If you read fetlife, then you’ve seen the threads that seem really judgmental. And, of course, along with those posts are the responses lamenting how the BDSM community – or, really, any alternative lifestyle community – is supposed to be more accepting of others, more open minded, less judgmental, etc. But…why?

I mean, we’re all judged daily. We’re judged on what we wear, where we come from, how we speak, how we live…and many, many other things. Why is there this assumption that when I become part of a particular group that I stop judging people? Why should I? If I don’t judge, then how do I know whether you should be part of my life or not? Or part of my family?

I understand that there’s this “thing” that bonds us as a community – a sense of living on the “outskirts” of the ‘mundane’. But, there isn’t a BDSM world and a vanilla world. It’s the same world; filled with the same people. I understand that what you do may not be what I do and that I should be tolerant of it when in public spaces especially. I understand that I have choices to walk away – but, isn’t that action making a judgment? Isn’t that me saying ‘I don’t like this’ or ‘this isn’t okay with me’? Granted, I’m not saying anything directly to you. I’m not interrupting your scene to tell you that I don’t like it. I’m not making a big deal about it. I’m simply making a judgement and walking away.

Does that mean that I judge you as a person? Perhaps. Maybe I judge you on the fact that you play with needles and I don’t. Maybe I judge you on the fact that you have purple underwear and I hate the color purple. Does it mean you’re a bad person? Not necessarily. Does it mean I judge you to be a “bad” person? Not necessarily. I rarely see people as “bad” or “good”….more people I would like to spend time with and people that I have no interest in spending time with. I judge you on things I can’t even identify. You know that feeling you get around some people….that one that feels like your teeth itch and your skin’s trying to crawl away? That tingle up your spine? Yeah – I stay away from you. But, that’s a judgement.

Why is that people in the BDSM community seem to feel exempt from being judged? It’s like I should be all accepting simply because we have BDSM in common. I should assume you’re a good guy or girl because you’re a top or bottom or whatever. I mean…what is it that makes people feel that those in alternative lifestyles -should- be less judgmental? Or that people are wrong for making judgments about other people? I’ve seen this explained away as age, inexperience, not enough “real life” experience, and cynicism among other things. “Oh, you’re just being cynical…that’s why you’re making those judgmental statements.”

I fully understand that what you do isn’t necessarily what I do. I fully understand that if you like blood play and I don’t  that if you’re in a scene in a public play space, I should just walk away, period. I understand that you doing something I don’t like doesn’t make you a bad person inherently. But I don’t understand why you freak out if I make a judgment that a certain type of behavior or certain actions are not for me. I don’t understand why my not agreeing with you or seeing the world the way you do means that I’m being judgmental. And isn’t that you being judgmental of me? Is that okay? If it is….why isn’t it okay for me to judge you? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

In my opinion, people need to get off this “we’re in the same lifestyle so you shouldn’t be judgmental” bandwagon. Seriously, you can’t escape it. None of us can. We’re judged on so many things, countless times throughout our days, by countless people. Some are snap judgments, some are not. Some are correct, some are not. But, bottom line – you can’t expect someone to be accepting of you simply because you’re in the same alternative lifestyle. You can’t expect them to be so open minded that they don’t make any judgments at all – about you or any one else. Get over the fact that “I’m into BDSM too!” is not an automatic friendship or appreciation. Start to realize and understand that people CAN, WILL and SHOULD judge you – regardless of sharing a lifestyle choice.

People judge me all the time. I’m okay with it. I may not always find their judgments accurate. I may not always agree. Yes, I may even get upset. But, you know what? It’s life. I’m just so tired of hearing that “I thought joining this community would mean there’d be less judgmental people” cry. I’m tired of the assumption that because we share the same lifestyle that I shouldn’t judge you or your actions. I’m tired of the implication that when I enter “BDSM space” that I drop all my experiences and be “open minded” to the point of not making judgments about what’s right for me.  Oh – and opinions are judgments. So, should I not have opinions on what you do or say or how you act? Not going to happen. You shouldn’t stop having opinions either.



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