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Shackle your judgment: BDSM deserves respect

Published: Friday, November 13, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02

Have you read our article on bondage and sexually expressive "play" seen in the new, unrecognized group started by UNH students? If not, click back to the home page and take it all in: the whips, the domination, the diapers. Try to keep your mouth from falling open.

It's not easy, is it? At TNH, we were surprised at the idea when the story was pitched and shocked once the article was finished. How could a club like this, official or unofficial, really exist on a college campus?

While it's certainly not a customary mixture, sex and violence, there are plenty of people out there, even on college campuses, that are curious and turned on by the idea. A quick Google search on "bondage" reveals more than 350 million results: it's clearly more popular than people think, us included.

Some people think it's immoral, gross or just plain wrong; others feel it's simply another lifestyle choice. Either way, it epitomizes what college is all about: finding out what kind of person you are.

If that means hanging from a ceiling in ropes and chains, so be it. It is a little hard to imagine the person sitting next to you in class choosing to wear a diaper and roll around like a baby, but BDSM is just as unique as any other organization on campus.

It provides an environment for the group members to talk about their interests – in this case, fetishes -- and be open about them.

It's definitely different, and some of you might be smothering laughter by now, but is a group like BDSM really wrong? We think it's better than suppressing those feelings to the point where they become twisted and that same violence is released in more dangerous way.

It could have something to do with upbringing or life at home, but like anything else in life, doesn't parental influence or lack thereof also shape all of our relationships and perceptions?

We don't completely defend the ideas of bondage, submissiveness and other "kinky" characteristics of BDSM because many of us feel they can be unsafe, but we also don't think it's any of our business to judge an organization just because their activities are a shock to our system.

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17 comments

Anonymous
Wed Dec 5 2012 23:25
A Case for the Possible Loss of Functional Consent. by Anon7 The D/s community is replete with claims that consent is a the heart of the D/s relationship. This case is a study in the manner by which De Facto or functional consent may be lost while the appearance of De jour consent may be claimed.   First some definitions De Facto - adj 1. Actual De Jure - noun by right; according to law (in this case agreement or contract) Consent - verb - to permit, approve, or agree; comply or yield noun - permission, approval, or agreement; compliance; acquiescence: Operant conditioning - noun. Psychology A process of behavior modification in which the likelihood of a specific behavior is increased or decreased through positive or negative reinforcement each time the behavior is exhibited, so that the subject comes to associate the pleasure or displeasure of the reinforcement with the behavior Training - "Training involves education and re-education, in essence the delving deeply into what the submissive/slave knows and then reformatting and instilling new thoughts, acceptance and understanding of his/her role"http://msirresistible.mysticalmelody.com/module5.htm Undo influence - Verb It is the pressure, coercion or influence exerted by some person on other person, with an intention to influence his presence of mind for drawing undue benefits from him.   In a D/s relationship the Dominant will attempt to train a submissive, so as to change the submissive in some way either to an agreed upon goal or an open ended arrangement. There are many forms and methods both mental and physical to this end. There will often be contracts and limits agreed upon by both parties. This is the general view of the D/s relationship as per the "community" The 3 legs that hold up the ideals of the D/s community are "Safe Sane and Consensual " without these the community decrees actions as abuse.   Let us look at the most basic argument that the " Consensual " ideal undermined by the very act of "Training" or in the best light may be undermined. Fiat, that the initial contact and agreement by a submissive with a dominant is both De Facto and De Jure consensual. The "consensual" leg stands firm.   Now as a submissive beings to be trained to fulfill what ever roll the dominant has created we may begin to have a problem. Let us posit the first step on training is for the submissive is to be more compliant with the dominants wishes. " the whole point of being submissive is to be compliant and to follow the lead of another:" http://libbysub.blogspot.com/   Thus we have an interesting situation. the dominant is trying to get the submissive to be more compliant. But only with their consent but the heart of consent is that it is made with no "undo influence", by any standard Training contains many elements of " undo influence." Can these too be reconciled ? A person being trained to be compliant while at the same time being required to have the ability to fully consent ? Let us posit that in this hypothetical D/s relationship the D has started training the submissive . The methods of a D to do this are myriad. Many if not all are forms of "operant conditioning" which by definition causes " the likelihood of a specific behavior is increased " . Now given this let us argue that the D has selected either with intent or not (a distinction with out difference ) that the "behavior" to be modified is the giving of consent by the submissive. In short the D has begun to remove functional consent from the relationship. A simple logic test 1 Can a D use Training /operant conditioning to change the thinking ,behaviors and actions of a submissive (Y/N) 2 Can the giving of consent bee seen as thought / behavior / action (Y/N)   If looked at from a logical prospective both are must be a least possible. In fact the D/s relationship is effectively based both being answered in the affirmative.   Since in this case successfully changing the behavior / action of giving consent will result in the submissive no longer having the ability to form true and effective consent. The table that holds the D/s relationship now has a broken leg, and can not stand on the other two. Why not one may ask. Safe - The D/s community stresses SAFE with things like contracts and safe words all well and good, but in this case the submissive will not avail these tools as they have been trained to consent as the default in most given situations. So leg 2 is now broken Sane "Sane Power exchange is about trust -- trust that the person who has the power in a scene will use it responsibly" http://www.rcdc.org/articles/tamar-ssc.html Due to the now hollow consent, the submissive made by oprant conditoning and training any trust that may have existed as been broken. Thus leg 3 has been cracked and can bear no weight.  In conclusion We can see that it is possible that De facto consent CAN be lost, even while the De jure actions that may seem to be consent continue.   Given this the claims of...
Anonymous
Fri Sep 17 2010 07:07
I cannot believe the intolerance of many people, I think freedom of expression and compassion for others who are different is sorely lacking in some people. I think education on the subject is long overdue. The people in the BDSM community are not criminals. They are people who are judged with malice for what? Because of the things they do with other consenting adults behind closed doors, NO CHILDREN, NO INCEST, NO RAPE, NO MURDER, NO PREJUDICE AND HATEFUL COMMENTS TO OTHERS WHO DON'T SHARE THEIR VIEWS. I wish we could be ourselves, but I guess "the land of the free" is just a pipe dream.
Anonymous
Mon Feb 15 2010 22:34
Great, a club for people who like to sexually abuse other people...What a great use of student money.

