Savage Love

Germane

Comments

1
"Not in six million years."

Ha. I see what he did there.
2
Careful, Dan. Oppenheimer may want your job and he gave a pretty great answer to that question that was helpful, insightful, and funny.

Why can't NSPP just ask her partner to tie her up and pretend rape her while shouting at her in German without asking him to take on the identity of the thing that shames him most? Can't she just imagine him as a prison guard without making him pretend to be a Nazi? Perhaps the problem is that she - a "self-loathing Jew" - really wants someone to hurl anti-Semitic abuse at her during sex.

Anyway, it strikes me as an asshole move to ask this guy to pretend to be a Nazi. She should tell him about her fantasy right now so he can DTMFA.
3
Re: NSPP: Wow, there's tragedy plus time for you. Cue Springtime for Hitler!
4
It gets boring having a guy's interest, or his devotion, or his dick, or his wallet. Much more fun to mine his shame and his self-respect. That's not wrong is it?
5
I am friends/acquaintances to a number of people who like to push incredibly taboo barriers like NSPP here. I've occasionally had to walk away because it was too challenging for me to be near but they seem to touch those hard places in healthy ways.

My advice to someone in her shoes would normally be to proceed with caution and have those experiences. My hesitance with NSPP is that the picture painted by her doesn't feel healthy (who is?) but more so that she's turned this into such a fetish that she wants a swastika with a dick on it, not a man. She needs to lay her cards on the table early with anyone she wants to try this with but I'm guessing six million years might be too little time. Few people would want to be the object to fulfill such a one sided and traumatic, for them, fantasy for her.

Oppenheimer and Dan are spot on with this letter.
6
Top-notch column this week, Dan. All three letters and responses provided good food for thought, and Joe's cartoon is priceless. (Nein, little Maus!) That first letter was definitely creepy. Sounds like the only reason LW is hanging out with this older German dude who wants "ze sex" is to convince him to play the Nazi villain to her Jewess victim. Note that she will get to keep her Jewish identity in this fantasy encounter, whereas he will be asked to take on a role that is both morally repulsive and psychically damaging to his self-image as a modern German. I have close German friends (including an ex-lover) and all have been indoctrinated since childhood to accept their responsibility in a collective cultural guilt and grieving process for the atrocities of a previous generation during the Holocaust. IMHO it goes way beyond the call of GGG to ask this guy to play her nasty game, plus he's unlikely to be able to perform up to her fantasy standards.

If she wants quasi-realistic Nazi role-play, her best shot would be to hook up with a Neo-Nazi skinhead (though personal safety could be an issue) or hire a professional sex worker. Alternatively, she could start sniffing around for an Aryan-looking, non-German lover with the potential to carry off the posture and attitude of an SS officer. Americans, English, Swedes, etc. are plentiful in European cities, they don't carry around the same historic and cultural burden, and even a non-fluent German speaker could learn a few harsh lines that would float her boat. (If I were writing this letter as a novel, her ideal fantasy SS man would turn out to be a Sabra agent in the Israeli Secret Service.)

But seriously, folks - I can't even think of a psycho-social equivalent in American society to the Holocaust guilt that is carried by virtually all present-day Germans, 60+ years after the end of the political regime that created the horror. It's not a trival thing, certainly not something that can be overcome to satisfy a foolish American's whimsy.
7
@5: It sounds to me like NSPP hasn't considered what her fantasy role-play scenario will cost her partner. She's being pretty selfish.
But I don't care: it's all worth it to get to the "not in six million years" punchline.
8
@7: Capricornius, our posts crossed. Yours was better.
I'm Jewish (a Jewess--great word) and I would never ask a German to fulfill a fantasy like that. It's not that I think it's so wrong to have the fantasy, but this is something better role-played by some non-German. I think that for NSPP though, the big appeal in her lover is that he's German. It represents such a transgression for her; maybe she should stick to that transgression with him and leave the role-play to someone less susceptible to psychic trauma.
9
"Hey, baby, what was your trigger? Yeah, that." -NSPP
10
MIM has "been in a fantastic monogamous relationship for almost eight years" - personally, I'm betting the seven year itch is hitting hard and he's trying to persuade himself everything is still fine. Otherwise I can't see what motivated him to write the letter. My advice would be to get into therapy, start being honest with himself, and then start the slow process of being honest with his wife about everything going on in his head.

RRR says "his definition sounds like child custody in a divorce dispute." I suppose he means that non-partners would always be fighting over access to their mutual partner, but it's just a question of finding what works for particular people. I recharge from the one-on-one bonding with my partners. I also like hanging out with my partners' partners when that works out, but I wouldn't want to date them.

In the sort of polyfidelity small group RRR envisions, I always wonder what happens when A & B break up, but both still want to date their mutual partners. That seems more like a child custody battle to me.
11
Ms Cute - Hasn't considered or doesn't care? My opening guess is Both.

It's a shame that there isn't a rule that people whose fantasies if fulfilled are likely to have such deleterious effects on their partners need to partner with those who already have the corresponding fantasy.
12
Ms Erica - Your interpretation makes sense, but I can see how someone who feels prude-shamed might think Mr Savage has been escalating lately. I don't quite agree with such an assessment, but understand their path from point A to point B.
13
Former Nocute @8, thanks for the compliment. I appreciate your cultural take on this letter. It would not have occurred to me that LW had already crossed a transgressive boundary, simply by taking a German lover. Given the casual tone of her letter, she may not realize how deeply her lover feels the "historic guilt" that she so easily dismisses. Her letter doesn't indicate how long she has been part of the ex-pat community or where she is currently living, but she certainly seems unfamiliar with the modern German cultural ethos regarding the Holocaust.

It seems extraordinarily callous to say that American Jews, many of whom are descendants of Holocaust victims and survivors, have a less vivid psychological and emotional connection to the genocide than the German descendants of people who either actively or passively enabled the scapegoating, segregation, transports, and death camps. But among my own circle of Jewish and German friends, I would say that seems to be the case. Maybe it's because it happened on their soil and not on ours. I don't know.

