The cultural tsunami that is 50 Shades may be partly responsible for the idea that all BDSM is about women’s longing for the ultimate Billionaire Bastard to tie them up and do terrible things to them but that trope’s been a bit of a problem for a while. In my own younger days, and early explorations of the fetish scene, kink was all about ‘Miss Whiplash’ and clubs were called things like Maitresse, Madame Venus and Domina. I seem to recall the shift in emphasis starting around the turn of the century, when internet kink first got going. All of a sudden there were all these ‘Masters’ all over the shop – or, at least, all over most of the BDSM discussion sites, and the concept of a dominant woman became something of an aberration – either she does it for money, she’s a nutter, or she simply doesn’t exist. Curiously, there was no corresponding reduction in the number of submissive or would-be submissive men that I could detect…
You could, of course, blame the patriarchy for the fact that the whole concept of the naturally dominant woman seems to have got so messed up – a fascinating and contentious blog of the mid-Noughties discussed this at length. It remains true that we exist, however, and any woman who feels that she would rather be the one on the giving end of the whip, the paddle or the giant butt plug need not feel like she’s the only one.
Complications might arise, of course, if you and your partner have previously kept your sex life relatively kink-free. If the current more open climate has made you start to consider sharing your fantasies with one another, you may discover that both of you are tops, or both of you are bottoms and neither is actually inclined to switch. There are various ways of dealing with this kind of incompatibility, and splitting up over it isn’t the only or inevitable outcome. You may decide to stick to vanilla when it’s just the two of you, or perhaps negotiate opening up the borders of the relationship.
If you’re single, it’s just a matter of looking for a playmate who wants what you have to offer. One rather silly suggestion that took hold when the rigid (and fairly po-faced) protocols of the US leather scene were imported via the Internet to the UK was the one that everyone has to start out as a sub while they ‘learn’. There is no point at all to this unless you have switchy tendencies, and taking a flogging or caning when you just don’t get any erotic pleasure from it is a good way to put yourself right off the whole palaver. If the stuff that appeals to you the most is the hardcore extreme type of activity that involves, for example, breath play or sharp blades then you really should get to know some experienced players and get a good sound idea of how to do your thing safely, but if you just fancy giving a lover a spanking or a flogging, you’re unlikely to go far wrong with the three C’s – communication, courtesy and common sense. Some people claim that you should ‘know what it feels like’ to be hit with any kind of implement before you use it on anyone else but I have never found this to be particularly helpful, given that different people have different pain thresholds (and different pleasure/pain crossover levels). What is true is that the inexperienced bottom may not know his/her tastes or limits very well, which makes it a good idea to use the ‘traffic lights’ system when first playing. (‘RED’ means stop at once, something’s wrong; ‘Yellow’ means slow down or ease up a little and ‘green’ means you’re doing it all wonderfully well.)
Sometimes, if you are new to domination, you will find yourself playing with someone who is happy to give you advice and feedback between strokes of the cane or whatever. This can either be useful (if done in a friendly fashion during a light-hearted session) or a bit of a pain in the arse: being bossed about by the person who is supposed to be worshipping and submitting to you can be a little off-putting. While there is a lot to be said for the idea that the submissive partner is really the one in control – and of course play should stop immediately if the sub is unhappy – the dominant partner should be enjoying it as well, rather than feeling stupid or under pressure to do more than she is comfortable with.
As with all sexual activity or sex-related activity, the most important rule is that everyone participating should be having a good time. If it’s no fun, why bother doing it at all?
– Zak Jane Keir
About the writer: Zak Jane Keir describes herself as a maker of stuff, writer of rude words, drinker of much cider, feminist, deviant, athiest, book junkie and morris dancer.
Please click to read Zak’s blog, follow Zak on Twitter and buy her erotic books on Amazon. You can also find out more about Zak in her Erotic Author Spotlight feature here at Cara Sutra.