Women and desire

Or, if you’re not ready reading Emily Nagosaki’s awesome blog The Dirty Normal, you should go fix that :) In particular, she has a really interesting post about Flibanserin and the way the FDA was pressured to approve it even though “the drug increases “sexually satisfying events” by one per month over placebo, and roughly 13% of women who take it experience side effects like somnolence, dizziness, and nausea.” Ooooh, sexy sexy nausea.

But more seriously, it’s really sad that even the American Sexual Health Association and the American Reproductive Health Professionals, both of whom really ought to know what they’re talking about, thought that the best option to help women who were desperately unhappy about their “lack” (it’s not necessarily a lack, but I’ll get to that) of sexual desire was a drug that only works a little bit better than a placebo and has some shitty side effects.

The reason it’s so sad is that what we call a lack of sexual desire, particularly in women (I don’t know of any research specifically about trans women, but I bet this applies to you too), is often just responsive desire. To paraphrase it quickly (although the link is really interesting and goes into much more detail), there’s this assumption we have, at least in western culture, that the normal way to be is first you feel sexual desire, then you go have sex. But for roughly 30-60% of women and 5-20% of men, it’s the other way around – they don’t usually want sex just out of the blue, they start wanting it after foreplay has started. These folks don’t have “low” desire. They don’t suffer from any ailment, they don’t long to initiate but feel like they’re not allowed to. Their bodies just need some more compelling reason than “That’s an attractive person right there,” to want sex.

If all your life you’ve been told that spontaneous desire (sexual desire without an obvious trigger) is the way you’re supposed to feel desire, of course you’d feel broken and wrong and bad if you only experience responsive desire. And the more you feel broken and wrong and bad, the more even considering thinking about having sex becomes a minefield that you’d just as soon avoid entirely and things spiral downward from there.

In case things weren’t complicated enough already, AFAB (assigned female at birth) people don’t always orgasm reliably and aren’t always fulfilled by the sex acts that society says are the only “real” sex (ie penetration). To quote Emily again “only about a quarter to a third of women are [able to orgasm from vaginal penetration]. Another third of women are sometimes orgasmic from penetration, and the remaining third of women are never or almost never orgasmic from penile-vaginal penetration.” I know orgasm is far from the only reason people have sex, but personally if I’m going to go to the trouble of having sex I damn well want an orgasm. I’m also one of the lucky ones who does orgasm reliably, which does colour my views on that.

The one thing I really wanted to talk about is how responsive desire exists, is totally normal, and is only different from, not less than, spontaneous desire. You can stop reading now and that’s totally cool :) But if you’re still here, let’s talk about how responsive desire might affect female doms.

There’s this stereotype that doms are always supposed to be the ones to initiate sex, but it seems unlikely that absolutely all female doms are part of the roughly 40-70% of women who experience spontaneous desire some or all of the time. It can also be complicated for submissive people, particularly submissive men, to initiate sex in a way that doesn’t feel pushy or demanding to the dominant woman.

Fortunately, I think kink itself might be a hack for that problem. Basically, getting aroused enough to want to initiate sex takes a combination of turning on the ons and turning off the offs. You can rev the engine as much as you want, but if you don’t release the brakes you’re not going anywhere. In a happy healthy d/s relationship, the trust that your partner will do what you tell them to do could help turn off the offs and the act of them submitting to you could help turn on the ons. Then again, any healthy relationship, kinky or not, where you feel safe and trusting is going to be good for your sex life in general, so does adding kink fundamentally change anything? I have no idea, but I think it’s an interesting question.

Another thing that might help is for the submissive man to learn to seduce his partner. There’s a fine line between seduction and manipulation, but if you know your partner well and know what turns her on, it’s possible to present yourself in a context that makes the answer to “would you like to come have your way with me?” “why yes, yes I would.” It’s about setting up a situation where she feels relaxed and sexy and playful, not about sugar-coating plain old pushiness.

