May 3, 2015

Why We Can’t Have Naughty Things: Keeping Private Parties Private

Your chain is okay with me, neighbor.
Your chain is okay with me, neighbor.

By Alexa Day

Fifty Shades is back in the news again. It’s apparently coming out on Blu-ray soon, which means I’ll have to start avoiding the trailer again, and I heard that E.L. James is planning on publishing a writing guide, which promises to be very interesting indeed. But neither of those two things really bothered me last week.

Last week, I was pointed at a news story from New York City. I really hate to link to the story because I want it to keep going away. The lede, as it should, sets the tone for the rest of the article. It describes a “fetish party attendee … blowing the whistle” on activities that “would shock even the authors of Fifty Shades of Grey.”

That doesn’t really mean anything. I mean, my grocery list would shock the FSOG folks. (Who needs that many clothespins, ice trays, and latex gloves at the same time? I do. Back off.) I wondered what must have happened at this party. Thorough, thoughtful negotiation? Aftercare? And really, much is communicated by the fact that the reporters and their entire editorial chain evidently believe that Fifty Shades has more than one author. But I’m digressing.

According to the story, a medical doctor at a BDSM party, hosted by a well established group in the city, was engaged in blood play with his fellow partygoers. I’m not going to mention any names here, and my larger point doesn’t demand a deep focus on the type of blood play. (I will say that I wasn’t shocked by it, but hey, I didn’t write Fifty Shades, either.) What really distresses me about the story is that the “whistleblower” remained anonymous while the reporters named the doctor.

The reporters named the doctor, posted his picture, and excerpted a couple of clips from his YouTube channel.

Blood play doesn’t scare me. *That* scares me.

In my daytime life, I’m still keeping my bills paid with a conservative job in a conservative industry in a conservative part of the country. If you’re following me here or on social media, you know that I’m working in the legal industry. I have to keep my driver’s-license identity relatively secret because sadly, I know the sort of damage that judgmental, misinformed people can do to someone’s career. I also know that the BDSM community is careful about protecting folks’ identities for exactly this reason. Clubs have rules about taking pictures, making videos, and disclosing the identities of club members. “Whistleblowing” like this isn’t supposed to happen.

What else is the BDSM community really careful about? Safety and consent. Indeed, safety and consent are two of the three pillars upon which BDSM play rests; the community’s watchwords are “safe, sane, and consensual.” If people are engaged in blood play at a party hosted by a well established club, I’m comfortable with the presumption that the players fully understand the level of risk involved with what they’re doing, that the level of risk has been controlled to the fullest extent possible, and that they’ve chosen to move forward anyway. When that isn’t the case, the community is pretty efficient with regard to self-policing. Parties are hip deep in rules and monitors and any number of safety measures, and enforcement is swift and sure. I’m not worried about lack of consent and I’m not worried about unsafe play in large part because I know that a decent club makes safety everyone’s business. If I see something (and I haven’t yet), I say something. To them. Not to the news.

I’m not sure how a “whistleblower” made its way in. I’m also not sure why a “whistleblower” felt it was necessary to head to the local TV station, although I’ll concede that I don’t know who else was a party to that person’s grievances before the story was aired. What really worries me here is that some person, who doesn’t have all the facts but who might very well have an agenda, might now also have a way to do serious damage to others’ reputations and private lives. This doctor’s name is out there now. Even if the licensing board does nothing, there’s a huge possibility that gossip — sorry, “whistleblowing” — will do significant damage to his practice.

And for what? Because someone who somehow managed to get into that party couldn’t handle what was going on? Because that person wasn’t satisfied that everyone involved was okay with what they were doing? Because that person decided to superimpose his or her personal standards over those of her hosts and her fellow guests and a well established community with little meaningful relationship to Fifty Shades?

The story seems to be going away, and I’m immensely relieved to see only three comments attached to it. It sounds like this particular tree has fallen in the forest without making much of a sound.

