Evangelical men need to stop lying about women’s health

This is the website for Refuge, a UK agency “For women and children, Against domestic violence.”

Refuge runs a national helpline for women being beaten by men. They also provide shelters, psychological support for victims, legal advocacy and legal services. These are Good Things.

To attack groups like Refuge, spreading lies about them, is to take the side of abusers and wife-beaters and thugs. This is a Bad Thing. Don’t do this.

Refuge also produces PSAs — advertisements urging the victims of domestic violence to seek help and to avail themselves of the assistance Refuge and other groups can provide.

This is a trigger warning regarding domestic violence for the following link and embedded video.

This is a powerful PSA produced by Refuge.

YouTube Preview Image

That video is heartbreaking and stomach-churningly true-to-life. It is a potent, persuasive message to the victims of domestic violence, and it is unambiguously and forcefully opposed to such violence.

This is a trigger warning for the following links regarding hypocrisy, deliberate dishonesty and contempt for women.

This is a LifeNews article lying about that video, about Refuge, and about Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood, like Refuge in the UK, is a vital resource for women who are victims of domestic violence. Planned Parenthood, like Refuge, is unambiguously opposed to domestic violence. And so Planned Parenthood shared the above video from the Refuge, endorsing its message to women suffering such abuse: Don’t cover up, get help.

By attacking Planned Parenthood and Refuge, LifeNews is siding with abusers against the victims of domestic violence. This is a Bad Thing.

This is the Liar Tony Perkins repeating LifeNews’ lie, and embellishing it further to claim that Planned Parenthood and Refuge are promoting domestic violence:

Hello, I’m Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. The abortion industry can cover anything up and their latest video proves it. In the footage, Planned Parenthood coaches girls on looking good after they’ve been physically abused. “I’ve had a bit of a rough time,” says a girl with bruises, “but I’m going to be doing a talk today on how to cover-up.”

This is a deliberate lie. This is a deliberate lie that white evangelicals are eager to believe because it allows them to pretend that Planned Parenthood is utterly wicked and therefore that they, by opposing Planned Parenthood, are utterly righteous.

This is a Bad Thing. This is the sin of pride. This is the sin of bearing false witness. This is the sin of siding with abusers against their victims. Don’t do this.

This is another lie that white evangelicals are telling about Planned Parenthood. This one comes from the right-wing website The Christian Post, which provides this dishonest headline: “Planned Parenthood Received $1,622 in Gov’t Funds for Each Abortion.” This is not true.

Planned Parenthood is a vital and irreplaceable provider of women’s health care in the United States. It provides basic health screening and medical services for millions of American women who otherwise could not afford access to such care. In support of this work, Planned Parenthood received $542.4 million in federal funding in 2012.

None of that funding went toward abortion services. The Christian Post knows this, but suggested otherwise anyway. Federal funding is prohibited by law from going toward abortion services. The Christian Post knows this, but suggested otherwise anyway.

This is called lying. This is the sin of bearing false witness. This is a Bad Thing. Don’t do this.

Lest you think that this is “only” the Christian Post, which is a bit of a fringe site and a disreputable corner of the Internet, consider this: This is Ed Stetzer promoting the Christian Post’s lie about Planned Parenthood.

Stetzer is not a fringe character, but a prominent voice in Southern Baptist and white evangelical circles. He’s also a numbers guy who is usually very good at noticing and speaking up when someone is playing dishonest games with numbers.

But not when it comes to Planned Parenthood.

Stetzer knows that repeating the claim “Planned Parenthood Received $1,622 in Gov’t Funds for Each Abortion” makes about as much sense as claiming that “Planned Parenthood received $2.6 million in government funds for every 2012 plate appearance by Wilson Valdez.”

Or saying that Planned Parenthood received $410 in government funds for every copy of Justin Bieber’s Believe sold in 2012.

Or saying that Planned Parenthood received about $12,000 in government funds for every Southern Baptist congregation in the U.S.

Stetzer’s usual standards of honesty and accuracy would not allow him to promote such numerical nonsense about any other subject. But like most white evangelicals, he sets standards of honesty and accuracy aside when it comes to Planned Parenthood.

This is a Bad Thing. Don’t do this.

The Southern Baptists’ interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:34 has done men like Ed Stetzer a disservice. “Women should be silent in the churches,” that verse says, “for they are not permitted to speak.” If women in Southern Baptist and other white evangelical churches were not compelled to keep silent, then men like Stetzer might have a better idea of the vital role that Planned Parenthood has played in the health and health care of women in their congregations.

Millions of poor and working-class American women rely on Planned Parenthood for essential health services. Millions of women in Southern Baptist and other white evangelical congregations are poor and working-class.

Millions of those women are the same women.

White evangelical men do not realize this because women are told to be silent in the churches. And because women in their churches have been listening to the enthusiastic and gleeful lies about Planned Parenthood that the men in their churches tell and embellish and re-tell, and they know that the truth as they know it to be true is not welcome in such congregations. Their congregations are not safe places for this truth.

This is a Bad Thing.

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  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Wow. I just don’t even. *throws hands up in despair and astonishment (>_<)/  *

    This is the kind of thing MRAs like to claim is complete bullshit and all those wimminz just lie, like, y'know.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Word.

    I am deep in the heart of rehearsals for my theatre group’s  production of The Vagina Monologues, and am therefore exceptionally harrowed by this sort of evil right now. But it remains equally evil regardless.

  • Fusina

     Before we were married, my then boyfriend and I were visiting his parents. We were joking around and he playfully smacked me on the bum. It stung, and in reflex I spun around, had my finger in his face and announced, “You are not to ever hit me again”. About that time I noticed that his Mum was standing in the doorway and had seen the whole thing. I was mortified (yeah, yeah) but she and I were talking later and she praised me for standing up for myself.

    She has been dead for three years now, and I miss her every damn day.

  • Lori

    Ah Fusina, every time you talk about your late MIL I get a combination of a warm fuzzy and sad for you that she’s gone. She was obviously an exceptionally special woman and you were so lucky to have her.

  • Fusina

    She accepted me as I was, and didn’t have any expectations of what I would be–I loved her son and that was enough for her. That I gave her two grandchildren was icing on the cake. We had a lot in common–gardening, fancywork (aka embroidery) her son, my kids, cooking–we could talk on the phone for hours about nothing at all.

  • Tdevolve

    it’s not clear to me what lie tony perkins told.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Gee, you mean like where he claimed a woman faked being beaten up?

    That is a pretty bald-faced lie right there.

    Use your head, for God’s sake.

  • Juanjc3d

    I think you should read the article well enough… Not to read it well and make a refuation of it, this a Bad Thing… Tisk tisk…
    The author is NOT against Refuge, and the author is against PP for many good and true reasons – does not mean that the organization only does evil things, but that the evil things it does endorse are enough for us to oppose PP.

  • SisterCoyote

    What evil things, exactly, does Planned Parenthood endorse?

    Aside from which, saying one is “not against refuge” and then attacking refuges – is being against refuge.

  • Baby_Raptor

    There’s no valid reason to be against a group of people who are out there in the trenches, providing healthcare to poor people who need it. 

    So what if they happen to provide one service you disagree with? Not everyone holds your opinion. The law certainly doesn’t. And is that really a reason to completely deny everyone who depends on them for everything else that help? 

