The Rise of the Cocky Billionaire

Well, I’m a billionaire in Thai baht. I’m rising because I had a bad cold and now I seem to be getting rid of it. I’m cocky because I’ve got a cock. I am be-cocked. My cock works well,  rising in the presence of submissive women who want my attention, and later it sets, like the sun.

So that’s how I got “cocky” and “billionaire” into my title. I know, though, that “billionaire” and “cocky” are two words that make me avoid a book, especially if they appear on the cover. 

With “billionaire” it’s partly because it suggests the book is going to be derivative of the “Fifty Shades” books, and god knows that’s a terrible model. There’s also the way sex gets mingled with a kind of right-wing economics. No questions are asked about how the billionaire got his money, and that’s the most real human-interest part of “billionaire” to me. As well as, are they paying their share of taxes?

Instead there’s a sort of Ayn Rand approach, that the very rich have no obligations to the society they live in. They’re just desirable because they can take a girl around in their private jet or yacht, and they can take her shopping. 

There’s something faintly insulting to both men and women is this sexual idolisation of the billionaire. It suggests that a man isn’t a dom because of his personal qualities, but because of his wallet. He dominates the heroine because he’s rich. Similarly, it suggests that women aren’t attracted by personality, humour, eyes, and so on, but by wallets. That’s a shallow and cynical take on human nature, and also, thank fuck, a false view. it doesn’t remotely resemble the world I live in or the dominant and submissive couples I know.

Then there’s the “cocky” thing. The attributes of the “cocky” man seem to be that he’s good-looking and really, deeply knows it. So when he does something obnoxious to the heroine at their first meeting, and she responds angrily, he knows she’s aroused by him to the point of soaking through her jeans. 

So he says, “I know you want me,” to this woman he’s just met, and then, “but you’ll be begging me for it later.” And he saunters off. 

A “cocky” man, encountered in real life, would be what is usually called “an asshole”.

I don’t think it’s any surprise that “Faleena Hopkins”, the woman who took out a copyright on the word “cocky”, (which she did not coin, and she was not the first to use it in an erotic romance title) and started threatening to sue other writers who use the word, reviewed Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugs” on Amazon and said it was her favourite book. 

Most doms I know are trying to be decent human beings, and most submissives react to the person and not their wallet. And they struggle to work out how to be dominant and submissive together. That’s the most realistic bdsm story. It’s also, I think, the sexiest.

Vanilla and spice: Is bdsm a smaller box?

Nothing wrong with vanilla

I’ve never liked the term “vanilla”, used by some people in bdsm to refer to sex that doesn’t have bdsm in it, or the people who practice it. It seems a bit disparaging, and self-promoting in a way I find unattractive when other people do that to me.

For example, there was a thing in the Sydney gay community a few years back where heterosexuals were referred to as “breeders”. Sometimes it was a joke, and a good-natured one, but I’ve also heard and read it being used in terms of extreme dismissiveness and contempt. 

I thought it was a shame when gays and lesbians were doing that, even if the het world has come up with its share of disparaging words for gays and lesbians, Hets have no moral high ground whatsoever. 

I think it’s a shame when we refer to the majority of the human race as having “vanilla” sex, with its sub-text that they’re having boring sex, poor people, while we fetishists, ministers, bdsm guys and girls are exploring all the flavours and having psychedelically mind-blowing sex, compared to those poor, restricted vanillas. 

But the term’s here now, and no one’s come up with a better one-word way of saying, “non-bdsm sex and the people who have it”.

When I’m talking about bdsm to people who aren’t into bdsm, I’ll explain that there’s this word, and I use it for its convenience. I don’t mean it pejoratively. 

Still, I’d rather there was a better term. 

I don’t know why but when I think, “sort of attractive but utterly not sexy”, this is the sort of image that comes to mind

I also wonder about my own sexual repertoire. Since I’ve embraced bdsm so strongly and so passionately, I’ve had occasional sexual encounters with women who aren’t into bdsm and don’t want to try 

I’ve found that there’s enough lust to carry me through vanilla sex (erection, ejaculation and so on).

