“Arbitrarily kinky sex” and other self-consciously original turns of phrase

I am reading Story of O, for no better reason than that I saw it for 50 cents in a junk shop (the same junk shop that exhorted people not to steal by posting a picture of Jesus and claiming he is watching… they better hope he isn’t real/watching!). (I am tempted to read this book on the steps of a church during mass. Right now, however, I am reading it in the lovely old library on St. Charles and Soniat. Take that, David Bernstein. I am also blogging, obviously, and listening to the intensely boring toastmasters meeting ["tonight's topic is snow! New Orleans and snow, what a combination!"] held in the next room.)

What has struck me (hah) so far is not the kinky sex, which, at least at the beginning of the book is rather tamer than expected given it’s reputation, but the radical inequality of the participants – the complete invulnerability of the men in the chateau and the complete vulnerability of the women.

Let us avoid confusion here. It is possible to have arbitrarily kinky sex, even when one partner is consistently the “dom” and the other the “sub,” without radical inequality of the sort portrayed in Story of O. Such sex can be rather fun for all concerned (interestingly, many assert that in such situations the sub is really the one on top, but that’s beside the point).

But I fail to see how it’s possible for either partner to have fun when one is not vulnerable at all. It has always seemed to me that the whole point of sex – the thing that makes it different from mastubation – is about trust and vulnerability – one is literally putting oneself into one’s partner’s hands, and one has one’s partner in one’s own hands – one has to rely on one’s partner for what one gets out of the experience, and that is the good thing – the surprise, the delight, the joy – about the whole messy business.

The lack of vulnerability seriously impairs the verisimilitude (why oh why does the iPhone not have a spellchecker?) of Story of O. I just don’t see how the men can have fun in this book when the women are nothing but mute holes, and I don’t see how the women can have fun without the experience of being a participant at all. So the whole thing strikes me as unmotivated and unrealistic.

Similar points apply to emotional vulnerability and relationships – leaving (if we must) aside the kinky sex, I think the whole point of relationships is to trust one’s partner with one’s deepest needs – vulnerability. And that is why unequal relationships are doomed to fail. Unequal relationships suck not only for the vulnerable partner (see my previous remarks on the sick manipulation of “she loves me, she loves me not” relationships, under the guise of “game” or otherwise), who gets walked all over, but also for the invulnerable partner, who loses out on the joy of actually putting his/her deepest needs in someone else’s hands and discovering that – wow! – They’re actually met! Other people do care and can be trusted! And sometimes the pain too, but if you can’t take a little pain, join the monastary now bucko.

This drives some of my aversion to “game” playing-hard-to-get, also to polyamory and FWB/FB/other oxymoronic acronyms.

On polyamory, I’ve often seen it go bad when one partner has a bunch of other partners and thus does not need the other partner, while the other doesn’t and does. That never ends well.

On F[W]B (of the extended-term sort, as opposed to n-night stands) (what in heaven’s name is the difference between FB and FWB anyway? Kids these days.), there’s a reason they say that love is a sexually transmitted disease. Sexual/physical vulnerability leads to emotional vulnerability. Add in the effects of frequent close proximity, alone and in intimate spaces like the home, and pair-bonding hormones and if you don’t have feelings for that guy/gal you’ve been schtupping for the last year then there’s either something wrong with the sex or with one of you. I think most F[W]B situations are either self-deception, or a situation where one or both partners are emotionally stunted. Hopefully, for the non-stunted partner’s sake, both.

(If you read Story of O, be sure not to miss the extraordinarily declasse preface.)

(This, my chickadees, simply *must* get me some hits. Haha, as it were.)l

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4 Responses to ““Arbitrarily kinky sex” and other self-consciously original turns of phrase”

  1. Aaron Says:

    “It has always seemed to me that the whole point of sex – the thing that makes it different from masturbation – is about trust and vulnerability…”

    Ha. After physically intimate but emotionally non-intimate meetings with people I’ve often thought to myself, “I could have just stayed home and masturbated.” Occasions where nobody was vulnerable and nothing could have been gained by trusting or distrusting one-another.

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