    Could you be more self-absorbed? 

  • John (not McCain)

    My general rule when lying morons like Juanjc3d start posting bullshit about Planned Parenthood is they get $5 from me for every post.  I wonder how much this particular lying moron will cost me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    I suppose it’s possible that Tony Perkins is just stupid enough to believe that the point of the video was to teach women how to cover up bruises.

  • Juanjc3d

    P.S. misinformation, which is the middle-name of zealous Christians, is NOT the same as lying. Lying implies that the truth is known and *deliberately* hidden/distorted/etc. To mix up misinformation with lies is a Bad Thing, please don’t do this.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    We’ve been through this before. Unless Tony Perkins didn’t actually watch the video he was talking about, he was lying.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    And if he didn’t watch it, he was lying if he implied he had.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Aaaah. *nods head sagely*

    You’re one of those “lying for Jesus is OK” types.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    We must not make our opponents look worse than they really are.

  • Matri

    We must not make our opponents look worse than they really are.

    Impossible. No amount of POE-ing, sarcasm, or ridiculous over-generalization can even come close to the amount of fut-nuckkery the right-wing comes up with.

    The Onion reports far more true facts in a day than Fox News does in a month, for crying out loud!

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    What, on your view, makes it a Bad Thing to “mix up” deliberately distorting the truth and lying?

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    To mix up misinformation with lies is a Bad Thing, please don’t do this.

    To spread misinformation and pretend it’s truth is a Bad Thing. Please don’t do this.

  • P J Evans

     misinformation, which is the middle-name of zealous Christians, is NOT
    the same as lying. Lying implies that the truth is known and
    *deliberately* hidden/distorted/etc. To mix up misinformation with lies
    is a Bad Thing, please don’t do this.

    In other words, it’s LYING, combined with self-justification.

  • Jim Roberts

    Tony Perkins has had the truth explained to him on at least three occasions (An episode of Crossfire, a debate I witnessed in New York State, and a brief, shouted statement at a press conference) that I am personally aware of. No doubt there are more. He knows the truth, or at least has been given the opportunity to separate the truth from the lie, and refuses to do so – he is deliberaly spreading untruth. What would you rather call that?

  • SisterCoyote

    Misinformation is not, technically speaking, lying.

    But misinformation and lying ARE both bearing false witness, so I’m not sure what ground a zealous Christian has to stand on defending either one.

  • Hexep

    When one elects to speak, one should make every effort to make oneself understood. If one willfully gives the listener the wrong impression, then that’s deception, of which misinformation and lying are both subsets. And that’s a wrongful thing to do.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    There’s lying, and there’s speaking out of ignorance (which are very different things), and then there’s speaking out of willful, deliberate, carefully cultivated ignorance. I’m prepared to not make much of a distinction between that and lying.

    TRiG.

  • Lori

     

    To mix up misinformation with lies is a Bad Thing, please don’t do this.  

    Continuing to believe that the same person is simply misinformed about the same issues again, and again and again instead of dealing with the fact that he’s a liar is a Bad Thing. Please don’t do this. If you are going to do it, don’t expect the rest of us to play along.

    Note also: being willfully misinformed is no better than lying.

  • AnonymousSam

    Perkins is claiming that Refuge’s video is exactly what it depicts without bothering to even imagine that it could be taken as a deeper message. The video is a kind of dark parody, highlighting how absurd it is for abuse victims to go to such lengths to protect their abusers. Perkins says it’s not a parody at all, and really is a video instructing abuse victims on how to protect their abusers. He’s counting on his followers either having zero tone recognition, or more likely, briefly glancing at the contents of the video and going no further.

    It continues to astound me how a sociopath seems to understand empathic messages better than so-called loving Christian conservatives. At this rate, I may have to see about getting re-diagnosed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    Nevermind the last 15 seconds or so of the video, which essentially is a giant neon sign saying “DON’T ACTUALLY DO THIS. THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU SHOULD DO. GET HELP PLEASE”

  • Carstonio

    I’m confused. I can understand Perkins alleging that women lie about being abused in order to get abortions. But I don’t understand his motive for claiming that PP teaches women to protect their abusers. That sounds more like a charge that a feminist would make against a “crisis pregnancy center.” If Perkins is trying to characterize PP as generically evil, his argument implies that abuse of women is a serious problem, and I would expect him to fret more about men falsely accused of abuse.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    It continues to astound me how a sociopath seems to understand empathic messages better than so-called loving Christian conservatives

    One thing I’ve always heard about sociopaths is that they’re really excellent at manipulating other people, if they choose, because they’re really good at figuring other people out. Sort of like having perfect pitch but not being a great singer, I thought. 

  • AnonymousSam

    I’ve heard that of others and it’s basically what the psychiatric model says, but I’m the person who came into this blog protesting that conservatives probably really do want better medical care for women and just don’t ever get around to saying it, so…

  • Anton_Mates

    One thing I’ve always heard about sociopaths is that they’re really excellent at manipulating other people, if they choose, because they’re really good at figuring other people out.

    That’s more of a filtering thing than an inherent advantage to sociopathy, I think.  Adolescents who show sociopathic behavior are certainly much more likely to end up in trouble with the law; their risk/reward calculus seems to be a bit defective.  (There’s an interesting study using gambling games to test this.)  If that’s so, then sociopaths who end up living successful lives kind of have to be exceptionally talented at figuring people out, because otherwise they wouldn’t make it that far.

  • Lunch Meat

    Seriously. This is like watching a laundry detergent commercial and claiming that it promotes stains.

    Also, the Life News article lies about other things as well.

    In 2011, Planned Parenthood of Upper Hudson required teens as young as 13 applying for its S.T.A.R.S. peer educator program to attend Capital Pride, a gay parade. Children attending the parade were exposed to dangerous, deviant
    behavior, including scantily clad people on parade, engaged in bondage
    and other sado-masochistic behavior—behavior which could easily result
    in the kinds of bruises and marks the young lady in the video suffered.

    a) Scanty clothing is dangerous and deviant now? Better get kids off the beach and out of the locker rooms!

    b) The idea that BDSM is like, leads to or is in any way related to abuse is a disgusting lie. Bondage is harmless fun if you’re doing it right, and it’s the complete opposite of abuse–it’s about consent, communication, and making each other feel good. NOT control and violence.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It’s not even that. It’s the fact that the article is leaning on homophobic buttons to push in their audience and so obviously doing so that renders it completely absurd to anyone with a working brain.

  • AnonymousSam

    Also, the odds of a 13 year old being eligible to sign up for S.T.A.R.S. are pretty remote. Applicants must be full time high school students, which generally means 14-18.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Also, the odds of a 13 year old being eligible to sign up for S.T.A.R.S. are pretty remote. Applicants must be full time high school students, which generally means 14-18.

    Yeah, you need to be either a scientist or ex-military to get into S.T.A.R.S.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Har :P

  • The_L1985

     And stay away from the regular RCPD.  They’re pretty much guaranteed to die when the zombies come to town.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    b) The idea that BDSM is like, leads to or is in any way related to abuse is a disgusting lie. Bondage is harmless fun if you’re doing it right, and it’s the complete opposite of abuse–it’s about consent, communication, and making each other feel good. NOT control and violence.

