Leading with your kink

One of my many, many pet peeves is people (okay, mostly men) leading with their kinks. That is, instead of messaging me saying “Hi, I’m interested in what you said about ____” as if I’m a human being, they say things like “I’m into pegging, spankings, and being told I’m your bitch” as if they’re placing an order at a fucking drive through.

Shockingly enough, that’s more than a little off putting to me and many, many other women. Guys who I might have played with if they had approached me as if I had any value outside of what I can do for them, instead ensure that I will never, ever lay a hand on them. That’s where leading with your kink gets you.

I understand that people who really, really want to play can get a little obsessed with the idea of finally getting to do the things they’ve been fantasizing about for so long. That’s a tough position to be in, but it does not excuse treating people like recalcitrant vending machines. If you can’t be bothered to show the slightest interest in me as a person, why should I have any interest in what you want?

Aside from the snark, that’s a question you really do need to think about if you want to find someone to play with. Why should I care what you want?

Fortunately, the answer to that is very simple. I care if I like you. And despite how much of a bitch I am on this blog, it’s not that hard to get me to like you. All you need to do is have a conversation with me and not sound like a complete asshole. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the bar is just not that high. Help me like you, and even if we don’t play I’ll introduce you to my friends, sit with you at events so you don’t have to feel awkward and alone, give you advice (in the event you’re interested what some jerk thinks :)), and, you know, generally be a friend. If my friendship isn’t good enough for you, you can fuck right off.

I also understand worrying that you’ll never find someone compatible, but if the first thing you do is try to figure out whether you have kinks in common with someone, you will alienate the vast majority of people who might have liked you if you hadn’t been such a douchebag. Sure, you can argue that you don’t want to “waste your time” talking with someone who might not be interested in your favourite kinks, but given how many women hate being treated like kink vending machines, you can’t argue that’s actually a good strategy. Very broadly speaking it seems like men want to establish kinky compatibility first and women want to establish if we can stand you as a person first. If you want us to reply to your messages, do what we want, not what you want.

Honestly, what is so complicated about that? You say that your kink is all about making women happy, about learning what we like and doing that, and you can’t even manage to send an email without pissing us off? Either get it together or admit you don’t actually give a shit what we want.

16 thoughts on “Leading with your kink

  1. I think this is the major difference between a submissive and a bottom. Unfortunately there seems to be a lot more bottoms than submissives, but because of the way everything is so convoluted in the scene the lines are not as distinct as they should be.

    There are lots of selfish guys who have fetishes and kinks and just want some woman to do them without having to pay a dominatrix. They call themselves submissives because they think it will win them browny points. What they fail to realize is that being submissive is far more important than titles or protocol or whatever. D/s and kink are not the same. Those guys need to find somebody who is a top that wants to have casual play, or hire a dominatrix, or fuck off. They give a bad name to rest of us.

    I think it’s safe to assume that if a dominant woman says what you said in this post in her profile, that the real submissive men will bubble to the top by reading directions and acting appropriately. Of course, that doesn’t help with the massive pile of spam messages that say: U R hot. I like to be fuked in the butt.

    I know that personally, even when I was only twenty, I had already given up on the idea that I would ever have a real relationship because of the way I am. I thought the best I could do was to join some kind of poly house. I knew I could never be happy with a vanilla only woman.

    Lukily for me things turned out well and I met an awesome woman and we are married and have a kid now, but that’s because I sent her a message complementing her on something she said in a forum. I knew she was a Domme, and I made it clear that I was a submissive because we were on Myspace and it wouldn’t be been obvious otherwise, but I wasn’t insistent about what I wanted. She took notice of the fact that I was a nice guy who approached her like a real person. The fact that I am her type also helped.

    On a somewhat OT but related note, I just discoved Delving into Deviance (which looks defunct) through the article about devaluing submissive men. I was reading comments and saw your cat icon and thought, “that looks like stabbity”, and it was! Years old of course.

    I’m glad you are still running your blog. Keep up the good work.

  2. I sometimes call this and related behaviours client mentality: interacting with a dominant woman in a personal context as if one were a client seeking to book an appointment with a pro dom (just minus pay). The counterpart of the harmful cultural stereotype ‘dominant woman = default pro’ is people falling into the behavioural trap ‘submissive man = entitled to act like a client’.

    (So I don’t see it as a difference between being submissive or bottom oriented, as was suggested in the comment above. It’s about regarding a person as a whole person. It’s perfectly possible for people who are into bottoming or into casual play to get to know each other and develop a relationship as whole private persons.)

