kink belongs at pride BDSM belongs at pride we belong at pride

BDSM Belongs At Pride

It’s smug kind of “I told you so” that this year the conversation has turned from an almost kink critical “they can’t consent to that” to a reminder that we very much belong. When I bashed out the ideas that formed the skeleton a few months ago, suggesting kink in public was actually ok was enough to get me blocked by people.

Don’t take my word for it, check out the ever insightful Kat Blaque or Watts the Safeword. They don’t necessarily agree with me on all points, but before you read me, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with some other perspectives to understand that in writing this I accept my take is probably the most radical, it’s coming from a larger nudge to the Overton Window from everyone. You don’t have to agree with everything I am going to say. You can take some of my arguments and discard others. I just ask that you assume I am arguing from a good faith place.

I believe BDSM belongs at Pride, and the arguments not include it are fundamentally against the spirit of the event.

But first, a caveat: If you don’t think kink belongs at Pride, or you disagree with me, you probably aren’t a bad person.

Sometimes these arguments against kink are trying to be protective, either of people at large or minors. The problem is that they rest on claiming any awareness of kink anyone could have is a comparative level of lewdness to reenactment of a Public Disgrace shoot. Another is to suggest that it’s a derail, that being kinkyed has nothing to do with any of the different identities we choose to address. Sometimes this attitude is because a ham handed kinkster tried to make a one-to-one comparison at some point in the past about how their marginalization was equivalent to a group with worse troubles. Sometimes the person perceives kink as a peculiar hobby that could also traumatize people, putting it in the same camp as the “no cops at pride” conversation.

Kink isn’t actually as lewd/filthy as people make it out to be in its totality. BDSM, as a subculture evolved so concurrently with the queer communities it weaves in and out of the fabric of the latter’s identities that separation of impossible. Additionally, the wholesale rejection of kink is explicitly ace-excluding, insisting on a very narrow definition of sexual and non-sexual.

My radical take: I think the whole enchilada should be there

Yes, the Leather folk. The people on leashes. The pup masks. They not only should be there, but not quarantined off in a special “after dark” space. And I push more progressively, that there’s even significant context in which a “scene” in public is also not a violation equivalent to vanilla genital fucking either.

This isn’t going to win me many friends to be the weird lady who actually thinks that say, the cherry tree shibari shoot that happened a few years ago in Toronto (not at Pride but in a public park) is fine. It’s not because I think I should be dragging everyone into being actors in my own personal fantasy re-enactment. I do feel that even just flying the leather pride flag and allowing a few sashes and corsets, or just carrying the paraphernalia of kink is still conceding unfair ground. And I do not personally put myself in the business of having elaborate public bondage scenes (etc…) in public not because I think they are morally wrong. I do so for the same reason I cover my breasts even though it is legal in my country. I decline to do certain things because of my own self protection against coercive harassment.

But Miss Pearl, you say, how can you force your sexuality onto people?

I dunno, I have a hard time taking that sort of pearl clutching (snerk) about kink when people wander around wearing special monogamy rings and inviting their whole family to watch them celebrate their monogamous commitment in a monogamy dress, with a monogamy cake, and two very sex themed optional monogamy imminent parties, in a monogamy ritual where they often make a big deal about exposing and tossing special underwear and showing how pair bonded they are in public.

Or walking past lingerie ads, or ads for dating services, or lovers lanes of steamy making out. The monogamous, ostensibly vanilla pair bond is seen as so wholesome that naval boats raffle the first kiss with your spouse at port as a ritual, and force everyone else to watch. At a certain point, the decision of what is and isn’t allowed is going to be pretty arbitrary to the culture it exists in. The concept of “private” grapples with the problem that relationships that are vanilla are interwoven with the culture and desires of others. People can be sincerely offended if they aren’t invited to a wedding of someone they care about. People WANT to gather to wear penis veils, or chained to a blow up doll, and run about the street collecting pre-wedding forfeits. 

Ok, you might argue, but BDSM is sex, that stuff is less sexy. It’s romantic.

So, if you mean to tell me a collar is a constant tool of overt arousal and ALL public play is the most vile of exhibitionism, prepare to be severely disappointed. Not only does the tokens we wear have a lot more on par with stealing your lover’s hoodie (or in Silver’s case me thiefing his white cotton t shirts), but usually they signify more of the romantic/belonging aspect of a BDSM relationship than the sexual one.

Not only that, but the bizarre pageantry of kink, precisely because things like leather are off the mainstream, aren’t particularly obviously sexual unless you have a subtext decoder.

Sure that guy might get aroused by being called “pup” as well as get emotional fuzzies, but the leather pup mask he is wearing is so much a fetish that it’s not even sexual unless you share his kink. And we allow plenty of sexy things as empowering- the wearing of revealing clothes and lingerie, padding, etc…

Ok, fine, you may argue, but non-consensual exhibitionism is bad. The world is not your free audience. Why did you need people to know about your private business?!

Sometimes I shouldn’t need to hide. Part of Pride challenges and pushes back on the norms that decide, say, my tits need to be in a top, but the same chest on a man can flop and wobble in the sun. This might be a feminism thing, but its an argument that pokes at what gender even means. Banning kink is part of collectively enforcing that the rituals of relationships and families that people take for granted have to be that way.

In the case of kink in Pride, it isn’t about flashing people, for the most part it is about freedom. I know that a fuck ton of frightened arguing pops out about how they totes saw triple fisting pony butt plug tails, but while I won’t bother telling you it NEVER happened ever in the history of humans being dumb, I can say it’s a fixation that indicates a complete lack of education about what kink and fetishes look like.

While people fret about the overt stuff they easily note, most fetishes pass. It’s sometimes the Pleasers on the Drag Queen. The day collars. The body parts and clothes that the average person would never never think you could find arousing (like wool knit!)

But what if it *IS* obviously sexual damn it!???

Yeah, you might see a vagina costume or a packer. But the lady on the float in the strapon probably isn’t particularly wet right now, she is enjoying feeling so safe about herself she can be open. She, or the big pink labial mascot, or any other permutation of this nature also may be making a transgressive point about gender. We live on a planet where multiple human cultures still explicitly display dicks on stuff, including things like the incredibly wholesome Japanese penis festival or Michelangeo’s David. 

Inversely, we tolerate loads of vanilla stuff that is in the borderline if you have plausible deniability. This is the unfairness to kinky folk- what we do doesn’t get this space. Have a wedding in a park and people may even cheer, hold a collaring ceremony and it’s uncomfortable stares.

And sometimes the sexual is important because it means more. The strapon scene in Sense8? Where you see a wet rainbow dildo bounce on the floor? That’s the sexual turned to convey a profound amount of meaning, of acceptance of one of the character’s core identities. 

Love is love is all very well and good, but we live in a world where the public regulates the private. Sex is also sex. Sex toy bans, porn censorship and even regulations around sodomy all make the intensely personal NOT have the right to that privacy. You cannot say that a dildo is a secret thing and then demand that you can only buy one for “novelty or educational” purposes in certain US states.

Nor would it be ok to tell queer folk they could love who they liked, just to abstain from sex all their lives. Again, all love is the same love until your “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” is actually in effect outside of the most superficial or sanitized expressions of what love might look like.

But, what about kids at pride? Pride is a family event now! And gay kids benefit from attending, if there’s anything sexy they might not go.

I am glad you have thought about the children. As minors with less rights they need protection… however!

We already went through a great deal of time insisting that people being gay or trans in public were requiring conversations kids just weren’t ready for. People tried to argue two guys together meant having to explain the mechanics of anal. And various other permutations of being ok, grudgingly, with kids figuring out a bit of hetero but being in Grave Danger if they had any inkling anything but Barbie and Ken dream wedding was afoot. This is nonsense, you can age appropriately scale the conversation to protect a minor- the same way you can simplify or go into detail as appropriate on subjects like pregnancy or why Aunt Jo uses they pronouns.

I get this is a fraught topic. Again, everyone is still iffy about things like (O.W.L.) Our Whole Lives and fighting over abstinence only education and how and when kids get to know things.

But, if you mean to tell me “some adults like dressing up, feeling different sensations or playing with who is in charge” is too hard for you to say, oh dear

And if you think there’s really anything at Pride that isn’t popping about in kids cartoons, as comedy or dramatic peril, you haven’t been doing a good enough job screening your kids media. If you are freaking out about pup masks while letting your kid grow up on paw patrol, yikes. Don’t like Bondage? Take Disney off the net blocker white list, and toss out superheros. If you think your kids aren’t integrating these “innocent” scenes into their fantasies as their sexuality develops, I have news for you.

