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Feminspire | April 21, 2014

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Being Sexually Submissive Doesn’t Mean I’m Weak

Being Sexually Submissive Doesn’t Mean I’m Weak

If you were to ever meet me in my daily travels, the word “submissive” is likely the last thing that would come to mind to describe me. I am fiercely independent, strong willed, and extremely outspoken. I am a feminist, an activist, and a mother. I work hard to maintain my strength, my dignity, and my self-confidence.

But I wasn’t always this way.

I grew up in an abusive family where I was never given the option for consent, much less taught about it. As I grew older, I found myself repeatedly in situations where I had been beaten, broken, abused, and worse. I had no control over my life, no control in any of my relationships (familial and romantic), and felt like I was worthless. Without realizing it, I seemed to surround myself with people who wanted to humiliate and hurt me, and was too weak or scared to change that. Any time I met someone who genuinely showed that they cared for me, I turned away from them, fearing they would see how broken I was and be disgusted by me.

In my early 20s, as I was beginning to understand a bit more about who I was and what I wanted for myself, I started to have dark fantasies about being tied up, blind-folded, and flogged by my partner. I didn’t quite understand the reasoning for this, as being submissive was something I loathed about myself. I hated being walked on by my love interests and family, not being able to speak up for myself and put an end to the torture, so why on earth did I yearn for this sort of play in the bedroom?

When I tried to bring it up with my long-term boyfriend at the time, he looked at me like I was insane. I left the fantasy to play out in my mind, as it seemed that it would never be brought to fruition. We did try experimenting a little bit with some soft bondage such as handcuffs and neckties, but it just wasn’t the same, as I knew he wasn’t really “into it” the way I was.

Partners came and went over the years, few of whom were even willing to try the softer bondage with me, and certainly none who were interested in the dynamic of power that I wanted to share with someone I loved. I knew that I did not want a partner to dominate any aspect of my life aside from in the bedroom, however it seemed that I was still choosing men who did exactly that. Funny how they had no problems dictating who I saw, what I wore, and where I went, yet in the bedroom, they refused to dominate me.

The few men I met who were actually interested in BDSM were not attractive to me, and their personalities did little to help that. The years wore on and my hope for finding a partner that I connected with on every level, especially sexually, all but disappeared. I spent four years shackled to a man who belittled me, insulted me, and blamed me for all the problems in our relationship. At times I truly felt that it must, in fact, be my fault, as I was only ever surrounded by his family and friends (who of course echoed his sentiments that I treated him badly). He had a good way of manipulating me so that I felt alone and angry most of the time, yet couldn’t leave because he would then turn around and be sweet and kind. Having a child together only compounded the issues we faced and made me feel like I couldn’t get away. I didn’t like who I felt I was when we were together, and I didn’t know how to change that.

But near the end of our relationship, I found my deepest inner strength and faced my demons. I refused to let any man hold power over me that I did not give him, and I was no longer willing to let him have any more of my power.

This was when I began to understand more about myself and my submissive side. I had always found it difficult to reconcile my private sexual desires with my desire to have power over my life. You have to be powerful to be submissive. Submission requires strength and trust; strength to let go of your power and give it to someone else for a time, and a complete trust in your partner that they will respect you and your boundaries.

Taken at my first Shibari Suspension shoot.

Taken at my first Shibari Suspension shoot.

I came to realize that being submissive does not mean weakness. It means that I am confident enough in myself to be able to hand the reigns over to someone else and know that they will return them to me after we play. It means that I am allowed to have power over my wants and needs and have someone else fulfill them for me, even if it doesn’t fit into traditional power dynamics or sexual desires. When my partner gives me orders in the bedroom, I happily follow them because I know that he respects me, he cares for me, and he will never try to control me outside of our play time.

No longer do I have to fight tooth and nail to retain power over my life. Having my submissive side being fulfilled in a healthy capacity means that I am able to have a healthy and happy life outside of the bedroom as well, which is something I’ve struggled with for many years. Being submissive in the bedroom doesn’t mean that I’m a bad person, or a bad mother, or weird. It simply means that I’m able to live out my fantasies with someone who cares for me, which makes me a better person and mother, as I am finally happy and fulfilled in every aspect of my life.

Written by Sara Hanna

  • KA

    I hear what you’re saying; however, when discussing women’s systemic oppression, the way you individually feel is irrelevant. Of course women LOVE being subdued, because that’s been our position in our culture…forever. We been conditioned to actually LIKE being oppressed, and now we’re repacking that as liberation.
    I’m not “dissing” your choice of being tied up in the bedroom…however, maybe it should stay there. Like I said, you’re not separated from the structure that surrounds you. An act can be OBJECTIFYING…even if you experience pleasure in it. That doesn’t make the act any less objectifying.
    I mean, this whole article is slightly ironic in a patriarchal culture..right? Women are ALREADY oppressed and are conditioned to be submissive, and now you’re writing an article about being bound up in a room, and feeling pleasure in it.
    I mean, we live in a porn culture. It’s not like you just randomly had these bondage fantasies on your own-right? Your choices were guided by the external framework.
    You have every right to do what you want in the bedroom…and to enjoy yourself; however, we can’t forget what type of culture we live in…and we can’t forget that you’re a member of a group (women) that is constantly being told by patriarchy to see pleasure in our objectification….just some things to think about.

    • Sara H.

      Sorry, but I do believe you missed reading the actual article I wrote, and instead jumped to conclusions about me (and other women who identify as subs), my choice of lifestyle, and my bedroom activities. The whole point is the fact that I am willingly giving permission to someone I trust wholeheartedly in every aspect to dominate me in the bedroom.

      You claim to not be “dissing” my choice of proclivities in the bedroom, however your entire response has been exactly that. It’s not objectification when it’s 2 consenting adults who discuss the acts they are going to be participating in and agreeing to them. It’s also ridiculous to insinuate that simply because I’m part of the collective means that my wants and desires as an individual are irrelevant. Feminism means equality for everyone, male and females alike, and I am allowed to choose how I want to act with my partner, just as he is allowed to choose how he acts with me.

