Submissive != Masochist, Dominant != Sadist

You’d think the fact that not all submissives enjoy pain and not all dominants enjoy inflicting it would be fairly obvious, but sadly there are people out there with some pretty fucking stupid ideas about how this whole kink thing works. Thanks to the pervasive myth that all subs are masochists and all doms are sadists, people get judged on how intense their play is and get all kinds of shit when they fail to “measure up”.

Sure, it’s disappointing when someone you’re interested in turns out to be totally incompatible with you on a kink level, but lashing out and telling them they’re not a “real” whatever is just blatant douchebaggery. Suck it up and move on. If it’s just extremely important to you to let people who you’re not even playing with know that they’re doing it wrong, then congratulations, you’re an asshole. It’s none of your fucking business how people you’re not involved with play (as long as no one’s being harmed, of course). Seriously, how does it affect you if Jane Q. Dominant doesn’t inflict the daily recommended allowance of pain on her sub?

I happen to be a sadist, but I firmly believe that if you can’t think of anything to do with a sub besides inflicting pain then you just don’t have much imagination. You may not want to do any of the thousands of painless things you can do with a sub, but that doesn’t mean those things don’t exist. Come on people, haven’t you ever heard of pet play, tease and denial, bondage, tickling, watersports, obedience, service, sensation play with sensations besides pain? Service alone covers a huge range of fun things you can do without inflicting any pain.

On the other side of the slash it’s all well and good to love pain, but if a sensual dom can’t make you feel submissive the fault is as much yours as it is hers. Don’t blame your limited range on her, jerkface. It’s great if you can take a beating, but what else are you good for? As much as I like hitting people with things, I also have errands to run, projects to work on, meals to cook, and housework to do (well, I would if the ridiculously adorable boyfriend didn’t take care of all the cooking and all the cleaning that the housekeepers don’t do).

Not being interested in pain absolutely does not mean you’re a bad sub or a bad dom. Anyone who thinks it does is a jerk and deserves to have their tragic lack of imagination pointed out.

Not Just Bitchy turns two!

Wheee, I’ve been blogging for two whole years! I mentioned that to my boyfriend, and being a smartass the first thing he said was “So, are you going to talk about ageplay?”

Hey, why  not? Let’s talk about ageplay.

So, uh, I don’t actually know much of anything about ageplay. I’ve listened to a couple of podcasts where it was at least mentioned, it comes up now and then in Fetlife groups I read, but that’s about it. If I get anything completely wrong here, I’d appreciate someone letting me know.

Here’s what I do know: ageplayers, much like furries, get unfairly dumped on. Sure, there’s a level of ridiculousness in dressing up like a tiger or wearing a diaper, but is that really that much worse than arbitrary slave positions or S/slashy speak? At least the tigers aren’t making their writing pointlessly difficult to read. If fursuits and crayons don’t do it for you that’s fine, but there’s no need to be an asshole about it. And while we’re talking about assholery, ageplay is  not about pedophilia. Come on people, if you wouldn’t run out and bang a little kid in grownup style clothing, then why would a pedophile be interested in an adult dressed in childlike clothing? Also, plenty of people do ageplay in a totally nonsexual way.

When somebody mentions ageplay, the first thing I think of is diapers and crayons. Adult babies/diaper lovers are probably the best known part of ageplay, but they’re not all of it. Age play just means role-playing an age other than your physical age. If a middle-aged couple role-plays being teenagers sneaking out of their parents’ houses to make out down by the river, that’s age play and hey, no diapers involved! And of course there’s the ever-popular naughty schoolgirl, an idea that’s been beaten to death both in mainstream media and in the scene.

As bored as I am of the whole schoolgirl thing, there is a reason it’s so popular. That kind of age play, like so much of the stuff we do, is about power, innocence, and breaking taboos. And it conveniently involves people who are physically, if not mentally/emotionally mature. The power part is fairly obvious, who is less powerful than a young girl (particularly if you’re role-playing her teacher)? Then there’s innocence. Closely related to power, enjoying being the one to give someone a new experience is not exactly a rare kink 🙂 There’s also the power differential involved when only one of you knows what you’re doing. And finally, there’s taboos. Anything forbidden becomes tempting just because it’s forbidden, giving a huge erotic charge to both things you’re not supposed to be doing, and people you’re not supposed to be doing anything with.

Given that age-play can involve such fundamental kinks, it’s kind of surprising it’s not more popular. But of course, even the weirdos need someone to look down on. I guess “your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay” only applies when it’s convenient.

Wheee, links!

Work has been taking over my life lately and I have precisely no time to write a real blog post. Have some links to tide you over 🙂

First, a couple from the always awesome Tacit:
Some thoughts on ethics, safety, and conduct in BDSM: Part I

BDSM Ethics Part 2: Some Thoughts on Making the World Better

And a couple from Edward Martin III:

The Fix Is In

We all need mirrors.

And a few from all over:

A Field Guide To Creepy Dom

How to avoid problem people

Nine Real Self-defence Tips


Bad Advice

Not so long ago a very sweet vanilla woman posted on Fetlife asking for relationship advice – her husband is submissive and wants her to dominate him, but kink just doesn’t really do it for her. She loves her husband and wants him to be happy, but she’s struggling.

