Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Refuting The Five Most Common Pro-BDSM Arguments

The Chinese New Year is approaching so Happy New Year to those who celebrate it. I hope my Australian readers have enjoyed their summers. I have and I am not looking forward to returning to university. Wish me luck.
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Introduction

With the-film-that-must-not-be-named coming out next weekend, I feel the need to once again write about BDSM. While I hope that the general public is not thrilled at the thought of women being beaten, whipped or having knives held against their throats (the BDSM community calls this "knife play"), mainstream culture tends to be biased in favour of BDSM.

For example, in the United States, the aforementioned "film" (or rather, pornographic video) received an R-rating (the rough equivalent of an Australian MA15+ rating), not for depictions of extreme violence, but for “unusual sexual activity”. This description matches the BDSM community’s claim that their behaviours are “strange” and “subversive”, rather than violent or aggressive. The word “violence” is also missing from the Australian classification. Meanwhile films (even PG-rated ones) that feature people being whipped or beaten in other contexts are always labelled as featuring “violence”. So why make an exception for physical aggression that is considered sexual?

In any case, the less that is said about the film the better. So here are my responses to the five most common arguments put forward by defenders of BDSM.
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1. BDSM is Consensual (and therefore acceptable)

This is the most common argument made by defenders of BDSM (hence it appears first on this list). Some proponents even admit that consent is the only thing which distinguishes BDSM from abuse.

In reality, BDSM is not always completely consensual. Sometimes people are pressured into such activities by their partners, other times there are economic incentives involved. This is clearly the case within the sex industry, but economics can also play a role within relationships, especially in cases where women are dependent on their partners’ incomes. There are also situations in which outright force is used to make people participate or continue participating in BDSM (e.g. a dominant may ignore the safe words used by a submissive and continue to inflict violence upon them).

I recognise that some people do consent to being sexually submissive, but even then I do not view BDSM as morally acceptable. While many people apply the “anything-goes-if-you-have-consent” viewpoint to sex, few apply it to other topics, like economics. Only the most hard-core, economic libertarians believe that it is acceptable for bosses to order workers to labour for more than 12 hours a day, while receiving far less than the minimum wage and being in danger of severe injury or death. Some workers, especially in the third world, agree to such conditions, but no decent leftist endorses such exploitation and neither do I.

By rejecting the BDSM community’s consent argument, I am not being biased against sex. I am being consistent. So if my moral standard or “litmus test” (to borrow a term from an email I recently received) for sexual activities is not consent alone, then what is it? Read on to find out. 

2. BDSM is Sexually Arousing (or otherwise pleasurable)

This second pro-BDSM argument is often used in conjunction with the first one. Since one cannot know for sure whether their partner is experiencing sexual arousal (women, in particular, often fake orgasms in order to please their partners), such arousal cannot be a reliable standard for evaluating sexual behaviours. 

However, it is unlikely that every person who claims to be aroused by their partner’s sexual dominance is lying. Some people do experience pleasurable sensations in response to aggressive acts committed against them, but does this justify such aggression? In spite of what liberals and hedonists may insist, I am not against sexual pleasure or physical pleasure generally. I do, however, recognise that some things are more important than physical pleasure and therefore should not be compromised to obtain it.

This brings me back to the “litmus test” I mentioned earlier. The test I use when discussing sexual activities is the same one I use to make ethical judgements in other situations. I believe that we should aim for a world in which humans treat one another like equals. Relations marked by inequalities in power ( those that involve dominance and submission) should be avoided whenever possible, within the realms of politics, economics, culture and personal interactions. 

While getting consent and aiming to provide pleasure, rather than pain, are part of treating someone like an equal, such things are generally not viewed by radical leftists as an excuse to maintain power inequalities. An apparently benevolent dictator, who is adored by the populace, is still a dictator. A boss, who is polite and understanding towards their workers, is still a boss. Leftists (especially radical leftists) do not trust such people when they claim that they are exercising their dominance for the benefit of those being dominated, even if the latter experience pleasure, or some other reward (e.g. wealth), as a result of being dominated. So why should those who regularly exercise sexual dominance get a free pass? If power corrupts, then it probably corrupts BDSM dominants too. 

3. BDSM does not always involve Men dominating Women 

For these last three arguments, there may be some debate over which is the most common, so feel free to disagree with the order I have put the arguments in. I hear this argument very often, but that may be because I often read blog posts that oppose BDSM from a feminist perspective (like this one.)

The mere existence of female dominants is not proof that gender indoctrination has no influence on the roles that males and females play within BDSM. Unless the BDSM community can show that male and females are equally represented in both dominant and submissive roles, I am not impressed. I believe that the practice of BDSM and its growing prevalence within mainstream culture are the result several hierarchical systems, including male dominance over females, capitalism and white supremacy. 

However, even if BDSM were not related to any political, economic or social hierarchy, it still would not be consistent with my belief in equality. True egalitarianism is not about fighting for a world in which everyone has an equal chance to be dominant. It is about creating a world in which there is no such thing as a dominant group or person. Feminist opponents of BDSM do not want to make the role of the sexual dominant more accessible to women or any other group. They want the role to be abolished, the same way communists  want the capitalist and worker roles abolished.

The existence of “switches” (people who “switch” between dominant and submissive roles) is also used to defend BDSM, but two people taking turns to play anti-egalitarian roles is not the same thing as an egalitarian relationship. The fact that a person has previously behaved in a sexually dominant manner does not change the fact that the person is being submissive in the present and vice versa, nor does an act of dominance somehow counteract an act of submission. If a man rapes a woman, should she rape him in return? Would that somehow make up for him raping her? It may result in some twisted form of “equality”, but this is not the kind of equality that we should aim for. 

4. Opposing BDSM is like opposing Gay Rights 

As a leftist, I am expected to be opposed to prejudice against gays and lesbians, thus I probably encounter this argument more often than conservatives opponents of BDSM do. Since this blog is aimed at leftists and feminists, I think the target audiences encounters this argument often enough for it to be included in this list. 

