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Him: I feel like my life has turned into a femme dom porn.
Me: Except for the part where I’m actually sexually satisfied?
Him: Yeah, that and the bathroom rules.
Check the numbers. Guys in the divvy out to about 36% tops, 28% switch/kinkster, and 12% bottoms on fetlife. Chicks divvy out to about 11% tops, 23% switch/kinkster, and 46% bottoms. If I re-run those numbers to only include people with an easy identity in the denominator, you get 47% tops, 36% switches, and 16% bottoms for men; and 14% tops, 29% switches, and 57% bottoms for women. Although these numbers don’t necessarily represent the actual composition of real public scenes, that’s a pretty uneven distribution for hetero partnership.
Why such an uneven distribution between men and women for these identity labels? Some of it is undoubtedly weird scene gender norms. The vast majority of the serious female riggers I know self-identify as subs or slaves, and even though they like to torture people in rope, still don’t identify as switches. Which is certainly their right, but I think it says more about how women in the scene are taught to identify themselves than anything. Meanwhile, I’ve only ever personally met one sub-identified male rigger… but tons of male riggers who self-identify as “doms” even though they say they love tying for exactly the same reason that all those submissive female riggers do: because they like seeing people happy in their rope. My point here is that we teach women and men to identify themselves differently, and we don’t really encourage anyone to identify as a switch.
But when I look at that identity breakdown, I doubt that it’s as simple as traditional gender norms encouraging men to identify as dominant and women to identify as submissive, just because women identify as bottoms so much more than men identify as tops. And it’s possible that I’m asking the wrong question here, but… why so little purported enthusiasm from women for dominance?
Other than social identity pressures, I suggest that we could ignore most other aspects of gender socialization and narrow it down to this: most women–especially most kinky women–like to get fucked with something A LOT. I know that a significant proportion of kinky women like to get fucked really hard. With dicks, fingers, fists, silicone, glass–you know, whatever fits, and preferably not too comfortably–into their holes. And the problem here, as I’ve mentioned before, is that our cultural concept of submission is closely tied to the concept of penetration. So it almost feels like in order to identify as a dominant woman, you kind of have to also say, ‘I don’t really need a good fucking in order to be happy.’
At best, we let dominant hetero women ride men’s dicks (because if you’re going to be penetrated, at least stay physically on top, right?). I went to @Graydancer’s “tie ‘em up and fuck ‘em” class recently–a class which I think he’s taught for many years. While there, I was reminded how deeply ingrained some of these attitudes and perceptions are. The class, by the way, was excellent, and I highly recommend it. Gray taught a brilliantly simple technique that pretty much anyone can use to tie someone up and fuck them. And being a wonderfully open-minded sort of fellow, he showed it from both sides of the hetero equation (guy-tie-girl, girl-tie-guy). But he only showed the girl-tie-guy version initially with the girl on top until I asked him how I could tie up a guy to make him fuck me missionary (since this is usually how I cum best–and the hardest position to actually feel like I’m in control). He looked really confused for a minute, said no one had ever asked him that before, but being awesome, he promptly figured out how to do it. I’m not saying this to call him out–not at all. I’m just noting how much it apparently hadn’t occurred to anybody that a chick might want to tie a guy up and get him into a position where he could jackhammer her cervix (aka “missionary position”).
Consequently, I think a lot of women struggle with the concept of dominance. Then layer on top of those penetrated/“being fucked” = submissive problems the pernicious way that femme dom porn–which unfortunately has inspired a lot of what kinky people fantasize about and envision in terms of female domination and male submission–rarely shows dominant women orgasming at all. What. The. Fuck. It’s bad enough that kink world obsessively fetishizes the ten women in the world who can cum just from being whipped or hit; but to fetishize women who don’t even get sexual pleasure from doing the whipping is even worse. Newsflash to all the submissives out there: I’m not going to traipse around corseted so tightly I can barely breathe while tripping in absurdly high heels and NOT ORGASMING for your entertainment and call it domination. Fuck that shit.