Most people had useful advice for her (the usual talk with your husband, figure out what he really means when he says he wants to submit, see if you can enjoy some kinks for how much they turn him on, even if they don’t really do it for you), and some people had incredibly shitty, self-centered, and completely unrealistic advice.

If someone is already uncomfortable with kink, telling her to try “really taking control” by denying her husband an orgasm for longer than usual is the exact opposite of helpful. Seriously, the only thing I can think of that would actually be less helpful would be to tell the poor woman she’s obviously not a dom and should give up on the whole kink idea.

Another man, who was clearly thinking with his dick, first gave the not-so-terrible advice of going along with her husband’s plan to try switching (him taking the dominant role while she submits) which could have given her a better idea what her husband wanted, but unfortunately followed it up with another comment suggesting she perform a scene he outlined (in detail, because obviously the problem is that she doesn’t have enough people telling her what to do) without any thought to whether the original poster or her husband would be remotely interested in it.

The whole debacle made me think of this comment of Dev’s on a post of maymay’s titled “‘Finally! Something that speaks to dominant women!’ they said”

“It drives me nuts that every enquiry or discussion about femdom is about how to make it hotter to submissive men – as though that is the problem with femdom, that submissive men don’t find it hot enough. It’s crazy.

I don’t mean to imply that men (submissive or otherwise) are so easy they just find any old thing hot. That’s just a pernicious stereotype. They are actually, surprise, people, and all like different things, and need to work just as hard as others to figure out their own preferences.

But, generally speaking, the complaint of submissive men is that there aren’t enough dominant women, or that their own partner won’t dominate them. And the solution to that is adamantly not “Let’s figure out exactly what’s hot to the man and do more of that.” If you don’t make it hotter to women, they won’t play.

Not every woman is going to enjoy being dominant anyway. We have our own sexualities too. But for a woman who might, or could, or does enjoy being dominant, it has to be based on what’s in it for her. Otherwise she’s just doing you a favor, which is fine, but then at least don’t make her lie about it, please.”

Maymay’s post and Dev’s comment are both from 2008, but they’re just as relevant today as they were five years ago. I think the last line in particular does a lot to explain why so many submissive men complain about not being able to get their partners to dominate them.  If you tell someone you want her to be in charge and do whatever she wants to do, then tell her exactly what to do, when to do it, and what to wear while she’s doing it, it’s not going to take her long to figure out that you don’t actually want her to be in charge at all. No wonder vanilla women get confused and unhappy when they try to “dominate” their submissive boyfriends! Not only are they expected to do all these weird activities they don’t enjoy, but they’re supposed to somehow feel like they’re in charge when they’re actually doing exactly what they’re told, and they constantly feel like failures as doms because they haven’t uncovered some magical wellspring of lust for activities that just don’t do it for them.

Submissive guys, you can bitch about how few dominant women there are, or you can keep acting like the entire scene revolves around your cock, but you don’t get to do both. For people who supposedly worship women, some of you have remarkably little interest in what it is we want.

Submission is not a gift

People like to say “submission is a gift”. To a certain extent I understand that – personal submission (that is, submission to *me*, not to the nearest dominant woman) is hugely valuable to me. It feels like an incredible gift because I don’t truly understand what the submissive person gets out of the deal. Like giving a gift, submission isn’t submission anymore if you force someone to do it.

However, there are some very important differences, too. A gift can’t be taken back when you decide someone is mistreating it. A gift is given freely, without any expectation of getting something in return. A gift is just given, it’s not something you have to earn. Submission isn’t any of those things.

Submissive people have the right to stop submitting whenever they damned well feel like it, whether their dom is a jerk or the relationship just isn’t working. You are not a bad submissive if you decide to end a relationship that isn’t meeting your needs. You’re not a bad submissive if you have needs at all, but that’s another rant. It doesn’t matter if you’re collared or you signed a contract or swore you’d never leave, you always, always have the right to change your mind.

While I do believe that submission isn’t submission if you’re only doing it to make your partner feel like they owe you something, I also believe that submissives have a right to either get their needs met or end the relationship. If you accept someone’s submission, you need to hold up your end of the deal. Maybe all your partner wants is someone who will give them the opportunity to serve without getting uncomfortable with it and insisting on doing things for them. Maybe they need to feel dominated, maybe they need to feel owned and cherished, maybe they need some play now and then. Whatever it is a submissive person needs out of the whole exchange, they have a right to need it. A dom who takes and gives nothing back is not a dom at all, but a leech.

Finally, I believe dominants should earn their partner’s submission. Or more precisely, I believe submissive people have every right to judge potential partners and decide whether they’re worthy of submitting to. Not that trying to be a good person entitles you to anyone’s submission, but it can’t hurt for doms to ask themselves why someone would want to submit to them. If you’re not willing to keep your word, to be honest about what you want and what you have to give, to know yourself well enough to do that, to look out for your submissive’s best interests, why should anyone submit to you?

Submissive people are awesome, but calling submission a gift leads to all sorts of stupid ideas about what you can do with it after it’s given.