“That sounds kind of fucked up…” They say
‘What exactly do they mean by ‘fucked up’?’ we wonder, while often capitulating with a “Yeah, I guess...”
Kinksters of the world, capitulate no more!
‘That’s kind of fucked up’ is a simple expression, and it’s one that I’ve also used on plenty of occasions myself to describe people in a non-hostile, but slightly disapproving, fashion. Chances are that if, like me, you enjoy BDSM, you’ve been described as ‘fucked up’ at sometime or another, although maybe not always to your face.
We kinksters seem to accept this as par for the course, the price for being true to our sexuality. However, it’s an expression that irks me, especially when it ends a conversation rather than starts one. It hints at some nebulous negative opinion, a summary judgement that is too ill defined to latch onto and wrestle. Arguing with the ‘fucked up’ label can feel like trying to bail water with a sieve, as whatever is meant by it can shift and morph depending on what arguments you throw at it. Anyway, this is my attempt to trap that phrase in a box and hit it with sticks.
Frankly, describing BDSM as ‘fucked up’ is a lazy derogation that informs on nothing except the announcer’s prejudice. Perhaps it’s understandable as a gut reaction, but unforgivable as a conclusive judgement.
“That sounds kind of self destructive”, or “That sounds kind of sociopathic”, or “That sounds kind of dangerous”, or “That sounds like the result of childhood trauma”, are all understandable reactions to BDSM, even if for the most part I believe they are inaccurate. However, these specific reactions can be engaged with and countered as necessary. (Here is my general counter as to why I think people like BDSM, I will try to counter the idea that it is dangerous and self destructive in a future post).
In contrast those who utilise the ‘it’s just kind of fucked up’ comment at the end of a BDSM conversation are in a way admitting defeat, but simultaneously refusing to concede. Calling someone ‘fucked up’ is hurtful and it is a label those of us who enjoy BDSM shouldn’t let pass so easily, especially as it is often used in the absence of any genuine argument or rationalization. The implication of calling someone fucked up is that the subject is somehow deficient and should labelled as broken without anyone having identified the actual fault.
Deviant does not equal defective.
To assume someone is ‘damaged goods’ because they don’t fit socially accepted norms is nothing more than juvenile school yard prejudice. This kind of ignorant pack mentality is a powerful force that is a continuous plague on human culture, and if we are to keep it at bay we must stamp on it whenever it rears its ugly head. Whether it’s directed at homosexual people, religious minorities, transgender people, or those with deviant sexual tastes, the persecution of nonconformity can rise up like wildfire, sometimes for no better reason than that people are afraid of difference.
I’ll ask a final question; who is more fucked up; someone who accepts their sexual desires for what they are? Or someone who denies their desires because they’re afraid what other people will think of them?
The person who accepts their deviant sexual desires, and explores them in a safe and ethical way, seems to me to be the winner in the game of ‘least fucked up’. Whether or not you argue that those desires are the result of some internal fault, or are actually just a common quirk of our shared biology, it’s surely safer to recognise them than pretend they’re not there. It’s like driving a manual car instead of an automatic; once you acknowledge you need to use the gear stick occasionally it’s going to be much easier to get where you want to go to, and to keep the engine happy while you get there.
Many secretly kinky people may refuse to acknowledge their non-vanilla fantasies because they’re afraid of what people will think. (Even though I’m not ashamed of my own tastes I don’t just hide behind a pseudonym because it sounds funny!) The fear of social exclusion is understandable, it has been conditioned into us by a culture that has condemned sexual deviancy for centuries. I’d guess this condemnation can be traced to the frequently batshit preachings of the abrahamic religions, but I probably can’t blame religion for everything. This is the 21st century though; we’ve split the atom, decoded the human genome, and seen to the edge of the observable universe. I think there’s only one hell left to believe in, and it’s is the hell that can exist inside a person’s head. It would seem easier for someone to end up there by denying their nature rather than accepting it.