Also, if we’re talking about kink and differing types of desire, we pretty much have to talk about chastity, if only to yell about how it’s not a silver fucking bullet! Just because you’re not having sex doesn’t mean you’re not still trying to make the world revolve around your dick. If you and your partner enjoy chastity play for its own sake and are really good at communicating your needs, then you absolutely might be able to use chastity as a way to do fun sexy things without pressuring the responsive partner to have sex they’re not necessarily into. But on the other hand if your partner just wants a goddamn break from the pressure to sexually service you, then a chastity device is going to backfire horribly. By the same token, if your dom thinks using a chastity device means they don’t have to give a shit about your sexual needs, they’re probably a bad partner for you and a jerk besides.

Responsive desire exists and is totally normal, but may be even more complicated for dominant women than it is for everyone else given the way our culture says spontaneous desire is the one true way (fuck the one true way).

Dominant women and powerful men

As much as I bitch about stupid bullshit I’ve found on Fetlife, sometimes you find sparks of brilliance there too. This quote from ShaktiSama (the thread it’s from is mostly shitty, but if you want to see some asshole ask whether dominant women are actually dominant then knock yourself out) is so great I built an entire post around it.

A lot of dominant women love powerful men …

The reason is simple: the more power you bring to the power exchange, the better fed we are as the receivers of your power. Yes, sue me–I’m greedy. I want the surrender of a king. The devotion of a prince. The broken weeping of an ogre.

When you put it like that, is it any sort of surprise that dominant women can be attracted to powerful men without wanting to submit to them? Even some dominant men talk about how much of a charge they get out of a strong woman choosing to submit to them, why wouldn’t dominant women feel the same way? Seriously, it feels amazing when someone you think is awesome chooses to submit to you.

It’s also pretty great when people hold up their end of the power exchange. I can’t have a power exchange if you don’t bring any to exchange any more than I can have a potluck if you don’t bring a dish to share.That absolutely does not mean you have to be the kind of jerkwad who keeps going on and on about how “alpha” he is, it just means that you need to have some sense of your own worth. Guys, there’s nothing more attractive than a submissive man who knows he doesn’t have to submit to you but chooses to do so because he thinks you’re great. I want to feel your submission as an act of will, not just have it tossed in my general direction.

I think this is related to Ferns’ concept of organic power in that while I want to feel like the balance of power between us is tilted in my favour, I also need to feel that my submissive does have his own power and can resist if he needs to. I can’t have any fun putting someone on their knees if they just throw themselves there, after all. There needs to be sort of a metaphorical counterweight on the other end of the power exchange for it to work for me.

Personally, I also enjoy the role reversal of someone powerful choosing to submit. You’d expect a powerful man to be in charge which makes it that much more fun for me if we switch things up. I just really love the perversity, for lack of a better word, of taking a strong, intelligent human being who’s good at all kinds of stuff and just ignoring all that and treating them like a toy. I guess I have to respect you to want to go to the trouble of disrespecting you :)

The more power you bring to the exchange, the more satisfying it is for me. There’s nothing submissive about it and if you can’t see that, you’re just too dumb to be looking for dominant women.

This just in: women don’t exist to entertain you

I have some truly horrifying news for the snivelling manchildren of the world: women do not exist to entertain you. In other news, there is basically always something to get angry about on Kinky & Popular. Specifically the comments on this writing titled “None of your fucking business.”

For people who don’t do Fetlife, this woman had the apparently ridiculous idea that she had the right to exist in public without some asshole hassling her, and when said asshole deliberately made her uncomfortable (spare me the bullshit about teh poor socially awkward mans. Actual socially awkward people are horrified by the idea of making someone uncomfortable and would’ve apologized profusely and then probably run away to have a serious bout of self-loathing in private), she told him that her name was “None of your fucking business.”

Cue the snivelling manchildren in the comments clutching their pearls about how meeeeeean that woman was and how creepypants was just trying to be nice and make conversation and why do women have to be such bitches about existing in public without being harassed and the human race is totally going to die out if creepy sacks of shit can’t badger strange women for no good reason (no, thinking someone has nice tits is not a good reason).

