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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

The method and the mystery

I received a comment on the blog recently, placed in response to this post, but given it didn't actually refer to that specifically I didn't publish it there. The comment is copied in full below, in italics:

"..I hope that these contributions, such as they are, can help other people engage in de-mystifying the world of sex and human sexual relationships through thought and practice. Both are required, and indeed desired..."

What nonsense. They are only required for you, because you like to over-analyse and pick things apart.

Why de-mystify something whose very charm and beauty is, in essence, its mystery. You reduce things to such mundanity with your laser introspection.

It isn't required, nor desired - at all.

Whilst the writer is criticising my methodology and presumably by inference, my own personal outlook on BDSM, that's more of a side issue of taste: I'm well aware that the way in which I think and write will not appeal to everyone, and neither will my political views on sex and sexuality. I am however, always interested in different people's perspectives on the subject, and the idea that thinking things over erodes the concept of "mystique" is a point worth discussing.

In my explorations thus far, I've discovered a lot of things, often about myself - my reaction to pain, to pleasure, different psychological headspaces that I can put myself into (or be put into) which have given me insight and understanding I would not otherwise have had, and has enabled me, and my partners, to do more and go further than we might have done without such evaluation and thought. So yes, mysteries have been unwraveled, in the sense that I now know things that I did not before. Interestingly, at no point have I ever felt that something was lost in the process. Unlike the sad little feeling upon finishing all the cake on your plate, or getting to the end of the book - the idea that there is no more left has never come to me. Rather,
the more I know, the more I feel comfortable and confident in exploring, the more I can talk about my wants and needs. The more I explore, the more I find there is to explore. Which is marvellous. So that's the "mystery", what about the "mystique"?

I guess this relates to whether discussing and dissecting something could destroy a unique quality of it, in the same way that observation affects the outcome of an experiment. Could the same be said for BDSM? Certainly, talking about experience and practice is genuinely useful, even if just from a safety point of view, so let's leave that to one side. I'm intrigued as to the idea that finding words to describe something, pigeon-holing and categorising might cause problems for the enjoyment of the activity. Certainly, feminist and theories of cultural practice such as Orientalism would argue that assigning definitions to a perceived "otherness" classifies it in terms of the observer rather than the observed, which is naturally a problem because people and cultures then become presented in ways they would not use to talk about themselves and end up couched in terms that do not correctly describe their experiences. However, this is not quite what is going on here, given that I am using my language to describe what is happening to me. If I am erroding my own mystique, then I suppose I shall have to live with that, if reading this errodes the mystique of the experience of BDSM for others, then I expect they will make the adult decision and stop reading.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Different strokes for different folks.

Some people discover BDSM and float from one activity to another, enjoying it in itself with no grasp for it's origins, effects nor meaning, drifting only to the next thing that catches there attention, the whole adventure is a mystery and constantly full of mystique.

Some people discover BDSM and having gotten an understanding of how their first experience affected them, sought out repeated similar experiences and other aspects that might also 'flick a switch' inside of them, their adventure is full of new and deeper experiences that shows them more about themselves, and the world around them.

Some of us like to understand ourselves and our worlds in order to fully benefit from our experiences in both, others do not.

But no-one has any right to tell anyone that their viewpoint is wrong, their actions wrong, their approach is somehow spoiling the experience for themselves or others. Just because we're not doing it their way.

I wonder why such people take the time to spread negativity, when I read something I don't like I just bugger off in search of something I do like. Others would do themselves and the rest of us a favour by considering the merits of such an approach.

Voltaire once wrote 'I may disagree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it'
To paraphrase, a viewpoint all should consider 'I may disagree with how you live your life, but if it harms no-one else, I defend to the death your right to live it'.