Whip Me, Beat Me, Slap Me – Just Don’t Judge Me

While all the good little people were out getting in touch with their god of choice, I was having a lovely Sunday morning watching a BDSM fairytale, Secretary.

I’ve been meaning to see Secretary since its release in 2002, as I’ve been a lifelong fan of James Spader ever since I loved hating him in Pretty in Pink when I was just 13.

I remember being apprehensive about the movie, though, way back in 2002. BDSM, I thought, was largely for Weirdos. I suspect the movie was the first really mainstream movie to introduce the lifestyle to a large percentage of the population who probably walked out of the theatre with a silly grin pasted on their lips. It’s not so bad, they likely thought. A little odd, and weird, but certainly not this horridly perverse thing their churches had them believing it was.

Since then, my eyes have opened. No, I’m not into S&M, though I don’t mind a little smack on my ass from time to time, but I’ll probably never join the movement. I ain’t, however, writing that in stone.

The movie Secretary does not dispel the notion that those who gravitate to this pain-for-pleasure lifestyle tend to be somewhat broken inside. It echoes the common perception that the participants are hurting after a life of shortcomings and trouble, and this is their way of finding a coping mechanism. Control the pain that pains you, and you will control the life around you; this seems to be the prevailing wisdom.

So there are those who scoff at them and scorn them, as if they should find healthier mechanisms for dealing.

Aren’t we all hurting to a degree, though? Don’t we all nurse regrets and fears and wishes and wants? Sure we do. But the rest of us got the magic “All Better Now” button installed when we were manufactured. Or did we? Hmm, perhaps we could use a little coping, too.

And what would you suggest? How about a more socially accepted method? Alcohol to cure to ills? Cocaine’s making a comeback, you know. Perhaps cardio-holism is more your thing. Sweat, then, baby. How about a double-banana split? A bag of Doritos? How about shoplifting a new shade of red lipstick? Say, I hear they have a double-bill at church this weekend.

The point is, we all confront our demons in ways particular to us. The notion of willingly allowing ourselves to be hurt seems to be one that most people can’t handle. It’s not as if life doesn’t bruise us often enough as it is, is what people think.

And, sure, there are some right-fucked sadomasochists out there, but there are also some incredibly well-balanced ones as well. It takes all kinds, just like bowling. The thing is, do you understand why you like to have pain inflicted on you? Are you aware of what it does for you? By that same token, are you aware of why you want sex and romance to be all feathers and soft kisses?

It’s all about self-knowledge, this life thing. The more you know about what motivates you to do what you do, the greater your grasp on things will be. If you’re oblivious, then you’re in trouble. Simple.

I’d argue that the person who likes only the soft love – the gentlest of kisses, the lightest of touches – is equally as mentally ill-equipped as the out-of-touch person who prefers only pain. I’d say that they probably fail to realize just how sheltered they’re trying to be from the harshness of reality, and that they need to wake up and smell the rough sex.

I think anyone who’s only into pain for pleasure, and has no other outlets, is unbalanced. Just like in Secretary, there are plenty who like a little roughness and pain in between the soft kisses and lingering caresses. Balance is good. Experimentation is good. Sticking to vanilla all your life, or just Rocky Road, is probably never a healthy way to go.

There is nothing wrong with loving a little roughness. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to enjoying your lover smacking your ass so hard it’s red when they’re done. There’s simply nothing wrong with liking anything, as long as you understand why you like it, and you’re not just using it to cover up the ills of your existence.

Society doesn’t understand BDSM, and they’re not going to anytime soon, either. Acceptance is increasing, but as long as it’s all the hardcore folk riding front and centre and playing the roles of spokespeople, there will always be a negative perception about the lifestyle.

It is what it is. Enjoy what you do, and know that being discreet doesn’t mean being ashamed; it’s simply self-preservation in a society that just doesn’t understand. Sounds like being gay in the ‘40s, don’t it? Oh, well.

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15 Comments

  1. myself
    Posted June 4, 2006 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to comment on the US constitution amendment.…yeah a big fuck you to Bush, and his little friend Harper better not try to follow suit… Oh we picked a doozy this time… (or everyone else did, *I* didn’t!)

    Luckily, he can TRY to amend the constitution but marriage is (I believe) is regulated by the state itself so chances are this thing won’t pass. And for that I am thankful.…

    Ok, I’ll get off your soapbox now Steff.…

  2. Sea Change
    Posted June 4, 2006 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    James Spader is gorgeous, and always will be, even though he’s usually cast in movies and shows that give him sucky parts. The only show/movie he’s been in that he was actually cast a good part that fits him is The Practice!

  3. theAxe
    Posted June 4, 2006 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Even if congress manages to pass the amendment, I doubt it would be ratified by enough states to go into effect. Also, been out of town for a while so gotta backread and catch up on all the Seffstuff i’ve missed.Rock on!

  4. Alex
    Posted June 5, 2006 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    How’s that hypocritical? Bush has always seemed pretty consistant in thought word and deed on the anti-gay amendment thing. Did he give a pro gay marriage speech at a pride parade that I didn’t hear about?

