Ethics in SF: A series of interviews, articles and debates on the Reality Skimming blog, hosted by Lynda Williams, author of the Okal Rel Saga.
Damien Storm is a photographer, writer, poet and web designer. He is an artist whose inspiration comes from the depth of the id. His creative fire gives voice to his inner darkness, and his work is often laced with violence, lust and darkness. He originally hails from Montreal, but now makes Vancouver his home.
Please visit him on facebook and follow him on twitter @damienstorm69!
ps: He has a black cat named Wicca, so he can't be all bad.
Is Ev'rel Really So Bad? A BDSM Perspective
There’s an infamous chapter in Throne Price where Ev’rel binds her son and spends the night inflicting horrible sexual tortures upon his helpless body. It is quite harrowing, and is one of the strongest representations of Ev’rel’s depraved sexual nature. Lynda does not provide many details as to what actually happens that night – fade to black – but we are led to believe that was it not for his Pureblood constitution he would not have survived his mother’s sweet attentions.
But what made that chapter so bad? Why was it such an indictment of Ev’rel’s twisted nature? Was it because she inflicted unspeakable torment upon Amel through measured doses of Rush? Was it because she tied him down and mutilated him?
Yes, of course, he is her son, and incest is wrong. But let’s assume for a moment that he was not her son. Was she evil because of her actions?
No. There was nothing inherently wrong with anything Ev’rel did. The only reason what she did was wrong was that Amel did not want it.
Welcome to the world BDSM, an acronym generally recognized as meaning Bondage Domination Sadism Masochism. Our culture is also referred to as kinky and fetish, and is composed of explorers in the worlds of sex and sensuality. Once locked away in the dungeon, BDSM has become almost mainstream, with images of leather-clad dominas and bound submissives appearing in advertizing, movies and TV shows. Rhianna has a hit called S & M, and has a video on regular rotation filled with fetish imagery.
But what has any of this to do with Amel?
In kinky circles sex is often referred to as play. The reason for this is that for BDSM practitioners the sexual experience is a journey to foreign shores, an ongoing voyage of sensual discovery. We spend a large part of our lives perfecting new skills, learning new philosophies and broadening our horizons so that we can travel further and further afield into the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual realms. It is a journey without end, a neverending story.
Ev’rel’s skillful use of Rush is a prime example of the dedication many people in the community devote to their dark arts. As I read this chapter, I could not help wishing I could lay my hands on this stuff!
But what keeps all this sexual exploration in check? What are the boundaries that keep us kinksters from going completely off the rails and appearing on the front page of the newspaper? What keeps all this sane?
The golden rule of kink, one that CANNOT be broken, is that nothing can be done without the full consent of all parties involved. This bears repeating: nothing happens without consent. The most vicious act of sadism is hot with the full consent of the masochist, but a caress or a grope becomes monstrous when inflicted against someone’s will. The definition of abuse is damage done to someone against his or her will. Great care is taken in BDSM culture to ensure that everything that happens is consensual. Play sessions are negotiated in detail before they occur, and contracts are often drawn up and signed. We are trained to watch for non-verbal cues that something is wrong, and safewords are usually used so that a scene may be stopped at any time.
There was no negotiation between Ev’rel and Amel, no contracts signed. Amel truly and deeply did not want to play, and Ev’rel proceeded anyway. That was her crime. It was not what she did, but the fact that Amel did not consent.
Had Amel welcomed the bondage, the Rush and the ensuing agony, it would have been a very different chapter.