But there’s no question that I’m not as turned on, as excited, as I am when I’m subduing and taking some sweetly or fierily consenting submissive girl. 

Have I become a sexual specialist, only really capable of enjoying bdsm-related sex? I think the answer is: not completely, but to a significant extent. I’ve fitted myself into a smaller box. That worries me a bit. 

I sometimes feel a little awkward because I’m monosexual.

That’s a word that some bisexuals use to describe people who aren’t bisexual. Obviously, you can be homosexual and monosexual, and you can be heterosexual and monosexual, which last is the Venn circle that I’m in.

He’s the sort of go-to image for “hot man”, just at this moment. But I don’t fancy Chris Hemsworth, nice guy though he seems to be, or anyone of his gender

Bisexual seems like the cool category to be in, embracing everyone, but I’m stuck with not fancying men whatsoever, and being amazed that so many women do, thank fuck. 

Anyway, I’m heterosexual, and so I’ve excluded half the human race from potential lust, and I can see that that’s a loss, of a kind. Similarly, I’d much rather be able to have vanilla sexual relationships, because otherwise I’d be excluding about 95% of humanity from potential lust.

But I have a feeling I’m drifting away from non-bdsm sex.

I don’t think I’ve had an erotic dream, certainly not a waking sexual fantasy, which isn’t bdsm-based, in years. Still,I guess that we all just have to be, and accept, whatever it happens that we are. 

Message of hope for baby-doms

The most miserable experience of my life was because of bdsm. I was twenty-two, and I was very deeply in love with a woman I admired, respected, who was beautiful, who shared my political passions, whose virginity I’d taken. She’d been eighteen, and she hadn’t told me. I’d been nineteen, and I didn’t know enough to realise. 

Later, when she told me, I was flattered that I’d been her choice, and sorry I hadn’t made more fuss. She should have had more cunnilingus, and afterwards a cake with a candle. Anyway, it was done.

I don’t really have any photos that illustrate this post. But here’s a pic I took yesterday, of a Prague manhole cover, depicting some sort of strife.

But there was a problem. My deepest and most satisfying sexual thoughts, and all of my fantasies, involved bdsm, and me being a dom. I don’t think the word existed at the time.

But in my sexual dreams I commanded, fastened, spanked and flogged. I guided, I rewarded and punished, and I took.

That was what I wanted, from a willing partner having fun.

It always had been what I wanted. I’d known it since I was four, long before I was sexually focussed, let alone sexually active.

But she thought that that sort of sex wasn’t just not for her; it was evil.

She’d read Andrea Dworkin and Robin Morgan on bdsm, and so she “knew” that. There could be no such thing as ethical, or even consensual, bdsm.

I’d mentioned it once, and on seeing her reaction, I gave up. I thought it was a pity. I loved her so much I wanted to be with her forever. and that meant I’d have to bury my bdsm. Lose it. Forget about it. Cut it off me.

Of course, sexual desires and needs don’t go away. Sometimes it’d be too much, and when she was absent I’d have my fantasies and masturbate. The miserable thing happened because we were staying with her parents, and moments alone just didn’t happen.

Eventually, the desires got too much, and I took a book I liked (“The Coming of Age of Françoise Cocteau”, which I’d expected to be more stylish, though the flagellation scenes were hot) to a local park, overlooking the sea.

It was twilight cold, and no one seemed to be there, and no one was likely to come to the park at that hour. I found a place among the trees, partly sheltered by a rock, and masturbated. But I felt desolate. I was in love with a girl who loved me, and I was still utterly isolated. Part of me was disgusting to her. All of me, just then, would be disgusting to anyone who saw me.  

So I was in tears, streaming down my face, before I came, and after. Body fluids everywhere.

That’s it. That’s the experience. I cleaned myself up, binned the tissues, waited a while for the onshore breeze to remove the smell from my body, and trudged home. Despising myself.

 But here’s the thing. She left me the next year, because in the feminist circles she was moving in it was wrong to have a boyfriend at all: sleeping with the enemy, and withholding wimminlovingenergy from other women, that’s what loving me was. Eventually it got too much and she moved in with women from the sisterhood. I was collateral damage. 