Oh, no, but wait, those people ask to be abused. That's right. In the same way you can abuse a child and make them seek it out & even like it...

This is some sick crap. Any guy who gets off hurting his girlfriend is a pathetic coward. And any girl who gets off to being hurt like that needs help, not abuse. And female domination is almost as bad.

Anonymous
Thu Feb 11 2010 06:32
I agree with J.Kru. I don't think this subject is fit for general consumption, in fact I've been involved in surveys which shows the vast majority of people think this kind of activity is repugnant, repellant. Just because a few of you accept it is not the reason to push it in the face of others who would otherwise really not like to know about your 'furries' or what the hell ever else. It sickens most people, period.
Meredith Schwartz
Mon Nov 23 2009 20:11
How could a club like this, official or unofficial, really exist on a college campus? There are many.

There are or have been BDSM student groups at:
Columbia University http://conversiovirium.org
The University of Minnesota http://www.sua.umn.edu/groups/directory/show.php?id=2370
Ball State http://www.bsudailynews.com/2.14295/kinky-cardinals-start-group-for-students-to-promote-safe-sane-consensual-sex-1.2004934
Iowa State University http://www.cuffs.stuorg.iastate.edu/?cat=4
University of Chicago https://studentactivities.uchicago.edu/php/public/detail.php?org=633
Oregon State University http://www.angryredplanet.com/~hackbod/munch/epa_old.html (now apparently defunct), Washington University www.studlife.com/archives/News/2004/04/30/ItaintallwhipsandchainsclubshowsnewsideofBDSM/
Indiana University http://php.indiana.edu/~bdsmers/,
University of California, Santa Barbara http://www.dailynexus.com/article.php?a=17591
SUNY Albany http://www.yvonnesplace.net/news/suny_bdsm.htm
Bard College SILK http://groups.yahoo.com/group/silkannounce/, formerly SM/ACES
NYU used to have WHAP, now defunct;
Rutgers used to have RUST, now defunct;
Oberlin deadlocked on recognizing theirs officially and I believe it was eventually defeated http://www.oberlin.edu/stupub/ocreview/archives/1998.10.02/news/bdsm.html
Drew http://www.drewacorn.com/2.5514/bondage-at-drew-a-controversial-idea-1.844611.

I have also seen unconfirmed references to (presumably defunct) groups at the University of South Carolina and Clemson, and the intent to form one at Chico State.

In addition, there are many more broader sex education, sex positive and/or LBGT campus organizations that have held BDSM workshops, seminars, discussions and demos.

disappointed
Sat Nov 21 2009 17:25
@J.Kru
The difference here is that the BDSM group isn't a hate group. It's a special interest group whose activities are conducted with safe, sane, and consensual fun in mind, as well as respect.

@not surprised
The difference here is that sex with little boys is illegal in most jurisdictions. BDSM, given that it is consensual, is perfectly legal.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

not surprised
Thu Nov 19 2009 19:42
What a bunch of editorial wimps! TNH says: "we also don’t think it’s any of our business to judge an organization just because their activities are a shock to our system." This amounts to an "anything goes" philosophy, only valid until something comes along that you simply cannot tolerate. How about a group like UNH-NAMBLA that promotes sex with little boys? Will TNH draw the line at judging THEM? How about a student group like "Nazi Snuf Film Fans," will THAT finally awaken your moral sensibilities? Or would you just say it's none of our business to judge? Just what is it that WOULD get you to issue some kind of moral or ethical objection?
Courtney Jane
Thu Nov 19 2009 14:20
@ Mary,

I am the coordinator of the group. Contact me at UNH.BDSM@gmail.com.

