‘Women aren’t visual’? Like Hell We Aren’t – Part 2

Every time I hear stupid shit about how women are only stimulated by the emotional, not the visual, I want to set things on fire. Like I said in my last post on the subject, it’s not some mysterious inability to get turned on by pictures that prevents women from enjoying porn, it’s the fact that most mainstream straight porn sucks. The first porn I ever found that did anything for me was gay porn.

Speaking of gay porn, one of my favourite pictures is called “Room with a View” by Benoit Prévot. I don’t  have permission to use it here, but you can find it in the Tom of Finland Foundation erotic art gallery (scroll down, it’s near the bottom of the page).  Why do I like this one so much?

For starters, it’s a picture of an attractive (to me, anyway) man who’s partially undressed. What’s not to like about that? I actually really like pictures that leave something to the imagination. Sometimes it’s more fun to think about what you’re missing than to see everything. I also have a thing for well-dressed men, and the man in the picture was wearing quite a nice outfit before he started taking it off. Even better, the picture shows what I like most about a well-dressed man – upending the power differential his clothing implies. Ten minutes earlier, he was probably the picture of masculine power. Now he’s a wreck, so overcome by lust he couldn’t even wait to get completely undressed.

Which is the other thing I really, really like about this picture. Not only does it show someone desperately turned on, but it shows someone helpless in the face of his lust. From the way he’s hiding beside his window, you can guess he’s doing something  he’s not supposed to. He knows he shouldn’t, but he just can’t help himself. There’s nothing not hot about that. And of course it gives me a starting point for all kinds of fun blackmail fantasies. What? Who doesn’t enjoy a little blackmail now and then?

It’s certainly problematic that most of the porn I like doesn’t even have women in it, let alone women like me, but you can’t deny that gay men get how to make men sexy in a way that straight male porn producers just don’t. Straight guys, if you’re going to feel threatened by gay men, feel threatened because they’re better at turning straight women on than you are.

Cheating, it’s just so boring

Or, more bitching about particularly stupid threads on Fetlife. The latest one is about “discreet” sub/dom relationships. I’ll spare you the original poster’s terrible English and summarize it here:

He’s yet another married man whose Madonna/whore complex means he “can’t” talk with his wife about kink, and wants us all to give him permission to cheat on her. Because hiding things from her is totally cool as long as he doesn’t actually put his dick in another woman. Oh, and this is all strictly theoretical. Pay no attention to how very very attached he is to the idea that this theoretical sub can somehow ethically cheat on his theoretical wife, and how suspiciously defensive he gets when people point out that hiding things like that from your wife is cheating. Nope, nope, this is just an interesting discussion and he has no idea why everyone is being such jerks about the idea of him shitting all over his marriage vows.

Sigh. First of all, if you’re hiding an intimate relationship from your spouse, then congrats! You’re cheating. Maybe it’s the least terrible option in your situation, maybe it’s not, but don’t kid yourself. It’s cheating.

Second, the whole “please give me permission to cheat” thing is just so goddamn boring. Really, it never occurred to you that a Fetlife group full of women and men who actually do love women might not be delighted when you ask for our blessings to cheat on your wife? Or that this question hasn’t been asked over, and over, and over? Seriously, it’s very nearly as overdone as the good old “Where do I find a dom?” and “How can I tell a woman is a dom without asking her like a grownup?” questions.

Guys, if you have to ask random people on Fetlife to tell you it’s okay to cheat, you know damned well it’s not okay. If you believed you were totally in the right, you would never have bothered to start a thread about it. Also, what the fuck? Even if you could convince a bunch of people you’ve never met to tell you it’s A-okay to cheat, why would that matter? Do you think that your wife will feel less betrayed when she finds out if you can show her a thread full of people saying “go ahead and cheat”?

For that matter, do you think these theoretical people saying it’s fine to cheat are going to help you convince anyone to help you cheat? I hate to break it to you, but the words of a bunch of random people on Fetlife are not going to convince me that it’s ethical to help you break a promise you made to your wife. Even if you’re one of the rare few people who might actually be justified in cheating*, your Fetlife thread isn’t going to make me want any part of the inevitable drama or the being treated like a dirty little secret.