I agree that the "Not in 6 million years" punchline was beyond perfect.
14
@EricaP: You're interpretation of MiM might be spot-on (trying to convince himself); Mr. Ven's interpretation @12 might be it, or it might be that like any convert, MiM can't stop singing the praises of his new-found religion and might be expected to proselytize.
15
@4. Late. I do get this response from this woman's letter as well. Little or no respect for this man, I feel for him.

Self loathing, that is perhaps where she needs to put her energy. Do some work on herself, rather than ask him to go down to her level and open himself up to self loathing.
This is a particularly offensive letter.
16
@13: "It seems extraordinarily callous to say that American Jews, many of whom are descendants of Holocaust victims and survivors, have a less vivid psychological and emotional connection to the genocide than the German descendants of people who either actively or passively enabled the scapegoating, segregation, transports, and death camps" It might seem callous, but I think it's true.

Being the relative of unknown people who died more than 60 years ago, or the descendent of someone who survived is less onerous than being beaten over the head, year in and year out, with the guilt of having been one of the perpetrators of heinousness, even though you were born decades after the fact.

Sexually fetishizing the Holocaust is literally only a Jew's prerogative--too dangerous for anyone else.
17
LW1 is going at it from a totally wrong angle. It's like if a woman asked her feminist boyfriend to play out a rape fantasy and then tried to convince him by saying that she doesn't think women are all that great anyway.
18
Another Jew/ess here:
NSPP doesn’t come across as a happy nor considerate person.
That said, I can see how different Nazi-related kinks may erupt, and they have indeed..
Some of it must be coming from what was a very fetishist regime to begin with: cult, uniform, leather boots, marches, speeches, and so on.
Another, and probably the likelier in LW’s case, is sexualizing a trauma of some sort. Who knows, maybe she heard about it as a child and struggled to process. Not that it matters.

As for German-Jews relations:
while the apologetic sentiment certainly exists it doesn’t mean you can’t interact as “equals,” in the sense that there is a free flow of ideas, arguments, jokes, and DNA exchange. I’ve seen it happens between some survivors’ children and their German peers in the past, and I hear that Berlin is one of the hottest destinations for Israelis who leave the country nowadays.

I found Herr Oppenheimer’s lines of words and thinking to be very refreshing indeed.
Not so for the six millions one as it screamed extreme uptightness.
I’m a self-loving (as opposed to a self-hating) Jew/ess who will never forget, parents and all, yet don’t hold anything against the youngsters.
As such I’d like to say to Teutonic studs and studettes alike: If that’s your partner’s kink, or maybe even yours, and you’re both ok with it…
19
By the way, it's not die Fraulein, it's das Fräulein. The word denotes a female person but is grammatically neuter because all diminutives are neuter in German.

Das Fräulein should probably find a professional to enact this fantasy and not burden her lover with it.
20
Just an aside. In Psychology Today on my fb feed, the author backs Dan's position on Dr Fisher, of the Kinsley Institute (mentions him by name) saying her position on open relationships is ideologically not science driven.
21
I think it's quite a coincidence that LW1 just happened to end up with a German boyfriend, and I agree with some of the other commenters who wonder if she really gives a crap about the effects this sort of scenario might have on him. I think half (or more) of his appeal as a boyfriend is that he's German and fits into this fantasy, and I get the feeling she was expecting his feelings about Jews to be more in line with her own, as well.
22
I get the feeling that his feelings about Jews aren't really relevant to her, she does just need him as a prop to shout at her in German.
23
NSPP: I don't like your chances of getting this particular fantasy fulfilled with this particular German. You should go to fetish clubs. Uniform fetish is a thing and Nazi uniforms are very popular. NSPP isn't invested in this guy other than objectifying his ethnicity (anyone see parallels to the woman married to a Native American from a few weeks ago?), so leave this poor innocent Kraut untraumatised and seek out someone who's already into your fantasy. Tip: I wouldn't tell them you're Jewish.
24
Point of order re RRR: "Different pairings, where a relationship between two people would be lived and enjoyed separately from that couple's pairings with other people" does NOT necessarily describe a "primary and secondaries" arrangement. No one said the two people cited had a relationship that they -- and their other partners -- considered to be more important than the other relationships. Many poly people reject the idea of "primary and secondaries" aka hierarchical poly because it implies some partners are more important than others, which isn't respectful. That said, primary-and-secondaries is indeed more common than polyfidelity. It just burns my tail whenever I see polyamory defined as "It's when a couple..." thus perpetuating couple privilege.

Totally agree with Dan that MIM is enjoying his monogamous vanilla relationship because he had the opportunity to sow all his wild oats, and therefore isn't sitting there resentfully wondering what he's missing out on.
25
Re NSPP: Welp, that's another Kink Too Far to add to my personal list. She might have to hire a professional for that one — and pay a premium.
26
Ms Fan - I'd suggest the first LW's spiritual home would be the fourth Cracker (*To Be a Somebody*), specifically the skinhead club, only somehow I think that someone English with a German name just wouldn't do it for her. But at least it leads to a memory of DCI Bilborough's ticking off the skinheads when he sees their poster of Manchester United by reciting the different races and countries of the various players, saving as the final condemnation of their pride in being cis-straight-white-male-English, "...and Cantona's French!"