      Also, why on earth would you insinuate that my fantasies had anything to do with porn? I hadn’t watched porn until several years after I had come up with my own fantasies. For the record, I love porn. I see nothing wrong with it. ;)

      • KA

        Sara–
        I don’t understand what this article has to do with feminism at all. Great–you love being bound in the bedroom–what does that have to do with feminism? Just because you have a vagina doesn’t mean that this article is feminist at all.
        Great—two consenting adults doing whatever they want in the bedroom is fine; however to post that being bound in your bedroom is empowering is socially irresponsible when context is added in–WOMEN ARE NOT EQUAL TO MEN….WOMEN INHABIT A RAPE CULTURE! WOMEN ARE ALREADY CONDITIONED TO BE SUBMISSIVE…..we are already trained to “get off” on subjugation.
        If you’re speaking about your sexual proclivities without any external systems involved, then fine. However, you’re posting on a blog that is supposed to be “feminist” and you’ve completely IGNORED all of the systems that frame women’s experiences and “personal” choices.
        Also, you don’t have to watch a porn to understand the elements and conventions of porn. We live in a PORN culture–meaning that women and men emulate pornography because porn has successfully saturated our culture….our billboards, films, commericals, etc are all saturated with sexist pornographic imagery–therefore, even if you’ve never watched a porn video–you’re still influenced by it–we ALL are. To act as if you’re exempt from that influence is illogical.
        Also, I can tell that you love porn. You’re article bleeds uncritical thought. I actually STUDY porn–mainstream porn is actually pretty racist and sexist–but you would probably deny that because you can have an orgasm to it—and if you orgasm–then there is DEFINITELY nothing wrong with anything.
        You need to just educate yourself more on systemic oppression before you write public articles about what you do in your bedroom, as if you’re separated from the context of patriarchy!

        • Madison

          Personal attacks don’t make your point.
          Moreover, not all couples involved in domination and submission are dominant male/submissive female. There are many queer couples who practice it, and many female dominant/male submissive couples as well.

          • KA

            Madison–what a postfeminist response…”personal attacks dont’ make your point.” I guess if you think research studies and sociology counts as “personal” opinions, then…great.
            What you’re adding in is your personal irrelevant, uneducated, stupid opinion.
            Queer couples who are uncritical are not exempt from heterosexist patriarchal influences!!!! Just because a couple is homosexual, doesn’t automatically mean that they’re “progressive.” Even homosexual couples can be sexist!!! Geez—some of you really need to read more about feminism!!
            This whole, “i’m liberated, I have a vagina so I can do whatever the fuck I want and it’s feminist…and if you critique me then you’re judging me” feminism is a fucking joke! Realize that people actually have PHD’S in this…meaning that they actually….study stuff….meaning that we’re not engaging in personal attacks on your personhood…but we focus on systemic issues that we’re all involved in………
            READ….A…..FEMINIST…..BOOK…!

          • Corey Lee Wrenn

            KA, you are my feminist hero lol, time to leave the kids in the sandbox and let them keep playing with their imaginations

          • smoothnesskills

            Corey Lee Wrenn ‏@CoreyLeeWrenn28 Aug
            People who defend disableist insults like “stupid,” “retarded,” & “idiot”: Do better. Disability identity should not be an insult.

            Your ‘feminist hero’ keeps using the abusive language you claim to deride. You are a hypocrite who takes up and supports an issue when it suits you, and then turns your back on it when it does not.

          • Madison

            The personal attack I was referring to was your statement that the author must love porn because she’s uncritical, and that if she has an orgasm then everything is okay. You are incredibly condescending and jumping to conclusions you have no basis for making.
            Yes, I understand systemic issues. Yes, I understand that the patriarchal framework socializes women to be submissive. But calling other people stupid because they disagree with you isn’t okay, and it certainly isn’t feminist in any sense that I understand.

          • RadFemFTW

            please, tell me more about how liberating rapey sex is

          • KA

            Well–I was right–wasn’t I? I stated that based upon this uncritical article, the author MUST love porn because this article BLEEDS porn culture. ….and she said she “DOES” like porn and doesn’t see a problem with it…even though tons of scholars, including myself, study porn and have already found TERRIBLE problematic things with MAINSTREAM porn–including it being sexist and racist. But, I’m starting to see that no one reads on this site, so why would you call care about these issues directly related to porn?
            You want to talk about personal? Her whole article was self-centered…all about herself and her bedroom…like feminspire is a fucking diary or something.
            I took her personal account and tried to problematize it from a systemic lens….you’re misinterpreting what i’m writing! I don’t engage with the “individual” as much as I position the individual in the system.
            Feminists today are so lost when it comes to empowerment…we live in a sexist raunch culture where women’s only means to understanding their sexuality is through terrible porn that is all about perofmrance and stupidity. No, this doesn’t mean I hate sex. I love sex…I just think these ridiculous perofrmances are evidence that we live in a time when sex has become so commodified.
            I’m not against Sara doing whatever she wants in her bedroom…she seems incapable of understanding that i’m not even really talking about her…i’m talking about the trend of uncritical women who are so absorbed with the indivudla, that they can’t possibly imagine that their sexual choices are being directed by a larger system around us–namely patriarchy which has ruined women’s sexualities.
            Like I keep saying, we have to add in CONTEXT to our individual choices.
            That’s like writing a WHOLE article about how much you love your really really long hair and how you individually chose to have long hair….without contextualizing these decisions in a culture that has conditioned women to grow their hair out. No, that doesn’t mean that having long hair is bad….it just means that you were not the only one who was a factor in that decision process.

          • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com/ MsVanillaRose

            You seem to see society and culture as monoliths, rather than containing various competing forces, which help them to evolve.

            The notion of “context” is not straightforward in a diverse society. I agree there is social pressure on women re how to dress and how to wear their hair. Especially when work is concerned, of course. Not to mention schools. So, yes, societal pressures are a given. Yes, yes, yes.

            The reality, of course, is that people use their hair and clothing (and jewellery and make-up, or absence thereof) to make statements about who they are and whether they are conforming to or rebelling against society.

