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So, after my advice the other day, I found this New York Times article, about how Google has begun a ban on advertising for cougar dating sites.

Cougars, for those of you who have been asleep, are older women who want to date younger men. Sites like Cougar Life promise to set up older, sexy, successful women with young hot studs. Google has decided that the whole concept isn’t “family-friendly,” and therefore is no longer allowing advertising from such sites on its content network – including sites like Ask.com, YoutTube and MySpace.

The kicker? Sugar daddy sites are still fine.

Mind you, I’m not all that thrilled with either concept – at least not as they are peddled by such dating sites. I’m not against May-December romances in either direction, but the commodification and objectification aspects bug me.

Nonetheless, this is flat-out discrimination. Cougar Life boasts that it “pairs women in their prime with younger men and ends the double standard!” The very language stating that such sites aren’t “family-friendly” brings bile to my mouth: it suggests pretty strongly that older men who cheat and have affairs with younger women are fine, but we mustn’t promote the idea that older women – who might even be MILFs! – might do the same thing. What about the CHILDREN??

Google has been on thin ice for a while when it comes to its motto of not being evil, but this sort of tears it for me. When Google starts trotting out the “family values” crap and applying different standards of “adult content” to women than they do to men, I start to become very afraid about how freaking huge Google is, and how much it owns.

Incidentally, though we know Facebook is evil, too, it should be noted that they’re still allowing the cougars to mate over there.

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There must be more I can do to advance the cause of healthy feminist kink, but, as Trinity knows, it’s impossible to ignore the incredible vitriol and anti-kink rhetoric coming from radical feminists like Nine Deuce. I never go to those pages on my own, but I’ve gotten back to the blogrolls lately, and there have been more links to that space on Let Them Eat… It becomes impossible to ignore after a while, like a train wreck you can’t look away from. It’s relatively easy for me to ignore the insane right wing – not because I don’t think they have influence: they have a terrible amount of influence in this country. But they’re big and they’re a constant target of their polar opposites on the left as well as of reasonable people throughout the land, and I don’t feel much of a personal responsibility to battle them on a daily basis.

Feminists, though…well, they’re supposed to be on my side, right? I’m a woman, I’m a feminist, I see and experience oppression under the same patriarchal systems of power that they do, yes? Yet it seems to be the job of these particular wingnuts to invalidate kinky women’s experiences, undermine our sense of agency, silence us and rail against any type of education that might give us some other perspective than “BDSM is bad. Reallllly baaaaad.”

We know all this. I know all this. And it may be a sign of my own masochism that I keep feeling the need to dip my toes into these discussions and wait for them to get torn off by crocodiles. It’s probably long since time for me to quit it, since I’m increasingly surrounded by 8- and 9-toed peers who keep braving the waters as well.

But as anyone who knows me well knows, if you want me to shut up and leave you alone, there is one damn thing you don’t do. And that’s attack people I care about.

The short version: Orlando dives into the soup, like he does. (I think his toes are still intact, but his whole body’s poked full of holes.) After getting his left brain chewed on for offering facts and studies by women who’d rather he shut up if he can’t provide personal experience, then getting the other cheek slapped for daring to provide the “anecdotal evidence” that their own arguments so often rest on, and other bits of his head ripped off every time he tries to understand and be civil, he finally responds from a place of hurt and exhaustion having spent most of the previous week in the hospital caretaking his wife, who has aggressive cancer. He pours out his soul and implores these people he still considers intellectual peers and reasonable people to have compassion for the real human beings we’re talking about when we talk about this subject.

And they accuse him of using his wife’s cancer as a manipulative ploy to score points on the Internet.

Now, I don’t know Orlando in real life, though I came close to doing so and hope to meet him and his Murre – may she be whole and healthy and strong again – before long. But his voice is one I respect mightily and am wholly moved by regularly, and I’ve come to have a serious affection for him and for Murre both by extension and by direct contact.

In some ways, I have a purer affection for them both than I might if I knew them, as I still know them only as they present themselves online, and not as who they truly are, warts and all. I daresay many of us have similar online relationships, and are similarly protective of them.

And so I just want to give a shout-out to the blogosphere at large and say this:

Do not. Fuck. With people I care about.

