Douchebag Dominants

Many of my rants are about stupid shit that supposedly submissive men do, which especially annoys me because I tend to take it personally. However, there’s plenty of stupid shit dominants do too.

It drives me crazy when dominant people post personal ads in groups that clearly say ‘no personal ads’ in the rules. By blatantly ignoring the rules, they’re showing that they’re either too fucking stupid to read the text they scrolled past to join the group, or that they think they’re above the rules. Neither one of those things is remotely attractive to a submissive with any sense of self-worth or self-preservation. Think about it for five seconds – there is simply no insane parallel universe in which allowing someone with a history of disregarding rules to tie you up is a good idea. If a submissive is willing to put themselves in that position, they’re either stupid or self-destructive. Neither one of those things is sexy! Why on earth would you post a personal ad with absolutely no hope of bringing you anyone a reasonable person would ever want to play with?

Female supremacists also irritate the hell out of me. Yes, it’s a personal belief, but it’s a fucking stupid personal belief with absolutely no basis in reality. If you spout that kind of bullshit, you are no better than the misogynistic douchebags you hate so much. I firmly believe that people who insist that their race or gender makes them special cling to that belief because on some level they know there is absolutely nothing else worthwhile about them. Instead of talking about how great you are because of the way you were born, take up a fucking hobby. Build up your self-esteem by being good at something, not by talking out your ass.

Men who believe in female supremacy also annoy me, but mostly I just think they’re pitiful. You must really hate yourself if you believe that even the most shallow and self-centered woman is somehow better than you, and that’s just sad.

Speaking of self-centeredness, it’s a pretty common failing of dominant people. I’ve personally seen far too many dominants who simply don’t care about anyone else’s well being. Back when the debate about bringing back birthday spankings at the munches was going on in my local scene, a few local dominants made it painfully clear that they were interested only in their own enjoyment of public spankings, and everyone who was uncomfortable with involving bystanders in a group scene or felt pressured to take part could go eat a bag of dicks. Labeling yourself dominant does not magically make you more important than everyone else. Believing that it does makes you deluded and unspeakably stupid in addition to being horribly self-centered.

Obviously insecure dominants also do all sorts of stupid shit. Here’s a tip: if you were really all that dominant, you wouldn’t have to tell everyone about it. If you think loudly telling everyone how very very domly you are will make them believe  you, you’re kidding yourself. Trying to boss strangers around is also pathetic and a sign of insecurity. Again, if you need to prove how dominant you are, the problem is you, not other people’s failure to live up to your expectations. Acting like a douchebag impresses precisely no-one worth impressing, but by all means keep it up if you want everyone to know how insecure you are. There’s surely a ‘submissive’ out there willing to tell you what an amazing dom you are if you’ll just do everything he wants exactly the way he wants it.

What’s your least favourite stupid dom trick? I’m sure I’m missing some.

Casual Play

If you’re at all involved in your local scene, it’s very easy to get the idea that casual and/or public play is something every “real” kinky person does. There’s nothing inherently wrong with casual play, but it’s not right for everyone and I don’t think we talk about that enough. Emotional risks may not be as simple to handle as telling people not to flog the kidneys, but they still count.

Not everyone is fulfilled by playing with someone they’ve just met. Not everyone feels comfortable doing something so intimate with someone they don’t have some form of relationship with, whether they’re a close friend, a regular play partner, a romantic partner, or something else entirely. Not everyone can relax and enjoy a scene without the safety net of knowing, thanks to the relationship they have with their play partner, that they’ll still be friends even if the scene goes wrong.

While casual play is generally physically safe, it may or may not be emotionally safe for any given person. It’s not terribly likely that you’re going to get seriously physically harmed in a party full of people with dungeon monitors roaming the play floor (although there are certainly horror stories out there of safewords being ignored even at play parties). Physical well being is obviously important, but so is emotional well being. While some people feel great playing with someone, exchanging thanks and potentially never seeing them again, other people may feel abandoned when the person they had this incredibly intense experience with just up and leaves. Mis-matched expectations about how much on-going (next day or later) aftercare is going to happen can be terribly painful, and so can mis-matched expectations of what an enjoyable scene means. For some people, a fun scene is just a fun scene. For others, it may be more like a good first date, in that if the first date goes well, you expect there to be further dates.

