Why Kinkshaming Ruins Christmas

Snowy gif used to illustrate conversation on kinkshamingOk, ok that was shameless clickbait. I’m sorry. It’s not that bad. What I am talking about is actually the conversation around “Baby It’s Cold Outside“. There are two camps around this popular carol, one that observes that it is a festive version of Blurred Lines only worse, and a counter point  that it is totally not an ACTUAL date rape in progress, just an old timey courtship that looks like a date rape by modern standards.

The latter is going the rounds of my Vanilla-ish facebook, which I think misses the point completely of the first camp not enjoying hearing a woman playfully plead about not wanting to be there. It argues that “Mouse” (the woman) and “Wolf” the (the man) in the duet are consenting but playing out the script of the era, so to relax. Other versions mention it is a husband and wife team that wrote and originally performed it as if this was relevant.

I have things I can say on facebook- I can say it is problematic because it’s about the expectations of predation, a celebration of an era before enthusiastic consent, the mere fact that the duet parts are named after specific animals tells you the expected power dynamic and so on. I can rebut the fact that trying to defend it because she softens her no to blame other people is bullshit that doesn’t understand how women diffuse rejection to protect themselves.

And sharing it uncritically as old timey fun is how we end up with this rather gag worthy video where Bublé uses child actors to show how cute it is to push past a woman showing she’s not interested. This is probably a more accurate version from Funny or Die.

But… then I also write horrifying kink porn for fun and profit.

The thing that frustrates me is that there is no space to step in and tell people it’s ok to fetishize sexual violence, but you have to acknowledge it as sexual violence. Romance and erotica have always had a scope of displaying everything from full consent to outright rape, and the ability to label things dub-con (dubious or questionable) or non-con (sexual assault) in contemporary porn is part of developing a healthier conversation around it.

It is ok to be titillated or warm and fuzzy about a holiday song of  light M/f.  It’s ok to want someone to ‘force’ you into spending the night with them while pretending innocence, provided you also have the framework of free consent protecting you. The point it becomes dangerous is when you romantasize that being just how normal sexuality works or worked.

And it’s not like this was the distant past- people who fucked in the fifties according to these standards of conduct are still out having sex. Harrison Ford’s Deckard was assaulting Rachel Replicant in 1982 and having it be told as a straight if stormy love story (and his Indiana Jones was paired with someone he first boinked when she was 15 to his character’s 27 to which he blames on her). 80s era romances are notoriously rape-y, hence the perpetuation of the idea of the bodice ripper. The recent spate of sexual assault scandals are all built on the same idea that the enthusiasm of one of the partners doesn’t need to be present either at first or at all.

You, the reader, probably knows that real reluctance or real resistance is a flat out hard stop. If you permit either you have a global dynamic that means that “real” still gives your partners and out.

A safer world means one where we can explicitly say that Baby It’s Cold Outside is about as icky as He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss).  It also means one where we look to why we feel the need to use historicals to tell stories about sexual assault or statutory rape (in the two 80s movies I cited, one is in faux 40s  future noire and the other is set in the 30s, continuing the trend of).

But…

I am turned on by fucked up shit. I also have dealt with harassment and violence, and I don’t ever want to do or experience that shit for real again, and harp on consent so much to stop this from being an issue.  But as far as the complete picture, people like me are left out of the conversation because we can’t be honest about the reason why we are clinging to excuses to share and enjoy unhealthy relationships.

As the various people share that defensive tumblr post on facebook I can’t point out that what they want is a rape fantasy. The fact that talking about getting turned on by consent violations is taboo leads to a really unfortunate, lopsided conversation. The middle path here that lets people enjoy the idea of people ignoring their No while still having it respected for real is missing. Kinkshaming ruins everything and is forcing people who like a lil violence in theirf fantasy life into uncomfortable company with the people who like a lil violence in their real life. Since the latter should catch fire and fall into the sea, this sucks.

If we had a healthier conversation about the role that stealth kink plays in people’s idea of the romantic, we’d all have a happier Christmas.


The art is taken from here.

Corporations Hate Kinky Sex

Credit card providers don't want you to have kinky sex.At the time of writing, Patreon and Twitter are both going through a phase of removing adult content. Patreon changed their ToU, while Twitter has been merrily shadowbanning accounts it deems sensitive, trimming them from the general popular discourse.