Further, our habit of waiting until anyone is 18 before thinking they can acknowledge kink exists is not really a solution. There’s precious little sex ed, outside of Scarleteen that even acknowledges kink is a thing, outside of closed communties and the intentionally lewd. This is doing harm.

I will never advocate minor/adult kink relationships, but I wouldn’t advocate them as a vanilla thing, either. However! I explicitly believe you can have age appropriate awareness, the way we teach condoms, biology and consent as part of a healthy sex ed. I further feel that when someone who has sexuality but must be protected to discover it can only find one version, it will cause as much shame as abstinence only sex ed does. 

By shutting kink out of a public festival of Pride, you are projecting a simplified perception that this is exclusively a weird extra sexy sex thing that can’t be scaled up or down. You are not allowing minors to receive holistic sex ed in a context where they aren’t directly engaging with adults. Ultimately this goes back to my point that sometimes it’s just thematic resonance or romance, and if you don’t know that, it’s not fair to fail to let kink folks show otherwise.

Ok, but what if BDSM *is* sexual? You write a porn blog, god damn it!

Sex (in that larger sense) in public also already is a conversation that varies by culture. Who gets declared more or less lewd and what it means where you do things is variable not just by place of origin, body proportions and what we think about that role.

Thus we can have the most wildly erotic dancing in no kissing Bollywood films, or have cultures that consider someone more sexy in more coverage, not less. Generally most humans like full say in whose engorged and moistened genitalia they are exposed to, but even so, the codpiece, the merkin and the penis gourd exist. And none of these are anything other than ok, normal clothing, albeit generally formal.

Further, there is validity to exploring that edge of presumed acceptance, as well. As an intersectional thing, you are under extra scrutiny for being “sexual”. If you are fat, femme, or even just gifted with prodigious breasts or buttocks, for example, you are more policed than you are slim, masculine and so on. Just being seen by other people as being more lewd can, in fact, be a form of discrimination. This effects everyone Pride is meant for, and accusations of predation and more desire are a historical part of the violence such groups experience. It’s a very real double standard.

While flashing people for your jollies is not ok, being able to make people acknowledge that you have sexuality and it should be celebrated is extremely Pride, and so is declaring your sexuality is no less shameful than another person’s.

What was that about BDSM being Queer?

BDSM is, among many things, a loose collection of subcultural norms. Today and for all of its history, its place as part of alternative culture has made it not so much an ally as an active part of Queer cultural history.

Aspects like “Leather” are more Queer than not, with the adoption by straight people following after their popularization in gay communities. While today people may be more familiar with things that are profoundly heteronormative, like the popularization of 50shades, in practice, while BDSM communities may have explicitly Gay, Lesbian, etc… off shoots, and some pockets that are homophobic hot messes, for the most part it is a space built on norms that are some of the most accepting of being queer.

Further, BDSM’s parallel evolution interweaves with the same counter cultural pioneering that created space to be increasingly openly gay, trans, etc… TES, possibly the world’s oldest continuous BDSM group, was participating in Pride when it was still branded as Gay Liberation. The early community building of kink explicitly modeled itself after the same going on in feminism and gay rights.

Sanitizing this from display is selectively determining that some parts of being Queer and Queer history are not ok, and Queerness is ok as long as it’s only a gender swapped version of some sort of 1950s dream.

Right, great, we will let the queer kinksters in, leather daddies and dykes on bikes are go! But you F/ms and M/fs who aren’t containing one or more trans people can simmer down.

(Here is the point that the people tend to lose patience and get unfollowed. You can be mad if you like, but I ask only you bear with me, to my next point…)

For a significant part of the kinked population, the answer of what your sexuality is, is to say BDSM and/or fetish. Sure they might have a gendered preference for who they do that with, but something we don’t talk about is how common it is to be kink dependent for attraction to function. And this is where people get frustrated and tell me BDSM is not an orientation like gay or straight. True!

It is actually under the A for Asexual.

Although not everyone *needs* kink for a sexual or romantic response to work, if you do require BDSM to have functional sexuality, you meet precisely the criteria laid out for demisexuality or other parts of the spectrum of asexuality, aka Grey Ace or Aspec. A lot of kinksters, themselves, have their minds blown when they realize this is them. But yeah, you, reader, if kink is the only thing that makes your sexuality function, could identify as Asexual.

What is Demisexuality/ Grey Ace? 

A less understood part about being Asexual is that it is an umbrella term. It can include the obvious complete absence of a sexuality, but it also includes being Aromantic (where you can be sexual but simply not experience romantic love); and the so called grey or demisexuals, whose.sexual experience is pending a limiting factor. 

A common experience for demis is romantic love being the gateway to experiencing attraction. This means that until that bond is there, nothing can happen. People generally get this, and the modern branding of Pride, “Love is Love” make this incredibly accommodating. Another way one might be on the asexual spectrum is for it to be sporadic, say a libido that is very low or unpredicable.

But for an asexual person, another condition one might have to experience sexuality or attraction is having a paraphilia or fetish. 

In my case, if you tried to have me have a sexual and romantic relationship without kink, the answer is, I couldn’t. I mean, I could fake it and be utterly miserable, but my kinks are my kinks. And for me, love and kink are two factors that regulate my sexuality. Unfortunately this part of sexual knowledge is so removed from the conversation it took a lifetime to learn this was a hard truth.

As a result, I had years of painful, bad sex that was in no way coerced by my partners, with everyone telling me it was just a matter of time and practice. I can’t blame them, although one party was outright abusive, the rest were largely good, giving humans who tried to find the clitoris, etc…

The most giving, foreplay granting hot vanilla human will waste their time with me, and I them. In my case, I can experience some easier physical attraction if I fall in love (almost universally facilitated by a text based medium and kink) and my bits have the right nerve endings to use them conventionally, but subtract my fetishes and that relationship will die on the vine.

Further, my porn consumption follows that pattern- screw gender, I am just looking for a certain intensity and activity set. Gay, straight, agender… although the consumptive scope means I write what I like, I also consume a lot of romance and fast flip through perfectly well done sex scenes. This is my life.

I wanted to be “normal”. It would have made my life, including my dreams of sex work, much more feasible. But my body and heart needs something very specific. If I get that, fireworks. If not, it has all the erotic thrill and romance of looking through a 1960s wallpaper catalogue.

But what about Pride? You don’t mean to tell me all kinky folk are Ace do you?

Sure, for some people kink is a value add not the main event, but that’s not on you to decide from a distance. I wouldn’t say my experience is a one to one comparison with every other kinked person, and I definitely personally don’t go blundering into Pride declaring it needs to be all about me now. But! You cannot celebrate people being Ace with the same commitment to equality if you won’t actually acknowledge what Ace can and does look like.

I can understand when you are getting murdered for holding hands in public, this is not comparable to me lying on my back wondering why this is the bad kind of pain while a very considerate vanilla partner tries their best. I have amazing passing privilege, just like people tend to not notice my bisexuality or my gender fluidity.

I also acknowledge my fully radical position on kink inclusion is not going to win me any friends. But I do ask that you consider how much ground we give up by conceding to even a very sterile kink, and how arbitrary even our definition of scene/ not scene is. I do not think it’s fair to let people who are not even kinky have such a strong voice in defining what is both sexual and not actually means. And I have some concerns that our caution that we violate consent to even let people know we exist is a form of internalized shame.

Kinky folk are not a monolith, but neither are we benefiting from closeting and ignoring that a good part of what we built is actually a culture, not just a sex thing. In conclusion, BDSM belongs at Pride.

(There is a whole other argument that kink is morally reprehensible in it’s own right, which, well, I can’t help you there. Sure just because it turns someone on doesn’t make it ok. However  after a point, once we hammer out whatever SSC, RACK or PRICK system works best for me and my partners, what I do with consenting adults eventually falls into “fuck off, this is my thing, die mad about it”)

More On Lifestyle Only Femdom Invisibility

the invisible lifestyle only femdom

You have definitely heard me talk about this before (CN: whorearchy talk), but one of the biggest issues with the contrasting experience and norms of professional femdom VS lifestyle only femdom is our invisibility. I add “only” deliberately, as it’s rare to find a professional who will cop to it being just a job.

