This post is safe for all but the most conservative workplaces. The most explicit aspects are naming a certain fetish and a specific performance art piece.1 There are no visuals. The only link is to the podcast page.
I’m to lazy to search JSTOR for Sam’s research, but some of what he shares in the podcast doesn’t match up with my experience. Towards the beginning he suggests that people often eroticize the opposite of what causes them stress: the classic CEO goes to the dominatrix. One potential odditiy is that Hughes also talks about kink stages starting in childhood (well before anyone is a CEO). But on a personal level, his explanation doesn’t make much sense. One thing I love about being a dom is setting up scenes and telling degrading2 stories. Take the intercourse, degradation, and personal participation out and that basically describes my career as a lighting designer/theater-maker.3 Indeed going back to my childhood, a lot of my play with friends was running around outside, making up stories, and telling them their roles.
Another through line from the rest of my life is the nature of my sadism: I like creating predicaments where there is no “right” answer. If my partner messes up, they are punished (which, for the right person, is pleasurable); if they don’t, they get some form of reward or relief (time to enjoy the delicious endorphins from the punishment).4 When I told my oldest friend (we met at 4) that I enjoyed sadism, his response was along the lines of: “No duh.” I have been teasing those I care about for just about forever. One of my favorite activities with this friend is “ruining” movies by nitpicking them to death and twisting his responses: sheer torture. Again, when I realized I was kinky, I basically sexualized this behavior.
This is not to say no part of my sexuality is an escape from stress or a pleasurable/safe way to work through issues, but there is clearly much more going on. As Dan says, half the people who write in about spanking ascribe it to being spanked as a child and the other half, to not being spanked as a child.
Academic research into kinks is needed, but it doesn’t seem to ready to make any definitive statements. There may be no definitive statements to make: the complexity of genes, epigenetics, childhood environment, and our powerful sex drive5 may be irreducible on some level.6 There may be a multitude of paths to the same kinks.7
- Googling either is very NSFW though. ↩
- With my partners enjoying the thoughts of being degraded. ↩
- While not all shows are quite as explicit as a BDSM scene, I have worked on one show about Feederism and another with repetitions of wrestling/bear eating/having sex/amnesia. A third included a reenactment of Carolee Schneemann’s Interior Scroll, 1975 (Note: Photos of this piece are definitely NSFW). So my work isn’t always vanilla either. ↩
- So, in reality, there are no wrong answers. ↩
- This is complete speculation, but I wonder if asexuality is also an expression of the human sex drive. That is not to say that asexual people aren’t real or do experience sexual attraction, but rather the same aspects of brain biology that manifests as sexual desire in sexual folk manifests as absence of sexual desire in asexual folk. Sorta like the role that the unconscious plays in inspiration plays for both the “softest” artists and the “hardest” scientists. “Epiphanies in the shower” are essential for both. On the other hand, I could be completely out of my gourd here. Love to hear thoughts from Aces. ↩
- Well, until we have a much better understanding of how the brain physically works. ↩
- Not that social science and psychology won’t have a lot to say, but that they will only be able to elucidate trends and tendencies, not complete explanations. ↩
- Faith Not Reason
- Dan Swings and Whiffs—Savage Lovecast #610