I never know myself as well as I think.
The question kicking off Kink Pride Week: what is your "foundation" kink? The one that underlies and informs all others? I had trouble pinning down mine, but I think I dug down pretty close. I've always had certain templates for fantasizing that haven't changed much over time. Fantasies that are kind of Freudian and anal and infantile, which probably explains a whole constellation of kinks, including humiliation, anal sex as a penetrative power thing, muteness, domesticity, maybe some animalistic tropes (e.g., biting, purring), punishment (e.g., whipping), slavery, mindless submissiveness and cocksucking, domesticity, caretaking (i.e., a weird combo of tenderness and protectiveness that often extends to financial protection), and so on.
So then the question came up: what is your bulletproof kink? A term coined by viridian5 and laurashapiro to describe a kink that is so compelling you'll read even badfic for it. My first thought was that in the same way that there's very little I won't read as long as it's well-written, the opposite tends to be true as well: there's almost nothing a bad writer can't ruin. But I've read some really cheesy stories with animalistic fetishization, stories where someone exhibits or regresses to a kind of primitivism, often with feline characteristics: biting, stalking, sniffing, claiming, marking behaviors. Pissless marking behaviors, just to clarify. (And yes, I know, it's terribly obvious that I came from Sentinel fandom. Sigh.) I eat that stuff up. It's such a pure, mainlink kink for me that even bad authors who share it and write about it usually manage to nail *something* intense about the whole scenario that grabs me.
On the flip side of the coin, one of my kinks that's *most* susceptible to ruination is domesticity, I think. Guys nesting together, taking care of each other. Because many writers can't seem to imagine this without crossing the line to feminization. Either that, or they just get mired in boring irrelevancies. They don't know how to make shopping or TV watching or cooking pasta interesting. Not surprising, because I'm boring myself just listing these things, and yet the most mundane stuff can evoke the most intense emotions, if written right. I mean, it's really an emotional kink that gets me, and not cooking pasta per se. I'm not sure I've fully uncovered what that emotion is.
But I'm also all about domestic bliss as a financial arrangement. Which made me think that maybe my real foundation kink might actually be money. I'm such an Anya. Money doesn't account for everything, though--and then I realized: my real foundation kink is power and powerlessness. The power of one person over another via money; the power of enslavement, territoriality, domination. Power and powerlessness are inseparable at the source, and that source is behind most of my kinks. As the brilliant Gemma Files said, ownership always runs both ways.
The Subtleties stuff I recently wrote really is just a shameless parade of my kinks. You can see nearly all of mine right out there, one after another. And it occurred to me that I could in fact boil down my kinks even further and, like, write an outline that would be the uber-kink story to end all stories. I think mine would go something like this, using Spike and Xander for the example rather than nameless guy figures:
Spike is enslaved by humans stronger than he is, simply because he is a demon, and is treated miserably--beaten, starved, humiliated, forced to do menial labor and service men sexually. He's collared and deprived of the power of speech (though not by having his tongue cut out). Mute and stoic, he sinks into himself and endures, utterly without any hope that things will ever change. He comes to think of this as penance, a punishment that he deserves, and picks up habits of self-effacement. He thinks of himself not as a man but as something lower than the lowest human, more despicable than any animal: a demon.So, anyway, I think Subtleties is a saner, less extreme version of that fantasy. But what's interesting is that this goes all the way back to the beginning. The very first fan-fiction I ever wrote, a Trek story, had a very similar outline--Spock gets enslaved, treated cruelly, then is rescued by a Klingon who is forced by circumstances to own him, but who treats him like a highly valuable pet, something rare and exotic and noble.
One day Xander rescues him. Over time, he comforts all Spike's hurts: helps him heal physically, feeds him well, gives him a home, buys him soft clothes, makes him warm. Coddles him, treats him like a favored pet, so that the bedraggled stray cat sleeks up into something glossy and pretty again. Spike, for some reason of metaphysical law, can't be a free agent, and has to remain someone's property. But Xander is determined that if Spike has to be a slave, he'll be the most indulged slave ever. Buys Spike jewelry that symbolizes his ownership, shows in every word and deed that Spike is protected and valued. Pets him, strokes him in a proprietary way in front of other people. Because Xander doesn't give a shit what anyone else thinks; all that matters is that Spike--who is so broken now--feels safe and taken care of. And Xander's ownership is absolute: he's stronger, he's territorial, he's dangerous when it comes to Spike, and he's let go of any ambivalence about the relationship, because it's necessary for it to be like this.
Spike won't or can't talk, but he lets Xander take care of him, and fixes every particle of his being on Xander: feral loyalty, complete submission, obedience, and eagerness to please. He's been trained to behave in certain stylized ways, and so he'll kneel on the floor by Xander's chair wherever he happens to be sitting, for instance. Now that Xander owns him, he has a sense of being loved and prized, adored and cared for with great tenderness, when he previously felt utterly unworthy, a monster, scorned by everyone else. Hopeless and despairing. Sex is a kind of healing: the laying on of hands, his parched, starving body being gently treated and touched. Sometimes though, he needs punishment, to be tied up and whipped, in order to keep the monster down.
Over time, he sheds some of the most extreme behaviors, but those reflexes are always ready to kick in if triggered. Eventually he heals enough to carry on a more or less normal life, or its semblance, and they live happily ever after, master and slave, in domestic bliss.
Somewhere at the heart of this is the feeling: "I am a monster. Love me." Monster or "alien." Because the deepest kink is about a profound sense of alienation and difference, and the feeling of being loved despite this, or for this.
And now I've revealed my inner core, the wealth of goo under the burnt surface of the marshmallow. Please be gentle. ::cough::
On an unrelated note, do you ever have that feeling that fandom is a party and you're mixing with all kinds of people, and there's this *one* person you never quite get introduced to, and after a while you sense that they may be avoiding you, or dislike you, and you start to feel vaguely resentful, and it magnifies in your mind until everything about *them* starts to annoy *you*, and for no particularly good reason? Yeah. So person X seems very cool from afar, but I really should know better than to read certain comments because her anti-Spike bias actually fills me with anxiety, and somehow this association in my mind just keeps getting stronger, because I don't know her well--I have no personal affiliations to make me feel more comfortable with her, willing to ignore her bias, be forgiving of it. She seems incredibly aloof. Maybe I seem aloof to her too. Maybe I am deeply stupid and socially inept. Hmm. This seems most likely. I will toss some Pepto-Bismol at my stomach and resign myself to lameness.