It was not the happiest time of my life.

Sitting at a cafe in Prague today, keeping an eye on the square. Because life is ok.

But humans, thank fuck, are fickle, and after a mourning period I noticed that a man who’d been with one woman for four years, despite a roving eye, was a subject of sexual interest from other women. I had opportunities, and I started taking them. The second significant girlfriend I had wanted me to spank her. We explored further, and I found that I loved spanking her, and I loved what happened when we went further, too.

I moved to another city when I finished my degree, and found that my very next girlfriend wanted to be spanked and commanded too. So I’d met and bedded two women in a row who were submissive, when I hadn’t even included that in my selection criteria. I realised that my life wasn’t going to be as miserable as I’d expected. Instead life set about being fun and bringing me joy. I learned that a male dom is not short of women who want male doms, so long as those doms behave themselves like gentle men.

Because life is random, and for other reasons too obvious to explain, here’s a picture of a dog-washing shop, two days ago,  in Geneva.

Anyway, that’s my message to baby-doms. The term “baby-doms” isn’t meant to be dismissive. It’s derived from “baby-dykes”, who are among the most charming people on the planet, even if they don’t want to have sex with me.

Babyhood is a time of infinite potential. Baby-doms are people whose experience of bdsm is in its infancy, who are just starting out, and who have, perhaps, only recently become aware of their desires. Don’t despair. Life can go hard on “perverts”, and so can your own mind.

Keep your code of ethics, try to do the right thing, and persevere.

There’s nothing wrong with being a dom, so long as you obey the same rules about consent and avoiding force or manipulation that people expect in other kinds of sex. A lot of people are submissive, and they are looking for you, or someone like you.

Life gave me some miserable times because I’m a dom, but it also gave me the most wonderful experiences and times I’ve ever had. Those outweigh the bad times by a factor of, I’m not sure, but at least a hundred to one. I’d never give up being a dom, now, even if the thing were possible.     

So, be hopeful and of good cheer. Life offers paths to doms, to fit their sexual “kink” into a good, ethical life, with lots and lots of incredibly hot sex and love. 

Fiery, faerie sex 1

There is a word for having a fetish for fire: pyrophilia. It involves setting, or watching, fires for sexual arousal and gratification. 

Fire is dramatic!

It’s supposed to be different from pyromania, which is compulsively setting fires for other, non-sexual, reasons.

Me, I’ve been a psychiatric nurse, and I’ve studied psychology as part of an undergraduate degree. So although I’ve seen how the diagnostic system works in practice, I’m not any sort of expert at all. 

Still, I know there’s evidence that for various reasons (academic publishing pressures, the fact that getting conditions into the DSM makes it easier for patients to claim financial support for treatment, among others) psychiatrists are – perversely – rewarded for finding new diagnoses. So behaviour that has a range of motivations may get labelled as if the motives can be separated into, for example, sexual and non-sexual. 

Flames of passion, and so forth, didn’t become cliches for no reason at all

Still, a very small number of people have had their genitalia hooked up to various devices measuring sexual arousal, and responded more strongly to images of fire than to images of an attractive person of their preferred gender. The fire is hotter than the hottie. 

Still, in most cases it seems that there’s a range of motives when someone starts a fire, especially one that places lives and homes at risk. 

One motivation is hostility to the people who are likely to suffer from the fire’s impact. Even if they’re unknown, the arsonist may think of them as “rich bastards”, or “adults”, or whatever. They may also be a hated racial minority.

As well, there’s anger, especially in young men, that they’re not getting the things – female company, money, fame, respect, etc – they think they’re entitled to. There are other motives.

At the same time, fire is warmth, it’s energy, it’s wild, unpredictable and free. Though it can be tamed. Those are sexy qualities.

Guess who likes fire? Jerusalem Mortimer, that’s who

If I’m with a girl on a beach, and I pile up some driftwood and make a fire, and we sit together staring at it, the chances that we’ll have sex are as close to 100% as makes no difference.

