One of the problems in anti-kink rhetoric, as relates to constructing a “normal, healthy sexuality” in opposition to the big bad wolf of kinkiness, oddly mirrors one of the chief oversights of libfemy sex-positivity. This is a brief post about that.
I know other people have pointed out this stuff before; I’m just putting this here so it’ll be on my blog and in my tags.
Anyway — I’ve seen anti-kink folk highlight a number of different things as their sticking point, the intentional causation of pain being one of them, which I assume is why the pain play/spicy food comparison as a counterargument is regarded as old hat. And one of the ways I’ve seen the object of moral criticism differentiated, subsequently, is the potential for traumatization.
You know what else can traumatize people?
In the title of this post, I labeled this rhetorical choice an implicit form of “ace-hate,” but strictly speaking that’s an oversimplification. The actual demographics invalidated might be better described as some number of people who don’t want sex, some number of people who have experienced sexual abuse or violation, and some number of people distressed by sexual dysfunction.
There are lots of reasons why sex could be a site of trauma for someone. There are lots of reasons why someone might view sex as, for them, a damaging and harmful thing.
Yet as far as I’m aware, it’s rare for anti-kink radfems to extend sex-critical lenses into fully anti-sex claims. As far as I’m aware, they might view sexuality as something that’s not above criticism, but that doesn’t usually result in a blanket condemnation of sex itself. Somehow I haven’t managed to see as many people proclaiming to be morally opposed to (all and any) sex — on the basis of potential for traumatization — as I’ve seen proclaiming to be morally opposed to “BDSM”* for a similar reason.
*I really dislike this umbrella term more and more as I try to discuss these things. It brackets a bunch of things together that don’t always go together, which depending on the context can interfere with clarity.
If “can be experienced as traumatic” were really the sticking point for being anti-kink in whatever capacity, then logic would dictate that the same precept should apply to sex.
But it appears people are a lot less interested in pursuing that idea.
Almost as if an “atypical” (negative) relationship to sex is deemed too uncommon to take into account. As if it doesn’t warrant consideration in these matters. As if people are reluctant to judge and denounce the-physical-act-of-sex-itself on the basis that damaging outcomes with it are possible.
I guess remembering not to imply sex is free of these problems would just be too inconvenient.