Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I disagree with William Saletan

I'm scared to write this post.  I'm a secret spanko, after all.  I genuinely hope that William Saletan doesn't link to it and bring unwanted attention to my little tiny blog.  Sometimes I like to mix politics with spanking.
who says politics and spanking don't mix?
As I've said before, I'm a frequent reader of Slate, and he's a moderate writer with whom I often agree.  But I feel compelled to call him out.   As I've said before, in the past I've been surprised   just   how   many   stories   on   this  somewhat highbrow internet magazine deal with spanking.  But last week he wrote an article in response to a NYTimes story about how BDSM was becoming mainstream saying, basically, that folks interested in BDSM are experiencing a lifestyle, not an orientation, that by definition hurts people. And he compares BDSM to gay and lesbiansism and says that BDSM will never become mainstream because it's a choice involving violence.  Seriously, before you read the rest of this post, please click on and read his article.

Sure enough, he received some negative feedback. Even some from Jillian Keenan, that self-professed spanko who was widely embraced by the spanko community following her groundbreaking confession as a spanko.  He received enough negative feedback that he was forced to write a defense of his original article.  In it he again stated that BDSM is different from other alternative lifestyles because it can lead to violence.  His main point, and I quote, is that "S&M, and to a lesser extent dominance/submission, raises moral problems different from those raised by homosexuality. It touches on questions of violence and abuse."
So, in the words of many business consultants throughout this land, lets "unpack that"... violence in the form of hitting to inflict pain- is restricted to mostly the women's buttocks.  And it's with her consent.  Always.  Is it different from homosexuality? Well, in many cases, the desire to spank is inherent long before puberty.  I remember being fascinated with spanking well before I found women to be sexually attractive. I'm not alone.

I'm not into abuse of any kind, but I'm fascinated and sexually aroused by the sight of women being spanked.  As are many other folks.  In fact, according to a Durex study of sexuality in 2004, over 40% of Americans were interested in spanking as foreplay.  That's higher than any other 1st world countries except for Spain and Macedonia.

Now, in the defense article, he wrote a follow up piece responding to critics, and generally I salute him for doing so.  Some of those critics did a decent job of destroying his arguments. But they didn't do enough for me.  Let me add to their arguments... you mention everything from rape to butterfly boards- which I've never encountered- in your accusations about BDSM... I'm curious about how many rape victims proclaim that their altercations were the result of a rapist wanting to engage in BDSM related activities vs.old fashioned heterosexual penis into vagina rape?  How many kidnappings, gang rapes, etc... had to do with anything related to BDSM vs. good ole fashioned heterosexual fucknut sexual violence?  

Until you can answer those questions, I'll just say that you're wrong, and that actually an affinity, even a sexual affinity for spanking is, or should be, as protected a right as is an sexual affinity for those of the same sex.  This topic is far from over.  However, I guess I disagree with his attitude and judgments, but in reality, I agree with his conclusion... BDSM (and spanking) is not likely to be completely accepted anytime soon. But we're working on it.


  1. Like you, I see spanking as a sexual orientation. But, as I wrote in a post a while ago, I don't think that society will ever fully accept our kink. In my opinion there will always be a lot of stupid people out there. People who are scared by sexuality in general and everything that's different from the statistical norm and from their personal preferences in particular. People who can not distinguish real violence and abuse from BDSM and consensual adult spanking. Even within our community people aren't more open-minded in my view (for example regarding M/M spankings or severe videos). And so certain prejudices will be repeated over and over again, even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence that implies, for instance, any connection between consensual BDSM and violence.

    This article is just another example. It's good to hear that William Saletan obviously received negative feedback on his uninformed article and that people took the time to explain why his arguments are wrong. I think that's the best we can expect.

    I, for one, consider myself lucky because I live in a country where different sexual preferences are widely accepted. A country where I don't have to be afraid of prosecution because of my sexual orientation. I have friends to whom I can talk openly about who I am, including my kink. I think that's all I can ask for. But full acceptance in society as a whole? I don't believe that this is ever going to happen.

    1. I'm afraid you're correct- maybe I should have retitle this post-- how about "William Salaten is a punk, but I'm afraid in this case he's correct for now." I don't know- maybe not quite as catchy.

  2. This was another interesting response piece I read the other day.


    Many things in Saletan's article were ridiculous assumptions and jumped back and forth between unrelated content. (Like trying the shock factor with a pic of the "freaks" who'd nail their junk to a board.) But the line about "consensual domestic violence" seemed to get the most people up in arms and rightly so.

    The article parallels things like using a wooden spoon as acceptably kinky to "more extreme activities" in edgeplay. Whose job is it to draw that line of which things are okay and which ones are too out there? It's not a job I'd want and I sure as hell don't want someone deciding that for me either.

    Some people will never be able to reconcile the ideas of what they see as harm being inflicted on someone and it being consensual. As Kaelah wrote above, I agree that unfortunately it is never going to be completely accepted.
    At best, we could hope to just be left alone and people not having to worry that outing would destroy their life.

    1. A good point- there's a difference between acceptance and a lack of condemnation. I'd settle for that. P.S. I was awfully tempted to post the pic of this guy on his slate author's homepage- he looks like a goober. But even though it would be fun, I decided (reluctantly) not to stoop to that.