Twitter managed to hit historical expert @Whoresofyore during her book promo, while Ferns of Domme Chronicles and a number of other prominent sex bloggers have discovered they have been secretly muzzled. That’s what makes Twitter’s handling of things particularly frustrating- nobody knows how your posts and content pass the threshold of unacceptable. And nobody notifies you. You just need to figure out if you have been silo’d.

This was in the heels of, and overlapping with the Patreon change. Those who make porn remain ever vigilant that the guidelines of a corporation will crush them. It’s old, tired and familiar by now, part of an ongoing trend.

I had been thinking of making the switch to Patreon support, so I could put more effort into content and less into other sources of revenue, both linkbuilding for SEO (which I am iffy about) and the unreliability of getting scraps of freelance story requests. I don’t think that is as likely to be a viable option and that frustrates me. And that’s the challenge here, with trying to make adult oriented, and to be explicit, sexual art. Everyone wants the fucking stuff, but nobody wants to pay for it and admit they want it or give it space in the mainstream.

And when we do try to make stuff easier to pay for, we get yanked around by the credit card providers and financial brokers that underpin the transactions that make this possible. Because they are private corporations, unlike writing to my MP, it is considered to be a privilege to me that a few companies have a monopoly on most of the use of money that I do I and everyone else has no recourse.

The truth is, credit card providers don’t want you to have kinky or unregulated sex, and sites like Patreon are hostage to that. Meanwhile Twitter’s logic seems to be tied with the same efforts to try to scrub out trollish harassing nazis- only they remain more interested in punishing outspoken women than the people who bother them.  And at it’s core it’s a problem with our heavy dependency on for profit business to maintain platforms of public discourse but also the fuzzy moral madness around sex in society at large.

This is part of an ongoing war, both government side, and through the whims of the monopolistic control of private corporations, to decide what kind of sex you are allowed to have and talk about.


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My Take on Cuckolding Fantasies

Cuckolding fantasies are more than just cuck focused“So multiple people offered to throw in cash to get me to go to this event at $nerdhobby, I am so popular.” I’m not bragging, I’m surprised at my popularity and slightly bemused by the absurdity.

His reaction is to miss a beat, face going suspicious, “Oh really? Who?”

“The very gay $nerdhobbyguy, for one.” I know the implication, but I live with it and measure it accordingly. Boys offering you things is kind of par for the course as an extra level of social complexity to navigate. It sucks as an artist of any kind, because patronage is also how we wend our way, and nobody likes trying to suss out if you are trying to fuck me or support my writing. And I never apologize that men want me.

He’s not quite calm about it, not mad at me or displaying any sort of impolite or threatening anger, but outlined to me what it had always meant when he had offered to sponsor a girl, and then realizing that I might take offense either via implying I condoned really low wage sex work or was naive to the ways of the world, falls into repeatedly reassuring me that he trusts me.

Brick, you see, is a jealous man but not a controlling one. He’s liable to characterize it as “protective”, from the perspective that I need to be saved from all attention, pursuit and appreciation. On the other hand there’s a definite thread that we share a similar mean little desire to reject and trammel all over a guy. You’re never going to catch him as the forced bi bull shoving his cock down a would be rival’s throat, but there is a desire to emotionally and socially dominate other men (and in fantasy land probably beat the shit out of them) that pretty much occupies the same space a cuckolding fantasies do in the continuum of things men are socialized to have feelings about.

But, I like watching you fight them for me, even if I want you to win.

I am not one of those people who thinks that jealousy, or any feeling, in the abstract, is bad. I don’t think one’s feelings entitle you to automatically make the other party responsible for them, but I like the honesty and vulnerability in him getting possessive, the itchy fists and raised hackles. It’s hot. It makes me feel in control and turns me on. I enjoyed that Brick’s reaction was not compersion, that mainstay of the poly community, but murder.

I’m careful here, because this is a raw dynamic, which means that it’s his Real Feelings (TM) and could actually hurt him, so I’m not going to do anything to actually harm him or manipulate him. But I like that the script is there. I like the idea of using him as a tool of my sadism and dominance. I think he would get worn out and stressed if he thought that other men were constantly testing the boundaries of his relationship in a way that imperiled him, but I’m still going to enjoy it when it accidentally falls in my lap. And I have more thoughts on that… Read More

Fuck Homophobia; Fuck Islamophobia

Love is love is love is love is loveThis is more like a one shot service announcement, but as a sexual libertine I wanted to put this out there, based on the Orlando tragedy:

Fuck homophobia. Fuck blaming Muslims.

