A Fetish of a Different Color: "Blackmail" vs. "Greymail"
As a still-fascinated, yet recovering, addict from this particular fetish, I am feel in a unique position to write knowledgeably and objectively about what is known here as "Consensual Blackmail." I feel compelled to put fingers to keyboard at this time because of what I am seeing as an increasingly perilous trend within the blackmail fetish.
First, let me say that what I am about to say is about a group of SPECIFIC people, and NOT a broad generalization about a generation.
I hope I am not insulting anyone when I say that one gains experience with age. I’m not saying that a Baby Boomer such as myself is AUTOMATICALLY smarter than someone younger, BUT let’s just say that the 55-year-old Shamed would kick the ass of the 20-year-old Shamed in anything but purely physical combat.
You don’t always get “smarter,” as you age, but you do ALWAYS become less ignorant. Yeah, you can try to shoot arrows at this paragraph, but read on.
My observation both from personal experience and from what I hear, is that more and more, and younger and younger, women are entering the financial fetish arena. And are doing so with guns blazing, jumping from literally NO experience right to becoming full-fledged practitioners of the Blackmail fetish.
This attitude is what I call “the Nintendo Syndrome.” Louder and bolder and more in-your-face and brassier. There is no ramping up, no “second gear,” or “medium,” or “subtle,” or (gasp) learning. Just dive off the diving board and if you see there is no water in the pool, simply press the “Start Over” button. You never die, you just lose one of your lives, and you can always get more. You get saved, all harm is reversed, and you play the game again. It is how this generation approaches their relationships, their careers, and their finances. And it is also evident in how many of these women approach this fetish.
(As a quick aside, pissing on the Boomers won’t change this, Gen-X and the MTV Generation, etc. We Boomers have fucked up ZILLIONS of things up in our society, BUT this particular fuck up falls right on you folks.)
I am seeing more and more young women (and yes, I will assume they ARE “young” and “women.” This is how they identify themselves) jumping in with threats and “Or Else” demands. Personally, I think they look silly. Simply screaming demands on an open board without any “cred” or track record or subtlety or experience or foundation to back you up makes you look like Bozo the Domme.
Many – most? – of these women don’t last. They come on, post a few posts and vanish when they don’t succeed. Others vanish BUT then LEARN from their mistakes and STUDY, then come back as a new screenname. Of these, some repeat the same old mistakes and some actually reinvent themselves as someone quite impressive and successful.
But during the “15 Minutes” of fame that the first group may have (We are a culture that LOVES “shiny and new”), they often do something that is incredibly damaging not only to the Money Masochists they happen to ensnare, but also to the fetish and potentially to themselves (but that is another story).
To distinguish between consensual and non-consensual blackmail, I am going to toss a new term into this fetish today, and that is “Greymail.” Yes, it exists in other contexts, arts and industries, but in this fetish, I will start using the term Greymail to distinguish that which WE do here – Consensual Blackmail Fetish -- from that which has existed for centuries, which is serious, real, damaging and illegal and non consensual, and I will call “Blackmail.”
With Greymail, there are “rules.” There may be the “illusion” of chaos and anarchy in the potential damage that can be done, but 99% of the women practicing this, as I have noted, are responsible and smart and very adept at creating the illusion of potentially real, permanent damage and life destruction. This is not to say that REAL damage can’t happen in Greymail “play.” Things can escalate. They can backfire. Mistakes happen. Exposure happens. Anger happens. . . shit happens. But the difference is that in SANE (vs. Insane) Greymail, the intent is not pure extortion and probable exposure.
In REAL Blackmail, there is certainly no eroticism (except for the terminally self-destructive on BOTH ends who get off on causing lifequakes), and the goal is pure and simple extortion.
The result of Blackmail gone wrong is destruction. The result of Greymail gone wrong is, in virtually all cases, either the illusion of destruction, disturbance, exposure, OR very low or low-level instances of these things. Think of the difference between a poison steak and a tainted hors d’oeuvre. One kills you; the other usually only gives you the runs.
What to do?
Well, the first thing one needs to do on here is realize that in the Age of the Internet, there IS no absolute “privacy.” Anyone who knows a half-dozen select websites and wants to plunk down $19.99 for deeper information, CAN and WILL find out who you are. NO one – yes, NO one – is beyond having their real information cracked by someone persistent enough to dig and filter until the dam bursts.
And while there is danger for anyone who “plays” at anything kinky or extramarital, there is no riskier arena than thinking you are involved in Greymail, but having it turn into its darker cousin, Blackmail.
I am throwing these three questions open to the group:
1. What do YOU recommend as methods for keeping your personal information private?
2. What steps can you take in guarding against falling into a relationship that can turn from Greymail to Blackmail?
3. Can you distinguish between the two? If you are a submissive, can you tell if someone is into consensual Greymail or non-consensual Blackmail? Do you know how to ride the borderline without going over it? As a dominant, can you really distinguish which one you are practicing?