    The analogy of people not wanting to be treated like vending machines comes up quite frequently in this context. As sad as it is, I believe an even more exact description is not wanting to be treated like a pro dom by a man acting like a client.

    • I wasn’t trying to imply that everyone shouldn’t or isnt capable of being polite or rude, and I agree that they are treating it like a transaction, but I completely disagree that they are somehow confused. In my decade on sites like CM and fetlife, it’s been pretty obvious whi is a pro and who is not. Those guys are just assholes and I refuse to make excuses for them. Reading comprehension and manners should be expected of everyone.

      • We may be in agreement then. I don’t think either they are confused about who is or isn’t a pro. I see client mentality as an attitude of considering oneself as entitled by default to act towards any dominant woman as if one were a client. I don’t consider it an excuse for the rudeness or a mitigating factor, quite the contrary.

        • I think we are in agreement. My point was simply that a truly submissive guy wouldn’t treat women that. I never would have even when I was new, and I think that any guy who does shouldn’t be calling himself a submissive. It goes back in a lot of ways to the post on here about how submissive men (and I would argue women as well) must be feminists to a certain degree. (In that they treat women like people).

  3. Would it be worth drawing a distinction here between a fetish, and a kink? The former could be construed as a fixation on something very specific – a substance, a piece of clothing, a part of the body, or a ritual. The latter could be thought of as something much more general – a mode of sexual expression that falls outside certain social ‘norms’.

    In this context, the desire for a relationship with a dominant woman would be a kink, but not a fetish.

    The problem is that many men who have a preference for dominant women, also have a Mary Poppins bag full of specific fetishes, and labour under the illusion that unpacking the bag is the first thing that they must do when making an approach.

    And the trouble with fetishes is that they don’t sit easily with regard for the Other as a rounded human being. Their history is that of blind devotion to and reverence for inanimate objects or limited aspects of the Other that are invested with magical or transcendent powers, as evidenced by BDSM porn, much of which is predictable, boring, and generally of little or no interest to women.

    Perhaps we should aim to be more open minded with reference to our own desires, that is, to find someone with whom there is a genuine rapport, then take the road, embark on the voyage of mutual discovery, and see where it leads.

    • I understand what you are referring to with the etymology of fetish. But etymology is merely etymology. Plenty of men and women manage to integrate their fetishes in the course of intimate personal conversations, when they have already been getting to know each other for a while. Plenty of women and men manage not to list their fetishes first thing at first encounter to someone they have only just said ‘good day’ to, as if itemising them for a pro session. Having fetishes is perfectly possible without being rude about them.

      and labour under the illusion that unpacking the bag is the first thing that they must do when making an approach
      Any further ideas where the illusion might come from? Commercial BDSM is my primary impression, because for a commercial client who is booking a session this behaviour is appropriate. But there may be other factors.

      • Thanks for your reply.

        My definition of sexual fetish is one that’s pretty much standard in clinical psychology and psychiatry. I’m not judgemental about fetishes or fetishism, and I applaud, and indeed envy men and women who reach a mutually satisfactory concordat in this area.

        With regard to men who are, to put it bluntly, pushy and selfish in their approach to dominant women, with nothing more than a check-list of wants to be satisfied, an explanation in terms of habits picked up through commercial BDSM does not entirely satisfy. Surely he existence of commercial BDSM itself requires explanation? And why are the clients for professional BDSM services overwhelmingly men?

        I suspect that the deeper cause of men’s insensitivity lies in the sense of sexual entitlement that is inculcated in them by a surrounding culture that is still suffused with patriarchal constructs. This can lead to a situation in which a desire for submission paradoxically coexists with a (possibly unconscious) sense of entitlement to impose the terms of that submission.

        Paying for professional services, of course, automatically confers entitlement within the agreed parameters of a commercial transaction. Hence the convenience and popularity of ‘dungeons’, although the blogosphere is full of BDSM professionals complaining bitterly about clients who feel further entitled to push those limits, both financially and in other ways.

        • I think you are seriously confusing the issue here. Men are stupid sometimes but they aren’t so stupid to think that every woman who calls herself a dominant is a pro. I looked at a lot of femdom porn when I was a teenager and ignorant of the scene, but I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a pro until I happened to meet one by chance. To be fair it was the infancy of the internet and pros weren’t really entrenched yet. Even if I had I still never would have sent a pushy message with a list of my kinks. I grew up in Kansas, so I know all about cultural entitlement; it’s nothing but religious white people.

