What Would Fantasies of Female Dominance Look Like Without Sexism?

 This isn’t a post about abolishing sexism, it’s about female dominance and power in an imbalanced world.

nudepaintingmanUnfortunately, the sexes are not treated equally in society at large. I’m not really prepared to debate this fact in some sort of “choice to be powerless” or “so what if you don’t have power, you have boobs and tears!” thing, and this isn’t time to be all “Activate FEMINIST RAGE!”

I mean that the relationship we have with sex/gender (I’m using the two together) really colours the shit out of our kinks.  I’m speaking in terms of the norms here, of course. I’m sure you know some exceptions. But look: Female subs do not heavily fetishize cross dressing, male dominants are assumed to want to fuck their subs six ways to Sunday, and when people try ineptly to justify maledom they generally grab at concepts like primal, where as gender flip keeps trying to tell me I’m a wise Mommy.

Thing is, it muddies things in that doing things a particular way becomes inherently subby, at least as porn would have you believe. Whether it is getting fucked up the ass of wearing panties, or more extreme as to refer to the underpinnings of the relationship dynamic… It’s  feels like a niche.

Take a dude doing housework as a male sub staple. Actually, dudes do housework, even doms. Not as much, on average, as women of all orientations. But if men want to eat and not fester in their own filth, adults usually have some life coping skills, at least as far as trashbag or can opener operation. But I cannot move for guys writing to me to offer to clean my house. Female subs clean house, often in a way that’s just as service oriented as male subs, but they don’t offer it up front as a mating signal. Because housekeeping is something chicks get delegated with.

And the stupid femdom uniform or the fact that we use the term “femdom” or “Domme” to delineate. There’s definately a “Mistress” outfit that people expect. In practice male doms have the utilikilt leatherdaddy look, but put on some spike heels and shoot from below and -ping! Femdom. Or uncomfortable goth slut. The uniform muddies the conversation about femdom, because what you wear is often treated as important as what you do.

And there’s all the vocabulary. FLR (Female Led Reationship), I’m looking at you. As if you had to make a special category to get away from the default. Because the current standards are “traditional” (male dominant) and “equal” (egalitarian), there has to be a special term for being a dom in a TPE dynamic that coincidentally is also female dominated.

And then there’s female supremacy. The premise of it is that if women were in charge, either it would be paradise or castrating harpies. Curiously, I can think of few explicitly male-dom world ideas that are not rape happy weirdness. It’s less popular, as a kink, and nobody who gets hot and bothered about the idea thinks that men being in charge is better.

Because they already are occupying most of the top spots. So I find myself in the awkward place of telling people to stop calling me perfect. But I live in the world I do and it’s going to colour all our behaviour.

One of the great unkillable D/s narratives is the dom-as-leader. Honestly, as long as you don’t take it seriously, it is hot. On the other hand, since so few women get to be leaders, at least compared with men, it seriously colours the fantasy. And it is to the point that an expression of being your own person, as a woman, codes as being dominant. It’s like we can’t completely escape hierarchy thinking.

I think one of the reasons why male subs get so much crap is because they are assumed, if they are beneath a woman, to be beneath everyone. Like some sort untouchable caste, in a highly hierarchical pecking order (and D/s is often about getting off on abuses and strengths in extreme power disparity) subs of both genders get shamed in the fashion that is typically used to batter their gender.

And the stakes are pretty crappy for a dude. While women are coaxed into infantile passivity, and made to be concerned with sexual purity… men at the bottom get all sorts of fetishes that are related to how men have been historically pushed down and about stripping them of male privilege and treating them like women- they are pussified (and I use that term deliberately), cuckolded, denied sex and put through forced bi. And yet the comparative approach to bisexuality in sub women is generally about sister slaves, and putting on a show, and lesbian female dominants. fucking women is presumed to be something that everyone wants to do.

All that aside, when we construct BDSM fantasy societies, there’s plenty of egalitarian examples. Whether the concept is a secret world within our world or a whole planet of kinky people though, again you get the perennial bi women. It’s to the point that the hard ass second in command to a head femdom is a kink cliche.

