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Fetishes, Ethics, Sex, and Fair Play

I volunteered to write up something on this subject for Ms Ally of LDW this afternoon. As soon as my fingers finished typing those words, my head was going "Janey, what have you got yourself into this time? What qualifies you to say talk about ethics?"

I finally realized that while I may not be a qualified counselor or have the depth of exposure and experience that Ms Ally has, I have had almost 20 years of happy living without upsetting or distressing (too much -smile-) those around me so I must be doing something close to right.

My basic assumption for ethics in the world of fetish involve two questions:
1. Does it hurt or damage anyone?
2. Is this the best way to avoid hurting or damaging anyone?

questions? Yes, they are, but the answers can be anything but simple. Even when the answers are simple, that doesn't always mean easy. One of the first things I think most people with fetishes should do is figure out what their fetish is since this makes answering other questions less difficult.

Now let's think about "hurt or damage". What is hurt or damage? Here's what the dictionary says and I have bolded the parts I think are relevant to this piece.

hurt (hûrt)
v. hurt, hurt·ing, hurts
1. To cause physical damage or pain to; injure.
2. To cause mental or emotional suffering to; distress.
3. To cause physical damage to; harm: The frost hurt the orange crop.
4. To be detrimental to; hinder or impair: The scandal hurt the candidate's chances for victory.
1. To have or produce a feeling of physical pain or discomfort: My leg hurts.
2a. To cause distress or damage: Parental neglect hurts.
2b. To have an adverse effect: "It never hurt to have a friend at court" Tom Clancy.
1. Something that hurts; a pain, injury, or wound.
2. Mental suffering; anguish: getting over the hurt of reading the letter.
3. A wrong; harm: What hurt have you done to them?

dam·age (dmj)
1. Harm or injury to property or a person, resulting in loss of value or the impairment of usefulness.
2. damages Law Money ordered to be paid as compensation for injury or loss.
3. Informal Cost; price.
v. dam·aged, dam·ag·ing, dam·ag·es
To cause damage to.
To suffer or be susceptible to damage.

Hurt or damage can include either physical damage or mental hurt, although I don't really have as firm a line on physical damage as some people. My primary thoughts are towards mental pain and hurt. I feel it is wrong to enforce or coerce someone into an activity that is harmful to their sense of self. In that regard, I obviously have problems with pedophiles and certain other fetishes. In terms of physical damage, some of the more extreme forms of bondage and discipline are certainly not my activity of choice, but if all the participants have made informed choices to participate in the activity then have at it is my reaction.

Is it damaging not to tell your significant other about your fetish?

My opinion (and opinions are like elbows, most people do have them) is that it is damaging for a number of reasons. The first reason is that almost automatically, your partner is going to have a reaction either that you don't trust them or that something is wrong with them when they do find out. My girlfriend who brought Janey (my feminine side) out and I belonged to my support group's couples outreach program. I can tell you from experience that reaction is almost universal.

The other problem is that when a person hides their fetish, there are generally two reactions that person has which can do damage both to themselves and those around them. (I've been through both of these personally so I have experienced what I am talking about). The first reaction I experienced was anger. Anger, you ask? Why anger? The anger came about because I felt guilty towards my wife for not sharing my full and honest truth. That transmutes to anger, because naturally enough, most people don't like to feel guilty so they let it go by getting angry at the one who causes those feelings (often unknowingly). The other common problem is that many people experience self-destructiveness. I know I certainly did and it took me a long time to understand how it hurt those around me who did care for me.

When It Comes to Fetish, Live and Let Live

The flip side of the coin is that we should understand and be tolerant of those ideas we don't always agree with, and give people room to be themselves. We all seem to be made differently and if we don't learn to give patience and understanding, we will have little luck in getting it ourselves. The main point I am leading to here is: we should try not to force our ideas on others for our own selfish ends. If, for example, you want to be a sissy maid, then assuming your partner is at least willing to give it a try, make certain they do not spend all their time catering to your fantasy. In other words make it fun for them as well. Various ways of doing this might include actually doing a significant and useful number of household tasks, be low maintenance (in other words, your partner doesn't need to watch you 24 x 7), do not push or do things your partner is uncomfortable with.

To discuss fetish and ethics on the phone, call us at 800-356-6169, or click "Mistresses" above for other orgasm denial game playmates