Some people can play really hard with people they don’t know well, but I’m not one of them. I need to know that if I screw up and actually harm someone, they’ll believe me when I say that I didn’t intend to harm them, let me make it up to them, and not decide I’m  the worst top ever to top and hate me forever. I can play relatively gently with people I don’t know well, but I don’t feel at all comfortable doing anything especially intense with people whose limits I haven’t gotten to know over time. Also, if I was ever to really push someone, I’d have to know for an absolute certainty that they would use their safeword if they needed to. I believe very strongly that it’s my job as a top to pay attention and notice when my bottom is struggling, but I also believe no one is perfect. I see safewords as kind of a safety net that help keep me from harming people, and I don’t think I’d feel comfortable doing anything especially risky without either having that safety net in place or knowing my bottom extraordinarily well.

Kink is extremely intimate for many people, and not everyone can be or even wants to be intimate with people they don’t know well. For me, it takes ages to really open up to people. If I can’t open up to someone, I can’t connect with them deeply enough to make playing with them worth it to me. Sure, I can whap someone with a flogger without making myself emotionally vulnerable, but play without at least some connection doesn’t really do it for me.

We all understand people not wanting to have casual sex, so why wouldn’t it be seen as completely normal not to want casual kink? This probably only applies to the public scene, where it’s extremely common to play casually at parties. There are plenty of blogs written by people who only play with their romantic partners, but those writers are also often not involved in their local scenes.

Particularly if you’re interested in exploring d/s, casual play may not work for you. I imagine it does for some people, but I can’t see how someone I just met wanting to submit to me would mean anything. I want someone to submit to me, not to the nearest dominant woman.

The one message I really want to get across to people who have never wanted to play casually, or tried it and didn’t like it, is that you’re perfectly normal. You don’t have to play with half a dozen people at every party to be a “real” dom/sub/top/bottom/switch/non-specific pervert. The only wrong way to do kink is the way that harms yourself or others.

I want to do the wanting

According to the stereotypes, my job as a dominant woman is to make men want me. I’m supposed to be so beautiful, so perfectly styled and made up, or at the very least so thoroughly encased in whatever material men have a fetish for that those men can’t help but fall on their knees before me.

Apparently, I’m just supposed to ignore the fact that worrying about whether I’m appealing to men doesn’t make me feel dominant at all. Not only do I not feel powerful when my so-called power is based on other people’s approval of my appearance, but it’s a very fragile and limited form of power. There’s a reason sexual desirability is the only power society is even the slightest bit comfortable with women wielding – it makes them replaceable and it has an expiry date. If physical beauty is all that’s important, any beautiful woman will do.

I know there are some dominant women out there who love knowing that their beauty captivates men, but I’m not one of them. In fact, I hate the idea that the only power I have is the power to make people want me. Yes, it is a form of power, but it’s not one I want to use. Worrying about whether I’m attractive enough, whether my outfit is hot enough feels fundamentally submissive to me. Being a dominant woman, that just feels wrong. It puts submissive men in control, lets them judge whether I’m doing a good enough job of catering to their fetishes.

The power of sexual desirability is a power I want submissive men to have over me. I want to do the wanting. I want them to make me double-take, and forget what I was saying, and trip over my own two feet because of how ridiculously, overpoweringly hot they are.

I want my desires to matter. I want submissive men to cater to them the way submissive women cater to dominant men’s desires. The idea of a submissive man working out in hopes of catching my eye, or hunting for the perfect pair of pants that show off his ass just so is incredibly hot to me.

