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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dom-Sub, Dominant-Submissive Relationships, More on Jason Fortuny's Prank

A young man, Jason Fortuny, posed as a woman on Craigs List in September looking for sadistic men to abuse "her." These relationships are called Dominant-Submissive, or Dom-Sub. Participation is theoretically voluntary.

Jason posted the names and personal identifiers of the sadists who responded to the ad on a different web site.

On my other blog I wrote the following, posted it on Tuesday, October 17, 2006.
When I orignially discussed the prank on this blog (see Lessons From a Family Therapist LFAFT) I revealed how it had, shall we say, a negative effect on me. I said it was traumatizing to see the photos on the web site, that it would have been fine to have lived the rest of my life without those imprints in my brain. I pity a generation that has desensitized to sexuality and violence to this degree, but that's another story.

A magazine editor asked me for my expert opinion on Mr. Fortuny's possible motives. Here is what I told him.The comments in purple (mauve) are more recent thoughts :

I can’t emphasize strongly enough that this is entirely conjecture. But it’s educated conjecture.

Why Jason Fortuny MIGHT have done what he did

Why does a person do this kind of thing?

I have a theory. Jason says I'm way off the mark, by the way.

But we can learn from the theory. It's based upon my experience with the frustration expressed by adults who witnessed and/or survived domestic violence (and some pretty good branding by R., thank you Cyber-Vigilante
With that in mind,

The act of publicly exposing the men who volunteered to torture the "female" has elements of BOTH sadism and masochism; (1) sadism for exposing men who responded to the ad and their families to embarrassment and shame; (2) masochism for putting himself at risk for revenge. These were men who admitted their willingness to participate in violence for pleasure.

What kind of person puts himself into a dangerous position like this?

Maybe a new brand of Superhero, a Cyber Vigilante.

Follow along.

Most therapy docs have worked with patients subjected to abuse or who have witnessed one parent beaten by another, repeatedly. The beaten individual is generally a woman, usually insecure, with an underdeveloped sense of self and shoddy confidence. This woman, when she married, thought her mate had the strength that she lacked, sometimes unconsciously.

In fact her spouse was/is really insecure, too, and bullied(s) others to make himself feel strong. He bullied her. Perhaps he even beats her if she didn't agree with him, creased his shirt while ironing, gazed at another man, even her brother. He’s a jealous sort, a borderline, perhaps, with sociopathic tendencies.

This spousal abuse can become chronic, and ever more violent. The female, because she's got few resources can't or won't leave. She barely protests.

A child is watching. The child says to her, Please leave him, please stop him. Don't let him hit you.

She says, It's okay. He doesn't hurt me. This doesn't really hurt. I'm okay. You don't understand your father. Go back to sleep.

The child can't sleep. The child stays up wondering about the meaning of violence in relationships and comes to some conclusions on his own. He may get in-between his mother and his father at times, he may even throw a few punches.

When he does, his mother will try to stop him, will tell him that she is fine. She's okay. She is placating the man she has to sleep with at night, the one she wakes up to by day.

This makes the child angry. He becomes, perhaps, someone who is angry at both parents. With the testosterone of his father and the guts of his mother, he takes action.

He becomes. . .CYPBER VIGILANTE, gets his own revenge, communicates to not only his parents, but to the world, how wrong, wrong, wrong, this all is.

Again, I have no idea what really happened. I don't know Mr. Fortuny, have never met his parents, and for all I know they're wonderful people who have never lifted a finger to hurt one another. Seriously, it's possible Jason's out for the big buck, for the movie that they'll make out of the story one day.

It's just a theory. But it makes sense to me.

Well, it did at the time, and frankly, even if it's not applicable to Mr. Fortuny, is right on vis-a-vis families like those in my example above.

There have been copy cat pranksters, of course. For more on why people take pleasure in humiliating other people, see Humiliating Others, Deliberate Abuse

Oh, and if you're interested in Jason's Comment about my theory, click on this link (the original post) and scroll down to comments.

Copyright 2006, Therapydoc


Anonymous said...

It sadenes me to see this totally irrelevant analysis of where Domination and submission realtions stem from.
I am a fully qualified family physician how is living the best realtionship of my life as a submissive woman.I have a paretner who is the Dominant partner in thsi realtionship. Being with Him has been one of teh most strengthening experiences in my life.We are both of teh smae age and eductaion,same socioeconominc calss and upbringing.Neither one of us had witnessed any of that skewed family power balance.
D/s realtions are direct and clear.Neither of both parties hides any desire and anything that might happen is mutual.Enduring pain to please is an uncomparable rush.Deriving pain form pleasure is even a bigger rush.
The mere idea of sureendering to someone totally is what keeps D/s relations alive.To know that you have a partner you trust to do you no harm no matter how helpless and vulnarable you are is what makes the submissive thrive.Aside form the fact that it provides a safe enviorment to explore one's deep dark desires in a consnsual safe enviorment.
I suggest that you read more in depth about this before you interpret on it and refer any starneg concept to your own taste as a bad manifestation of childhood trauma.
Thank you for your effort non the less.