General information question: Is "Kraut" the equivalent of "Frog" (and how polite is either), or are you allowed a little more leeway with a more recent enemy?
27
There were nine in the bed,
and the Middle one said; roll over, roll over.
So they all rolled over and one fell out.
There were eight in the bed...
28
Where do power/domination/force kinks come from? I've heard the sexualization of trauma explanation here. Is that a theory, a wild guess, or is there some research/evidence supporting it? In my case, it's all fantasy, no need to act anything out or even for my partner to know what I'm thinking. I don't recall any trauma (other than a somewhat dysfunctional family). Everyone I've spoken to, whether they have rape/humilation fantasies or not, reports a similar level of not-so-terrible can-you-really-call-it trauma. Which would lead me to believe trauma is not the cause.
29
@6, 8 et al: In lieu of asking a Germanic lover to play a Nazi oppressor, why not cruise your local university's Germanic studies classes. (Age difference? Perfect! It will fit with the cult of youth.) Find someone who looks Teutonic and can role-play the mentality but has none of the national karmic baggage. Someone Dutch might do well.
Unless, of course, the whole point of the exercise is the debasement of both parties, in which case, eww.
30
Ms Fan - As for MIM, that's certainly plausible, but the challenge (which I think Mr Savage occasionally fails) in that position seems to be not to dump on the prodigal son's older brother. If the argument were just that a wide range of experience makes it likely for a mature choice to be a good one, that's one thing (Sister/Dame Philippa from In This House of Brede), but to posit such a path as a requirement negates those with an immediate and clear vocation (Sister Hilary). I keep recalling the conversation between Philippa and Cecily (who occasionally reproached herself for dallying a few years and waiting until age twenty-three to go inside, but was still impressed by Philippa's having left a career as a government official to become a nun in middle life) in which Philippa compared herself to an orchard when the fruit happened to be ripe.

Oh, dear. Today would have been a nice day day on which to see easy answers.
31
Haley @21: "I think it's quite a coincidence that LW1 just happened to end up with a German boyfriend"

Oh, I don't. She describes herself as an "expat." As in an American living in a different country. How much do you want to bet that country is Germany?
32
Venn @26: As someone who lives only a few countries away from Germany and has visited several times, I've heard "Kraut" used as an affectionate rather than a derogatory nickname. Like "Yank" for Americans. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.
33
I think the response to MIM seems off--he doesn't disparage everyone else's choices, he's representing a useful and neglected viewpoint: someone who's not a Puritan and not a lifestyle kinkster, just someone who tried kink and decided it's not for him.

That's fine. Lots of people are naturally vanilla monogamous, that's why it's so common.

NSPP: Sometimes people don't want to do the things you want them to do. It happens.

RRR: What would you have done if Dan said "Your partner's definition is right." I'm guessing the answer is not "act like Dan actually has the power to tell other people what kind of relationships they have to have."
And then, maybe, RRR would realize that relationship models are something you need to negotiate. With your partner, even. Appeals to authority don't work on anyone else any more than they'd work on you.
34
How about a Star Wars stormtrooper? (Imperial or First Order)
35
@34: I don't share MIM's fetish, but if I did, a Star Wars Stormtrooper would't do it.
I think the need is for the figure to be a real menace--a historical threat, and a very particular, specific threat. Star Wars characters are ultimately silly, as well as fictional, and the bad guys are always defeated. Likewise, @29, I don't think finding a random student/faculty member in Germanic Studies would work. It's the power dynamic plus helplessness and terror plus maybe uniform that I think really fuel this fetish, not simply the ability to speak German and know German history and culture.

But BiDanFan's suggestion of going to a fetish club that has uniform play, finding someone in a Nazi or SS uniform and asking him/her to play a scene in which MIM role-plays being Jewish (like BDF suggests, I don't think MIM should identify herself as being actually Jewish, much less someone who lost relatives/ancestors in the Holocaust) might work. Do a little research and come up with a couple of words or phrases that you want to hear in German and teach them to your "Nazi" play partner. Or hire a sex worker--maybe a pro Dom--with a Nazi uniform who either already or is willing to enact this power dynamic. German accents are easy to fake.
36
The cartoon for this column is great.
37
Off topic: those of you guys who are poly, what do you do when you need to make yourself scarce? Like, my SO has their other partner over at our place right now. I had work stuff to do today but now I'm suddenly free and find myself in a situation where I can't go home. This makes me depressed.
39
BDF- yes, LW1 does remind the woman married to that Native American dude who is tired doing the rain dance for her. Back then I semi-jokingly asked, “Wonder what she has in mind for me, is it a striped pj of some sort?”
Now I have to ask myself, “And if I’m dating a German and this person would be into that kind of stuff?”
I hope they bring it late enough into the relationship where I can fully understand where they come from. And as opposed to Herr Oppenheimer I would also suggest of first introducing a somewhat similar yet Nazi-free scenario that hopefully goes well.
So- would I indulge them in that?????? My answer is, “Depends,” which means I’m not totally ruling it out despite the horrible historic connotation and my own upbringing. It will be tough though and there may be a price tag attached, like those $600 silk underwear I alluded to few weeks ago.

Fichu @ 28 “I don't recall any trauma”
Nothing wrong with you, just pointed to what could be a relevant source of kink to LW1.
Kinks are blessings in many mysterious ways.
41
Ginnie @37: I live alone, I'm afraid. But live-in polys I know handle it in different ways. One partner of mine, who lives with his primary[1], just invites his other partners round while she is there. They have a spare bedroom for entertaining, and they value being friends with their metamours. Another couple I know have a rule that they don't bring other partners to their shared home. It's the other person's place or a hotel.

It does seem a bit shit that you can't go to your own home. Got any friends who'd be up for a quick drink or three?

[1] As much as I don't like the term "primary", I do tend to use it for the partner someone lives with or is married to.
42
Ginnie @37 that's rough. I would separate out the poly aspect, if possible. Suppose your partner were using your home for meeting of some club they're in, or a work event, or throwing a shower for someone you didn't like. There can be other reasons why one would give one's partner uninterrupted time at home.

As long as this didn't happen often, I would just try to get through the time. Maybe go to a coffee shop, or a public library? Figure out when movies are being shown, and whether there's one that interests you? Call your close friends and see if anyone has time to join you for lunch?

43
Sorry to hear you are depressed, Ginnie. A movie you wanted to go see? Have a full body massage? Do self nourishing activities.
44
If NSPP does indeed now live in Germany, she should be very careful about props and the like for her Nazi playtimes. Nazi/swastika stuff is quite illegal in Germany, and many Americans abroad forget that they are no longer protected by the 1st amendment, and can be made a criminal for their speech and thoughts, even in Europe.
45
@37: Friends. Also, what does your partner do when it's their turn?