And I don’t think they are lying. Honestly, any immersion into the larger femdom community will show more similarities than points of difference. But, be that as it may, the perception of the non-existence of people like me is so strong that while nobody assumes a male dominant is say, a pro rigger, I am presumed to do this as at least a part time career.

The norm is to assume that lifestyle only femdom isn’t a thing, or if does exist, it’s the amateur or mirror version of a professional experience.

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8 Things He Does When He’s Only Ever Been With Pro Dommes Before You

spotting the former client of a prodomme

Sex work is normal, and more than normal, healthy.

It’s important any piece about sex work acknowledge this fact explicitly: remuneration for the erotic is a perfectly reasonable thing. It might take many forms, and you, the reader, even if you are a lifestyle only domme, probably consume some manner of product of the larger industry. Perhaps you stick to erotica, or buying gear inspired by the things popularized in porn. Perhaps you, yourself like to enjoy the performance of a stripper or you are a client of someone yourself.

Nonetheless, when you are a lifestyle femdom, you will find yourself in the curious situation that not only are most resources for straight women tailored under the expectation of copying the pro experience, but a significant number of your partners will, up until you, have only ever experienced submission in the context of a professional, and it shows.

Take this not at an accusation of the evil fakery of the Pro, but as a certain pattern that I just keep seeing pop up over and over again.

1) Kneeling and wanking on a towel to finish is normal to him. 

These days there’s a well needed thaw on “dommes don’t fuck/BDSM is not sexual” by default. (And thank goodness!) But, quite reliably, if your partner wants to get off to femdom and it’s been pros only until this point, they don’t think it will be with any contact or physical assistance from you.

This is largely due to the letter, rather than the spirit of anti-sexwork laws being obeyed, but people who have only experienced being clients also expect a certain physical distance as part of emotional boundaries. So, knees on the floor, towel down and several feet away, a supervised wank has an odd habit of being how he expects things to wrap up. Can it be hot? Sure, but like the particular patterns in sex based on what looks good on camera trickle from porn to regular bedrooms, this one is a very strong tell.

2) Being *wildly* grateful. 

The thank yous don’t stop, from when you first agree to play to days after. It’s nice to be appreciated and infinitely reassuring if you are worried that he might not want a second time, or you need a little aftercare. Still to the point you start feeling slightly concerned they think this was a lot closer to helping them move a couch than mind blowing sex for you.

It’s not that you were “better” than his past experiences (although if he likes a lot of emotional intimacy it might necessarily have been). But, while kink, at the best of times, is vulnerable, the environment that makes sex work the only easy to find outlet tends to feed the idea this was being dooted by a unicorn. So many check-ins to say thank you again. So. Many. @_@

3) Reflexively calling play time “sessions”

Lifestyle BDSM is less likely to use this to describe a hookup, whether alone or at a play party. That’s not to say that one never does, but the framing of taking a private lesson or some sort of treatment or luxury spa time can bleed into both the approach he takes to it, but also how he talks about it before and after. The kink scene at large tends to pick up on it, as well, but it’s been my experience that M/f tends to frame it in terms of a scene. Again, it’s not bad, but it is a very philosophically different position to be in.

4) He gets weirdly anxious you are not being properly compensated. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean money, but there remains the perception that some sort of payment/service always has to go with the kink play out of “fairness” to you. In any relationship, gifts and acts of service make up 2/5 of the love languages people might approach relationships with. In professional domination, there is Often he’s quite free with the gifts or nurturing, and gets emotional gratification from doing so even independently of whatever other BDSM activities you do together. This is a bit of a chicken and egg thing, since if you don’t find paying for something very personal gratifying you aren’t going to be as likely to seek out a professional dominant.

5) Extremely healthy attitude about sex work as work, which generally extends into respecting women’s time and labour.  

Maybe it’s a selection bias to the guys I date too, but I find frequenting sex workers actually tends to have a certain awareness of how much femininity is performance. I can’t speak to every client ever, but it is very refreshing to be free of the guys who go out of their way to tell you you are prettier without makeup, or who expect a medal for preferring a less mainstream body type.

6) His mind is blown by very cuddly aftercare, possessive intimacy, or sex that blends into BDSM and back out again.  

See towel wanking for the other symptom of very hands off BDSM. Nobody is touching these boys in anything other than a controlled fashion, so expect a really big eyed paralyzed reaction the first time play ends with significant snuggles or involves climbing on top and biting. Mix stroking, petting and massage into play and they practically have some sort of temporary tour of nirvana… alongside the most bewildered faces this side of an Organic Chemistry class. 

7) Has trouble understanding you are getting anything out of this, though more than happy to do things your way even if it isn’t his fetish. 

Even when you just had a loud, sloppy orgasm. Even when he just spent the last hour falling all over himself trying to please whatever arbitrary kinks and preferences the fetish fairies gave you. In addition to feeling you need to be paid, your fellow may even need constant reassurance not the standard “did ya come/was it good for you?” but “That wasn’t *too* much of an imposition, was it?”

8) Usually able to clearly articulate his desires and separate how he thinks something will feel versus how it actually feels. 

Your average former client had a past partner who is very used to extracting actionable activities out of the often incoherent and oneiric space of fantasy. Can the traditions and practical parts of pro-work lead to some very unusual behaviour? Sure! But, for all of that, there’s a certain requirement to tease out what he wants from the vague flappy sea of human guessing and fretting. A professional session is not cheap, and professionals who thrive also have a particular knack for extracting want from “um, ah… I have this fantasy…”

As a bonus: You also have an accidental screening for the maybe-masochists who are more attracted to the idea of bottoming than receiving.

Why I prefer femdom's culture

Defining (A Distinct) FemDom

Credit for the topic here goes to Natasha Strange of kittenwithawhip, who started a blogging project themed as “FemDom Society” (no not that one!) I’m not in the official roster, but I thought I would throw in my support with this.

Why Femdom As A Niche (VS BDSM as a Whole)?

I no longer believe you can define femdom as being just a dominant who happens to be female. To use kink dominance in men as the norm is to ignore that there is no reason to make women the other. In over a decade of practical activity, I can say that given the options, I think “Femdom” as a niche, is not only distinct enough to deserve clarification, but the most likely of the collective approaches to being kinky to give me what I want.

True, I’ve written a bunch about feeling like the stereotype of the domme doesn’t suit me over the last decade. As with anything with a decade in tenure, even just looking over my blog, some parts I’ve argued are very insightful and some parts are pure cringe. Criticisms of the niche are correct, that it is not, as a whole, any escape from a gendered restriction on how women are allowed to express power, and much of Femdom still focuses on what men want as a priority.

But, for all my contrary streak, I have never felt Femdom didn’t have a unique face, flavour and aesthetic. I am glad I kept at my picking, because contrasting the more universally framed culture of BDSM VS this more explicitly gendered part, Femdom is a heck of a lot more welcoming to dominant women in particular. Yes, male fantasies and desires do put a lot of pressure onto my behavior. Nonetheless, I do not believe Femdom is just a manufactured façade that excludes women from their own self representation. Further, I do not feel that the BDSM community as a whole gives me more voice than femdom, and in a lot of ways, I am significantly more invisible in the former.

Thus, if I am in the business of pursuing orgasms and emotional satisfaction, femdom has the largest chance of providing it to me. Not all parts, of course! For example I am not particularly enthusiastic about the female supremacy fetish version, and I don’t find much gratification in the full rejecting men except as beta eunuchs shitck either. But, I really like guacamole, but have the cilantro taster gene, and that doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive either.

More than that, I believe that rejecting femdom, as a dominant, skirts awfully close to the same “not like other girls” style misogyny that attempts to escape the oppressive parts of gender by attacking the feminine.

I did not always notice this. I think the moment I realized that I had to reconsider how I was choosing to approach my identity was when a regular fetlife mod of domme groups, Carolyn, commented that she had an easier time connecting and getting along with male dominants rather than equivalent peers. It was an innocent observation: Femdoms just seemed to have more in common with her and her approach to her sub.

Whoops. I can’t call it malice, but I grew up with a very parallel problem. I’m a nerd, and historically that has made me a minority in the gaming and fandoms I like. And it is extremely common for one of the reasons my female peers to cite for not having more female friends are that women are not only boring, but typically some version of crazy and competitive. I don’t think Carolyn meant that she generally doesn’t like women, but it made me deeply suspicious of rejecting anything domme coded just because.

Sure, there’s things, for me that are more typical in male dom culture (like feeling your sub is incredibly sexy) that click with me. Nonetheless, it really made me reassess both my own behaviour and how I perceived other dominants like me. I couldn’t go around assuming nobody has anything in common with me if I don’t try to understand them. So I did, and I have largely come to conclude there are enough femdoms like me in my desires and outlook to make the stereotypes of first impressions irrelevant.

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But why won’t she dominate me for free?!

It’s the week before Locktober, that month when all good boys (and bad boys) hope that a somebody in the spirit of the season, will help them enjoy a little tease and denial.

Net result, a slight uptick in men wistfully publicly dreaming of a bossy lady taking charge, being the approximate equivalent of Valentine’s day for femdom. “Is there a Miss, a Mistress, a Ma’am, who would want little old me?”

And that trots out the same old wishful thinking: what if, out of the blue, a woman wanted to take charge and provide the denial role for one, or a harem of men?

And of course the usual insistence is made, that she be really, really into it and prove that by being free.

Thence comes anguish, why is easy to find femdom only for sale?

Ok, let’s unpack: Why not? What’s going on with all the sex work attached to femdom? Why charge? Why can’t straight guys easily get someone to dominate them for free?

The lazy answer I get is that there’s a ratio imbalance, and in the same breath, that femdoms are fake if they ask for any remuneration. Sites catering to such dynamics, but with a low barrier of entry rapidly clog up with a soft whine “are their any real dommes on here who don’t charge?”

While sex work has always included people who were indifferent to through to disdaining the tasks that make up its labour, I posit rather that the circumstances that make any sex work exist are largely compensations that deal with both the variable artistic quality to audience demand, and the lack of protections for promiscious/ sexually open women.

What does dominating “For Free” mean anyway?

The fantasy of “Free” is that one is so attractive that without the use of currency, one’s partner is so enamored of a person that they fixate and tend to your particular need, getting back warm and fuzzies or erotic hurrah sensations in reply.

Next door to the Free argument is that your own inherent attractiveness should be payment enough- assuming that money makes any social interaction complex and insincere. Ironically the claim is often that it cheapens things to bring money into it, placing the presence of a dollar figure as below priceless.

So, let’s unpack the Free = Authentic false belief, that anything we are passionate about we cannot receive currency over.

I mean, obviously that’s bullshit, we use giving people things including ludicrous amounts of money, as some of the most ultimate measure of someone’s worth. From the bloated salaries of corporate executives to dropping a tip into the hat of a street busker, money means you approve of a behaviour or person.

And, what about me?

I believe the prodommes who say this is their sexuality because I try to take people at their word, but also because I know my own erotic creative overlap into sex work is both a labour of love and a thing I like to get paid for.

So- I enjoy writing fiction, but I am good enough to do it for $$$ so I also do that. Selling my fiction, as well as giving my femdom stories for free, both give me warm social fuzzies.

Let’s be 100% cards on the table. I know that my fiction (and writing) causes both orgasms and emotional feelings of comfort. Both bring me positive attention, and knowing people do donations and kindle book sales to support my sexy art tells me I am special and popular and people love my stuff.

If I didn’t market myself and aggressively pursue attention, the nature of the signal to noise ratio of online content means my work (and thus my voice) would probably go unnoticed. I am loud and have confidence in my value, but more than that, I want you to notice and read my stuff.

That’s a lot closer to the reality of professional femdom.

A lot of what you are paying the pros for these days is availability, risk management and sustaining the lifestyle to do the whatever. I do caveat I ain’t a pro and the pros speak for themselves better than I could, but I am a femme human and being sexy is dangerous… and expensive.

For example, costwise, just as a sexy lady making just herself happy, I have spent about $1000 on lingerie and fetish wear in 2020, almost half of that on latex alone- that’s on top of the hair and makeup- and I’m pretty frugal for a woman who bothers to dress up. On the safety front, I also have to be paranoid and secretive- my overt presence, even an erotica writer draws both social condemnation, persistent sexual harassment, and depending on my visibility, ever increasing threats. 

Death threats, boundary crossing attempts to find and force a personal relationship, you name it. Being female shaped, particularly sexually in public and pestering and wishes for violence happens, largely unchecked, except by your own actions.

Put a face picture out there, and the abuse and negative attention increases exponentially. Sorry, that’s the breaks, not only might people try to shame and hurt me for having my sexuality, but for not hiding it well enough.

I also spend a couple of hundred dollars a year on web hosting for my blog- although not as active as it was, traffic isn’t free for me.  Living, itself, isn’t free, and I am compelled to occupy myself working some way or another to pay for everything.

The Economics of Being a Slut

Sex work tends to exist in the overlapping area of being on the edge or past mainstream acceptability, and significantly limits your options for most women if you are found out. That being said, it isn’t the easy industry the average misogynist seems to think it is. As much as you see a sea of lingerie clad “fakes” doing drive by insults, the economics of sites like OF is that most of these women are losing money.

No really, unless you are very good at marketing yourself, sex work isn’t just real work, it’s got a very poor pay off prospect. This goes to conventional old school porn, where being an actress meant neither controlling any part of the copyright or distribution (much less royalties), to the realities of things like stripping, or even the so called full service sex work.

Leaving aside discrimination on the basis of looks, and the usual ugly age/race/gender biases in paying porn… Payment takes both luck, sales talent and a number of factors otherwise typical of any other business.

If you add up marketing effort and work out their hourly, for most OF models, it’s actually a significantly worse take home than grabbing a few hours at McDonalds or similar. They are, in effect, giving a product partially for the feeling it gives to them in pursuing the dream and maybe a pay off.

Ok, but prodommes?

Domination-for-pay has this factor too. You are managing a client base, advertising, etc… probably trying to juggle complimentary revenue streams (eg clips, phone sex, etc…). It’s likely that you are renting a dungeon by an hour, if that’s expected (although some obviously own their own space), buying and maintaining gear, etc…

None of this is required to be a dominant, however. But, it is required if you have any hope of making a consistent amount of money. And the money pool is small- only a slice of guys can afford either occasional or regular by the hour “sessions”.

Prices go down, ironically not scaling with the actual work or risk. Indeed there’s a certain unfairness that the people in the highest prestige positions in sex work are likely to get the treatment of the most legitimacy and ease in crossing into work that isn’t stigmatized.

I don’t think adult content consumers realize this.

A lot of guys assume that because there are many pros they can see advertising that they are a licence to print money- its not. For a minority of women you can make a decent middle class living (or even be wealthy), but like vanilla modeling or being an instagram influencer, it’s not exactly the most reliable pay off. 

Sexist idiots, in particular, labour under the idea that all women enjoy a sort of sexually motivated UBI. I don’t think I need to spend much time combating the delusions of misogynists with detailed facts and citations, but I do think it does help to look at the ingredients on the salami even if we don’t tour the sausage production facility.

The other sad truth is that the encouragement to go pro can sometimes be a form of self defence. To be a sexually out there woman means wrangling all the same creeps, and putting a price sticker on it can simply be a means to sustain a literal lifestyle that’s incompatible with being perceived as socially acceptable.

For example being doxxed won’t go any better/worse for my lack of official sex work. I’m still the nasty slutty pervert lady. Femdoms exist in a perfect storm of representing a certain phobic projection to a certain kind of man, while getting smacked with the “whore” stigma, is it any wonder that real or not, they charge?

So why don’t you go pro, Miss Pearl?

In my case I don’t do prodom work, but that’s partly because I don’t have the attraction to the scenario that would involve. Am I asked to? Frequently.

The overlap between dominatrix as a viable commercial archetype, and my sexuality is not close enough to justify it. I don’t dislike all of it!

For example as a writer, even in erotica, the hot thing is incest. I could write incest porn and more people would like my work better. But… I dun wanna.

I got out of vanilla copywriting because the pay to effort was shit. I don’t write incest porn because my personal perception of it being gross (victim of real life incest) isn’t worth the uptick in happy readers.

For me, the other askew is I don’t personally like the two conditionals of pro-domme work, both the necessity of certain conformity, and an availability that makes me squick hard.

Conformity isn’t falseness.

I am overdue to write about the other femdom audience. It’s a whole essay on its own, that we exclude women in conversations about our own physical and aesthetic presentation… even though we are actually the (snrk) dominant voice by dint of the whole nature of contemporary gender roles.

