Control and Consent: Feminism and BDSM

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Many thanks to “Ms Andry” for this week’s guest blog! As you may have guessed from the title, this blog contains adult content. 

I’m tied so tight that my movements are completely restricted. The more I move, the tighter the ropes gets. I am gagged and blindfolded; my senses are completely focused on sound, smell and touch. I’m red from spanking I’ve been punished (for occasional mistakes, back chatting, and to heighten the pleasure of what is to come). I’ve also been instructed that I’m not allowed to orgasm yet, but the pleasure is intense. I’m completely exhausted. But the feelings I am currently experiencing are exquisite and the orgasm I’m about to have will inevitably be glorious.

Submission has been discussed much more widely in the last few years since being popularised in erotic novels. These novels have precipitated a new wave of traditionally “vanilla” couples taking spanking and restraints into the bedroom to “spice up their love life”. But submission is prone to a bad reputation – how can letting yourself be completely dominated, allowing another person to tell you what to do, and allowing physical punishment be a feminist act? The question that frequently gets raised is, “How can being submissive align with feminist ideals?”

I’m a cis-straight female and this post is therefore written from my personal perspective and experiences. 80% of the time I prefer to be, and enjoy being, dominated.. To me, BDSM, whether you prefer Submission, Dominance, or Switching, is inherently feminist by nature. It’s empowering, consensual, safe, and gives me endless amounts of pleasure.

Why is Submission Feminist Friendly?

We need to escape ’50 Shades’…

The idea of a rich, mysterious man taking an inexperienced, naïve, young woman to his sex dungeon are completely inaccurate. Having your entire life dictated and controlled (unless this is an agreed part of your submission) is inaccurate. 50 Shades of Grey, whilst perhaps causing an erotic re-awakening, is abusive and is not a safe relationship: submissive or otherwise. Yes, you completely submit to your partner. Yes, you give over complete control. Yes, there can be toys, contraptions, and occasionally contracts. But this is all pre-discussed. All is agreed, there are hard and soft limits, and there are safe words. You give up complete control but do not surrender your ability to consent or decline.
“Submission” looks different to different people, and there’s no one way to b submissive. A Submissive partner may like being controlled, but it doesn’t follow that they are completely compliant and will bend to your every whim. My tendency to argue if I think I am right often gets me in trouble with my dominant partner, but I find this often makes for more fun, exciting and gratifying sexual experiences. Wider society needs to understand that just as every person in society is different, so every submissive is different, will want different things, and will react differently.

You dictate

As the submissive partner (the Sub), you hand over complete control to the Dominant Partner (the Dom), which requires a significant amount of trust. Handing over control over your body and pleasure means you are putting yourself in an extremely vulnerable position. This is why having trust in your Dom is vital to a healthy BDSM partnership, or relationship (if the kink is part of a wider, deeper relationship). However, handing over such power in this way means that before sex or play,, you as the submissive partner actually have the control and the power. You say exactly what you will and will not do, you say what you are comfortable with before proceedings (spanking – if so, where? Verbal abuse? Restraints? Wax? Pain, Anal?). But more than this, you say what you will do, and you say what you want to happen, too (Toys, vaginal penetration, orgasms by clit play, oral stimulation, condoms) and you say what you require from your Dom. This is pre-agreed by both parties and you as the Sub have an equal – if not more – of a say of what happens in the sexual proceedings.

It’s safe (when carried out correctly)

As part of the pre-discussions you agree a safe word (a random word that isn’t stop or no), and a safe action (for if you are gagged, restrained or otherwise unable to verbalise a safe word) so you can halt proceedings at any time. If your Dom does something you are not comfortable with, you stop proceedings with the safe word/action. No qualms. There is none of the “I’ll just go with it because I feel guilty and he’s giving me sex”, none of the gas-lighting, manipulation, or  guilt tripping (all things I’ve experienced with “traditional” sexual encounters) when you change your mind, don’t enjoy yourself, or want to stop. If you want to stop, or you change your mind? That’s fine. And what’s more, you’re not made to feel guilty or ashamed. Usually (in my experience) there is a frank discussion afterwards about what went wrong, or what they did to cause you discomfort. And in my case, it is followed by cuddles, a hot water bottle, hot chocolate, and being waited on hand and foot.

It doesn’t confirm to traditional gender roles

Most importantly for me, BDSM, regardless of which role you play, does not confirm to gender norms and traditional views of sex, which tend to lean towards the pleasure of the male.It leaves the meek, polite “lay back, think of England, and reproduce” female role, and the Toxic Masculinity that poisons the male role at the door. BDSM allows you to overcome issues currently being battled by feminism today. You don’t need to only concentrate on the pleasure of the man. Sex is about both parties. You’ve discussed rules and don’ts already, but you also discuss wants and desires on both sides. Your pleasure and enjoyment is equally (and depending on the Dom, sometime more) important. BDSM allows you to move away from traditional methods of pleasure (the, “in and out” missionary which only pleases 1/3 of women) and allows you to explore other ways of experiencing sexual gratification; anal, vaginal, clit stimulation, toys, teasing and more.
You can feel safe to explore needs, wants, and most intimate desires and know that this is safe. You do not have to feel guilty for wanting to try something different, kinkier, and less traditional. Neither partner needs to confirm to traditional gender roles. And that is the recipe for a wonderful, happy sexual relationship.

There is a huge difference between submission and abuse

Misconceptions about submission being the same as an abusive relationship frustrate me. An abuser uses patterns of behaviours to maintain power and control over the abused. The pattern of behaviour can be emotional, financial, sexual or physical, and can be threatening,  and isolate and  intimidate the victim.. The abused does not consent to the abuse, nor do thy have any control. As the submissive in a sexual partnership, you  would never be forced to do anything you feel uncomfortable with. I choose to be dominated in the bedroom. I choose to let my partner control what happens, and I submit to an agreed level of pain and control. But I do not allow any dominant partner to completely take what they desire without my consideration.

The difference? Consent.

I consent to allow a certain level on control and dominance.  I allow this because I enjoy it. I set the rules along with the dominant partner. The most fundamental difference between an abusive relationship and a Submissive/Dominant one? As soon as we leave a sexual environment the relationship is completely and utterly equal and this distinction is vital. If my dominant partner tried to control anything I did out of the bedroom environment, there would be a severe argument, and me leaving. Quickly.

BDSM and my feminist revolution

BDSM allows me as a woman to challenge the rules and social norms I am supposed to conform to based on my gender. It allows me to be myself and to enjoy myself, to be comfortable with my sexual desires and , experience endless and unlimited pleasure. Pushing boundaries (in a safe environment) is fun and as long as you trust and feel completely comfortable with your partner, you can truly stick it to the patriarchy And have truly amazing, blissful sexual experiences while doing it.

Being submissive isn’t anti-feminist; it’s inherently feminist by nature. I had a feminist revelation in that I didn’t always openly identify as a feminist. My sexual encounters before this were littered with male entitlement, male privilege, gas-lighting and emotional control.  After my feminist revolution I felt comfortable to have the sex I wanted, having the sexual encounters I wanted, and choosing and feeling comfortable in my own skin and my own desires. It gave me the comfort and freedom to choose and consent to what I wanted, and to decline what I didn’t.  BDSM, whether you choose to be submissive or dominant, is empowering as it gives freedom of choice, freedom of your sexuality, and freedom of self.

So excuse me whist I go back to my rope, paddle, and toy drawer….

 

 

RDPP

2 comments

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