The devaluation of male submission
Note: In this entry I will be speaking as if female domination and male submission occur only in heterosexual cisgendered pairings. This obviously isn’t the case, but for simplicity’s sake, that is what I’m addressing at the moment.
I recently received a comment on Deeply Deviant that was the final push I needed to persuade me to try to tackle the devaluation of submissive men. Here’s what was said:
I'm a 33 yr old submissive male. I just wanted to tell you how much I love your site, especially the pics of your submissive boyfriend.... not because I like looking at your sub boyfriend (I only like girls), but because you take nude pics of him and talk about his "beautiful boy curves". It is very inspiring to me, to see a dominant and "devious" woman who is also, apparently in love with her sub boyfriend and truly cares for him. You take nude pics of your boyfriend, like guys (not me, but lots of other guys), take nude pics of their girlfriends.... That is wonderfully amazing to me! The "aftercare" pic almost made me cry... and I'm totally serious. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen on the internet. Please keep doing it...
While I love receiving comments like this because one of the things I hoped to achieve by posting the pictures I take of my boyfriend online, it is also a reminder of the fact that this public adoration (and objectification) of a male submissive is rare. As I’ve come to realize the fucked up state of femdom, I’ve concurrently become aware of the fucked up state of male submission – namely, it’s devaluation. While female dominants are made out to be some scarce resource, male submissives are depicted as a dime a dozen – common, and, even more disturbingly, weak and worthless. It’s unclear why this is. Certainly it hints at what is fucked up about society’s take on gender and sexuality – men are supposed to be the assertive ones, while women are supposed to be demure; men are supposed to be sex-crazy lunatics, while women obviously don’t take great interest or pleasure in such depraved acts.
This then seems to influence the way that people approach the BDSM community. There seems to be a very sexist attitude towards F/m. Like Bitchy Jones, I assume that the ratio of female dominants to male submissives is actually more like 1:1 than 1:20, and, as she says,
19 out of every twenty dominant women aren’t happy or comfortable with femdom as an identity or a place to live. That’s a lot.
What is it that makes dominant women uncomfortable with femdom? There are a lot of things. One of the biggest is the sexist attitude that is rampant in the BDSM community. It often seems like women have to remain ice queens, untarnished by actually having penile-vaginal intercourse with their male subs. However, if they want to they can become more male, and thus, more dominant by strapping on and becoming – duh duh duh – The Penetrator. This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with strapping on (I’m a fan myself), but a sex act does not a Dominant (or a submissive) make and we can’t just superimpose the male-female dichotomy onto Dominant-submissive and expect that to make anyone happy.
It’s not just female dominants who are getting a raw deal and are having to battle through a mire of expectations in order to engage in the kink they thought they loved. Male submissives find themselves in a community with very few potential partners. Of the potential partners, many will be professional dominatrices, and many (even non-pros) will expect their submission straight out of the gate because of a hidden assumption that if you’re a submissive man you must be willing to submit to just anyone. In defense of these Doms, the moment a woman signs up for any BDSM website she will get an influx of messages from men offering just that – men who want to be her “slave” who have never even had a conversation with her. However, after wading through these fantasists, a dominant woman will eventually find a man who fits her bill because she is valued, and thus, many men will be willing to try to do so.
Submissive men, however, have a much harder time. Because there is this perception of a ratio like 1:20 and because many submissive men either perpetuate the femdom icequeen-bitch ideal that no woman can or perhaps should live up to on a day-to-day basis, male submissives become devalued.
Some have suggested that female pro-dommes also devalue male submission (my boyfriend for one). I don’t think that pro-Dommes cause this problem, but I think that oftentimes they don’t help. Pro-Dommes meet a need. They are the supply to a demand. However, they contribute to the perpetuation of a picture of female domination that just doesn’t reflect real life. But they’re not the root of that problem. As a parallel, just because vanilla men have sex workers and porn doesn’t mean that they don’t know that they can’t expect the same look and sex acts from their girlfriends and wives. However, imagine a world in which vanilla men didn’t meet any women until they began encountering sex workers and porn. This could lead to a much more confusing dynamic for both those vanilla men and the non-professional women they might encounter.
I don’t generally wear corsets, stockings, PVC, leather, or high heels when I dom my boyfriend. I love fucking him up the ass, but I also love being fucked up the ass. I regularly beat my boyfriend with various implements and might tie him up (and love doing both of these things). However, I sometimes tell him to pull my hair, bite me, flog me or cane me because I am a masochist. When we do this, we are not ‘switching’. I love pain. It makes me come. I instruct him in exactly what kind of pain I like and how to administer it, just as I tell him exactly how I want him to lick my cunt or finger me. I tell my submissive to do something that makes me come, and he does it. Exterior trappings or individual acts are not what make dominance and submission. It is the connection, the control; one person leading another on a journey of trust and intimacy. I am the one who leads.
I value my submissive. He is unique in his understanding of me and his willingness to be my partner in crime wherever our whims might take us. I value our communication with each other. He challenges me to live up to the values we both espouse, and lets me know what his needs and wants are. I value his vulnerability. This is one of the biggest things. Our culture unfortunately often portrays men who are vulnerable as weaklings. My boyfriend’s vulnerability with me is his biggest strength. It is what makes him so very beautiful to me. I value the fact that my boyfriend is submissive to me, personally, and not some femdom ideal. I value my boyfriend for his love of pleasing me. I value my boyfriend’s willingness to follow my lead, and his ability to do so while still offering his own opinions. By sharing this, I hope to inspire other submissives to realize that they too should be valued for who they are and what they have to offer. We each have that right regardless of our BDSM role.
Posted on June 3, 2011, in FemDom, submissive, Uncategorized and tagged BDSM sexism, female domination, female gaze, femdom, men in porn, Pro-Domme, strap on, submissive male. Bookmark the permalink. 72 Comments.