Three quick questions to start the New Year.
Question 1: "What do you mean by 'vanilla sex'?"
It's always wise to check exactly what people mean when they use terms like this. Just as one person's extreme SM scene is another person's idea of foreplay, so one person's idea of "non-kinky" or "vanilla sex" could still be pushing someone else's limits.
Question 2: "Why do you sometimes write the word 'Top' with a capital letter?"
It's not a style adopted by everyone and it's certainly not grammatically correct. I like using it because it helps to distinguish between people who say they are a "top", meaning they are the active participant in vanilla sex, from people who say they are a "Top", meaning they identify as a dominant player in an SM scene.
People who are very submissive, such as full time slaves, might also use a lower case "i" when referring to themselves in writing, or even use the third person. There's no reason why you should do any of this unless you want to, or you're trying to impress someone who uses the same convention.
Question 3: "I saw a film recently that contained scenes of SM sex and it was disgusting. Is that what you're talking about? If so then it should be illegal."
Next, you need to ask if the SM scene was taken out of context. For the sake of the story film-makers often edit out slower-paced footage, such as any negotiation/ warm up before the scene and warm-down/ aftercare at the end. Instead the director will usually cut to the most graphic shots to have the biggest visual impact on the audience. By taking the scene out of context you lose any sense of a caring relationship between the participants.
Films are best at showing what's happening on the outside of a character. To a casual observer an SM scene looks as if it is all about pain or humiliation. However, on the inside the players are experiencing an intense bond based on trust, surrender (on the part of the bottom), responsibility (on the part of the Top), skill and understanding. SM scenes are like icebergs: nine tenths of what's happening is below the surface. For that reason film is a particularly poor medium for explaining what's going on.
Having said all that, if the characters in the film gave their consent, appeared to enjoy the experience and suffered no lasting harm then I don't have any problem with it. It may not be to your taste, but I'm sure there are things you like to do which I don't. I'm not asking you to become an SM player or watch any films with SM sex again - but just because you don't like something is not a good enough reason to make the activity illegal.
Have fun, and look after yourselves and the people you play with.
International Mr Leather 2003