Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dungeon Fungeon & the difference between 'torment' and 'torture'


My sweet Serafina, upon occasion, reminds me of the power of the words I use. I don't want to bore you with a bunch of prattle about my business, but my slave/wife's gentle reminders are at least somewhat ironic, because writing and communications are my trade.

I'm very much used to using powerful words to convey messages, illustrate needs, not to mention words designed to help create desires. But, I occasionally need reminders simply because I use powerful words so very much that I am in danger of becoming somewhat immune to their complete effect.

I am of the belief that this is also a common phenomena with some words in use by the BDSM community.

Let's explore, as one example, the common use of the word "dungeon", if you are willing to indulge me for a moment.

I'm currently drafting a future blog entry about renovations we've undertaken here at House D'Amore.  My first draft refers to - "Two dedicated dungeon spaces on two separate floors of our home . . . " Now let's really think about that for a moment.

Wikipedia's entry on dungeons begins -
"A dungeon is a room or cell in which prisoners are held, especially underground. Dungeons are generally associated with medieval castles, though their association with torture probably belongs more to the Renaissance period. An oubliette is a form of dungeon which was accessible only from a hatch in a high ceiling."
Now we all must know that even an individual who has been completely "captivated" (a term my Serafina enjoys very much) in the BDSM sense is always free to end the relationship and leave should they choose.  That's one of the basic tenets that makes Master/slave relationships a lifestyle choice and not abuse.  So perhaps the term - "Prisoner of Love" - would be a better substitute, although again it wouldn't be perfectly accurate for all BDSM relationships, since in some cases there is submission and even slavery without love.

Tomás de Torquemada
Inquisitor General of Spain  
And then there's the word "torture" creeping around the corner, to point and raise it's loaded gun into our conversation.  And while I don't rule out a little strong role-play: I'm certainly no inquisitor like Tomás de Torquemada, I've no interest in recreating water-boarding scenes from Abu Ghraib, I do not wish to become a jailer like those currently found in Guantanamo Bay, nor do I care to reenact magneto telephone tortures from a jungle scene in a hot and humid South American dictatorship.

While there are submissives who may have some kind of those torture fantasies, the number of individuals actually enacting anything approximating real torture is probably not a huge percentage of the BDSM population.  And, while it's sometimes fun to use heavily loaded terms for desired effect, those words can lose effect when they become regularly used in casual conversation.

So, I'm leaning towards using the term "Fungeon" to refer to the new BDSM play spaces we are creating in our home, even one that might appear to be made of stone so as to give the illusion of being buried deep inside some medieval castle.

Yes I do torment my sweet Serafina regularly, sometimes she'll even be driven to crawl or beg, and we do have toys designed to elicit strong sensations, not to mention electrical toys.  But there is a huge difference between the word torment, and the word torture.

Perhaps some people will think that I am worried too much about semantics, that my sense of political correctness is running rampant, but I think moving away from any regular use of the word dungeon as a euphemism for normal BDSM play spaces has a good number of positives to recommend it.

I'd believe it would even be a positive for the sadists and masochists who have a very real desire to play with fear and more extreme sensations.  Ending the casual use of the word dungeon would restore more real meaning to the word when the occasion is right for the use of such a powerful word.

As a Master, I wouldn't necessarily want my use of the word dungeon to only make my slave/wife wet.  I want my use of the word dungeon to make Serafina both scared and wet.  You can help me achieve that goal by using the word just a little more carefully too, fully well knowing the word will be more powerful if it is used carefully.

Now, if I could only find a better term than "play space" - while not linked to as powerful images as the word dungeon - it does instead elicit images of childhood - and I'm thinking that should be reserved for those folks into Lolita style roleplay.

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