To put it on a napkin: although the economics make male patronage favour certain modes and aesthetics, whether designing, assembling or performing the aesthetic, fashion is a woman’s language. It is so female coded that men existing in our spaces as creators and taste makers cannot escape at least the presumption of queerness.

Nailing that down, it hits the artists dilemma: what sells is nessarily pragmatic. Just as the technically submissive enjoy more real power in a BDSM sex act by virtue of the fact that that their submission isn’t passive, he who pays the pegger picks the pipe.

Where we go wrong is saying that he composes the entire scenario. It is possible that clients can create it as a form of vanity theatre, the Sun King (or Sun Kink, if you will) in the centre of his ballet of courtiers. But, again, composers, costumers, set designers, advisors, etc… all express various points of agency.

I am no baroque ballerina, but that is a lot more personal pathos than a dislike of every bit of dance. Supposed social structures and group participation in a whole, to me are fundamentally a reminder of my being broken. Trauma or Autism, I cannot hear the beats that everyone else seem to.

I mean, this makes me a unique kind of fraud, because I pass pretty well as a relatable rebel. Only once you spin out the #fuzzyslippers and #pyjamadomme to its extreme, I fall out of step with the chorus.

I am correct that the monopoly that the current structure has on defining femdom (looking at you Annie Nomis, you Academic Elise Sutton) is hot garbage, but “Real Femdom” is just another trap of limited definition. I am not going to be any more happy if the entirety of my sexual performance is directed by that norm set more so than the Dominatrix one.

Back to the point at hand, however, that norms, themselves, help us bridge the gap of communication with the unique selves. Costume, title, tool- all are overlays onto bridging the isolated self into the other.

I am reticent to admit but one of the places I am most able to connect to others is through my sexuality. The intensity of the moment, a free ability to suddenly lose the bewildering metaphorical wall of noise that most people are and just be merged as the self overlaps over my victim is a sensation of joy beyond my body.

Some sort of conclusion

When you pay a sex worker, they are no more or less fake than anyone you interact with. What you are paying for is the risk and the effort involved to make themselves work for you, outside of the pure creative work.

Being upset people ask for payment is being unaware you exist in a world that largely caters to your desire and asking for people to make it even easier for you- there would be more out there lifestyle femdoms… if you dealt with that pesky sexism problem.

The Threatened, NCB & the Domme Police

The 3 Usual Idiots Trying To Destroy Femdoms

I have a person I know in real life, who is both a professional and lifestyle domme. Since there story is theirs I won’t screen shot it, but I will use the situation as an educational anecdote.

They (the dominant) were doing an AMA as part of a friendly FB thing, with a bit of an educational bent, when Chuckleface slides into the comments and starts picking away at stupid shit- whether a drink was domly enough in her video, etc…

This is, if you are a female dominant, just par for the course. True, male doms occasionally deal with someone trying to get into a weird alpha slap fight, but alongside the regular inbox wankers wailing for attention, you get three different kinds of dingdongs: the Threatened, (NCB) Non-Consensual Brats, and the Domme Police.

The Threatened

Among the Threatened, the guys who do it would tell you it isn’t about gender at all, or they would vomit out some sort of biological essential garbage about the body mass differences. The latter is bold of the sex that has their genitals external to their body. These guys actively seek out any claim a woman might have to even limited power or authority to be triggered by it.

Then, like a particularly fragile masculinity based sea cucumber doing a last ditch fear reaction, out comes their misogynistic guts. In effort to take you down a peg or two, they vomit up everything from out of context accusations of being a man hater, moral railings about your Jezebel ways, to the same tired tangle of speculations on your age, physical body, incompetence, etc…

In their mildest form, the Threatened are violently defending their idealized perfect fantasy from icky real women who don’t fit, but most of the time they just feel so socially insecure that they calamatize that any woman who doesn’t bend to them unmask their soft mess to everyone.

Non Consensual Brats (NCB)

NCB think if they piss you off you will “make” them behave. The best meaning imagine they are being seductive and providing enthusiastic consent by being as unpleasant as possible, while the worst lean into their fantasy over you, seeing your feelings as just another tool to get them where they want to go.

This adds a bonus scary problem if you have disparate sizes and physical resistance. While some dommes, by confidence, personality, or being skilled and swole, can safely take town someone either bigger, or sometimes just physically able enough to pose a significant challenge, this puts you both at risk of an injury neither of you planned or wanted to consent to.

This isn’t, of course, the push and pull of a more primal dynamic, or the well established sass of a wanted fight. NCB are not a “bit of spirit” to spice play. Nor are they the healthy ability of a sub to say no at any point. NCB are a relentless push that thinks dominant consent doesn’t matter, and often refuses to acknowledge how much their own consent is actually supposed to power a dynamic.

At their best, NCBs just need a clue, because they don’t realize they are missing a piece of how kink works. However, NCB may even be a sad reminder a sub orientation doesn’t stop you from being abusive, verbally or physically.

The Domme Police

Sometimes, mind you, the Domme Police would tell you a challenge is all about making the dominant prove it, because they feel they are the sacred heart testing scales of truth. Only, rather than your heart weighing less than a feather, it needs to weigh more than a pair of floggers to be pure, and there is no cute crocodile to pet.

“Prove you are a dom” breaks dominants and drives femdom away from bothering. Not breaks, as in makes them submissive, just creates this sour taste in the mouth. They, like the fedoras of yesteryear trying to ferret out fake nerd girls, or a bigot questioning if you are a “diversity hire” operate under the assumption you inherently don’t belong here.

Although less explicitly abusive than the often bordering on incel, glass Alpha types of the Threatened, there’s an implicit destructiveness in the gatekeeping that is no less corrosive. In some ways I hate these people more than either of the first two categories.

Who could blame a new domme, or a tired one, for agreeing they don’t fit and looking elsewhere?

Unlike the overt explicit explosion of the Threatened, the problem with these folks is they are masters of making their illogical challenges a test of your mastery. Their self justification is often just the regulation of fakes, and exploitative types and the more adroit trick others into nodding along in the name of “standards”.

But, if you disproportionately provide the community incentive to a woman to sick around of a velcro dildo, you aren’t the tempering forge heat or the winnowing farmer letting only the strong flourish. You are a cancer on BDSM.

You are not, to wander into other, Northern mythos, Heimdall on the bifrost, guarding betwixt sacred kink and dull, profane vanilla. You are Nidhogger, the dragon gnawing away at the roots of the World Tree, destroying a nurturing growth meant not to contain just kink but the entire connected worlds that we travel in and out from to be part of the whole person and larger community.  

And though you whine that BDSM needs experts and you just want safety and subs to get what they deserve, you are never there when missing stairs need nailing. You don’t tend and water those roots, you gorge yourself while secretly hoping the whole tree topples.

The furious energy the Domme Police expend demanding, testing and frankly preying upon the newer or trying to take (always female) teachers down a peg or two is sometimes even a mark of a more cowardly predator, the mask of the first type I mentioned.

Being the Domme Police, like unsolicited NCB behaviour, is just an effective cover to lash out.

In the example of the guy that inspired this post, the unmasking of his past as a serial harasser in other, non-kink communications was swift (and very public) and the handling by the domme presenting her AMA was able to deal with him with patient skill but…

…imagine if femdoms didn’t have to wade through three different flavours of (usually men but not always) idiots trying to actively make this harder for us?

A Long Essay On The Lost Lifestyle Femdoms

The belief that the ratio between submissive men and dominant women wildly skews to have more of the latter is an incorrect hypothesis. Circumstances exist to hide the lifestyle femdoms, often in plain sight.

That’s a bold statement on my part, but I feel the perception of the ratio is largely a flaw in how we measure and look for sexual desire. Sure, studies of women describing their sexual fantasies show a paucity of dominant women. Studies also had a terrible time locating a bisexual man in a laboratory setting. The majority of the clitoris was only found in this century. We know both to be real.

Further, I think we are going about the pro versus lifestyle femdom question all wrong. The approach tends to be on if the “connection” of a professional and client is the same as a lifestyle couple. This is a problem in the limits of how we conceive of power and how it has been historically available by gender.

My argument is twofold: what a professional and client experience is no less “real” than what I do; and the frustrations with the system are the problem of one’s own relationship with power due to sexism. There is no real ratio imbalance on the basis of gender, just a really complicated mismatch between experiencing power for emotional and sexual gratification, and how women have access to power as a general thing.

