Herman Cain’s Favorite Sexual Position
Presidential wishful Herman Cain is nein-nein-nein when it comes to homosexuality. "I think it’s a sin because of my Biblical beliefs," he said, "and, although people don’t agree with me, I happen to think that it is a personal choice."
Cain loves the Bible so much, he goes down on his knees and assumes a faith-based sexual position. He looks the LGBT community straight in the crotch, tells us that homosexuality is a choice, and Gay people’s choice is to sin.
I do mean he looks us in the crotch because that’s the only part of us that interests him. He refuses to engage us face-to-face. When Cain thinks "Gay," he thinks sex organs and sex acts, not people. Puts a whole new spin on "basket case," doesn’t it?
For Cain, it is our fault if we are not Straight, just like it’s our fault if we are not rich or do not have a job. It therefore stands to reason that Gay people deserve whatever beatings we get by homophobes (Cain says "No!" to hate crime legislation), LGBT kids deserve to be harassed ("No!" to protecting our youth), and if electrical shocks to our genitals can Fry Away The Gay ("No!" to banning dangerous ex-gay reparative therapy), so be it.
Herman "Am I My Brother’s Keeper?" Cain is so full of Santorum, it is a wonder he does not turn white and frothy.
For his part, Rick Santorum accused Saturday Night Live of bullying him during a skit that mocked his homophobia. Rick is proof that bigotry can turn you into a Grade A Asshole, as if the anguish caused him by SNL is anything as serious as a queer kid driven to suicide. Neither Cain nor Santorum has spoken out against human rights abuses such as daily torture of young people who endure bullies (the real kind), ex-gay torture therapy, or torture used by the US military and the CIA.
But don’t Gay men sometimes engage in torture for their sexual kicks? Is there any real difference between Leathersex, torture USA style, and ex-gay aversion therapies?
Torture and BDSM
Let’s look at torture as a means of pleasure.
The Leather community incorporates sado-masochistic techniques of pain into its homoerotic folklife. Some Leathermen practice extreme forms of S&M, such as crucifixion and physical assault as well as humiliation, in their repertoire.
The point of pain/humiliation-oriented Leathersex is pleasure for everyone involved. Although a man may play the role of victim in countless scenarios, including rape and torture, the goal is to enact a fantasy, as dark as that fantasy might be, in order to release its erotic potential. Nobody is forced to join in, and participants may opt out at any time. That is why the Leather community’s flag includes a red heart (suggesting compassion) and a white stripe (purity of intention) among the black and blue horizontal stripes.
Sado-masochism in the Leather community may outwardly resemble torture used in ex-gay ministries and enhanced interrogation techniques for prisoners of war. But of the three, only Leathersex is ethical.
The definition of torture was altered after 9/11 by the Bush Administration. It was repackaged as enhanced interrogation techniques as part of the War On Terror. Similar techniques are found in reparative therapy for Fundamentalist Christian ministries to homosexuals.
From the viewpoint of the Leathersex community, enhanced interrogation techniques and reparative therapy are immoral. They are, in fact, perversions of healthy sado-masochistic expression between consenting adults.
The Pleasure Principle: Shoot Zee Cum in Zee Face
The Leather community is based on the right of a person to experience sexual pleasure in a variety of ways, including terror scenarios.
This is why playrooms for Leathersex are called "dungeons," calling to mind Medieval torture chambers. Dungeon scenarios can be as mild as a student being spanked by a teacher, or an altar boy disciplined by a priest. As such, these fantasies may be cathartic for the person playing the victim who may have actually been a victim in real life, a psychodrama that acts as a pressure-release valve. Or it could just be fun, like acting in a horror movie or participating in a zombie walk.
Dungeon scenarios may be downright sinister, such as prison rape or crime scenes. Or Gitmo or Abu Ghraib, taking cues from American military torture of suspected insurgents. Or even ex-gay therapy.
One never knows which direction kink may travel. Here are some possibilities:
I remember watching a cheesy Straight porn in the 1980s. the evil Nazi torturer ordered the heroic well-hung American POW to fuck a beautiful American spy. "Shoot zee cum in zee face!" exclaimed the villain, which became a catch phrase for me and my friends for months to come (sorry). It would be easy for Leathermen to substitute the Nazi with a member of Al Qaida: "By Allah, shoot zee infidel cum in zee unbeliever’s face!" Or an ex-gay minister fondling his client’s dick as he places electrodes on it: "By the power of JEEEEE-sus, expel the demon-seed!"
But there is no coercion. Nobody is going to Hell, nobody is desperate to change in order to prevent further bullying or involuntary incarceration in a secret prison. The privacy of the Leatherman’s dungeon can be a healing space where painful issues can be encountered face-to-face and allowed orgasmic release. I suspect that ex-gay reparative therapy may perversely fulfill the same function of sexual release, but without the cleansing honesty of Leathersex.
Background: Enhanced Interrogation Techniques
So what are enhanced interrogation techniques, and what is wrong with them?
"Enhanced interrogation" refers to torture that leaves no visible mark on the victim. After the attacks on 9/11, key figures in the Bush Administration wanted vengeance against terrorists, but were forbidden by laws against torture to make them pay. So they said that it’s not torture if permanent damage is not caused to the victim’s body. This is the same definition used by the Russians during the Cold War. The administration then looked to Communist Russia for techniques that leave no physical scars. Extreme heat, cold, sleep deprivation, noise, electric shocks and painful body positions used in KGB interrogation were adopted by the CIA and the US military. Also included was waterboarding, a technique of controlled drowning that goes back to the late Middle Ages.
Here’s the hypocrisy: after World War II, Imperial Japanese soldiers were executed for waterboarding American military personnel.
Enhanced interrogation enthusiasts call waterboarding "simulated drowning." I guess those who died from water inhalation while being waterboarded were only experiencing "simulated death" before they went to the next world.
The second argument for torture is that torture is okay during wartime. The third is that it works.
Since the end of the Bush Administration, our government has wisely made torture illegal, wartime or not. And the claim that torture produces credible results has been disproved yet again by testimony of those who did the interrogations. The only thing torture can guarantee is getting the victim to say whatever you want them to say, facts be damned. Or death. Either way, truth is not a byproduct.
A fourth argument is that we use harsh interrogating techniques when we train our own troops. Indeed, mild forms of torture are administered as part of POW training. The rationale is to prepare military personnel for the possibility. In this case, the severity of those techniques is dramatically lessened, and the training becomes more of a test of courage rather than the real thing, especially since the trainees know their suffering is minimized and temporary, and humiliation is nowhere near as bad. To compare POW training to enhanced interrogation techniques is like comparing a boxing match to a gun battle between gangs.
The end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell may, in fact, end the military practice of torturing suspects and recruits. Many Gay people have been coerced into undergoing torture to hypothetically save their souls, and our Leatherfolk create fantasies about torture in their dungeons. Our familiarity with torture means we have no illusions about its purpose, and we will not stand for it as Standard Operating Procedure, either in our military training or against our enemies.
Part II, coming soon. "Death by Jesus: Reparative Therapy"