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Monday, January 20, 2014

SL Letter of the Day: The Sub's Paradox

Posted by on Mon, Jan 20, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Originally posted on December 28, 2011.

I am a 25-year-old gay man. Although I have always accepted my homosexuality and never really felt bad about it, recently I have been going through a hard time psychologically because I'm exposing myself to very graphic homophobic online content. There are blogs, online groups, and websites that cater to gay men who like to be abused and degraded by "straight" men. Some people write extensively about how all gay rights should be rolled back.

I am very disturbed because I am actually aroused by content that shows supposedly straight men degrading gay men. I always come away feeling disturbed, insecure, and unhappy. But when I'm horny, I go right back. The worst feeling comes from knowing that a lot of those people don't seem to recognize it as just a fantasy, but instead believe in the homophobic views they express.

I was never disturbed by BDSM-type fantasies or BDSM porn, as it never seemed to be related to homophobia at all. But this type of dom/sub thing is very disturbing, as people don't seem to be "just playing" and it is playing with a real-world violent and powerful hate ideology. Is it okay for me to just view this as another harmless fantasy or is this something I need to control or get help dealing with? Secondly, are the people who contribute, participate in, and produce such gay-bashing sexualized content just indulging in a version of acceptable BDSM/kink or is it dangerous to use a prevalent hate ideology in sex play?

Not An Inferior Faggot

P.S. Examples of these websites:,, and

My response after the jump...

You're not inferior, NAIF, and you're not alone.

In fact, you have lots of horny soul mates out there—think of strong feminist women with rape fantasies, think of faithful Jews with Nazi fetishes, think of empowered African Americans who get off on Master/slave role-play scenes. And think of all the gay men out there turned on by those vaguely threatening male archetypes. I mean, come on: All those cliché gay male sex symbols—truckers, skinheads, marines, cops, firemen, gangbangers—don't exactly represent the kinds of people or professions that have historically been associated with tolerance.

A person can safely explore degrading fantasies—even fantasies rooted in "hate ideology"—so long as he/she is capable of compartmentalizing this stuff. Basically, you have to build a firewall between your fantasies and your self-esteem. (And, just as importantly, between your fantasies and your politics.) Once you do that, NAIF, you'll be able to enjoy your "straight men abusing fags" fantasies without feeling devastated immediately after you come. In fact, successfully building that firewall and then enjoying your fantasies without shame can leave you feeling stronger and more empowered for having these fantasies in the first place. Call it the sub's paradox: A D/s sub who can enjoy his fantasies without being shredded by them is in control, not being controlled—regardless of how things might appear to a casual or misinformed observer.

But it doesn't sound like you've been able to build that firewall yet, NAIF, due to feelings of shame rooted in a perceived disconnect between the person you know yourself to be—a proud gay man—and the scenarios that make your dick hard. But there is no disconnect, NAIF. You don't really hate yourself any more than the feminist with rape fantasies really wants to be raped or the Jewish guy with Nazi fantasies really believes that Germans are the master race. (Could a people who routinely wear sandals with socks be the master race? No, they could not.) It might help if you reminded yourself of that before, during, and after you rub one out—it also might help if a sex-positive counselor reminded you of that during some regular sessions over a period of months.

You know what else might help? Finding a nice, out, proud gay man who gets off on this shit, too, NAIF, a guy who wants to explore these degradation fantasies with you in real time—safely, respectfully, and consensually. Cuddling after a hot, crazy, kinky D/s sex session with the "straight" guy who five minutes ago was "degrading" you for being a "worthless faggot"—and then getting dressed and going out to grab some fro-yo and chat about Glee—would go a long way toward helping you see your fantasies as something that brought intimacy, companionship, and connection into your life, instead of self-loathing and self-recrimination.

But don't start exploring your fantasies with a boyfriend until that firewall is well under construction, NAIF, okay?


Comments (16) RSS

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this guy I know in Spokane 1
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on January 20, 2014 at 5:07 PM · Report this
Posted by silvertears on January 20, 2014 at 7:32 PM · Report this
Well, does he just like to fantasize about being degraded himself, or does he get off on the degradation of others?

(Before I continue, it seems fair to disclose that I REALLY dislike the inclusion of examples - LW might have included them just so that Mr Savage would know exactly what he was dealing with or might have been trying to drag everyone here into sharing, but, if ever there were a time for judicious editing, this would have been it. I didn't follow any of the links and I'm not going to do so; this just influenced me into a negative opinion of LW when I was more or less neutral about the rest of the letter.)

Resuming, the former is one thing, producing a FTWL... with a shrug and commendation for Mr Savage's course, but the latter makes me nervous. If LW is in the latter category, some scenes from my life would make him ruin his pants. (He'd probably be disappointed that I defeated conversion therapy, though.) Mr Savage mentions the desirability of LW's insulating this from his politics, which coincides neatly with what I sometimes think of as the Mary Cheney trap - a set of mind in which someone thinks, "I'm okay, but the rest of my group isn't," thinking back to the years she was actively assisting the Bush agenda, safe and secure in the knowledge that she personally didn't need legal rights when nobody would treat the vice president's daughter badly. The A-Gay type who can be relied upon to vote a solid Republican ticket is particularly prone, in my experience, to finding the degradation of other non-heterosexuals to be quite hot, to be particularly loathsome in his descriptive vocabulary, and to frame it as if it were universally accepted as The #1 Hottest Fantasy instead of a niche taste.

I'd add this as a caveat to the Sub's Paradox - feel as empowered as you like for being in control of your degradation - but not mine. (Now I'm thinking of Rumer Godden and the Benedictine maxim, "Have as many particular friends as you can - but not one.")