It’s not that it’s terrible to have anyone consider me attractive, but I want a submissive man to want me for how I can make him feel, for how I can fulfill his need to feel owned, and desired, and useful, rather than for how hard I can make his dick. If that’s the only power I have, then I have no power at all for about half an hour after every orgasm he has.

Is there anyone else out there who is just turned off by the idea that she’s supposed to submit to submissive men’s libidos?

Anti-harassment Policies at Kink Events?

You would think that suggesting a local kink organization have an official anti-harassment policy/code of conduct as a friend of mine did would be uncontroversial, but sadly you’d be wrong. What I just don’t understand is how trying to stamp out harassment in the local community could be a bad thing.

Unless I’m wildly deluded, the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen if any kink group implements an official policy and gathers volunteers for their anti-harassment groups is that they would receive no complaints at all and would have wasted a few hours of their time. I realize everyone is busy, but wasting a few hours isn’t exactly going to ruin anyone’s life.

Also, harassment policies really are extremely helpful in persuading people to speak up about problems. Just knowing that a group took the time to put together a policy helps convince people that the organizers actually do care about harassment, have thought about how to prevent it, and have thought about what they would do if someone was harassed at one of their events.

Not having a policy, on the other hand, leaves people wondering whether anyone in charge cares about preventing harassment. New people are stuck thinking that maybe they should accept harassment as the price of being involved in the group, or asking themselves if they should bother reporting it when the organizers might decide it’s easier to sweep it under the rug than to come up with a plan, carry it out, and deal with the inevitable whining from people who think they should be allowed to hassle whoever they want.

When you don’t have a plan to deal with harassment, people quite reasonably assume that your plan is to hope it never comes up. Hoping that it never comes up leads naturally into ignoring and/or minimizing any problems that do come up because that’s much easier than figuring out what to do about harassment when you’re already extremely busy running events/planning future events/having a life with work/hobbies/family/friends.

Having a list of unacceptable behaviors and consequences laid out ahead of time takes a huge portion of that burden off the shoulders of the person dealing with a harassment complaint. They can just refer to the document that everyone has already agreed on instead of trying desperately to make a very important decision under pressure. That list is also extremely useful when it comes to meting out consequences for harassment. Good people have a very hard time simply kicking harassers out of a group, no matter how richly they deserve it. Having an official harassment policy makes it far easier to kick people out if it comes to that. They read the rules, after all. No one held a gun to their head and made them stalk someone all around the party and refuse to take no for an answer.

When it comes to opposition to a kink group implementing an official harassment policy, I can understand worries about how much work it might be to implement one, I can understand worries that people might make malicious and untrue claims of harassment, I can even understand fear of change, but if all you have to say is that anti-harassment policies are dumb and icky, I have to wonder what you’re scared people might tell a harassment committee about you.

That may sound a little like the argument that a person would only be opposed to privacy-invading laws if they have something to hide, but is in fact entirely different. Privacy is a basic human right. Getting to harass people without fear of consequences is not. Wide-spread surveillance, for example, invades everyone’s privacy whether they’ve done something questionable or not. People only get reported for harassment when they do something that looks like harassment. If you’re that worried about someone filing a harassment complaint, YOU are the problem, not the harassment policy. Try not being an asshole and see how that works out for you.

I’ve also heard no small amount of whining along the lines of ‘why can’t we all just act like grownups and handle problems without an official policy?’ You’ll have to tell me, I’m not the one who’s too childish to admit that my preferred method of problem solving isn’t working. I don’t like the fact that we need official harassment policies. It would be awesome if we could all just not be dicks to people. There’s no good reason it should be that hard for people to just not be total assholes. But if ‘just act like a grownup’ worked, no one would be asking for an official policy now would they.

In all the time I’ve spent thinking about harassment policies and kink groups, I’ve only been able to come up with one idea that even vaguely resembles a down side. If you’re extremely attached to the illusion that your local kink group is one big happy pervy family, it would be painful to have that illusion shattered by the introduction of an official policy. However, if your illusion is more important to you than the well-being of the actual people around you, then you can fuck right off.