  5. Anonymous
    Posted June 5, 2006 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Did he give a pro gay marriage speech at a pride parade that I didn’t hear about?

    http://falsepretender.blogspot.com/2006/06/is-president-bush-girly-man.html

    Other than that item of unknown veracity, you know, he’s in favor of state’s rights, and in favor of revoking state’s right to continue to define marriage how they wish, so that would seem to be hypocritical. You don’t have to dig deep. This isn’t unique to Bush; pretty much any accomplished politician has had to whore themselves on the altar of hypocrisy to get where they are.

  6. Steve
    Posted June 5, 2006 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    I think the movie goes to some pains to explain HER motivations [no pun intended] and your entry does a good job of discussing that — but what about HIS motivations? I’ve felt the pull of dominant behavior in the bedroom and I don’t know what it is that would make me want to smack you on the ass or tie you to something, but not have my own ass slapped. But I’ve never felt the desire to be “master” of someone or inflict serious pain, even if they begged for it.

  7. scribe called steff
    Posted June 5, 2006 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    It’s hypocritical because Christianity is based on loving your neighbour, yet Bush wants to change the constitution to basically legislate intolerance.

    And don’t even get me started on the whole “God as judge” thing, where it’s supposed to be God who judges everyone in the afterlife. (There’s that whole apple-on-the-tree free-will choice thing that the Christians in question like Bush seem to forget, too.)

    And yes, you’re right, Bush has consistently been a hypocrite.

  8. GRIM
    Posted June 5, 2006 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Any gay person who wants to get married in a church has something wrong with them. If an organization banished me i would say fuck you. I’m definetly for civil unions. Keep in my that you too are being hypocritical. You wish to change the church’s doctrine through government.

  9. scribe called steff
    Posted June 5, 2006 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    they’re not asking to be married in church; they just want to legally have the right to marry. As my friend GayBoy says, “If they get “hitched” under a “civil union,” if you “call it something else,” then it’s not marriage, it’s not the same thing, it’s telling us we’re different and it’s forbidding us from being equal.” He says it’s not about religion or trying to stir shit, it’s about finally and legally being equal to heterosexual people.

    And he’s exactly right. It’s just like the old scenario in the States — one nation under god; equal, blah blah — when blacks were told they were equal… except they had to sit at the back of the bus. It ain’t equal till there’s no distinction left. As yet, there’s a distinction, and that’s what gays are pissed about. They’re tired of being the same yet so not.

    I don’t fault ‘em for it one bit. But, like you, I wouldn’t allow myself to be married by any church that had fought to disclude me. But, then, didn’t we all cheer when Tiger Woods became the first black to ever win on that fucking racist — err, sorry: “formerly” racist golf course at Augusta? Sometimes forcing yourself in is the best way of saying you’re here to stay.

  10. A Reader
    Posted June 5, 2006 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Kind of ironic, Georgie has a few skeletons in his own closet according to this
    http://www.rense.com/general57/newbook.htm

    And PM Harper has stopped holding press conferences. No copying now, ok.

    I thought this was pretty funny. Jesus bans Christian groups.
    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/g/a/2005/12/09/notes120905.DTL&type=printable

    xoxo
    Alex

  11. Haaaaaaa
    Posted June 5, 2006 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I live in a gay neighborhood. People always ask me about what it’s like to live in Boy’s Town. I tell them it’s no different than anywhere else. These same people picture my neighborhood like it is full of guys wearing ass-baring chaps and drag queens. The fact is you wouldn’t know it’s a gay neighborhood. People have these ridiculous stereotypes of people different than themselves. I know at least 5 gay couples that have been together 10+ years. These people are as married as I am. They should get to be legally married.

  12. kaya
    Posted June 5, 2006 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    I had mixed emotions about the movie. I found it sad, though typical, that she was presented as “mentally flawed”. But I did like how in the end, she perservered in the face of all that resistance. And of course, the little bit of naughty with the bug was priceless.

    Really a great post. Very insightful.

  13. Southern
    Posted June 6, 2006 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movie but remember finding Maggie Gyllenhaal..hot. My “X” liked to be restrained now and then, but she had a number of other hang ups so I could never judge whether she really liked it or not..or if the desire was coming from a strange place from her past. I could never get comfortable with it.

    Good luck with the pod casts Steff..

  14. Vanessa
    Posted June 14, 2006 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    I remember feeling very naughty for being so turned on by that movie. Now I think it needs to be in my private collection. Thanks for the reminder…

  15. Posted October 11, 2008 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    FROM WHEN I REPOSTED THIS:

    1. Anonymous
    Posted June 25, 2007 at 5:28 pm | Permalink | Edit

    I’m a bdsm submissive and I hadn’t heard of that movie. I just rented it, watched it, and fell in love with it. Thanks so much for mentioning it in this entry.

    Also, your article is wonderful. It’s always good to see someone who has a brain offering their insights into bdsm. Such a rarity. Of course, some of us aren’t especially helpful in representing ourselves, but we aren’t all scat and tomatoes on hot grills.

    2. Scribe Called Steff
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 4:41 pm | Permalink | Edit

    Hey, thanks a lot. :)

    I try to be that voice of reason, that even though I may not be into something, I need to understand and allow why others might be.

    Glad I turned you onto the movie, too!

    –steff.

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