So where does that leave you when you are femdom fantasy building? Technically it’s a fantasy so you can do anything you damn well please. If you want a lady with a harem of bisexual slave boys who doesn’t even understand the concept of gender, much less descrimination, you can knock yourself out. But like how the genres of fantasy and sci-fi are lamentably tainted by the cultures that birthed them, and keep serving up patriarchy in the far future and magic-far-away-land, femdom’s presumed tropes are well attached baggage.

I did it in my own work. Catamite, despite being scifi, is set in a very patriarchal world. It’s actually much worse than anything I personally have ever dealt with, being neo-Victorian. Annette, as a character, has an unusual amount of liberty for her imaginary geography.  This is not really a spoiler, but this is intentional in a place where the world the characters are living in is actually one of several planets, and the place they are in is very much a weird cultural backwater. I wanted a society with vast inequality, I did not want an amazon fantasy land and apparently this is what I defaulted to.

I wonder if my interest in that means that I still am constructing power in relation to men and unfairly excluding women from the picture? Catamite doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, though in part because it is a story about heterosexual relationships. In theory it wouldn’t pass in the opposite direction- I don’t think there’s a single male-on-male conversation where women aren’t the focus in Catamite either.

On the other hand it means that my domly-dom character is still subordinate. There’a a bit of me that wonders if I’ve created something straight out of the Office skit about not being the one truly in charge even in the infinite realm of possibility.

Dwight: I am gonna be your new boss. [laughs] It’s my greatest dream come true. Welcome to the Hotel Hell. Check in time is now. Check out time is never.
Jim: Does my room have cable?
Dwight: No. And the sheets are made of fire.
Jim: Can I change rooms?
Dwight: Sorry, we’re all booked up. Hell convention in town.
Jim: Can I have a late checkout?
Dwight: I’ll have to talk to the manager.
Jim: You’re not the manager even in your own fantasy?
Dwight: I’m the owner. The co-owner. With Satan!
Jim: Okay, just so I understand it, in your wildest fantasy you are in Hell and you are co-running a bed and breakfast with the devil?

So is it some sort of sexism on my part that the setting I threw together to provide a great range of power imbalance is extremely male dominated as a side effect? Probably. I was also interested in writing about how Annette navigated the space she was in, and how power is very fluid and unreliable, yet I still did a retread of the patriarchy.

Be that as it may, if you fetishize power imbalance, even if you disapprove of them in practice (like a person with a rape fantasy), the bullshit around gender is also fantastic source material.  I don’t necessarily think I conveyed it properly, but Adam/Phillip’s behaviour is supposed to have been guided by his own relationship to the masculine expectations of his culture.

And yet, fetishes seem to by and large follow cultural trappings. I understand that cultures without much ethnic diversity with inequality don’t really get up to as much of the weird ass “interracial” stuff the US spews out. If, perchance, we stopped having weird inequalities based on your perceived chromosomes, would this eliminate thing like cross dressing being used as a punishment?

So what would dominance be if there wasn’t some sort of significant gender imbalance?

— 

I have no idea where this lovely homage to a classical painting came from, but if you know the artist please tell me.

Book Review: The Mistress Manual (The Good Girl’s Guide to Female Dominance) by Mistress Lorelei

Amazon's cover image for the ebook

The Mistress Manual (The Good Girl’s Guide to Female Dominance) by  Mistress Lorelei

A caveat before I begin: Mistress Lorelei, by look of her blog, is an intelligent kick ass feminist. This is in no way a criticism of her as a writer or as a dominant. She hits a lot of great points, and it’s not the worst book that could fall into the hands of a novice.

It’s just… it’s another guide on how to act like a pro-dom. It’s like if you were a gay man and all you could find was advice on how to please clients as a rent boy or acting like a rent boy to spice up your marriage. It’s not a how to for dominants who also happen to be women, it’s a guide to pleasing male subs by taking on a role to satisfy what they want.