            This is the only constant in the whole history of “how people modify their appearance”. The actual fashions, of course, change, but the fact appearance is used to make statements does not change over the centuries and millenia. Sorry if this is all too obvious.

            That said, some outfits are rebellious, but only mildly so. There’s a continuum. (Or more than one continuum – is continuua the plural?)

            In the real world, women don’t all dress alike. Not at all. And women who make unconventional choices usually get support, sometimes from like-minded peers and sometimes from the wider community.

            (Dame) Ellen MacArthur, yachtswoman and charity campaigner, is an example of a woman whom earlier generations would have deemed “tomboyish” in appearance. But she has gained widespread respect for her achievements.

            You could argue that women are rewarded for dressing in a particular way (breast implants, hair extensions, long nails, small waists). And you would be partially right. But you would also need to take into account their being criticised for choosing to look like “human Barbie dolls”.

            If I can dare to use a personal example without being accused of missing the point … You use “really, really long hair” as an example. In my late teens, I did have quite long hair (approx 2 feet long) and hardly anyone except me liked it. Most of my fellow teenage girls suggested I should have it cut.

          • Madison

            And yes, you’re right. I did take it individually and I shouldn’t have. That said, it’s very difficult not to take things personally when you make them personal.

          • Madison

            The personal attack I was referring to was your statement that the author must like pornography because she’s uncritical, and that if she has an orgasm everything is okay. I would say that calling my opinion “irrelevant, uneducated, [and] stupid” is a pretty personal attack as well. You’re jumping to conclusions you have no basis for making, and its difficult not to take something personally when you make it very personal.

            That said, I did make the issue individual, and I was wrong to do that. You’re right. There are structural forces at play, and I would agree that (particularly male dominant/female submissive) D/s, taken from that point of view, can be very problematic. I think the author could have included that discussion in her piece and it would have been better for it.

          • KA

            Thank you Madison for your response. I understand what you’re saying. I think this piece could have used a better discussion about the controversy over this type of activity, and WHY there’s controversy. Trust me, there are many feminists who are all for women’s rights who think this type of behavior is discursively destructive because of the context. Like I keep reiterating, I’m not so interested in Sara’s personal narrative…everyone can do what they want.
            However, when you post on a FEMINIST public blog about your activities, without understanding the impact of your activities through a feminist lens, then you are not being critical. You are just sharing a part of a diary entry that no one wants to read. YOu have to contextualize your narrative, and be critical of what you say, orelse you’re creating more violence.

        • JuJuBee

          I think you’ve put your finger on the very thing that explains why many women find bondage games “empowering”, but you continue to float on the surface of the issue so you can’t hold it down.

          “Women are already conditioned to be submissive.”
          Yes.
          So, when a woman and man ACTIVELY COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER AS EQUALS TO SET UP RULES AND BOUNDARIES OF PLAY-ACTING with the intent of having a pleasurable sexual experience, they SUBVERT culture’s narrative of female-submissiveness/ male-dominance. In other words, the female-submissiveness/ male-dominance is PLAY-ACTED in the sexual experience as opposed to merely ACTUALIZED the way it is in many mundane sexual relations, especially between casual encounters (where women submissively give way to male desires without usually enjoying sex). It’s a SUBVERSION specifically because the man isn’t REALLY dominant and the woman isn’t REALLY submissive since they’ve already communicated their desires and expectations via rules and boundaries. They’ve temporarily demoted a longstanding fucked up tradition of gender expectations to mere play-acted-sexual-roles. So, it’s sexy and thrilling and fun because the cultural narrative becomes a PLAY THING to get off on as opposed to something that is FOR REAL in place (and when it’s FOR REAL in place, women’s sexual satisfaction is usually traded in). So, in that regard, bondage games that involve the female as the “submissive” can be seen as incredibly empowering. (My bf and I play a sex game in which he is my “professor” and I am his grad researcher and its especially thrilling because he is a professor IRL . .. obviously, I’m not his student IRL. But we can play with that dynamic, which, if it were to take place IRL would be extremely disturbing and wrong, but we are appropriating it to subvert what is really going on.)

          (The female-domme sex -play subverts the cultural narrative in a much more obvious way (women play- act at dominance while men play act- at submissiveness).)

          Much more interesting analysis could be made here. but I’m not interested in writing a novel. I just think you’re floating so much at the surface, spouting a bunch of memorized feminist buzz-phrases , that you cannot critically engage with this issue. It seems you’re so used to seeing this issue from a THIS-CANNOT-POSSIBLY-BE-FEMINIST angle that its prevented you from critically distancing yourself from that opinion.

          • KA

            First of all, you’re acting as if attaining equality with a partner is as easy as having a conversation about respect. You’re not contextualizing bondage shit.
            Holy fuck. trust me, I understand the rules and contracts in the bondage world. I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE BONDAGE WORLD. However, It hink when a woman shares her diary entry on a public feminist site that supposed to problematize things in society without offering ANY critiques of that culture–then that becomes uncritical for me.
            I am spouting at the surface, because I think so many women today don’t take the time to understand the surface, and dive right in with the “empowerment” shit, where patriarchy becomes reproduced.
            I would actually ask—if we live in a patriarchy–how can women possibly be empowered…in any way?—now when I say when, I mean the COLLECTIVE—not just individual women.
            The bondage world has bamboozled you into thinking that empowerment for women is even possible…just because she THINKS she’s with a partner who respects her. How are you going to prove that?
            If a man (assuming we’re talking about a heterosexual couple) has been born in America…in a patriarchy…where women are dehumanized…and he watches porn….where women are dehumanized…how can he possibly respect you? …because he says “I love you?”…beucase you have a “contract.” Seriously–there’s a big picture here that you’re missing!
            That’s like saying black people can be free in a white supremacy—that’s a fucking joke. these bondage games give the illusion of “choice” and “power” but in reality, you’re just in a bedroom…having sex…and when you open your door–you’re back in the real world baby….AND that’s the world that i’m concerned about….not your bondage bullshit.

