How I came to wiitwd
   by SD
   There was a passing comment in an email I received recently about how
   I came to S&M, which I'm altering to wiitwd for reasons that people
   may be sick of reading. It occurs to me that this may be something
   pertinent to a couple threads on ASB, and possibly helpful to some
   readers. We'll see.
   I've been extremely interested in restraining, frightening,
   humiliating, and inflicting severe pain and bodily harm on people,
   often onto death, for as long as I can remember, from earliest
   childhood. It long precedes an interest in sex, and was gender neutral
   before puberty. As an interest in sex developed it merged with the
   existing interest in controlling and hurting people, and females
   became the principle targets of interest. Part of me has always seen
   other people as prey, and fantasized about hunting them down to feed
   on their pain and terror.
   I say part of me because I've also always been a nice, quiet person
   (just like they so often say after someone is caught :-> ) who, while
   not adverse to fighting when provoked, wasn't at all aggressive. As a
   child, because I got my growth early (and children at that time in my
   neighborhood didn't carry weapons), and because I would hurt people
   who provoked me too much, I didn't get provoked a lot. As I got older
   I became pretty good about getting along with people despite, or,
   perhaps, because of, my preference for minimal human contact, and I
   haven't had cause to employ physical violence in nearly twenty years
   (nor have I done so without cause). Some people who know me find me to
   be a bit eccentric, but few know me well enough to know that much
   about me, and I'm only known as a pervert to SQO 200,000 plus people
   nearly all of whom are total strangers (an interesting way to keep
   one's confidences :->) and only two of whom have ever met me (so far
   as I know).
   But however harmless I may seem, and however safe I am, a part of me
   has always had predatory urges. I sometimes discuss this part of
   myself as a separate person ("S."), but those who worry about people
   who disassociate needn't fret. I'm quite aware that he's just a facet
   of my personality. But it makes it much simpler to speak of that
   aspect of myself by personifying it, and anyway, while I know we all
   have dark sides, if you had S. as a dark side, you'd disassociate too
   . Because S. doesn't just want to hurt people a little, or even a lot.
   And he's not really into killing, though cruel and unusual ways of
   making people die are frequent revelries (making people die cruelly is
   an excellent way to make those who love them suffer). No, ideally what
   he would like is to cause people to wish that they'd never had the
   misfortune to be born, as that experience started the process that
   lead them to S.'s tender mercilessness (once getting someone to that
   point, he might grant one of his rare kindnesses and rectify that
   error). Of course, the ideal is rarely achieved, and one must often
   settle for lesser pleasures.
   As a child, S. was mainly excited by pain and fear, but as he got
   older he added despair to the list, and despair became his principle
   lust (for some of us S&M *is* a spiritual experience), though pain and
   fear and helplessness and humiliation are all fun in themselves, as
   well as being tools that can be used to induce despair.
   S. has never had any interest in the victim's pleasure. Well, that
   isn't true. He's always wanted to be very certain sie didn't
   experience any. Long before we'd heard the old joke about the sadist
   and the masochist, S. knew that what he wanted to do to people, or to
   make them do, was whatever they most feared and/or could least bear.
   Whatever would harm them the most, whatever they wanted most to avoid,
   whatever pushed their hot buttons and exceeded their limits. Anything
   to make them suffer as much as they possibly could in ways that they
   most certainly did not want.
   Which is probably enough about S. I think by now it should be pretty
   clear that he's a serial killer of the sexual sadist variety (albeit
   an inactive one). One thing about S. that's different from most of
   that type is that he never had any interest in hurting animals. This
   may be partly because we both had a lot more fondness for animals than
   for people. But I think it's primarily because he instinctively knew
   that you don't seek power from the powerless. The prey must be an
   equal, or better, if taking hir down is to be a real pleasure. It's
   people who are strong, smart, and brave who make the best victims,
   whose despair is the sweetest for their having been so strong and
   brave (it was suggested once that some woman must have really angered
   me for me to imagine doing the kinds of things that I depicted in a
   piece of sicfic, which missed the mark entirely; the woman on whom
   that character was modeled was used because I liked and respected her
   - who better from whom to attract high quality despair, and anyway if
   one is going to be as initimate with another as one is when breaking
   hir body and soul under torture, who wouldn't prefer a person one
   liked and respected ?).