As a non-American I don’t feel qualified to give more than an opinion on the subject of gun control (why do you need those? wat? whyyyy?) but as a sexual libertine who screws and plays with people anywhere on the wonderfully unrestrainable gender spectrum, and whose life is so far on the side of sexual liberal that I don’t even know what normal looks like anymore…

We don’t deserve to die, and what kills us is not our choices, it is the choice of others to hate us. And that hate is not uniquely confined to any variant of monotheism, that is a 100% optional. Let every politician who hemmed and hawed about transgender bathrooms or gay marriage know that YOU did this. Let every pastor who decided that the pulpit was their hate catapult be ashamed. Let every TERF who sneered about what a “real” woman was hang your head in fucking SHAME. Hell, even you in the back who was hoping to be the bigger man and saying that it was okay for people to be perverts as long as they hid their icky secret and never expected right, fuck you in particular. Fuck your hate the sin, not the sinner. I am my “sin” and if love is a sin, than fuck you, we love.

The killer was your textbook scene creep (you know the type, nasty messages, nasty disposition, missing stair extraordinaire), lashing out from the closet doorway. Sure he dressed himself in the raiment of whatever big name terrorists he could wind about himself, but if you are buying into this as a remotely Muslim thing… well I don’t know if the word “racist” applies to hating on such a pan-ethnic faith, but you are certainly an ignorant bigot. More than that, you’re explicitly on his side, where he loudly tried to distract everyone from the fact that this was a hate crime with a huge component of self hate. This was the UpStairs Lounge arson attack again, made possible with assault weapons. This was a horrible, abusive person abusing what he (secretly) loved as surely as he abused his wife. Fuck you for trying to make this a talking point so you could bully and harass Muslims in the name of people that, let’s be honest, a decade ago you probably barely acknowledged as human.

I love living in 2016, where Axe body spray ads feature men in heels and I can marry any one adult that will have me. But holy fuck, guys, can we not make a hate sandwich and pretend that being mean to gay people isn’t a homegrown bit of bullshit bso we can be horrid to brown people?

We clear? This blog is pro QUILTBAG and pro any damn faith that gives you peace and cultural warm and fuzzies, whether it’s all of them or none. This is just another drop in a rainstorm of people shouting about gay rights and not being a bigot. But if i have a soap box, I will at least express solidarity to the some 10K sessions you guys make here monthly.

Things I Am NOT Saying About Professional Dominants

As a follow up to my last post on the subject of dominatrices VS non-professionals, I’ve also been trying to share more of other people’s writings on the subject and make this more of a conversation, including on twitter. And of course I’m getting pushback because people think I dislike or don’t believe in professional dominants. This happens every time you try to talk about the pro/non-pro distinction, so I’m going to try to make a definitive response to the subject right here.

Professionals are not fake. Please stop writing to tell me about how they are also all “lifestyle” and real and put their heart and soul into the job. This is not about bashing pros, it’s about making a distinction, and I’m going to use a metaphor to explain this.

When you go to a restaurant, the business employs staff who are (ideally) personable, friendly and enjoy the environment. It’s also perfectly possible to make real friends with a waiter, as well as them just being nice to you as part of the job. Similarly the atmosphere of the venue may be fantastic and fun. It may have been founded by someone who truly loves food. But the main purpose of a business is to generate revenue.

If you go to my house, you should NOT have the same expectations as you do for a restaurant, even if eating might take place there. That doesn’t mean I’m anti-eating out. However it is frustrating to be solicited like I’m a professional dominant, much like most people who enjoy cooking are not expecting someone to come to their home and expect to be handed a menu, tell them what to cook out of selection and send it back if they don’t like it. Both a professional chef and I want delicious food. Some chefs work really hard to replicate the home cooking experience, and some home cooks try to replicate restaurants.

But I don’t have the same concerns of mass appeal a restaurant does. My home is not set up with a little podium out front where a person seats you and tables laid out to place friends and strangers in a suitable level of sorting. It is not relevant in the least if in fact dinner is eaten in bed while watching Jessica Jones, or that breakfast for me was a little packet of tasty french chocolate cookies (or in Wildcard’s sake, an ensure meal replacement, because food and him don’t really get along until 10 AM). I *could* make an eggs and bacon and ham and beans and home fries like the little breakfast place we go to sometimes (albeit after 10 AM). But we do what makes us happy, not what the restaurant has to do to get people in the door.