I’ve had a lot of opportunity to ponder all this lately as I slowly acquired a “slightly less fake submissive” (guy). I can never take any d/s arrangement too seriously for myself, and it really always fundamentally is a game for me. But even in our very tongue-in-cheek “d/S contract,” I wrote, “the dominant likes to orgasm. A lot. The Submissive gets to orgasm if He is sufficiently entertaining.” Because what the hell is the point of being the one in control if I don’t get to cum a lot???
To make it even less appealing to (hetero attracted) women, a lot of popular hetero femme dom activities involve deliberately de-sexualizing men as a technique of humiliation or degradation. Why the hell do I want to put men in chastity devices that keep them from getting hard? This makes no sense at all to me. My good little submissive shopped around until he found a chastity device that basically forces him to STAY hard, which is waaaaay sexier, more fun, and more useful. Here’s another newsflash: for many (perhaps most) of us folks out there who are attracted to male submission, we are actually still attracted to masculine sexuality. Erections are still super hot; precum is still really hot; wet sticky orgasms are still super hot; nicely developed chests and biceps are still hot. I’m way more inclined to train a male sub to get hard on command than to train him not to get hard.
Here’s the thing: so much of our femme dom conceipts are derived from pro doms, who aren’t allowed to have sex with their clients. To get around that fact legally and socially, they devised a few creative ways to “not have sex” with their clients that were still getting their clients off because a happy ending makes for a happy customer. So these guys pay to get fucked with strap-ons, not to apply vibrators to the lady’s bits (which also would be legal). And the concept of dom girls as practically stone just trickled down from the pro houses to the femme dom porn world to the scene. It doesn’t help that men–not women–buy all that femme dom porn too, so there just isn’t much motivation on that side to emphasize dominant women’s sexual satisfaction either. (I’m not blaming the pros for anything, mind. They’re just trying to make a living. These problems happened because of social institutions, not because of individuals).
Which is all stupid, self-defeating, and incredibly ironic since it means that domination becomes way less appealing to women for fun and pleasure, so all those guys who want to get dominated keep having to go out and pay someone to do it instead.
So as a self-identified dom-leaning masochistic-leaning switchy slut, I’m going to lay down a few basic guidelines for SlutPhD’s New & Improved World of Feminine Dominance (note that these are guidelines, not rules or laws) to hopefully make the idea of dominance more appealing to women:
- The dom gets to cum. A lot. In whatever sexual position is most pleasurable to her, in whatever hole pleases her most. Even if that’s her ass.
- Being penetrated is not inherently submissive or anything else. It just is.
- At least for the length of the scene, the sub’s entire body (unless negotiated otherwise) is there for the dom’s pleasure, entertainment, and amusement. No part of it gets locked up or incapacitated in any way unless this is pleasing, entertaining, or amusing to the dom.
- When fantasizing about impractical things, submissives are hereby directed to focus more energy on impractical fantasies that are sexually pleasing for dominants. For people with penises, this includes things like getting hard on command and cumming on command. For everyone, this includes things like getting their whole fist inside their dom, because fisting is now officially declared to be neither dominant nor submissive, dammit, because it just feels good.
- Passion and passionate desire are not inherently dominant or submissive. You can still be a dom and like being thrown against a wall and kissed or thrown down onto a bed with a raging erection pressed against your thigh.
- Doms can still enjoy being cuddled and held tenderly by someone else. And are allowed to be vulnerable and cute and whimsical and all sorts of human emotions beyond “cold and bitchy.”
- Letting a woman dominate you does not lessen you in any way, and I will personally have nothing to do with any fetishistic practices that imply otherwise.
- Au contraire, you are hotter because this super sexy creature wanted to utterly and completely have you.
