Today I am going to cover a topic that I feel is of the utmost importance when discussing the BDSM way of life.
Each of us is a product of our environment. Without trying to sound like a conspiracy nut, I will state that we are all conditioned as to how to think. Our belief system is something that is handed to us on a silver platter by those around us. We can argue the motivation and intention of those doing it yet the bottom line is we are told what to believe.
This indoctrination process starts at a very young age. Hitler and the Nazis knew the value of getting individuals in at a young age since this was the best time to affect their fertile minds. Hence he established the Hitler Youth Groups that aided in this endeavor. However, he was not the only one to notice this. Religions of the world have used this same technique for many centuries to achieve the same end. If you ask one who is devout in a particular faith, how he or she arrived at that belief system, you will ultimately find out it, in most cases, is the religion one was reared with. Few take the time to research all the different religions. Instead, they gravitate back to what they were conditioned to believe as a child.
The educational system does the same thing. This is a process where children are taken at a young age and "taught" what to believe. Some might dispute this premise but the entire educational system is desired to churn out ones who are obedient in nature. Many countries around the world are aiming to get a hold of the children at even a younger age. In the UK, there is a movement to start kids in school at 2 years old (as if 4 is not young enough). This is all done with the intention of further indoctrinating their minds into obedience. Free thinking is not tolerated in the educational system. The process is rote learning whereby one recited back what is learned like a robot. Creativity and individuality is stamped out.
We see the influence on our conditioning when it comes to relationships. In the Western countries, historically, we see the idea that sex is to be between a man and a woman. Through this union, procreation is possible. Most often, the belief is that this activity should take place only within the confines of marriage or some type of commitment. In other words, heterosexual monogamy is the path that is offered. Anything outside these parameters is considered abnormal and discouraged. In fact, the disapproval of one who prefers something outside the traditional norms can be downright visceral.
Here is an example. When many in the west look at the established relationship traditions in the Muslim world, they view it with condemnation. The idea that a woman would be subject to a life without any freedoms whatsoever. There she can be beaten, abused, and raped without any recourse. It is part of their established belief system. Women have no rights whatsoever while being viewed as property of their husbands. To make matters even worse, if she does something that "shames the family", her own father or brothers might be the ones taking recourse against her.
The reason I bring this up is that much of the same behavior was acceptable in the Western cultures as little as 60 years ago. Think back into the first part of the 20th century in the United States. What recourse did most women have? The truth is none. Outside of Hollywood, where a woman had the ability to support herself, divorce was almost non-existent. Thus, a woman was financially captive. At the same time, domestic abuse was not even mentioned. If a woman was beaten by her husband, going to the law usually amounted to nothing happening. Perhaps they might stop by and tell him not to do that in the future but charges were not forthcoming. Naturally, there were many instances where she got her ass beaten even worse for opening her mouth. The law, family, and friends, while perhaps empathetic, were of no help. Is this really any different from what takes place in the countries today under Islamic law?
My point is that there was a shift in the overall belief system in the United States over a period of a half a century. At one time the idea of a woman being "captive" through financial and physical means was accepted. It no longer is. Young people of today were taught that it is not acceptable to beat a woman. Young girls are told that they do not have to take the abuse of one and to leave upon the first sign of intolerable behavior. Obviously, most agree this is a change for the better. Nevertheless, the important factor for this discussion is how the societal mindset impacts the individual belief system. If you believe (or conclude) that spousal abuse is acceptable in this era, your belief system is going to clash with what the norm is. It is identical to having the belief that more than one spouse or having intercourse with a dog is preferred. Each of these ideas goes counter to what society, at large, believes. Therefore, most will state that sex with animals is inappropriate or that marriage is only between two people (even the laws are designed to reflect both of these ideas).
As most of us are well aware, the ideas we espouse in BDSM go counter to what society believes. The idea that we establish our relationships upon power exchange concepts is baffling to most individuals. What is ironic is that we are simply returning to an earlier time when this was an acceptable way to live. The main difference, of course, is the idea of consent. We are entering these situations with the approval of both parties.
At the same time, much of our activities are frowned upon. The act of beating one is taboo in this day and age. Laws are now in place to protect people from being treated in such a manner. Again, we see the difference in our approach in that consent is required. We do not promote the idea of one being randomly beaten for no reason. Nor do we condone the idea of forced slavery upon the masses. Everything in our way of life stems from consent and operating within the parameters that the individuals involved establish. This is an personal thing designed by the two (or three/more) people directly involved. Some of the parameters will include social conditioning if for no other reason that we have to interact in a "vanilla" world. Nevertheless, the decision of how to behave within the confines of one's home is up to the parties in the relationship and not the overriding sentiment of the culture they live within.
This brings up another point. How does societal conditioning affect you and place limitation upon your decisions. For example, are there certain sexual activities that you will not engage upon? Of the top of my head, if you are male, what are your thoughts of another male giving you a blowjob? If this is something that you find distasteful, my question is why? Is it because you lack an attraction to men? If this is the case, do you allow a woman to give you head if you are attracted to her? Answering no to this means you do not require attraction to get a blowjob. So what is the reason? Is it because you feel homosexuality is wrong? Do you believe guys should not suck off other guys? Or is it something as basic as you find it gross? Certainly we all have things we like and dislike. My point is to question what your reasoning is. Do you not want it because of ideas that were placed in your head over the course of decades pertaining to guy on guy sex? Remember, we are all products of our environment and anyone over the age of 35 or 40 grew up with the indoctrination that homosexuality was not accepted by society. Therefore, we must be mindful of this input in the conclusions we reach.
As you can see, when we investigate how society's influence affects us, we see how limiting it is. Now I will state that simply because we are not operating out of societal conditioning, that does not mean we will like all things. There are simply some activities, kink, or ideas that we are not into. Personally, I do not understand the allure of scat and have no desire to engage in that activity on any scale. This is a personal choice. I find the entire genre distasteful (understatement) and want no part of it. This conclusion is not based upon what society says is "right or wrong" but what I prefer. It is an individual choice.
In closing, I want to stress how vital it is for you to examine all you believe. If you undertake this exercise, be forewarned that you will be astounded how much of your belief system was implanted by others. Part of the process of individuality is to determine what we believe for ourselves. There are many concepts which we carry with us that we will agree with and keep. However, there are many which we will want to cast off. My point is to examine all your conclusions about this way of life, what you want in it, and the kink you are drawn to. At the same time, investigate those things that you are turned off by. What is the reasoning behind it? If you do this, I think you will be amazed to find out that you often have no idea why you do not like something other than an ingrained idea which society placed deep within you many years ago. Of course, if this is something you still agree with, then by all means keep it. However, if you find that it no longer is applicable to you, then cast it aside. Society likes to limit our choices by instilling a belief system within us that aligns itself with its' goals. It is up to us to question that and create a system that works for us to reach the ends we desire. This is the basic foundation of BDSM.
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