Wildcard and I might cook for other people, but although we want them to enjoy our food, if you try to complain to me that Wildcard didn’t smile enough when he put your plate in front of you or forgot your water, shall we say that you can expect a very different response than if your waiter did either and you complained to the manager.

Now some professionals have the luxury of either naturally being what people want, or choosing their clients so selectively they don’t have to think about it. But this is not going to be the norm, anymore than most restaurants get to be that picky about who they take money from.

When I complain about being treated like a professional dominant, I am in the same metaphorical position as a person who has idiots banging on her door asking to be seated,  wondering why I’m not wearing an apron and a hair net, and who come to dinner expecting a menu and choice of soup or salad.

I know many people who work in sex work, and many of them, from escorts to dominatrices, enjoy the job. They picked that out of many options to make money as the best fit for them, much like some of the friends I know who work in food service are there because it suits them (hell, I know more happy sex workers than waiters). But I can confidently say that if any of their clients decided that paying them was not needed because they were such good ‘friends’ they would stop being friends at all.

Both professional dominants and non-professionals don’t want our partners to be jerks. We thrive when we like what we do. But professionals don’t just offer the option of being open to a wider range of people, the nature of the business is that they make certain concessions for the revenue side of things. They wear the clothes that get you off, they play out particular scripts that work well for the client.

And if you come to me expecting these scripts I’m going to be fucking pissed off, because as a non-pro, my fantasies and scripts are just as valid as yours. And i you’re one of these people, you’ve been trained by your expectations that I just want what you want (for a small fee).

B-but, Miss Pearl I don’t feel like she’s using me for my money! My dominatrix made me shoot rainbows out my butt! We have a connection!

You imbecile. She *earned* that money. She deserves it. How can so many of you nodcocks be so gungho about the whole pro thing and then turn mealymouthed and queasy at the idea of someone earning money? You have a connection because of your money and you are (I hope) compensating her fairly because you are not a cheat. Have some self respect.

When Wildcard wanted to know if he liked being spanked for real, on his terms, he had an experience with a professional rather than trying to coerce random women into playing it out for free. It was a super great thing all round- she created the atmosphere and wielded the implement- he got the benefit of exactly his fantasy. You’d have to be some sort of moron to think that this sort of polite, respectful transaction is the same thing as my home life. Do both activities push his happy sub buttons? Yes! But they don’t push *mine*.

And therein is the problem, the scripts and assumptions of professionals are chasing away women who might want to otherwise identify as dominant. When the world acts like you don’t exist, or that the distinction is to be an amateur with all the ramifications (or at best some sort of philanthropist) you create a world that marginalizes the sexuality that does not serve men, or to be specific, a certain subcategory of men who are prepared to pay for sex work (from dominatrix-through-to-porn). This is not something professionals are doing to non-pros. This is not something all male subs are doing to dominant women. Indeed there is more of accident than conspiracy going on here.

But it is a thing. And maybe if we worked on a solution there would be more porn and more female doms. And more happy people overall. Hell, imagine a world where male subs stopped being a default client. How hot would it be to be so good at serving female desire they paid you?

Not All Femdoms Are Sex Workers

Once again, an innocent question from a redditor reminds me of one of the problems that comes with being a non-professional dominant. Or really any conversation about femdom. I get messages from people in my inbox (I guess I seem authoritative) of various sites and this is not an unusual occurrence. Sometimes it’s a guy trying to book a session. In this case, he was neither impolite nor unpleasant, but it’s my daily reminder that the thing that I do is not perceived as functioning the way I do it – to the larger world, femdoms are sex workers by default.

Random Reddit Dude:

Hi, I stumbled upon your reddit domme post and Im abt to go to my first domme in a few weeks and am really excited I have a couple questions on how to tell if its a legitimate dome or not. [ad from back pages] This is the domme im going to and so far so good been emailing her a couple days she requires a screening process in which i have to refer to two dommes before but since this is my first time I couldn’t do that so instead her other request for new subs is for 100$ gift card (which is the cost for half the session) be sent in advance and I give her the other 100$ in cash. We talked a few days and I think she is legit but what are your opinions?

Me:

Okay…

You know not all female doms are sex workers? I couldn’t possibly tell you about this because I don’t sell sexual services. Sorry, I could no more advise on this than a vanilla woman knows how to choose escorts.