If it's not working for you, that might be a sign that it's time to renegotiate.
46
Anyone know what's happening to the comment thread? Things keep disappearing.
47
@37 -- Ginnie: I think you should head home and blast into the room where they're getting busy, screaming "Troooolllll! In the dungeon!! Troll in the dungeon!!" And when they give you a frozen deer-in-the-headlights look in delicto flagrante, just say, "Thought you oughta know," and nip back out for that coffee. (No need to faint.)

[This idea comes from a random facebook post. I like it because not only is it a mature handling of a difficult situation, it's more fun than just going to see a movie.]
48
@28 Fichu That came up during a discussion in the comments section several weeks ago.

One of the participants mentioned research that found people who have been traumatized often put themselves in situations that require them to re-experience the initial trauma in an effort to "get it right."

Maybe that helps them live with it. I don't know. But it dovetails very neatly with my experiences in power exchange.
49
Really excellent response to MIM, Dan. Bravo.
50
@40: I think you mean The Night Porter (1974) with Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling. The film depicts a different dynamic than NSPP's letter, but yes, she'd probably appreciate it.
51
48-dreamofhorses-- I can see that when the child of alcoholics is attracted to alcoholics somehow hoping that it will be different this time, but it really applies to rape/humilation fantasies?

Do you remember which column's comments section? Better, can you lead me to some research? Everything I think to google on leads me webpages I wish I hadn't found. Plus pictures I wish I hadn't seen.
52
@51 Fichu Yes. Specifically. What do you think BDSM is for a lot of us?

I believe it was March 11.

You could ask Dan. You could go to the library of a local college and start reading the abstracts of research papers. Or you could sign up at fetlife.com but that could lead to more things that can't be unseen.
53
@Fichu: Where do power/domination/force kinks come from?

Who knows? Certainly not science, although I think there are enough non-traumatized kinksters to put the "sexualizing trauma" theory to bed.

Given that much of human evolution has taken place in the context of social configurations that were considerably less egalitarian than our own, it would make sense for the survival of the species that humans be able to sexualize power-imbalanced relationships.

Personally, I think the more interesting question is, How is it possible that some people can't see the inherent eroticism of dominating or being dominated?
54
Sean @53: How is it possible that some people don't like chocolate?

Some people don't. May seem weird to you, but there's nothing wrong with them.
55
More helpfully: Maybe some people like the people they're having sex with, and have no desire to hurt them or boss them around, and at the same time, they like themselves and have no desire to be treated with less respect than they feel they deserve as a human being?

I see nothing inherently erotic in dominating someone who doesn't want to be dominated. Therefore, if I don't luck into a relationship with someone submissive, I'll never meet a person who brings that out in me. I'll never be with someone I want to hurt, because why would I want to cause pain to someone I love? And why do I not want to be dominated? Because pain is bad and pleasure is good. We all know this from childhood.

Do I expect that everyone can see inherent eroticism in blurring gender lines? No; I know that even though I am so strongly wired that way that it seems "inherent", most people aren't. So I don't think your question is particularly "interesting." "Because people are different" is answer enough for me.
56
@53, Sean. Such authority. You know this how? Trauma can take many forms, and it can occur to people at times they have no memory of. Infancy covers many million of minutes.
Piss play and a nappy fetish sure looks like it could evolve from trauma around toilet training, to me.
57
@28: Crinoline, I guess my question is why does it matter where it comes from?
Do we ever think to ask people where their love of peppermint comes from or why they prefer coffee to tea?

What's the point of trying to establish an origin?
58
Any Germans here who can give us their perspective?
59
57- nocute-- I find it all interesting. I'm interested in all manner of things having to do with sexual attraction. I'm interested in food too. It takes me the longest time to get out of the grocery store because I'm always picking up the new items and looking at the ingredients even of the things I'd never buy or eat. I DO wonder why one person likes peppermint and another can't stand it. I don't demand that they justify their choices, but if we're cooking together and my friend says she's never liked pesto, that's something I want to know. Tastes in fashion? That's cool too. Might there be an explanation in our evolution? Even more interesting. Cross cultural studies like whether women in China or Africa have fantasies like mine? I want to know!
60
Knowing why someone hates peppermint tea is a little different to the origins of a fetish, no cute. If people can understand origins, or at least try to, then they have greater knowledge about themselves.
It won't necessary change their fetish and it doesn't point to any fetish being bad or wrong.


61
Ms Fan - An interesting clarification. (I may be a bit like Ms Crinoline, and, for instance, have a really good mystery clue in my head if I ever discover enough about people's pronouncing Irene with three syllables instead of two.)
62
@BiDanFan: May seem weird to you, but there's nothing wrong with them.

Yes, that was actually the point I was trying to make, in my own oblique way.
63
@BiDanFan: How is it possible that some people don't like chocolate?

You have to wonder if they were sexually traumatized.
64
Could some kind soul explain the cartoon please? Why is the little mouse squeaking a chemical formula?
65
@28: I think it's adrenalin. A lot of studies have shown that adrenalin is an inkblot, just a base state of physiological arousal that can manifest as any number of feelings--fear, anger, excitement, etc. Often one emotion can be transferred to another by repurposing adrenalin. That's why scary movies can make a person feel "excited" about their date, scary roller coasters seem like a rush of fun, etc. It wouldn't surprise me if a "scary" sexual situation could repurpose that adrenalin into sexual arousal.
66
Thank you all for your kind advice, guys @BiDanFan, EricaP, LavaGirl and Eudaemonic. @LateBloomer, LOL, that could have been funny.
67
LW1 reminds me of a Krusty the Clown quote, after he realized he'd never been bar mitzvah'd: "
All this time I thought I was a self-loathing Jew, and it turns out I'm just an anti-semite."
68
@39, CMD. You have a price tag? $600 for a pair of knickers, or is it a set?
You could buy an Australian designer dress, at sale time, for that price.
There is this great comedy show, Anoriginal here in Oz. The end of the last series, the two gay boys got married, in New Zealand. They'd keep saying to each other;
" what's this then, slut".
69
Sean @62: "Yes, that was actually the point I was trying to make, in my own oblique way."

Ah, got it now. I had read it as the opposite: "I don't see why my cup of tea isn't everyone's cup of tea." Which is pretty arrogant and obnoxious.