She gets some bits okay, like talking about post scene whoopsies and bad feelings. She clearly wants her audience to feel empowered and comfortable. Unfortunately she’s still stubbornly clinging to the idea that the reason to be a fem dom is better participation by the male in housework. She at least suggests you might find this leads to better sex but… not because it’ll make you horny. I recognize that many women are not comfortable with their sexuality and prefer ‘fun’ over ‘fucking wet’. And getting listened to, at least in the bedroom might even spill into confidence in other areas- I know when my desires are being respected I’m much happier. But nowhere is it stressed by Lorelei that you’re doing this for you.

For example in asserting your authority:

“It is also your duty to rename his genitalia. The name should emphasize his juvenile and inferior status without being so mocking as to render him impotent. A slightly childish name for his penis and two alliterative names for his testicles will equip you to tease and torment him to your heart’s content.”

Or

“You should know that even when he is bound to a backboard or forced into ladies’ clothing, you must supply him with fantasies (the script) or his mind will wander.”

This isn’t about the dominant. She sells the archetypes, nurse maid, governess, etc… talks about gender bending and dudes in diapers. It’s not all bad, of course and I’m not against male pleasure. Ideally both parties in a D/s thing are getting their needs met. She even gives dating advice for single doms. But Lorelei is oddly silent about being a dom woman with a vanilla man or broaching the topic with a partner from the women’s perspective or even any indication that it’s ever the reader’s idea.

Instead her instructions often read like a client’s wish list. Now there’s a long history of sex tips for women in the Cosmo school of “touch him on the penis!” and man pleasing, so she can’t be faulted for not deviating. And many, many people get off best when their partner is horny, but this isn’t doing sub guys any favours either.

Lorelei writes as if all sub men are cross dressers or adult babies or all manner of extra fetishes. She puts a lot of emphasis on roleplay scenarios where you are the Governess or the Nursemaid or similar. The guy is the sexual deviant being catered to by a woman understanding his unique sexual needs- this is not about her sexual perversion. We’re back to re-enforcing the idea that anything female and dominant is odd and that sub guys are just men with elaborately complicated demands.

Don’t get me wrong, she definitely cares about her audience. For example when she’s talking about developing authority by dressing up:

“A simple black T-shirt and matching jeans can be as effective a costume as all the leather-and steel regalia in the world. You need to decide how much of your submissive’s visual sense you want to please, how much you want to tease. Also, frankly, how much do you enjoy dressing up? If you love it, you can choose elaborate outfits by fantasy. Or you can relax and say the hell with it. You’re the Domme, remember.”

This is a huge leap better than Elise Sutton’s guide to being a highly specific male fantasy. I think if I had a criticism here it’s that in this context “Mistress” is being used to mean a professional dominant and not in the generic sense. It’s another roleplay scenario being put on as surely as if the woman was dressing up as a naughty school girl.

Category: How to Guide
 Rating: o~o~o (3/5)
How I got it: Borrowed
TL:DR: A good gift for a vanilla woman you want to top you, or someone who doesn’t like thinking about their own sexual desire to dominate. Very much a “Vanilla Guide To Being A Dominatrix”. Not my cup of tea.

Catamite Pt. 17

He watched as Annette dressed, filament fine stockings drawn on with protective gloves as the roughness of bare fingers would ladder the knit instantly, clipped to the garters of the girdle, beige tinted elastic panels containing and lifting her, smoothing the child worn belly, hoisting her breasts and pushing her ribs down. Like a woman of his class letting herself be seen with a bare face, as an unmarried man it was another mystery Annette had initiated him into, the hooks and straps that held the daughters, mothers and wives of great men ridged backed and tight around the abdomen, each point of restraint giving just enough that the body could move, but collaborating together to hold the woman up so no muscle could let itself rest untightened or sigh and shrug could excuse a slouch. Read more

Catamite Pt. 16

On the other side of the new year, when the short, sharp winter ran frost traces in the gaps of the brick sidewalks of the capital, and everyone who could afford it wore their furs pulled tight against the cold, Phillip found himself deferentially following after Annette through the fashionable shopping district. He wore the uniform coat of a member of the Harrington household, and found himself as over looked and ignored by people who knew Annette, just as they ignored her bodyguards and other attendants.