   As it happens, along with S. as a lifelong companion, I had the good
   fortune (also a piece of good fortune to the many people who have
   attracted S.'s interest) of somehow acquiring a conscience. Which is
   why S. (who most definitely does not have any conscience; the only
   things he'd ever be sorry for would be targets missed and aesthetic
   opportunities lost) is an involuntarily inactive serial killer, but
   I'm not. What S. wants is impossible for me to accomodate, because the
   principal ethical principle I follow - what is hateful unto another,
   do not unto hir; when one doesn't know what is hateful to another, do
   not unto hir what is hateful unto oneself - is exactly opposite to
   S.'s principal aesthetic principle (S. has no ethical principles).
   Which means that S. is forever confined to fiction and fantasy, and
   while far short of what he wants, for an active imagination that can
   be quite pleasurable. And anyway, it's all he's gonna get.
   So people are quite safe around me, though I can understand why the
   women of my acquaintance whose despair S. lusts for might not feel
   safe if they knew of his plans for them. But they are safe. S. is
   quite well under control, and I no longer worry about his emergence as
   I once did. Oh, I'm still afraid of him - and hope I always will be -
   but I'm certain that he won't break out. I do still worry that were I
   pitching someday - not the first time, or the first time with a new
   partner, or any time when I was watching carefully, but some time when
   things had become routine, that he might slip out when I knew my
   partner was at hir limits and say "*This* is when the real fun
   begins". Not for long - and certainly not past a safeword, which would
   trigger a dutiful reaction in me no matter what else might be going on
   - but long enough alter my judgement enough that some harm might
   occur. I don't think it likely, but the possibility is something to
   always guard against.
   Anyway, I don't think after reading the above it will surprise anyone
   if I say that I once held the opinion that becoming actively involved
   in what I then still called S&M was not something prudent. I'd found
   sources of fiction, photos and film to supplement my own active
   imagination (though I was always looking for other sources, as I so
   rarely found anything cruel enough for my tastes), but I'd never
   sought the RL scene. When I got access to the more interesting
   portions of the Net, I checked out ASB. I wasn't looking for people to
   meet (to be honest, only slightly because of any concerns I had about
   S.; primarily because meeting anyone meant venturing out of my safe,
   comfortable seclusion), but for fiction (or fact) that might match my
   interests and inspire my imagination, and for an outlet for my own
   fiction (while writing fiction is satisfying, the effort involved is
   much too great when one only has an audience of one).
   Of course, it was my good fortune, though perhaps not the net's, that
   ASB spends most of it's time discussing ethics, politics, and
   semantics, topics that require no particular knowledge to discuss and
   which were therefore always favorites of mine.
   What was also my extreme good fortune was that an inquiry I'd posted
   about people's reactions to records of real life violence was of
   interest to Wood Nymph, who'd also found one of my stories
   interesting. I said that I wasn't looking to meet people, and I
   wasn't, but I'd always been an odd combination of both somewhat
   antisocial and highly loquacious, and usenet and email were perfect
   for me, so we began a correspondence, in which I quickly recognized a
   kindred spirit (i.e. someone whose imagination was as evil as mine).
   We had extensive discussions, including some flirtations, and a
   jocular contest to see which of us would someday top the other, but I
   never expected to meet her, or for it to be anything more than an
   friendly exchange of mail. But as the months passed and email was
   supplemented by talking via computer and then speaking via telephone,
   things began to change. Wood Nymph says she could see my interest in
   submission for a long time. I wasn't aware of it. While I'd had
   occasional masochistic thoughts, I'd never felt any attraction to
   submission, and though I've never had a problem following the orders
   of those entitled to give me orders, I don't think that many people
   would have said that I was submissive; of course, at least among the
   ASB regulars, submissives seem to be a pretty combative bunch, so the
   contrast isn't as surprising as it once seemed.
   In any event, given my semi-reclusiveness, my hatred of being
   vulnerable, my lack of trust, and my need to maintain control,
   submission had never had any appeal to me, and I was quite surprised
   to find my interest in submitting to Wood Nymph developing. Almost as
   surprised as I was to be coming to love her (as I didn't think that
   self-absorbed reclusive paranoids were capable of love). I'm not sure
   which one I resisted more. More conscious effort, certainly, went into
   resisting submission, devising schemes in which I wasn't really
   submitting, I was doing "X" (while I've gotten to where I can accept
   "submissive", I still strongly reject "slave", and prefer a
   Liege-Vassal model (one in which autonomous parties are linked in a
   relationship of mutual obligations, which include the vassal's
   service, obedience and devotion to his Liege) for my submission
   instead of a master-slave, master-disciple, parent-child, or
   deity-maggot model). The love I just tried not to notice.
