When Straight Male Submissive Desires Muck Up Feminism

[Content Notice for Consent Violation, BDSM, kink. Some links and discussion NSFW. If you don’t understand a term, click the links or access the whole glossary.]

BDSM and kink do not exist in a bubble isolated from the influences of a sex-hating, sexist society. As such, there often is replication of extant societal norms within alt-sex contexts — the disproportionately-high number of BDSM households where one man has many female partners who are supposed to be faithful to him, for example. When said replication occurs with the enthusiastic consent of all involved, non-participant personal discomfort with it, even discomfort stemming from a legitimate place, isn’t necessarily a legitimate reason to criticize it. At the same time, marginalized people’s discomfort with their oppression being replicated by kinksters is not something to be dismissed out of hand.

Acts and relationships that go against dominant power structures seem safe from such replication. When it comes to activity that seems to, at least on the surface, subvert rather than reinforce extant power dynamics in society, what could possibly be the problem? Specifically, what could be sexist or otherwise problematic about women in charge, matriarchy instead of patriarchy, femdom-style stuff? Isn’t that sort of thing basically the opposite of sexism? Maybe even inherently feminist?

Surprise, surprise — not really. It comes down, as it often does, to consent and objectification. Being a male submissive with a desire for a female dominant hardly renders a man a feminist automatically.

Bottoms and submissives take front-and-center in the discussion of consent within BDSM, and rightly so. Because they are in the vulnerable position of having surrendered at least some level of control to another party, they are generally in more danger of exploitation and abuse.  Nonetheless, being a dominant or a top is not blanket consent to any and all activity with any and all submissives or bottoms. That this is true seems obvious — except to male submissives in search of female dominants.

True consent  is an enthusiastic “yes” communicated clearly by all involved parties prior to engaging in any activity. Despite negative perceptions of the “yes means yes” paradigm, this doesn’t have to be a legalistic or dry process by any means. Enthusiastic consent is fun when you’ve stopped assuming that silence is the only way to have fun in a sexual context.

If a particular woman has never interacted with a particular man before, then all he has is her silence. For him to assume that she, a stranger, would be amenable to engaging in elaborate sexual roleplay with him would be absurd. Yet almost every day, I receive a message at my inbox on a certain kink-oriented site from some new man who insists on calling me “mistress” and describes his fantasies in great detail to me with the assumption that I would be interested in catering to them. About twice a month, someone with a giantess fetish comes at me anonymously and expects me to cater to his fetishes, which I repeatedly have informed him that I do not share.

These men think that because they are “submitting” to me, they are doing me some kind of favor, so how could I possibly refuse their “service”? In reality, I am not in control of anything in the proposed situations. What they are asking is for me to cater to their whims and enable them to live out to their femdom fantasies, which many of them have plotted out down to the tiniest of tiny details. Not only does my lack of  consent to roleplay not matter to them, they are essentially proposing a situation not where I would truly dominate or top then. Instead, I’d put on the outfit they prefer, say the words that they want to hear, and do exactly the things they desire in order for them to get off.

In kinky circles, there is widespread mockery of and disdain for dominants who assume that all submissives will serve them personally. Would that it were also extended towards male “submissives” who want to be personally catered to rather than to serve in any way — or, at the very least, to engage in mutually-agreed-upon and mutually pleasurable activities.

Beyond kink circles and their consent-disregarding men, female domination and feminism have become oddly synonymous. More times than I can remember, when I’ve brought up feminism, some would-be feminist man has gushed at me about how much he loves “femme fatales” or “strong women” — as if his perceptions of a woman’s sexual desirability are what render her socially acceptable. Sexist men think that feminist women find the domestic abuse of men by women even more gosh-darn hilarious than they do. Awkward femdom accounts on sites that aren’t sex- or kink-oriented cement the association.

Women shouldn’t have to be sexualized ass-kickers in order to gain the respect that ought to be accorded to all human beings. Identifying as a top or a dom shouldn’t lead to consent violations for which the violated is expected to be grateful. And feminism doesn’t exist for sexual gratification of anyone — male, female, both, other, or neither.

{advertisement}
When Straight Male Submissive Desires Muck Up Feminism

19 thoughts on “When Straight Male Submissive Desires Muck Up Feminism

  1. 1

    At the risk being criticized for making a “No True Scotsman” argument, the men you describe are not submissive. They certainly do exist, and you quite accurately describe what they want. But they aren’t looking for Dommes, they are looking for service tops. i have been part of the D/s lifestyle for more than 15 years and have come across the person you describe many times. It’s not difficult to distinguish such a person from a submissive, particularly within the D/s community. But you are completely correct when you point out that, for them, consent issues aren’t even on their radar.

    1. 1.1

      Agreed. If only they used more accurate terminology. I’ve tried correcting them and their response is “No, I don’t want you to serve me, I want to serve you, Mistress. Make me your slave.”

      So disingenuous.

      1. The tip off is their opening. For the most part, in the lifestyle the term Mistress is reserved for a woman with whom a submissive is in a significant consensual relationship, somewhat analogous to wife. i would no more refer to a woman as Mistress in my first communication with her than i would refer to a woman as wife on a first date.