Being dominant and enjoying having & using power are gender neutral activities.

Thus also is sadism, sexual teasing and exhibitionism, etc… I strongly suspect that paraphilia we more traditionally associate with men are also more evenly distributed. For example a man with 300 pairs of high heels is seen as a pervert, but the same collection owned and worn by a woman because it makes her feel sexy goes without notice.

I posit, all these kinks show up naturally in anyone, regardless of gender. In dominance, there is no reason to assume women are not suited to it. After all, women have demonstrated capacity and desire for real, non fetish leadership, both effective and despotic. Likewise, even within gender stereotypes, we cannot argue the potential for sexual cruelty is absent. Even if women were inherently kinder, the vast majority of people who experience sadism as a sexual kink can tell you that high levels of empathy are complimentary, rather than a barrier to it.

But, how we talk about women who lead, and women who lead conceive of themselves, occupies a different vocabulary set. The female dominants are here, they just don’t use the words we expect them to. And they probably avoid the leather bustier- although kink comes and goes in mainstream fashion, there is a paucity of cat suits in female heads of state, business owners, department heads, etc…

I think how we conceive of the roles naturally drives women away from identifying as dominant.

Discussing the protosexual (presexual?) evolution of desire, it is notable that, across the gender spectrum the fixation on who does what to whom doesn’t seem to show reliable correlation to where the person ends up. An overview of what we consume, as pornography, shows example such as cis-women enjoying m/m (including such targeting men), while the norm of kink development includes a plethora of anecdotes of random power set ups that stuck with us in age appropriate fiction or childhood games, playing captive, princess, etc…

Nonetheless, it is disingenuous to pretend that the current presentation of femdom in pop-culture is anything other than a male centred fantasy, but that doesn’t mean that women are only helpless puppets playing out crypto-slave roles, and are not part of the conversation as well.

It means gender and power are fucking broken, and this is naturally going to flow into every pocket of the world where both exist.

We did BDSM as a subculture a disservice when we obsessed over old-guard-leather and ignored the large contribution that femdom-through-sex-work provided in sustaining a “scene” of sorts. This wasn’t just pro-dominatrices, but all those nameless women who were the models for the fetish art, etc…

When de Sade penned his edgelord fantasy wankery, he was doing so in a world where S&M was already known to be a commercially available, a common part of sex work. He gets to name Sadism. Sacher Masoch, likewise, didn’t independently arrive on what he stuffed Venus in Furs with.

Sure, sex work in generally determined in service availability by he who pays the piper, but so also were the lives of wives. And nonetheless, women have, despite it all, actively and enthusiastically fucked. If women could manage vanilla sex of their own volition through periods when their ability to orgasm was itself in debate, why not dominance?

They say “Anonymous was a woman” to mean that a significant amount of things women say or do, when they get preserved, tend to lose their name in the copying process, like cropping the artist’s signature off the meme.

But we know women have always been there.

The problem is that over the last millennia, women have not been permitted to talk about sex openly, in a way that is celebrated and preserved, but we’ve definitely been having sex, talking dirty, inventing stuff, etc… And, as much as men have been recording sex from the narrations of their hand’s gratification on themselves, women have also been active partners, organizers, and so on.

Who really remembers “Anna” of the early 90s, organizer of the Boston Burger Munch? Or, in the Bay Area, just before that Vicki, Marcie? Laura Lee? STella? It’s recent history, but the Usenet BDSM communities that anchor our modern conversations of kink and make blogs like this possible. I digress because even today, there just isn’t the same emphasis on admitting that BDSM, as a community, functions under the labour and management of hundreds of women.

And the trick is a lot of these folks ID as subs, and there’s the loop back- there’s no connection with sexual dominance and social utility as a leader or mentor. Performing as a submissive woman, is the path of least resistance if you are a switch.

I can say, personally, that for all that people often imagine a dominatrix when they picture BDSM, the market, as a woman, caters to me as a submissive and is considerably more concerned with my gaze and common aesthetics there. Further, navigating the kink community, as a dominant you are fairly policed and limited by what you can do, and the most verbotten acts are typically the most typically associated with women.

Want my brains fucked out? Want to dress like a pretty pink pastel princess? Want to wander about in a cozy onsie or bunny slippers? Cry? Giggle? Love? Wait for the squinting in your general direction- all while some guy is still dictating what you can wear and do in your inbox.

Theatre preserved plays performed by Greek men, but not the active and lively mystery cults of women that ran in the same time. Likewise, we know about London spanking Madams of the Victorian period, but not the private bedrooms of the more ordinary married woman. And in our modern oral tradition, we remember gay male bikers in the late 40s, but have little love for newsgroup saavy women in the 90s.

That doesn’t make a good place to assert your sexuality, as a woman. Perhaps better than some, but if you have to play ball in a game you didn’t design, not only is it rendering you actively invisible by narrative, but it is punishing you for going out of bounds.

Economic Oppression Built This

A common conversation around the “fakeness” of pros is that they are just doing this “for the money”. The snap back of the past, on the allegedly shameful nature of taking money for sex work, is that the house wife does the same thing. That’s not an argument that ages well- the obligation for sex in marriage as a “duty” you assume for support is largely out of fashion, for all some world laws trail in archaic misery.

But the necessity of extracting money from the world to live means that women are still working on a system with underpinnings that assumed that you are an economic subsidiary of a male controlled household.

Bucking that system was a quick way to end up broke and even more powerless. The few women who clawed out independence still, more often than not, had to navigate the whims of a majority.

In the same manner that we don’t use leeches and antimony pills in medicine anymore, likewise, our ability to conceive of and grapple with consent has altered. Nonetheless, the whole financial and social system didn’t roll into a new format overnight. Regardless of if it isn’t actually a given now that women have a different financial situation than men, wages, etc… things just have not balanced across the board.

(Note: Get into a pay gap in a myth argument here and I will delete you.)

Therefore you have a paradox that your power is framed as a perception of your ability to extract money from men by performing traditionally female tasks AND that these tasks don’t need direct compensation and much recognition. You can hold a lot of soft power/social capital, but the hard power of being the origin part of the cash is generally just not given to women as much.

And our foundational archetypes often harken back to old role- in kink for women, rustling out the governess, nanny, mommy, goddess, nurse and so forth, of which frankly, I think a dominatrix, herself, is just part of that spectrum of power through roles.

As I said earlier, it’s not a closed loop of men- we women consume the same porn and inform our own identities based on what is available. The trick is that whatever fetish stuff that makes BDSM in us asks women to take on not just being dominant, but a dominatrix, by default.

A Dominatrix is to female power, what Drag is to being a woman.

It’s a caricature, one with an aesthetic that can, itself be fascinating, liberating or empowering, but a Drag Queen is not the same thing as being female (bio-queen or not). True, villains always have the best lines, and in practice the real professional dominatrix exists somewhere between highly useful sex therapist and immersive theatre, but nobody asks men to take on a whole vocation to get kinky.

Right, you might ask – you have argued why kink is hostile to women expressing overt sexual power at length, but how does this translate to the claim that femdoms are loose in the wild vanilla?

Maybe they don’t imprint onto BDSM that way due to lack of role models?

Look at what women do, not what they lable. Look at our attraction to men in distress in fiction, and our fixation on things like princesses in girlhood. Look at the perfectly evenly distributed desires in vanilla women to be sexually compelling and get what they want.

Consider how easily they accept the gender neutral parts of dominance, and how easily traditional masculinity can be framed as service. Make a partner feel incredibly horny and decide on who gets gratified, how? Get your way without a ridiculous fight?

Once you stop slamming women into leather bustiers and thrusting a client book into their hands, or coming at them like the french philosopher Rousseau did, so crazed to publicly expose himself to strange women in the hopes of getting a smack.

I think, as we get more social power, it may get better. I have already noticed the youngest cohort of female dominants embark on it with considerably more agency, carving themselves more feminine friendly, but gender not constricting identities.

I close this with the suggestion that if we are currently largely “lost” what we must do to be found remains a place for ourselves, and our own desires. And I continue to write under the stubborn awareness that just as art and writing that treated me as normal and worth catering to gave words to my own desires, so also will others find their way.

Don’t Date Your Therapist: A Response

Eris Martinet wrote a manifesto of sorts, and I have a disagreement.