First of all, the idea that some asshole who wasn’t even there knows how to handle a situation better than the woman who actually experienced it is some serious bullshit. If you weren’t there, you don’t know what sort of subtle or not remotely subtle signals she was getting that made her think that the man harassing her was not safe to talk to. By saying that she should have handled it differently, you woman hating sacks of shit are saying that women can’t be trusted to make even the smallest decisions about how to respond to people harassing us. And then you worthless wastes of space turn around and blame us for being raped. How exactly are we simultaneously too stupid to tell a nice guy from a creepy motherfucker and at the same time psychically able to tell people would commit rape from people who wouldn’t?

I have another horrifying revelation for the misogynistic assclowns of the world: women have different experiences from men. What looks and feels harmless to you is fucking scary to us. Sure, you wouldn’t be scared if a man who was your size or smaller came up and asked “What’s your name, sweetheart?” Now imagine you’re an average sized woman, with an average woman’s upper body strength talking to someone a foot taller than you with 40 pounds of muscle on you. Would you feel safe knowing that he either doesn’t care that he’s making you uncomfortable or is actively enjoying it? Would you feel safe knowing that if he wants to hurt you or drag you away there’s nothing you can do to stop him?

But god forbid you should think about what it’s like to be a woman. That might cause you to question the apparently sacred belief that women exist to make you pathetic sacks of shit feel special. Somehow, I make it through my day without expecting men to stop whatever it is they’re doing and stroke my ego. Somehow, I make it through my day without assuming that men owe me their attention for absolutely nothing in return. If you can’t do the same, then I am a better, stronger, more worthwhile person than you are. Shape up, shitstain. If you think you’re better than me because you’re a man, BE BETTER. Grow a sense of self-worth that doesn’t rely on me patting you on the head like a puppy and telling you you’re the bestest guy in the whole world. Be interesting enough that I would ever choose to talk to of my own free will. Make my life better, not worse if you’re going to interact with me. Stop acting like a fucking two year old and assuming the world revolves around you. Grow the fuck up and learn to deal with women who are *gasp* be better than you at something.

Or at least be honest and admit that you are less than me and always will be.

You have to do the work

A while ago I read a post by Chuck Wendig titled In which I emit a lot of grr-talk about your writing career that really inspired me, but ironically I’m only just now getting around to writing about it. The gist of the post, so that this one will still make sense if the link ever breaks, is that there is no magic wand anyone can wave that will make you a writer. You have to do the work. And it is work, sometimes really hard work, but no one can do it for you. And as an aside, I strongly recommend not reading the comments on that particular post. At the end of the series of tweets he storified, Chuck acknowledged that thanks to being a white guy things were easier for him than they otherwise would have been and a whole lot of commenters shit their pants over that.

But before I get too far into my post, I want to throw a quick disclaimer in here. That post is only helpful (which Mr Wendig himself freely admits in his other post, The flipside of my writing tirade), if you’re in a space where a kick in the pants will do you any good. Sometimes you’re not writing (or anything else-ing) because you really for really real can’t. If that’s you, neither Chuck’s grr-talk nor my post apply to you, and you should maybe go read the flipside post instead and definitely do something nice for yourself if you’re able.

To quote Chuck from a reply he made to a comment on his flipside post:

[…] being me, I get a lot of writers who want to talk to me at cons and email me and tell me how much they want to be a writer but then lament how they’re not writing, and you hit a point where it’s like, I can’t help them unless they write. I can’t make it all better. I can’t fix it. You wanna write, you gotta write. *shrug*

That’s basically the message I took away from the grr-talk post: if you want to do the thing, whatever your thing is, you need to sit down and do it. Technically Chuck’s posts were about writing, but really they apply to anything you keep saying you want to do but aren’t doing. For me, I’d been telling myself for a long time that I wanted to actually read the programming books I’d been collecting, and up my game as a programmer, and learn some math just to see if I’m smart enough, and work on personal projects, and, and, and… and none of that was actually getting done. Now, part of that was because things had gotten pretty bad at my previous job and getting through the day without flipping a table and storming out was eating up pretty much all of my energy, but even before things started really sucking I wasn’t getting the stuff done that I wanted to.

Thanks to a combination of happening to have read Chuck’s post at just the right time, happening to have changed jobs and gotten my work/life balance back, and happening to have gotten sick of my own complaining about how I wasn’t getting stuff done, I started making some real progress. I certainly haven’t gotten to everything on my list yet, but I’m actually doing stuff!

So, uh, I guess my big productivity tip is to get tired of your own whining and then get a much better job so you feel able to do things besides pour wine into your face when you go home. That’s totally within everyone’s reach, right? That’s probably where some more of Chuck’s advice comes in. Sometimes things suck, sometimes you really are very very busy and it’s really, really hard to find a spare 20 minutes to write. But if you want to be a writer, or if you just want to get that coverletter done so you can escape your miserable job, you have to make time. It sucks but there’s no way around it.

What I’d like to add, though, is that it’s okay to not want to do the thing. Sometimes, at least for me, procrastination is a sign that I don’t actually want to do the thing, I just know that I’m supposed to want to. To keep running with the writing example, just because you were the kid who rocked every writing assignment they were given and people liked the stories you did write when you were inspired to write them doesn’t mean you have to want to be a professional writer. Maybe you hate the idea of this thing you love becoming a chore, maybe you don’t want to have to run your career like a small business, maybe having a stable source of income (and health insurance!) is really important to you. You’re allowed to not want the thing everyone says you should want, you’re allowed to try it out and decide it’s not for you, you’re allowed to love it for a while and then change your mind, you’re allowed to change your priorities.

Of course, sometimes procrastination is just procrastination. I’ve read some really interesting articles about how people procrastinate when the fear of trying and failing is worse than not trying at all, and that fits me to a tee. I’ve by no means mastered that particular issue, but there are a couple of things that have helped.

First, you’ve got to set goals you’re actually in control of. For me, that’s stuff like ‘I’m going to work on project x for half an hour’ instead of ‘I’m going to finish feature y in project x.’ The problem with ‘finish feature y’ is that I get really anxious about whether I actually can finish feature y or if I’ll spend four hours fighting with a nasty bug and what that means for my identity as the smart one if I can’t get it done in the time I have and then I don’t get anything done at all. But if my goal is just to work on project x for half an hour, that’s something I know I can succeed at and that lets me sidestep the whole ‘oh god what if I’m not smart enough’ thing.

Second, it can be really handy to get into the habit of asking yourself if the thing you’re doing right now is what you really want to be doing. Not in a ‘stick to beat yourself with’ way, but in the sense that if you’re going to screw around on the internet, you should at least do something you enjoy. I have a terrible habit of aimlessly scrolling through tumblr while hours go by and then all of a sudden it’s dinner time and not only did I not get anything accomplished, but I didn’t even have fun. That just feels shitty, so I’ve been trying to play games I actually enjoy or read stories I actually like if I’m going to screw around on the internets.

Third, reasonable goals, like Chuck said. This ties in really closely with my next point, which is about habits versus motivation. Basically, getting shit done is more about building the habit of doing a little at a time than about waiting for the magical day when you’ll be super motivated and get everything done in one marathon burst of effort. To get stuff done a little at a time, you need a schedule you can keep up in the long run, which means you need to work at a pace that won’t burn you out and leaves room for fun in your life. For my life and my schedule, I try to give myself no more than three goals for personal stuff to get done on a weekday after I get home, and most of those goals are things that don’t take very long, like ‘spend half an hour reading that dry technical book.’ You might be way better at time management than I am and can do five things after you get home, or maybe you have kids and pets and have to do your own cooking and cleaning and maybe you can only do one thing every couple of days.

Finally, and this is something you’ll hear from basically every productivity expert, it’s more important to have habits than motivation. Motivation comes and goes, you’re just not going to be on fire about working on your thing every single day. As much as I love my field and love learning, I’m not exactly counting the minutes until I get to go home and read dry technical books. Waiting until you are on fire about it means you’re going to spend an awful lot of hours waiting around when you could be getting shit done, feeling good about making progress, and then doing something fun without feeling guilty about how you’re not doing the thing.

Speaking of getting things done a little at a time, according to wordpress in the roughly three years this blog has been going I’ve written about 129,000 words. According to this article at Writers Digest, that’s a longish novel. Sure, it took me three years to write that many words, but that was three years of roughly one post a week, averaging 675 words. Of course, writing a coherent novel is way more work than a series of largely unrelated blog posts (yay for not worrying about plot holes!), but that’s a lot of words for not a lot of effort every week.

Readers, if any of you have productivity tips (especially about procrastination!), I’d love to hear about them. Think of it as your good deed for the day :)

Freedom of speech, it’s for everyone

A reader was kind enough to send me a link to just the sort of Fetlife thread that I like to rant about, so here goes. That thread is here, but I’ll summarize it quickly for people who don’t do Fetlife: some schlub is convinced that the answer to all of our female dom/male sub prayers is to make ourselves identifiable by, uh, putting paperclips on our shirt collars. Because getting shitty one-line messages from random asshats isn’t annoying enough, apparently I need to conveniently tag myself for further harassment in real life, waste my time making up excuses for why I’m wearing a paperclip, and run the risk of some total asshole outing me while I’m having lunch with my coworkers.

Shockingly enough, he didn’t react particularly well when people told him they didn’t like his idea, and started whining about how he has freedom of speech and everyone who exercised their own freedom of speech to tell him why his idea didn’t appeal to them is apparently a great big meaniepants mcpoopyhead. I know I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but it always hurts my brain a little to see how fast men who supposedly worship women change their tune when women disagree with them. And for extra irony points, as far as I know everyone who said they didn’t like his idea was relatively polite about it and he still started whining and crying about what horrible people the supposed “haters” are.

I do want to acknowledge the one thing this guy didn’t get totally wrong, though. Usually when men complain about not being able to find dominant women to pester they don’t have any sort of suggestion to fix it. Mr Paperclips had a shitty suggestion, but at least he had one and I’m sad to say I’ve heard far worse. I may be in no hurry to explain why I’ve got a paperclip on my shirt over and over, but at least it’s less obvious than wearing handcuff jewelry or a t-shirt with a kinky slogan.

The part that makes me want to flip tables and set them on fire is the whining about freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is immensely important, I’m not denying that. However, Mr Paperclips’ freedom of speech was never under debate and never attacked in any way. Literally zero people said he didn’t have the right to talk about his idea, just that it was a crappy idea and they weren’t going to participate. What I truly wish the freedom of speech!!!11!!! whiners understood is that freedom of speech is for everyone. You get to have your opinion and so do I. I might even, horror of horrors, have opinions about your opinion, which I have just as much right to talk about as you do.

That kind of behaviour makes me seriously doubt that the freedom of speech whiners actually care about freedom of speech at all. If you even vaguely understand the concept, then it’s obvious it has to apply to everyone equally. Trying to shut down other people’s freedom of speech tells me that what you actually want is total freedom of speech for yourself and people who agree with you, and no freedom at all for people who disagree with you. We can all agree that’s shitty and hypocritical, right?

It would also make me really happy if people understood that freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences. That is, while I don’t think people should be jailed or face criminal charges if they’re not making threats or spewing hate speech, they should understand that acting like an asshole means that people might somehow get the idea that they’re an asshole and ban them from their group/forum/blog/website or otherwise choose not to interact with them.

And finally, I’m going to quote an xkcd comic that I think perfectly sums up the “freedom of speech!!111!!!” argument:

I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.

Organic power and d/s power

Not so long ago the creator of Submissive Guy Comics asked readers to ask him questions on Tumblr. Ferns asked an especially interesting question about organic power (the power someone has outside of a d/s relationship) vs d/s power (the power someone has over another person because they’ve talked it out and agreed to it). Ferns also has some interesting commentary on SGC’s answer, as well as a whole post of her own about traditional power signifiers and d/s, all of which you should probably skim if you want to make any sense of the rambling that’s coming :)

Balancing organic/societal power and d/s power in a relationship can be pretty tricky. Personally, I need someone to have a certain level of organic power before I’m even interested in dominating them. Submission is only meaningful to the extent that it’s freely chosen, so I really need someone who can say no when he needs to. I get that it can be really hard to say no sometimes (god knows I’m not always good at it myself) and that low self-esteem is a sadly common thing, but I personally find the inability to say (to quote Ferns’ delightful post about “protection” and big bad doms)  ‘No thank you’ or ‘I’m not interested, strange shouty lady who is ordering me about’ or ‘Are you insane?!’ or ‘Piss off’ an instant interest killer. I want someone who can say no and chooses not to because that makes me happy, not someone who just can’t say no.