Setting a safe fire, and enjoying it together, is one of the basic human sexual scripts.

And from hotties to flames of passion, burning love and fires of desire, so much of our sexual language uses fire images and metaphors. We’re just… drawn to fire. 

I’ve got a bdsm-flavoured fire story of my own to tell, I mean a true one. I’ll write it in the next couple of weeks.  

 

Don’t do that! 3

Remember: those knickers only count as consent if she’s signed them

Gavain thought. What had he learned about himself, from smacking Cassie’s bottom? “Spanking you felt good, I mean as a sensual experience. There’s that.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Gawain. That’s so appalling I can’t even tell whether you’re trying to talk your way out of trouble. I tell you what, though.”

“What?”

“I know you. We’re friends. I know you’re not a psycho or a misogynist. But that pat on the ass thing, that gets harder when I’m getting closer to coming: I noticed that.”

“Didn’t feel subtle, then?”

“No woman wouldn’t notice. Thing is,not everyone knows you’re not a nutcase. So there are a lot of girls, probably the majority, who aren’t going to all that delighted when a man offers to hit them. Even if he means it in a nice sexy way. Cause they don’t think there is a nice way or a sexy way. So your chances of getting them back into your bed are close to zero.”

Gavain nodded, considering that. It seemed likely to be true. He said, “Yeah.”

There’s no sneaky way of spanking someone. They will notice.

“You know, even for girls who aren’t shocked, maybe even girls who’d like to be spanked more than me, it still feels like you’re trying to be sneaky. No one likes that.”

“Yeah.”

“You’re an ok person, and you pay attention when you’re fucking. I like the way you fuck. I bet lots of girls like fucking you. Or they would. So I’m not getting at you.”

“Yeah.”

“No! You don’t get to sulk! You’re the one who smacked my ass.”

Don’t do that again! 2

NOTE

This is Episode 2 of a short story. Well, it’s short by my standards: I expect it to take only three or four episodes. Episode 1 is here. Read it if you haven’t and you feel like it, then come back. 

Don’t Do That! 2

Gavain groaned. He had, indeed, spanked Cassie without her permission. He said, “I’m an idiot. I’m sorry. I mean, truly: I apologize.”

“God, you’re fish in a barrel. I was teasing you. You’re easy. Truth?”

“Ok.”

“It was mildly pleasant. It’s not one of my turn-ons, particularly, but I didn’t hate it. How, um, I suppose I should ask, how was it for you?”

“I’m not sure. I mean, your ass always feels good to me.” She looked irritated, so he corrected course.

“I don’t know,” he said. “When I had the thought about my, uh, client, I mean, when it occurred to me to spank her, I had a kind of flash, like a vision of what it’d be like. It was hot as fuck. I went, full on, this-is-awkward, unwanted erection. In about five seconds. Took ages to get it down again.”

“Did she notice?”

“Oh yeah. She laughed at me. A lot.”

“Oh, poor you.”

“God no. I was relieved. Could have been much worse.”

“I suppose. Anyway, what’s that got to do with how hot it was to spank me? Or not?”

“Because when I imagined it she was really into it. That’s what made it so hot.”

“So my reaction was… disappointing?” Cassie didn’t look sorry.

“I wasn’t sure if you hadn’t noticed, or you were putting up with it, or it was sort of okay but nothing special. So that wasn’t so hot.”

“On behalf of all womanhood, I apologize for not being a porn star. You’ll just have to put up with real girls.”

“You got a porn star’s ass. Very superior ass.”

“Huh.” But she waggled her ass, just the same.

Don’t do that! 1

Cassie astride and above him, jockeying vehemently with her eyes closed, was focused on her orgasm. She had no notion that he, specifically, was there. Gavain, providing her fulcrum, knew she’d reached her point of no return.

He moved his hand down from her hip and smacked her bottom, experimentally. There was a small sound, a slap, but she didn’t open her eyes or change her rhythm. Gavain considered the sensation. His handful of her ass felt great, of course, but it always did, whether she was still or bouncing, whether his hand arrived hard or soft.

