Slave Kitten (a person active in the scene) has written a very thoughtful response to my post about morality and I'd like to share it with you here. They raise some very interesting points. I am particularly interested in the implications of setting aside questions of morality for eroticism. Does this make it, in the strictest sense, amoral?
Thanks, Slave Kitten, for your thoughts.
I think that people in the BDSM community do have morals. I think, perhaps in response to assumptions of amorality (or immorality, as you mentioned), part of the kink (more specifically, Leather) narrative is that it makes them hyper-moral. When I ask leatherfolk about themselves, they often wax poetically about honor, integrity, bravery, honesty, tradition, and if I'm very, very lucky they'll mention that they like to have deviant sex.
It's so common and I think the unspoken caveat is "I'm a way better person than the average bear and so am permitted to engage in deviant behavior because (in the final calculation) I am equal to the average citizen.
That sash, title, book deal, or position in leadership are the utmost symbolic capital. It buys immunity, deems them worthy, and gives them the scepter of judgement. But it doesn't always correlate to SSC (safe, sane, consensual).
What I'd like to see more of is an assertion that BDSM doesn't inform what kind of person I am. It doesn't need to. That's not the role it plays in my life. It neither elevates me to hyper-moral or demotes me or immoral. I think assigning it moral weight makes us lose something. It internalizes the assumption of immorality and makes what we do directly respond to it instead of rejecting it.
I recently read a passage that gripped me. I'd like to share from Tim Krieder's We Learn Nothing:
"The truth is, people are ravenous for sex, sociopaths for love. I sometimes like to daydream that if we were all somehow simultaneously outed as lechers and perverts and sentimental slobs, it might be, after the initial shock of disillusionment, liberating. It might be a relief to quit maintaining this rigid pose of normalcy and own up to the outlaws and monsters we are."
I may be an outlier in the BDSM community, but I'm certainly not alone. Transposing traditional morality onto my sex feels counter-intuitive, like housing a tiger in a cage. That's not where it belongs. And sure, it may be fun to have it do little tricks to entertain tourists, but it's real beauty is the untamed. And (with a few exceptions) I don't see a wilderness when I look at my community. I see a zoo.