I oppose homophobia, but not for “sex liberal” reasons. Simply put, my support for gay rights is not based on the assumption that all sexualities are equally acceptable. I support gay rights because, unlike BDSM activities, sexual encounters and relationships between two people of the same biological sex do not necessarily involve power inequalities. This does not mean that people in gay and lesbian relationships always treat one another like equals. Unfortunately, gays and lesbians often take on the same dominant and submissive roles that heterosexuals are encouraged to adhere to. It is however possible to participate in straight, gay or lesbian sexual activities without taking on such roles.

The same is not true for BDSM, since dominance and submission are part of its very definition. Since dominance and submission are the very opposite of equality, it is not logically possible for BDSM to be practiced in an egalitarian manner. People who are into BDSM may treat each other like equals in other situations (though full time BDSM practitioners do not even do that), but the practice itself can never be egalitarian, any more than a triangle can be a circle. 

Liberal support for BDSM is probably a result of liberals adhering to a definition of “equality” which is different from that usually used by political radicals. Liberals believe that equality means granting all behaviours (and thus all people) an equal amount of social approval. Money and other sources of power (e.g. political office) are significant in the eyes of liberals only because they indicate social approval. Radical feminists, however, care less about approval and more about preventing people (particularly men) from exercising power over others (particularly women). The liberal notion of equality seems rather cowardly and conformist (i.e. overly concerned with the opinions of others) and thus is not the kind of “equality” I fight for. 

5. BDSM is about Love and Trust 

This is the last and least common (though still pretty common) argument that I will address in this article. If there are any others you want me to take on, please let me know in the comment section.
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The idea that people in BDSM relationships love each other sounds sweet, until you remember that those who make this argument are attempting to justify brutal and often physically dangerous acts of aggression. I guess the idea is that the submissive must really love and trust the dominant, otherwise they would not be allowing the dominant to do potentially dangerous things to their body, but is that really the kind of “love and trust” we want to promote? The kind where you perceive someone as faultless and blindly do whatever they say? Is that not the kind of “love” that dictators and cult leaders promote among their followers? You can call it “love” and “trust” all you want, but that does not make it healthy. 

Abusive men sometimes claim that their violent acts are done out of “love” and tell their partners that if they really loved them they would not leave the relationship. BDSM dominants (whether they are actually guilty of abuse or not) reinforce these claims by labelling their aggressive and dominating acts, as well as their partner’s willingness to submit to them, as “love”. 

Our society demands that women be ever-loving and self-sacrificing, while men are permitted to be sex-crazed and self-interested, even within relationships. Both “ideals” are harmful (whether they are embraced by males or by females) and BDSM takes the first, rather conservative, ideal to its extreme. Instead of focussing on how a “good” romantic partner should be full of love and trust, we should be encouraging people, especially men, to demonstrate to their partners that they are worthy of trust. Healthy trust is a response to trustworthy behaviour, but I will have more to say about this in a future post. 

For now I will leave you with a warning. Though genuine love can be a beautiful thing, we live in a society that celebrates dominance, submission and a distorted version of love, marked by such dynamics. Our culture tells us not to think too hard about love. Radicals recognise that the things we are told not to think about are the things we should think about the most. It is important for feminists and other progressives to encourage discussion about what love is and is not. Healthy, egalitarian love should be promoted in place of blind infatuation, for the latter leads to blind obedience and thus reinforces hierarchical power relations. 

Conclusion

While I have not addressed every argument made to defend BDSM, I suspect that most other pro-BDSM arguments are variations of the ones listed here. In fact, many are based on the same, sex liberal assumptions (e.g. “all consensual sexual activities are acceptable”, “all moral judgements regarding sex are oppressive”, etc.)

The ethical standards I have discussed in this article can be used to critique conservative views regarding sexual relationships, as well as other practices promoted by “sex-positive”, liberal feminists such as prostitution, pornography use and extreme beauty practices. So readers can expect to see these standards invoked again and again in future articles. 
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My plan for my next three articles is to write a mini-series discussing egalitarian sex and relationships. The world needs it, given the influence of you-know-what franchise.

37 comments:

  1. Thank you for this entry, but I feel like you dropped the ball on point 1.

    BDSM advocates believe that purely symbolic gestures (like signing a contract or establishing "safe words") create consent. This is just nonsense and I think we do need to question that as well, not just take them at their word.

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    1. Thanks for commenting!

      Did you miss this paragraph?

      "In reality, BDSM is not always completely consensual. Sometimes people are pressured into such activities by their partners, other times there are economic incentives involved. This is clearly the case within the sex industry, but economics can also play a role within relationships, especially in cases where women are dependent on their partners’ incomes. There are also situations in which outright force is used to make people participate or continue participating in BDSM (e.g. a dominant may ignore the safe words used by a submissive and continue to inflict violence upon them.) "

      I didn't explicitly reference contracts, but I think the idea that a contract is not enough, and that the circumstances it is signed under matter, is implied. I don't take the BDSM community at it's word, but it is unlikely that there are zero cases of consensual BDSM sex.

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    2. No, I totally got that part, but the way I read it, you're saying that the standard BDSM operating procedure does fulfill the criterion of consent and that consent is only broken when people are being pressured or when safe words are being ignored (which is actually a pretty common experience).

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    3. I am pretty suspicious of the use of "contracts", since they are used so often by bosses, as that they don't get sued by workers and I think contracts could have a similar function in the BDSM community. They record consent so that dominants can use them against their submissives, when they try to argue that they have been harmed by a sexual act. For that reason, I am suspicious of those who want consent permanently recorded. Contracts only ever seem to be used against those with less power, never those with more. That said, signing a contract (assuming you have read all of it and understand it) is a way of saying "yes" to something. So under certain circumstances, it is a form of consent, just not one I favour.

