Readin’, Writin’ and Reality

I was surprised to find out that John Norman has resumed publishing books in what he calls his Gorean series. The 27th volume, entitled Prize of Gor, has recently been published as an e-book.

As I’ve written before, I read a little more than twelve of the series back in my late teens and early twenties. At the time, it was the only kink related material that I regularly read because all the books were available in mainstream book stores right there in the Science Fiction section. I loved the combination of planetary romance and BDSM. Exotic locales, daring adventures, a tough guy protagonist and sexy slavegirls – everything a growing boy needed rolled into one.

I met Norman about ten years ago at a Science Fiction convention on Long Island and found him to be nice, interesting to converse with and a man who was polite and attentive to his fans. I liked him although I can’t say that I subscribe to his philosophy about women if that’s what it is. The thing that I’ve never been able to reconcile about his work was how much of the Gorean philosophy contained his real thoughts on the subject and how much of it was the fictional philosophy of his creation. However, no matter my thoughts on his philosophy of female submission, I still vigorously defend his right to create and publish what he wishes. I don’t have to like all of it or any of it to believe that it should exist for its own sake.

The reason I brought all this up is my musings on the scene and the practitioners of different varieties of kink. It’s easy for me to separate the reality from the fantasy when I play because I am not the Daddy, Uncle, Teacher or general authority figure over the person I’m spanking. I don’t see myself as having any real authority over anyone that has not been agreed to by both parties. I also don’t see this authority as translating into a rule that I treat all women by. My assumption is that folks in Dominant role of Master/slave relationships also can separate that which is permitted between two or more individuals and the outside world.

And there, I think, is the benefit of acting upon ones desires and impulses. I believe that people who embrace their kink and explore the alternatives in a consensual way are able to separate these thoughts and contain them outside their real lives. I speak, of course, of the well adjusted. In the kinky world as well as the vanilla, you will find men who have have a deep rooted disrespect for women and a philosophy of life that says they are intrinsically better. One of the main differences, I think, is that the real world glosses over (and even embraces) this kind of thinking – the kinky world offers immediate feedback to the person who thinks this way because they quickly find themselves persona non grata in the scene. A very frustrating state to be in if one wishes to find play partners.

I’m sure I’ll speak about these things again but I just want to leave it with this note. I love edgy erotic literature. As far as I’m concerned, anything goes when a person is writing or fantasizing. When the edginess of these thoughts, especially ones that put one person below another, intrude upon real life, I bristle.

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2 Responses to “Readin’, Writin’ and Reality”

  1. I’ve never actually read any of these books. I looked them up in Wikipedia when some people were exchanging “witticisms” about them on a BSDM listserve, and from there I surfed to some truly bizarre and wonderful personal sites of “lifestylers” and also of people who have a deep and complex Gorean alternate fantasy life online. It seems like his work has a powerful grip on other people than just growing boys!

    One parallel I found fascinating (and I mean genuinely fascinating…there’s no judgment here) was that when “Gorean” women online wrote about how being a slave, etc. made them feel, the arguments and rationales sounded practically identical to those of evangelical Christian women living a “Fascinating Womanhood” lifestyle, or fundamentalist Islamic women talking about the burka. The one difference I noted was that the latter two groups of women generally talk about “the right way” while the Gorean women talked about “the right way for them.”

  2. Interesting observation regarding lifestylers. There is a strong sense of individualism in folks who practice alternative lifestyles which I think is an offshoot of both libertarian and liberal philosophy. There is a freedom in choosing something for yourself rather than having it dictated because it gives you the option of un-choosing as well.

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