To Polly, Nine Deuce, Joan Kelly (a “passive-aggressive liar with a martyr complex”?? Really??), Laurelin, and the rest of you who jumped in to kick someone already in pain in the guts: how dare you. This is not some troll trying to get you in a twist by jumping in with stupid counter-arguments. This is a thoughtful, careful, real human being who is doing his best to give you the respect he somehow continues to assume you deserve even as he is in disagreement with you. This is someone who consistently, throughout the time I’ve been reading him, has made an honest attempt to engage you in discourse and given you ample opportunity to get to know him. And when in his frustration and exhaustion he finally stops beating his head against the brick walls of your own anger and pain and shows you his throat, you don’t hesitate to step up and slit it.

You cruel, twisted fucks. And you dare to say that what consensual kinksters do is evil.

Fuck you. Fuck you right in the ear, until you learn how to think a bit better about who deserves your compassion.

(Sorry, Orlando. I had to.)

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Following the hubbub around the misogynist remarks made by Rob at The Oh Team on This Week in Kink, a friend and former co-worker of mine made this for me. I feel loved.

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I’ve been behind on my current events, in particular reading the sex blogs I generally frequent, since my move. But I’m starting to catch up, so let the outrage begin.

Exactly one month ago, Maymay posted about a This Week in Kink podcast in which the following statement appeared:

I firmly and strongly believe that it is a woman’s role to be submissive to a man. I believe that submission in men is taught at conception because as soon as women realize that they’re pregnant, they start planning that child’s fucking future and quite often that the mother is definitely the beginning of the emasculation. That said, I think that women in the past couple of hundred years have gotten entirely too high on their own power and eventually need to be slapped in the fucking head and put in their place.

I’ve been sitting on this for a while because it’s hard for me to think of much else to say besides “Wow. Just fucking wow. Like, seriously?”

Being blinded by rage makes rational argument difficult. Must be the estrogen.

What troubles me most is not that someone said something like this; there will always be assholes and idiots who espouse this kind of garbage, whether it is about women, African-Americans, queers, or submissive men. But it disturbs me greatly that in the BDSM world, where we’re meant to be playing with power, subverting some traditional norms and amplifying others to erotic effect, there are people who still truly believe this kind of outright nonsense. Even worse, that someone with such opinions is such a strong voice in the community.

I love some male tops very much, and as I’ve made quite clear on this blog, I’m a switch. (And this kind of shit is one of the reasons why switches are some of my favorite people to play with.) But I’m disgusted by the tendency in a certain type of male dom to believe that they are simply bringing back the good old days by making women subservient the way God intended. Aren’t we supposed to be progressive? Isn’t the point of alternative sexuality to explore, well, alternatives??

And get a load of the comments over there. Don’t get my started on the whole “I have a right to my opinion and you have the right to yours” crap. Free speech is free speech, and this fuckwad has the right to say whatever he likes, just as I do. But to hide behind free speech, to say that you will “fight to the death” next to me to defend my right to have an opinion, too, when in the same breath you’re saying that I’m a second-class human being, is completely disingenuous. It wasn’t so long ago that women didn’t have the right to an opinion – whether in matters of state or in the home. You can’t have it both ways, asshole.

Does this homunculus mongoloid even understand what he is saying? “That’s cute that you have opinions – here, let me help you have them, even though they’re so clearly wrong – you’ll need me to help enforce your rights, since you’re less than human.” What fun.

It burns my ass, too, that this guy started Fetlife. I was just starting to enjoy myself over there a little bit.

EDIT: It actually wasn’t John, who runs the podcast, who made the comments, it was Rob, who is a DJ on some adult radio thing called The Oh Team. (From the page, I gather that he has “twelve years’ experience as a full-time Master.” Ooooohh, my panties are moist.)

Much more of this, and I’ll be as bitter and angry as people seem to think darling Maymay is. Nice job, kink community.

Huh. Guess I still can’t say much more than “what the fuck.”

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Okay, so I’ve had an account on Niteflirt for some time, but I must admit that I’ve rarely used it. If live domming was frequently uncomfortable for me, phone domming was even worse: without the human element of physical connection, I felt even more objectified than before. And bargaining for more time and thus more money always felt rather sleazy.

Nonetheless, many women seem to do really well with it. And most of those who do fall into one of two camps:

1. Women who will act like bitches and treat you like shit, and

2. Women who pick up the phone and then ignore you.

When I first found this second one out, I was flabbergasted. I mean, I know about the whole bitch-goddess thing; I don’t do it and never did, because I think it’s ridiculous and kind of horrible to charge someone for your abuse.

But to charge someone to be ignored?? I mean, if I wanted that I’d call customer care at my credit card company.

What I wonder is: what do these women do while the men are on the other end ignoring them? Stay quiet? Do nothing? Go about their TV-watching or chatting on another phone with someone else? True, real ignoring can’t be the complete fantasy can it? I mean, maybe she’s masturbating or something and he can hear the sounds??