I'm not sure about Mr Savage's list of archetypes, which makes me want to revive my once-upon-a-time distinguishing between gay and homosexual; finding that list hot would be a trademark of the H crowd rather than the G crowd in my book. Maybe it's time to dust off H-v-G for another outing.

Agreed about hoping that, with the compartmentalizing safely in place, LW did get the right BF. He's certainly at risk of falling in with an A-Gay or someone who will give him a lot more of this than he wants, and bring it into his real life.

(Why am I worried now that I shan't sleep tonight?)
Posted by vennominon on January 20, 2014 at 7:51 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 4
@3: A healthy woman who's turned on by rape only wants to see rape porn where the actress is pretending to be raped. The firewall that Dan's talking about keeps her from being turned on by actual women's actual rapes. In fact, most women I know with rape fantasies are disgusted & angered by real rape and real rapists.

Similarly, this guy, in health, should be utterly repelled by how you were treated, even if he's not treated that differently in his bedroom. I think, what's complicated for this guy is that he can't tell whether the websites he's getting off with are real or fake. I'd encourage him to take a break from "gray-zone" sites until he's in a more solid place, emotionally.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on January 20, 2014 at 8:11 PM · Report this
Ms Nurse - I'm quite inclined to agree. (Funny that there's a schemozzle about Ms Matalin and her recent remarks that "her gay friends" all have only one thought about the Russian situation, and that's to consider how Putin looks shirtless.)

Now I'll probably keep dredging up the time I was fired all night. Oh, dear.
Posted by vennominon on January 20, 2014 at 9:13 PM · Report this
undead ayn rand 6
"obeythestraightman" sounds like the queer version of those shitty tumblrdoms that write terribly awkward copy over other persons' images. Haven't checked the tumblr to verify though.

@3: "Well, does he just like to fantasize about being degraded himself, or does he get off on the degradation of others?"

Isn't porn a little of both? But more specifically, he sounds more masochist than sadist. The title's also the "sub's paradox" :p
Posted by undead ayn rand on January 20, 2014 at 9:36 PM · Report this
Dirtclustit 7
Go fuck yourself, while there may be women who fantasize about being raped, evidently Dan and the feminist who do fantasize don't understand what rape is; violating a person's private space against their will, by a person who doesn't respect space that is not their's to control.

There is a difference between role play and real life

it doesn't matter if there really are Jews who fantasize about Nazi, odds are that the statement is just another journoterrorist's attempt to influence your mind by getting you to believe dipshit's lies.

On the slim to none chance there is actually a letter writer who needs such advice, you need to see a counselor, because it sounds like you are one of the people who after experiencing abuse, doesn't give enough of a shit about themselves, and certainly not at all about other people to understand why hatred and lust for power that is not rightfully yours, is wrong

Fuck you and anyone else who believes that going along with the crowd as opposed to doing what is right, recognizing the difference between love and hate so that you will know when respect must be substituted for love, in Heaven.

We do not tolerate people who get these extremely basic, most fundamental principles mixed up. Fuck Journoterrorist rapists and their bullshit advice

if you can't learn respect, you are doomed , and frankly good riddance to all who can't
Posted by Dirtclustit on January 20, 2014 at 9:52 PM · Report this
@7 doesn't think we landed on the moon because ze thinks that changing directions in space is impossible. Safely ignore.

And Dan is right about thinking about counseling, not to cure you, but to help you separate fantasy from reality.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 21, 2014 at 1:24 AM · Report this
Give it to us straight, Dan: is there ever going to be a new SLLOTD again?
Posted by dchari on January 21, 2014 at 5:28 AM · Report this
@7: Thanks for the first laugh of the day. What a unique perspective on sexuality.
Posted by dchari on January 21, 2014 at 5:31 AM · Report this
Ms Rand - Yes; unclear phrasing. It's one thing to watch play degradation and fantasize about replacing the pretend-victim, and another to require reading about the rolling back of rights in order to get off. I prefer not to imagine how much fun LW might have at the NOM site (maybe we could match him up with Mr M, and they could take turns rhapsodizing about Ms Gallagher).

LW where he is now just reminds me of people who've had the inappropriate reaction, "That's so HOT!!!" when learning about real oppression people have experienced.

Posted by vennominon on January 21, 2014 at 6:00 AM · Report this
Dirtclustit 12
well thanks dchari, I honestly don't believe anyone should feel ashamed of any kink they have so long as it only involves fully knowledgeable, consenting adult participants.

My words here have more to do with my extremely low opinion of UofO journalism students, who are now part of the rumor mill/blackmailing journoterrorists, and how fucked up it is to justify violating a person's electronic files with the view of "they are asking for it" if they don't have a strong enough firewall

fuck subtlety
Posted by Dirtclustit on January 21, 2014 at 7:10 AM · Report this
AFinch 13
@9 - I have the same whinge, but really, it is helping my productivity at work.
Posted by AFinch on January 21, 2014 at 8:36 AM · Report this
undead ayn rand 14
@10: They troll in every SLLOTD they can.
Posted by undead ayn rand on January 21, 2014 at 8:45 AM · Report this
@9 & @13: Come on guys there were 3 new ones last week and several the week before that. Remember back in ye olden days (2006?) when there was one column a week!?
Posted by chi_type on January 21, 2014 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Ophian 16
Tangential, but there is a great biographic article about Nicky Crane who--in the70's 80's--was literally the poster boy for the UK's far right skinheads. Also very gay.…
Posted by Ophian on January 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM · Report this

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