Cliteracy Class 8: Oh won’t thou dominate me?

“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? And when will thou giveth me a spank?”: that’s what I like to think Shakespeare intended to write, reflecting the realities of many healthy sexual relationships. Dominance and submission in sex get a bad rap in pop culture. From the terrible writing of Fifty Shades of Grey to the even worse film, these sexual interests are looked on with condemnation from all angles. But what’s so wrong with them? A common accusation is that you can’t be a feminist whilst engaging in dom/sub acts in sex. Submission to your partner, particularly as a female submitting to a male in heterosexual relationships, is seen as a renunciation of equality in the relationship. You’re giving the middle finger to feminist activists who fought for our sexual liberation from male oppressors.

Now, I’m here to say that’s wrong. Feel no shame, my fellow feminists, for wanting to boss or be bossed by your partner between the sheets. Feminism and sub/dom are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I argue that, when done right, a sub/dom dynamic can be hugely liberating and proof of a respectful, equal relationship. As a self-identifying bad-bitch feminist, I keep busy with many a project, so I exert significant amounts of control during my day. This includes commanding my time, staying on top of my work commitments, and generally trying to keep up with shit LSE throws at me. I’m exhausted by the end of my day and I want to rid this weight on my mind. So, in true feminist fashion, I tell my partner exactly what I desire. I want them to take charge, to pleasure me, and for it to totally consume me, so I don’t have a chance to think about that summative I have due next week. It may seem ironic but briefly letting go of control and giving it to a trusted partner can be liberating. And it isn’t just women! Men in positions of power have often been found to seek the services of dominatrix. We can assume their reasoning follows a similar theme of relinquishing control in contrast to their daily lives. However, there is a right and a wrong way to do this.

As with all sex, communication is everything and it’s sexy. To enjoy your experience you must be sure that you and your partner are totally on the same page. Tell them what you want, and listen to their desires. Boundaries are crucial, so set up a safe word, and never do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. For me, engaging in sub/dom dynamics is something that comes only after knowing a person for some time. You have to build up trust, love, and respect. Only then can you allow them brief control over your body. That’s why I say when sub/dom is done properly it signifies a valuable relationship. Plus, communication is an incredible turn on. Why stop at having a partner fuck your body when they can also fuck your ears and mind too? Mental stimulation through play and purposeful power changes make sex more of a special occurrence, a change from your normal day.

Now, I know we could talk about this topic for days on end and I encourage you to do so. Start debates and learn from each others’ experiences. Importantly, however, remember not to judge. This is the first but certainly not the last you’ll hear from me on this topic, as we smash sexual taboos and march into the sunset of eternal orgasms.


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