But now I’m nervous. How can I be sure that there’s no “whistleblower” out there with my name and bar number? How can any of us be sure?

Follow Lady Smut.

Tagged with: , , , , ,


  • Post authorKayla Lords

    As the hosts of the party and the owner of the club, I’d be concerned about how someone like this “whistleblower” even got past them. I know my two local clubs are pretty stringent on how they let people in, and I can’t imagine how they could get much stricter in order to avoid something like this.

    I can’t believe the “whistleblower” could be a member of the lifestyle – at least not an active and informed one – because if they were, they would have known this is the worst possible thing to do in the kink community (well, second to violating consent). Wow…just…wow.

    Reply to Kayla Lords
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      I agree with you on both counts. People don’t just walk in, and people are definitely educated about “whistleblowing” in advance. Honestly, as I remember it, people were pretty thoroughly vetted before they found out where events were taking place, just to prevent things like this from happening.

      It’s cause for concern, I think; especially because I don’t know what could be done to further secure these events. On the bright side, though, if there is a bright side, it looks like this isn’t getting a tremendous amount of attention. Not that it takes a huge number of people to do serious professional damage.

      Reply to Alexa Day
      • Post authorKayla Lords

        Sadly, it’ll probably ruin the doctor’s career even if it doesn’t make a lot of waves for the community. I think people forget (me being one of them) that you can be in the lifestyle and still be a raging asshole. In my limited experience, it’s been rare, but clearly it happens. I imagine that if they’ve figured out who the whistleblower is, that person will be shunned in the active community, but that’s meaningless in today’s world of online access. That person can still go be an asshole somewhere else.

        Reply to Kayla Lords
    • Post authorElizabeth SaFleur (@ElizaLoveStory)

      I’m shocked, too. This “whistleblower” won’t remain anonymous for long. What was he/she even doing there in the first place? I expect his/her name will be passed around generously by the BDSM community, and perhaps even by the media eventually.

      Reply to Elizabeth SaFleur (@ElizaLoveStory)
  • Post authornormandiea

    I understand why y’all are upset by this, but if you do something in public you can’t expect to have be complete privacy. It would be nice, but I don’t think you can have that expectation. I’ve met plenty of people in the lifestyle that I wouldn’t trust with keeping secrets.

    I attend a lot of sporting events from children’s age to professional, and I worked in a hospital in the past. Blood is a huge deal in professional environments. There is usually stoppage of play/work, and a clean-up the moment there is blood in most situations due to HIV and other blood-transmitted illnesses. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone was just freaked out by the blood. Unless every member there had blood specifically discussed with them and shown the safety precautions that would be used to handle blood-play, I can see people getting freaked out by it. It sucks for the doc to be “outed”, but I think he has to take responsibility for putting himself in that situation. If he wanted to do it and not have people know he should have done it at home. Hell, people have phones and cameras everywhere. You just have to guard your privacy if you want it these days. IMHO, preparing for the tomatoes to be thrown…

    Reply to normandiea
    • Post authorMadeline Iva

      What a thoughtful, compelling response! I totally get what you’re talking about. You provide a really strong common sense attitude. I remember giving a guy in a bike accident first aid. I was at my friend’s house, we heard that awful, awful crunch outside and there was a guy on the road with a really bad, bad leg break. I grabbed my friend’s blanket off her bed, and rushed down there, using the rolled up blanket around his leg to help stabilize it and keep it from moving until the ambulance got there. So they cart the poor man off to the hospital and then someone starts carting away the blanket too, and my friend was like “Hey! That’s my grandmother’s heirloom blanket.” And the guy said “Ma’am, it’s not anymore. Now it’s a bio-hazard.” There it is.

      Reply to Madeline Iva
  • Pingback: Spent from Blushing, Ready for Tuesday! | Lady Smut (Edit)

  • Pingback: Get You Some, SugarPlum! | Lady Smut (Edit)

Comments & Reviews

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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