I called him “daddy”

4 Jun

I had confessed to the Gentleman Sadist, weeks earlier, that I was turned on by the idea of calling a partner “daddy.” I did it in a sideways, almost passive way – I didn’t call him “daddy,” or ask if I could. I just let it slip that calling a generic man “daddy” is something I fantasize about sometimes.

He just laughed and marveled fondly at the extent to which I was a little slut (which is really pretty much a term of endearment for us) and didn’t mention it again for a few weeks. I assumed that he was just not that into it and didn’t bring it up again. I didn’t get embarrassed, though, as I might have in the past. One nice thing about our rapport is that there’s no shame.

But last week, we were chatting and he told me he’d jerked off that morning, thinking about me. Well, of course that got my attention.

“What were you thinking about?” I asked.

“The sounds you’ll make the first time I make you call me ‘daddy.'”

Oh damn. My heart went into my throat and my pussy was instantly throbbing. And then he did indeed “make” me call him daddy, and I was hooked.

“Master” does nothing for me and while “sir” has its uses, it’s always felt a little bit forced on my lips – it’s hard for me to say it without the teensiest bit of a smirk or an eye-roll. But “daddy” – there’s no smirk when I say “daddy.” It lays me bare – makes me feel both vulnerable and protected at the same time. It’s a … wild feeling. I want to cry and laugh and come all at the same time.

It’s funny, because this seemed like such a taboo, for such a long time, for all the obvious reasons. And I’ll admit that part of what I enjoy about it is the dirty wrongness. So the truly amazing thing to me is that calling your lover “daddy” is a pretty mainstream thing. I mean, pop culture is full of it: 
Hey little girl, is your daddy home? … 
I love it when you call me Big Poppa ….
And of course we can’t forget Who’s your daddy? And in many Spanish-speaking countries, lovers call each other mami and papi.

To me, it feels a bit scary in an exciting way, but really it’s not that out of the ordinary.

And it does makes sense that it would be popular – is there a better archetype for the strong, male figure than “daddy”? For me, it’s not about pretending he actually is my father or that I’m a little girl (and no dig if that is your thing, it just doesn’t happen to be mine), it’s about the archetype.

But it’s still emotionally so powerful, and so taboo in a way. And yet so commonplace, despite the feeling of taboo. What an odd contradiction.

It’s a feminist submissive thing

1 Jun

(Yes, I am totally dating myself with the reference in that title.)

Sometimes, being a feminist submissive means threading the finest of needles.

Earlier this week, I got involved in an online discussion prompted by a question from a self-identified feminist submissive about taking her fiance/master’s name after marrying. It was clear that this was a serious conflict for her – on the one hand, she liked the idea of being able to do this thing that showed the world she was “his.”  But on the other hand, she worried that this was an unfeminist act.

And I feel her! I think I’ve come really, really far in reconciling my own feminist and submissive identities, but I still have those moments of feeling like my submission is inherently and irrevocably at odds with my feminism.

Just last week, I was reading about a particularly insular and patriarchal religious sect, and I came across this snippet:

The real issue is sex. Not the act, but what it signifies — male control of women. That old story.

Ouch. Punch in the gut.

Rationally, I know that consensual, negotiated sex that really, really gets me off is totally different from a deeply patriarchal religion where no one’s roles are freely chosen. But damn if there isn’t a part of me that doesn’t feel a twinge about the fact that I (with my privileged education and vast amounts of personal freedom and mobility) eroticize this very “old story.”

Male control of women? That is quite literally what gets me off.

So in my response to the woman getting married, I tried to thread the feminist submissive needle carefully. I empathized with the complexity and told her that it was ok to feel a bit ambivalent, but that it was also ok for her to choose whatever she wanted to do.

And there were some other good responses. But there were a few that got under my skin, and at first, I couldn’t quite figure out why. They were all saying some variation on, “That’s not what feminism is about! Feminism is about choice!”

The “feminism is about choice!” response to feminist concerns about submission has never sat well with me, but I’ve never been quite able to put my finger on exactly why I found it so grating. I mean, I don’t actually agree that feminism is only about choice, but that wasn’t the only reason it bothered me.

Finally it hit me, and you’ll have to forgive me if this seems stunningly obvious: I dislike this response because, to a certain kind of feminist, it’s just deeply unhelpful. And maybe even harmful.

For a long time, I actually felt sort of weirdly shamed by this argument, on both sides.

On the one hand, I felt embarrassed that I’d let my politics so blind me to what I wanted sexually. It made me feel tricked. And on the other hand, it made me feel like I really was rejecting my feminist values by embracing my submissive side. Because again, my brand of feminism does not believe feminism is all about choice. Our choices are informed by culture and socialization, and make statements about our values and beliefs.

That’s obviously not to say that a feminist should only do ever do things that are perfectly in line with his or her feminist values, or that they are a Bad Feminist if they do something that seems to go in line with gender norms, for instance. But rather, that yes, it is complicated. Because life is complicated. Politics are complicated. Relationships are complicated.

