesn’t have to be expressed through traditional cues like laughter or smiles. Unfortunately, trying to capture and distill those feelings into a single image is tough- which is why most posts here are of the easy, in-the-moment expressions of happiness that can instantly be visually read as such.
You absolutely have the right to be upset- or to put it in a different way: your feelings are valid. We are all, I think, looking and searching for reflections of ourselves; it’s incredibly rewarding to get messages from folks telling me it’s so nice to see this, to see the way they play represented, to know they’re not the only ones. You write about not having many positive or relatable real-life or media representations of yourself and your sexuality- so it makes perfect sense to feel left out. It reminds me in many ways of Clarisse Thorn’s writing on how the message that sex ought always be joyful hindered her own coming into BDSM; by the same token, I never want people to walk away thinking play is wrong or less if it’s serious or even miserable during a session.
I wish I could do more, but the focused theme of the blog really limits its scope. But I do sincerely appreciate that you wrote this post and shared the feelings this Tumblr brings out, and I hope my followers can take something away from it- I know I have.