The Gresham’s Law of Online BDSM

By | February 5, 2018

I have a theory about what the Internet has done to the expectations of both dommes and subs as to what BDSM really is.  I’ve given potted versions to various people but now I have my own space I can fully elaborate.

Sometimes what I see if I look at places like CollarSpace or years ago when I succumbed to join Alt.Com for a while, makes me despair.  Consider this as a plea to dommes and especially subs to think about what your personal desires and needs are rather than assuming you must conform to the stereotypes and labels you see filling your screen.

One problem with the human psyche is a need to feel that you belong, to conform to what others tell you the labels mean.  But, you’re shouting at the screen, I’m a unique person, I’m a non-conformist, I reject being labelled.  Do you really ?  Let me recite an anecdote from a time I worked in the US in the mid-90’s.

It was a time I still went to work in a jacket and tie.  On arriving in the US office I was mildly mocked for my dress code.  “We don’t wear uniforms, we wear what we want and stick it to the man” they informed me.  Funny thing about that, I looked them up and down and every single person was wearing a variation of jeans and t-shirt.  No uniform, huh ?  Non-conformity, huh ?

And the even funnier thing was the fact that because I wore a tie I was unconsciously labelled as a “suit” and they did what I told them to irrespective of my lack of any official authority.

That was a great lesson in labels and human psychology.

How does this apply to BDSM sites ?  Let us start by talking about the domme’s experience.

Today when a new domme decides to join a site she’s faced with the dilemma of what to write in profile and introductory texts.  Naturally she looks at what dommes already on the site have written.  This informs her as to what it is to be a domme.  So she writes that she’s looking for paypigs, worthless scum to do her every bidding, how she enjoys ruining disgusting males.  Her pictures often show her scowling or giving the finger.  All hint of personality is subsumed in this grimacing and disdainful stereotype.  The ‘instadommes’ who have heard from friends that this is how to fleece stupid men for free stuff abound here.  Any woman actually wanting to explore being a domme is not going to question the peer pressure and a need to conform to the prevailing definitions of labels lead her to go with the flow.

Greshams_Law

Re-stating Gresham’s Law

I think this has been going on since the first Usenet forums.  However, a significant proportion of domme ads back then were thoughtful in a manner to try and express a personality.  At some point the lazy ads started to drive out the proper ones until we now have the case where they have driven out any diversity.  This is the essence of Gresham’s Law, the bad drives out the good.  He was talking about counterfeit coinage, the principle is the same, though.

I think the change started with the fad for college girls to find a sugar daddy to augment their lifestyle.  It has since moved strata such that there is a definite girls union to encourage each other to fleece dumb men to maintain a lifestyle.

Where have the real (I hate that word, but will use it here) dommes gone.  To be fair, they are in a tiny minority these days.  They have real businesses and will have their own sites showing their own uniqueness.  Any use they make of these other sites is to drive possible traffic to their site.  However, a recent Twitter conversation raised the question of why do even these dommes scowl ?  It’s true.  On their public facing pages of their sites you will rarely find a smile.  I must admit to finding this observation a bit surprising, the dommes I have known all have trouble keeping a straight face, they rapidly revert to grins and giggles.  Even in professional clips a smile or a laugh is usually disdainful and mocking rather than spontaneous joy.  There is a strong element here of them staying in character, but it doesn’t answer the first question of why must they play a character that doesn’t genuinely smile.  I know that if any domme reads this she might take exception to this generalisation, but I think it’s largely true.

What I can discuss with a bit more authority is how daunted a sub feels when first exploring the strange desires and emotions he is feeling.  The sub is invariably alone and is almost certainly too horny to think clearly.

At the beginning he has some loosely defined desire to submit to a female.  He doesn’t really know why these thoughts are happening and he picks up the courage to go Google what’s out there.  He probably does want to understand what he is feeling.  His first frightening thoughts are probably “Am I a freak, or a sexual deviant ?”.  In this day and age, that might be more relevant and psychologically damaging than ever.

He has an innate need to find a label that describes him, to learn that he is not alone and that others think and express the same desires as he does.  Finding a label provides a definition of what it means to conform to that label.  And boy, does he want to conform.  It’s a self-reinforcing maelstrom of the online BDSM world that the way to attract a domme’s attention is to conform to what the labels make him believe is the appropriate and accepted behaviour for a sub (oh, and have credit card to hand).

Of course, he finds that the majority of those dommes splashed all over the Google search results are now advertising (probably with stolen pictures) for worthless specimens to be treated with no respect.

The poor sub is led down a blind alley and it’s very difficult to find a route out of it.  He’s been led to believe he is weak, led to believe that he has no worth an is due no respect beyond what he can pay for.  It takes a strong and determined personality to break out of this trap.

The online BDSM world is orders of magnitude greater than when I first encountered it – well, I am old enough to pre-date the advent of the world-wide web.  This has to be a good thing despite the way that the parasites have crawled all over it.  The determined BDSM seeker, one who refuses to acknowledge the labels and is capable of going beyond the stereotypes and discovering their own truths can find the places where Gresham’s Law has not yet been applied.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.