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    4. In reality, it is the rare case when BDSM is not consensual. Why would a woman choose to be in a BDSM relationship if she did not want it? If she did not want it, why stay in it?

      That is a ridiculous argument. The vast majority of women who do BDSM love it. I know I do, and every single kinky woman I have talked to loves it as well. It is incredibly satisfying to me in a way that non-BDSM relationships are just not.

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    5. "In reality, it is the rare case when BDSM is not consensual."

      "Non-consensual consent" is not consent.
      "Prospective consent" is not consent.
      "Long-term consent" is not consent.
      "Meta-consent" is not consent.

      You have been sold a false bill of goods. Wake up. We are not the ones defrauding you.

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    6. I like the idea of non-consensual consent, and am involved in that.

      I want that kind of relationship.

      Sold a false bill of goods? Hardly. I'm living it and I love it. Actually I want it to go deeper.

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    7. I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it. Why would I do something I didn't love? Doesn't make sense to me. I'm not a weak willed gal who needs to stay with a guy and is willing to tolerate anything for it.

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    8. What in your opinion makes this "abuse"?

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    9. Well I guess you won't answer. Either way, I'm glad people like you aren't in charge. You THINK you know what you are talking about, but you don't. But, I guess its the same thing as people who condemn gay couples.

      Its just so plain arrogant to assume you know what it best for someone else in their life. If I was miserable and somehow trying to convince myself that I'm happy because I feel trapped in a relationship I didn't want, well thats one thing. But, I'm not. I felt trapped in non-bdsm relationships because society expected me to have them. I was expected, BY SOCIETY, to be in vanilla relationships and expected to be happy with them.

      The truth is, there are different strokes for different folks. I would never be so presumptuous to tell you that you HAD to be in a bdsm type relationship, because obviously you would never be happy in it. And any type of BDSM relationship you tried would never be consensual, because you don't want it. And consent aside, whats important is how you feel, how it makes you feel. If you ever did BDSM and it made you miserable, then stop!

      Women in abusive relationships are miserable, but for whatever reason feel like they can't leave.

      I can leave any time I want at this point. What do you think holds me to this relationship? Easy: It makes me happy!

      I would think, an abused woman would cry, and wish that her abuser would stop whatever he does to her. I would think that an abused woman would wish that he would stop hitting her, and have "faith" in him that he will stop some day. She would miss not being controlled, but would stay because she "loves" him.

      I am not staying with the hope he will not hit me, or stop controlling me. I WANT those things. I got made at him once because he did NOT spank me. I get frustrated when he is NOT very controlling. Often he is not as controlling as I would like, but he doesn't want to go too soon too fast.

      Now, if this was just some random dude that I did not decide ahead of time I could trust, I would not want to be hit or controlled either. If he couldn't control his actions, I would not feel safe but I do feel safe. But because I can trust him, I can ask him for these things. And, I do.

      Instead of being argumentative, why not this: Why not ask me any questions you have about what my experiences are? Here you have, a woman, the exact type of woman you say BDSM is out to harm, the "victim" you think is being wronged.

      But I am telling you I am not a victim. Obviously, you don't want to believe me, and find it impossible to believe. (Who would want an unequal relationship?)

      So, I say, ask me anything you want. I will do my best to answer. Also, how about this... I will give you a shot at "waking me up" if you will honestly open up to the possibility that there are many BDSM woman who love the relationship they are in. How about that? Here is your "chance" to "save" me.

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  2. What right do you have to deny me my happiness in a relationship? What right do you have to force me to be a certain way that makes me unhappy?

    Kink is not something to "spice things up" it is a necessary ingredient for me.

    The only reason why more submissive women do not comment on your blogs is probably because, I just tend to have a very strong love of debate. Most wouldn't bother with this.

    However, you wrote your blog as if people like me are in the minority in the BDSM community. You wrote it as if the vast majority of people into BDSM are being somehow forced into it, maybe because they love the man, or are afraid he will leave, or can't find someone better.

    That has not been my experience. In my experience, that type of woman you describe is the minority and not the majority. The majority of people into BDSM are like me: We love what we do, and we would rather do this than a vanilla relationship.

    So I want to know, why is it ok for you to get on your high horse, and tell me that I am not allowed to be happy in a relationship simply because you don't like the form my relationship takes? 

Are you straight? What if you were forced to date a woman you did not feel attracted to, because someone on their high horse thought it was amoral otherwise? Think, just seriously seriously, take a moment to think about how that would feel. Seriously, imagine having to have sex with such a person you did not want to have sex with, imagine having to kiss someone you did not want to kiss, imagine having to spend time with someone you did not want to spend time with, imagine having to marry said person and having no choice in the matter because some outside person told you thats the only way to live morally. Or of course, you could always choose to be alone the rest of your life. But you could not date the kind of person (I'm assuming men for you) that you find attractive. Not ever, because some outside person thought it was amoral. How would that make YOU feel?

    That would be how I would feel in your world, where nobody could ever have a BDSM relationship. 

I’d like to here your argument against this. I want to know what gives you the right to deny me my happiness, and what gives you the right to think I should be forced into a relationship that makes me unhappy, or choose to be alone (which is what I would end up doing. Rather that than pretend).

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  3. Yes, obviously it's radfems who are denying you happiness. Not the society that made you this way in the first place. Or the people who physically and verbally abuse you in the name of sexual pleasure. Or the other people who support it. Obviously it's the person who's saying that women should be happy and not be abused who's doing this to you.

    Obviously poor people are responsible for the state of the economy. Obviously immigrants are stealing our jobs. Obviously black people are the reason for drugs spreading. This is all common sense. Right?

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  4. Actually, you aren't denying me my happiness, because you are not in charge of the matter, thank goodness. I am actually quite happy in my BDSM relationship, thank you. I am just saying that if you forced me to be how you think I should be, THAT would make me unhappy.

