Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Semantics of control or how dominance is not really a kink

I'm probably going to use the term "dominant" quite a lot in this blog, so for clarity here is my personal and subjective definition.

When I say "dominant" here,  I mean "sexually dominant". And what I mean by "sexually dominance" is a desire for, a want of,  a sexual arousal and satisfaction resulting from being in control of sexual interaction.

That's it.  Nothing else and nothing more. I'm not claiming it as a correct definition,  or the best one, it's what works for me and what I mean when I use this term.

Understood like that, dominance/submission is not even a "kink" in the way most other kinks are. It's more of a preference,  a style of doing sex and relating in matters sexual,  a dimension on which everyone who's not asexual can be placed.  It's a "how", not a "what".

In its more extreme forms,  it finds its expression in formal D/s or other kinks that are often included under the BDSM umbrella.

But it's of course also perfectly possible to have kinks which often correlate with dominance/submission without being obviously dominant or submissive. Sado masochism,  cross-dressing,  sensory play,  exhibitionism,  pegging are often used as part of D/s play but can also be done without power exchange or counterintuitively to their obvious associations.  A masochistic dominant flogged by her submissive or a female submissive anally pleasuring her male dom are just two obvious examples.

This confusion between specific kinks and dominance/submission combined with the Hierarchy of Worthy Kink  often seems to result in somewhat disparaging comments the high clergy of HoWK make about "fake doms", "vanilla kinksters", people being "just bottoms" and a whole lot of other snobby,  hierarchical bullshit.

All that is well known stuff.  But stay with me a little longer.  What if we look at it from the other side? What if we remove the kinks from dominance/submission?

I believe it's perfectly possible.  I believe you can be sexually dominant or sexually submissive and not have any "kinks" that would be recognisable as kinks - no freak to get on,  no paraphilias,  no weird shit arousal triggers,  no fetishes, not even liking for rough sex.

It's surely possible to be "traditional vanilla"  in everything you do -  let's say, prefer piv sex in the bedroom, with low lights and no props, an occasional bit of oral - and still be dominant or submissive: to deeply enjoy and get off on being in control or being controlled.

It's accepted that "vanilla kinksters" are all around. I give you vanilla doms and subs, dear readers. They are out there, not even hiding, in plain sight. Ask your auntie Dot.


  1. You should get a twitter account! It would make it easier to spread the word about your blog.

  2. I think part of the confusion caused by online BDSM culture is that [people seem uncomfortable with the idea of the dynamic being "real". It's as if it's only OK if the dominant partner is collaboratively emulating the fantasy of dominance.

    (As an aside, the bottom/sub distinction is really important because it describes two visually similar activities with very different dynamics.)

  3. Yes, I agree that the bottom/sub distinction is important, because otherwise we can't talk about, for example, masochistic dominants, service topping, etc.

    As to the dynamic being "real" - I think there are two levels of real.

    One is 'both being into it, getting off on it, and perhaps also getting something beyond the sexual fullfilment out of it' -- and that's the really the part of the "mainstream fem dom" that is infuriating, the assumption that a fem dom indulges/goes with the male sub's kinks and has to be somehow compensated for that eg with money or house cleaning or even hours of cunnilingus (not as part of the dynamic but as a 'payment'). It's much less common with male dom (if anything the idea of the man being naturally and "truly" dominant 24/7 is OVER-pervasive in M/f, see my next point).

    The other is assuming that the dynamic expresses some kind of "real" power imbalance -- not one entered into by agreement but one that was here before, and is the basis for it being expressed in the overt D/s PE. And yes, I AM also uncomfortable with that. I think that if there IS such a -- significant -- previous/underlying power imbalance then there is a huge danger of creating an abusive/exploitative/unhealthy dynamic. As in vanilla, as in anything.