Anonymous said...

You analysis seems rather interesting. The only flaw that I see offhand is that it refers to only a small section of the Dom/sub relationship. This is something that I've done much research in, as I am a part of such a relationship and have tried to explain it to others.

What you are thinking of is a stereotypical Dom/sub relationship. And what you have written may very well explain that group. Unfortunately, this is also the group that is doing it incorrectly.

The relationship is built on trust and a sense of caring for one another. The sub allows the Dom to take care of him or her (the roles are not linked by gender) and the Dom protects the them in return.

Your blog may explain why certain elements may be in there, but whips and bondage are not required for a Dom/sub relationship. Me and my husband have been in this kind of relationship for a long time before we were married. Before marriage, however, it was strictly a "vanilla" relationship. Yes, it is possible for no sex to be involved. You could say that it is more of a mind set. He still took care of me, and made many decisions for me, and I was still obedient. He would only go as far as I would let him, the main rule in the relationship.

Like the last person said, a little more research into this category might have been better, although it is a good analysis for a specific group in the lifestyles. I just ask that you point that out next time this (or something similar) is posted.

And wow, that was much longer than I thought it would be.

therapydoc said...

Thanks for writing. Sometimes a long comment is really better. I appreciate your opinion here and experience.

~*~ tiggie rose ~*~ said...

Kudos to you for trying to evaluate the motives behind why some people choose BDSM relationships. Though, I have to disagree with you as well.

Let's point out a fact. Crime is transcendendant. No one group of people is immune to that percentage existing within the groups they identify with that harm or decieve others.

Fact Two: No one will ever completely ascribe to another person's idea of 'normal'.

Fact Three: The world is not full of good people vs. bad people. We all posess the ability to be both incredibly kind and horribly cruel. There isn't a person on this planet who can say they've never done something 'wrong' or 'bad'. And, once we start giving this 'goodness' and 'badness' a grade like: well, it isn't so bad because . . . Then, we create all kinds of problems where we demonize ideas, instead of point out where it all went wrong. Like: A man in his 30's rapes and kills a woman he met in a resturant by tying her up and beating her to death.

People don't notice....rape and kill as much as they note tying and beating.

So, suddenly, the point is no longer that this man obviously had a problem. The point becomes that he tied his victim up and beat her.

And what if, they planned that meeting. What if he first spoke to her on the internet? What if he called himself a Dom. What if she called herself a submissive?

People forget that a tragedy has happened. This is now a scandle.

Because many people will look at this and think in panic that ...Dominant people only want to have sex. Dominant people want to kill their partners by beating them to death.

So suddenly they see a person who says they are a Dom and that person is immediately labeled a rapist or a murderer because that's just what they do.

While the truth is...

People are not disturbed because they are kinky or seek to have a consensual, safe, and safe, BDSM relationship.

Truth is there are disturbed people who are kinky and they lack the emotional, spiritual, etc...health to practice it in a safe, sane, consensual way. And, so, they commit a crime.

So...while people who cannot see this...demonize the innocent of the crime and humiliate the family of the victim for somehow nurturing a 'depraved sex kitten'. The family never gets the respect they deserve and more and more people who only want to explore their sexuality together are sent to or run to therapists because....

someone fired them because they found out about their sexuality and thought they'd rape their co-workers.

parents found out about their daughter's sexuality and while their daughter was out, told the school she was sick and couldn't return for the rest of the semester. they then collected all her belongings and dumped them into a back room--in the same of 'saving her from herself'.

Said daughter is told she's failed parents and God and thus feels she's unworthy of love because she is kinky, likes the exchange of power with her boyfriend, and enjoys the smell of leather.

Very devout Christian man hangs himself because family says he's a satanist because he wants to spank his girlfriend during sex.

In these cases, the problem isn't kinky sexuality or relationships involving power-exchange.

The problem is other people not understanding. The problem is the creation of guilt based on fears and taboos of a continuously changing society. And, people who feel unworthy, unwanted, unaccepable, and unhappy because they have feelings of not meeting some grand expectation or have been labeled monsters in the eyes of others.

Before these others told them they were these things and lashed out...they were no more or less functioning than those who do not have these desires. They raised their kids. They went to work. They paid their taxes. Brushed their teeth and did their homework.

Sure, there are crimes and their are problems stemming from faulty understandings, lack of education, and imbalanced practice.

But their are beautiful realtionships that are enhanced because these people want to explore, play, laugh, cry, and feel together.

BDSM is about connecting. It's about vunerability. It's about respecting your partner and listening. It's about using good judgement in your sexual practices. It's about being creative with each other. And, point on...it's supposed to be fun.

it's not about harming anyone else. Involvement of Pain in an activity is not some great evil. If that were true than boxers and various other athletes would be certifiable or criminal.

Guess that's nuff said.

Claire said...

thecomments here really helped me. I'm new to the whole D/s relationship, butbeing a submissive partner is the best thing that ever happened to me. I GIVE my Dom power and he takes care of me and protects me. He is my superhero and I will be forever grateful for the path he has shown me. Thanks to the commenters on this page

therapydoc said...

I think you're all fantastic. Thanks again.

Claire said...

I'm new to the D/s scene. I met my boyfriend and he introduced it to me. I've always enjoyed being bossed around, especially in bed. Now that I've found this culture I have never been happier. I GIVE my Dom the power over me and in return, he takes care of me and protects me. I will be forever grateful of the path that my Dom has shown me. The comments on this post really helped me and made me realize that this is an accepted practice. There was never any abuse in my life whether childhood or otherwise

Anonymous said...

I am the submissive partner in my relationship. The relationship is the most incredibly intense, loving, open, caring one I have ever experienced and every moment is special. Because it is so open, the trust and understanding of each other's needs is enormous. Just on a day to day basis, putting the sexual relationship to one side for now, we know how to behave and respect each other. We are very in tune and with each other and allow one another to care so there is a dynamic in all this - by allowing someone to care for me, then I feel complete and give all my love back unconsciously. It is different from a "vanilla" relationship - I accept my partner's desire to care for me as he fully understands my needs and accepts me as I am. He is open to my sexual desires as I am to his. There is nothing criminal or nasty about it - above all it is loving and fun. A lot of the BDSM porn sites show scenes where there is no love shown and I am afraid those can give BDSM a bad name. In a true relationship, it is not like that and during sex there is a lot of loving exchanges and play. I have experienced the hardcore M/s fuckbuddy thing and that proved to me that you need love too to make it work properly. I have been in a vanilla relationship for most of my adult life and coming out of that showed me what was missing and why I felt so unfulfilled and unloved. So any average person who thinks it is just for kinky people doesn't understand it fully,is closed minded, doesn't need that sort of relationship...and fair enough - we are all different and that doesn't mean one person is right and one person is wrong. I do not condone criminal acts by people who really do have a mental problem and yes, unfortunately there are some of those around who use BDSM as their vehicle for carrying out there criminal acts. So we all should take care so that we find the right person for us to spend our lives with, as in anything. I also have to agree with the comment about athletes - I am a sporty person and even going running causes pain - does that mean I am weird or just in tune with my body and want to get the best out of it....like all other sporty people...

David said...

I've been wondering on the pyschology of the submissive and dominant partners. Several questions emerge for me from the posts here. Many subs express the feeling of liberation at being able to give control to someone else. They argue that it's resulted in much greater feelings of self-esteem in them selves. It's this point that I'm wondering if is the inherent issue in d/s environments - the sub would rather escape into an environment where they don't want to have control rather than isolate why they want to give their freedom away.

Conversely the dominant person that is willing to accept another persons submission to them, on the surface can appear to represent characteristics of caring and sensitivity at accepting the subs vulnerability; but ultimately is misguided as perhaps they themselves need that power control to fulfil themselves.

Perhaps my ideas are too utopian in perspective - respect for everyone as they should be, not as they are. Equally everyone should expect an equal level of respect inherently and never feel like giving that away.

therapydoc said...

I agree. A healthy relationship has to have mutual respect, or should try to work towards that. These variables are so different to different people, I've been reluctant to generalize. But yours is a nice way to put it.

DAWN said...

What you described is an abusive relationship, a D/s relationship is fun, exciting, and a great mind fuck for people. Being beat on a regular Babism when you have not asked, wanted, needed it, or even talked about the physical contact is not D/s related. Safe, sane, and consensual is the norm. A sub is usually a stony dominant person in their day to day life but needs the power exchange to feel free. There are so many ways of looking at it but ABUSE IS ABUSE, A D/s RELATIONSHIP IS NOT THE SAME THING.

Anonymous said...

I think you're missing the point here. The guy who did this is evil. But aside from that. The submissive in these situations is wants this to happen to them. They get the same pleasure from it that the Dom gets. It's a mutual understanding. It's not crime per we but in the uk (where I'm from) some of this is actually illegal, even between consenting adults. (check if you don't believe me)

therapydoc said...

Thanks Anon. I guess because they are consenting adults it makes whether or not it is legal debatable.