Monday, January 26, 2015

'Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied' Revisited

I want to circle back around to a couple of things: yesterday's long, rambling dream post; that stupid Canadian serial killer movie I made myself watch last week; and Jaiya's Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied. I was going to touch upon this in the Gone Girl post and somehow I forgot.

While I went to great lengths to explain the inspirations behind some of the disparate elements of my hormone-addled dream, I left at least one out. In the dream "I" had a sexual relationship with a person I had met only earlier that same day.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it. Consenting adults can make their own sexual choices without my input, and I was never a "not until the wedding night"/purity ring/don't-get-down-on-the-first-night type of a person anyway. I really like what Ayelet Waldman tells her kids: you should love everyone you ever have sex with, to some degree, although not necessarily all to the same degree.*

I'm saying that particular story line may have been influenced by the scene in said Canadian serial killer movie, Karla. The movie showed Paul and Karla enthusiastically stripping off each others' clothes on her hotel bed maybe not even an hour after they'd met, while two of their friends are still in the room. It's very early in the movie and maybe the only part of the whole sordid thing you can actually point to and say "That part's kinda hot" without being a complete sociopath.

Laura Prepon, who played Karla. Creative Commons image by Giliveira
The Jaiya book I read in August 2014 comes in where I think back to another scene that happens shortly after the hotel room scene. The incarcerated Karla is up for parole, but first she must undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The evaluator suggests to Karla that she was the one who introduced role-playing into her relationship with Paul. Karla's flashback shows her giving Paul a set of handcuffs and insisting he put them on her. Paul goes along with it. As he puts the cuffs on Karla, he says into her ear, "What if I was a rapist?"

She answers, "That would be hot."

The evaluator wants to know whether that was a red flag for Karla. After all, we the viewers already know Paul had committed a series of rapes and been questioned by the police before he met Karla. But apparently Karla didn't know that yet. She dismissed the evaluator's concern by saying it was "just fuck talk."

For a normal couple who aren't narcissistic, sadistic psychopaths who kill people for pleasure, would such a role play be a red flag for real violence? I don't think it would - at least, not in every case. It makes me uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean it makes you uncomfortable.

Misha and Laura look super creepy as Paul and Karla. Those blond highlights are not helping his case any. Via Fanpop:
I'd written in my review of Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied, "On page 125, Jaiya shares that she gave her partner a list of words and asked him to choose the ones that turned him on. One of the words he chooses is "rape." She never addresses this or mentions it again. I understand the adults are perfectly entitled to role-play and act out whatever fantasies they care to have with their consenting adult partners, and I don't have a problem with that. I don't consider myself overly "vanilla" and I'm not usually uncomfortable around discussions of sexuality (erotica writer here), but I am uncomfortable with this book skirting around issues of nonconsent without strongly addressing them." 

So I agree with Karla to a point - if you feel comfortable within the confines of a relationship, then you can role play whatever turns you on, even if it turns you on precisely because it's transgressive. A woman-man couple might, for example, role play mother-son incest, and that doesn't necessarily mean the guy wants to have sex with his actual mother.

But I think the psychiatrist was trying to get across to Karla that if she had been a psychologically healthy person, she wouldn't have felt comfortable being in an intimate relationship with Paul at all. There are some people - and let's hope they're only a small percentage of the population - who aren't able to handle role playing because they accept it as validation of their antisocial urges. 

That, I think, is the issue I wanted Jaiya to address. I wanted her to come out and say that some people will never be safe to role play with, and some people will never be safe to engage in restraint play with. Some people don't have the capacity to understand that it's okay to use people as sex toys for as long as those people consent to be used as sex toys as long as they're also being treated as living beings with feelings at the same time. I don't just need the authors of sex guides to KNOW how important consent and empathy are. I need them to WRITE how important consent and empathy are. 

Vicki Vantoch, Misha's actual, not-creepy, intellectual-hottie wife, with her dark hair and glasses, kinda looks like Alex Vause.
Laura-as-Alex is the girl all the bad girls want.
*Ayelet Waldman tends to be painted in the media as some kind of difficult woman and/or as some kind of appendage to Michael Chabon. Do not come to me with your Ayelet Waldman hate. If you do, I will assume both misogyny and antiSemitism and fight you so hard to defend lil' Yiddish mama. 

As I will for my Arab and Muslim sisters, too. Because there was an attack on a kosher food store in France, the media will try to separate European Jews from European Muslims like they're supposed to hate each other. Don't fall for that crap, either. Don't pretend like the Frenchy-Frenches wouldn't turn all their Jews and Muslims over to the Nazis faster than you can say allons-y, along with the Romany people

Asiatics of the world, we all gotta stick up for each other. Don't fall for divide-and-conquer. 

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