A thoughtful guest-posting from Tethys.
Dee recently shared with me sexgeek‘s awesome posts “words fail” (part 1, part 2). In reading them, it occurred to me how fortunate i am to only now be entering my first relationship involving a core kink dynamic. Over the years i’ve done a fair bit of reading around and about kink; and though i’m surely no expert, i wouldn’t exactly classify myself a neophyte either. So when Dee and i first started talking about our relationship having an o/p dynamic, my first thought was not: “Okay, what’s the Right Way to do this?” but “Okay, how do other people do o/p relationships, and what sort of things will be part of the o/p relationship Dee and i want?”1 For example, Dee and i have discussed how the “Mistress/slave” dynamic doesn’t – for whatever reason – at all resonate with either of us, even though a person who is someone else’s property is indeed often termed as a ‘slave’. Dee calling me her ‘owner’, and me calling her my ‘property’, gets us both hot and flustered in ways that ‘Mistress’ and ‘slave’ don’t.
Unfortunately, many others who find themselves in a similar situation for the first time end up getting ‘educated’ by One-Twoo-Wayers: kinksters who think there is but “one true way” for a particular kink relationship to work.
One-Twoo-Wayism is quite unfathomable to me. Given the incredible diversity of humanity and human relationships in general, why should there only be only one way to have a kink relationship? The argument might be “Well, sure, there are owner/property relationships, there are master/slave relationships, there are dom(me)/sub relationships; but still, there’s a proper way to do each one of those”. But how can that possibly be, when people’s backgrounds, current life circumstances, and personal beliefs, attitudes and psychologies can differ so widely?
Even more problematic is that One-Twoo-Wayers often seem to hand out bad, and sometimes actively dangerous, advice. A classic example is: “A true sub should have no limits”. ORLY? Think of how easily that could be – and from what i’ve read and heard, actually is – abused. Myself, i would strongly advise anyone thinking of playing with a person who says such things to proceed with extreme caution. Lots of kink activities involve trust as a fundamental component; someone who expects subs to completely trust them without having earned that trust, over a period of time, is someone who probably doesn’t want to have to deal with boundaries at all, let alone respect them.
So i have to wonder: how many people’s first ventures into the world of kink have resulted in bad-to-awful experiences based on One-Twoo-Wayism and its dodgy advice? How many people have been physically or psychologically damaged? And those of us who want kink to first and foremost be about respect, negotiation and enthusiastic consent – what can we do to try to reduce and minimise the influence of One-Twoo-Wayism and its negative consequences?