Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I've got a few vanilla friends who don't know all the details of my sex life but have gathered that it's somehow unconventional. And I was startled yesterday to hear two different people assume that I'm a "dominatrix." Which means, I believe, that I wear black leather and call guys "worm," or something.

I guess that surreal as the image of me as spike-heeled dominatrix is, it sits better with people who only know me nonsexually than the idea that I might like to get beat up myself. Femdom seems to be a lot more visible and "sexier" in the eye of the vanilla public than maledom. Which is sexist.

Partly because it's about the girl dressing up pretty. Clothes are a generally uninteresting area of fetish to me--I can appreciate some nice stompy-boots or a tight t-shirt, but costumes? Eh. Top or bottom, I'm a lot more used to being in my undies or naked or even just in my street clothes. But it seems like the public stereotype of a dominatrix is at least 75% a costume. (A black costume, because black is the scary color, and being kinky is kind of like Halloween.) It's just another way to dress women up in something revealing and slutty, to make them into eye candy even when they're supposed to be on top. And men can't be eye candy of course, they'd just look silly in a leather corset, so it's inconceivable that men would be, uh, Dominatrixos.

And partly because it assumes girls are hopelessly vulnerable. A woman hitting a man is safe, even silly, because everyone knows women can't really hurt guys. But a man hitting a woman--that's how abuse works. That's scary. Can't mess around with that. A man who wants to be beat up is a perv, and that makes him funny and gross; a woman who wants to be beat up has real emotional damage and is saddening. The implication is that men can be in control of their sexuality from any angle, but a woman giving up control can't be doing it on purpose, the poor dear. That couldn't be sexy.

I'm not one to get off on shocking the mundanes, I don't go to the mall in a collar and leash and I don't think vanilla people need to be educated on all the intricacies of BDSM if they're not interested. I don't think it's repression to refer to a Dom as a "date" or a "boyfriend" rather than getting into nitty-gritty--it's just polite. If my vanilla friends don't want to know, I don't want to tell them.

But if they really don't want to know, I wish they'd stop making stupid guesses.


  1. The costume deal is because the usual image of a "dominatrix" is a woman who isn't actually into BDSM. Either she's a professional who makes a fortune whipping bankers in diapers, or she's just "trying something new" for kicks.
    The costume is more important than the sex.

  2. I dunno. I'm into all that kinky shit, and I have a hard time hitting women who are actively asking for it, simply because I've got all those hangups myself.

  3. Perlhaqr - Um... then who do you hit?

  4. Heh, oops, that came out wrong.

    I don't, generally, tend to hit anyone. (Sparring partners are an exception, of course.) What I meant was, even when women are explicitly asking to be hit, I have a hard time with it. And, actually, that does carry over to sparring. A number of female sparring partners have commented on the degree to which I pull my punches with them vs: the guys.

    So, to clarify, I never hit women who aren't (explicitly, verbally) asking for it. (Please, no jokes about "she was askin' for it".) And even when I'm in a space with a partner who wants to be hit, I have a difficult time of it, due to my cultural conditioning.

  5. My experience has been that people assume all kinky women are submissive, actually. It's getting really frustrating.

    I've been hunting on Craigslist for a new sub lately and all these guys' ads have headlines like "Looking to explore your kinkiest fantasy!" or "Are you into BDSM?" ...and it's always, ALWAYS a dominant guy. BE SPECIFIC GODDAMMIT. Not every woman is looking for a master.

    I agree that most people view female subs as tragic and male subs as funny, and that totally sucks. But as a dominant woman I feel as though my sexual orientation (I do feel like this is just as much an "orientation" as being gay or straight) doesn't officially exist! I think society in general believes that dominant women are simply acting out men's fantasies in order to please them, and this is absolutely not true. Like you, Holly, I wanted to do certain things with boys way before I knew any of them would like it.

    And for the record, if anyone's going to wear a shiny black corset and miniskirt, it's my partner.

  6. I'm kinky but still a virgin myself, and as a feminist I wonder if it's partly because in the conventional media model of vanilla sex, the woman IS at least slightly submissive. So because kink has to be the opposite of vanilla, the woman has to be the dominant one because it's the opposite of the role she (supposedly) normally plays.