I haven’t done a post like this in forever. For real, this feels weird. Now, I am going to venture into some uncomfortable territory, for the more juvenile in my audience. But I recently heard about a feminist boycott of the film ’50 Shades of Grey.’ Now, I got my problems with both the film and the novel it’s based on. The novel horrifically misrepresents S&M relationships, along with the Dom/sub dichotomy. There are a lot of problems that I have, and when I saw the rhetoric that the feminist organizations were using about this film, it got me a little annoyed. See, I like the kinky stuff. I have been a sub, along with a Dom. Even was a Master, for a while, but that didn’t work out. Oh well. So there are a few misconceptions that I want to clear up.
1. Dom/sub relationships are about abuse
Wrong! That is so many different kinds of wrong. This is something that only people who have been there have understood. For an outsider, you don’t get it. One of my problems with ’50 Shades of Grey’ is that it precipitates this kind of misunderstanding, and that has to stop. Because it drives us nuts.
Here is the truth about what a Dom/sub relationship is about. It’s about control. Either gaining it or giving it up. And the key thing you need for the relationship to work is this – trust. You are putting so much trust into the person that you are allowing to dominate you. Or, if you are a Dom, you are putting trust that the person you are with will communicate with you and tell you if something is wrong. That’s why all safe kinky play involves safe words. Or some kind of gesture, if gags are involved. Still, you have a way to end things immediately, and you are trusting the person you are with to stop when you say the word or use the gesture. This idea that it is all about abuse bugs the shit out of me, because it leads right into the second misconception.
2. The only people who are into it are messed up people
I can’t tell you how often I have heard this one. So many, “well, if they are into that sort of thing, then there is something wrong with them” arguments. Drives me up the fucking wall, every time. Because it totally negates the fact that there are normal people who want to explore their sexuality and learn about themselves. This is another expression of intimacy. In fact, I would argue that there isn’t a form of intimacy more intense than this. When you are on either side, in action, a lot of emotions get involved. It can be more than a little draining for a person who us unaccustomed. That’s another reason why safe words exist. Sometimes it isn’t because someone is in too much pain or whatever. It can be that things got too intense and they needed to back off. That’s fine.
The women who are against the film version of the ‘Twilight’ fan-fiction book are people who are against porn too. So I get why they have a problem with it. They see stuff like this and they think that it’s just men exercising dominance over women. Yes, because it’s not like there’s data out there that being dominated is one of the highest fantasies that women have, right? That would make this person look mighty silly, wouldn’t it? But let’s not get hung up on the Puritan Feminists and their bullshit.
Fact is – this is about control, power and trust. A perfectly normal person can want to try or even want to do it long-term. There’s nothing wrong with that. The worst part about this stereotype is that it makes women who are into this feel like they are messed up, and that should NOT be endorsed by society. Don’t tell the Puritan Feminists that, though. If they accept that women have agency in their sex lives, then that might just lead them to realize that women who model, do porn or anything like that are also in control of their lives too (for the most part. Yes, there are people in the world being exploited, but overall, these women are making a conscious choice).
3. It will involve a lot of pain
There are people out there who believe that if you enter into a Dom/sub relationship, it is naturally going to involve lots of pain. That’s not true. You can be in that relationship and have it be only emotional dominance. It often is physical, but this one does come up. Women want to feel what it’s like to relinquish control, but are too afraid because they fear the worst. Another reason why you have to trust your partner. For real, being a Dom is a big responsibility, and if you are going to choose to get into this, both sides have to have a lot of trust in one-another.
4. There are no boundaries and you are going to be abused
Like any relationship, the biggest thing about S&M is communication. Talking with your partner. You have clear lines and boundaries. If you want to play with those lines, tell your partner. But you can establish very clear points that you do not want to cross. It is on you to talk to the person you are with.
The other thing to talk about, in connection with this, is aftercare. For real, you can’t just go into a Dom/sub role for an evening and then just ditch the person. A lot of emotions get stirred up. As we said, it is intense. A Dom has to be there for his/her sub. Oh, which brings me to something I hear a lot –
5. Only guys like this sort of thing
I was a sub, and my Dom was a woman. A woman who had a side to her that she showed almost no one else. I bring out the interesting sides to people. I wanted to experience it, and she wanted to express her desire, in a way that she had always been too afraid to ask. Being a Dom or a sub is something that both genders are involved with. There’s nothing wrong with that. It isn’t just in heterosexual relationships, either. The spectrum of romance is larger than people like to acknowledge. The Puritan Feminists choose to believe that it doesn’t exist. They are dumb like that.
In conclusion – if you want to enter into this kind of relationship, read up on it. Not from terrible books like ’50 Shades of Grey.’ Read stuff from people who specialize in this sort of thing. There is fantastic literature out there, which can help you and your partner make it safe and enjoyable for both parties. Don’t buy into this belief that it’s all about abuse. Trust me, it’s not. It can unlock emotions that you never tapped into before. There is nothing more intimate, in my opinion. I am not the most into-pain guy either. I have enjoyed the intimacy of it, and you can too. Don’t believe what people tell you. Trust me, you’ll feel better.
Until next time, a quote,
“When I travel, I find myself drawn to dark and dangerous places.” -Morinth, Mass Effect 2