Sham-Transgression — The Supreme Mundanity of BDSM


What we will call an extremely normal and typical, prosaic, clichéd sexual episode involves a male whose prerogative is to overpower and ejaculate into or onto a desired sexual object, who is a female, whose role is to feign resistance, offering up an interval of coy struggle sufficient to whet the Man’s primal aggressive instincts before she surrenders, in a paroxysm of acquiescence, to the onslaught of His lust, cheerfully receiving into or onto her person the suitor’s ejaculate. In less wholly conventional arrangements (e.g., same-sex pairings), the roles are not necessarily hitched to genital configuration and a female will play at being the Man, or a male will take on the Woman’s role, but the underlying erotic dynamic of dominance and submission, conquest-virility and paralysis-passivity, does not erode with the shifting of roles. Normative sexuality actualizes in the bodies of its participants the patriarchal ideology of masculine dominance and feminine submission. The woman (feminine) is on the bottom. The man (masculine) mounts her. He’s on top. He holds her down. Stifled she silences, such a sweetheart. Accordingly it is typical for women to be sexually attracted to men whose physical features imply their capacity for force, “strong hands” being especially coveted. Men, meanwhile, are typically drawn to females who appear in some way physically vulnerable (e.g., young, waifish, tottering in heels), i.e. feminized, therefore readily subdued for coital access. Rape fantasies are a staple of both the female and male sexual imaginary: men fantasize about raping, women about being raped. Every fifth woman will be raped before she dies. A man will rape her. This is all very typical to the point of triteness.

As a respite from the bland “vanilla” sexuality of patriarchally determined masculine domination and feminine capitulation, our eager-to-please culture affords us the intriguing option of bondage//discipline, dominance//submission, sadism//masochism, or BDSM. Continue reading “Sham-Transgression — The Supreme Mundanity of BDSM”