          • RadFemFTW

            Did you not READ? We don’t give a SHIT about what you do in your private bedroom…we DO give a shit when you put it on blast on a FEMINIST website with NO CRITICAL DISCUSSION WHATSOEVER OF THE WHITE SUPREMACY AND PATRIARCHY WITHIN WHICH YOUR “ROLE PLAY” TAKES PLACE. Explain how bondage works all you want, we know how it freaking works, we don’t give a shit, we give a shit about the destruction of feminism with uncritical defensive asshats like you people, good grief.

      • Ashley Moreno

        Pornography is the most sexist entity I know of… All of it.

    • Maria Tsaneva

      This has been extremely well put, and everything I was about to say myself before I read this comment. KA has raised some points that we – as “feminists” and “activists” as Sara Hanna referred to herself as – can and should not ignore. Especially when we are aware of the surroundings, circumstances and reasons for our own inclinations.

      • Sara H.

        I think I’m having a hard time understanding where you stand on the subject… however, if you’re agreeing with KA, then please read my response to her comment, and my article, once again. Sometimes it may take a while for people to truly understand something. :)

        • KA

          Sara–trust me, I understand representations of sex. I actually STUDY it….that’s why i’m trying to tell you that YOU’RE not understanding what I’M saying. j
          Just because you have a vagina doesn’t mean that you understand feminism, or feminist critiques. I think you’re acting like a third/wave/postfeminist woman who doesn’t get the issues.
          There are larger issues here, than your bedroom. that’s all that i’m trying to say. There is a context here! Like Corey said, do what you want in your bedroom. I don’t give a shit what you do–however, when you start to publicly talk about your experience without situation your bedroom in a culture that is patriarchal, then you’re being socially irresponsible.
          Additionally, this is a very WHITE article…meaning that you’re not understanding how intersectional issues factor in–like race. Not all women have the “privilege” of getting subdued in the bedroom when they already occupy subdued positions in society–like women of color. No, that doesn’t mean INDIVIDUAL women of color can’t participate in those acttivites–it just means that systemically, this is a very white phenomenon. I mean, look up the critiques when women of color didn’t want to participate in slutwalk for the exact same reasons—it’s called” black women’s blueprint.”
          Your article is super privileged and uncritical. YOU need to do more systemic research about the reproduction of inequality!

        • Sara Luckey

          ‘I think I’m having a hard time understanding where you stand on the subject.’

          ‘Sometimes it may take a while for people to truly understand something. :)

          RIGHT?

          • Corey Lee Wrenn

            Go to Amazon.com or your local library and do yourself a favor.

        • RadFemFTW

          Yeah, sometimes it takes people a loooong fucking time to recognize that THEIR individual worldview has NOTHING to do with the group experience of women who have been the victims of rape and violence bc of third wave sexytime dominatrix “liberation” that makes oppression “hot”. Gee, maybe I should reread this a few more times…nope…drivel is still drivel.

      • Mothr Nght

        What about BDSM in LGBT relationships? In relationships where one/neither participating party’s gender is clearly defined? Why is it only women cannot be submissive INSIDE the bedroom without feeding into patriarchal gender roles OUTSIDE the bedroom, in your view? What about the many submissive men who get off on being dominated by women? Why is it you are only limiting straight women to what they sexually should and shouldn’t do, as feminists?

    • Corey Lee Wrenn

      I have to agree with KA, “the power to be submissive” sounds a lot like “the power to strip,” “the power to do porn”. Just because many individual women “enjoy” being sexual in ways that benefit male supremacy, that doesn’t mean there’s no underlying structural issues that we should be critiquing. I also agree with KA, in that, you do whatever the hell you want, it’s your life your body your enjoyment…but for the safety of the rest of women who are not so privileged to be “sexually liberated” and also disproportionately face the violent consequences of “sexy” patriarchy-friendly “women’s lib”, I’m really really worried when I see this stuff repackaged as “feminism.”

      • JuJuBee

        Please tell me what ways women CAN enjoy sex that doesn’t benefit male supremacy.

    • Emily Vrotsos

      Unfortunately, I think you’ve fallen into a rut that many people fall into when discussing BDSM, or submissiveness, or even sometimes just heterosexual relationships. There multiple schools of thought on these issues Sara discussed, in fact in the different “isms”, there are different perspectives. If she is actively making the choice to submit because it is sexually pleasurable for her to do so, then by all means encourage her to continue exploring her sexuality in a safe and secure way with a partner who respects her. However, your comment assumes a lot of things you could never know about her private life, and you jump to a lot of conclusions. As feminists, we shouldn’t be gunning to define everyone elses’ experiences, because then our assumptions could potentially devalue their identity and other aspects of themselves they hold dear. Not everything’s a war.

      • KA

        I’m not defining her experience–I just dont’ know why she’s sharing it….if you’re empowered at home when you stick a waffle up your anus…and you write a public article about it–I just don’t understand!
        Like I said, i’m not against sara doing whatever she wants in a bedroom. That’s irrelevant to my life; however, when she proclaim on a FEMINIST blog that being bound is some type of empowerment, then I have a problem with that because she is decontextualizing her “personal choices.” We live in a patriarchy, porn culture. Just because an act, like stripping, is enjoyable or pleasureable, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s NOT objectifying.
        I mean, what has feminism come to? Are we measuring empowerment in a depoliticized individual way?? How selfish is that! “Well, as long as I feel good, even if other women don’t, or dont’ have the privilege of doing what I do…then it’s empowering.” That was not what the phrase, “the personal is political” meant.
        You’re supposed to see how all of yoru individual experiences are connected to the political. therefore, if women are ACTUALLY being sex trafficked, kidnapped, tortured and raped in our culture, but you wave your hand in the air and ignore that just becase you like being whipped…then you’re just a selfish asshole…not a feminist!
        Feminist is about MORE than you….it was founded on the collective..and now it’s evidently turned into a white woman’s uncritical movement where we’re fighting for being tied up in a bedroom, rather than fighting for things that actually matter.