There’s something kind of tacky about admitting that you want to fuck your ex, isn’t there? Most of my friends’ relationships failed in part because the sex/chemistry was bad. Honestly, in some ways, I envy them that—it sounds easier. But I know I’m not the only person out there whose nipples traitorously harden remembering the earth-shattering sex they had with someone they. Just. Can’t. Get. Along. With.
It feels like some sort of curse. Statistically, humans tend to forget bad things over time. Experimental evidence has shown time and again how perversely cheerfully we remember the past. I would like this to be true of my erotic memories of my ex. I would like to be able to tell myself, “That is an idealization of the past. It wasn’t anywhere near as awesome as you remember it.” Unfortunately, as you may have observed, I have a habit of obsessively chronicling my life (and you never see the hundreds of my journal pages that never find their way to the internet). This meticulous writing tendency permits me the unenviable luxury—which I mostly scrupulously deny myself—of strolling back through my past and confirming that, no, it really was that good, dammit.To keep myself sane, I usually only permit myself to read about my past in a detached way—with even more detachment than I would read about a fictional character’s life, actually. I try to maintain more of the kind of attitude I would keep to if I was going to, say, edit a friend’s novel. And yet, even with that emotional detachment, I irrevocably find that my body aches with memory at a long string of really good nights… afternoons… mornings. Sigh. You get the idea.
It’s pretty telling that I originally started writing this a year ago. I waited that long to post this because I wanted to see if what I wrote was still true after not having slept with him for longer than we slept together. After all, the conventional wisdom is that you can’t hold on to an unfulfilled sexual desire for that long, especially if you’re constantly surrounded by a sexy human buffet. I feel like our culture assures us that the heat of that kind of desire can only persist in some sort of sexual desert (You’ll forget! You’ll get over it! You’ll move on!). It’s not like I wander through life in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction, looking back to my time with my ex-boyfriend as the only time I was sexually fulfilled. Quite the contrary, actually. Up until pretty recently, my life really was a splendid banquet of fuck. None of that makes the memories of what I had with my ex any less mouth wateringly sexy. It was just that good. I am sorry to say that the conventional wisdom proved to be bullshit on this one.
I expect this would be easier if he were a bad person, instead of being absurdly sweet and charming. If he actually broke my heart instead of just being jealous and judgmental and needy, I expect I could have convinced my body a long time ago that that awesome sex—sex we used to joke was “fictional sex” because it felt like sex described in an erotic novel—was fictitious, not merely fictional. But he didn’t really break my heart; he just bruised it to the point where even that goddess-damned sex wasn’t worth staying with him… Oh, but that was a hard call.
I never used to understand why people would keep sleeping with their exes, often over and over again. (And I still don’t understand why they do it with people who were cruel and hurtful). The problem is that for all that there is some overlap, sexual chemistry and relationship chemistry just really aren’t the same thing. One of the sayings in my tribe is “crazy smells good,” by which we mean that the kinds of people who will bring unwanted drama into your life are often exactly the kinds of people that you find most attractive. Sadly, realizing that the person is crazy is no real help for convincing your body that the sex isn’t amazing. And who wants to try to pretend to themselves that a night—and especially a long string of nights—that changed their life didn’t happen? That’s a lot to try to make yourself forget, and I know I don’t want to forget.
Is there a magic solution to this problem? I have a friend who has the same problem, and her solution was to limit herself to only sleeping with her sexy ex once a month. Those are the kinds of improbable solutions that poly people can sometimes indulge in, but fucked if I know what monogamous people do.
One of these days, I’m going to survey people and ask them how many have jerked off while thinking about an ex from more than 2 years ago. I suspect the number is much higher than that lie of conventional wisdom would tell us.
I don’t think I could count the number of times I’ve been told, “Just because you have awesome sex with someone doesn’t mean they should be your boy/girlfriend/partner/husband/wife!” Other variations include, “Sexual chemistry doesn’t equal relationship chemistry!” and “Just because they’re great with the lights off doesn’t mean they’re great with the lights on!”
Fuck. That. (more…)