    I have several friends into BDSM who assert that they find it more sexually liberating precisely because consent and communication are treated as such a serious part of the experience there, which they find lacking otherwise.  

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The idea that BDSM is like, leads to or is in any way related to abuse is a disgusting lie.

    This is the same group of people who say women must be sexually controlled by their husbands. And by the state, if their husbands aren’t there or won’t do it.

    I think, unlike a lot of bullshit they spread, they might really think BDSM is abusive. They have literally no concept of consent. Talking about limits? Safe words? Stopping doing something sexual to your wife if you see she’s not absolutely thrilled with it? Having boundaries? Tying someone up like this, but not like that, hitting them exactly that hard there and never harder or elsewhere, playing, mutual pleasure — these are all things that depend on a bedrock of consent. If someone has no idea of consent, what does this stuff look like to them? I can’t get into that mindset, but I’d guess it must be pretty scary. But then, their whole lives must be pretty scary, and particularly their sex lives.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     Imagine how badly their brains would break to learn that in some BDSM relationships, it’s the man who is submissive or otherwise bottoms.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I think they would not be able to understand it. Or they’d scoff at the man for being supposedly like a woman.

    In progressive circles, women being dominant and men being submissive sexually is pretty widely accepted. The converse is not. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > I can’t get into that mindset, but I’d guess it must be pretty scary.

    I’ve had this conversation with a few “traditionalists” of this stripe. The impression I’ve come away with is that consent or the lack thereof isn’t really their issue at all.

    They were willing to agree, if I’m patient enough, that BDSM sex might be mutually consenting (ditto gay sex, anal het sex, pegging, gender-swapping role-playing, and a host of other practices). They just didn’t care; that wasn’t the important thing.

    What is the important thing was harder to establish, but the center of gravity seemed to be a combination of normative (that is, what everybody else is presumed to do, what is socially approved of, what they wouldn’t get in trouble for if it got out that they were into it, “normal”, “not weird”, etc.) and pure (that is, not evoking feelings of disgust).

    My sense is that “pure” is really the crux, here. If they were somehow convinced that their standards weren’t in fact normative, I expect they would conclude that the society as a whole is disgusting, and reject the practices anyway. Whereas if they were somehow convinced that purity existed outside their standards or didn’t really matter at all, I don’t think normativity would matter so much.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > I can’t get into that mindset, but I’d guess it must be pretty scary.

    I’ve had this conversation with a few “traditionalists” of this stripe. The impression I’ve come away with is that consent or the lack thereof isn’t really their issue at all.

    They were willing to agree, if I’m patient enough, that BDSM sex might be mutually consenting (ditto gay sex, anal het sex, pegging, gender-swapping role-playing, and a host of other practices). They just didn’t care; that wasn’t the important thing.

    What is the important thing was harder to establish, but the center of gravity seemed to be a combination of normative (that is, what everybody else is presumed to do, what is socially approved of, what they wouldn’t get in trouble for if it got out that they were into it, “normal”, “not weird”, etc.) and pure (that is, not evoking feelings of disgust).

    My sense is that “pure” is really the crux, here. If they were somehow convinced that their standards weren’t in fact normative, I expect they would conclude that the society as a whole is disgusting, and reject the practices anyway. Whereas if they were somehow convinced that purity existed outside their standards or didn’t really matter at all, I don’t think normativity would matter so much.

  • Lunch Meat

    “Normal” sex evokes feelings of disgust in some people, even in those who enjoy it.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Fair point. So it’s possible that relaxing “normative” might do some good, I suppose. I’ve never had a serious discussion about sex with such people, so I’m not really sure what factors are in play.

  • Lori

     

    I’ve never had a serious discussion about sex with such people, so I’m not really sure what factors are in play.  

    IME a deeply sex-negative upbringing.

  • Dan Audy

    “Normal” sex evokes feelings of disgust in some people, even in those who enjoy it.

    Apparently sexual arousal in women overcomes feelings of disgust.  As a man I can’t quite decide whether I should find these results insulting or not.

  • Carstonio

    My own reaction to BDSM is simply that I cannot identify with the desire to put one’s self in a vulnerable position, because I generally feel vulnerable around people to one degree or another. I suspect that this type of sex involves a level of trust far greater than most other types, but I could be wrong.  I don’t think of permutations of sex as objectively abnormal because normality is a concept with no objective meaning. As long as there’s mutual consent, it’s not my concern.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Yes, it’s all about purity.

    Human beings, across cultures and
    throughout history, seem to share a few core ethical values, hard-wired
    into our brains by millions of years of evolution as a social species.
    Those values: Fairness, harm and the avoidance thereof, loyalty,
    authority, and purity. (Some think there may be one or two others,
    including liberty and honesty; but those aren’t yet as
    well-substantiated, or as well-studied.)

    Liberals prioritize very
    different values from conservatives. When asked a series of questions
    about different ethical situations, self-described liberals strongly
    tend to prioritize fairness and harm as the most important of these core
    values — while self-described conservatives are more likely to
    prioritize authority, loyalty, and purity.

    Greta Christinia, Why Liberal Values Really Are BetterWhy Liberal Values Really Are BetterTRiG.                     

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Yeah, I’m familiar with the theory. It might even be true; I don’t know enough to judge.

  • Termudgeon

    I almost hope it’s a deliberate lie. The idea anyone could be so incapable of decoding a message that they read this one as pro-abuse is almost worse than a deliberate lie.

  • veejayem

    Having glanced at some of Tony Perkins’s earlier pronouncements I would feel justified in being extremely sceptical if he announced that the world was round. At the very least, I would be suspicious of his motives for saying so.

  • Barry_D

    I left a comment on Ed’s site. I’ll bet it never appears, just like with CT.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Abortion at Planned Parenthood is out-of-pocket for the patient, as we all know here. And it is nowhere near $1622. Less than a third of that. It is a very simple procedure, and the people who do it are doing a public service, not looking to make a profit.

    Now, the lies: abusers lie. They lie all the time, and they’re good at confusing their victims. 

  • Savvy Single Christian

    Why can’t anyone understand that it is a typical advertising “gimmick” to present one story and then juxtapose it with the truth?  Too many women hide the truth.  I have a wonderful man in my life but I bruise very easily.  I actually do bump into things.  A door at Macy’s hit me and left a horrible bruise.  My acupuncturist expressed extreme concern and wanted to know who was hurting me.  A massage therapist bruised me accidentally using a massage technique and extreme concern was expressed about that.  Until I said it was the massage therapist.  LOL, right?

    But it’s not such an LOL.  Women are very good at covering.  They lie about this all the time.  Remember when attached garages were so popular?  Remember when everyone started enclosing their carport or building new garages?  Everyone was afraid of being attacked.  Yes, it may have happened.  But it was more than likely women who were being beaten by their husbands who blamed it on a prowler, making women everywhere frightened.  As a result we all have attached garages and this begets a new lie.  Remember car jackings?  we have a family friend who said she was attacked by someone who wanted to jack her Porsche.  I mean, it’s a Porche, right?  Of course it was a car jacking attempt!  It made everyone afraid and people everywhere were locking their car doors fearful of car jackers.  And then the truth finally came out when she couldn’t cover up any longer.  She landed in the hospital with a cracked skull and severe bruises all over her body.  The husband landed in jail-rightfully so.