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    1. We think you should be happy and not in abusive relationships. You apparently think that's "forcing" you to be anything. I really don't care if you're in BDSM or not! My concern is to denounce (mostly male) abusers who hide under the cover of "non-vanilla," exciting sexuality to abuse people.

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    2. Such relationships do exist, both in the non-BDSM vanilla world as well as in the BDSM world. But just because a man does BDSM does not mean he is abusive.

      I have told you before, I am NOT happy in relationships that are not BDSM. I have dated a lot of people, and I was never happy in them.

      I am happy in BDSM relationships. Therefore, if you had your way, I would not be allowed in the only type of relationship that makes me happy.

      And no, it is not abusive. Why do you say "we think you should be happy" when I am telling you I AM happy in my BDSM relationship? You must think I'm brainwashed.

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    3. Pretty amazing to brainwash me before he even met me, before I was ever in a BDSM relationship. That's a pretty good trick.

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    4. "We think you should be happy and not in an abusive relationship".

      No, you think I should live my life the way you want me to live it. You assume I will only be happy in the way you would be happy. You are not seeing the fact that A) I am happy and B) This is not abusive.

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  5. "The society that made me this way"? Come on! I reject gender inequality junk. I played with ninja turtles as a kid, ran around with the boys, and I did martial arts as a kid and still do now. (Got a black belt, and working on a couple more in two different styles).

    I can't stand pink and won't ever wear it, and if any man thinks a woman isn't intrinsically equal, I'd chew them out on it. (Emphasis on intrinsically, as in, by their very nature). Men do not intimate me.

    I do not wear makeup almost every day, and high heels hurt so I don't wear them.

    So tell me, how has society "made me"? Am I a poor little waif female who must be rescued from her big bad Dominant BDSM man?

    I'm much more likely to kick a guy in the nuts than need rescuing. Actually I've done it, at least twice.

    P.S. I deleted the above comment because it would not let me edit it, and the spelling and grammar needed editing. So I am reposting the comment here.

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    1. "So tell me, how has society "made me"?"
      Through pornography, films and other media featuring sexualised damsels in distress, advertisements which associate sexiness with either power (for men) or powerlessness (for women), workplaces in which a self-proclaimed boss rules over employees, religions which preach subservience to an all-powerful supposedly benevolent being and numerous other means of indoctrination. If you have managed to avoid all these hierarchical structures then please tell me where you live. I want to live there! And make the whole world like that if possible.
      "Am I a poor little waif female who must be rescued from her big bad Dominant BDSM man?"
      I would encourage you to rescue yourself from your big, strong, dominant man, but if you ever wanted help escaping him, anti-sadomasochism feminists would provide that help. Your own community would blame you for your unhappiness (because you consented) and attack you for being a "weak women", just like you are doing to others now. Your community only likes because you are so happily subservient and you have no guarantee that your happiness will last.
      Have some respect for the women you consider weak (the "poor little waif females" you are obviously, and cruelly, mocking). Many of them become brave fighters against male dominance, while "strong' women like you allow it (and worse, encourage it). In any case, there are weak people out there (people who lack power and are vulnerable to domination). It does not mean that they are servile, stupid or otherwise inferior. These people need support, solidarity and means through which to struggle collectively for a better world (e.g. unions, political movements), not contempt.
      You think society has not affected you, but your hatred for the weak is proof that it has. Such thinking is clearly a result of growing up in cold-hearted, hierarchical society, which despises those who implicitly criticise it by recognising that they are victims of social forces. I cannot help but feel that your hatred for victims is also related to your sexual practices, which I do not wish to stop by force even if I could (I prefer to use reason, though you liberals seem to be far more scared of it than any physical threat).
      Oh and don't assume you know my sexual orientation. None of the standard labels (e.g. gay, straight, etc.) work for me, because they all assume that I base my sexual choices on physical arousal and nothing else. I do not. Inquiring about my sexuality, when I have said nothing about it, is rude. And no, I am not going to ask you a bunch of questions about your sex life, because I do not find it that interesting. I would much rather hear your THOUGHTS regarding the arguments I made in the article, particularly those which apply to people in consensual, physically pleasurable sadomasochist relationships (because I do in fact acknowledge that such relationships exist and object to them as well.)
      Please leave any rational arguments you have in the comment section and keep the details of you sex life to yourself. Do not expect me to respond either way though, because I do have a life.

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    2. I didn't expect this avalanche of comments by Shannon. Perhaps I hit a nerve, I don't know. Sorry if I spoke out of turn but I thought what she was saying was rather outrageous.

      I very much liked your comment. Let's see if Shannon has anything to say about it...

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    3. I was really excited to see that I had nineteen comments on this post and was disappointed when it turned out they were all from the same person. Still the large number of comments makes this post seem important, so hopefully more people will read it now.

      I think the reason she posted so many comments is because there is a limit on the length of the comments which can be posted here. I don't know how it got there. I posted long comments before with limitation, but now I suddenly can't, so the "avalanche" of comments is not entirely her fault, even if she did say basically the same thing over and over again ("I so happy, happy, happy and strong, weak unhappy people suck").

      You can respond to comment on my blog if you want. I seriously do not have the time or willing to respond to the same sorts of claims over and over again (do sadomasochists ever say anything original?)

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    4. Not as far as I can tell. I've gotten pretty much the same type of comments from them too. There seems to be a pretty uniform party line, which is what you'd expect given the cult-like nature of the hobby.

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    5. First of all, I apologize ahead of time for the length of this. I’m kind of a natural writer and should probably get my own blog, lol.

      Also, I find it ironic that you found it rude and felt insulted that I made assumptions about your orientation. It’s ironic because you are being very rude and insulting to me about my sexual orientation, (so yes that is the nerve that Francois struck) and it is very rude to assume I am unhappy and brainwashed in my relationship when you do not know me or my situation.

