We were post-coital – or at least as post-coital as two people can be when the sex is over skype. But C had just coaxed me to a relevatory orgasm: me, naked on my hands and knees, fingers on my clit; he, fully clothed, instructing me to imagine his cock penetrating me, talking dirty to me (“Are you a dirty little whore? … Tell me”). We were in that lovely, intimate, slightly goofy space we occupied after our best sessions. I felt content, floaty, wrapped in my orgasmic glow.
We started talking about fetlife, and he logged on to look at my profile. We were laughing and joking about the fetishes I’d chosen, which tend more towards the funny than sexy: “coffee so dark it makes spoons cry,” “forced karaoke,” “consensually nonconsenting to consent to … oh fuck it.” Then:
Him: Uhhh, “feminist dudes”?
Him: Oh, well, are there many Doms who are feminists? That seems strange.
Me (stomach sinking, thinking “ohshitohshitohshit”): Well, I don’t know if there are many doms who are feminists, but, well, I’m one, and it’s kinda important to me that my partner be one too.
Him: YOU’RE a feminist? But, don’t feminists believe in equality and –
Me: Um, yes. Don’t you believe that women are equal to men?
Him: Well … of course. But I guess … I mean, you like to be degraded and objectified.
That was a dark moment. Any sub woman who’s struggled with reconciling her kink with her feminism will understand how scary this was for me. Add the fact that we were communicating only by voice, and C has a particularly deep voice. A voice that, at that moment, sounded a bit like the Judgmental Voice deep in my psyche that had mocked me for my rape fantasies for years (saying things like “Oh, a feminist who secretly wants to be raped. Of course.“) and, well, I was, very quietly, freaking the fuck out.
He noticed, and brought me back. He was good at that. “Hey, now” he said, his voice softer. “I’m not attacking you. I guess I just don’t know much about feminism. Could you explain your view of feminism and how it works with your sexuality to me?”
So I did. It was a long discussion, and I don’t really need to replicate the whole thing here. We touched on sex-positive feminism – he knew about sex-positivity (thank you, Dan Savage!) but didn’t know it had originated as a feminist philosophy. I told him about my upbringing, my second-wave feminist mother and how I was a feminist before I knew what the word meant.
“That must have made it hard for you to deal with your sexuality, huh?” He asked. Relief flooded over me. He understood. It was hard. Getting over that seeming split was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
Things ended between us not long after that, in a sudden and painful way. In retrospect, this conversation was a red flag.
But the amazing thing was that the relief stayed. I thought I’d gotten over the hurdle of reconciling my sexuality and my feminism, but I hadn’t really, on an emotional level.
I needed to be confronted, and I needed to be forced to explain myself to really get over it. But once I did, it clicked. Even though things did end poorly, I’m so glad I had that experience, if only because it allowed me to hold my head high and feel comfortable with my sexuality.