    I think it’s a great commercial.  DON’T COVER UP!

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     You know, Savvy Single Christian, your overall message seems to be “I support Refuge’s video! Don’t cover up your abuse! Get help instead!” But you seem to be building your argument out of numerous demonstrating that Women Lie All The Time And This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.

    I am very, very uncertain about you and your support for abuse victims, given how you seem to want to blame them for all sorts of non-ideal first world upper-middle-class social trends.

  • Hexep

    Having thought about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply cannot understand BDSM. I don’t need to, and I’m prepared to file it under the general category of ‘stuff that people do that they like, and that thus isn’t my problem,’ but that’s as far as I can go. I hope that’s enough, but I honestly have nothing else to give.

    But if I was involved with a woman and I found out that she was into that stuff, there would not be another date.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > I hope that’s enough, but I honestly have nothing else to give.

    (shrug) It’s certainly enough for me. You get to choose who you date on whatever basis you wish to. As long as you’re not shaming other people who do like it, I’m cool.

  • Hexep

    That’s… actually very refreshing.

    I won’t lie, I was expecting to come back and see something on the lines of, “hey, fuck you, it’s not enough for you to just look down your nose at people and say ‘do what you want, you’re beneath me anyway,’ you have to accept us and understand us!” So… congratulations for giving me better treatment than I thought I deserved?

    But seriously, there’s no real reason why anyone likes anything, is there? Unless it reminds them of something else that they like – you like hot chocolate because you used to drink it with your mama when you were little, or something – but that’s just turtles all the way down. Other than that, it’s just… it is what it is. Why do I dislike raw tomatoes? I could say it’s because I don’t like the texture of the seeds, but then what? Why don’t I like the texture of the seeds? If you know why, drop me a line. Anyway, I’m a smoker, so I’ve got no business discussing taste.

    I suppose part of it comes down to the fact that I’ve always found the orgasm somewhat shameful, on the order of picking a scab or tugging on my facial hair. I’ve always considered masturbation to be essentially medicinal – to aid in sleep, to relieve pressure on the prostate, etc. – and while sex is a totally important and wholesome activity to do with your partner, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always seen it as another part of just the activity of being in love with another person. You have sex with them, you keep house with them, you talk to them about your deep and important feelings, but what you’re doing, per se, is not as important as the fact that you’re sharing it with someone important. Getting too into sex would be like getting too into beating them at Mario Kart, or outsmarting them in clever conversation. The important thing is the life of the mind, which, in the end, is the only thing that matters – how we order our own thoughts and regard the world around us.

    But this is how I live my life; I think I prefer others do their own thing. Helps me keep my personal singularity.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    I think safewords are important for non-consent play (which I don’t get at all), but there’s plenty to BDSM without non-consent play (I don’t get most of that either; might like to try bondage some time if I can find someone I trust enough, but the idea of pain in sex is just confusing).

    TRiG.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Getting too into sex would be like getting too into beating them at Mario Kart, or outsmarting them in clever conversation. The important thing is the life of the mind, which, in the end, is the only thing that matters – how we order our own thoughts and regard the world around us.

    I guess this is something where our outlooks differ, since I do not see sex as a competitive activity, but a cooperative one.  That is a big part of why talking over with your partner what you want to have happen during a session is seen as such a big part of BDSM culture.  There is a certain negotiation so that everyone gets something that they want out of the experience.  Different partners may want different things, and usually that might be part of the negotiation (an agreement to take turns doing things the other partner wants.)  If one partner wants to do something that the other partner is uncomfortable with, that is the time to make that clear.  

    This kind of negotiation is especially important in BDSM, but I think that it also generalizes well to any given kind of sexual activity.  Or heck, it can generalize further to any given collaborative activity where one partner must implicitly trust the other.  If you are lucky, to paraphrase Doctor Seuss, “When you find someone who’s weirdness matches up with your own, we call that love.”

    Or as a friend of mine is fond of saying, “Vanilla is a spice too.”

  • Hexep

    I wouldn’t say that I regard sex as a competitive activity, so much as the fact that it’s simply an activity that two people do together, and focusing too much on the act itself – its color, its luster, its divine heaviness – just detracts from the fact that you’re doing it with someone else, and that in this way, you’re sharing part of yourself with them and they’re sharing it with you. Getting caught up on the details is trouble.

    I never mix my passion with my romance. This is why my girlfriends only get to see the songs that I write for them specifically, and never get to see me compose. Some things are best not shared; a man like me needs his space.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    What concerns me then, about safe words, is that – as I understand from reading on Wikipedia – that the idea is that you’re supposed to choose something innocuous, like ‘apricot.’ The thinking being that in the course of these activities, one will say ‘no’ and the other person is supposed to ignore that, until the ‘real’ safe word comes up, the fantasy breaks, and we’re back to the here and now. Am I correct in my assumption?

    It depends on the people.  For some, saying, “No” or “Mercy” is clear enough, and they don’t want to roleplay a non-consent scene anyway*.  Other people have some elaborate fantasy roleplay scenario in mind, and want to immerse themselves in it, so they need some signal that they’re speaking “out of character” to alert their partner about what’s going on.  The traffic light system has become popular in the BDSM scene:  red for stop, yellow for slow down, green for go ahead.

    You mentioned playing D&D — does your group have any signals meaning “I’m speaking out-of-character right now”?  My old Vampire LARP group used “cover your ankh necklace” for this, and my current RPG group uses “put one hand on top of your head”.

    *This webcomic (probably NSFW) is of that opinion:  http://tryitandlikeit.tumblr.com/image/18236683276

  • Hexep

    For us, part of the fun of having your character is to have some kind of affectation, some immediately obvious mannerism – tone of voice, accent, posture – that is obviously not the player’s. Dropping character was as simple as dropping that affectation. My current game is set in something like the Baroque Cycle, using REIGN; my ‘affectation’ is that my character looks down his nose at people. Or, bugs his eyes out slightly. Or, puts on his own affectation, and speaks with an outrageous, fake Greek accent. Just having any sort of affectation at all, any kind of effort to alter your speech or bearing, is usually enough.

    Also popular is just saying, ‘hey, guys, wait a second,’ or just calling someone by their actual name.

    Now, I’m reading your comic, and all of that sounds insanely sensible, don’t get me wrong. But ‘tell people if something’s wrong or you don’t like what they’re doing’ just seems, well… not quite common sense, but rather that, in the last segment at least, it’s not as though those two had some kind of set up where if she’d just said ‘no, no, don’t do that,’ he’d be like, ‘muahahahaha, you are in my power now!’ Those two seem like they’re being themselves, and getting off on the physical rather than on the storytelling. That’s not my scene, but I can understand it, because I have my own scene and, you know, oysters and snails.

    I just cannot get behind the erotic roleplaying. To me, when I go into fantasy, it’s got to be about… something epic. Something large, something meaningful. Gods and kings and triumphs and passions and wars and revenge and empires, heavy things, massive things! If me and my gal are fantasizing about being Christopher Columbus having sex with Queen Elizabeth, well… they’re still just kinda doin’ it.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I find sole reliance on character affectation to determine whether someone’s in or out of character to be problematic, myself.  It depends a great deal on a person’s roleplaying style — sometimes I might play a character whose mannerisms happen to be pretty similar to my own, for instance.  And it will often take me at least a few sessions for a character to fully gel with me.