Since you weren't, going back to: "Given that much of human evolution has taken place in the context of social configurations that were considerably less egalitarian than our own, it would make sense for the survival of the species that humans be able to sexualize power-imbalanced relationships."

I found it equally confusing -- viewed through the prism of my own preferences -- that the majority of women weren't dominating men in bed, in an attempt to redress the power imbalance that exists in wider society. It seemed inherently logical that sex was the one way we could be the ones in charge and men would not only let us, but enjoy it. Women submit to men twenty-three hours a day, why on earth would they want to submit during sex as well?

I know better now, obviously. Still don't "get it" but have no issue with submissive women having their fun. Their kink is not my kink, etc. :)
70
jaycatt7@64, I don't totally have it worked out, but the chemical formula GeH4 = "Germane." Germane also means "relevant. " (Is that relevant? not sure.) And the knight saying "9" is clearly saying "Nein " ("no," in German). That's all I've got.

Glad you seem to have gotten through the day okay, Ginnie!
71
Oh, just had another thought about RRR. Their relationship just ended, in part over this poly definition dispute.

Maybe RRR's position was "Sure, I'm open to poly but we have to both be attracted to the new person." That means RRR would have de facto veto power, and maybe he never allowed any real intimacy with a third person, while still claiming to be poly.
72
Re@68. Aboriginal.
The adrenaline Rush, as Gui@65
mentioned, I can see that.
My interest in that area is a response to the play aspect. Also the idea of surrendering control with a trusted man.
I have no wish to get entangled in another traditional OS relationship. So, exploring the D/Sub scene, carefully, is to me about play. And sex.
73
Fan@69.
I no longer submit to any male. I can say that with pride, as I've finally thrown off doing any cooking for my boys. They all now cook for themselves.
The household may get to a more egalitarian roster, till then I'm just cooking for myself.
I was dominate in my sexual like, in as much as it felt like a shared, equal power dynamic with sex & I was in a monogamous relationship for thirty years.
74
I agree with your point as well Fan.
A woman Dominating a man is erotic.
a Britshe Police show I've watched, I'll have to look up the name. So good. It only had a short season, I'm grieving it ending. One of the detectives goes to a D. She is beautifully dressed.
75
British.
76
Jay @64 and Erica @70, in addition to all the different layers of "Germane" shown in the artwork, the cartoon also provides a visual pun on Art Spiegelman's brilliant graphic novel series, "Maus," about Jews surviving the Holocaust and how it affected the rest of their lives as well as those of their children. Definitely worth the read, even (especially!) if you think you're not the kind of person who would enjoy a graphic novel.
80
@59: I'm also interested in anything having to do with sex (not so much food). But my problem with the issue as you phrased it @28 ("Where do power/domination/force kinks come from? I've heard the sexualization of trauma explanation here. Is that a theory, a wild guess, or is there some research/evidence supporting it?") is that it sets up that kink as pathological, or that it sets it up as needing explanation to justify its existence.

I think that once something has been identified as "other" or aberrant, and the origin for it established, the logical and frequently inevitable step is to search for a "cure" for it--the "it" being all sorts of things. Many people already consider that particular kink to be the sign of a disordered mine or a wounded psyche, and many people think that those "suffering" from it can be "cured." To take one popular example, the horrid 50 Shades trilogy reveals the BDSM to be the result of psychological damage that is ultimately "healed" through love and then goes away, leaving a healthy man to have a healthy relationship.

In the same way that vanilla-sex preferers or straight people never have to be held to such scrutiny, lines of questioning and theorizing like this don't just set a default, they set a hierarchy and a preference and, by contrast, a pathology. Perhaps if vanilla people were asked where their particular interest in having sex with way they like to have it or if they were called on to explain, justify, or defend their sexualities it would even things out.

I'm pasting in something I wrote to LateBloomer not long ago on this topic:

Recently I was talking with a guy who is a bit ashamed of and definitely mystified by his kinks. He said repeatedly that he wonders where they came from, if “exposure” to porn or simply to the idea of kink isn’t what makes him kinky.

My response was kind of why ask why? “I Yam What I Yam,” I said, and I don’t think it’s important or useful to try and search for an origin. I’m perfectly happy with my sexuality. And besides I think I’ve always been this way, if I stop and think about it; I just didn’t know, back when some of those fantasies I masturbate to today were in their nascent form when I was a child, that they were founded on a base of sexual content. I don't think that my sexuality comes from exposure, but I do think that exposure has introduced me to various specific activities, many of which are kinky.

I have always been this way. I remember as a child playing, I always wanted to play games where I was captured and tied up. The image of the girl tied up on the railroad tracks thrilled me--her utter helplessness, her being at the mercy of the man who had tied her. Her need for rescue. I remember watching old movies where the beautiful girl was at the mercy of some villain, and the unspoken threat of rape not as an act of violence, but rape as an act that would dirty her and rob her of her "virtue" really got me excited. I didn't realize that excitement was sexual; I was a child. But as far back as I can remember, my erotic imagination has been stoked by thoughts or images of damsels in distress, of men "having their way" with women who had no control over whether that would happen or not.

By that I meant that now as an adult, I can trace the interest in kink back to childhood, to the things that captured my imagination in pre-erotic ways because I was unaware of sexuality at the time. I can look back and see the seeds that would bear a dark fruit later on. I can remember being excited by pirate movies as a kid, bodice-rippers as a young teen, cinematic rape scenes as a teen and young adult. I remember spinning a nightly fantasy when I was a child, trying to fall asleep at night, which had all the elements of what is now one of my favorite masturbatory scenarios, only without the sexual aspect. It didn't involve pain or sadism, but slavery and power-exchange. It simultaneously stimulated and soothed me.

I can have and have had very satisfying sex that is completely egalitarian, totally vanilla, in which there’s no pain or submission in any way. I can have and have satisfying sex which is just about sensation, too, but for me, the most satisfying sex has a mental or psychological component to it. I like knowing I’m a dirty slut; I like knowing that my being a dirty slut—or a soiled sweet girl, who is revealed to actually be a dirty slut or who has the dirty slut in her brought out or revealed—is a turn-on for my partner.

