A View Of D/s and Abuse

Author: Dakini © 2000




The following is an email sent to me on the topic of how abuse may affect one's bdsm tendencies. With permission from the author, it is placed here. Thank you for your honesty and candor Dakini, it is aprpeciated! 



I'm a switch, living in Portland, OR, and an abuse survivor.  In my case, the abuse was physical, and crypto-sexual, by my brother -- this is to say, my brother and I have both got the "flow" thing going on.  He used to spank me (he was much older, the oldest of  three, and the "enforcer") until I got "out of my body," into what I now recognize as a  kundalini-related flow state, detached and ecstatic in a way.  It was my way of coping; to turn it around. 

As a child, this was my first "sexual" experience -- but I didn't think of  it as sexual.  I didn't like it.  I found it overwhelming. But I did *imprint* on it.  Not so that it shaped my sexuality into a  distinct fetish, but so that I was kinky from the get-go as an adolescent.  And so I had "flow" from day one. 

Something that is not often spoken of in sexual abuse survivors is the  issue of imprinting.  The abused person often *loves* the abuser, and feelings are very mixed up.  Just as most non-abused people tend to imprint sexually from their early experiences, abuse survivors (whether sexual or "just" physical) can imprint from their early experience of power exchange or "flow."  

I loved my brother, and truly believed as a child that he was trying to act to my benefit -- just as my seven year old is frustrated but accepting when I withdraw his computer privs when he acts out (I never would beat him).  I  didn't know that what my brother did wasn't acceptable. 

I certainly didn't understand the sexual undertones of the interaction (he  was 18 and I was 4 when it started, and I was 8 when he left the household entirely).  I didn't realize that until well into adulthood -- not as "recovered  memories" but by replaying that interaction with an adult awareness of "socratic abuse." 

So, in my case, I have learned to accept that my brother was fucked up, but I don't have to be.  I can play with my programming, and use that imprint to enhance my own experience.  The ability to experience "flow" in sexual  situations isn't limited to play -- it works quite well in vanilla sex, and I'm glad  to have developed that ability as a young woman (I'm in my 40's now). 

I'm not glad he abused me, and it seems ikky.  But I can't change it, and won't make it "bad" in my current life.  I certainly can't accept that I should be ashamed of what was imposed on me.  I am not to blame.  

I don't do just sub/dom, or just top/bottom.  I'm an utter switch (bi and  poly, too). I'm into situations that invoke flow and power exchange, by whatever vector. I'm not promiscuous (although I might be in an environment free of disease! ;) and I take care of my physical and mental and social health well.  

But I find that my abuse did influence my sexuality.  Positively.  And  that's a huge taboo; that's unspeakable; and it certainly wouldn't be believed in many vanilla circles. 

In studying anthropology, we find that every taboo hides something that is sacred and easily profaned.  Something that is, perhaps, hard to qualify as sacred or profaned from the outside.  Many people are broken by childhood sexual experiences, so we can not condone them -- but the culture of shame imposed upon the victims is unfortunate. 

I can't really say this to anyone:  I feel very blessed -- NOT in my abuse, but in my ability to see it as just another fucked up influence in my life that I learned something from.  Like the kid I knew who OD'd on drugs in high school, who made me *think* about issues of drug abuse, suicide, risky behavior, and sensation-seeking.  I'm sorry he died; I'm glad I got to see it.  My abuse made me think about the necessity of shame in victim situations.  My abuse taught me to be sensitive to flow between people. My abuse awoke my kundalini at a young age, and I survived it!  I know I am strong. 

I neither desire to abuse or be abused by others.  But I do yearn always for that experience of dissolution between bodies, that electricity, that flow, that power exchange.  And I can do it without the trappings of dominance and submission.  I can do it without pain (my favorite toy for SM is a goose quill, for feather touch and light scratching).  I can do it in vanilla sex, and have learned to do it *better* by studying tantra and various schools of "sex magic." 

But how many formerly abused people would be willing to admit -- in public or in intimate situations -- that they are positively influenced by their experience?   This is a huge taboo. 

I hope this is edifying.  I've been meaning to write an essay on this for ages, if only for myself, and I thought you would appreciate it.  It's always easier for me to write with an audience in mind, I suppose. 





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