    • Sara Luckey

      I hear you and agree with much of what you’re saying. However, It’s possible that she wants to be objectified in the bedroom. Something to consider and that I didn’t really see expressed in the article is that the sub has all the power. The sub is choosing to give the Dom control, but retains the power to stop play at any time. The sub, in handing over sexual direction/power, remains in control because they are the one choosing to hand over this ‘power’, but the Dom is still acting within the framework set forth by the sub and cannot cross those boundaries. It’s not only about the Dom getting pleasure from the sub. It’s also about the sub getting pleasure from the Dom in the manner and method the sub deems most appropriate and pleasurable. So it’s interesting that you see the sub as being the only person objectified in this context when the sub gets to set their own limits and parameters for what is and what is not acceptable in how they are choosing to allow the Dom to pleasure them. Either person could be the object in this scenario, and any person of any gender could be the Dom or the sub, but the power still lies with the sub. It’s a false sense of power that the Dom has as they only have as much power or control as the sub allows.

      • Corey Lee Wrenn

        No, this is 100% about patriarchy, male supremacist socialization, white privilege, and co-opted feminism.

      • KA

        No, I understand the sub/dom culture very well. If people want to practice it, that’s fine. I don’t really care. I’m just saying that the titles of “sub” and “dom” are not post-gendered entities. It DOES matter who is sub and dom…there are gendered implications if we’re going to have a discussion about it with CONTEXT. If we’re just talking about her bedroom…well, then I don’t care.

      • RadFemFTW

        boooooring.

      • SabineGR

        Something for YOU to consider; “the sub has all the power” is total nonsense in every practical way… Only privileged white people indoctrinated by post-modernist queer theory are capable of the cognitive dissonance that it takes to really believe this.

    • Liam B

      OK, so how do you explain millions of men like me who love being submissive in the bedroom? How does patriarchy explain that? I don’t think you can relate this behavior with our overall culture.
      Being a dom/sub in the bedroom is entirely an individual preference the actual reason of which is still not clear. Huge number of men living in a patriarchal society enjoy the submissive role, and same for some women. It’s got nothing to do with feminism/patriarchy/misogyny, and shouldn’t be taken for any further meaning. I think that’s the point of this article.

      • KA

        Liam–you’re an idiot. the fact that i’m even responding to you is the joke because it’s evident that you know NOTHING about feminism or culture. The fact that you just said, “I don’t think you can relate this behavior with our overall culture” is just stupid. The fact that we’re even writing in English IS BECAUSE of our culture.
        Regardless of whether or not a woman or man whats to be a dom or sub is irrelevant to my existence. However, when you speak about an action like that, and contextualize it, with a sexist white supremacist patriarchy, then I see issues! Even if it feels good being whipped, that doesn’t mean that action, positioned in a patriarchy, is empowering.
        I’m just saying I think it’s ironic that this article is about women who CHOOSE to be submissive…when women are ALREADY CONDITIONED to be submissive in this culture in every way.
        Liam–what qualifies you to make these statements about men and women? You overtly know nothing about this issue.
        Also, remember that we dont’ live in a post-gender society. Men and women are not held in the same regard–therefore, when a woman is a sub and a man is a sub, they have two different political meanings. A man “gives up his power” to become a sub…and he gets off on his subjugation. Women ALREADY dont’ have any power, so it becomes an illusion to think that women can “consent” to being subdued…she’s been conditioned to be subdued her whole life…..gosh…read a fucking feminist book.

        • Liam B

          KA — I’m sorry my post came across as too aggressive. You’re right, my knowledge about feminism is limited, and I shouldn’t have made a careless comment like above. Thanks for your response anyway, and I’ll certainly try to expand my knowledge on these issues.

          • RadFemFTW

            no YOU shouldn’t have made those careless comments, go to hell mansplainer

          • Liam B

            @radfemftw:disqus That’s unnecessarily harsh.

          • RadFemFTW

            This entire thread…this entire webpage is unnecessary.

      • RadFemFTW

        Lol hey um, you do know what “patriarchy” is right? You do realize this website purports to be a feminist space, correct? Because you sound really lost my friend.

        Emmmbarrassinggggg

  • Madison

    Insinuating that the author of this article cannot be submissive, a feminist, and an activist is insulting. Consenting adults have the right to navigate the exchange of power in their relationships as they choose. All dynamics are influenced by factors outside the figurative bedroom. All dynamics have to be navigated within a culture. It is up to the people within those relationships/dynamics how they exist. It is not up to you to come in here and tell another person why they feel the way they do.
    Let’s say that my (and Sara’s) preferences are entirely shaped by the patriarchal emphasis on feminine submission. That doesn’t mean I have to stop enjoying what I love. I am not hurting you or anyone else with my choices and you get no say in them.
    Moreover, the consensual choice to submit, for a time, to another person is quite different from the coerced or forced submission patriarchy demands. Submission in a consensual framework in which a dominant partner uses it to build up a submissive rather than tear them down can be incredibly empowering. It has made a very positive difference in my life.

    • KA

      You didn’t read my reply well. I never stated that she “couldn’t” engage in submissive sex actions. In fact, I don’t give a shit. I’m just looking at the bigger picture which extends beyond her bedroom. I mean, feminspire isn’t a diary—it’s a place where we discuss structural/systemic issues. Therefore, we should always be problematizing seemingly mundane activities–right? The point isn’t just to celebrate shit, it’s to problematize them so that we remain critical!
      Everyone here just seems really third wave/postfeminist—-meaning that you don’t know what systemic oppression means. Seriously folks, you need to look beyond the self sometimes to understand larger issues.

    • KA

      Yeah…..I know Madison. I don’t think you understand what a systemic critique is. I don’t care about what she does invidually–that’s irrelevant to me and my life. I’m discussing the fact that she’s talking about her activities without being critical of them on a FEMINIST site!
      If you want to be chained up in a room–go do it; however, when you start to post on a feminist public site, you have to bear the social responsibility of your uncritical words, especially when you don’t contextualize your actiosn in the culture you live in –like patriarchy.
      Seriously–this whole site is so white and uncritical.

    • Sara H.