Nicholson Baker wrote a book called Vox, the entire plot of which is a conversation between two strangers who have each dialed a (900)-number sex line and have entered a code so that they can have a private conversation, during the course of which they come to really like each other, to get each other. Here’s something the man says, which I’ve always loved because it sounds like me, or because it seems to validate me or my response to things.

“ . . . if you come . . . it will be really something, because you get it, you understand, you have a complicated response to things, and, I mean, an orgasm in a complicated mind is always more interesting than one in a simple mind . . . an orgasm in an intelligent woman is like a volcano in a mountain with a city built on the slope—you feel the alternative opportunity cost of her orgasm, you feel the force of all the other perceptive things she could be thinking at that moment and is not thinking because she is coming, and they enrich it.”

I’m at heart a word-girl. That’s why dirty talk is so important to me—even if the talk is fairly vanilla (“you feel so good,” “you’re a dirty slut, aren’t you?” etc.) I often don’t need to get beyond words. I don’t like visual porn and one of the reasons I read and write erotica is that what turns me on is well-articulated expressions of desire, so that I can feel the way the characters feel. I can’t get that from looking at people having sex; I most certainly can’t get that from watching close ups of genitals shoving together. I tell myself stories, and I don’t see images much. The words themselves have power and I repeat phrases as I masturbate. I see/hear them as I come. Except for a flash—not even the entire orgasm, but the orgasm’s peak, the orgasm’s epiphany, don’t stop thinking the words. Sometimes I see them, graphically represented. Then, for a fleeting moment, there are no words. If a partner can take me beyond words, it is a wonderful thing. But it’s even more wonderful if there is a build-up that includes articulated thoughts, even if they’re only in my own head.

I don't know if the distinction I'm drawing sounds too fine, but I understand it. For me (and I'm only speaking for myself here, and I'm not 100% and exclusively and always submissive--but that has more to do with who my partners are) there is a vast difference between abuse and BDSM, and a non-abusive dom not only exists, but is really the only kind of true dom there is.

I don’t know what the thrill is from the other side. I don’t know why it turns the guys I have been with on to inflict pain, except that I do understand the control aspect of that dynamic. I know that the men I’ve been with who like submission like to feel that they have control over me. I’m guessing that one way to manifest that control is to hurt me and for me to take it. For my part, the pain isn’t very important to me, and I can certainly do without it, unless it’s vitally important to my partner. I don’t like pain for its own sake, so I don’t think I could be said to be truly kinky in that way. I recall EricaP, for instance, talking about how much she needs pain, and I have read pieces by kinky people who disassociate pain from sex; pain is a thrill or a reward in its own light for them. For me, the pain is part of the price I have to pay for the great sex. Oftentimes, I want to say “stop,” but the thing is that even as someone’s doing something that hurts me, he’s doing something that feels amazing. So stopping the pain would also mean stopping the pleasure, and I get to the point where I can’t imagine stopping that pleasure. After a while, some positive associations are formed between pleasure and pain. Sometimes also, I enjoy seeing how far I can take it—challenging my own previous limits. I know I can end it if it really becomes intolerable so that lets me keep going. I don’t know how to explain it. One of my FWBs is really kinky—a bit of a sadist, really. When he calls me a pain slut, I feel a sort of validation that comes from having an expert affirm your ability. When he tells me how proud he is of me for taking something, I feel sort of proud, too. And then he rewards me by making me come again and again, doing everything he knows I like. So there is a very big incentive.

I expect to submit, to be told what to do; I expect to be—sometimes—pushed beyond previous felt limits or set boundaries; depending on whom I’m with, I expect to experience pain; I expect to be degraded, humiliated, used; but I don't expect and have never in fact been abused.

I know this isn't true for all dom/sub relationships/dynamics, but I'm not a sub 24/7, and the toppy/dommy men I date aren't toppy or dommy when they're not in the sexual realm. We're equals. Both of us understand that these are roles--perhaps core identities, but roles nevertheless--that we voluntarily take on in a sexual capacity. There isn't a power imbalance, but rather a power exchange and a symbiosis: without a bottom, one cannot top; the dom needs the sub. So it is possible to see the give-and-take or power--indeed, to reconceptualize what "power" is, through dom/sub interactions. There is enormous power in knowing that what you're doing is turning your dom on so much and there's strength in knowing that not everyone could or would take the humiliation or the pain that you're going through (or at least that's how I experience it).

My submission is a gift, freely given to someone who appreciates that it is a gift, who respects me. Neither I nor any man who's ever topped me has seen the fun in topping a doormat, and I don't want to hang around a controlling asshat. I've had men question my relationship with my father, look for abuse that isn't there, think I have poor self-esteem because of the way I like to have sex; I've been asked why and why and no one ever seems to think it's weird that the vanilla asks me but I'm not supposed to be curious about what formed the vanilla. My ex-husband has no concept of how my kind of arousal operates. He tried a few times to dominate me to make me happy, but since he isn't a dom and doesn't get the desire or how it works, he simply barked at me like a drill sergeant--which is not what I meant. He literally couldn't conceptualize of what being dominant or submissive meant.


81
Capricornius @76 -- oh, thank you! The Maus reference is perfect but went right over my head.
82
Ms Cute/Mx Wanna - I'm curious about whether either of you has noted many examples of what Prudie got from one of her LWs this week. LW, a Christian woman married to a Jewish man, neither of them religious, feeling guilty that their sons attend an Episcopal school, has made an effort to celebrate Jewish holidays, only for her husband to impose (or attempt) a veto. Personally, I can't recall having seen many mixed marriages, even from times when half my friends were Jewish, but one does occasionally come upon the theme of the Christian spouse becoming rather more Jewish than the Jewish one. It doesn't seem sufficiently high-stakes to be a real flip side to the letter here, but perhaps one or the other of you may have an entertaining or instructive example or two to provide.
83
@Hunter Maybe it's different in the U.S., but here in Europe I don't notice much self-loathing, and I know quite a few Jewish people. They are either actively proud of their heritage or indifferent about it, but self-loathing? Not really.
84
Ms Cute - #80 is certainly comprehensive. Unfortunately my policy here precludes me from engaging with your post fully. But I can nibble at the conclusion a bit, as it would occur to me to wonder (and find it entirely natural that you should be curious) at this particular and unfortunate limit of your ex-husband's ability to conceptualize. Was there anything you couldn't conceptualize that was of importance to him?
85
@BiDanFan: attempt to redress the power imbalance that exists in wider society

That's interesting, and definitely more cerebral than my sexual impulses. Does it make a difference to you if the male who's submitting to you is more stereotypically masculine or feminine in appearance?

