Commenter Nightflower takes objection to my use of the term abuse in my posting on fetish / kink:

I take issue with your use of the word “abuse” in this context. One very significant difference between BDSM/kink/fetish play and genuine abuse is the presence or absence of consent.

There’s the linguistic issue: despite the fact that my very brief AZBlog link referred to “(ritualized) abuse”, Nightflower takes the position that the word means what he uses it to mean, distinguishing between “genuine abuse” and BDSM practices he doesn’t use the word abuse for. He’s claiming that his technical use, within his community of practice (linguistic and sexual), is the “true” one.

Nightflower explains:

Much of what BDSM players engage in might well look like abuse to someone outside the community, but the hallmark of actual abuse is that the recipient has not consented to it and has no power to stop it. In a BDSM scene, what will happen has usually been negotiated in advance, including “safewords” that the bottom can use to call an immediate halt to the proceedings; a top who violates or ignores a safeword will quickly find him- or herself without any future play partners.

Using the word “abuse” in describing BDSM helps to perpetuate the myths that Dominants/tops/etc. are all thugs, that submissives/bottoms/etc. are all pathetic and lacking self-esteem, and that everyone involved in the scene is mentally ill and lacking the skills necessary to form a “real” relationship.

That BDSM and genuine abuse may sometimes incorporate the same accessories in no way means that they are the same. I’m surprised that a linguist would throw such a charged term around so carelessly.

Well, of course, the term is charged, but I didn’t throw it around carelessly. From the Bound in Public site:

Bound in Public: Innocent boys next door being bound, abused and humiliated for all to see.

This is all ritualized and consensual, for the pleasure of all the participants. The abuse in question is both verbal and physical, and it’s all surrounded by rules and understandings, and the scenes have clear beginnings and endings. In the videos, the men very frequently talk about their experiences afterwards, with enthusiasm and pleasure. (Surmounting an Ordeal — Taking It Like a Man —  is a serious masculine practice.) It’s actually quite sweet.

More descriptions from Bound in Public:

Punks gagged, humiliated, & forced to service cock

Hot Latin stripper is humiliated and used as a sex object in front of a horny crowd.

Noah Brooks is dragged through the streets, bound, beaten and pissed on

Muscular sub is treated like garbage at a dungeon party.

Blond muscle stud blindfolded, flogged, humiliated and fucked…

(Not real humiliation, of course. Any more than real abuse.)

Of course, in the gay stuff, another thread is being flagrantly, publicly queer. A pleasure of its own.


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