So hey, feminist submissives (and doms and switches and whatever elses), you go on with your bad complicated selves. Complicated people make the best lovers, anyway.

Housekeeping

6 May

First things first – I just approved a bunch of comments. Sorry about that, folks. At some point, I set comment moderation so that they would only post if I approved them, and then forgot. Oops.

Now the way it works is that, if I’ve approved a comment from you before, it will post automatically. If it’s your first time commenting, it will need to wait for me to approve it, but I’ll do so in a timely manner. This is because this blog does occasionally attract anti-feminist trolls and I’ve decided that it’s not my responsibility to provide a platform for them. Get your own blogs, trolls.

OK, now to the larger question – what am I doing with this blog? I’m not sure, to be honest. I’m still getting quite a bit of traffic (which I love!) and I have no plans to take it down any time soon. But I also have (clearly) been feeling a lot less interest in posting. I think the main thing is that there are only so many ways one can say “it’s ok to be kinky/submissive/whatever” before one starts to feel like a broken record.

Also, when I started this blog, I had just started to accept myself, and so it felt really important to get this all out there, to make friends with my monster. And I guess I can say “Mission Accomplished” because it now feels like not such a Big Deal – it’s just another fact about me, another aspect of my life. And there are a bunch of other aspects of my life that have taken more prominence lately, and so my attention has been there.

However, there are still topics I want to write about, like the fluidity of sexuality, why I find sadists so damn hot, my love/hate relationship with orgasm denial, my ambivalence about the “scene” and so on. So I’m definitely not done with this blog.

Love voyeur

12 Apr

A couple just recently moved in next door. I just heard them (very loudly) having sex. I was mildly annoyed, until suddenly one of them roared:

“Arrrrr, I love you so much.”

How could I not D’awwwww?

Fifty Shades of Grey and Ambivalence

14 Mar

Well, what do you know? It looks like the newest word-of-mouth hit among middle-aged book club ladies is about a BDSM relationship. The book is Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James, and it started out as Twilight fan fiction. I had honestly never heard of the book before this weekend, but apparently it’s all people are talking about in certain circles (not my circles, obviously). Here’s a blurb from Slate:

The women’s book club has a new romantic heroine. By day, Anastasia Steele is a college senior at a Vancouver University and a virgin who wears indifferent jeans and reads the usual novels (Tess of the d’UrbervillesPride and Prejudice). By night, she is the willing slave of Christian Grey, who trusses her up in his “red room of pain” and slaps her and makes her shiver with just the tip of his whip.

What do I think about this? I’m honestly not sure.

On the one hand: awesome. So awesome.

Women all over the world are reading an erotic novel, and that’s wonderful. As I said in my post on erotic BDSM romance, one of the best things about the rise of ebooks is that it’s allowed for entire subgenres of erotica to flourish where they couldn’t before. No longer do you have to skulk into a sketchy “adult store” in a sketchy neighborhood, or hope against hope that your bookstore or library might have a copy of The Story of O (and then hope the cashier or librarian won’t give you that “you dirty whore” look). Or just settle for mediocre romance novels or poorly written online stories. If you have a way to read them (on an ereader, a smartphone, or a computer), ebooks are cheap as hell, easy to get and easy to read discreetly. This has opened up a whole new market for “niches” like BDSM and allowed readers another avenue to explore their sexualities.

Also, as the Salon piece points out, we’re in the middle of a massive culture war over female sexuality here in the U.S. And many of my friends are despairing over what they see as a GOP war on women, but I see something more hopeful: I see women all over the place claiming their sexual autonomy, their right to be a sexual person. And so what better timing for a book like this to burst into the mainstream?

But (of course there’s a but!), there are some things that give me pause. First is the sad fact that with any mainstream popularity comes backlash. Again, from the Slate piece:

[Today show ] host Savannah Guthrie, who used to be the show’s legal correspondent, responded with a version of the mild horror the book has provoked on many a feminist blog: “Is that really where we’ve come to after 50 years, now that women have the power? … Do you think women really want to fantasize about someone causing them physical pain?”

Oy. Where to even begin? First, of course, there’s the dismay at the fact that such things would turn women on at all. But what really got under my skin about this reaction is the idea that women being turned on by this book is a result of “50 years” of feminism. As if women are so tired of having the right to vote and hold a job and not get pregnant (which means they have “all the power,” apparently) that we’ve turned to such desperate measures as a submissive sexual fantasy to cope. Or as if this is all such a terrible slap in the face of feminism.

Seriously, why does every damn thing women do have to be a celebration or repudiation of feminism? Why is every action a woman takes, or choice a woman makes, a referendum on feminism?

And then there’s the slightly stickier issue of cooptation. I haven’t read the book yet, but from what I’ve heard, the BDSM is actually fairly light. Not surprising, really, given its mainstream success.

But there’d already been some grumbling among BDSM readers and writers that the increasing popularity of BDSM romance among more “vanilla” people has contributed to the watering-down of the genre. Authors (like my fave, Annabel Joseph, who by the way, has a really great new book out) feel pressured to write “lighter” BDSM, and readers like me have a harder time finding the less-amenable-to-mainstream-tastes stuff that turns our crank. For instance, I’ve had a hard time finding good novels with doms that are a bit more on the sadistic side – because authors deal with a lot of backlash to SM.