CJ

SRM
Thu Nov 19 2009 08:33
I think it's very educated and intelligent to write about such an topic. Far too often, is our sexuality repressed in the United States of America. Be it because of religious pressures, political or social stigmas that repress us - they are all negative and only cause more harm than good. So, to The New Hampshire and it's staff: I commend you for stepping out of your comfort zone and talking about a topic that may not agree with the majority of the population without fear of reprisal. Please keep up the good work.
Mary
Thu Nov 19 2009 08:03
I have a question: Who runs the BDSM group and where can I sign up?
Your name
Mon Nov 16 2009 22:38
My friends and I are not only upset with this article, but its presence on the front page is disgusting and unwarranted...
Clark Kent
Mon Nov 16 2009 02:13
Mal,
Not to burst your bubble of indignity, but the paper referred to Google first, so that commenter was, I think, taking a dig at that.

m82ep
So in your fictional survey, you think people will be answering so specifically as to include "BDSM" in their answers? What exactly would your topics be if someone asked you to write down what the paper should write about?
Its more likely that students would put down things like "social taboos", "campus organizations", "sex" or "student life" as topics they would want to see covered. I think this article would fit in any of those categories.
Now, if TNH started to write about sexual fetishes every issue, that's a different argument where you can start questioning their news judgment. But right now, that's not the case.

Mal
Sun Nov 15 2009 18:50
m82ep, it isn't our job to "serve the university mission." we are not the lap dogs of UNH administration. we are a student organization that happens to get some of our funding from a student activity fee, as we provide a service to the student body by doing our best to inform them. i hate to generalize, but i want you to take a look at journalism from a marketing standpoint. yes, part of our purpose is conducting investigative journalism and writing hard news that gives our audience a sense of current events. however, if our newspaper was jampacked with hard news, first of all we would have much less material, and second of all most of our audience would get bored. therefore, we put in features and profiles- a lot of journalism (especially longer pieces) focuses on particular people, events, and groups- they may not affect everyone's lives, but they do offer a human interest element to journalism that would otherwise be absent. Features, such as the BDSM piece, add interest and intrigue to the newspaper and attract a lot of readers. When you read that headline, you obviously continued to read because you wanted to see what it was about. I encourage you to look at the front pages of accalimed newspapers, such as the NYT and the Boston Globe, and see if every front page story is hard news. I'd seriously doubt it- many front page stories are features or profiles that interest readers' curiosity. I also encourage you to do more research before you attack a publication, although I commend you on your resourceful use of google.
Helvetica
Sat Nov 14 2009 23:28
If anybody is shocked by this, just wait until they learn about furries.
UNH alum
Sat Nov 14 2009 17:38
It's not unusual for alternative sexuality groups, including those composed of people who like BDSM, to be present on a college campus. It's actually quite common. Conversio Virium has been a recognized student organization of Columbia University since 1994 and there are other similar groups at many colleges across the country. In fact, there has been an unrecognized UNH BDSM group for at least ten years, although it became defunct for a brief time before the current organizers revived it.

BTW, BDSM activities are generally no more unsafe than participating in sports or in most extracurricular activities.

J.Kru
Sat Nov 14 2009 14:38
What about the Holocaust Denial Group? The Black-Man Hayters? Enemies of GLBT ?

The fact is you do think its your business to judge an organization just because their activities are a shock to your system - you do and you would. It's simply that sexual perversion hasn't shocked you. There is no reason I should respect them, at all.

m82ep
Sat Nov 14 2009 14:06
The popularity of BDSM in the general WWW (given by google hits) is not nearly as relevant as the popularity in the immediate UNH community. Yes, there are plenty of topics that are very important in general, but they are not at all of major concern or on the top list of educational priorities of the UNH community.

When you try to argue against any moral judgement, you are striking down a straw man (or woman). Of course, the best argument against this article cannot come from a moral standpoint. There is nothing immoral in writing this article nor in participating in BDSM.

It's not your business to judge the content of bdsm. True. But it is your very damn business to understand what to put on the front page! How do we take this powerful resource we have been given and put it to the best use possible? In this respect, I think you have time and again failed, and of which the present article is a prime example. Frankly, half the student population does not give a damn about what bdsm is. Yeah, conduct a survey carefully. Not a stupid survey that asks the wrong question---you can always coerce the statistics to say what you want if you ask the wrong question. But, if you ask the students to rank 10 topics for articles, and the topics are chosen from all across the spectrum of topics, then you will find out that BDSM DOES NOT rank in the top 3, may be not even in the top 5.

THis would be evidence that you are not serving the university mission well.





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