The shame of being a dom 9

Maureen said, “You change, you know. Most of the time you’re all sensitive and thoughtful, and that’s cool. I like that, most of the time. But I like what this does to you. You get really hard. Not just your cock, you moron. Everything gets hard, everything you do. I like you being like that. And once I get excited, I don’t want you to go easy on me. You know that force that takes over? You know what I mean?”

arty bdsmThat force. There’s a kind of rushing in my ears when I’m domming and it’s going really well. I said, “I don’t know what that is. Don’t know how it works. But yes: there it is.”

“And it feels good. I feel weird, saying that. I really am a traitor. I don’t want to stop doing this either. It’s just hard to understand.”

I ate a piece of her quiche, by way of being ruthless and hard. And then we talked about other things, and had a gentler kind of sex.


So I had consent, but consent isn’t everything. You still have duties of care for the person in bed with you that go far beyond what you can get them to agree to.

Still, Maureen’s consent, her sexual response, and her relatively calm acceptance afterwards, were enough to let me continue.

I still had some doubts, but there was also the fact that hurting Maureen had itself been sex, and it merged into the best fucking I’d ever had. And she’d screamed, coming, like she never had before. With me, anyway, but I suspected it was ever. So I followed my cock, or my whole body, really. I took things further. 

The shame of being a dom 8

“I’d really, really hate not to be able to spank you when we’re fucking” might read like a stupid thing to say. Believe me, it sounded even more stupid, spoken aloud. But Maureen nodded at last, and took a sip of the wine.

I took that as permission to get back in bed beside her. Maureen gave me her glass to hold and lay back on the pillows, staring at the cobwebs on her ceiling. There were many cobwebs. “You know, it’s weird, Jaime. I don’t let men push me around. And I’ve always known that if any man ever raised a hand to me, if he so much as touched me then I’d be gone. But this is different, I know that. I mean, that hurt, but it didn’t feel like violence.”

 “Um. Did it hurt badly? Should I go easier?”

reddened“Bits of it hurt a lot, Jaime. Especially at the very end, because I was already sore and you just kept on going, that was … Wow, that hurt. But it felt good. Even when it hurt it still seemed gentle, if you see what I mean. I think because you weren’t angry. I wasn’t scared of you at all. I knew you were trying to please me.”

“Ah. I see. And?”

“And you did please me, you complete wanker, you know that perfectly well. I don’t know how it works, but I get very animal, very primal. You get very brutal. In a good way. Quite unlike you, really.” I decided to think that was a compliment. “So, I like feeling overpowered by you, it makes me feel incredibly – god, I shouldn’t say this – female.” I raised my eyebrows. She closed her eyes. “I’m an absolute fucking traitor to all womankind.”

“I won’t tell.”

The shame of being a dom 7

Maureen gave me another smile, but she was still frowning. “Jaime, I know you wouldn’t ever hit me. I mean, like that. I didn’t mean that you would.” 


Just completely fucked up and wrong.

“Oh my …” I put the quiche in front of her, to demonstrate that I had brought her dinner, and must therefore be in a different tribe from the women-punchers. Maureen ignored it. I wasn’t hungry either.

But I was shocked back into speech. “Maureen, I really, seriously and definitely think this is nothing to do with violence.”

Maureen rubbed her arse. She looked at me, giving me eyebrows. She smirked, too. Cynically.

I said, “Hell, you know what I mean. I don’t want to hurt you, I’d hate to hurt you. Except this kind of hurt. Good hurt. And, I swear I’d rather rip my arm off than have you be afraid of me.”

“Actually, you sound scary-crazy, right there.” But she was mocking me, which was better than being scared. “But, well, are you going to start trying to tell me what to do?”

These days I wouldn’t think about starting a relationship with a submissive woman unless I was in charge of her, not just in the bedroom. Of course I’d tell her what to do, and I’d punish her if she disobeyed or displeased me, whether she felt like being punished or not. But back then I was still dealing with how spanking fits into the same moral universe as “never hit a woman”, and I was finding that was hard enough. Baby steps, okay?

So I said, “No. I don’t want to control you. I mean, I can’t imagine you doing as you’re told anyway. But I wouldn’t want you to.”

“Fat chance, Jaime.”

“Well, good. We decide things together.”

“That’s not going to change.”

“No, it isn’t. Look, if I hit you, or even spanked you without your permission, or if I said I’d punish you because you hadn’t done the dishes or something, you know, smacked you as a punishment, then course you should leave me. I’d help you throw me out myself.”

“Always helpful. Always a gentleman. Less you’ve got a hard-on.” But she smiled at me, and this time it was something like a real one. 