*Situations that might justify cheating include but are not limited to: your wife both being unwilling to discuss you getting your kinky needs met elsewhere and having a disability that doesn’t allow her to support herself, or a medical condition that she needs your health insurance to manage, or very small children, or an ailing parent she has to care for. However, you can’t know she’s unwilling to discuss your kinks unless you fucking try! For all you know, the theoretical woman who is dependent on your care may feel more secure, not less, if you can get your kink on without leaving her. At the very least, she deserves the chance to say “I know it’s going to suck, but I’d rather get divorced than pretend I don’t know you’re cheating.”

While I do believe that in those situations cheating is probably a less terrible option than divorce, for practical reasons I’m not particularly likely to want any part of it. For starters, how am I supposed to verify that a guy has a “good enough” reason to cheat without meeting his wife? From the outside, “my wife understands but doesn’t want to meet you” looks an awful lot like “my wife has no idea what’s going on and would be devastated if she found out”. And since I’m a shitty liar, how am I supposed to talk with his wife without her figuring out that something is up? Even if I could somehow be really really sure that everything he was telling me about his situation was true I still wouldn’t be interested in constantly worrying that his wife would find out, or in managing the drama when she did find out, or in being hidden away from the rest of his life as though he’s ashamed of me.

And finally, the whole Madonna/whore thing is just pathetic. If you really loved your wife you would embrace all of her, not neuter her and put her on a pedestal. Yeah, yeah, kink is nasty and dirty and you just couldn’t expose her to your dirty nasty dirtiness. Alternately, you could give her a chance to make her own choices about *gasp* sex instead of making the decision for her like she’s a child. You’re not protecting her, you’re protecting yourself. At least be honest about it. You’re scared she’ll reject you, so you want to go behind her back instead of talking to her like a grownup. I get that it’s scary to consider your wife freaking out and demanding a divorce, but it’s pretty fucking insulting to assume that she’s so close minded that she would throw away years of marriage because you want to get a little freaky now and then.

Prostitution should be decriminalized

Every Friday the 13th Maggie McNeill of The Honest Courtesan asks allies to speak up for sex workers rights. I think that prosecuting people for having consensual sex is idiotic, so why not rant about that?

Maggie makes a lot of very good points in her posts from both today and the last friday the 13th, which you should absolutely read.

My biggest objection to prostitution being illegal is that I own my own body. I should be able to do whatever I like with it, because it’s my fucking body! If you don’t like what I do with my body, fine. If you would never in a million years make the choices I did, great. But if you think for one second you get to tell me what I can do with my own body, you can go fuck yourself.

What truly blows me away is that there are feminists, feminists! who think sex work should stay illegal. No feminist (if you don’t believe that women own their own bodies, you are not a feminist by any meaningful definition of the word. If you want to debate that, you will do so elsewhere. I will not have that kind of stupidity on my blog) would ever tell a woman she doesn’t have the right to birth control or abortion, so where the fuck do you get off telling women that they shouldn’t be allowed to have consensual sex for reasons you don’t like? Who are you to judge anyone else’s reasons for having sex? Again, it’s my body and I’ll do what I want with it.

Aside from how deeply it offends me to be told what I can do with my own body, keeping sex work illegal is just such a waste of time. Exchanging money for services doesn’t hurt anyone. Instead of badgering harmless sex workers, couldn’t our law enforcement officers and court system maybe work on real criminals? You know, the ones who actually hurt people?

Even if you do believe that being a sex worker is bad for absolutely everyone all of the time and that all sex workers are victims in need of rescue (which is stupid, wrong, and extremely insulting to grown women who can make their own choices), isn’t it kind of a dick move to saddle an innocent victim with a criminal record? I mean, if what you want is for all sex workers to leave the industry, shouldn’t you want that to be as easy as possible? This may come as a shock to you, but it’s kind of difficult to get a job when a), you have a criminal record, and b), you can’t tell potential employers what you’ve been up to for the past few years because it’s illegal.

Not to mention, if what you really want is to keep women from being victimized, victimizing them more with bad laws isn’t super helpful. Think social services, employment and training programs, non-douchebaggy immigration policies. You know, stuff that would actually help.

But if all you want is to punish naughty naughty women for being awful dirty sluts, go right ahead and fight to keep sex work illegal. Just admit that you don’t give a shit about the women who suffer so you can feel righteous.

