Submissive men, as a group are not ok

What’s Wrong With All The Submissive Men?

Relax, this isn’t a hate piece. I’m being sympathetic and trying to solve the problem that a countless horde of submissive men have brought to me to solve. Just get a cup of tea and get comfy while I focus on you and fixing why you are so lonely and unhappy, ok?

First, who am I to speak about the problems of submissive men?

This problem has been made my problem because submissive men keep asking me to solve it. If you are a dominant woman in the internet, you will be a magnet to the lonely “please help me” queries of sub guys. I still think we are some of the least qualified people to opine on finding a domme precisely because we are the last on the list of people trying to date us. Nonetheless, beyond the usual how to find a domme/how to find a mistress articles, some challenges a little out of scope of some simple check lists or quick tips.

Often a submissive man asking me also has no idea how to find a vanilla partner, or if he can have one, how to talk with her about getting his needs met. With that as a starting place, unpacking how to help him is a big ask indeed.

So why still try? I like men, so I’m interested in them. I don’t just like them as people to fuck, or boss to obey, but as a nerd, I learned to like em as friends. Being part of the minority of women in a stereotypically female hobby came with having a lot of male friends. And guys would repeatedly seek in me a soft safety and toolkit their peers didn’t have. So I am not a therapist, but I’ve been drafted into trying to help guys. A lot. And I am (mostly) ok with it.

Unlike many she-nerds, I escaped the identity of being Not Like Other Girls and was largely comfortable with the fact that I couldn’t escape the pressures on my own perceived gender by opting out of normal. But I was not blind to the fact that the boys were Not Ok. And I was drilled enough both in my right to rule as benevolent princess, and my toolkit of humanism that I almost immediately wanted to know why it seemed to suck so freaking bad for the individuals of the so called ruling gender.

Submissive Men definitely have a problem

You guys get it coming both ways. You’re under immense pressure not to let your kinks show, as your desires transgress masculinity in ways we put a lot of effort to punishing men who do. On the other hand, you are awash in porn that has evolved to cater to your fantasies without much concern for the practical, including a thriving market in lying to you about how things work to indulge wishful thinking.

The net result is an amorphous blob of men who REALLY want a dominant woman, but have no idea how to find her, or relate to her. These guys don’t just fail to get a domme, but can often destroy their participation in groups, making dominant women gun shy about talking to them, and women who might be dommes reject trying it for fear of being eaten alive. I talk a bit more about that problem from my side when refer to my challenges of being the oft chased femdom unicorn. But I am not so unempathetic to fail to notice that while some of the behaviors I receive or witness from men are downright terrifying to me, a lot of sub men are suffering, and they don’t know where to start being ok.

Caveat time: this isn’t going to tell you the secret is to stop being male, or men just suck. My exploration is seriously concerned about your happiness and fulfillment. I am not here to scold you, but there is a problem and it does need fixing.

It starts in boyhood, because the Patriarchy.

Patriarchy is a system (simplifying here) in which a few men have power over everyone and use a system intertwined of familial alliance and influence on gender roles to maintain that power. The extreme is say, the FLDS cults, where polygyny is sustained by booting out enough boys when they come of age that the gender ratios let the rulers broker power by trading around women and girls.

Patriarchy sucks for everyone in that (to quote mangle) it convinces people that it’s not men versus women in so much as men versus men with women as the ball.

More painfully, because even in literal slavery, people don’t stop having thoughts and some capacity to act, the system rewards women who play along. While they usually can’t grasp supreme power, if you are female and buy in, things get significantly less shitty for you than if you opt out. And by being a wife, mother, daughter, etc… who props up the people in power, you can even get power over some men and other women!

In my opinion, this creates a feedback loop where men are incentivized to lash back at women, as safer targets (they have less power to retaliate) but also to associate women in power with an extreme threat to their social position. Notably, in online gaming harassment, it’s the guys with the shittiest game scores being the nastiest. That nasty is more likely to spill onto female players, minorities and people who otherwise are already marginalized. And holy god is that not a good place to be starting from when your fetish is literally being “beaten by a girl”.

All the broken boys

If you go down the ridiculous MRA rabbit hole you may find yourself nodding along- hey society is weirdly quiet about the piles of dead men. We often hand wave this data as men killing men, as adults and equals, so they it is just the way of the cruel world. There’s some data there to belay this, but there are other pieces, including parts which the bizarre, self harming manosphere don’t bother touching.

You know the standard facts: shorter male lifespans on average. More successful suicides. Higher murder rate. What you may not know is where the count starts.

The first two big male die offs are in the womb, and in the early years of childhood. We cannot blame society for the fact that there are significantly more male to female conceptions, but the miscarriage rate for males is much higher. We think this is a product of the lack of genetic redundancy on the Y chromosome. Perhaps this causes the same effect in the next early childhood phase, but I think we need to consider when a possible baby is sexed is the minute that we apply external gender onto something/someone that doesn’t really have it. As much as you might see a different rate of certain genetic disorders, in so far as we can measure, sex differentiation in infants, in their cognitive and physical capacity, is minimal.

Despite that, whether shown in how you tie a baby’s scant hair, or the elaborately themed layette of princesses versus dinosaurs at a baby shower, gendered parenting is going on long before the kid would remotely demonstrate any differentiation in behaviors. To give you an idea of how blurry physical sex is: some infants are even born with ambiguous genitals that finish growing in one approximate pattern or another. Boy brain versus girl brain is completely irrelevant when you have a cute blob that sucks on things and can’t roll itself over yet. But… the external gendering of a baby starts before the body really changes.

Nature versus Nurture: Tough Boys and Talking to Girls

Outside of modern western pink/blue framing, there are two fundamental differences in how we treat infant boys and girls. Female infants receive more gaze time and social interaction and male infants receive more exposure to risk and physical challenges.

(Summary from parenting article here, dig into scholarly search if you want to know more. If you can’t afford the article, email the writer- they will usually be happy to share it for free. You may also be able to access it at a university library)

And if people don’t know the sex of a baby, they will default to the behaviour they think matches the presumed gender. This is the important bit. Girls are getting more social time and boys more exposure to physical challenges long before we can measurably tell any difference in base capacity. There is also a minor but significant boost in skill acquisition in what you train your kid to do.

Particularly in the culture which, if you are reading this in English, you are at least partially immersed in, we hammer into boys that being feminine, soft and vulnerable is bad. We emotionally and psychologically cripple boys, while building up certain skills in girls. Sure we also try to stop girls from developing certain skills too, but boys are particularly restrained from associating with the feminine. No babydolls, housekeeping toys, dressing up, or associating yourself with female fictional characters. Later, in school, the presumption that you can’t empathize with a female protagonist.

The problem with submissive men is encapsulated in the unsolicited dick pic.

You, the reader, know that women do not like getting nudes from strange men. Unless this somehow goes viral and reaches into the far pockets of places where women seldom go (doubtful), if you are this many paragraphs into a theory essay on gender, you are unlikely to think it’s an effective strategy.

The brain breaking part is that when there was an effort to survey guys who do send unsolicited nudes, the general finding was that the guys assumed that it was wanted behaviour that would be reciprocated.

What? How???

Yes, I know, that sounds bizarre. But bear with me here… You have an audience that has fundamentally discouraged from developing skills that improve empathy from day 1. Then, you rigorously punished them for even considering to associate with girl things. Are we particularly surprised that they popped out on the other side of that with no knowledge of the inner lives of half the population?

Ok, that’s nice, but now what?

There’s three schools of advice in how to “fix” sub men: mumsy belated parenting, scolding them to suppress their needs, and fap. Fap is the masturbatory passing off of “training” via BDSM play as helpful, and we can discard this as fun but ultimately nonsense. Scolding is born of exasperation, as there’s only a certain amount of sexual harassment and clumsy entitlement you can take before blowing out a cutting screed on why sub men suck. And the maternal effort to get men to learn how to people can be both incredibly patronizing, and as we came in here, not necessarily giving men the toolkit to self teach.

Why not sub training?

I toss out any program of “slave training” or the demands of the small line of sub men asking dommes to use kink to teach them to be a sub, because it isn’t practical. Wrapping lessons in sexy pants tends to favour the norms of people equip to do mass teaching, which creates a few issues. It puts the onus on the domme to figure all this shit out the non-sexy way, first. It overemphasizes sexual openness, not itself bad, but not how most people hook up. You shouldn’t need to also be poly or into teaching sex to figure this out. And, more cynically, it creates a dedicated market for selling the fantasy at the expense of the practical.