    Then there’s the fact that not everyone’s all that great at acting, new players especially.  And while some people really are good at doing things like accents and physical bearing, other people just *think* they are…

  • Hexep

    I don’t know; all I can say is that the way I’ve tended to do it, it’s usually been obvious from context. My character wouldn’t say ‘hey, pass me the ashtray,’ or ‘let’s order a pizza.’

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    *This webcomic (probably NSFW) is of that opinion: 
    http://tryitandlikeit.tumblr.com/image/18236683276

    I found this particularly hilarious because of the guy in the “FETLYFE 4EVER” shirt.  According to most of my female friends on that social network, they get messages from guys like that all the time, to the point it gets really annoying, like spam.  

    It is like, “Guys, you are not as hot shit as you think you are, and the fact that you clearly did not even read the profile you are messaging demonstrates that.”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The thinking being that in the course of these activities, one will say ‘no’ and the other person is supposed to ignore that, until the ‘real’ safe word comes up, the fantasy breaks, and we’re back to the here and now. Am I correct in my assumption?

    That is partially true, but for the most part it also is to prevent ambiguity.  When someone says “don’t stop” they might mean “keep doing that” instead of “don’t, stop” meaning “cut that out right now.”  

    As safeword by contrast is unambiguous, hard to misinterpret the agreed upon meaning.  

    Incidentally, there are certain *ahem* semi-private “play spaces” a person can use for this kind of activity in which a supervisor will be present (though never so close as to be intrusive or leering) who has the role of making sure that safewords are observed the degree of physical harm does not cross certain thresholds.  Assuming one is alright with a modest amount of observation (not everyone is) this can actually be a more comfortable setting to explore such experiences in because one is not completely at the mercy of a single other party.  

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     What would “understanding this stuff” look like?

    That is… OK, non-consent fantasies squick you. That’s fine. When you say you want to understand it, what is it you want? Do you want them to not squick you? Do you want some kind of narrative like “non-consent fantasies squick me because I had thus-and-such experiences”? Do you judge non-consent fantasies morally problematic and feel bad about that judgment? Something else?

  • Hexep

    I believe that I approach the world with a fair amount of clear-sight and discernment; I believe that most people do the same. Thus, I’m always very reluctant to attribute a disparity between myself and another person to something as basic as ‘some folks like this, and some folks like that.’ For some, elementary things, of course, that’s all there is in the world – there’s no rational reason why I find tomato seeds abhorrent, nor any rational reason why others like them. Some things just are.

    But ‘why do people do what they do’ is one of the great questions of human life; it’s probably the only question that really matters. Here is something that is to me repellent, and to others appealing; I want to know how we reached these conclusions; and I don’t want to just call it Chinatown until I’ve absolutely no choice in the matter.

    We are regarding the same phenomena and having very different reactions. What pieces of information are we not sharing, to lead us to these conclusions?

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Thanks for your honesty, Hexep.  I, like Lori, count myself as more of an informed observer to kinkland than an expert; someone who’s more of an expert might be able to give better advice.

    I’ll start off by saying that your kinks may or may not have anything to do with your abusive childhood.  After all, people with happy, non-abusive childhoods get heavily into BDSM.  So it could be that it’s your mind’s way of handling the abuse, or it could be a completely separate thing.  Either way, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to make your kinks a fulfilling part of your life.

    Probably the best things to start off doing would be to look up some 101-type informational sites, and then see if there are sites for any local groups.  If there are, one of them ought to have a “munch” you can go to.  A munch is a low-pressure social gathering, for the express purpose of meeting people who are in the scene and getting to know them in a non-sexual context.

    Aside from that… um… if there’s anyone here who *is* more of a kink expert, perhaps they can offer some advice?

  • Hexep

    When I let the relative safety of Hong Kong, I had a little list of things to do and not do. At the very top of that list is ‘don’t get sent to the asbestos mines.’ If such a thing exists in this country, it’s the domain of high cadres  and the super-rich; such practices are wildly illegal here.

    But I’ll look it up all the same. The police don’t know what’s in my heart, nor do they have the resources to see what I’m browsing. We’ll see what’s out there.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    (nods) I’m sorry about your experiences, and doubly sorry that you’re in a place where being open about your state has such consequences. I appreciate your openness here.

    Is creating an anonymous account on a more BDSM-focused discussion site an option for you? I suspect you’re far from the only person in your situation, and there’s probably lots of advice to be had on such a site regarding how to approach it (including but not limited to how to find informed consenting partners and play with them safely) from that community, as well as more general accounts of how people got to where they are.

  • Hexep

    But that’s just the thing; I’m not sure I want to. Here is a part of me that is ignoble, that is reprehensible, that is painful to carry and painful to behold. Do I really want to let that out and give it an avenue? Do I really want to live my worst nature?

    I’m fortunate in that I can generally appreciate the traditional Four Bases, as it were. Is it wise to push the boundaries, and get in a situation that could end up badly?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    If your (potential) sexual preferences are ignoble, reprehensible, and reflect your worst nature, then certainly you ought not indulge in them… agreed.

    Are they?

    From what you’ve said so far that doesn’t seem to follow, but of course I don’t know all the details (nor am I entitled to know them).

    But let me put it this way: if you were to discover that someone else has all the same sexual impulses that you have, would you judge them to be immoral or disgusting or otherwise bad? On what basis?

    Would you attempt to prevent them from finding consenting sexual partners?

  • Hexep

    If I possessed categorical knowledge that their impulses were identical to mine, then yes, I would regard them as the same that I would regard myself. I subscribe to the (admittedly very paternalistic) notion that there are some acts for which a person simply cannot consent, because the very act of consenting to such acts implies that one is in an unfit mental state.

    If someone is like me, then they have a desire, albeit sexualized, to hurt and destroy people. The safe thing to do would probably be to put them down like a wild animal.

    Who was it that said that every man must want to raise the black flag and start slitting throats? I keep that shit locked down with a hard combination of religious fanaticism and strict self-control, and keep my mind safe through constant exercise, focus, and distraction. And I don’t trust other people as much as I trust myself.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    So, this rolls back to my original comment about “You get to choose who you date on whatever basis you wish to. As long as you’re not shaming other people who do like it, I’m cool.”

    As you move from making choices about your own desires to judging entire classes of sexuality as ignoble, reprehensible, etc., I become less cool with it.

    My own moral judgments aside, though… well, OK. If what you desire is categorically immoral even with a partner who comes as close to consenting as human limitations allow, then your choices are to behave immorally, to live in constant denial of those desires, or to somehow change those desires.

    The first two suck.

    The third is hard even with professional help; even harder without it. If your environment constrains you from seeking professional help, it might be worthwhile to seek out a less constraining environment.

    You might also find it profitable to think carefully about where your moral judgments about this kind of sexuality are coming from, and whether you continue to endorse them as you come to understand them better. This, too, is easier to do with professional help.

    I wish you luck.