      I also want to apologize to any women reading this who are in or feel trapped in a truly abusive relationship, it is true I should not have mocked you. Although I cannot understand personally why you don’t just leave said abuser, and I do not feel as an abused victim does, and I do not truly understand why you do what you do, I should not mock those I do not understand. I think was/am angry at Independent and Francois for essentially invalidating, insulting, and being very rude to me regarding my orientation, as well as making assumptions about me and my life. I also find it very insulting that they insist my orientation does not exist, and are unable to see the parallels of how gay people are often told their orientation doesn’t exist. My anger spilled over to those people who truly are domestic abuse survivors and that isn’t right. Truthfully, Independent, I do love to debate, and many of the issues I debate about are for the weak or disadvantaged. (I think we as a society should do way more for the disabled, the homeless and the poor. I think also we should stop trying to force girls or boys to be a certain way, or play with certain toys as a child, and girls really need to stop being told that all that matters is how they look. Thats ridiculous). I’m the kind of gal that will cry when I see something very sad. Actually, I just watched a beautifully made video about (real, not play) rape the other day, and yeah I got all teary eyed.


      So moving on, I want to discuss some of the topics that Independent and Francois put up.

      And since you guys have “heard all the arguments before” I’m going to take a different approach. I think this is something we can agree on. The main issue, the main point of agreement you guys and I have is this:

      Is it really possible for a woman to truly be happy in a bdsm relationship?

      If a woman is not happy, but consents due to outside reasons, (she doesn't want to be alone for example, or is afraid to leave) then that is not true consent. I agree with that. You guys believe that all women in BDSM who consent to it are in this category. So going even beyond the whole issue of consent because sure, there are many people who consent to things that they feel forced into doing due to finances or whatever, so the true issue is:

Is it possible for a woman to be truly (and intrinsically) happy in a BDSM relationship and enjoy it without feeling forced to be into it due to outside influences?
      
You guys believe quite strongly that it is impossible for a woman to love BDSM for what it is. You believe that men are somehow getting into women’s heads, and convincing them to consent when they would not consent normally. You are convinced, in essence, that I am brainwashed.

      So whenever I say “I am happy in my relationship” you automatically think “This girl is just saying she is happy. In truth, thats impossible. Therefore (based on the premise that is is impossible to be happy in a BDSM relationship) she must only THINK she is happy. In reality, she is miserable, and is only staying in it because the man is forcing her to consent- maybe its money, maybe she feels she doesn’t deserve something better, I don’t know, but he is somehow forcing her to consent to what she would never normally consent to.”

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    6. This part got cut off somehow, so I pasted it here:

      So the premise that I question, in your argument, is that it is impossible for a woman to enjoy BDSM and a BDSM relationship.

      Before I start with my own experiences, because they ARE relevant, I want to also add, the biggest issue that gets in the way of the premise you have that I am questioning. That issue is pain play, or S and M. First of all, not everyone who does BDSM does pain play. Some who do it aren’t into it that much, and do it occasionally (me) and others love it so much they want it all the time.

      I’m not a true masochist, although I do like to do a tad bit of S and M play. But I like it for very different reasons than a typical masochist. A true masochist, however literally feels pleasure in it. I asked a masochist about this, and she told me, that basically what happens is that when she experiences pain in certain very specific circumstances, the wires (of her pleasure and pain neurological system) somehow get crossed, and she experiences the pain as pleasure. However, every single masochist out there, and every single person who does pain play as well, would say that there is a huge difference between “good pain” and “bad pain”. It sounds counter- intuitive, but the best way to explain it is that for a masochist, bad pain is just felt as pain. While good pain is just felt as pleasure. For someone like me, bad pain feels like damage (a broken bone would be bad pain) while good pain can still be sexy like being spanked (even if I don’t literally get pleasure form it as a masochist does, its still very hot.) So in that sense, nobody in BDSM ever wants “bad pain”. And any submissive or woman who gets “bad pain” from a partner who is intentionally giving it, is not only damaging her and making her unhappy, but is being abusive because he is not caring about her and her well being.

      Now I am going to attempt to prove to you that I am happy in my relationship, because if just ONE woman is happy in a BDSM relationship not in spite of it being BDSM but because of it, then it invalidates your premise. However, that is very difficult to disprove unless you ARE me, because you don’t see how I am most days. You don’t see if the majority of the time, I walk around miserable, afraid, head hung low, or if I walk around happy, with a smile on my face.

      And since you have heard all the typical arguments before, I am going to try a very different approach. I’m going to do the best I can to prove to you that I am, in fact, happy in the relationship not in spite of the BDSM, but actually because of it. I am going to try to prove that I am not tolerating BDSM or bad behavior, but enjoying it.

      This is a bit hard to prove because these things are very subjective experiences, but Francois gave me an idea. He called BDSM a cult. So, I have pulled the definition of cult off of google, and posted it here. Additionally, following that, I have listed the various warning signs of being involved in a cult, warning signs of a cult-like leader, and warning signs that a person is a victim of a cult. (I apologize, I did take it off the Dr. Phil website, but they seem pretty accurate and just because Dr. Phil is a pop psychologist doesn’t mean his website has bad info. I think these are things any website discussing a cult would say, they are just said very succinctly on his website.)

After I go through all the points of a cult, I will go through all the points of domestic abuse, such as signs of an abuser, things the abused partner does, internal feelings of an abused victim, etc and do the same thing.

My intent is to show you that I am happy in my relationship, because if I can show you that at

      Delete
  6. east one woman is happy in her relationship and is not brainwashed to feel that way, then it invalidates your premise that it is impossible for a woman to truly feel happy in a BDSM relationship without being brainwashed.

    After this I am done, I have wasted enough of my time doing this. If even this evidence does not convince you, then it just means you are going to ignore all facts and all forms of evidence and all arguments, for the simple reason that they do not fir your world view. People should never be like that, but everyone is like that all the time. They selectively choose to see the facts that support their beliefs, and ignore all others.