Random Reddit Dude:

its not a sex worker, shes a domme though? Its not an escort I was just asking since you are a domme.

Me:

If you are paying her, she is a “sex worker”. Although the laws of your region may vary about what is and isn’t considered prostitution, and she may only sell beatings, lifestyle dominants do not charge any money, not gift cards, not Paypal, not cash in hand.

And thus went the conversation, with me patiently explaining that indeed *anyone* you found out of the “backpages” was going to be selling a service, and that sex work includes a broader range of activities than explicitly getting to come. I’m very pro-sex worker’s rights. I want complete legalization, and training for law enforcement to protect them, and supportive social programs that affirm their choices while keeping them safe, as they are a commonly exploited and endangered population. But I can only be an ally- shilling erotica, while next door to sex work, carries none of the stigmas and risk so I’m not going to define myself as a spokes person for people who take on this challenging profession.

But as a female dominant I am SO FUCKING FRUSTRATED. Both at the assumption that I don’t really exist and that professionals are the norm, and that my relationship with my partners, even as a non-pro, follows the guidelines of a professional- a session in which a male partner provides some sort of compensation in exchange for the parts of my dominance he actually wants. If it’s not cash, he’s cleaning my floor. Never mind that dominance experienced is a reward in and of itself.

I admit when I first started writing and thinking about this, I suffered from a bit of whore-phobia, not at sex workers, but to their clients. I guess I was frightened that guys who availed themselves of the services of sex workers would see every interaction as transactional. In practice, not so much, in one’s personal life the distinction tends to play out more the way a massage at home VS a massage from a therapist do. But in the global picture, non-professional (and I still chafe at calling myself ‘lifestyle’) dominants are eclipsed by the attention paid to professionals to the point that femdoms are sex workers in the default of popular imagination. You also tend to get this weird idea that selling dominance gives you different independence- the professional dominant, rather than being a person playing a character, shows up in popular media like that’s the entirety of her personality and she has figured out the secret of getting paid to do what she loves because she is just so amazing. Sherlock’s Irene Adler was a typical bad cliché of this theme, a stomping one dimensional psychopath who used people, who couldn’t actually just have real power but needed to be a professional to give her sexuality legitimacy. Other than that, female dominants who aren’t doing the thing as some sort of job (you might also get wicked lady police or bad guy characters in leather) are invisible, or it’s a punch line, or at best doesn’t extend as far as her sexuality. Unsurprising in a world where female orgasms are censored as more dirty by film boards, and one major romance publishing house historically refused to publish anything that didn’t have M/f overtones, but still a very annoying thing to experience.

It’s gotten a bit better- media is a lot more open about pandering to a broader range of female interests, but nonetheless, here we are, female dominants who have no interest in treating their partners like clients scraping around the edges of our own kink. “Just asking, since you are a domme!”

And because female dominance is laced with this stereotype, women who would otherwise be into BDSM style activities are turned off- not only do the majority of the guys who identify as submissive (or as a switch) getting their information from a world that thinks F/m is #givemoneytowomen writ large, but even among those who don’t want to pay, the attitude is that they’re still booking a session. I don’t want to follow the script of an 19th century gentleman hiring a “governess” to pretend for a couple of hours that she is his superior, I want sexuality that takes more than my need to feed myself into account. Instead I get guys who think I exist on the same continuum as people who are incredibly skilled at getting him off as a vocation.

Fuck that noise, we desperately need our own space that is not about appreciating porn stars and professionals. We need room to develop our own tropes and expectations outside of someone who charges by the hour to act disgruntled in highly specific lingerie. Yes, among our tiny minority of F/m women, some of you genuinely like acting like Mistress Whiplash as your power fantasy, but until this is more about us and less about the exchange of good, cash and serves for services, we will remain invisible and hide in the #whump communities on tumblr and other little pockets that pander to us.

On Femdom In Popular Culture

princessI guess one of the hardest parts of conventional heterosexual femdom is how damn disempowering it feels. Maybe some women get joy out of it in the porn and movie version, but in my perception, it takes the idea of female power and turns it into a grotesque parody, one propped up by a very narrow definition of attractive, garbed in clothes worn to thrill the audience but also reassure them that the boundaries of the dom’s power are entirely the time it takes them to wank to completion. I hate how angry and unhappy it makes us be, like we are uncomfortable in our own skin, that we deplore sex and men specifically.

I tried it as a teenager- I liked (and still like) the idea of getting power from my sexuality, liked the idea of men fawning all over me and certainly fit nicely into my dark sorceress fantasies. But in practice it was such a bother to get someone to play along- teenage boys aren’t, as an audience, adept and ready for consensual domination. The ones that are tend to have got there via porn made just for them. And if I’m good at anything its forming myself into other people’s perfect fantasy. But oh lordy was it a series of tedious tick boxes- no tension, no zing, so service-y.

I rejected femdom then as a fool’s game entirely for professionals and with nothing to offer for me. Given how it is presented, its no wonder there’s so few dominant women when people go looking!

On that line, people have occasionally found it remarkable that I refuse pro work. Wouldn’t it be perfect to be paid to be me? It’s not out of a rejection of sex work (I’ve made it abundantly clear I’m an ally, if often a clumsy one), but a distaste for the profession in particular because it is NOT me. I write, not to condemn the hundreds of women who pay the rent acting out a very specific and much beloved service- but precisely because it is next door to my vulnerabilities. For me, professional domination is taking an intimate part of myself and putting it to work for the needs of others. That’s the part of femaleness that makes me feel least powerful, the emotional shepherd part of the glorious indoctrination of girlhood.

And inversely, I don’t like that being a commanding woman is itself considered to be a niche fetish, with a special wardrobe that fits into no context except for that of the dominatrix- rule and people start cracking jokes about whips in the same way they’ll call you an aggressive bitch. People moan about the lack of clothing choices for dom men to be “fetish” wear, but a codified dom uniform for women doesn’t exactly scream inherently powerful either- maybe sore feet, sweaty and short of breath at best. I’m not saying you personally should give up your “mistress’ heels or whatever, but from my perspective if you have to wear a special outfit to be taken seriously, that awards the outfit more power than you.

Granted a lot of the other stereotypical female power things don’t help either. Step away from Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS’s angry, black clad sisters and its all about The Goddess. Not any specific goddess, mind you, just middle class white folk’s idea of the primitive feminine- and that trip traps into sacred motherhood, where all I am goes from being the bedevilment of men, to the state of my womb. This is not an improvement.

Maiden, Mother, Crone… even with religions that are not some sort of cargo cult constructed to summon a hypothetical ancient tradition that’s more wishful thinking than a part of anyone’s heritage, religious history gives you shitty options. At the very best, you get a goddess who’s some sort of primal force, while the real women of the culture are getting their faces rubbed in the dirt, same as everywhere else and the religious women who get respect are paragons of self denial and chastity. Among the Christian saints, someone’s mother or someone who died a virgin are about your only options of your own personal halo. That puts the feminine-as-a-power-source as an awkward place for a barren woman to try to be. By choice, over about half my life, I’ve stopped up my womb with the best medical science can offer, with no plans to stop. The thing between my legs is strictly an organ of pleasure with an excretion mechanism piped through it. Making it so is my aberration and my actual expression of power over myself- being maiden/mother/crone by default is a profoundly anti-choice. Respecting women as the generative sex, and making that respect’s primary root, treats childbearing as the spontaneous reality for every woman.

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Femdom Nouvelle and Beyond BDSM

Louis-Malteste-Miss

There are moments where kink gets frustrating because no label is ever a good enough fit to eliminate the “yes, but…” factor. I’m a femdom, but… I don’t dress or act like a porn cliché. Is that a “Real Femdom“? Well, making that claim is as bad as calling yourself a Real Woman, since you can hardly argue your version is the definitive one. I’m a femdom, but I don’t act like I hold my male partners in contempt, so Sensual Femdom often gets used here, but… I also don’t play soft. And so it goes.

So I could just call myself a “femdom” and let other people figure it out, but I feel like 99% of the aesthetic of my sexual fetishes remains the property of a mostly male audience. I might volunteer moderate /r/femdom, but I don’t masturbate to images of these women. As they are depicted I don’t even want to be these women, as much as I respect their right to exist, and yet they are treated as representative of me. So, Non-Professional Femdom? Nope, that axis has some data points I already covered, but other than talking about the expectations of objectification  it is likely to slide into good old sex worker shaming. Lifestyle Femdom? Lifestyle implies I live in a removed culture apart from all things vanilla, like some sort of separatist commune and I don’t have a 24/7 dynamic.