          I think we need to stop making this a kink or fetish issue and just say that men in general don’t treat women with respect. Hence the need for feminism. In fact, I would argue that real submissive men are more likely in general NOT to send disrespectful messages. I could be wrong though.

          • I was certainly not implying that men approach dominants on the basis that “every woman who calls herself a dominant is a pro”.

            On the contrary, the problem of ‘masculinity’ and its potential for poisoning relations between men and women, extends over the whole spectrum of possible relationships.

            Therefore, it’s absolutely right to say that this is not exclusively a kink or fetish issue. But the original blogpost sets the context.

            “In fact, I would argue that real submissive men are more likely in general NOT to send disrespectful messages. ”

            I couldn’t agree more. The crucial word is ‘real’. This is a theme that I’m currently trying to write something about, working on the assumption that genuine male submission means subverting patriarchal stereotypes, of gender roles in general, and of sexual behaviour in particular.

  4. I just want to expand on my last comment. An important issue that was brought up implicitly by Grumpyoldswitch is the old debate of Nature vs. Nurture. Are men acting this way because they have been acculturated, or are they doing it because men are predisposded to act a certain way? I have no doubt that nature is a far more important part of a person’s development than nurture is. I’m not claiming that nurture doesn’t matter, but it just doesn’t matter that much.

    I was acculturated to be a conservative who believes in god, free markets, gun rights, etc. I was also acculturated indirectly by the media to devalue women, and by the role models in my life to feel entitled to them. I could not have turned out more differently as an adult. I was never happy, joined the army, and left the first chance I got. Why? Because those things just weren’t in my nature. I’m a rational, scientific-minded, submissive man. Those things don’t gel well with my upbrining.

    My brother is less than two years younger than me and we were raised identically. In fact, my parents even went out of their way to make sure everything was the same. No treatment at all. We went to the same school, had the same teachers (small town), same friends, etc. He is now an alcohololic, ultra-conservative, deadbeat dad who lives in a trailer house. Can somebody please explian that to me? We had the exact same start in life and turned out completely different.

    I want to reiterate that I do think acculturation does matter some. I had a hard time finding my identiy as an adult because I didn’t have good role models growing up. I had to find my own, and forge my own path. I think it is damaging to have a culture that devalues women. I think that Femdom porn does give men the wrong idea about what dominant women are really like most of the time. However, I have never seen any advice anywhere in my life that told men to send short, pushy, demanding lists of their fetishes to women on kinky dating sites. I don’t think we can blame acculturation for this particular problem.

    We have to ask oursleves a chicken and egg question here too. Where does the culture come from in the first place. It didn’t fall out of the sky. It was built up over a long period of time by people interacting with each other. Devaluing women has been a staple in history, and thankfully the trend has been moving away from that (in some places). How do we explain the devaluing of women 500 years ago before BDSM porn? Religion? What about before religion? It is folly to assume that any of these cultural institions are to blame. We have been in a continual state of cultural evolution from our more primal and animalistic days as a species.

    It seems clear to me that we were, and largly still are, genetically predisposed for men to be aggressive and dominant and women to be submissive and passive. I don’t like it, but that’s because I’m an outlier, part of the minority, and we tend to get swallowed up culturally by the majoirty. Yet, despite that, we still manage to escape and find each other.

    I’m starting to ramble now, but I’ll just conclude by saying that those pushy men are members of the cultural majority and that they just happen to have fetishes that they want fulfilled by taking on a submissive role (hence my previous comment about bottoms). The people who are in the minority, who have the script flipped, are not behaving that way regardless of how they were acculturated. Everybody claims there is a shortage of dominant women, but according to all the poles I’ve seen, submissive men are the rarest of them off. You just have to get past all the fakers.

  5. Aside from the snark, that’s a question you really do need to think about if you want to find someone to play with. Why should I care what you want?

    When some random dude messages me on FetLife to say “would you do ___ to me?” (as a first message ever) I’ve taken to writing back “why?”

    Nobody’s ever responded to that. I can only hope that they searched their soul (and my profile) for reasons, couldn’t come up with anything better than “Because I waaaaaant you to!” and realized they were being stupid.

  6. Awesome discussion. Love the idea of a kink vending machine; imagine feeding in a few £1 coins and out comes a fully formed human being ready to submit to your desires…. Actually, scratch that, it sounds creepy now I’ve actually written it down :-/

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