The Limits of Scolding

Some men report learning from the angry domme screeds, or the advice to learn to sublimate the self. However, although a safe space to be fucking pissed at how we are treated is a crucial fire that provides the light to attract femdoms to a community, it feeds two problems: self hating subs, and radical over correction. Radical over correction is the more subby than thou guy announcing that he is basically a passive recipient of literally anything a domme might do. It’s not sustainable for most men, so it can be dishonest, and it still puts the onus all on the female half of the couple to make things function. Human interactions are complex, and most dommes want their partner’s needs as part of wanting them. The other problem with the trend of endless sub shaming is that you have a population that is already incredibly insecure, being reminded they are all, by in large bad and nobody will want them.

Getting Beyond Being his Mother

Even me, the author, on the autism spectrum, has a whole toolkit I noticed most of my male peers do not. While maternal flavoured leadership is part of a typical woman’s gender training, unfortunately this is also one of those learn by rote versus teach critical thinking problems.

If you are a sub man you may find the greatest emotional fulfillment from the perception that you pleased your partner, but unfortunately getting there often means developing resilient and effective social tools that can adapt to the inherently ambiguous nature of all human social interactions. It’s not enough to give men a couple of etiquette rules local to your pocket of BDSM (like “always call her Mistress”, “no dick pics” or “tribute first”) and hope for the best.

Broadly the meat of my advice are as follows:

Seek out the (somewhat scant) men’s lib resources.

It sucks that the men’s movement is largely occupied by grifters and misogynistic dingdongs, because men need space to examine the problems that go with living as their gender without having to get just handme down resources. I know you feel like a needy tool hanging out as a feminist trying to unpack your own problems, but spaces like r/menslib are slowly getting you a bit of traction.

Maybe you are cool with gendered shit, but if you are feeling hecking alienated in this guy thing but still aware it’s your gender and you are stuck with its challenges, there are at least other humans being thoughtful about your real problems.

Reach out to other sub men and talk to them.

This one fucking sucks, but it’s been the observation that we dommes have made is that straight sub men don’t really like each other very much. Men have a hard enough time with community building, but the kink scene is particularly a mess. Every category of female + fetish seems to automatically build cliques, work groups and sisterhoods. Male tops tend to gravitate to showing off top skills, which I think is silly, but at least they can trad bro out about their erotic macramé or their awesome flogger swishing, or whatever trendy performance kink grants power and attention.

I can’t tell men how to order their business to have fun. However, if you *must* have a prestige skill anchor like the cis male doms to excuse your clustering, pick a couple of core archetypes you know sell well with women and obsess over that in a social way with other guys. What to pick? I dunno, strength training to give people piggybacks, being “the butler”, chastity marathons, endurance fucking, flogging bottom meditation- pick something, anything to use as a beard to open the conversation if the vulnerability of just directly admitting you need a community is too much.

Or talk about the guy dominated vanilla shit you already do outside of kink with them. If you MUST make this, ultimately, about a finding a partner rather than your own psychological well being, remember women will be lured to existing interesting conversations. There are more women who will feel safe talking about football than casually slide into a conversation about how fuckable they are. It works a heck of a lot better than standing in a corner holding a metaphorical rose and making overwhelmed worship noises.

Queer is your neighbour.

I cannot call straight sub men “queer”. That label is indelibly attached to homosexuality. However, it’s the closest frame of reference most submissive men will have for what, regardless of their firm attachment to being straight and cis. Queer guys are also heavily policed for displaying “weakness” (like you) and have valuable insights on being the object rather than the subject of gaze (eg how to be hot to get taken and fucked).

This isn’t the end state, as some things don’t directly translate. Your average m4m courtship is way more comfortable with in your face sexuality. For example, femdoms pretty much pan on the grindr special rosebud close up. But, queer is also a back door into understanding how women think, because queer culture has a lot more support for escaping “only for boys” aesthetic and social straight jacketing. It’s also a rare space where you can see other modes of being masculine (eg chubby “bears” being celebrated)

Embrace flirting as ambiguity

All humans are bad at knowing when other humans are flirting with them. We dedicate much of our massive brain power to trying to parse this out, coming up with elaborate schemas that still never successfully model every nuance of how we go from “Hello” to “Fuck”. Sorry, it is what it is.