  • Hexep

    TW: Primitive  mental health care

    You asked me what I’d think about someone identical to me. Not someone similar to me, or bearing a passing resemblance, or someone who could be grouped with me if you squint hard enough, but identical.

    Someone identical to me is not your run-of-the-mill enthusiast or someone who’s made a lifestyle choice. Someone who is identical to me is a monster, or someone who is pretending desperately that they aren’t in the slight hopes that pretending for long enough will make it true.

    Revenge. Revenge is my word, and the targets of my revenge – the people who made me thus – are dead and gone and beyond my reach, and yet this anger remains, and it infiltrates every aspect of me – including those that are sexual.  I don’t know what makes other people the way they are, but I know what makes the way I am – the belief, however much I wish it weren’t so, however much I want to simply not believe this, that pain is a river, and that I can wash it off myself by putting someone else downstream.

    Someone whose desires are identical to mine would also be cursed with the inability to separate fantasy from reality – indeed, to find fantasy almost insulting, a half-way measure that pleases none with its tantalizing agony. It is that curse that defines my situation most strongly. A person who is identical to me will not be satisfied with  make-believe; they will either stay strong, or give in. 

    I trust myself not to give in because I have no other choice – it’s pretend, or murder, or suicide, or the cage beds of People’s No.7 Hospital, stinking of feces and filled with the howling of the wounded and the condemned, with medicine administered by cattle prod because thorazine is too expensive. No, I know well what awaits me there, and I won’t let them take me alive.

    Forgive me if I sound histrionic, but I answered your question as you worded it.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     (nods) Fair enough. You know your situation far better than I do, of course, and you may well be right that your situation is importantly different than that of the other people I might ignorantly consider in the same class. My apologies for suggesting otherwise.

    My previous suggestions involving seeking out a less constraining environment, and thinking as rigorously as you can manage about where your moral  judgments of yourself come from, still stand.

    And again, I wish you luck.

  • Hexep

    Thank you, I appreciate that. I think we understand each other; I have no more to say on this topic.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Again, you know your situation better than anyone else can.  But — if I may be permitted a bit of armchair psychology here — generally speaking, the harder a person tries to bottle something up and keep it down, the more powerful it becomes; and if you don’t create an outlet for it, it’ll create one.

    The “I must have it all or I must have nothing” dichotomy sounds more like something you’ve talked yourself into than an actuality.

  • nakedanthropologist

    Have you ever heard of the secular therapy project here in the US? You could (perhaps if you wanted to) talk with a mental health professional via Skype or email. I’m not saying its perfect, and of course only you know your situation, but it (and others) are ot there if you’re interested. Here’s some links:

    http://www.seculartherapy.org/

    http://www.therapyonline.ca/

  • everstar

    I’m not you and you’re not me, but I’m struggling myself with confronting things I’ve locked down deep inside for what seemed like very good reasons.  Now it’s starting to look like those things are preventing me from becoming a better person, and I’m pondering whether I want to unlock those doors or not.  It’s really scary, because I locked those things away precisely because I don’t know how to deal with them and I didn’t want to.  How do I explore all the anger inside me without getting swept away by it?  How do I rediscover the wish for friends without being drowned in the pain of loneliness?  How do I take risks when I’m so terrified of failing?

    And yet if I’ve discovered anything from working on myself so far, it’s that many, many things I’ve always been afraid of aren’t nearly as big or powerful as I thought they were.  Locking them away and refusing to confront them is what made them terrifying.  I hope and believe this will be the case with my anger as well.

    Elaine Pagels quoted the Gospel of St. Thomas as saying, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”  I know the damage keeping everything inside has caused me; I can only believe that bringing it out will transform it into healing.  At the very least, if it’s out in the open, I can show it to other people who can help me, and not fight on all alone.

    Good luck to you.  You deserve to be saved.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > How do I explore all the anger inside me without getting swept away by it?

    I realize this was kind of meant as a rhetorical question, but I will also say that good therapists can be quite helpful with this sort of thing. Actually, even mediocre therapists can be helpful with this sort of thing.

    I’m reminded of an exchange I had with a therapist a few years ago, after my stroke:
    Me: “I dunno, it’s like whenever I try to engage with X there’s just all this anger, and it gets all over everything and I just don’t know what to do with it.”
    Her: “Is it important to do anything with it?”
    Me: “That is SUCH a fucking… THERAPIST question!!!”
    Her: “Well, yes. It’s an occupational hazard.”

    As often happens with me, when I let myself fully experience anger, I end up by laughing a lot.

  • everstar

    Yeah, I’m working with a therapist.  I was just trying to share what scares me about dealing with my anger, hoping that Hexep might be able to identify a little.

    Hee, I like your therapist’s response.  I usually describe my feeling of “I don’t know what to do with it” as “It’s like I’ve been handed a bowl and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with the bowl.”

    …And it just occurred to me that that’s probably a way of me distracting myself with being irritated and perplexed instead of focusing on the emotion.  God, I’m tricky.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Yeah, I liked it too.  I tell that story a lot.

  • Hexep

    I have never had an opportunity to visit a therapist, but it sounds really, really frustrating. Even in movies, it always looks more annoying than helpful, but movies always tilt everything.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     In my case, it was extremely frustrating for a long time. The only thing more frustrating was the period before starting work with a therapist, when I was dealing with all the same stuff but without help.

  • Hexep

    I feel that you are trying more deeply than most to connect with me and help me out here – and ‘helping out’ is something I usually regard with great suspicion – and that’s why I’m hesitant to reply, because I don’t want to give my answer.

    What I would unfortunately find myself saying, is that I don’t think that goes deep enough.

    What does it mean, to ‘bring it out?’

    Do I tell my co-workers, ‘hey, guys, I’m having a hard time processing my residual anger and feelings of self-loathing over the abuse I received from my late father?’ Because that’ll cost me my job.

    Do I talk to my friends and acquaintances about it? I do, sometimes, to an extent; don’t think I live entirely as a hermit. But I’m friends with these people because I like being around them, and they like being around me; if hanging out with Hexep meant listening to him moaning, then they’d rightly drift away.

    Do I go to the subway station and start shouting? (God, I would love to do that.) Here comes JC with his magic nightstick…

    I have read ‘let it out, don’t leave it in’ in dozens of places, but I have no idea what, in practice, that actually means. Here I am, feeling anger, resentment, powerless, self-loathing, mediocre, and, worst of all perhaps, intensely and stubbornly proud. What now?

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Do I talk to my friends and acquaintances about it? I do, sometimes, to an extent; don’t think I live entirely as a hermit. But I’m friends with these people because I like being around them, and they like being around me; if hanging out with Hexep meant listening to him moaning, then they’d rightly drift away.

    Being friends means listening to each other moan sometimes.  So long as you don’t become one of those types who tries to turn *every* conversation into It’s All About Me, or who pours their heart out but then says, “I have things to do” when it’s your friends’ turn to do the heart-pouring, they’ll probably understand.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    A fine question.

    For me, it meant finding someone I trust enough to believe that I can talk to them about whatever I’m going through without worrying that they’ll walk away from me if I do.

  • Hexep

    Eagghh, trust and trust and trust. Who are you, that you find so many moral people on this Earth, and who am I that I find so few?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Yeah, I wonder that myself sometimes. The community I’ve half-built, half-stumbled into, is the great blessing of my life and a day doesn’t pass when I’m not grateful for it.