Change had come a piece at a time, starting with a bookcase that had appeared in his little room the day after the house party, and followed by access to paper and pencils, and then a regular supply of necessities and amusements. The gift of an under bed trunk meant had choice in his clothes, instead of garments appearing in the arms of a servant according to Annette’s immediate whim, and his unoccupied time had a small measure of freedom to choose his own pursuits. There was even limited freedom to leave his room and walk in selected parts of the house.

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Catamite Pt. 14

Vitaly was braced against the heavy wooden table, buttocks separated by the intrusion of Maria’s mercifully slim arm. He was making deep, guttural noises , repetitive grunts that came out “..ut!…ut!…ut!”

Each wrist was clamped into a cuff and fixed to the opposite legs of the table, keeping Vitaly’s chest flat with the plastic covered wood. Maria’s shoulder drove her arm back and forth in a straight line, with the steady rhythm of a rock breaker.

The tawdry underpants were abandoned in a small heap on the floor, but Vitaly makeup had been refreshed, more pink and red with the subtlety and detail of a four year old’s colouring book. Phillip knew, from observation, that Maria’s hand was clenched into a fist and that minimal amounts of lubrication had allowed her to wiggle first two fingers, then her pointed hand up to her knuckles, and finally her clenched grip.

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Catamite Pt. 13

The ropes were a dirty dun colour, thin, but wound several times around his body in rippled bands so that the bite of one cord was negated by its sisters. Such comforts gave him the full ability to concentrate on the hanging weights and the cross linked cords that made each of the four men intimately connected and gave them one contact point with the ground.

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Catamite Pt. 12

Annette sat just above his groin, her bodice in disarray and her skirt in crumpled folds to that her lace covered legs were fully exposed. She was pinching, all over his skin, where there weren’t freshly sealed cuts from his last misadventure. Her hands would grab a patch of skin and yank hard until he groaned and this would make her twist on top of him, pushing her pelvis hard and scrubbing back and forth.

Phillip remained inert under her grinding, letting her use his body like dough, pummelling and kneading it. She pulled his ears, put her fingernail into the delicate skin just inside his ear canal and bit his lip when she kissed him. Cruelty begat cruelty, her nails raked his neck and shoulders and she slapped his face.

Slapping carried its own sort of pain, so close to the eyes that it picked tears out of their ducts, despite his acceptance. He’d let his whole body go flaccid, surrendering to whatever she was intending until her barrage of hurt ended, but every time she slapped he had to scrunch up his face and move his jaw.

“Adam, darling?” Annette had her hand around his neck, but she’d stopped hitting him.

“Please, my Lady, is this my punishment for losing tonight?”

“No, I gave you a choice. You are mine and I simply draw satisfaction from seeing you suffer. I am very happy with you.” She gave him a slow, tender kiss.

“Yes, my Lady,” Phillip closed his eyes. His body was tired and he stung all over.

“But Adam, really…” She was wistful.

“I’m sorry, my Lady?”

“Kiss me back. You are my lover and companion. So act like it.”
“I didn’t know I was allowed to, my Lady.”

“This was the whole point. I own you to enjoy.”

Phillip craned his head up, not daring to put his hand on her. Their mouths met.

“Undress me like the lover you are supposed to be.”

It took him a moment to figure out the closures on her dress, undoing the hook capped zipper that peeled down to let the stiffly cut dress fall away from her body. The fabric was the most muted shade of red possible, more brown than scarlet and heavy, but still the loudest thing he’d ever seen her wear. Her slip was white and soft, covering the brassier that kept her breasts in the fashionable level and the fastenings on her lace stockings.

“You wore another colour, today, my Lady” Phillip left the dress laid out beside them, pulling the net and pins out of her long hair.

“I was feeling less confined,” Annette drew him against her breasts. “Blue is for work and quiet, at home. Adam, I will use you some more.”