    So here is the definition of a cult (the definitions that are not about religion):

    a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.

    a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.

    Ok, and, pardon that its from Dr. Phil’s website (not a real psychologist) but here are some charactersitics of, tools of and signs of a cult. I will give a point by point argument on how this is not occuring with me:

    Tools of Mind Control:
    Control environment: Loved ones are cut off from family, no communication.

    I see and speak with my mother at least once a week, sometimes more. She knows I’m in a kinky relationship. She has met my partner. I have several friends I still hang out with, and this hasn’t changed since I started dating my partner. I also still make new friends and get involved in social activities all the time, where I meet other people. One thing I would like to do is meet more kinky people (I don’t know as many in my local area) but thats because I have to work on the weekends when they have regular get togethers. I’ve talked to my partner about taking off a few hours one weekend to meet people, and this will probably happen sometime in the future when my job allows.

    2. Break down sense of self: Break down their sense of self-esteem, literally attack them as individuals on the basis that they are wrong and that the group is right.

    I have a pretty darn good sense of self esteem. I have felt very empowered by this relationship, because I am finally being true to myself. I love myself and who I am. There have been times when I have been a bit negative or down because of stresses in my life (finances, job returning to school to change careers), but my partner has cheered me up, and helped me to be less negative. Recently, I got a pretty low score on a test, and I wasn’t feel too good because of it, and my partner told me he thought I was smart and shouldn’t worry about it, because it wasn’t really that low of a score (I’m a bit of a perfectionist…want straight As, etc).

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  7. 3. Instill new sense of identity: New identity is reinforced by the group environment, where you get no feedback except from other members who tell you that they understand the right behavior and the right way of being.

    I haven’t changed since meeting my partner. I am still the same me. Same non-bdsm interests and hobbies, same personality, same political beliefs, same religious beliefs. My partner and eye don’t have quite the same spiritual beliefs, but thats ok, its close enough for it not to be an issue. I also liked BDSM before I met him, and before I ever really got to know anyone in the BDSM community. (I don't really hang out much with the locals as I said, because of work. And I haven’t really dated anyone else either. I have tried to get my previous, regular, non-bdsm partners to do kink with me, but they were never interested and so I dropped the idea with them.)

4. Isolate: Cut off from outside world. Fear keeps them trapped inside the environment of the group.

    I am not isolated. I go to work, I go to school, I still am in contact with family, and friends, and the same family and friends I knew before dating my partner. I have also met a few people here and there who are kinky (went to a convention- not local people though) and have re-connected with old friends from the first time I went to college who are kinky. As far as fear, I am not afraid of anything in what we do. Fear is not making me feel trapped. My partner doesn’t want someone who feels they have no choice but to do this (out of fear or other reasons). We both think that is wrong.

    Warning Signs of a Potentially Harmful Group/Leader:

    Totalitarian: Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

    Hmmm, this one is half true. So, I can’t argue this point to well, since I’m in a total power exchange. However, I would say that he is not irresponsible about it, and I have seen him worry about wether or not he has made the best decisions. He’s very accountable to himself. Additionally, I have chosen him over others because I feel he is responsible about it.

    2. Little tolerance: No place for questions or critical inquiry.

    I question him all the time. I am critical of him often. I have disagreed with him and argued with him, with no bad results of me doing so. He values my opinion and he values what I say. He will always take my thoughts and opinions into account, and if he didn’t I wouldn't be with him. He one time started a debate over a topic with me, just to make sure I could debate with him, because he doesn’t want a woman who can’t speak her mind or stand up for her views.

    3. Unreasonable fears: Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

    Other than thinking Trump would ruin this country, I don’t really have any fears about the outside world. I view the world as a (mostly) good place, though there are some bad people out there (murderers, serial killers, etc). But I believe that we have a very good government system- by no means perfect and it does need improvement, but its not as bad as say, Iran. I believe in the goodness of the human heart. I do not believe in conspiracies of any sort- I don’t believe in any government conspiracies, or anything else of that sort.

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  8. 4. Never good enough: Followers feel they can never be good enough.

    I do feel good enough. (Well sometimes I get insecure about my grades but thats because I’m a perfectionist. And I end up getting straight As, so then I feel good enough) My partner constantly tells me he values me, and I certainly do feel good enough with him very often.

    5. No reason to leave: Former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

    I think some people can get into BDSM for the wrong reasons, so people who do shouldn’t be involved in BDSM. If you have a partner that pressures you to be in it, then you should leave the BDSM lifestyle. I read an account of a woman who sort of, seemed to be in that position. My criteria is, if after you leave you are happier, you should not get involved in BDSM again. But, if you miss doing BDSM after you leave, then you are probably trying to suppress your feelings. It all depends on the person, so no some people are not wrong in leaving.

    People Who Are Vulnerable to Mind Control:

    Recently divorced
    Never been married, so no.

    2. Illness
    Not really.

    3. Personal tragedy
    Nope.

    4. Career failure
    Yes, I have had a career failure, so I suppose I am “vulnerable” there. But at the same time, I am finally getting the courage to go for my dream career, so I’m happy that my previous career didn’t work out.

    5. Away from home for the first time
    I have been living away from home for over ten years.

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  9. Warning Signs of a Brainwashed Victim: 

    Obsessive: Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

    I was a little obsessed with him the in the beginning, and since I had nothing else to do during summer break, well, I didn’t have anything else to do. But I always get obsessed with something that is new and I really like. I was that way when I changed religions, I was that way when when I took up a new martial art, I was that way when I started a new hobby… etc. Now, I’m not so obsessed because its no longer novel. But I also have other things I’m doing (primarily school, now).

    2. Dependency: Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought, a seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

    I am encouraged to analyze things, to problem solve and find solutions on my own. When I met my partner, I was not pursuing my dream career but a “safe” career. It was my choice to finally make the jump into what I have always wanted to do, and my partner supported me along the way. I have also had to make a number of financial and living situations, and problem solve those myself. But I have always had my partners support.

