Real Doesn’t Have to Be Toxic

Pinocchio puppet on a rainy cobbled street with coloured lights in the distance
Image by Michiel Jelijs (CC BY 2.0)

Dear Remittance Girl,

I admire you and your writing so much. But.

You say there are two tribes of perverts, and fuck decaf. You say that real perverts know there is nothing remotely ethical about getting off on hurting people. You say the rest of us are deluding ourselves when we say we are naughty but okay.

You say you don’t even want it to be ethical, because your jouissance comes from knowing it is wrong in every fibre of your being.

You say, in effect, that all kinksters are transgressive, but only the real ones have the courage to admit it.

What is your real? You kink on the transgressive. I don’t. It’s power that does it for me. I actually squick on certain kinds of transgressiveness. Does that make me unreal?

And what is your right and wrong? You paint a graphic picture of five men coming on a woman, and you call it wrong, no ifs or buts. Is it really? I remember my Chinese doctor seeking out the most tender spots in my joints to cure them with terrifying pressure. Did the pain make it wrong?

Is emotional pain really different? One of my ex-students has told me about the terrible shame I inflicted on her years ago. She thanked me profusely, because it had taught her an unforgettable lesson about letting people down. Am I wrong to feel pride in that achievement?

Pain is real – it ranks very high among convincingly real human experiences. And we both know how horrifying it is to find pleasure in it. But horror is not a valid moral compass, any more than a squick is a valid moral judgment. That pain was not the worst thing my doctor could have done to me, and my student is made of more than her temporary shame.

The pleasure that comes from pain and shame is not a measure of your soul’s corruption, either. There are things you would never do, even if in some alternate universe they brought you pleasure. That’s the real measure of your soul’s righteousness – your conscience, not your kink.

I’m a results girl. If clamps and kowtowing and humiliation bring lewd joy to your loins as well as mine, there is a right way to do it to me and a wrong way. And the right way is nothing more or less than looking out for my well-being before, during, and after we indulge our base compatibility. Do it right, and I say you have done an incredibly difficult task well. Do it right, and I say you cannot possibly be more ethical – however much you enjoy my tears.

I admit a caveat. There are ways of tapping my kink that leave me feeling safe, and others that leave me feeling violated. And others have written about a happy subspace and a bad subspace. If you only experience the latter, I have no absolution to offer you, only part-time sisterhood.

Please keep staring at the contradictions of reality – that’s what I admire most about your blog, the courage to see when desires and convictions don’t match. Please kink on the horror as much as you please, as long as it brings you happiness as well as pleasure.

But please, please don’t believe you deserve the bad endings your conclusion implies to me: “I do not make moral excuses for the rotten and perverse things my characters do. I do not give them nice happy endings because I do not want to send the message that there are no negative consequences to their behaviours.Please don’t believe you have to be wrong to be real – or insane.

And please consider the possibility that others may not be deluded cowards, only uncomprehending because they are fortunate enough to have gentler kinks.

6 thoughts on “Real Doesn’t Have to Be Toxic”

  1. Very well said, Yingtai. If someone’s “kink” is to feel that they are behaving unethically when engaging in consensual BDSM then I hope that their feelings of transgression bring them pleasure, but it certainly doesn’t mean that the rest of us aren’t “real” just because we don’t share that kink. Remittance Girl’s point of view on this seems very myopic, reminiscent of people who insist that “gay sex isn’t really sex”.

    1. Thank you so much, JT. You put it much more concisely and clearly than I could. And I really need a friendly voice right now so it’s very welcome. I wouldn’t say Remittance Girl’s point of view is myopic, but it is heartrending if that’s what she really believes. And after our Twitter conversation I am pretty convinced.

      1. Yes, it does seem heartrending, doesn’t it? I can’t imagine being unable to be at peace with my ability to experience pleasure, or always believing that there is a core of evil in my own happiness. Unless I am totally misunderstanding what Remittance Girl is saying?

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