But did he get off on spanking her? Did it add an edge to the already excellent experience of having sex with Cassie? He smacked her again, on the other side, a little harder. Cassie still didn’t open her eyes, but she expelled her breathe, once, hard, through her nose, and lowered her body so her breasts touched his chest and his cock slipped further into her. She sped up, frantic for speed.

By way of encouragement he smacked her in time with her movements, until she arched her back, all muscles clenched, and made her orgasm noise, low and loud. It sounded to Gavain like an engine racing between gears. He thought that was her, her enjoyment celebrated lustily with no concern for whether she sounded beautiful. He’d got over loving her, after she’d left him. But he still loved that.            

He let her rest, happy, without coming himself because she knew she’d want more in a few minutes, and it’d take him about twenty minutes to half an hour to recover if he came. He kissed her forehead and her ear, and she opened her eyes. “Hello you.”

Gavain said, “Hey you.” He put his hand back on her left buttock where he’d smacked it. There was a tiny glow of warmth.

Cassie frowned. “Um. Gavain, that was new. New for you, anyway. Were you trying to spank me?”

Gavain felt himself blushing. “It was… sort of an experiment. Did you mind? Or did you like it?”

“Um. It was ok. I didn’t mind. I suppose I wondered how come. Have you got some new girl who likes that?”

“Er, not exactly. Or not at all. There’s a girl, and I found myself thinking it’s be a really good idea, and amazingly hot, if I spanked her. And it wouldn’t be a great idea. It’d be a really stupid, unethical, terrible idea. To do anything with her. But I don’t think I’ve ever thought that about someone before.”

“Ahhhh huh.” Cassie wriggled very slowly on his cock, still inside her, but down to half hard. “So. This girl’s a client, yes?”

“Ump. She is.”

“She has that honor, my lord. And she probably does need spanking. But I can see that you can’t. But what were you doing with me?”

“I, uh, haven’t spanked anyone. I wanted to see if I thought it was hot.”

“So you conducted experiments with my ass. Non-consensual experiments.”

Gavain said, “Um…”

The politics of people who take part in bdsm

Still a right-wing shitbag, though.

I was at a munch a while back. I got into an argument with a guy who was a strong Liberal Party supporter (the right-wing party here, currently in government) about economics. He supported tax cuts to the rich, eliminating government involvement in the economy,  and so forth. He said these were classic Adam Smith ideas.

I’ve read essays about Adam Smith, which said he wasn’t simply a neo-liberal monetarist, but envisaged something a lot closer to the welfare state that his followers are busy dismantling.

So I argued that those aren’t actually a set of policies that Adam Smith would support. Our argument got a bit obscure. I’d say I lost, actually. I haven’t read Adam Smith directly, and he’d read The Wealth of Nations, so I couldn’t cite chapter and verse. I’d have been better off arguing that that tax cuts to the rich, and so forth, are terrible for the economy, because they make most people too poor to buy the extra things that keep the economy going above subsistence level. But though that’s true, the munch was a social occasion, and people tend to get angry when you get on to topics like that. So I picked the more academic issue.  

Anyway, most of the other people at the munch disliked the government, but mainly because it’s been pandering to the Christian right on gays and lesbians, funding to Christian schools and paying for Christian activists in non-Christian schools. That sort of thing. So our economics argument was boring, and they politely ignored it. 

From my point of view politics is mostly about economics: you need to tax those who can afford it so you can provide government services that make life better for everyone, especially health, education, welfare, public housing, and necessary infrastructure. Businesses do better where there’s a decent level of social infrastructure in place.

Other issues, even including things that I have passionate feelings about (for marriage equality, and against censorship, for example), are important, but less important than whether people can get jobs that pay them enough to live on, and get wage increases.

So that’s my politics. I’m largely socialist on economic issue, and pretty much anarchist on social and sexual issues. Anything sane adult humans want to do with other sane, consenting adult humans is ok with me. People having the right to say or write or hear or read what they want: that’s ok with me too.

(Racist, sexist, nasty, and generally horrible speech should be countered and mocked, not suppressed. Happy to argue that, in some other post, if people want.) 