    Also, my partner has said many times, he does not want a submissive who feels she has no other way to go, no other options financially or living wise. He doesn't want a girl who feels she has to stay for outside reasons (that are practical) like that, and its very important to him and to me that I am not dependent on him, and I do not give “fake consent” because I feel like circumstance wise or economically I have no options. Right now, we don’t live together, but I’ve been really wanting to live with him and it might happen in a few months. But there are other factors that might mean we won’t be able to live together, and so if that happens I’m going to sign a lease on a studio (I’m so tired of living with roommates, they tend to be pretty crazy sometimes).

    3. Agrees with group: Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.
    
There are definitely things he does that I do not agree with and do not justify. Right now, they are things to do with his family, so its not really my place to get too involved with that anyway. And if he told me to, I don’t know, cut off a finger, and he was serious about it, I’d say no way and leave him for it. As far as the kinky community, I’m not really involved with them other than that one convention I went to. I don’t know anyone locally that does kink. So there is no group to follow.

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  10. 4. Loss of spontaneity: A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

    I’m often making myself and my partner laugh by corny things I say. I am very spontaneous, sometimes I randomly decide to go to this coffee shop I love during the day. Other times my partner and I decide to meet up for lunch. Sometimes I randomly call up a friend to hang out with (usually that day).

    5. Isolation: Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

    I have a friend who doesn’t think I should date my partner, I still hang out with her a lot. I’ve just told her I don’t want to talk about my partner. She has never met him, and the reason she doesn’t think I should date him has nothing to do with the fact that he’s kinky (she knows we are), and she doesn’t think he’s abusive. It has to do with some external circumstances. However he has also met my parents and they really like him.

    How to Avoid Mind Control: 

    "Don't be naïve. You can protect yourself from unsafe groups and leaders by developing a good BS detector. Check things out, know the facts and examine the evidence. A safe group will be patient with your decision-making process. If a group or leader grows angry and anxious just because you want to make an informed and careful decision before joining; beware," Rick says.

    My partner is very patient with my decision making process, and encourages me to analyze my decisions and make sure that I am making them for the right reasons (the reasons that matter to me and that are true to myself). He has given me plenty of opportunities to leave the relationship if I choose. He has never been angry or anxious about my decisions or the time I have taken to make decisions. (If anything, he has told me to slow down, lets take things slowly). He has never acted out of anger or anxiety with me. Although he would be sad if I said I wanted to leave, he wouldn’t stop me, and he wouldn’t be anxious or angry about it. Additionally, the whole cult thing doesn’t really apply because I’m not part of any group, since I don’t frequent the local BDSM community do to work.


    Now lets move on to the signs of a domestic abuser.

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  11. Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings
    Do you:
    • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
    Not at all. I trust him quite a bit and am never afraid of him.

    • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
    Not really. I’ve chosen to not talk about his family with him anymore (after doing so for awhile) because it gives me a headache, he’s got a kid with lots of problems basically. Well, sometimes I talk about it a little with him but its a bit draining.

    • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
    lol this one is funny. Hmm, sure, I guess I do believe I deserve to be spanked sometimes, though I do not believe I deserve to be mistreated. (I like being spanked in the right circumstances). I do not, however, believe I deserve to be harmed, which I define as permanent damage (broken bones) or damage that interferes with my daily functioning, makes me depressed, or etc. I also include in that, no bruises on the face thank you, because it can interfere with work and school and isn’t particularly safe either- eyes being there and all. I do not believe I deserve to feel miserable or mistreated.

    • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
    Nope. I don’t think either of us are crazy. Just different.


    • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

    Not at all! Quite the opposite. I feel more alive and happy with him then ever. A few times, people have told me that my whole face lights up when I am texting him. I do not feel helpless or trapped in this relationship, but rather I feel empowered.

    Does your partner:
    • humiliate or yell at you?
    He never yells at me, never heard him yell at anyone in fact. Not once. I’m sure he yells, everyone does occasionally, I’ve just never seen it. He does humiliate me, and I love it when he does, its sexy.

    • criticize you and put you down?
    He has never critized me or put me down, not once, ever. When I’m in a low mood, he boosts me up.

    • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
    Nope. I think the only thing I’m embarrassed about is that he’s a bit over weight, but so am I so I can’t complain. We will both be healthier soon.

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  12. ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
    He has never ignored me or put down my accomplishments. He has often been impressed by my accomplishments, or really encouraged me to reach for my goals. I make creative stuff, and he really likes what I make.

    • blame you for their own abusive behavior?
    He doesn’t blame me,no. Sometimes I do things and he spanks me for them, but thats super hot so I’m happy with that.

    • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
    He sees me as both! I’m in a Master/slave relationship (the most intense BDSM relationship you can find). So I am his property and his sex object (super hot) but I am also a person and he values me as a person too. I wouldn’t be with him if he didn’t also value me as a person with hopes, dreams, goals, etc.


    Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats
    Does your partner:
    • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
    He does not have a temper at all. When he’s angry he just needs time to cool off, just as I do.

    • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
    He has never, nor would he ever, threaten to kill me. He has “hurt me” but only because I wanted him to. (I once got mad at him for not spanking me).

    • threaten to take your children away or harm them?
    I have no children. I have a pet, and he has nor would he ever threaten to take her away or harm her. If he ever intentionally harmed her, I would leave him. But he finds to pleasure in such things.

    • threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
    He is seriously not that unstable, so no.

    • force you to have sex?
    We can have sex whenever he wants, (which is hot) so no. And actually I always want sex.

    • destroy your belongings?
    He never has. I had terrible roommates that broke my stuff and threatened me (before I ever met them) and I moved because I don’t think I deserve to be roommates to such rotten people. If one of them had tried to harm me I would have punched them in the face.

