Blog : Posts tagged with 'consensuality'


The fantasy and the reality

In which we try to be Sensible

I felt slightly ill reading the lead story in yesterday’s Guardian, about an Austrian man who kidnapped a 10-year-old girl and brought her up as his secret prisoner for eight years. It’s a horrible thing to do to someone, even if he did look after her health and education. The man – his name was Wolfgang Priklopil – has since killed himself, so his motives may stay a secret; but, reading between the lines, he was trying to act out some kind of Master/slave fantasy.*

I know plenty of people who do have similar fantasies – both as the kidnapper and the kidnapped – but the difference between them and Priklopil is that they know the difference between fantasy and reality. Moreover, they subscribe to one of the strongest rules that comes with being a Sensible Perv – consensuality. It’s no different to the non-kinky world, essentially: I will only do X to you if you want X done to you. You’re free to have fantasies about kidnapping strangers, but they have to stay fantasies. To a Sensible Perv – and they make up 99.999%**** of the kinky people out there – the thought of carrying one of those fantasies out is anathema.

No doubt if a case like this occurred in the UK, there would be further calls for “violent” pornography to be banned, whether it was linked to the case or not.*** There is, after all, an awful lot of pornography and erotica on the internet that relates to this sort of fantasy, largely because it has to remain fiction. Hell, there’s probably quite a lot of it in the catalogue of Black Lace and similar imprints. Banning all that isn’t the answer. The answer is education. If the Sensible Pervs are out in the open, and easy to find, the dangerous ones are more likely to realise they’re not the only kinky people out there. All us Sensible Pervs can make sure that people like Priklopil realise that their fantasies aren’t unique, that it’s possible to fulfil them in almost-legal ways,***** and effectively train them to be a Sensible Perv too. It can be done, and it’s the only way to stop cases like this happening in the future.

* A particular BDSM** subgroup, where one person agrees to be the property of another, with no right of veto. Well, more or less. Any one-liner definition like that is bound to upset someone.

** NSFW links.

*** After all, the internet was still fairly rare 8 years ago.

**** OK, I made this number up. But it’s probably roughly correct, apart from the exact number of 9s after the decimal point.

***** I say “almost-legal” because an awful lot of what anybody, perv or not, does in bed, is technically illegal. Anything – a love-bite, for example – that leaves a mark that is more than “transient and trifling”, is Grievous Bodily Harm. What “transient and trifling” means, of course, is entirely up to the judge. For more information, ask the Spanner Trust.

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In which we listen to abuse

As I drove to work this morning I was listening to Today on the radio, and I heard them play the sound from the video of UK troops abusing Iraqi civilians.

The soundtrack, and the voices of the British soldiers on it, were self-evidently sadistic. Moreover, they weren’t just violent; they sounded as if they were enjoying it. The unseen soldier sounded to be getting a thrill out of humiliating his helpless captives. This was his way to have fun. It sounded to me as if he’d be replaying the scene over and over again in his mind, to get every little bit of pleasure back again. Replaying it over and over, faster and faster, in his own private time.

Or maybe that’s just my own interpretation of it. Getting pleasure from people like that without their own agreement is always wrong, whether you enjoy it or not.

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Drawing lines

In which we discuss pornography, consent, and legal proposals

Today’s Top News Story: the government is planning to ban extreme pornography.

Now, as this idea goes: where’s the downside? It’s going to be a vote-winner, and the Opposition are bound to take the “well, we would have done this years ago!” line. But it does open up a rather nasty can of worms which, being your stereotypical Woolly-Minded Liberal,* I have no idea what to do about. The question is: what is porn? More importantly, what is extreme?

There’s no doubt that an awful lot of the stuff out there on the internet is only going to be attractive to a tiny minority of people. If you think you’re the only person out there with your particular fetish, then you’re wrong: someone somewhere will probably already have created a website devoted to it. The problem with that, of course, is that some people’s fetishes really are not things that anyone else is going to approve of. Now, I personally have no problem with what anybody wants to do in private, but the keyword there is consensuality. Where fetishes involve doing things without the other person’s consent, it’s not acceptable to me.

The can of worms comes into it, though, when you consider that the proposed law would outlaw pornography that shows illegal acts. The problem is that in British law, the legality of a lot of S&M sex is a very grey area. Even if you want your partner to do certain things to you, it might not be legal.** The second can of worms is that, looking at downloaded graphics, it can be impossible to tell if consent was given at the time. Indeed, some writers and campaigners would claim that no porn is consensual at all, because of the cultural context surrounding it.

There’s a lot of stuff out there, and a lot of it makes me sick to the stomach. But, even so, I’m fully expecting that this law – and it will become law – will go too far, and that we will see people being prosecuted for downloading images that, to my mind, are entirely harmless.

* I’m even a Guardian reader.

** The most famous legal case in BDSM circles is the Spanner Trial, in which a group of gay men were convicted and imprisoned for actual bodily harm even though the “victims” had consented; it is not the only one, though.

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