Generally I hate Nazis. But this guy seems to know what he’s doing

As a bdsm pervert, I sometimes get annoyed by writers, especially those involved in pseudoscientific schools like psychoanalysis, making grand statements about the politics of people who take part in bdsm, or want to. The gist of those sweeping claims is that we’re all Nazis. We like leather boots and dressing in black: so did the SS! Case closed!

That gets old, and it was irritatingly silly and insulting the first time.  

As far as I can see, we people who involve ourselves in bdsm, or dream of it, cluster to the centrist left. There’s never been a research project on how people who do bdsm vote. So I can only base my claim on anecdotal evidence like my munch, and some logic.  

First, as I’ve argued before, turning power into a toy of erotic play is inherently subversive. It undermines power, and refuses to take it “seriously”. Power in bdsm doesn’t go to the man, or to the richest person. It doesn’t go to the person with the most impressive job or title. Power goes where cocks and cunts want it to go. and only stays there while the people involved are sexually pleased by that arrangement. Power in bdsm is sexual, it’s voluntarily given or assumed, and even if the play raises welts or draws blood it’s playful.

Bdsm culture emphasises informed consent. I think that emphasis is the reason why people who practice bdsm are, research studies have found, notably more sex-positive, more aware of consent and less sexist than the general population. 

We are more likely to be in the sex-positive feminist or feminist-supporting faction.

BDSM eroticises voluntary power differences, but it also eroticises consent. There is nothing hotter, to me, than a submissive’s bowed head and “yes, Sir”.  

Still, apart from general social and sexual liberalism, I’d guess that people who do bdsm aren’t, in general, far to the left or right of the rest of the population. Thpough we’re more likely to be in the anti-authoritarian faction of the left or right. But bdsm doesn’t force people into any political box.

Feminist women in bdsm may reasonably feel irritated when other feminists insist that their politics must be anti-feminist because of their sexual needs and choices.

So bdsm people are more likely to be liberal than authoritarian about sex, because authoritarian sexual attitudes are likely to do us harm. There may be a general lean to the centrist left on other issues, too.

Otherwise there’s no clear intrinsic political bias to bdsm, whose practitioners may be radical, conservative or entirely apolitical. People practice their bdsm, and their politics, as they do other things, according to their beliefs and the kind of people they are.

Maddie, consent, and throat-fucking

In the last episode of the Maddie saga the Wicked Headmaster character throat-fucked Maddie.

Oddly, that’s not a thing of mine, really. I do it if a submissive has told to me that that’s a turn-on for her. I don’t like to have to think of my cock as a choke hazard. 

Drop this, and it won’t break. Fact!

When I do want to deliver my best hard, fast and ruthless fuck, I prefer to be doing penis-in-vagina sex, because cunts are tough and evolved to take some fairly rough treatment. Much more so than the throat or the anus. I love having my cock sucked, and I’m charmed when a woman wants to show me clever things she can do. So I prefer having my cock sucked where my partner has some freedom of action. I also love anal sex, but there’s a definite limit to how rough you can be. 

So I didn’t want to write some throat-fucking erotica because that’s one of my key turn-ons. It came out of the characters. The Headmaster character was extremely turned on and wanted to come, quickly. That’s the reason that Maddie’s aware of, and she liked that sense of being used by him for his pleasure. 

I think that he also had a sense that Maddie would like that sensation of being helplessly taken. That’s already part of the vibe between them, so he stepped outside real-world bdsm rules but not the feelings and desires both characters have.

There’s a sense of care there, even when he’s apparently using her as a masturbation device. The way he pulls out after she gags and gives her time to catch her breath is a hint towards that. Though he doesn’t stop till a little bit after she gags, so she never has that unwelcome feeling that she’s in control.

So in their universe (which is absolutely not ours) he’s doing the right thing. There’s a kind of unspoken understanding between him and Maddie, and he keeps his end of the bargain.

I have a fairly 3-D sense of who Maddie is. She’s being very sexual and sexually driven, but she feels like a real person, to me. Partly because she’s based on real people, one in particular, who told me about acquiring an older Master when she was about Maddie’s age. (He wasn’t her Headmaster, though. No laws were broken, even in our world.) 