Kinks Can Be Contagious

People often talk about kinks like they’re set in stone, but they’re really not. It’s actually not unusual to acquire a kink from a partner (play or otherwise), almost as if they’re contagious 🙂

First, the obligatory disclaimer:

Absolutely none of this should be considered in any way licence to pressure anyone to try something they’re not comfortable with. If a kinky activity turns you off, scares you, or just doesn’t feel right, you have absolutely no obligation to ‘be a good sport’ and try it. I’m strictly talking about things that you’ve never really thought about, or are puzzled by, or tried once with someone else and are willing to try again even though they didn’t do much for you the first time.

There are three main ways that ‘catching’ a kink from someone else tends to work.

1. If someone you like really enjoys something, and you like seeing them happy, doing the things that they like so much can set up an association in your mind between that thing and happy fun times. I think this is especially powerful with sexual kinks, but I’m sure it can happen with non-sexual things too.

2. It’s a particularly intimate form of explaining what it is that a particular kink does for a person. If a kink doesn’t make sense to you, of course you’re not going to be interested in it. But if someone can explain it to you and you can see how they react to it, a kink can suddenly become much more interesting.

3. Making a connection between the new kink and something that already does it for you. This is pretty closely related to seeing what it does for somebody else, but slightly different. Some people kink on specific things just for themselves, but sometimes people also kink on things because of what they represent. Rope bondage, for example, can be about the aesthetics of it and it can also be about having someone completely at your mercy. If it’s about the latter, then handcuffs or mummification might also do it for you.

I never used to have any idea why people were interested in chastity devices. Most of them are still just weird looking to me, and not being super into delayed gratification I don’t tend to like strange contraptions getting between me and what I want. What changed for me was a former play partner who really, really liked chastity play and finding a device that didn’t totally turn me off. For me, metal = sexy while plastic = ‘meh’.

Seeing somebody enjoy chastity play made the whole thing make a lot more sense to me. Anything that turns someone on so intensely gives me power, and what’s not fun about power? Plus, it ties into one of my core kinks, helplessness. If someone desperately wants something and can’t have it, I am all over that.

Basically, if you don’t know if you’ll like something, give it a shot, you might end up loving it.

Dominance and Gender Roles

On my recent post “Oh, just stop worrying what other people think”, a commentor made a very good point about dominance and gender roles:

I don’t know how to flirt, I act too masculine and scare men away. Femdom doesn’t solve the issue because I am very far from the common idea of domme – I identify a lot more with male dominants. Which just makes me feel twice as bad, it’s one thing to fail at being what vanilla men want, I even fail at being what submissive men want.

Society has very strict expectations for women, and it’s only more complicated when you add dominance to the mix. For starters, dominance itself is assumed to be masculine. To be dominant and a women is only acceptable to the extent that we turn submissive men on, and not at all acceptable if there aren’t any of them around.

And that’s even if we perform femininity “correctly”. God forbid we fail to be passive and receptive, to look fuckable at all times, and to always put men’s feelings first. Then no amount of hot, sexy dominance will make us anything but man-hating lesbians in the eyes of everyone around us.

Look at the way we describe women who take charge: pushy, bossy, bitch, man-eater, overbearing, domineering. Men get to be assertive or natural leaders, but women who act the exact same way somehow become unlovable freaks, destined to die alone and possibly get eaten by their many, many cats.

No wonder there are so few dominant women. Who wants to embrace a part of herself that she’s rightly worried will mean no one will ever love her for who she is?

Sadly, just being submissive doesn’t mean a man understands how restrictive society’s gender roles are for women (just because he thinks it’s hot when a woman he’s attracted to is assertive in just the right context, that doesn’t mean anyone else appreciates her), or make him secure enough in his masculinity to be able to deal with a woman who isn’t traditionally feminine, at least outside of the bedroom. Dominance is all well and good when it’s actively getting a man off, but what about submitting when the floor needs mopping and it’s not fun or sexy? Or when you’re tired and you just assume you can have a night off whenever you want one?

Or, and I realize this is kind of ridiculous and would never actually happen, but what if she’s not hot? What if she’s not tall, thin and pretty, with long hair and large breasts? What if, and now this is really out there, but what if she dresses or acts masculine? Do women who don’t look like Dominatrix Barbie get to be dominant too?

And that’s all just on the personal relationship level. What about telling your friends that you and your girlfriend started dating when she asked you out? What if they notice that you dress nicely to please her but she doesn’t dress up for you? Or that she doesn’t make excuses for it if she openly disagrees with you or outperforms you in some way?

With all the reasons even the most traditionally feminine dominant women have to feel like unlovable freaks, it’s a wonder any woman at all identifies as dominant.