Sunday, January 23, 2005

Family Values as Kink

Yesterday my wife and I were trying to figure out why some people get turned on by S&M. We just couldn't see the attraction. Then it occurred to me that it has to do with guilt: crime and punishment. If you're naughty you must be punished, but the punishment itself gives you permission to be naughty. The other side of the equation is the dom, who punishes the submissive; the attraction here is power and control. The dom is in fact attempting to control their own desires; they are also motivated by guilt, which they escape by shifting it on to the submissive. The submissive is the naughty one. (In fact I've heard it said that the submissive is actually the one in control in S&M--at least when it's done right, and a lot of doms just play the role for the benefit of the submissive.)

And then it struck me: this whole 'family values' thing is kink! The outraged moralists are frustrated doms, obsessed with sex, desparate to partake in it. The reason they are so offended by the sexual practices of others is that they just can't stop thinking about it. So they displace the guilt. It's your fault that they're thinking about it--if you would just stop doing it, they could stop thinking of it. In the Muslim world, this is the motivation behind the hijab, the bhurka, and female cirumcision.

So, they want to whip the naughty people, to punish them, for doing the very things the moralists are obsessed with. What we are witnessing is a sexual disfunction elevated to the level of a social and political movement. But it's still just kink.