But what you do have is that if you can’t tell if she is interested, neither can she in you. Until one of you pops, it’s a big playful game of “maybe”. I bring this up because sub guys are often trying to reconcile not trying to terrify the pants off of her, with the belief they have to lead aggressively, in antithesis to what they are trying to select for.

You may (still) need to be the first “hello”. I am super sorry about that. What you also have to wrangle is the grey area of finding and locating eachother’s boundaries. This is a topic that deserves its own essay, but broadly, flirting is an intriguing push-pull that lets you both deescalate in a way that saves face. Scared of being too bold? Socially, be mindful of keeping you both having an avenue of easy escape. (Trust me, once you flirt a lot, you too will appreciate learning to let her down gently).

Consume her world through art

Remedial consumption of media targeted at women can be one of the best ways of learning both what sells to her, and what she is likely to talk about. Even in the kink space, femdoms usually consume different porn than you probably do. Taking the time to know what pervy scenes get repeated a lot in her fanfic, terribad urban fantasy TV, and so on, can be key to getting into the larger conversation that is your mutual sexuality.

There’s a theory that reading fiction significantly improves all human’s “theory of mind”. That’s the ability to imagine the thought processes of others accurately. If you had a typical male childhood, keep in mind that one of the reasons women seem to have more “empathy” (a predictive capacity as well as a sensation of shared feeling) is that they have been encouraged since day 1 to enjoy and identify with male characters. You, on the other hand were robbed of a world of female protagonists. Some nervous pedagogue thought you might check out of learning to read if the story was mostly about a girl.

The damage is not permanent. From fanfic by women who share the same taste in media as you, to picking out shows aimed at women on netflix, you might even find stuff you genuinely like. Also you may end up feeling a lot less broken when you see the number of women who are not bastians of awareness and write men very poorly. But even that lets you know what they think you are like.

Now what?

It sucks. I’m sorry, I can’t undo a couple of decades of gendered damage towards keeping you lonely in the name of making you more competitive. But I can say that you are not without allies or people who care about you. You can’t necessarily fill the empty place with a singular domme and be whole, but your pain, bewilderment and confusion in the landscape of seeking fulfillment isn’t invalid just because you don’t have problems as bad as some other group.

If you take anything away from this, I hope you understand I am writing with a deep feeling of love for you. You matter and the world is better with you in it. I am sorry you got handed a lot of hard work, but I think that we can build communities where you can feel better.

Other sources:

Secret , Shameful GenderQueer Confessions

gendercuteI am a cisgendered woman. This is to say that I am convinced that I am female, and the body I am in best conforms to the medical definition of female by sex. I also navigate a world that is particularly aware of the importance of trans* and non-binary gender, being the younger half of the kink scene.

Trans, on a binary, is pretty automatic, at least if you are not a twit or a bigot. I was fortunate enough that at the age that other children were being taught please and thank you, I had the process of a gender transition explained to me (why does mummy’s friend seem both male and female? He is actually a she- they are living for a year as a woman as part of the process of deciding if a surgical transition is right for them). Okay, cool, this was as much a part of the background as having a copy of “Heather Has Two Mommies” in my picture book collection, although that in itself was confusing because I had two female caretakers who were sisters, both of whom were heterosexual, and one of whom I was using a male nickname for father for but who presented as very femme.

Where I start sucking at things is where we get into the “they” pronoun situation and people who are trying to do gender fuck, or gender fluid. I realize, only with some consideration on the matter, one of the reasons why I’m finding the process so alienating instead of just another quirk to incorporate into the wide and wacky world of social etiquette is probably due to my mother’s queerness combined with their poor boundaries in relation to my own gender expression.

My mother is a product of an era when masculine woman was ‘butch’, but for her the presence of the feminine and feminine sexuality is squicking and triggering and aesthetically non-pleasing. The fictional sexuality that I got dramatically over exposed to from her is gay male snuff porn, as much as in real life she behaved like a straight person. Perhaps, born in my generation, she’d just call herself queer. Unfortunately as her daughter, my body and development were subject to the overflow of her experimentation and discomfort.

And this is how I ended up in toddler sized Renaissance cross dressing garb with a stuffed codpiece, and why people who see my baby photos assume I was a boy.