      Thank you for your thorough explanation and chastisement! ;) They’re really going to lose their minds when I write my follow up article about also enjoying being a Domme!!! ;)

      • Sara Luckey

        There is just absolutely no need to be so dismissive of the concerns that other feminists/allies are saying in the comments section. If you don’t like what they’re saying or their tone, it doesn’t matter. There’s absolutely no need to further alienate or be dismissive of somebody voicing concern over their feelings of being alienated from mainstream feminism.

        • RadFemFTW

          There is just absolutely no need to be so dismissive of THE ACTUAL VIOLENCE AND RAPE THAT WOMEN ENDURE BECAUSE WE CONFLATE WHITE PRIVILEGED “KINKY” SEX WITH LIBERATION.

          There’s absolutely no need to further alienate or be dismissive of rape victims voicing concerns over their feelings of being alienated from mainstream feminism.

      • KA

        Trust me Sara…i’m not going to “lose my mind” over your bedroom activities….like I said, I don’t give two shits about what you do in your bedroom. That’s like writing a whole post about what type of toilet paper you use when you take a shit. NO ONE CARES.
        What I’m saying is, you’re individualizing a systemic problem!! This issues is larger than you! I’m saying you’re socially irresponsible for at least not mentioning the context that your womanhood takes place in. You’re raised in a patriarchal culture–I don’t know how many more times I have to repeat that.
        That’s like growing up in America, being forced to speak English, and then saying, “I personally chose to speak English and I LOVE it.” That’s just not true.
        I’m tried of uncritical women constantly making a spectacle out of what they do in the bedroom when no one cares! You’re acting like those of us who disagree with you are anti-sex. I have amazing sex and I have an amazing partner. So, trust me, if you’re writing an article about be a domee….no one cares. What’s the point…this isn’t a diary. This is supposed to be a critical space.
        That’s like writing a whole post about how much you love wearing Victoria Secret thongs, but you don’t contextualize that in a culture where your choices were dictated by an outside framework. However, this piece is great for Feminspire….because it’s uncritical…and privileged……

      • KA

        Sara,
        I would like to reiterate how WHITE this phenomenon is of bondage! Although I’m sure in this ironic post-racial, post-feminist culture women of color participate in these bondage activities, I would still argue that it’s FOR white women.
        I mean, black women were brought to this country as BREEDERS….locked in chains and raped!! Now, you want black women to be tied up in the bedroom and whipped and slapped to feel empowered?? Do you not see how ironic that is? Research black women’s histories before you start spewing white supremacist postfeminist garbage.

        • JuJuBee

          I’m sure she is aware of the history of slavery (as we all are) and the unfortunate unique role gender played in black women’s subjugation.
          but, having said that, your logic for why Sara’s perspective is “white supremacist” isn’t working for me. I mean sure of course “black women were brought to this country as BREEDERS. . . locked in chains and raped” but I don’t know how that’s relevant. I mean, black women were also expected to be at the sexual whim of the white man of the “house” back in the day but that doesn’t mean black women today can’t date or have sexual relations with white men. . . and it doesn’t mean that popular or mainstream depictions of black female-white male couples are intrinsically white supremacist simply because in the past these forced relations between white men and black women were problematic.

          • KA

            Of course, but that doesn’t mean that there are not POLITICS involved when a black woman dates a white man. You’re acting so post-racial and post-gender…as if history doesn’t inform our current practices at all. You’re completing silencing the voices of women of color. Like I said in another comment, that’s why women of color do not feel INVITED to particpte in SLUTWALK–where white women go about “reclaiming” their sexuality in a way that erases women of color. http://www.blackwomensblueprint.org/2011/09/23/an-open-letter-from-black-women-to-the-slutwalk/

            Uncritical white women have NO CLUE that their sexual activities are PRIVILEGED.

          • JuJuBee

            I know politics are involved. No shit.

            You’re missing my point. I was saying that bondage sex games aren’t intrinsically white supremacist.

            Let me cast this another way:
            Cruise ads that display large ships on the front of their brochures are not inherently white supremacist and exclusive to black people simply because in the past our people were brought here on large ships. While it’s true that lots of black people may not be able to afford cruises and will find such ads irrelevant, it’s not equally true that that fact combined with the historical fact makes the ad racist.

            Explaining this is becoming tedious.

          • KA

            HAHAHA…you’re a fool. Oh lordy. My IQ is lowering every time I write to you. (i’m sure you’ll find some witty response to that….) Ironically, cruise ships use BROWN folks labor to function….why don’t you do some research. therefore, one COULD possibly argue that cruise ships are STILL a white supremacist entity……………….racism is not a thing of the past sweetie—brown folks still bear the brunt of the cruise industry.
            I would actually argue that bondage sex “games” actually ARE white supremacist. Why don’t you read some Patricia Hill Collins………….or other black feminist theorists, since you think you have a PhD….in feminism….which you don’t…..

          • RadFemFTW

            LOL So, first you’re going to condescend to a victim of violent rape and explain your your sexy rape sex has nothign to do with violent rape, now you’re going to tell KA that your bondage slavery sex has nothing to do with slavery? This post is as white supremacist as it gets sweetheart, as is your insulting, ignorant response. Some “feminist” website, this is nothing more than a “third wave” co-opted patriarchal fucking anti-feminist, white female chauvinist pig RACIST website. Bc guess what, when you get called on your complacency with white supremacy and your only response is to DENY it and CONTINUE ON PRODUCING IT..that makes you RACIST.

      • RadFemFTW

        One time a man tied me up, not unlike the woman in your image, he bound me, I was “submissive”…must have been real sexy…because then he RAPED THE FUCKING SHIT OUT OF ME…BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A FUCKING RAPE CULTURE PATRIARCHY. This is fucking obnoxious to the upteenth degree. Seriously, you’re gonna prance around singing the joys of your boring sex life and shit on the women who have a problem with you portraying this as so cool and so liberating COMPLETELY out of context of the ACTUAL violence that happens to women like me? Gross, your attitude is gross. Sign off and go have some “empowering” bondage sex and stop with this clown parade.

        • JuJuBee

          I’m sorry that some asshole raped you, but for the rest of your comment I can only say WHAT.THE.FUCK.

          A man tying you up without your consent for the purpose of raping you (and then actually raping you) is not a bondage sex game. Sure, both involve being tied up but the similarities end there.