All kinky people deal with trope and stereotype expectations- plenty of male noobs ask if they can love their subs or worry about being psychopaths in their own eyes or the perception of others. On the other hand, the imagery of kink is more concerned with servicing their needs than defining their image- there are the Christian Greys of fictions improbable standards and masculinity’s own traps and snares but there just isn’t the same instant pull “yes, that’s what a mandom is!” the way that Princess Donna and Mistress Madeline and their fictional sisters completely abrogate my existence.

Long term readers know my clinging to “Dom” as a self description without the gender modifier and might have picked up on my persistence in talking about male dom with the same gender-ed bracketing, because of that feminism thing where I try to shove a snowball into a mitten before popping it into a fire in the hope that using “Domme” only on those personally identified as such will stop it being the default people use on me. Because apparently I’m the sort of person who engages in Amazon Linguistics.

Thing is, the reason why femdoms seem to be really scarce is because it doesn’t really include much room for female desire and this has been a persistent problem, not because women aren’t kinky but because how we construct out labels is entirely an effort to coral messy, often fluid sexuality into neat niches and these niches *suck*.

So Lets Talk About You, The Reader And How You Experience Kink & BDSM

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Don’t Fear The 50Shades Newbies

50screamWith the long promised movie coming up, internet BDSM communities are continuing the ongoing tizzy about how terribly awful bad this phenomena is for kink, particularly how we are going to expect a barrage of innocents any day now, who will totter in all starry eyed and come into some sort of unspecified calamity based on something they read or saw.

I’m going to bracket this by saying 50shades is not my cup of tea, and indeed is Bad Writing. Then again I can’t say I’m a fan of a lot of things- cheerleading, miracle whip or pastel magical unicorns are also going to draw out a bah humbug (and indeed given the injury rate, cheerleading is probably a lot more dangerous than recreational spanking). And for that matter the books have never claimed to have aspirations to high art.But, that aside, this still doesn’t mean the supposed tide of 50shades newbies we’re supposed to get (who have yet to present themselves, btw) are somehow this big problem we needed to dread and plan for.

True, Christian Grey is fucked in the head, while Anastasia is at least next door to having some sort of combination social anxiety and eating disorder, as well as weird jealousy issues and poor decision making. But BDSM literature as a whole is a zone of emotionally unhealthy characters- not in the least of which because we are a bunch of by and large sane people fetishizing horrible things. (I mean come on, depending on which version you read, Story of O ends in her suicide!) There are millions of terrible harlequin romances extant and somehow heterosexuality as a whole has survived all sorts of silliness.

Let’s take a look at some of the common worries, shall we?

BDSM is a super special dangerous thing you need training to do. Newbies are going to get hurt if they enter into kink thinking this is easy and safe. The books never get more intense than a beating scene with a prison strap, which is further addressed as being something it is both okay and understandable for the dippy heroine to not want. Hell, the first book ends with a break up because she decides she is not comfortable- and the middle book is about coming to a compromise that balances their respective crazy. But, more to the point, this is kinky sex, not rocket science. You are not part of the special sexual elite- 99% of what we do, while highly enjoyable, doesn’t exactly take annual certification and an OSHA inspector. And no judgement, but triple razor wire flaming suspension bondage is not a common activity for most of us, even scene veterans.

The other implication here is also that the 50Shades fanbase is somehow dumber, more naive and less inclined to do their homework than the person making that claim. Now you might point to how stupid you think the books are, but then again BDSM is not known for our high quality pornography. As Wildcard observed to me on the subject, I don’t think most of us were initially sexually inspired by high art.

The books sell an overtly controlling person as a super magical dom, and will lead to newbies not knowing that they could find kinky abusers.. Over the course of the three books its repeatedly addressed that BDSM itself is not the weird thing, but rather that the male lead is literally crazy. The implication about worrying about risk of abuse is that 50shades newbies are ripe picking for our resident predators. You know what that says? If you are so utterly sure there are enough abusers in the scene that you have to actively protect everyone who comes in you are acknowledging one hell of a missing stair problem. That is to say if you really think the community you are part of has more risk than the rest of the humans who are not part of your special sexual subculture, the problem is that your subculture is fucked up.

Maybe instead of trying to focus on some sort of welcoming committee, as many people seem to think needs doing, that energy should be used to clean house?