Oh yes. Cherry ripe and very right.

Oh yes. Cherry ripe and very right. (Conditions apply.)

“On the other hand, this works really well as sex. It just, it really … worked. That was so, so good. If you don’t want me to do it again, then I won’t. But I’d hate to lose this. I’d really, really hate not to be able to spank you when we’re fucking.”

That last sentence hung in the air a little, because it was one of the weirdest things I’d ever said, at least to Maureen. Let’s stare at it one more time.

“I’d really, really hate not to be able to spank you when we’re fucking.”

The shame of being a dom 6

wifebeaterEventually I got up, collected dishes and pattered to the kitchen to make lunch, by way of showing that I might hit women but at least I wasn’t the sort of man who hit women and then sat himself on the couch with the Superbowl on the big flatscreen, demanding another goddam beer. I was the decent, trustworthy, lunch-making and pro-woman sort of woman-hitter.

There was no-one else home, which seemed lucky considering the extraordinary noises we’d just been making. On my return, with salad and eggs, I kissed her bottom, which was already cooling and not as fiercely red as it had been when we’d fucked.

Maureen said there was no pain; she felt pleasantly warm. I was soft-hearted again, so I was glad that she wasn’t hurting. When we’d eaten we made love face to face and tenderly, and that seemed to lift the last of that small, vexing shadow.

Of course it wasn’t. Later that night, when we were exhausted, Maureen said, “Jaime? I’m sorry, I need to talk about this. We need to.”

 “Need to talk about.” I’d already learned to be afraid, whenever a woman said those words. And I’d just been hitting her. I’d never been on such shaky moral ground before. If she’d had recriminations I wouldn’t have been surprised, and I couldn’t have produced any kind of defence. “Okay.”

 “Well, what does this mean, Jaime? This thing we’re doing?”

 “This thing mean?” The kind of sex we’d just started to have together was, obviously, a feminist issue. I decided not to point out that she’d initiated it. We both knew that, but being legalistic and defensive wasn’t the point. It was a fair question: what did I mean by beating a woman? I said, eventually, “Well, this is about sex and pleasure. I mean, for me, anyway. But wasn’t it? Pleasurable? For you?”

 Maureen smiled, though her face didn’t really lighten. “It’s okay, Jaime, yes. I thought that was amazing too. If you couldn’t tell… But I’m just worried about what it means. And when I say ‘means’ I mean …” And she pulled a face and gave up.

pain and pleasure I was sitting on the side of the bed, with my feet on the floor. I wished I’d got under the covers before we started this conversation. Now we had to have it without touching. “Well, maybe it does only mean pleasure. And nothing else.”

“Yeah. But, well, it’s very uncool, you hitting me. I mean, I don’t think you’re going to start knocking me around  -.”

“Christ! Maureen!”

“Jaime, if you ever hit me; you know, hit me like some guy hitting his wife, like if you were angry at me or something, you’d never see me again. I would never, ever give you another chance.”

“God no. God no. Never. Ever. No.” All of my heart was behind that oath, and I was horrified that I’d put myself in a position where I needed to swear it. And yet I couldn’t have clearly explained, that evening, exactly why I was so different from those contemptible men who hit women, though I felt certain that I was. Did she really think I was capable of hitting her in a violent way? “Maureen?”

The shame of being a dom 5

I have heard the Siamang sing. They don't sing to me, of course, but they sing for sex and joy.

I have heard the Siamang sing. They don’t sing to me (well durr, Mr Prufock) but they sing for sex and joy.

I had the memory of Maureen’s screamed pleasure and then my own, even as I’d deliberately hurt her and then fucked her with none of the consideration that my lovers had so carefully taught me.

Her skin still burned under me. I pressed tight against her back, revelling in that heated proof of my own violence. I was still hard in her and I wasn’t tender-hearted yet. I hoped she still hurt, and I was certain that the hurt felt good to her.

 My sweat had pooled below her shoulders and in the small of her back, and spilled down her sides, soaking the sheet. Even then, Maureen was cooler and more elegant than me. I could see the left corner of her mouth, curved in a smile. We were comfortably silent.

This was a world where previously unattainable pleasures had suddenly and somehow become possible. Maureen had cried out in the same joy as me, or a version of it. Incredibly, I had a partner in this. It could happen again and surely would. I held her and was held. She was extraordinary, and real.

Then I felt doubt. In this new and undoubtedly wonderful world it seemed that I sometimes beat her. As I’ve mentioned, I hate men who beat women. As our silence continued, Maureen’s smile faltered. She’d just accepted a beating from a man. More, she’d invited it and had just been screaming her joy at it.

There were uncomfortable thoughts for her to have about that. If a man who hits a woman is as low as a man can be, then what kind of a woman could she be, who had enjoyed that treatment and who lay contentedly with the man who’d inflicted it? I knew that she felt troubled, as I did, and that we had to talk about this.

But I couldn’t find the right words.

The shame of being a dom 3

I did my first real bdsm thing with a real live submissive girl when I was 17, and that incident is one of the most excruciatingly embarrassing memories of my life and, if I told it to you, yours. I’ve nearly recovered now, but I’ll share it some other time.  

I didn’t get a second chance until I was 22. I was lying on the bed of a woman, Maureen, who was a bit more rich and cultured than me. The university we were at, and quite a few other places and institutions in that State, were named after her family. 

doreI was helping Maureen with her Milton project, for an English paper. I didn’t know as many famous live people as she did, but I knew more about famous dead people. We both knew it was just my excuse to drop by, and we’d finished up in her bed before we’d got round to anything, you know, scholarly.

But it was deadline time, or nearly, for her Milton project, so it was time to deliver the promised help. We were lying on her bed, post-sex, naked with a laptop and a copy of the Oxford Complete Poetical Works of John Milton.

I was being terribly serious-minded. So I wasn’t quite ready when the conversation took a sharp and unexpected swerve. The dialogue went something like this: 

Maureen: Should I shove in a paragraph about Milton’s defence of liberty and free speech in Areopagitica? 

Me: Maybe. But actually he wrote that liberty should only apply to Protestant Christians. He specifically says that Catholics shouldn’t be allowed free speech, let alone atheists and such. So by “liberty” he only meant the right to agree with him.

Maureen: Ok, but I’m still going to have to mention Areopagitica.  

Me: Well, you can say it’s an ambivalent defence of free speech, and hey! you could link it to the Romantics’ idea that Satan was a sort of spirit of freedom. Must be at least 400 words in that. 

Maureen: Mmmm. I guess. So would you like to spank me? 

Me: What? Uh, hrrrrrrm. Um-hrrrrrrm. Oh. Uh, yes. Yes, please. Absolutely. Yes. 

 (To be continued, obviously.) 

The shame of being a dom 2

From my earliest childhood, my parents taught me that pretty much the worst thing a male person, a boy or man, can do is hit a girl, or woman.

I remember there being a tremendous fuss when I was about five. There was a kids’  baseball game, and an argument between some girl and me about whose turn it was to bat. I can’t remember who was right: probably neither of us. We were just bored.

Anyway, she had height, age and weight on me, so she grabbed the bat and punched me. I took a couple of seconds to review what my parents had told me about the girl-hitting question, and I decided that there had to be an exception in which a boy can honourably punch a girl who’s bigger than him and punched him first. So, after a five-second pause, I hit her back.

Which is how I learned that there are no exceptions to the rule. I was despised by the other boys and girls alike, for having done a contemptible, unmanly, cowardly and nasty thing. And I got lectured by my parents when I got home. So there was the lesson: you don’t hit a girl, and there are no exceptions.

I think it’s basically a good rule, and I’d teach it to any chidden I may have. Including making the “no exceptions” part clear from the start.

It sounds unfair, but it’s not. There’s some statistical evidence that women may assault men nearly as often as men assault women, but the question isn’t which gender is more virtuous. The issue is which gender can do real damage to the other.

dvA man who fights a woman, and gets angry and loses control can put her into hospital just with his fists. In general a woman can’t do much harm, unless she’s had special training or has a weapon. Hospital statistics confirm this. Men put lots of women into hospital, and women put very few men into hospital.

So my advice to any male child learning these rules would be, if a girl hits you, tell her she shouldn’t because you’re not supposed to hit her back. If she persists, leave her and tell a teacher. Schools are supposed to provide a place without violence. If the school thinks that’s a problem and it shouldn’t or can’t be violence-free, then call me, and we’ll show them what a real problem is like.

When you’re an adult, and a woman gets so angry with you that she gets out-of-control violent, leave. There’s nothing good you can achieve by staying. No words you say, no “restraining her”, will have any good effect. If you stay it’s going to escalate, and you’ll get angry too. If you get angry enough you’ll harm her. You won’t forgive yourself for that, and you’ll be in a mess of legal trouble. So: leave. Talk later, like the next morning.

So: yeah, I think my parents’ rule is generally a good one: never hit a woman, and there are no exceptions. 

Trouble is, it made it very difficult to be a dom.