Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A post in which I talk about being "nice."

This was originally a comment on Unspeakable Axe's post about the disparity between the number of books and other resources aimed at introducing female to topping, versus introduction males to bottoming.

My comment turned into an essay against the concept of "nice." So for posarity, and on the off change I have any readers left after the long summer hiatus I'm reposting it here.

I’m going to try and explain all the thoughts that are fluttering around in my head on this issue, but since I’m on day #3 of a horrible headache, it may not go so well.

I could really get to hate “nice.” I, like most females I know, was raised to be a “nice” person. The definition of “nice” shifts from person to person, but a few things seem to be constant: “nice” girls don’t hurt people , and “nice” girls don’t like sex. Needless to say, getting hot and bothered from hurting people while having kinky sex is right out.

Sadism is the refined art of being not nice. Exceedingly not nice. (And yes, not all tops are sadists. But let me get to that.) So is it any wonder that there are fewer female sadists around?

Now, as I said earlier, not all tops are sadists. But tops do take control of the power dynamic, sort of by definition. And that’s not “nice” either. Telling someone what they are going to do, to you, or for you, or in general is not “nice.”

“Nice” is putting up and shutting up, and doing what needs to be done, and not enjoying one damn bit of it. Or, at least, this is my understanding of the phenomenon.

To enjoy sex at all is breaking the “nice” paradigm. To enjoy kinky sex, more so. To admit to oneself that one enjoys things that hurt (oh so good!) is to warp “nice” all out of perspective.

But let’s be clear here. The glass (a little more honest) MY glass is only half full. Because for all that I like to think of myself as having broken the “nice” paradigm it lingers.

I’ve been reading Ellie Lumpesse’s (http://www.lumpesse.com/) masculinity interviews with great interest. In several of them, the men talk about the need to make peace with topping. This consensual power play we do SEEMS to go against the egalitarian feminist sensibility that most of us (I do hope!) hold. It doesn’t, I think we can agree. We do it from a place of informed consent, often warping the cultural perceptions around gender, power and sex, and it is a fulfilling part of many of our lives.

Take the feminist angle, and a dose of “nice” and no wonder there are not female tops coming out of the woodwork. Admitting that one likes to hit people and listen to them gasp on that edge of pain/pleasure: that is scary stuff. Even if the people you are hitting want it as much as you do, consented to be there, and are enjoying the heck out of it.

Getting out of “nice” is work. Work: reading, and thinking, and reading some. Finding a voice to say what one wants. Finding other voices who think like you.

And even then, even if you get that far, you find yourself back at “nice” sometimes, wondering if it will ever feel like it’s alright to want to what you do.

I could get to hate “nice”.