It’s here: Psycho-Sexual Domination and Its Healing Potential

It’s one of the biggest ethical nonos for a professional mental health care provider,  and a pithy piece of good advice for everyone looking at setting boundaries in their relationship in the appropriate level of care to give a partner.

But there’s so little space to love on the perverts or give sex workers a space to speak that I feel like I need to start my disagreement response to Eris Martinet with a disclaimer- this is a “Yes, and…” not a “Fuck no”.

And if you use my participation in a conversation to turn this into a diatribe on realness or anti-sexworker, I will look on you with disdain so severe you can’t even get off on it.

Eris’s true, raw piece about her very valuable career, as something between performance artist and therapist, is a very good way to make a lifestyle femdom real miserable. This is speaking as someone with a pretty serious caretaker kink, who wanders around unzipping boy’s baggage sorting through it with a reflexive talent.

But the dichotomy of broken and healer, while it can make for some powerful chemistry, is one that can only be dipped into not immersed in if you are building a relationship without a pile of (professional or other) distance, and I think female dominants in particular should be aware that the giving urge is particularly tempting to us.

I can’t really know where Eris is coming from regarding the professional side push back particularly on findoms, although the evil puritan gremlins who control the credit system on which all modern finance rests do their busy work implying that hypnosis is a bridge too far. I am not a prodom and I can’t speak for the nuance of culture- I’ve spent the last decade of sexual activity and public writing chasing away men trying to hire me with various levels of politeness.

She is right that we rank against each other too much in a world that casts us all out, with equal scorn. But…

If you are a female dominant and simply trying to date and find lovers, as writers like Ava have noticed, there is one hell of a bad tendency to use you as an outlet. Beyond this, it’s very easy to mistake the relationship of nurturing control for the power that makes you zing. Sadism and empathy are not two opposing forces, it is my observation that if your thing is vulnerable or tormented men, this compliments intensely with loving them and helping them.

But there is the cosmic joke, the one poor old Sacher Masoch teased out in his porn philosophy, when he wasn’t leaving protein stains on his wife’s ermine coat, the situation is all too much not opposite but opposing sexes, and this polarity on a binary fucks a lot up. With the framing of things as weird power dynamics in the vanilla that don’t seem to help anyone but nonetheless exist, everything is messy.

While Eris is pouring hot gold into the fissures of men’s psyches, I am over here slamming the door on a life spent setting myself on fire to keep someone else warm.

Two easy things go wrong- his fractures are actually the roots of his submission, not his nature, and your glue seals your power away, as satisfied, thence goes your heart. Or you exhaust yourself on an endless quest to mend and soothe, addicted to his need to heal. I am inherently a caretaker, and that won’t change, but I am more careful now.

It’s a familiar habit in our blogs- the happy couples are there, but most of the words are still frustrated, still seeking and suffocating under piles and piles of performance and incompatible need.

We break our hearts, over and over again to the point I stopped writing for a while because the world didn’t need another frustrated femdom crying into her keyboard about how nobody actually loves her properly. That it was my lot in life to inherit men who somehow broke under the pressure of the supposedly mirror kinks to mine, that I had to become either an unshakable self promoting pedestal or a deep well of patience to the exploring interest of emotionally stunted survivors, while they got to sulk about having the choice and economic position to buy a skilled professional.

Now perhaps my tone is not entirely fair, because men’s pain in their circumstances are valid, and it is extremely self evident in examining the pile of trope that is femdom that the whole thing has all sorts of pockets of internalized pain pressed into pearls, particularly some of the worst injuries we do to guys in policing them.

But oh hell, boys! I didn’t make that snarl of masculinity you get yourself so tangled up in.  I just want to be loved without being a therapy tool, an outlet or an idol.

And if there is one thing I have learned since I started being sexually active over half my lifetime ago, it’s that it needs to be better.  That I have specifically watched too many dominant women mistake helpless and wounded for something else, as a lifestyle choice.

I guess the other part is it never feels like anyone cares about our pain. Our alienation, disempowerment, and so on. Eris says nobody blinks at a Daddy Dom, but the reality of boundaries on your power as a Mother is one girl children learn from a young age when the first adult decides you should babysit.

And there is a glory in the traditional tools of womanhood- I have come to respect that perhaps I do not think femdom must look like maledom (perhaps the latter should aspire more the other way sometimes). I will not cast away the metaphorical spindle as a shackle, nor douse the hearth/home my ancestors-in-sex tended.

But, though I will spin a rope to bind him before tending to his pain, I will snip those threads when they become a barrier to the whole person. And I think my life has too often mistaken prior damage for enthusiastic surrender.

And I do recognize that I don’t think this is going to be a popular position, since people are bigger on sentiment and big declarations that if you care about the broken are reassuring. We are all a little shattered, and sub guys are intimately aware something is askew.

But there Eris and I part company- for I love where there is the perception of good surrender, but where she has the distance to mend the shards herself, I know that it will cut us, very deeply if we let a pretty broken thing be held to us the wrong way.

So take in a man whose body or his psyche is a map of scars, for that is beautiful to me and that may be your passion as well. I know I love and have loved such. But, beware the imbalances of energy and space to be whole yourself, you, my sister in kink who may be reading, and guard for the easy way you can fall into the breaks in him at your expense.

How to Get a Woman to Dominate You: a Search Review.

I believe you can tell a lot about the quality of the information available to community by how searchable it is and right now that exact phrase “How to Get a Woman to Dominate You” turns up a disaster as far as results.

About 50% of humans seem to be at least vaguely kinky, with submissive fantasies being very common in all genders. Despite that, it’s an oft remarked comment of femdoms that the quality of the come ons we get and the education of our potential partners is more often than not, appalling. Guys who think we don’t exist. Guys who don’t know how to approach us. Guys who think we are weird fetish unicorns.

Why, with the sheer banality of the desire to be dominated, is this a thing?

A pretty common refrain is that men just don’t care to educate themselves, because sexism, but I don’t think that’s the entire picture. Although it’s easy to dwell on porn or poor social skills, the evidence is of a lot worse problem. The information just isn’t there to be found.

Lets say you are a an average straight-ish guy with a smart phone. You want to get femdom sexings, maybe with a partner,  or maybe you just want ot know how it works. Just as you check everything from the directions to your doctors appointment and how to make a pot roast to if you have cancer or where to find latex strapon videos, you probably google that shit.

So I did, and here’s the first 10 results. It wasn’t pretty.

  1. The first hit is Goodlookingloser, a A MRA/PUA site, telling you that women just don’t find being dominant inherently hot. their tip is to trick her, PUA style y offering your individual fetishes as things you want because you find them sexy, to which he inherent desire to be sexy will cause her to reciprocate. Direct quote “Girls are not naturally dominant.
  2. Then an Ask Men click -through article that is low on details and orphaned from anything BDSM community shaped.
  3. Then a guide to dominating women. >:(
  4. Then a guide *for* women on bustle, asking a man to dominate you.
  5. Then a Bad Girls Bible article for women telling them how to lead into a dominant role that is… actually not half bad.
  6. Back to dominating women. More text about how she will really want you if you do, a re-occurring theme.
  7. Then a Quora hit. It’s a specific scenario about trying to make femdom more appealing- not really a helpful answer but an honest one that not everyone’s going to be into your kinks, and a bit of explanation of “service topping”.
  8. Then we are back to another hit about dominating women from a wedding website.
  9. And another hit talking about dominating women and how it is what they really want.
  10. Finally, Stoya, over on the Verge, answers an agony aunt style sex question.  Unfortunately the net nanny “over 18” is broken and wouldn’t let me pass through.

According to everything Google tells us about the monopoly provided by their service, the first page of search is usually the only one people every visit, and most people usually only click the first link or maybe the first couple of links.  This means that Google thinks, algorithmically, the most useful search hit to a person looking for “How to Get a Woman to Dominate You” is in fact the following: “They don’t like to be because they no longer feel feminine and sexy.” and “Girls like to get fucked by a dominant, alpha male.

Can you imagine how much that is fucking with sub men to read that?

As a femdom, it’s infuriating, because obviously I exist and I am over here buffing my muffin to precisely the shit the author thinks won’t glaze a wick on its own merits. But if you were a sub guy… soul crushing. Follow that with dead ends and a litany of reminders how much women want to be dominated and no wonder I am getting a trickle of people who sound like they met a mermaid-unicorn or can’t fathom that I have my own needs or desires.