People who get into kink through 50shades are annoying dabblers not REAL kinksters. I’m sorry, you’re a snob if you think this. I am as peeved as anyone else that the bottom tier of cheap toys has taken on a distinct colour palette and branding. But, no matter how you feel about tacky satin blindfolds and rhinestone handled paddles, you do not get to make the distinction of sincerity versus weekenders. And if you try you are going to sound like a huge hipster trying to keep your exclusive hobbies from the poseurs. This also goes to people who think there is some sort of unbroken legacy that’s been handed down but will now be neglected- sorry guys, BDSM is an activity practiced in the private bedrooms of couples all around the world. You don’t get a monopoly to define and control kink and you never had one.

The problem with 50shades is mostly that it’s in the midst of a moral panic the like of which is typically found among suburban parents worrying about jelly bracelets and rainbow parties, but most people who don’t think its worth the flap are generally not invested in protecting ridiculously popular things. It hits just in the sweet spot between containing enough sex to make conservative prudes squawk, but not enough self awareness to make anyone who would normally be all liberal and sex positive happy. And yet, maybe its time to admit the franchise didn’t create any problems that weren’t already there to start?

Do Dominants Have All the Power in BDSM?

hailthequeenOne of the most common questions in kink, particularly when you are trying to convey the concepts to newbies or people outside of kink, is who really has the power in a D/s relationship.

There’s differing opinions on that. The default people tend to go to is “The dom, duh, that’s their job!” but it’s matched by a now classic argument that the sub usually has all the power because they can withdraw consent at any time. One safeword or a serious no, and the dom is back to being Ms. Normalpants, right?

Some male subs argue femdoms have all the power by virtue of scarcity. On the other hand other, (clever) writers have pointed out a collective tendency to domism in kink society at large and in popular perception uninvolved vanillas, the idea that the more dominant you are the more weight and value your experience and opinions have. To a degree this is true- I have shiny dominant privilege that people tend to treat me like what makes me wriggle in me seat somehow comes with an extra helping of smart in my head. People generally believe that dominant sexuality is like an automatic mantle of leadership, or paradoxically expect that leader traits must match dominant leanings. This is something I can’t help bringing with me into all my relationships.

On the other hand, as I’ve complained about at length, femdom as a genre of porn is particularly weighted towards getting straight dudes off. There is very little stuff out there for femdoms, but a giant buffet of wank for male subs. It’s true that femdom is in such demand you can charge for it, but paradoxically professional dominants work hard for their money. If you are at all into identity politics, you can point out the big awkward sausage fingers of the patriarchy jammed up in my archetype expectations- indeed a lot of classic male sub requests are to hold up a twisted mirror of sexism- asking to be hurt by denying them or humiliating them with reminders of a code of conduct that penalizes femininity or failures to be conventionally masculine. And as Dee pointed out, there is a tendency to treat all dominants like our consent is set to “Yes”. Certainly stealth submission is offered more freely than anyone would suggest a dom should stealth take charge to get their jollies.

(At this point the non-gender equality obsessed persons eyeballs kinda crossed, while some MRA type is now posed with fingers over their keyboard to make sure I get told what I said wrong. Have at it- there’s a comment section for a reason. Oh yeah and if you just came here for the sexy femdom stories… sorry.)

We female dominants cope with it in different ways. Some, particularly the feminist professionals, point out they are doing what they want, and is probably pretty sexist to say there’s a right way to be female.  Others, like me, devote our scowly faces to being treated as a category niche fetish as opposed to being just a dominant, regardless of the contents of my pants. Meanwhile male subs often get all sad that a poor distinction is made between marketing copy of professional femdoms and the fact that male subs are just people like everyone else.

So nobody gets to go into their relationships without baggage, personal or otherwise. But what about power exchange?

The reality of asking who has the power is that you’re going to hit that age old frustrator of every duality ever, which is that it depends. While it’s true that subs can withdraw consent at any time, so can doms, who are just as capable of having limits. BDSM relationships don’t exist in a vacuum- as much as we like to imagine we all have sooper sekret chateaux where we host the most sophisticated sex parties, nobody stops being themselves just because they twig for something collectively presumed to fall under the kink umbrella.

Whatever power is the amount you bring into the relationship with you. It never really goes away- it just gets moved around. Doms, femdom or otherwise, are not all just filling the fantasy of the sub, but neither, to the protests of some, is submission diminished by considering the desires of the submissive. The power is just as much with the dom to indulge or not.