His arousal was reticent, not from lack of want for her body but from the previous and lingering pain. Annette seemed unperturbed, taking her time to get him ready. She brought his hand to her groin and he felt she was saturated, and showed him how to crook two fingers inside her the way she liked and circle her clitoris around until she was breathing in and out, with the same ferocious lust that rose up when she hurt him. When he mustered a passable erection, she took it, awkwardly finding the right position by first mounting and rocking her hips and then switching to a squat.

This time she did the work, vigorous and rapid. Her hands were back on his throat. “Tell me how it feels?”

“Good, my Lady, good.”

Phillip saw her flushed face, loose hair tangling and falling in the way. She brushed it aside. “Don’t reassure me, tell me when it feels good and when it hurts.”

The hand on his neck was just enough to make him aware that she could cut off his air, but not enough to strangle. She took her time, patient with his timorous libido, coaxing out his lust until he was able to muster an orgasm.
Feeling the sperm wash into her, she let herself stay lodged firmly down on his cock until he finished his spasms. Under her tutoring he had begun to touch her, tentatively stroking what he could reach as they fucked. Still aroused, she levered herself up and off and knee walked the length of his body.

Phillip felt her hover over him, before he felt the release of their mixed coupling land on his neck and chin.

“Prettier on you than on the bed sheets,” Annette said by way of explanation.
She made him take a hot shower with her in the guest bathroom; a smaller room than her lavish bathroom in the Harrington country house, but still large and almost excessively decorated, with green flecked marble surfaces and gold worked into the surface of the pipes and taps. Annette was gentle as she soaped down his body and worked a lather into his hair, but the least little motion of his head was still restricted by her hands.

He could feel the pads of her fingers pressing into her scalp, finger combing and focusing on the sensitive edge of his hairline and behind his ears. Annette stood behind him so the majority of the hot water hit his skin, letting him relax against her body.

“You’re going to sleep beside me, tonight. I can’t have you all sweaty and tacky to touch.”

 

Catamite: Pt. 10

His vision returned after some blinking, helped by the filtered nature of the light from the big stained glass panels along the hall. There was thick carpets and heavy bunches of flowers in blue vases, a citrus heavy scent saturating the air, another fancy home with a wife taking care of the decoration, though not as quietly opulant as the Harrington country house.

The trip had been an hour by car, with the hood on, sitting on the floor of the car with Anette’s hand on the top of his head. She’d had him dressed in new clothes, fashionable but a bit more foppish than he’d have personally chosen, and locked the hood in place, pulling tight straps on the back of his head so it pressed against his face and made it hard to move his eyes of blink.

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Catamite Pt. 9

Walks without Annette turned into jogging sessions, followed by running broken with intervals of hard exercise: push ups, stretches and crunches to keep him limber, made harder by the dark hood. Every time he adjusted to the new routine, he would hear Annette order something new to the guard that only spoke to give him an order. First there were weights on his ankles and wrists, and then one day she joined him for his daily walk with an enormous wooden yoke, with swinging buckets attached by metal chains.

One length of rope looped around his arms and wrists bound him to the yoke firmly, and held his arms out in cruciform position. Even before he saw the rocks piled up in the buckets he knew it was heavy. Two servants had brought it to Annette and dipped their heads politely before gratefully grunting the yoke to the ground and taking their leave.

Standing, Adam could walk forward at a snail’s pace, the buckets swaying slightly. Annette had the picana in her hand, its orange plastic bright, but not out of place among the countless, vibrant layers of gaudy flowers that were in bloom for late summer.

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Catamite Pt. 6

It was a better meal than he’d had on a long time, though eating too fast gave him indigestion. After the second course he’d tucked away a large bunch of grapes, three strawberries and an apple, the latter of which Annette neatly segmented for him with a little knife. Finally there was the breakfast liquor, a thick and pungent beverage quaffed from tiny glasses, fermented with the after taste of metals. Most women drank it for their health, more men abstained, but under Annette’s watchful eye he took it down with one swallow.

“Adam…”

Phillip shifted in his chair, belly distended with all the food he’d gobbled. The maid was clearing up the dishes from the table. All this time the ever present body guards had lingered in the background, one of them holding the threatening alarm-orange picana.

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