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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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Queen Hatshepsut’s Strapon, “Penis Envy”, Penetration & Me

Note false beard of regal powerI like my strapon harness. It’s made out of sporty materials so I can just run it through the washing machine, and the O-ring system gives me a great ability to adapt. Putting stuff into people’s orifices is fun. I like penetrating people and pegging them.

Of course, because I’m also unable to have sex without over thinking things, I’m going to discuss the inherent baggage that comes with strapping one on, especially as a femdom.

If you are a female dominant, you’d have to be living in a box to not notice that wearing a fake penis is part of the stuff people automatically associate with you. Practically, a strapon is only one of the many ways you can stuff and stimulate a hole, but like a lady hyena, if you’re the top mammal, you seem to get a phallus. This association is so strong that guys into getting done up the ass routinely mislabel themselves as submissive. Much like male heterosexual transvestites also get wrongly filed under the submissive label (because panties and cross dressing as a woman are shameful, don’tcha know?) every femdom gets the joy of routinely reminding dudes that being pegged is only as submissive as they want to make it.

Of course, linguistically and socioculturally, people who like stuff in their bits deal with the fact that penetration is also generally associated with power. “Cocksucker!” is not generally used as a term of respect. There is also the problematic habit of characterizing the female reproductive system as, rather than being an internal but no less valid set of equipment, as being an absence of penis. Thankfully, the concept of “Penis envy” is generally discredited as being something that Freud got a bit carried away with (and is as probable as “womb envy” in men) but as much as the old guy got things insultingly wrong much of the time, he was correct in the way that guys and the cultural narrative they control seem to make power revolve around penises.

This, incidentally, also comes up in some of the chastity play and SPH, where again, the potency of the penis in the relationship gets to be a stand in for the potency of the dude that you are so lovingly debasing. Although this is not the rule, for example if you are showing the commitment to orgasm denial that uses topical lidocaine to numb the guy out before fucking, you’re probably not saying something about the actual equipment.

Anyway, be that as it may, it means that there’s two reasons to jam something in someone’s holes: it feels good (or bad in the right way) and for fun with symbols. I generally fall somewhere in the middle in this sort of spectrum- but I also have to admit something…

Fucking someone with a strapon is actually really hard work, and no matter how you slice it: you’re putting a non-nerve ending having artificial extension of yourself in someone for primarily psychological effect. On a physical front, It is considerably less effort to fuck someone by hand, or even, honestly, kneel down and blow the guy. Now I happen to like fellatio- I’ll never be one of those doms who never fucks. But even if you get him to ride you, if you’re on the bottom this may get uncomfortable (oomf, oomf, oomf!, quoth your dom from below, as a typically heavier male impales himself repeatedly). I really like fucking my partners this way, but it’s one of the least stereotypically “dominant” and self focused tricks in my sexual repertoire, and to be frank, since I see nothing inherently humiliating in being penetrated, this will always be an act of love.

Seriously. Wanna know what strapon sex feels like, mechanically? Try jamming a slightly soft peg into a well lubed, elastic hole hidden in two cushions, when you can’t feel the end of the peg, and you are steering with your pelvis.

Pegging is also weird because it is very much something that exists in the heterosexual space. Actually for that matter so does Futa, since a lot of the examples I’ve seen are either real transgendered people, to whom the penis does not trump their femininity- the labeling being chicks with dicks, not dudes with tits, even though the possession of other typically female characteristics like breasts in no way automatically marks that person as woman, or illustrations and photoshops of women with penises. (No really, even if you deny transgender as a thing, gynecomastia most certainly is a real phenomena).  It is the thing that the lady who likes the dude does to the dude. It is most certainly not the thing that the dude who likes the dude is using as a surrogate replacement for in the lady, except in those rare edge cases that exist to derail arguments.

So with the dildo-in-harness thing, strapping one on exists in a weird zone of being a penis for the people who are otherwise categorically not penis havers, and does not trump gender. It’s very much important that I am a woman penetrating a man for the psychological impact, though bizarrely, when a guy straps something on it goes in the opposite direction as being an adequacy insult.

Mind you fucking someone raw is still pretty hot. And if I temporarily had a real penis I would probably use it on someone.

But you know that the number one impulse strapping one on gives me?

Wibbly, wibbly, wibbly.

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?

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