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  13. Does your partner:
    • act excessively jealous and possessive?
    Nope, he does not. Actually we are in an open relationship by both our choices, and we have acted on that.

    • control where you go or what you do?
    Yes, he does and I love it! 99% of the time, he never tells me no to things I want to do or whatever. (Except for sweets, I’m a sugar addict, but he knows I’m trying to lose weight by my choice not his, so he sometimes says no to sweets. Not enough though, lol, I still eat them too much.) But overall, if he does say no to something, I’m ok with it, I give him permission to do that. I kind of like it, even when its things I want to do, I find it very satisfying emotionally as well as being hot.

    • keep you from seeing your friends or family?
    Nope. I have tons of friends I see all the time, and I am in constant contact with family.
    • limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
    Not really. I am thinking of asking him to limit me on the computer though. I’m pretty mad at myself for wasting so much of my time talking to you guys, I blew off a whole half a day for it when I could have been doing more productive things. So I’m thinking of asking him to help limit my computer time.

    • constantly check up on you?
    Yes, and its hot.

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  14. This is so annoying that your blog won't let me edit stuff, and makes me delete it if I want to edit it.

    Anyway to continue:

    Abusers use a variety of tactics to manipulate you and exert their power:
    • Dominance – Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his or her possession.

    Yes, but we like it this way. He doesn’t have to be this way, and has been in relationships where he wasn’t.

    • Humiliation – An abuser will do everything he or she can to make you feel bad about yourself or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you're worthless and that no one else will want you, you're less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless.

    He never ever makes me feel bad about myself. I am not worthless at all, and I do think if I had to, I could find someone else. I do see myself as desirable. He does not insult me, publicly put me down, or hurt my self esteem in any way.

    • Isolation – In order to increase your dependence on him or her, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. He or she may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone.

    I do ask permission, but I am not cut off. He does not prevent me from going to work or school. He does not prevent me from seeing people based on a whim. If I had to go to work or school and I decided to ditch it and go hang out with a friend, he might say no to that. But the intentions behind it are different.

    • Threats – Abusers commonly use threats to keep their partners from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets. He or she may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services.

    I have never been threatened ever. He has never threatened to hurt or kill me or anyone I care about, nor has he threatened suicide, to file false charges or report me to the police in any way. If I wanted to leave the relationship he would let me leave.

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  15. designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don't obey, there will be violent consequences.

    Jeeze, he’s never done anything like this. Never broke anything I have, never gave me threatening gestures, never hurt my pets (I would never be with someone who hurt animals, ever). Nor put weapons on display. We do both have an interest in weapons though, and I’m planning on getting a concealed weapons permit in the future because I think it would be kind of cool and badash.

    • Denial and blame – Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the victims of their abuse. Your abusive partner may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. He or she will commonly shift the responsibility on to you: Somehow, his or her violent and abusive behavior is your fault.

    He never makes excuses for himself. He never told me he had a bad childhood. I have never been blamed for anything, well, unless it was something I agreed ahead a time I wouldn’t do and did anyway, like blow off class or something.


    General warning signs of domestic abuse
    People who are being abused may:
    • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner

    I’m not afraid of anxious to please my partner. I like to please him, but I think most people in every type of relationship like to please their partner.

    • Go along with everything their partner says and does

    I do go along with most things he says or does, but if I disagree I will voice my opinion on it. He respects me enough to consider what I say.

    • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing

    I do this, but I enjoy it.

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  16. Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner

    My partner does not harass me, ever. We text all the time, and I’m always happy when we do because we have very good conversations.

    • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness

    My partner does not have a temper,jealousy issues, and although I am his “property” by choice, he is not “possessive” in that he is not anxious about me being his. I don’t “have” to be his.

    Warning signs of physical violence
    People who are being physically abused may:
    • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”

    Hmm, this could happen, but its not frequent.

    • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation

    This would never happen because of something he did or something we did. He knows work and school are priorities.

    • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)

    This would also not happen. S and M pain is not something we do on the arms.

    Warning signs of isolation
    People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
    • Be restricted from seeing family and friends

    This doesn’t happen.

    • Rarely go out in public without their partner
    This isn’t an issue, I go out all the time without him.

    • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car
    This is not something we will do or that we do, just a choice.

    The psychological warning signs of abuse
    People who are being abused may:
    • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident

    I do not have low self esteem. I think pretty well of myself.

    • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)

    I’m still as outgoing and opinionated as ever.

    • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal

    I am none of the above.

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  17. Sorry that was so long. But hey, true, it may increase interest in your blog, and I like a lot of your ideas with the exception of BDSM so thats (mostly) good.

    I have a lot of time on my hands today, and I love debates, but I too need to get back to my life. I'm curious what if anything you will say in response, but I do have many other things to do. I think I should probably just start a blog promoting BDSM and the other things I believe in.

    I will probably check back to see what your responses are. However, I doubt I will convince you. I've debated many people on many topics before (health care, religion, politics) and no matter how sound the argument, nobody ever changes their minds. I think its a glitch in the human brain. Once we find an opinion or idea that we like, its almost impossible for someone else to logically convince us out of it.

    Human beings, whatever the belief (Christian, anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-women, anti-equality, anti-race, anti-police, anti-government, anti-country), like to fit their reality to match their beliefs, rather than fitting their beliefs to match reality.

    So I know, no matter the strength of my arguments or the strength of my evidence, you will never, ever, change your beliefs, ever. If you believed the world was flat, I could fly you to the moon and you still would not change your beliefs. You are incapable of changing your beliefs, because you have decided to be incapable of changing it, regardless of any evidence or facts. I challenge you to rise above that, but I doubt you will.

    I was willing to critically look at all the questions under domestic abuse and violence, and under cults, and doing so was a sort of challenge to my beliefs. Can you rise above yours to see the facts? Or will you decide to ignore the facts? I will wait to see, but my guess is, you will choose to ignore them, and fit your view of reality to your beliefs.

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