        Very, very occasionally, there may be a neophyte submissive, unaware of accepted D/s protocol, who might make a similar initial mistake. The difference, of course, is that such a person would eagerly accept guidance and learn from it, rather than stick with their original approach. Other that that, you’ve hit the nail on the head; disingenuous.

  2. Ed
    2

    In most situations, I absolutely agree that an “enthusiastic yes” is the proper expression of sexual consent, but in BDSM, part of what the participants want might involve the role-playing of force (NOT anything actually non-consensual,of course) in which consent is given beforehand and may be revoked by a safe word. I suppose the process of negotiating all this could be enthusiastic. 🙂

    Obviously, you’re aware of this, but I was curious as to whether your remarks expressed disapproval of situations where one partner begs the other not to tie them up or whatever, because that’s a part of the fantasy scenario they both desire. Sorry if it’s a dumb question.

    Another point is that I’m kind of uncomfortable with the idea that some people seem to have that if someone is into BDSM, there has to be some kind of dominant or submissive personal identity that goes along with it beyond taking that role in a given encounter.

    1. 2.1

      I suppose the process of negotiating all this could be enthusiastic.

      Precisely. You outline what you’re going to do and/or not do beforehand. Going through a detailed conversation about boundaries signals enthusiasm.

      I was curious as to whether your remarks expressed disapproval of situations where one partner begs the other not to tie them up or whatever, because that’s a part of the fantasy scenario they both desire.

      I consider begging in that context to be an act in and of itself, in addition to what is being begged for. If begging was agreed to as part of the scenario, have at it.

      Another point is that I’m kind of uncomfortable with the idea that some people seem to have that if someone is into BDSM, there has to be some kind of dominant or submissive personal identity that goes along with it beyond taking that role in a given encounter.

      I’m fairly uncomfortable with that, too. I mean, whatever floats your boat, but I think that some people consider it a requirement rather than something that may or may not be a thing for them.

      1. Ed

        Thanks, that clears it up.

        And, yea, I agree that whatever those involved like is OK, but I don’t get people who think of their role in a sexual fantasy as some kind of real title. I’m waiting for them to put something like “Accountant and Submissive” or “Master Bob: Insurance Agent ” on their business cards.

  3. 3

    For some people, being submissive or Dominant is an important part of who they are. For others, it’s something fun they like to play at.

    The D/s community is much like any other community. There are some snobs who have to feel that they are above others in some way or another, and tend to look down upon those who only play at it. My impression, however, has been that for the most part, most people are quite accepting of whatever level others want to experience. YKINMKBYKIOK is a common, but not universal, attitude.

      1. Really?!? That’s very curious to me, perhaps because ever since i began, THE touchstone was always SSC, safe, sane and consensual. But i suppose, if asshats can pretend to be submissive they can also ignore the basic tenet of D/s as well.

        1. It’s not just them. In my experience, even leaders and pro-SSC people engage in problematic behavior. SSC/YKINMKBYKIOK only extends to the people in scene. It doesn’t take into account problems with, say, cultural appropriation in kink.

  4. 4

    And feminism doesn’t exist for sexual gratification of anyone — male, female, both, other, or neither.

    Are you certain? Damn, i think i shall be disappointed, i was so hoping for this. Oh, to be dominated by the man-hating, society-controlling, power-hungry feminists.

  5. 5

    I feel a little sick reading about the enthusiastic negotiation. I was in a disgusting abusive relationship where the other person just tried to coerce me. The negotiations were about what I could stand or deal with, not what I actually wanted to do. I didn’t want to do any of it. He claimed that it was compromise because he wasn’t getting everything he wanted. But he kept demanding more and more, his “needs” kept increasing, I kept thinking “is it worth it to break up over this?” And finally I was sure that it was indeed worth breaking up over, because I was no longer getting anything out of the relationship, I was just his slave. On the promise or hope of it being good like it was before.

    Then besides that, he would often often often ignore what we negotiated. Like, once we uh started, he would then hit me or something, and I learned that the best thing was to let him do it because then it will be over sooner and he won’t do worse. I learned by his actions and by him telling me this explicitly. He said if I tried to stop him it was such a turn off that he would have to do worse to make up for it. I hate him I hate him.

    I don’t know exactly where he got this stuff from. I don’t believe that he was part of any “kink community” although he may have gotten ideas from the hours upon hours of rape porn he watched every day.

    I was vaguely aware of this stuff existing. I felt that sex was an obligation. We should shout it to everyone that sex is not an obligation, that people can live just fine without having their fantasies acted out, that you should not compromise, that you should only do these or any sexual things if YOU enjoy it, not just if the other person begs for or demands it.

    It’s not enough to shout it in the kink community or what have you, because that’s not where I was.

    1. 5.1

      Very much agreed with you. I’m sorry that you had to go through that. A disgusting sense of entitlement to sex and others’ bodies is definitely a problem both within and without kink circles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *