Ask A Feminist: Is BDSM Inherently Misogynist?

15 Jul

Q: What is your opinion on BDSM? Obviously people should be free do to whatever they want in the privacy of their bedrooms… but don’t you get suspicious when guys nonchalantly admits to enjoy getting off at the thought of humiliating and/or beating  a woman? Doesn’t it sound like they’re reinforcing negative stereotypes that are already omnipresent in our society, only in this case they can get away with it because it’s – supposedly – a consensual fantasy? Is it just a fantasy, after all? Do fantasies happen in a vacuum? Aren’t there going to be ramifications? Where do they come from in the first place? We can criticize women’s portrayal in mainstream media, but we can’t do the same with BDSM? Why? As for female submissives… isn’t consenting to the re-enactment of abusive and exploitative scenarios a bit self-destructive? Or am I taking away women’s agency by pointing this out?

A: First of all, a sexy disclaimer: I’m not an expert on BDSM. I’ve engaged in some fairly light BDSM stuff before, but definitely not enough to make me feel like I am a Noted Authority on this subject. But I definitely have Thoughts and Feelings on feminism and BDSM, and naturally I’m going to share them with you.

First of all, no, I don’t think that fantasies exist in a vacuum. I think that people’s sexual proclivities and fantasies are definitely influenced by our society in one way or another. I know for a fact that there are men who are into humiliating and degrading women sexually because they flat out think that’s what women deserve. BUT. I don’t think that dudes who are turned on by dominating women must, by default, be misogynists; in the same vein, I don’t think that women who are interested in being submissive in the bedroom are self-hating anti-feminists. I think that BDSM can for sure be a way of exploring the power dynamics between men and women, but I don’t think that the fact that a man is sexually dominant necessarily means that he views women as inferior.

I once had a partner who was pretty into being dominant in the bedroom. Interestingly, I think this actually caused him more moral quandaries than it did me – I was totally into it, but I remember that at one point he asked me, “How do you ethically degrade a feminist?” The answer is, of course, “With her enthusiastic consent.” If she’s into it, and she wants you to do it, then it’s not actually “degrading,” even if an outside observer might call it that. It’s just a way of interacting that makes you both incredibly hot under the collar, and that’s pretty awesome.

Personally, I find that being sexually submissive has a lot of positive things going for it. When I’m in a submissive sexual role, I don’t have to make any decisions, which is actually pretty relaxing because I often feel like I have to make All The Decisions For Everyone in my everyday life. The times that I’ve slept with dudes who are all, “ok, first I want you to go down on me, and then I’m going to fuck you and make you come, and then I’m going to come on your face,” I’ve been like, great! Now I don’t have to worry about what’s coming next or whether he’s enjoying what I’m doing or whatever. It’s basically like a day at the spa (with a complimentary facial) (that was a really bad joke) (sorry).

Another thing that I like about being submissive in the bedroom is how safe it makes me feel. I know, that sounds like a total contradiction, but it’s true. Being submissive to a dude makes me feel safe because it gives me the realization that I trust this guy so much that I will let him be in control. Usually I’m a super uptight control freak, so the fact that there have been people with whom I’ve felt comfortable enough to totally hand over the reigns is huge. It means that I trust this person enough to never, ever hurt me and to always respect me if I show the slightest sign of not wanting to do something. And dang, feeling that safe with someone gives me a giant boner.

I’ve definitely had my moments of wondering if enjoying being tied up and spanked is very feminist of me, but I guess I’ve come to realize that the most feminist thing I can do is not police my own sexuality or the sexuality of other women. And really, it’s not as if me denying this submissive fetish will benefit anyone; it’s not going to go away if I pretend that it doesn’t exist, and refusing to act on it just means that I’ll have less fun in the bedroom. If I want to be sex-positive (and I do!) then I have to be on board with all kinds of different ways of expressing of sexuality, even if some of them don’t seem very quote-unquote feminist.

I also think it says a lot about our culture that when we talk about BDSM and feminism, we pretty much always mean BDSM within a cis-het relationship, usually referring to a power dynamic where the man is dominant and the woman is submissive. No one ever asks if BDSM between two (or more!) women is feminist, and dominant women aren’t often discussed except in the OHHHHH SCARY SHE’S A DOMINATRIX kinda way. So, as a friend recently pointed out to me, that right there shows you that it’s not so much BDSM that’s problematic, but the way that we assign and act out gender roles. And, again, that’s not to say that men who are dominant are never misogynists, just that one doesn’t necessarily have to equal the other.

I guess that the bottom line is that as long as there’s enthusiastic consent from all partners involved, then any sex can be considered “feminist.” Because if there’s one thing the patriarchy hates, it’s women who own their own sexuality. So I think we should embrace all forms of (consensual) sexual exploration, because in this case I think that’s the most feminist thing we can possibly do.

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44 Responses to “Ask A Feminist: Is BDSM Inherently Misogynist?”

  1. Jessica July 15, 2014 at 1:32 am #

    This is a very good question/blog. I hardly know myself. I am a strong woman, but there is a side to me that loves a man to take charge and…

  2. Blaue Blume July 15, 2014 at 1:37 am #

    yeah, nah. Why do we have to enact power roles during sex? Why did your ex want to ‘come on your face’? I think once you’ve had a long term relationship like this, you know deep down what it’s all about.

    • Tempest Rose July 15, 2014 at 2:28 am #

      I think it’s just personal preference. Different things turn different people on. To me, being submissive in the bedroom gives me a sense of power in itself.

    • thebearpelt July 16, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

      It’s simply a different way to have sex. From the way you’ve phrased it, I don’t think you fully understand what BDSM is. BDSM can also be held outside of long-term relationships, by the way. But primarily, BDSM is a fetish/kink-based community where there is one cardinal rule: consent. Other than that, anyone in the community will tell you that, as long as everyone involved is fully consenting, then BDSM can be anything you want and allows you to explore your own sexuality in a way that’s safe for you.

      Also, your comment about “Why did your ex want to ‘come on your face’?” is actually fairly rudely handled. Firstly, someone wanting to ejaculate on their partner’s face is CERTAINLY not an exclusive trait of BDSM and has been in mainstream culture for quite a while now, so that in and of itself is actually not that unusual. (To me, it’s odd that it’s the one thing you pointed out as though it were the strangest.)

      Regarding, “Why do we have to enact power roles during sex?”, why can’t we? The primary boundary is consent. Beyond that, I see no downside to anyone enacting power roles if they enjoy it during sex, which, unless you are specifically trying to get pregnant, sex is generally about enjoying yourself.

      And the fact that you phrased your last sentence such as you did implies that you think BDSM and long-term relationships don’t go together, which is ludicrous because thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people in the BDSM community have long-term relationships and still “know deep down what it’s all about,” whatever that means.

    • Rosa Harris March 28, 2016 at 7:26 am #

      You know, you cant serve someone when you are all tied up. In fact they end up serving you.. they must do everything. Not everything is as it first appears.

      Also, some people get really hot and bothered by jizz, especially the smell of it. I think that is at a very biological level. The same with the taste of things. I absolutely love the smell and taste of sex and sweaty armpits.

      I hate when my partner wants to shower before sex because thins too dirty… its called pheromones and if you get beyond cultural over clean programming it can turn you into a wild tiger.

  3. Kristen Chapman Gibbons July 15, 2014 at 1:39 am #

    Reblogged this on Big Blue Dot Y'all and commented:
    Team Do-What-You-Want-As-Long-As-No-One-Gets-Hurt-And-Doesn’t-Want-To…

  4. Tempest Rose July 15, 2014 at 2:29 am #

    1. I loved your “bad joke”.
    2. I completely agree.

  5. tendernessontheblock July 15, 2014 at 6:54 am #

    I think it transcends feminism. What about women who cheerfully take on the dom role? Division of roles in BDSM seem fairly distributed. Some folk on the scene who I know would claim it operates on a basis of equality.

    • thebearpelt July 16, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

      I would largely agree. The one cardinal rule I’ve always found in the community is consent. Other than that, who cares if a woman is a dom or if a couple are both genderfluid switches or whatever?

      • tendernessontheblock July 17, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

        I think the issue of sexuality of vastly bigger than gender politics. I’m no physiologist or psychologist, but we don’t need to be Einstein (am I even spelling him properly?) to understand something of our primal urges, the thin line in our brains between pleasure and pain. The tying up games of our early childhood experiences, their transference into adulthood once sexually mature.

        The abuse of power, and the distortion of power and control through rape and sexual violence, while never justifiable, often have roots in damaged development. Yes, we need to be cognisant of the influence the patriarchy and power, but men participating in healthy consensual BDSM practices shouldn’t be confused with men who a skewed sense of power and control, and who abuse that power through sexual violence. The more I think about this topic, the more I feel feminism has a minor role in it, if any. And therefore it was a topic worth considering. And extremely well-written, as always.

    • ccchanel41 August 13, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

      Totally agree here.

  6. Putu Bali July 15, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    hmm,, still learning and understanding about this

  7. cuteassin July 15, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    Loved this post. I struggled for a long time with being a feminist into bdsm and would only top not bottom. Even though I am not a submissive and don’t let anyone own me or tell me what to do I still wasn’t sure where it fitted in with my beliefs.

    • thebearpelt July 16, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

      I want to clarify that being a submissive doesn’t require you to be “owned.” I’m a switch with sub preferences and I don’t feel that I have to be owned to be a sub. (Actually, the term “slave” is more often associated with this. But I digress.)

      I say this not to convince you to call yourself a sub, though, but more to clarify if that helps you at all. Many people don’t like the term “submissive” itself and that’s totally cool.

      Glad you’re able to reconcile the way you feel about these!

      • cuteassin July 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

        I never said a submissive is owned. I said I am not a submissive and I don’t let anyone own me or tell me what to do, three separate statements.

      • Rosa Harris March 28, 2016 at 7:37 am #

        One cant serve all tied up… the master becomes the slave of the submissive pleasure. Via the safe word, the sub cant end it at any time. Also, a dom is well aware that the intensity of her pleasure is deeply related to driving the slave mad with pleasure.. with that serving the pleasure of the sub, even when this means denying orgasm to prolong the experience so that the intensity of the later orgasm is through the roof.

        Pain in this context often takes on an aspect of extreme pleasure. It is actually no longer pain at all. Its well known that any sensation that we have can be experienced as good or bad.. context is very important. In sex mode we tend to feel things very differently… especially at the peaks of pleasure.

  8. Cross July 15, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    Reblogged this on |X|C|BDSM| and commented:
    I am not entirely sure how it happened, but somehow the majority of the people I follow on the Tumblr platform are women who post a lot about gender issues. This has given me the opportunity to hear a lot more about the subject than I had in the past.

    Often, however, when I attempt to engage with questions or disagreement, I am attacked for my participation in BDSM and told that my participation in the discussion is not welcome.

    I am sensitive to the fact that, as a male, I am not in a position to assert any sort of authority on gender equality. But to be excluded solely for my private sexual preferences or interests is unreasonable and, in my opinion, inconsistent with the tenants of feminism, which generally seeks to empower women to make their own decisions, especially when it comes to their body, including the choice to give that control to someone else if they wish.

    But don’t take it from me. Here is a post that articulates it very well.

  9. Kasey Weird July 15, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    I think it’s also worth.pointing out, while discussing the “inherent” nature of bdsm, that not all bdsm involves a mam dominating a woman. Queer people participate in bdsm in all kinds of gender combinations, often very deliberately fucking with thay very pseudo-misogynist script.

    And I mean, as a trans person who tends submissive, it’s been really interesting exploring the different ways my mind attaches to kink as I’ve transitioned and my self-perception has changed.

    It’s complicated, is what I’m saying. Even more complicated than the aspects you’ve discussed here.

    • Kasey Weird July 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

      Ok, I somehow missed your paragraph where you do briefly acknowledge dominant women and lesbian bdsm. Still, I feel like this conversation really needs to be more fully opened.

  10. georgefinnegan July 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    I realize that this might be slightly off-topic, but every time I see the statement “I think we should embrace all forms of (consensual) sexual exploration”, it’s like someone running their fingers down a chalk board. Mostly because most pro-sex positivity people I know seem to be pretty selfish in their ideas of consent. They believe that, as long as the people actually having sex consent, then it’s OK. But, some want to have sex in public places and tell me that I should embrace that idea. When you have sex in public, and there’s a chance that the public will view it, and that subjects ‘the public’ to a sexual situation to which they did not give consent. If the viewer has been raped or was sexually abused as a child and has PTSD, true consent in this situation is very important – asking them to just divert their eyes and go about their business doesn’t float. I realize you put ‘consensual’ in your phrase – I hope everyone understands the breadth of what that means.

    • Kasey Weird July 15, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

      I definitely think it’s important to explicitly include people watching sex occur as participants whose consent is required as well. A very important point, for sure.

    • peppercornelius July 16, 2014 at 9:18 am #

      http://feministcurrent.com/9211/why-consent-is-not-enough/

      I actually read both of these articles one after another and it really made me think a lot. The term ‘consent’ has been thrown around so often these days and I’m wondering what is true consent anyway? Why is there so much focus on consent, and is it something that we are reluctant to acknowledge as beside the point? The point being that our fantasies do not exist in a vacuum and that instead of tackling why we like certain things, we are talking about why it is okay to say yes to BDSM, for instance, when it’s a result of social conditioning.

      • thebearpelt July 16, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

        I don’t know if I fully agree that BDSM is a result of social conditioning, at least not by itself, but I actually think the BDSM community has had the best definition of consent I’ve ever seen.

        Consent, as the BDSM community sees it, is something that an individual agrees to participate in of their own volition (i.e. not pressured, forced, etc.). Consent is not infinite. For example, consenting to penetration is not consenting to all other acts of sex. Nor is it consenting to penetration at any other time in the future. Consent may be revoked at any time and must be respected.

      • kittipoe March 27, 2016 at 7:50 am #

        Why is there a focus on consent? It is supremely important and cannot be taken for granted, actually. Example: some people have kidnapping fantasies. If I kidnap someone using rope or handcuffs and a gag, blindfold, etc. it is absolutely IMPERATIVE that I have their initial and continual consent.

        There is a disconnect here: “instead of tackling why we like certain things, we are talking about why it is okay to say yes to BDSM.” We can do both, actually. Anyone into “organized” BDSM will tell you that it is NEVER meant to replace therapy or introspection.

        There is a current misconception that all interest in kinky sex comes from trauma, mental illness, or some form of bigotry (misandry or misogyny and there are so many more–race games and such…anyway). To me this article is more about relaying the view that being in a submissive role sexually doesn’t undermine being a feminist (any more than loving people in military uniform undermines someone’s desire and dedication for peace).

        Here’s one thing that helped me understand it. Usually the bottom or submissive has a great deal of control. They are the green light; they are the red light. Nothing happens without their express permission.

      • Rosa Harris March 28, 2016 at 7:54 am #

        I don’t see anything in my experience that socially conditioned me to find pleasure in pain. It was just that way. I came from a very rural backward area.. three tv channels and very little exposure. I just found that in the middle of sexual arousal that things that should have been painful were in fact intensely pleasurable and not at all pain. In fact, I later learned that we are wired that way in general. Who hasn’t seen the response of their partner when in the heat of the moment they drag their nails down their back? Or what happens when a nipple gets bitten? And these things are common well outside BDSM. And the thought of just laying there and letting your partner do everything? Pretty common fantasy… just add some rope and you have BDSM.

    • thebearpelt July 16, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

      I agree with you and I actually have discussed the issue of exhibitionists in the BDSM community before.

      The thing is, for it to be fully consensual, that means that whoever is viewing the exhibitionists have to consent as well. This is where voyeurs come in, typically. But not everyone wants to watch others have sex, regardless of why. For example, I’m definitely into BDSM myself, but I have never actually enjoyed watching porn of any kind. I will read porn comics and read erotica, but watching other people have sex at all is uncomfortable and weird for me.

      And anyone who’s “sex-positive” and tries to get me to want something I don’t want isn’t ACTUALLY sex-positive. This type of individual is also the type of individual that pushes asexual individuals the wrong way and generally treats them like crap. Not all sex-positive people are like that, but the ones that are are WRONG and I agree with you on that one.

  11. Sarah July 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    I’d skip the facial. But that’s just my personal preference. 🙂

  12. lidsamy July 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    don’t assume all subs are women…..

  13. LauraALord July 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    As a feminist who is a submissive in the bedroom…I love this. You nailed it. “I guess I’ve come to realize that the most feminist thing I can do is not police my own sexuality or the sexuality of other women.” – That right there is exactly it. My husband and I have a fantastic relationship that is mutually respectful. We are equal partners…Until the bedroom. 😉

  14. Britt July 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    Your writing, as usual, is funny and smart. Your message with all its sexy disclaimers is inclusive and kind and open-minded and forgiving. My take-away here is it’s OK to be “submissive” to “feel safe” or to let someone you trust completely make a few decisions– what a relief! In fact, maybe you’d consider this sort of sex “feminist,” you know, when the consenting adults are BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. But what if you weren’t talking about sex here… what if a woman felt this way about the financial well-being of her family, or the role she has chosen for herself within it. Is it OK to want to feel similar trust and safety out in the open? Can one do that AND be a feminist (believing in equal rights for all, full stop)? I think so.

  15. AMM July 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    My concern with simply saying “whatever consenting adults do is okay” is that things aren’t that simple.

    For one thing, unless we examine our likes and dislikes to see how they are influenced by Patriarchy (and rape culture), we can’t be sure that we aren’t simply acting out what Patriarchy expects of us. It’s not whether you do any particular practice, it’s whether you are conscious of why you are doing it. (Anybody remember consciousness raising from
    1960’s and 1970’s feminism?) Cf.: women changing (or not changing) their last names to their husbands’.

    For another, there’s such a thing as BDSM culture, and from what I’ve seen (I don’t participate, but I’ve lurked on a lot of on-line discussions), overriding people’s autonomy (which IMHO is an essential part of consent) is a big and fashionable part of it. The people from BDSM culture who I’ve seen preaching greater acceptance of BDSM invaraibly minimize the problems with consent and how pervasive they are. For this reason, I take the phrase “between consenting adults” with many grains of salt when mentioned in a BDSM context.

    This isn’t to say that you — or anyone — should give up any BDSM practices that you are happy with. It is to say that it’s worth examining how they fit into your life and the world you live in.

  16. M July 16, 2014 at 5:19 am #

    I love you for the whole write up.

  17. thebearpelt July 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    I wanted to weigh in on this as someone very much into BDSM myself. I’m a switch (meaning I enjoy being a top and a bottom), but I have a 70% leaning towards being a sub. I’m also a masochist when I sub. I only recently discovered that I liked domming with my current boyfriend, who is also a switch.

    The thing I’ve been thinking about for a long time is where the desires to dominate come from, especially for men. On a subreddit that was actually a nice place (mostly text-based, which helped), I asked male doms how they draw a line between consensual non-consent and rape. I understood there was a difference, but struggled with why it was different for them. I finally got one good answer that, summarized, posited the difference being akin to how we enjoy violence in video games but wouldn’t commit acts of murder in real life. (They said it wasn’t the SAME thing, of course, but similar enough to compare.) There’s a base desire for things that aren’t necessarily a good thing to do to others. But our minds know that there is a huge difference between acting something out as a consensual roleplay with someone where proper safewords are in place and actually raping someone.

    The theory I’ve been toying with is that, if it weren’t for how screwed up our society’s views are on sex, BDSM wouldn’t exist today, not in its current form. The thing is, we see so much imagery and writing of sex in negative ways. We see the way rape is depicted in the media and the way stalking is framed as romantic and all this negative imagery gets pushed into our brains fairly constantly, whether we want it or not. And I think it helps form some of our desires because of the repetition and because we’re easily influenced by media. So we end up with these darker desires that we’ve seen acted out in fiction and all sorts of places and we don’t know what to do with them.
    That’s why BDSM exists, in a way.
    BDSM provides a safe way to explore those dark fantasies we’ve developed. It allows for exploration of things we might not otherwise be at all comfortable with and to do so with partners that are fully consenting.

    So, no, I don’t believe that men who are doms are anti-feminist or suspicious. I believe that everyone has their own dark fantasies and desires that come from the media around us and it’s no surprise that some men want to dominate after being inundated with imagery of men dominating others. A man with these desires, though, who participates in them through the framework of BDSM is likely to be more respectful of women, I think.

    And, to clarify, I define the term BDSM as a community of individuals who are into Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, and/or Masochism, and/or other related kinks/fetishes, whose sole rule is this: CONSENT. You can practice BDSM any which way you’d like, with any set of rules, with any number of partners, with any number of kinks, so long as consent is always present. Anyone who ignores consent is not into BDSM, they are a rapist looking for a cover instead.
    (This also means, to me, that certain things classified as kinks or fetishes are, to me, NOT BDSM. For example, racial fetishes are not BDSM because race is not an outfit you can put on and take off. You are dehumanizing an individual WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT and this makes racial fetishes not BDSM as far as I’m concerned.)

  18. ScrewLooseHoney July 17, 2014 at 2:03 am #

    Fucking great post. I’ve thought a lot about this as well. Glad I found your blog!

  19. nikkiholicz July 19, 2014 at 3:45 am #

    First of all, love the post and your attitude. Secondly, I personally don’t find anything at all wrong with it. It isn’t degrading if you both consent. If it’s a constant thing, maybe there’s an issue there, but as an occasional way to spice things up, play on! My fiance likes to dominate and I like it too. It gets us both hot. I agree with your thoughts on feeling safe as well. That is a true test of trust and if you’re both down for it, hell yeah!

    The facial joke had me rolling, by the way. I’m glad I found your blog. I will be following.

  20. myfemalepersuasion July 22, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    I’m reading this after writing a post on my own blog about not liking to be choked. http://myfemalepersuasion.com/2014/07/17/choke-me-and-ill-choke-your-ass-back/ interesting perspective here. I do think that men who automatically choke women during sex (no prior discussion or permission, etc) and DO Not like to be dominated by women, have underlying negative attitudes toward women. The ones I’ve met had the same attitude outside the bedroom. I agree that two consenting adults can do what they please.

  21. womanistgadfly July 23, 2014 at 2:36 am #

    I don’t think sex is ever as simple as “enthusiastic consent.” And to never examine sex beyond considering whether “enthusiastic consent” has been achieved is somewhat lazy and exclusive. At the very least, the consent of “enthusiastic consent” ignores who might want to have sex, but not for explicitly “enthusiastic” or pleasure-centered reasons (this applies to asexual, grey-a, and less sexual people, as well as those who perceive sex as something beyond a pleasuring activity).

  22. Amanda September 9, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    I don’t usually comment, as everyone who does has some awesome things to say and there isn’t much that hasn’t already been said by the time I get there. I do have to say something about this. You critically analyze any subject that comes across this blog from a feminist perspective, and it really works on shifting the focus and seeing the picture in a whole new light. I think you dropped the ball with this BDSM post. Now I’m all for sexual freedom and exploring boundaries, but just because it’s sex doesn’t mean it’s above our critical engagement. I would have expected you to draw parallels between women’s submissive and men’s dominant bedroom roles to the gender binary we are subject to in the real world, there’s a lot of connections to be made between BDSM and our culture at large. I feel you were way more worried about not alienating people and being perceived as “sex-positive”. I don’t know any feminist who is “sex negative”, just people who are brave enough to really think about the implications of their sex life and how it affects the rest of their life (as feminists, we know systems of oppression are related, and that among the ways women are oppressed, sexuality is one of them. You can’t tell me what you do in the bedroom and what you do in real life aren’t related.) I do some things in the bedroom that aren’t very very feminist of me, but I’m not gonna say “well I’m a feminist and I’m doing it so it’s feminist sex”. Its not. I’m not judging anybody, I do it too. Spend 25 years absorbing all the rules for femininity in a patriarchy, and you’ve got a lot of mind binding to work through. As one feminist environmentalist said, “De – colonization is hard work”. If we can’t analyze BDSM, then I guess men wanting to act out rape fantasies is above critical analysis too. Sorry, but I’m definitely gonna judge any dude who wants to enact rape fantasies on ANYONE, and I am definitely gonna think that any woman who has similar rape fantasies, has totally absorbed the messages patriarchy is sending about womens’ consent, when you can sexualize the idea of you having none. I used to have rape fantasies. When I decided to take feminism seriously, I thought long and hard about those, but I realized that ultimately, that was unhealthy for me. So no need to pass judgement on other people, but as feminists, it’s our duty to analyze EVERY aspect of our lives, and no facet is above criticism.

    • kittipoe March 27, 2016 at 8:13 am #

      Please don’t. As a woman who enjoys rape fantasy and is predominantly hetero, I kinda need willing men to help me out with that. It is actually kinda hard already, since I am only interested in intellectuals and egalatarian/feminist men. For me it is about seduction, desire, and a little pain (or maybe a bunch of it).

      I think she is analyzing it. There is a ton of unpacking to do from this short piece. It isn’t dismissive of being critical, even of being suspicious. I think you missed the point because you are engaging this exactly as she suggested (and I agree) is unhealthy and judgmental.

      If it makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it. If you don’t believe in it, don’t do it. If you want to know more about it, research it. It would take like 1,000-page book to fully explore this junction of power play/sexuality/gender roles/equality.

      We can only experience reality as it is now. To experience reality as the ideal of what it should be or will be in the future is to be dissociative. In our current reality, women are still not equal etc., etc. Sometimes, dealing with that all day, everyday creates a need for release. Some people have a cocktail with friends, some people play golf, and some people want their ass beat red and their throat squeezed real hard during foreplay.

      You can and should believe what you want. Beliefs are a wonderful/terrible thing. But allow others the same; allow others the freedom of choice to do the same without being reprimanded, especially as a female, by a female and for a female–which is a guiding principle in feminist thought.

  23. Alex October 9, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    I completely agree with your points here. Hard to find people who know the difference of fantasy and reality these days.. I gotta say, I’m quite a nerd when it comes to foreplay and sex, and enjoy roleplaying quite a lot.

    Related to the subject, I sometimes feel urges to be dominant or submissive when I’m with someone, and sometimes neither, but consent and a good degree of respect is essential, otherwise I’m just completely turned off.

  24. hellenmasido November 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    This question has bugged me for quite sometime being feminist myself and a huge sucker for the submissive aspect of bondage and dominance. And it’s been so well answered I’m super glad I stumbled upon this post!

  25. Grace ThatsMe March 25, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

    As one of those “scary” dominatrixes (sp?), I applaud your explanation for actually mentioning the thought BDSM dynamics exist outside of the cis-hetero world. Actually, I cannot thank you enough. My situation is even more different when I tell you in a private email, as too many identifiers may possibly “out” me. Consent is the cornerstone of our community, as is anonymity.

    I play with all sexes (and no, I do not hate men, rather I think they’re adorable, even if I *am* gay). I respect the hell out of submissives and slaves (but don’t get me stated on doormats or people who believe that if they’re (someone’s) submissive, that means they are that way to everyone (or to any D-type). It’s about consent, and consent is based on the idea of having a choice to begin with. What’s more empowering than that?

    If you have any questions for me about proclivities, and whatnot, feel free to contact me. 🙂

  26. Grace ThatsMe March 25, 2016 at 10:17 pm #

    As one of those “scary” dominatrixes (sp?), I applaud your explanation for actually mentioning the thought BDSM dynamics exist outside of the cis-hetero world. Actually, I cannot thank you enough. My situation is even more different when I tell you in a private email, as too many identifiers may possibly “out” me. Consent is the cornerstone of our community, as is anonymity.

    I play with all sexes (and no, I do not hate men, rather I think they’re adorable, even if I *am* gay). I respect the hell out of submissives and slaves (but don’t get me started on doormats or people who believe that if they’re (someone’s) submissive, that means they are that way to everyone (or to any D-type). It’s about consent, and consent is based on the idea of having a choice to begin with. What’s more empowering than that?

    If you have any questions for me about proclivities, and whatnot, feel free to contact me. 🙂

  27. ettk45 March 27, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

    Women that identify as feminists are so confused. Study up on social engineering please. That’s an order.

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