   When I decided to abandon our "contest" - which I was losing anyway -
   and surrender to her, it seemed to me to be a completely rational and
   pragmatic decision. She was an experienced switch, and would have a
   much better idea what to do with me than I would have of what to do
   with her (S. had - and has - plenty of ideas about what to do with my
   dear Liege, but they were of course out of the question; BTW, when one
   tends to imagine slowly and cruelly murdering every woman one likes,
   finding one who enjoys those fantasies is quite pleasant). Also, while
   I wasn't very worried that I might harm someone maliciously, I feared
   hurting anyone I might top - a possibility that had become more
   attractive by that time - through ignorance, and bottoming to an
   experienced top seemed a way to begin addressing that issue.
   There was a small geographic problem, namely being on opposite sides
   of North America, complicating this approach to the problem, but
   having always distrusted others even more than I distrusted myself, I
   wasn't interested in bottoming to anyone other than the one person I'd
   come to trust (quite irrationally, I know; I had myself told people
   prior to this how foolish it was to start relationships based only on
   mail and phone calls). As it was hard for me to trust, and as I was
   also a control freak in my fashion, submission seemed a logical way of
   working on both these issues. And I hoped that it would make Wood
   Nymph, who I'd come to care about a little, happy if I submitted to
   her. So, as anyone can plainly see, the decision to submit was an
   entirely logical and completely rational one, and was most certainly
   *not* one motivated by any of those unconscious desires we are always
   warned against.
   Well, there was perhaps one semiconscious desire. Though it might be
   some time before Wood Nymph will find it appropriate to bottom to me -
   if she ever does - when one is a sadist who has some concerns, however
   remote, about whether or not he can completely trust himself, and
   fears the possibility of harming one's partner, during a moment when
   cruelty overwhelms judgement, having a dom who's also a masochist is
   an ideal situation, as one can be as cruel as one wants, with
   confidence that she's both willing and able (if one takes one's vow of
   obedience seriously, as I do) to stop anything that she doesn't want.
   It's not a situation that would hold much appeal for S., but for
   Steve, who share's his Liege's principle of "do no harm" (but plenty
   of hurt, if that's what one's partner wants) it will suffice.
   Of course, that's if and when she decides bottoming to me is a good
   idea. Until then I'll have to settle for relaxing thuddy floggings,
   painplay that tests my capacity for both pain and trust, sensation
   play that strains my capacity for pleasure and explores the unknown
   land of "no control", and whatever else my loving Liege's wicked and
   inventive imagination can come up with. Oh, the horrors we submissives
   must endure (and the sooner, the better).
   One might wonder if it wouldn't be better if I could just be rid of S.
   Well, I can't, so it's a moot point. I could deny him, try not to
   think his thoughts, feel quilty when they break through, as they
   inevitably would. But I can't be rid of him, he's too much a part of
   me. And, frankly, he's a lot of fun - much more fun than Steve; as
   serious and dull as I am now, I dread to think how boring I'd be
   without him - so as long as I know he's contained, I wouldn't want to
   be without him. So I let him spin his plans, which are a lot of fun to
   hear, and sometimes I share his ideas with others who I believe will
   find them enjoyable, and a number of people do, including some people
   who have become close to me (emotionally, *not* geographically;
   whatever advantages there are to contact through the net, there is
   that drawback), but he doesn't get a chance to hurt anyone. It works
   out OK for all concerned.
   So I find myself having worked my way into actively, if much too
   infrequently, doing wiitwd. It isn't what has kept or will keep me out
   of trouble; wiitwd at it's most extreme is a poor substitute for what
   S. wants, and wouldn't stop him from doing what he wanted if he could
   get free, but he can't. But wiitwd, safe and consensual with plenty of
   safeguards (safewords, covenants, limits, etc) against abuse makes me
   happier than I was. Well, it alerts me to a happiness I wasn't
   previously aware of; there is, again, that little "North America"
   problem to deal with.
   Steven S. Davis (