On the other hand, too much of an imbalance of power in the sub’s favour would probably just make me all twitchy and insecure and that’s no fun for anyone. On a fantasy level I love the idea of dominating someone much more powerful than I am, but in practice I’d probably spend a lot of time being anxious about whether he sincerely respected me or whether he was just getting off on how humiliating it was to submit to someone he saw as lesser than he was. To be clear that second scenario would be totally humiliating for me and if someone did that to me I’d never acknowledge his existence ever again. Things would probably also get weird if I tried to have a d/s relationship with someone smarter than I was. Being a woman in a male-dominated field gives me a gigantic chip on my shoulder when it comes to men assuming they’re smarter than I am, plus I’m generally insecure about being smart enough, so to have a d/s relationship with a particularly academically clever man (I’d be fine with someone who was a genius painter or composer or anything that’s totally unrelated to my field, that most likely wouldn’t set me off) I’d have to absolutely trust him never ever to treat me like I was stupid or tell me how to do things.

Like SGC says in his answer, power imbalances can certainly be worked around, but they have to be understood first. I’d probably have an easier time having a d/s relationship with someone who had tremendous advantages but understood that the deck was stacked in his favour than the type of person described in the Barry Switzer quote “Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple” even if we were otherwise fairly equal in terms of organic power. If you’re just oblivious to the advantages you have, whether that’s access to education or physical beauty, then no amount of conversation is likely to make a d/s relationship work for me simply because we can’t talk about power if one of us sticks his fingers in his ears and yells “La la la I can’t hear you” whenever I bring it up.

Readers, how do you think differences in organic power affect d/s relationships?

Today’s post brought to you by DayQuil

I have a nasty cold but thanks to the magic of DayQuil I can at least give you a few links to funny videos.

My Drunk Kitchen, episode one:

Hannah Harto is an absolute genius at comedic timing. An incredible amount of work must go into editing these videos.

Jenna Marbles, Bounce That Dick:

Yes it’s three years old. It’s still funny.

zefrank, True Facts about the Owl:

There’s a whole series of these, they’re all pretty great.

Jake Jacobson III, Ylvis vs. Drowning Pool – Let the Foxes Hit the Floor

Not so much a video but you can’t tell me this isn’t funny :)

Henry Edmonds (animation),  Robert Clouth (music) – Boots and Cats

This will now be stuck in your head forever. If I were a better person I’d feel bad about that.

Mr Weebl – Badgers:

Electric 6 – Gay Bar:

Duck Sauce – Barbra Streisand:

Us vs Th3m – You can’t simple maths under pressure. A game, not a video, but it has a horribly catchy theme song that gets stuck in my head for hours

And if that doesn’t keep you entertained, there’s always Khan Academy. If you’re bored, why not go learn a thing?

You’re too young to be a dom

It’s sadly common for the ageist dicks of the world to tell younger doms that they’re too young to be dominant, as if age has anything to do with it.

First of all, being dominant is an identity, not an achievement. If it was an achievement, there would be an agreed upon test to take or a panel of judges who could decide whether or not to bestow true domhood upon you. Tests and judges only make sense when you have something concrete to test, like the ability to play pierce someone without cross contaminating anything. Domination (and submission!) are so subjective that testing how good a dom someone is would be as relevant and useful as testing how good a romantic partner someone is. There is no “good partner,” only the person who is right for you. Dominance is an identity like nerd is an identity – it’s certainly related to things you do, but only you get to decide whether or not you’re a nerd and it has nothing to do with how old you are.