    That said, the difference between one and none is sometimes all that matters.

  • everstar

    Unfortunately, finding a lot of moral people usually requires the patience to wade through even more immoral ones and the luck of recognizing them when you do find them.  I gave up on it myself but I’m trying to work up the nerve to start again.  It’s either sort patiently through the dross or be alone and being alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    As to your other question about “to whom do I talk,” I might try asking your friends if they’d be willing to listen.  You don’t have to jump right to abuse and self-loathing; you could start with something like “sometimes I feel so angry and I don’t know what to do about it.”  Even if they don’t know what to say, they might have ideas about who you can talk to.  Either way, I feel the important thing is to say something.  “Bring it out” doesn’t necessarily mean “all at once.”  It can be something small.  That was all I had the energy for at first.

    I wanted to reach out to you mostly because you sound very desperate to me and I’ve been desperate too.  But I’ve been very lucky with the help I’ve received so I want to pass that along.  That’s all.

    Take care!

  • syfr

    Even keeping a journal (written or typed) can be helpful in finguring stuff out.

  • nakedanthropologist

    Hey, it’s okay. And you should know that here in the states that it’s acknowledged that the submissive partner is the one with actual power in an S&M scene – because its the sub (and not the Dom) who gets to control the pace and what is going to be done to them by the Dom. Furthermore, it’s also been acknowledged that a lot of subs have gone through life having to have a lot of control, and so being able to let go of that and not having to worry about maintaining control over themselves or their circumstances is why it’s such a turn-on: for them it’s the ultimate escape and/or release. The reverse can be true for doms; they are given the illusion of ultimate control (of course this doesn’t apply to everyone, Dom, sub, or otherwise).

  • Lori

     

    But when it comes to a fantasy of being in some situation, patently
    apart from oneself… I should be able to get behind it, because I play
    D&D&them, but I just can’t. Especially if it’s the sort of thing
    where I’m supposed to ignore NO but listen for APRICOT, because I don’t
    want to pretend I’m a rapist and I don’t want anyone else to pretend
    I’m a rapist, either.   

    Having a safe word other than “no” doesn’t mean the activity in question is necessarily a non-consent fantasy. Saying “no” can be sort of reflexive. If you have agreed to play that pushes boundaries you may find “no” slipping out when you don’t really mean “stop”. Using a word other than “no” makes stopping deliberate, a decision rather than a reflex, and ensures that your partner knows that it’s a decision and not a reflex. Safe words are an aid to clear communication, not just an aspect of non-consent fantasy.

    Also, safe words aren’t always words. If a person is gagged in some way* then you can’t clearly say “no” or any other words. If that’s the case then you need a different kind of “safe word”. For example, you may hold something in your hand and dropping it means stop, or you may agree to tap something a certain number of times. Again, it’s an aid to clear communication that allows you to have play that’s not interrupted until you really want it to be, but which stops the moment you want it to.

    And it’s fine if none of this makes any gut level sense to you at all. If it’s not your kink, it’s not your kink. As Dave said, as long as you’re not shaming other people for being into it there’s nothing wrong with that.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

     I’m a sub, do BDSM, and my partner and I don’t use safe words, because we don’t do non-consent scenarios.  If I say no, it means no, and that’s the end.

    So BDSM has many different flavors. 

  • Lori

    But if I was involved with a woman and I found out that she was into that stuff, there would not be another date.  

    If you were involved with a woman who was interested in BDSM and she found out that you feel this way she wouldn’t want another date with you. So, as is generally the case with things based on mutual consent, that works out well.

  • Hexep

    So….

    I guess I’d better cancel our dinner reservations?

  • Lori

    Not necessarily. I’m more of an informed visitor to kinkland than a full-time resident.

  • GDwarf

    I have to second Dave in that I think the problem some have with BDSM isn’t about not understanding consent, it’s all, or at least mostly, about how it’s “weird”. They don’t like weird things in general, and anything “weird” that’s in any way related to sex is even worse.

    It’s all about keeping things “normal” and the same and how they were brought up to be, which interacts with their hangups about sex in some odd ways.

  • Jenny Islander

    From what I’ve read about sociopathy, a sociopath’s main way to interact with other people is what one writer calls “making people jump.”  The payoff for making people jump is so satisfying that one sociopath used to go steal large amounts of stamps from a post office and hide nearby to watch the fracas.  He was inevitably caught and jailed, but  in his mind, he had gotten what he wanted.  Of course, he was not particularly bright.  The bright sociopaths can figure out how to subtly make people jump in more complex and satisfying ways.

    Apparently it’s possible for a sociopath to get lonely.  What a hellish way to live.

  • PatBannon

    Sociopathy isn’t controlled by an on/off switch. Some people are mostly okay but have a severe lack of empathy that makes it difficult for them to emotionally connect to or understand others, due to a crappy upbringing or what have you. These people could be thought of as sociopaths, because they often act and/or respond in a way that is easily perceived as cold and detached, but I can assure you they get lonely the same as you do.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Yes, it’s all about purity.

    Human beings, across cultures and throughout history, seem to share a few core ethical values, hard-wired into our brains by millions of years of evolution as a social species. Those values: Fairness, harm and the avoidance thereof, loyalty, authority, and purity. (Some think there may be one or two others, including liberty and honesty; but those aren’t yet as well-substantiated, or as well-studied.)

    Liberals prioritize very different values from conservatives. When asked a series of questions about different ethical situations, self-described liberals strongly tend to prioritize fairness and harm as the most important of these core values — while self-described conservatives are more likely to prioritize authority, loyalty, and purity.

    Greta Christinia, Why Liberal Values Really Are BetterWhy Liberal Values Really Are Better.TRiG.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Okay, so the formatting’s screwed up both times, because Discus hates me, but meh, it’s readable.

    TRiG.

  • banancat

    Here’s my take on sociopathy, from experience:

    My dad is a sociopath.  He is very charming and can convince most people to like him and praise him and admire him for about 4-7 years until he just can’t hide it anymore.  He knows what to do in social situations purely because of clinical, calculating observation.  Here’s an example.  If I see a someone spill something, I will offer a napkin.  I do this because I can empathize and if I were in that situation I would want someone to do that for me.  So I can extrapolate that others might appreciate me doing it for them.  My dad would also offer the napkin, but only because he has soon other people do it an be rewarded with gratitude, or because he has tried doing that in the past and was directly rewarded with gratitude.

    To him, it’s like playing a video game.  He goes through the correct ritual to produce the desired outcome (people liking him), but he has no understanding of why it works this way.  And because he has no actual human feelings, he rarely has any inhibition against following this formula exactly.  So he’s very good at observing and very good at acting like a caring, empathetic person.  He can produce the correct social response at least 90% of the time.  I would almost feel sorry for him being an empty shell of a human if he weren’t so damn abusive and stubborn about it.  He did things that hurt me during childhood, which he did not intend or was even aware of in certain cases.  Later when I tried to talk to him about it, he simply couldn’t understand my hurt.  He said there was no point in focusing on it because he can’t change the past.  I just wanted him to be aware of the pain he caused and maybe feel some minor regret about it even though it wasn’t intentional.  But he can’t actually feel that so at one point he directly asked me what he should specifically say or do to make me happy.  He hadn’t figured out the correct ritual for that scenario yet and he just couldn’t process that saying he was sorry didn’t actually mean anything if he wasn’t actually sorry.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    My dad is a sociopath.  He is very charming and can convince most people
    to like him and praise him and admire him for about 4-7 years until he
    just can’t hide it anymore.  He knows what to do in social situations
    purely because of clinical, calculating observation.