          To further illustrate: If there is an article about “Fun Date Ideas”, and I were to read a comment that said “This article is bullshit because you know what? I went on a date and I got a molly in my drink and got raped so, yeah, “dating” is really sexy because you get to have guys raping the fuck out of you. .. because we live in a fucking rape culture patriarchy” I would be so confused. Just because someone is date raped doesn’t mean that dates are equivalent to rape.

          And . .. drum roll. . .just because some (assholish, horrible) man tied you up with the intent to commit violence and rape you doesn’t mean that bondage is equivalent to violence and rape.

          • KA

            JuJuBee–you’re missing the whole point of her story. Being bound up in a room is NOT a good parallel with going on a date. I’m saying that the actual act of being tied up and “submissive” ….as a WOMAN…in a patriarchy is wholly ironic. I’m not saying that women don’t seek pleasure in it….i’m saying that OF COURSE women would be fighting for this “right” in the bedroom in a patriarchy—why isn’t this article about something else that actually impacts more women—-is this what feminism has come to—fighting for rights to be bound up in a bedroom.
            No one is stopping sara from putting chains around herself in her bedroom …however, we can’t subtract context from the situation…since she’s publicly telling everyone what she does on her bed.
            In a culture where women still do not have equal rights to men…in a culture where women are not equally represented in government, in a culture where women are RAPED disproportionately—this idiot wants to write an article….not about something that matters…..but wants to NOW add in, with all of this context, that being “submissive” is empowering.
            I don’t get it. “sub/dom” culture is not post-gender or post-racial……therefore, when women become subs….there’s something inherently ironic in that logic…because women are ALREADY conditioned to be subs from the time we’re born.

          • JuJuBee

            Golly this is exhausting.
            If you don’t see the parallel I’ve put forward, then YOU’RE missing the whole point of my response.

          • KA

            I get your parallel; however, discussing being in chains…….in a patriarchy…and then going on a date in a patriarchy do not hold the same power. A parallel has to hold the same power in order to be effective!

          • RadFemFTW

            Hey thank you, please tell me more about how bondage sex has NOTHING to do with the rape that I endured and the rape that MILLIONS of women endure under the EXACT SAME PRETENSE…that women are OBJECTS to be used as RESOURCES and that POWER DOMINATION AND CONTROL is “sexy” …disgusting. You are fucking disgusting. Hello, feminism, where people blast their fucking bedroom diaries on a “feminist” website and then their “feminist” buddies come in to explain to actual victims of rape how their rape sex in a rape culture has nothing to do with rape. Do better.

          • JuJuBee

            Clearly you are a moron.

          • KA

            JuJuBee–clearly you’re an asshole. Yay, let’s reduce everyone argument to only, “you’re a moron.” Brilliant ms. fake PhD woman…..The liberation that we have today oftentimes DRAWS from a culture of rape, sexism, and misogyny. Chains can both bind a woman who is sex trafficked, AND bind a woman who seemingly chooses to be bound….even though she is already “less-than” in a culture
            You’re a jerk. You’re prob a writer for Feminspire…..which makes complete sense now…..lol.

          • JuJuBee

            yeah. you can call everyone an “idiot” and that’s a-okay. but when i tell someone that she’s a moron because of MORONIC comments, i’m an asshole.

          • RadFemFTW

            Yeah, you are a fucking asshole. God forbid you are ever raped, and the so called feminist community makes a fucking mockery of it with disgusting posts like this and disgusting people like you with your disgusting, offensive, despicable comments. Foul. How do you sleep at night? I’m starting to think you are a Men’s Right’s Advocate, how else could you spout such ignorant, anti-woman, hate?

          • JuJuBee

            How do you know I HAVEN’T been sexually assaulted in the past? How do you know that someone close to me hasn’t been sexually assaulted in the past?

            I would never use my sexual assault as a way to shame other people’s consensual sexual activities. Just because someone has been sexually assaulted doesn’t mean everything he or she says about any topic in the world is valid.

  • Corey Lee Wrenn

    I think Feminspire should also consider how incredibly triggering it is to see a picture of a bound woman show up in my blogsfeed with a completely uncritical title accompanying it. It doesn’t make Feminspire seem like a safe space…or something I want to be associated with.

    • Sara Luckey

      And on a much more minor level, I just popped over to see this piece and the NSFW image was the first thing that popped up on my 19″ work monitor, which is uncool.

  • JuJuBee

    This is the stupidest debate ever. Women bringing their personal experiences and trying to think it out in feminist terms comprises a lot of feminist discourse. That’s what this article is. She’s bringing to the fore an activity she enjoys to partake in, and trying to negotiate this with her feminism. And she concludes that the two can be reconciled without much difficulty. That’s why she published it on a feminist site (I presume)! Diary entries don’t really look like this.

    What troubles me most is that under KA and her goons’ logic, absolutely EVERYTHING women do is a co-optation of the patriarchy because we can’t escape the conditions of culture. There is NO falsification criteria attached to this theory, which just means there’s no way to verify when it is that something a woman does or enjoys ISN’T a co-optation of the patriarchy. So, there’s nothing to stop us from thinking that feminism ITSELF (regardless of the wave or the degree of radicalism) is merely some from of co-optation of patriarchy as well.

    This article is especially interesting because it DOES address a really important issue: we are all aware of the dangerous messages out there about women being “things” that are to be dominated or controlled by men, a message wholeheartedly exemplified by rape culture. But we are also well aware of other women’s (and some of our own) sexual desires to play submissive roles in the bedroom, roles that we really enjoy and get a sexual kick from. KA and her goon’s diagnosis seems too superficial and simplistic to really engage with this issue. All they say is: HAHAHA, YOU FUCKING IDIOTS, YOU ARE CONDITIONED TO “GET A SEXUAL KICK” FROM BEING SUBORDINATE BECAUSE PATRIARCHY. Okay. So what. Let’s say we, as women, are simply playing out a role that we learned from being in this culture. That still doesn’t address the complexities of how this affects our sexualities and how the way we express our sexualities “in private” connect with the broader message that women are things to be dominated and controlled outside of the context of our direct, sexual choices. I don’t think it’s as simple as: WOMEN ARE SEEN AS OBJECTS TO BE CONTROLLED BY MEN SO WHENEVER WE SEE AN INSTANCE OF THIS, *REGARDLESS OF CONTEXT*, THOSE WOMEN ARE JUST PERPETUATING PATRIARCHY.