If the people who shit on younger doms were being logical about it, they would also have to shit on older doms who are new to the scene. Age does limit the amount of experience you could possibly have, but if you’ve ever spent any time at any kink events, online or off, you’ll know that it’s not exactly uncommon for people not to figure out they’re kinky or not feel comfortable exploring it until later in life. So why don’t older newbies get more shit? My theory is that they don’t scare the douchebags of the scene because they aren’t walking threats to the idea that domination is this extraordinarily difficult thing that requires years of intense study and only the most extraordinary, experienced, and educated person could possibly call themselves a dom. Basically, these people are so insecure that they freak out when some kid shows up and proves that anybody can be a good dom to the right partner. We can all agree that’s blatant douchebaggery, right?

On the subject of douchebaggery, how exactly are people who are “too young to be doms” supposed to get the experience that would get these assclowns off their backs? Oh, that’s right, they’re not. They’re supposed to quietly slink away from the scene and not provide any competition for the hot young submissives. If you know you can’t compete with a young, inexperienced dom in a subculture that fetishizes experience in doms (god forbid submissives be experienced, but that’s a separate post), I know where the problem is and it’s not with your competition.

Life experience does count, of course, but it’s hardly the be-all end-all of skill as a dom. There’s no shortage of people with decades more life experience than I have making complete asses of themselves on Fetlife, after all. Now, it would take a pretty exceptional 20 year old dom to convince a 25 year old to submit to them, but why couldn’t they be a perfectly good dom for another 20 year old?

I used to have trouble taking younger doms seriously, but I think that was because I a) bought into the myth in the scene that you can’t possibly be a good dom without lots of life experience, and b) was insecure about my own level of experience so I was kind of a dick about people even younger than I was. Fortunately, I’ve grown up since then and now understand that it’s pretty cool if people are figuring out what they really want younger than I did.

And finally, if age is so important how come nobody gets told they’re too young to be submissive?

Respect and Respect

I came across this tumblr post by Abby and it made me think about how some people talk about respect in the scene:

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority”

and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”

and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

I’m really suspicious that the doms who keep talking about how respect is so important and they deserve to be respected and how terrible it is that submissives these days have no respect aren’t using the word respect the way I do. The people most likely to be disrespected are submissive or assumed to be submissive. Doms, particularly male doms, have very little to complain about in terms of being respected (younger doms, even male ones, do get a certain amount of shit from ageist dicks, but that’s a separate blog post).

Given that male dominants generally are respected in the scene, I have to assume that when they say respect and I say respect we’re actually talking about different things. What would make the whining I’ve seen make some sort of sense is if these guys (let’s be honest, they’re mostly men, although I have seen female doms pull some ridiculous bullshit too) are actually talking about wanting to be treated like an authority by everyone they run into, whether or not they’ve ever done anything to earn it.

Fuck that. Deciding to call yourself a dom in no way makes you an authority. Literally anyone can do that, no matter how inexperienced or ignorant they are. Treating every dom like an authority would require everyone else in the scene to completely ignore basic common sense and their own ability to judge whether someone is worth taking seriously. Not only is that never going to happen, but that sort of “respect” is worthless. Why would I care whether someone with such terrible judgement that they’ll fawn over every so-called dominant they meet fawns over me too? That’s not even about me as a person, it’s about their fantasy of how they should act around doms. I really don’t care to be used as part of someone’s fantasy without them even asking if I wanted a cameo in the J. Random Sub Show.

Real authority is earned. If you’re that invested in being treated like an authority, get really good at something and share your knowledge. Unless that’s too much work for you, in which case keep whining and crying about how everyone you meet is an asshole because they won’t act like their mission in life is to prop up your oh-so-fragile ego. That will totally make people respect you.

The only respect people in the scene are automatically due is being treated like people. It should but sadly does not go without saying that subs are people too and are entitled to the exact same level of respect that doms are until they’ve specifically negotiated other arrangements with a particular person. We are all just people with an unusual hobby until we make other agreements with someone, calling myself dominant doesn’t make me any more or any less than anyone else in the scene, no matter how they identify. I’m fine with that because I’m a fucking grownup. If you’re not, I recommend taking a long hard look at yourself.