You gotta love it when people shame each other, in the name of opposing shame.
No, not “love.” What’s that other word.
As regular readers know, I’ve been posting excerpts here from my kinky erotic fiction book, “Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.” (Now for sale on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords!) Yesterday’s excerpt was from a story titled “The Shame Photos,” which read thusly:
Here’s how it begins: a photographer, and a woman in her thirties or early forties. He is a porn photographer who sometimes does other professional work; she is a professional woman who sometimes looks at porn photos. They meet in some business capacity: a conference, or a corporate shoot. They talk. His camera is on the hotel bar next to their untouched drinks.
“No, it’s not that,” she says. “I like your photos. They’re good. They’re very hot. It’s just…”
“What?” he says. He’s defensive, a little prickly, and also more than a little curious. Apart from critics, not too many people tell him to his face what they think of his work. Or what, precisely, it is that they want from their porn and are not getting. This could be illuminating.
“Well,” she says. “You have these lovely photos of these — scenarios. The women licking someone’s shoes, or dressed up like ponies, or what have you. But they always look sort of — posed. The faces are all wrong. They’re too relaxed, too composed. For the things they’re doing — it’s all wrong.”
“What do you want to see in their faces?”
She doesn’t hesitate. “I want to see shame.”
“Say that again.”
So when I posted a link to this excerpt on Facebook, with an excerpt from the excerpt, I got the following responses. (I’m not going to quote their names, since people have a somewhat higher expectation of privacy on Facebook than they do elsewhere online.)
Luckily, I have never found shame sexually appealing at all.
To which I responded: I don’t consider it unlucky to be kinky, or to have the particular kinks that I have. A lot of people eroticize shame: I’m not the only one. Is there some reason you find it “lucky” to not find shame sexually appealing?
And then I got the following (from two different people, not the original commenter, making a total of three people expressing basically the same sentiment in the course of about eight hours):
“Is there some reason you find it ‘lucky’ to not find shame sexually appealing?” A disinclination for people to feel ashamed, perhaps. I don’t like for people to feel shame.
I have a concern about shame being eroticised. It’s that I just worry it’s psychologically unhealthy. If it isn’t then hey whatever.
Okay. Let me spell this out, as patiently as I possibly can.
I am entirely happy to consensually eroticize shame in my sexual fantasies and my sex life. It is a central part of my sexuality, it makes me happy, and I am at peace with it.
But I don’t appreciate being non-consensually shamed about my sexuality.
Consensual SM — including the consensual eroticization of shame — is just as psychologically healthy as any other consensual sexuality. There’s a significant body of evidence backing this up, and a large community of happy, healthy kinksters who will testify to it. Again: I don’t consider it “unlucky” to be kinky, or to have the particular kinks that I have. A lot of people eroticize shame: I’m not the only one. And I find it troubling that people would not only consider themselves “lucky” to not find shame sexually appealing… but would say this to kinky people, to their faces, in a space dedicated to talking about their kink.
These are people who would almost certainly not tell gay people that they consider themselves “lucky” not to be gay, or that they are “concerned” about their gayness. But kinky people, apparently, can’t expect get the same kind of respect.
This sort of “concern” for the people who practice it, however well-meaning, is part of what stigmatizes us and marginalizes us. It makes it harder to live our lives. Please stop it. Thank you.