Talk to me, internets. What the fuck is going on with this ignoring fetish?

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I know, I know, I said I wasn’t going to talk about it anymore. If it’s any consolation, I haven’t been over to the radfem blogs lately, though I’m sure I’ll keep on reading Trinity and then it’ll be all over.

But I just finished reading two essays from the old standby that I’m ashamed not to have read yet, Coming to Power, edited by Pat Califia. The first, by Gayle Rubin, is entitled “The Leather Menace: Comments on Politics and SM,” and was completed in the very early 1980s.

It begins with the wonderful line, “It is difficult to discuss the politics of sadomasochism when the politics of sex in general are so depressingly muddled.” As I read on through the article, as well as Califia’s article on the founding and first few years of the lesbian leather association Samois, I was struck by what my leather ancestors, as it were, went through. Raids; attacks by not just the mainstream media but by NOW and other feminist organizations, including lesbian organizations; exclusion from the gay rights movement; silencing by the feminist movement; demonization by nearly everyone; arrests, child custody contests, and so on.

But the thing that killed me was the rhetoric from feminists of the day, like this gem from Diane Russell:

I see sadomasochism as resulting in part from the internalization of heterosexual dominant-submissive role playing. I see sadomasochism among lesbians as involving in addition an internalization of the homophobic heterosexual view of lesbians. Defending such behavior as healthy and compatible with feminism, even proselytizing in favor of it is about the most contra-feminist anti-political and bourgeois stance that I can imagine.

Not to mention Susan Griffin, whose essay “Hunger as Ideology” I have taught to freshman writing classes, who had this incredibly insulting thing to say about it:

The fact is, the whole culture is S/M, we’re all sadomasochists. The people in SAMOIS, or gay people who wear leather, have a more severe form of the disease.

Nice. Sound familiar to anyone here? Has this rhetoric changed in thirty years, like, at all?

I guess it’s nice that we’re now living in an age where S/M is a fact of life, suffuses the fashion industry and music videos, and will not generally get you arrested. Getting tongue-lashed by feminists is not the worst thing that can happen. But I just find myself really sad that this segment of feminism, which tends to claim to speak for all feminists, hasn’t gotten its collective head on straight yet about this issue.

For those following along at home, Pat Califia said it best, back in 1981 or so: “Until women own their own bodies and have the right to seek erotic pleasure completely, with no restrictions, women will not be free.”

As the kids were only too recently saying, period-dot.

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I’ve recently stumbled across Trinity’s blog, in particular this post entitled ‘On Not Asking Why.’ The main gist of it is this: Whenever people go about asking women things like “why do you suppose you enjoy getting tied up and beaten,” what they really mean, generally, is “What’s wrong with you anyway,” and at times specifically, “How dare you perform a sexuality that contributes to the patriarchy, you bad bad feminist?”

The overall message of the post is that asking why someone is kinky in the first place is probably intellectual wankery at best anyway, and so my first response to it was to question her logic, and whether it wasn’t still valuable at times to question some of the things that get our rocks off when they’re politically problematic in some way (rape fantasies, for example).

Then I took a gander at the comment thread at a blog called Rage Against the Man-chine that engendered the post and quickly decided that this type of question very likely never leads to good places. Certainly not to fun happy wet ones.

Click the above link at your own risk. My own days of blissful naivete are over. There are radical feminists out there hating on BDSM. Many of them believe that all women who would ever be submissive to a man must have been abused and damaged in their childhoods, and due to past trauma have been groomed and won over to accepting abuse from their male tops “consensually,” scare quotes intentional. Also, male dominants are always actually closet abusers. Also OMG Teh Patriarchy. Also, did you know that in ‘the post patriarchy,’ nobody will be into BDSM? Bet you didn’t know that.

Now don’t get me wrong: I know that we still live very much in a racist, homophobic, patriarchal, broken capitalist system. But seriously: you’re going to tell me that my sexuality is RONG AND BAD because patriarchy exists and I’m perpetuating it by getting my rocks off when men hit me with stuff (because I ask them to)? And you’re going to solve this horrible injustice (occurring chiefly in my pants) by deciding for me that my sexuality is politically incorrect?

Wow, fuck you sideways.

I’m very grateful that Trinity is out there, fighting the good fight and getting into those kinds of spaces, getting her hands dirty and taking a hell of a lot of shit for the sake of trying to set these people, who should be our allies, straight. I for one have no such patience, and will go on observing the melee from a safe distance.

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