    One of life’s many cruelties is that there are people out there who are pathologically devoid of empathy who can pass as charming and socially ept through pure clinical calculating observation, while at the same time, there are lots of highly intelligent people who are entirely capable of empathy, but go their whole lives without being able to do a passing imitation of a normal human being in social situations.

  • Hexep

    As flies to wanton boys, are we to the Gods; they kill us for their sport.

  • Carstonio

     While I don’t claim to be highly intelligent, I have that same awkwardness in social situations. I’ve been told that I don’t pay enough attention to how people interact with one another, perhaps focusing too much on how they treat me. A few times I’ve been surprised to learn that someone’s shabby treatment of me is simply typical of hir treatment of everyone, instead of being personal.

  • phantomreader42

    The title is three words longer than necessary.

  • Hexep

    Four, really, although with a little careful finangle-ing, we could chop it down to all but two – but then it becomes an imperative rather than a statement.

  • MaryKaye

    I’d really recommend writing.  It probably saved my life during college when I didn’t have anyone close enough to talk to. 

    I am a sub, and I struggle with the fact that the scenarios I like sexually would be reprehensible in real life.  (They are not so much “Take me despite my No” but “Change my No into a Yes” which is not a whole lot better.)  It feels less than harmonious to have my passions and my morals conflict that way.  On the other hand, I have literally had these kinks since I was 5.  I think my chance of shifting them’s about the same as my chance of shifting my sexual orientation, or maybe a bit worse.  So I express them in safe space, and keep an eye out to make sure non-consent isn’t creeping into my real-world behavior.

    The other thing I’d recommend is reading.  Hexep, the situation you described reminds me very much of the protagonist of Sarah Monette’s tetralogy starting with _Melusine_.  I hesitate to recommend these.  They are very harsh, very upsetting.  The protagonist does terrible things.  But I think the author does play fair, emotionally speaking.  There are probably better pieces of fiction for looking at this–I think fiction or biography rather than nonfiction, because frankly, nonfiction is too distant.  It’s someone saying what they think ought to be.  Someone else might have better book recommendations.

  • Sir Quaffler

    Again, this just makes me sad.

    Planned Parenthood does a lot of good. They offer the services to women in need that they wouldn’t find elsewhere. The psychological counseling, sheltering, etc. are all VERY GOOD THINGS that need to stick around. I’m just not down with the abortion services they provide, considering that’s going into another realm altogether.

    But, my disdain for their abortion services does NOT drive me to lie about what they do. I have a very strong hatred for abortion in general, as I believe it is the taking of human life, but I also have a pathological hatred of liars, and in this case my pathos wins out. I do not subscribe to the “ends justify the means” method of doing things; everything you do should remain consistent with your beliefs. Lying about what PP does flies right in the face of “do not bear false witness”, and I refuse to stand by these statements these attackers are saying.

    Do not resort to such tactics to bring about the change you want. Abortion is a great evil, to be sure, but we need to retain our integrity and attack this evil with complete honesty. Focus our efforts on this one sinful aspect, but leave the rest out. Don’t attack the entire organization, and by golly DON’T LIE ABOUT THEM!

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I pretty much have to disagree with this completely.

    First of all, you’re completely mistaken about Planned Parenthood taking human lives; they don’t. 

    But also, if there’s an organization out there that is systematically taking human lives, and I can help save those lives just by lying, then I will lie my little heart out with passion and conviction and not lose a moment’s sleep over it.

  • Sir Quaffler

    Well, you’re more than free to do that yourself. But I just can’t. Like I said, I have a pathological hatred of lying. So I’d do everything else I can within keeping of my beliefs to take down the systematic killing of lives. I’m just not gonna lie to do it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I find myself intensely interested in what you would do in the situation of ‘lie to the Nazis or watch them haul a Jewish friend of yours to the gas chambers’.

  • Sir Quaffler

    Whoever said there wasn’t a third option? I’d probably have smuggled them far out of the occupied zone before then, have relocated to a remote location where I could make my escape, tell the truth but then break them out of the concentration camp later, or at the very least taken down a few of the Nazi bastards while they made their escape.

    However… given the condition of Nazi-occupied Europe, I seriously doubt the last three would have been viable options. Aaaaaaaaand now comes the part where I’m gonna hafta eat my own words.

    Perhaps I got a bit carried away on that last post. It is still true that I wouldn’t lie if I had any other option (getting back to the original post, I can think of several other options other than lying about PP). And in this situation, I’d think of any other option I could, from diversions in conversation, anything else. But if I was directly confronted by an SS officer if I was hiding Jews or not, then I guess I’d have to lie to his face, seeming as how there’s really nothing else that can be done. I’d hate myself for it, and I’d have to answer for it in the life hereafter, but if lying was literally the only way to ensure the safety of a friend or close one then I’d just have to tell my pathos to f*** off.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What, if I may ask, is the difference between lying to save an (adult, or at least post-birth) Jewish person from the Nazis and lying to save a (whatever religion or ethnicity) fetal person from legal abortion?

  • Sir Quaffler

    How would you even lie about that? It’s pregnancy, it should be pretty obvious she’s pregnant, and she’d be pretty dead-set on getting an abortion. I do see your point, but I fail to see how lying (just by itself) would even prevent that situation from happening.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Tell her abortion has nasty future consequences on her mental health. (It doesn’t.) Tell her she needn’t worry about the financial impact of a baby because there are programs that will reduce that impact to nil. (There aren’t; such programs exist but are invariably insufficient.)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Don’t forget “Tell her you see a well-formed skull with a developing brain inside it and an intact heart.”

    You want to at least cover the lies that doctors in some of the the trans-v states would be legally required to tell if the proposed bills went through

  • EllieMurasaki

    Now I’m remembering the Texas woman who had to abort a wanted pregnancy because the fetus wasn’t gonna make it regardless and it would be too risky to take any other course of action, and who had to get that whole lecture from the doctor who prefaced it with being legally required to tell her that, and afterward they all found out that the fetus’s lack of viability would have exempted the woman from the lecture.

    I don’t wanna cry at work.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Other lies people tell to maximize the baby-to-heterosexual-vaginal-sex-act ratio: contraception is abortion.

    Are you at least no longer surprised that there are those among your comrades who consider lying a viable method of preventing abortion or making legal abortion more inaccessible, and who therefore find telling those lies morally permissible if not a moral imperative?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     “Why don’t you wait another couple weeks and think about it? It won’t be any harder to get an abortion then if you still want one.”
    or
    “We’re still waiting for the paperwork to come through, then we’ll schedule that procedure”.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    That is, of course, your choice.

    That said, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about the distinction between a strong personal aversion and a moral principle, and the kinds of rhetoric that are appropriate to each.

  • Sir Quaffler

    Hmm, point taken.


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