Women submit to men twenty-three hours a day, why on earth would they want to submit during sex as well?

Because the patriarch, "daddy", or "papi" takes care of them, providing food, comfort, shelter, and safety in an otherwise cold and dangerous world. And you feel secure that he'll continue doing all this because you are intrinsically valuable to him, you bring his attention to an incredible focus, and give him temporary respite from all of his worldly cares. You find his roughness with you, his physical strength, to be relaxing, reassuring, both a sign of his power, and of your power over him. At least, that's how the corny fantasy has always worked in my head, since I was 11 or 12 years old.

For any fantasy to work for me, I have to be able to see the appeal from either side. A dom who doesn't also know the pleasure of submission makes no sense to me. So I also love the switch version of this fantasy, where I'm under the control of a powerful, strict, but ultimately nurturing matriarch, and I'm intrinsically valuable to her, the focus of her attention.
86
@seandr: Isn't it funny how such corny fantasies, rooted in childhood or pubescence have such powerful holds on our sexual lives as adults?
Aldous Huxley wrote a book called After Many a Summer Dies the Swan, in 1939, that has a great description of the dynamic of a Daddy/Little Girl relationship.
87
@83: Ginnie, that's my take on it here in the U.S. Besides, how would anyone on the outside know if someone's a self-hating anything. It's not something most of us go around announcing.
88
@84: Mr. Ven, it's possible that my ex-husband had something that was important to him that I couldn't conceptualize, but it wasn't for my lack of trying to find out what was important to him.

He was deeply hung up and repressed, seemingly embarrassed by simply wanting to have sex. I could never get him to be willing to go deeper than the surface. I know he liked certain physical sensations and stimulation and I did that for him. I know he liked the idea of a woman wearing a short skirt with no underwear climbing atop him, and I did that. Beyond that, though . . . I wish that he had been able to articulate to me what was important or better yet, I wish that he had been able to think about trying to articulate to me what was important to him so I could see if I was able to conceptualize it. No doubt there was something, but he refused to try to access it and communicate it to me, and possibly even to himself.
89
@37 - Plan, plan, plan! For sexytimes dates with other poly partners in a shared home, partners sharing the home should negotiate, plan and agree on when they can happen or they should happen elsewhere. Planning your own date and hangouts with friends is a great way to do it when you want to free up your home for your partner to have one of their other partners over.
90
Expanding my expertise I am now also the self-appointed “Jewish Affairs Correspondent.”
Venn @ 82
Most of the Jewish-involved interfaith couples I’ve seen are pretty laid back who will celebrate all holidays in a mostly-secular way. I have seen couples where one side thinks theirs is the best and the other one bolts, and it can go either way.
What you may be alluding to is a couple where the non-Jew converts. Some convertibles may take it a bit too seriously for different reasons.

Ginnie @ 83
In the US “Self-Hating Jew” is a derogatory term right wing Jews may be too quick to apply to any Jew who dares criticize any Israeli or AIPAC (the Jewish lobby in US congress) policies whatsoever, not towing the line with the establishment and the arms industry lobby.
Unfortunately some of those Jews often fail to communicate that their concerns actually stem from their love for Israel and the Jewish people, and instead wave the assigned title with pride.
It should be also noted that those who call their peers “self-hating Jew” are also those who dismiss any criticism, right or wrong, as “anti Semitism.”
Not that it doesn’t exist, but blanket” anti-Semitism” only waters down the real discriminatory sentiments and hate crimes.

92
ncn @88 About your ex-husband. Isn't it possible that he really had no deeply hidden dark desires? You say I could never get him to be willing to go deeper than the surface but maybe there was nothing beneath the surface.
93
@nocutename @87 that's true, but some of my closest friends are Jewish and I'm pretty sure they are as far from self hating as can be. Maybe my sample is skewed since I kind of find myself on the edge of a very socially active community.
94
@CMDwannabe, I see, the attitude towards Israel's politics (which I'm definitely not an expert one) is not as polarizing an issue here, for whatever reason. Somehow, the Jewish community here seems to be more internationally focused.
95
Registered European @92: It's possible. It's what I thought throughout our marriage. But who knows?
96
80-nocute-- Thanks for that thoughtful essay. My reply won't be nearly so well articulate and organized. My apologies if my wording got in the way of what I hoped was an innocuous question. I never meant to pathologize kink when wondering about its origins. Perhaps I should have said that my real interest is evolution. I like learning about that even more than about sex or food. (It was a misconception about evolution that got me to register for this comments section ages ago. I couldn't let it go uncorrected.)

Maybe I should start with evolution. Some traits evolve because they're actively selected for. It's easy to see how the sensations connected with hunger and satiety help individuals survive. Not every individual will feel hunger and satiety the same way, and that doesn't mean there's anything right or wrong with the way they have those feelings. I, for one, rarely feel hungry even when I've gone hours or days without food. It's possible that I've managed to survive despite having this distinctively non-adaptive trait. I understand that not every trait a human can have has to be adaptive.

My earliest submissive fantasies seem to have been akin to yours. Again, I'm not as good a writer, but I also remember liking something about fantasies of being seen naked, of being put on display naked, and made fun of for it. These fantasies go back to my earliest memories, long before I understood they were sexual or even knew what sex was. I also remember feeling a sort of pleasurable jolt whenever I heard or read about someone being humiliated or tortured. Again, this goes back far before I understood there was anything sexual about that feeling.

I don't recall ever feeling bad or guilty about the fantasies. They were just how I got to sleep.