We need to do better than that. While we are getting utterly slaughtered by the side effects of FOSTA/SESTA and the #Pornapocalypse, we are largely erased from the narrative by lack of searchability. For all that articles like my 33 things every submissive man should know or femdom stuff to make him do while you figure stuff out have gamed SEO a bit to get actually useful information out there, I can’t find any of my blogger friends easily and that’s a problem.

So do me a favour and throw your favourite advice articles and blog posts in the comments and I’ll try to get them carried out a little further.

 

 

 

 

On Missing Stairs, Zak Smith, Libertines, Pimps, BDSM and Roleplaying

missing stair and bdsm and gamingLet’s talk about Zak Smith (aka Zak Sabbath, Zak S).

No, not the being terrible person thing, lots of people know about that already. Rather, lets talk about a particularly noxious kind of person who attaches themselves to libertine communities and pleasure parties: the pimp, and how he embodies a particular part of The Problem.

A Background: Who is this random guy and why should you, the reader of a porn blog, care?

Recently my various worlds collided. I’ve intimated before I do super nerdy stuff like roleplaying. That doesn’t make me shocking- venn diagram between kink and LARP is almost a perfect circle. Therefore I won’t delve too much into telling you what roleplaying is. I will warn that if you were here to get your rocks off, a better fit would still be my archive of femdom stories, as this way lies spicy feminism.

Still with me so far?

If you are involved in roleplaying enough to poke your head out into the larger online community, you’re probably aware of a new suite of allegations against a games writer, Zak Smith (sometimes called Zak Sabbath).

 

An artist and games creator, pornographer and promoter of adult arts in games media, Zak Smith has been the repeated subject of blown whistles. This time, when a number of his partners came forward and called him out, it seems to have stuck better than two years ago, when a games company, Whitewolf, decided to publically come out and say they didn’t find any truth to the allegation that he liked to harass people online.

Zak Smith likes to harass people online.

The page where Whitewolf defended him is mysteriously 404’d, but their parent company has since put them under greater restriction after a few other oopsies.

At almost a year to people loudly yelling at Whitewolf the games company for employing a known hazard, Zak Smith’s former romantic partners came out and said he abused the fuck out of them, and indeed used them to benefit his internet slap fight habit to help re-enforce his ability to harass people.

And as Zak Smith has publicly bragged about, the reason why this is germane to you, the reader, is that this famous dude also wears his kink membership hat with pride. We’ve given him a platform for us a bunch without telling him not to.

As is the way of online media, Zak Smith has, historically, been a bit of a lifestyle brand, wearing his wife and her adult entertainment work, as well as the bodies of other women attached to him as extensions of that identity. Although also famous for his work for Dungeons and Dragons, he’s particularly attached to the famous World of Darkness games franchise (it’s larp, tabletop, computer games, card games- you name it!)

(note bene: WoD is a ‘mature’ cousin to Dungeons and Dragons with lots of bdsm and fetishy stuff in the materials, both through a goth aesthetic and the subject matter largely focusing on their flagship franchise “Vampire”, a game about power dynamics)

 

Right, you say, I’ve burned my copy of Lamentations of the Flame Princess and vowed to never buy his tat again. But other than being same old same old, what makes this case stand out?

So here’s the accusation: the behaviour Zak Smith exhibited is textbook Objectification.

The best archetype I can use to describe Zak Smith is a pimp. Not in the oogie boogie woo woo sex traffickers gonna getcha horror stories, but in the sense that matters, a parasite that exploits the objectification of women while adding back nothing.

He didn’t even make his crap – “I hit is with my ax” and other creative endeavors showing adult film actresses gaming to their benefit, it was another chance to show it off to other straight white men that they could game with their fantasies. He was the Hooters of gaming podcasts, not because the women he worked with weren’t interesting, funny and had valid things to contribute, but because he cheapened all that shit to promote the person he actually cared about (himself) to raise his street cred with straight male nerds.

The problem with pimps, even in the classic sense, is not sexy art and sex for money, it’s that comparatively advantaged people attach themselves to marginalized communities, make it all about them and what they want, and use the fuck out of women, queerness, etc…

Much pixel-type is being laid about people’s feelings on the subject, largely affirming that it past due.  People are doing a good job of Believing the Victim, which is good- means that #metoo business gained a little traction. Normally all this would warrant from me is a few tweets agreeing that Mandy Morbid, Viv Vivid, etc… deserve respect and protection.

But I will add this:

You probably know a Zak Smith or two in your local kink community. Whether the self promoting creepy rope top who leers at anything female; the braying ass who uses being poly to collect humans for coup counting; or the starry eyed munch babbler who thinks that he is a more enlightened being by dint of where he goes to get a hard dick, all these people are particularly notable by the way they dress themselves up in the struggles of other while largely being straight white dudes.

This is not to say being a slutty man is not indeed, valid, wonderful and your right, or that men can’t be organizers or contributors. It’s that tendency in which others, usually women, become subverted into objects. Not artists or workers. Porn stars make art, sex workers work with their bodies. The distinction here is the people who cannot separate the person from the product.

For Zak Smith, BDSM and poly (unicorn poly, natch) provided a convenient smoke screen to own, abuse and modify women to his hearts content. And then turn around and cry sexism and prudery at anyone who disagreed with him. In the case of the Mandy Morbid (and other persons) anecdote we’re lucky enough that she decided to give us her testimony on the way out, he even flat out used her name and social media accounts to write, pretending to be her, because he could hide behind the very real shit she had to deal with because of her artwork.

While he, lets be honest, could slap hot naked goth chicks onto things all day long and merely make a few people who weren’t buying the product anyway harumph. That was a large part of it, and notable in his visual arts, that he depended on naked alt girls and blurred what he could claim (his technical skill) with deciding their voice for them.

Precisely because of his desire to smush together sex and gaming, as well as selling something people wanted, he’s long benefited from being able to call his critics prude or sex negative or even sexist. It’s a complexity that I think my readers are familiar with- the desire to have sexy art that is also ethical.

Zak Smith has not behaved ethically, indeed if you read Mandy’s account you will see him trying to wield her marginalized status like a sword to his, and not her advantage. Likewise he’s not LGBT ally, as her bisexuality was bragging rights and access to more women to him to use and control.  And there in is the stick that I want you, the reader, to note.

It’s a pointy stick, jutting out there, pretty obvious, in pretty much every community, but more notable in the arts and sex communities like kink where this has the most room to overlap. A kinky guy with access to porn stars and roleplayers, of which a fair percentage of them see the terrifying train wreck of abuse that was his life as living the dream? Wow, is he everything that’s wrong with sexy art.

Obviously I am not anti-sex, or even anti people who identify as male (although if this post gets any traction I can bet there are a few motherfuckers in duck and cover position screaming they are tired of being lectured for being men) but precisely because I make porn and get my literal and metaphorical tits out upon occasion, I like to try to be responsible and warn to beware of pimps.

Exploitation and identitySo how do we enjoy sex (and sexy art) and keep the pimps out?

It’s a challenge, the line between painting flesh vases for your dick flowers versus a celebration of humanity in every wrinkle and pothole of human experience. That is also the line in which the concept of ‘attractive’  vacillates between a restriction and a pleasing popular aesthetic. But if this longform blog post gives you any useful take aways, look to who is profiting from the sexy.

Zak Smith, a pretty garden variety creep in many respects, got particular power by not just fucking with the women in his life, but using them as a sales thing for his brand.

Breaking down the conventional sexy paradigm is not enough. No identity or role is so specific and obscure that there is not some man out there who believes he is doing a favour by being sexually attracted to it. Fat women, bi women, pale women, femdoms, women with physical disabilities- it’s not at all harmful someone gets off on that, but the point of harm is as per usual, when some asshole with his dick out wants a cookie in his non-wanking hand and screams like a small child when he isn’t show exactly what keeps the stimulation going.

If you want to keep objectification significantly reduced you need to turn a pretty heavy level of scrutiny on all that lovely porn and lovely porn adjacent sexiness and ask who it is meant for and who, ultimately benefits.

And if the answer is a troll of a man living a dream that pretty much all popular media uses as comedic shorthand for “lucky bastard” but he is wailing about oppression or claiming to be part of a secret society promising a liberal life  better for everyone, welp, poke it hard and weed for pimps.

 

[Signal Boosting: Weird & Wonderful has feelings about Zak Smith.  Ettin64 read Zak S’s rebuttal, poor thing.]