Certainly, there are worse problems to have. And I say if it help even a small number of readers tap into kinkier fantasies that they never recognized or knew were ok, then it’s definitely a net gain. But it is a change.

So am I going to read the book? I will probably give it a shot, if only for curiosity’s sake. I’ve heard it’s not actually very good, but people generally say that about pop culture marketed towards women (see: Eat, Pray, Love, which gets sneers but which I found a hell of a lot of fun to read). If I do read it, I’ll be sure to post a review.

Have any of you read it? What did you think?

This is the only thing I will ever write about Rush Limbaugh on my blog

6 Mar

Well, apparently I am an enormous slut, and not in the sexy way. I’m such a slut that I take birth control pills every day! Like a floozy. And my employer pays for most of it, so we all know what that means!

But if there’s one good thing that’s come of this Rush Limbaugh nonsense, it’s Jon Stewart‘s definition of a feminazi:

Someone who would herd you onto a train to an Indigo Girls concert.

Quick, somebody update urbandictionary.com!

Submission, power, and sexism (and the importance of letting go)

26 Feb

A great post by one of my favorite BDSM fiction writers, Annabel Joseph (and seriously, if you’re looking for some good M/f erotic writing with great characters, look no further), recently got me thinking again about why submissives get such a bad rap in our (and by that I mean US/North American) culture. Because, really, submissives get no respect. You see it all the time: the word “submissive” is said with a sneer or a pitying shrug – it’s understood as a synonym for “subserviant” or weak, and it’s assumed that the person is acting that way because they are either oppressed (they have no choice but to be submissive), lazy (they’d rather let someone else do all the work) or stupid/ignorant (poor girl, no one ever told her about feminism!).

I really think it comes down to two things: power and sexism.

First, sexism: submission is seen as a feminine trait in our culture. Saying this gets into touchy areas. So please not that I am not saying that submission is inherently feminine, or women are inherently submissive – just that submissiveness is a trait that is assumed by culture to be feminine. And our culture does not value feminine traits or behaviors as much as masculine traits or behaviors. You can see this in the wage gap: traditional “blue collar” jobs like plumbing and auto repair are paid much better than “pink collar” jobs like child care. This is a case where you can see how the literal value of “feminine” traits are less than those of “masculine” ones.

So is it any surprise that submissiveness would be devalued, sneered at, pitied? Of course, this makes it sting all the more when that disdain comes from a fellow feminist. But of course, feminism is never going to be totally separate from the culture that made it, so these subtle ideas about value creep in.

It can be particularly insidiuous, too, because most modern third-wave (or are we now on the fourth wave?) feminists will not explicitly shun consensual BDSM play. If directly challenged, most will say “well, of course you have the right to do whatever you want with your partner, go on with your bad self!” And they will mean it! I think most feminists I know would agree that consensual BDSM is just fine.

But once you get outside the realm of once-in-a-while-for-some-spice dominance and submission, things get hairier, and I think that’s where power comes in. It seems like, whenever I discuss relationships with my friends, it always comes down to power. It’s good to have it, and bad to not.

Which, again, is a reflection of our larger culture. We value the “winners” – the ones who beat everyone else, shout the loudest, make the most money. The measure of success is how much power you have – so no wonder those who would give up power willingly to someone else are disdained.

You even see the devaluing of submissives and submission in the BDSM community. There’s been a lot of good stuff written about this subject, but one of the best is this essay about domism. And one phenomenon that always amused me is how submissives – on fetlife, in blogs, in real life – will trip over themselves to insist that they are not submissive in their day-to-day lives. And really, with that sort of cultural baggage, can you blame them? I’ve been guilty of it myself.

One thing I recently realized was that I came to accept my own submissiveness around the same time that my career started really taking off, after literally years of struggle, false starts and frustration. At the time, I thought it was because I was feeling more successful and confident that I was able to indulge my submissive side. And I think that was part of it.

But the ironic thing is that my career only really started taking off when I relaxed about it. Someday I hope to write more about this process, but it’s a long story and this blog post is already getting long enough as it is. Let’s just say that, after years of perfectionism and holding myself to impossible standards, I finally had a breakthrough moment where I had to accept my “imperfections.”

That was when things in my career started to fall into place, and when I started to accept my submissiveness. And I think part of the problem was that I had so internalized all those cultural messages about submission – that it meant I was weak, that no smart, feminist man would ever respect a woman who wanted to submit. But once I was finally able to accept that I was never going to be this ideal self I had in mind – and that that ideal self was kind of a bullshit, no fun, obnoxious person anyway! – I was able to think more clearly about what I actually wanted, and open up to the idea of living out my fantasies.

So I’m just going to say this straight out: if you are a feminist, please stop dismissing or otherwise shaming people who choose to be submissive. Because when you do so, you are reinforcing sexist, patriarchal ideas, and that is not cool.

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