It is certainly possible that trauma is involved for some people who like submissive/domination sex. There can be many causes for the same phenomenon. I don't think it's trauma in my case (other than the previously mentioned mild-to-medium dysfunction in my family).

I wonder about cross-cultural studies. I wonder about a My Secret Garden book on women's fantasies to come out of non-Western societies, better, non-literate ones.
97
@Ginnie: Maybe it's different in the U.S., but here in Europe I don't notice much self-loathing

I've known a lot of Jews, even married one, and I don't think I've met a single one who was "self-loathing".

The only thing that comes close - my Jewish friends in college, all of them secular and liberal, would sometimes make fun of Hasidic Jews ("black hats"), but would rail on the "observant" Jews on campus, who had a living center across the street from our fraternity. My roommate said the students at the living center reminded him of all the kids he hated in Hebrew school. (When LW described herself as a "self-loathing Jew", I figured she meant something like that.)

My friends were otherwise proud to associate themselves with secular Jewish-American culture. I remember when three friends from Oklahoma, New Jersey, and Long Island, figured out that their fathers all grew up within a block of each other in Brooklyn. Probably not far from Bernie Sanders.
98
Ginnie- where is "here" if you're comfortable saying?
99
hunter, were my words confusing.
I meant we switched around.
Both of us had turns being both, dominant and submissive. We just didn't call the behaviour D/s.
100
What the fuck is 'cis' ?
101
NSPP - How long do I have to wait to ask my German lover... to indulge me in... Nazi role-play?
It breaks no American laws to ask immediately. But...

He is very delicate around me because I am a secular Jew and the descendant of Holocaust survivors.
It would be polite to return the favor to the probable descendant of Nazis.

I expect he loved his grandparents, but hated them for following/believing Hitler and ultimately bringing greater ruin to the country. He might see the joy that he may get from indulging you as similar to the joy his grandparents got from indulging Hitler. He may fear getting swept up in the power of harming others, like his grandparents did.

I'd suggest that you only try this fantasy with people who you can respect enough to have a long relationship with (doesn't mean monogamous or even romantic). And before bringing up the kink, a few long talks about bigotry and consent to make sure you are on the same page.

But before that. Self loathing is not very attractive (except to the abusive/exploitative) or healthy. This kink sounds like an effect of self loathing rather than a crush on a Hollywood Nazi or other innocuous origin. I would suggest addressing whatever abuse or unrealistic expectations you have suffered from, to make you so unhappy with reality. Also suggest exercising more empathy.. I believe you were originally American.. would you indulge a black man in a whipping or sweatbox scene? Why or why not? How would you like to be approached about doing such a scene? Are you approaching your German lovers similarly to the way you would like to be approached?

RRR - You think there is an authority who knows "the right way" to conduct poly relationships, or any relationship? Voting Trump eh?

MIM - My desire to have every kind of sex under the sun has settled down considerably, and the benefit is that I have much more energy and mental focus for other areas of my life.
Kudos for being happy in your less-sex-based relationship. Sure, some people like to focus on acquiring money or authority or non-sexual expertise or emotional intimacy or kids more than sex... that doesn't make sexual priorities "less likely to lead to happiness". IMO people want to influence the choices of others mostly when they have some deep unhappiness with their own choices.
102
I'd answer you, @100. mrbombit; except I think I've got it wrong. It's the prefix to identify a person presents as they were born. Not a Trans* . Helps this community identify each other.

Nocute@80. Some people might not be comfortable with the intensity or other in reference to their own kink.
To refuse all inquiry because some people see it as indicting one interpretation, where would our civilisation be if that rule had been followed.
103
I'd like to address a few things from this week. And also say some variant of "porn can be bad" to get kitchnsync all riled up again (yeah I can be a bit of a sadist but he's so easy). But with limited time I'm just going to respond to Seandr for now:
Given that much of human evolution has taken place in the context of social configurations that were considerably less egalitarian than our own, it would make sense for the survival of the species that humans be able to sexualize power-imbalanced relationships.
Do you really think that tribes are less egalitarian than American society? Or are you a creationist or for some other reason don't believe in tribal origins? Sure some primates have more hierarchical tribes, like the common chimp who will rip a child limb from limb to send the mother into estrus (but only when the child is not his own, I believe) and otherwise show excessive aggression to each other... but most primates seem fairly egalitarian, as well as human tribes, to me... I'm not sure the presence of a primary mediator or chief means there's a hierarchy as the position doesn't usually have excessive privileges in the human and primate tribes I've looked into. American society in contrast is full of hierarchy, both governmental and corporate.
103
@EricaP: The Germane molecule is also not too far off from a swastika. (I'm imagining drawing the nucleus + electrons joined with bars for the outer cross-members.)
Or maybe it was meant to be in reference to the knight's crosses, "please go medieval on me?"
(Why not both?--cue Zoidberg)

@90 Reminds me of when Larry David was called out for whistling Wagner...

NSPP should give me a call, haha. Only mostly kidding, but find someone who speaks good German but wasn't subject to all of the guilt and concern of most modern Germans. Even a Swiss German speaker might be able to pull that off. (They have their own dialect of Deutsch--which they pronounce "dootsh" as opposed to high German "doitsh"--but many speak good high German. Plus they were neutral.)
104
@100: cis is the counterpart to trans. The terms come from chemistry and were applied to gender identity metaphorically. The "two parts" are phenotypic sex and gender identity.

cis:
"denoting or relating to a molecular structure in which two particular atoms or groups lie on the same side of a given plane in the molecule, in particular denoting an isomer in which substituents at opposite ends of a carbon–carbon double bond are on the same side of the bond."

trans:
denoting or relating to a molecular structure in which two particular atoms or groups lie on opposite sides of a given plane in the molecule, in particular denoting an isomer in which substituents at opposite ends of a carbon–carbon double bond are also on opposite sides of the bond.
105
People have responses to kinks, nocute.
This thread is on analysing a woman's kink. It's been a rigorous discussion, so you asserting that looking into the causes of kinks sort of falls hollow. You were doing it yourself.