The headmaster at home, alone. relaxing In casual dress. Don’t panic!

The person who’s closer to a fantasy figure, I think, is her Headmaster, who has no doubts, is always sexy, and miraculously always knows just how cruel to be, in order to be kind.

Obviously, relying on “the vibe between us” wouldn’t be enough of a precaution, or enough consent, in the real world. I don’t think, in the real world, you get any points for introducing some new and challenging bdsm practice, and yelling, “Surprise!”

But fiction is a different thing. Characters can act on extreme emotional needs (as well as sexual needs) and we can enjoy their stories.

But we’re in our universe, which has all sorts of potential consequences, and they’re in their universe, which has fewer.

So long as we can tell their world from ours (and don’t do things like believing the Transformers movies are documentaries), I’m prepared, as Maddie’s narrator, to give them their heads and let them go where they like.

They just worry me sometimes, that’s all.

 

BTW: This post started as a response to a comment by Indigo Bird, here. Thanks for your comment! Indigo’s excellent blog on Art, Sexuality and Death, in later life, is here.

Defending the politics of bdsm 2: Bdsm and the state

The puritan feminist argument against bdsm includes the claim that bdsm works as part of the support for patriarchy, or male control of institutions and, of course, women.

Patriarchy in action? It doesn’t really look like it

The puritan case is partly based on the claim that bdsm is men dominating women. To make this claim you have to ignore the existence of lesbians and gays, and women dominants and male submissives. You also have to ignore the fact that we now know that the majority of both men and women involved in bdsm are switches, and will take either the dominant or submissive role according to mood and desire.

Some in the puritanical faction are aware of this, and try to wish it away by waving a sort of verbal wand at it: any “eroticising of power differences” supports patriarchy because, well, because.

One way of testing this is to look at what actually happens in most Western states.

We see that the institutions that do most to promote patriarchy and the subordination of women get encouragement from the state in every English-language-speaking country in the world, as well as most of the non-English-speaking Western states.

The Catholic and Baptist churches in particular, with their long-standing and still current opposition to having women in leadership roles, and opposition to women having control of their own bodies, particularly in relation to reproduction, get extensive funding from the state. That funding comes in the form of direct grants, in the form of tax-free status, in the form of (usually historical) gifts of land, and in the form of favored status when it comes to bidding to provide Government services. 

Church naming rights and livery; 100% tax-payer funding

Something that’s not understood by most people is that when Catholic spokespeople talk about providing hospitals the Catholic Church doesn’t provide those services with its own money. Those institutions are 100% funded from government health spending, even though they don’t offer all the services (eg abortion, and contraceptive information) that a publicly funded hospital should be offering.

In many countries the churches have special dispensation overriding laws relating to discriminating against people based on their religious belief or sexual orientation, particularly in employment. 

The point is that this is an example of how governments in the West endorse and support organisations that promote patriarchal power. That’s nothing like how governments treat bdsm, and people who take part in bdsm.

Bdsm erotica, the stories we tell and the media we tell them in, is banned in many jurisdictions. Bdsm clubs and premises are frequently raided. Consenting bdsm is still a crime in many countries, most notoriously the UK. People have gone to jail for practising consensual bdsm, and others have lost custody of their children. 

A bdsm master or mistress’s authority is never backed by the power of the state. I’m not arguing that it should be (of course it shouldn’t); I’m making the point that governments support and endorse institutions that help uphold male power and control, and they don’t support bdsm that way.

If bdsm really were a part of the ideological support for patriarchy, it’s puzzling that institutions upholding patriarchy, like police services and other law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, the mainstream media, the churches and so on, all seem to be unaware of the fact.

Instead bdsm practitioners, media and organisations (eg clubs) come under surveillance, police harassment, mainstream media shaming, and direct legal bans. 

Bdsm does not promote male dominance (generally, though a few Goreans and domestic-discipline Christians may), and it is certainly not an ally of patriarchy. We like our dominance consensual and our dominants to be sexy.