    • KA

      JuJu…you’re an idiot too. I have studied feminism for almost a decade….I wrote about third wave and postfeminism…I think i’m quite qualified to speak when we’re talking about the patriarchal co-optation of feminism.

      Think about it—it makes sense in a patriarchy that we even have sub/doms…just like it makes sense that we have strip clubs…these really are activities for the patriarchy–for men. Women participate because we have been bamboozled into thinking that these are activities for us as well—and we play along, and we feel empowered, because that’s part of the script.

      You said, “Women bringing their personal experiences and trying to think it out in feminist terms comprises a lot of feminist discourse.”—ummm…yes and no. This article is in NO WAY bringing a personal experience to “think it out” in feminist terms. In order to think in feminist terms, you have to know what feminism is…and no, it doesn’t mean a vagina sorority party!
      If she were to have written an article about bondage and included some critiques…it would have been more critical. But I would argue sara wrote a shitty article about herself, without looking at the context, and then threw it out there under the “guise” of feminism….which IS the joke.
      THIS IS NOT A FEMINIST ARTICLE.
      The “personal is political” did NOT mean–”individual women, do whatever the fuck you want.”
      No, it meant that women’s individual actions were connected to the collective and the politica. That women could find oppression even in their own individual actions.
      Now, I guess on feminspire, feminism just means…..vaginas writing….anyting they want….and it’s automatically feminist…..because….I have a vagina….
      this blog creates more discursive violence than any other feminist blog I’ve run into. In fact, I would argue thatthis ISN’T afeminist blog–but a vagina blog about nothing.

      • JuJuBee

        So……….what does it mean when two educated feminists have two absolutely opposing takes on this issue? Because. . . , yeahh, I have a doctorate degree in philosophy of sex interpreted through postmodern feminist theory (got an MA in the latter).

        I’ve looked at all of your replies and. . . golly. . . . the things you say have no possible way of being falsified, which, for the nth time, is the flaw of your entire approach. “We play along, and we feel empowered, because that’s part of the script.” And above you replied about the sub :”She just THINKS he respects her.” Etc. with countless excerpts from your responses. There’s no way to falsify any of these. ..

        How is your view any different from a conspiracy theory (or other shaky theories)? Giorgio Tsoukalos is absolutely certain that all ancient accomplishments were done so by aliens because. . . people were too “primitive” to complete such works. It’s circular. And it can’t be falsified. Regardless of what anyone says or what proof they drum up, Tsoukalos will explain it away with his original circular theory “the people were too primitive so all of those accomplishments HAD to be built with the help of aliens.” You can’t see the similarity between your approaches?

        No one is denying the existence of patriarchy. No one is denying that many of the actions women commit are complicit with patriarchy. No one is denying that activities many women find enjoyable are still in the domain of patriarchy. No one is denying that personal choices or actions aren’t located in a vacuum. However, all of these claims are distinct from the claim that “women are just being bamboozled.”

        Finally, I don’t think there’s any way anyone can present this issue in a way that you would find “feminist”. I offered an interpretation above, which explained that playing these sub/dom roles in sex games SUBVERT traditional roles in the context of the collective situation of women and you responded to me in a similar manner as you did Sara H. So, your definition of “feminist” ultimately boils down to “in complete agreement with me.”

        • KA

          the politics of “subverting” oppressive behavior is quite interesting to me…..what does that actually mean to you? In my opinion, I feel that “subversion” of oppressive norms can oftentimes reproduce or replicate the very issues we’re trying to subvert!
          Have you ever heard of Stuart Hall? He disses this idea of subversion–in fact, he states that binaries reproduce the same equalities! Therefore, if you take an oppressed subject, (women) and give them a fake artificial sense of power immendiately (being a dom…or sub)….then the same issue is still being reproduced, just with a different surface or face.
          I am merely asking what qualifies the writer to write a shitty piece about empowerment for women…..?? Like I said, in order to write about feminism, you have to actually understand feminism—not just the branch you want to grasp…I get where she’s coming from–she would be classified as a third wave/ postfeminist!!
          Sweetie—did philosophy of sex go over what feminism is???????

          • JuJuBee

            “If you take an oppressed subject, (women) and give them a fake artificial sense of power immediately (being a dom. .or sub). .. then the same issue is still being reproduced , just with a different surface or face.”

            This is begging the question SO HARD, I can’t even. . . . . . .

            You keep telling us all to “read more”. Well I think you should take your own advice and read an introductory text book on critical thinking because you “read so much” but can’t critically analyze anything you’ve read.

            And if you can’t tell that excerpt is question-begging then I guess that means you can’t tell you’re equivocating on the word “empowerment”. It’s obvious that Sara H finds these sex games empowering for her at a phenomenological level. It’s the same kind of empowerment and liberation one feels after climbing a tall mountain and reaching the top. It’s a feeling of being in control of your space and your person. This claim to empowerment is NOT THE SAME as saying that since I, as an Asian, feel liberated at the top of a mountain, all other Asians are liberated this way and that this is the way to gain political liberation. You’re talking about political, collective empowerment and it’s obvious she’s not talking about that. Feminists are interested in BOTH phenomenological and political, collective empowerment. Sometimes they overlap, many times they don’t.

            According to YOUR myopic view of feminism, only political, collective empowerment is empowerment “proper”. So according to you, unless ALL women have political and economic equality, no woman can be empowered. So, this is now a matter of semantics and you unwilling to admit or unable to see that you are equivocating on that word.

            AND DON’T FUCKING CALL ME “SWEETIE”.

          • KA

            Okay hun….you are so post-everything in this shit post. the same type of empowerment one gets from being chained is NO WHERE NEAR a similar type of empowerment as being on top of a mountain. being on top of a mountain is void of context and strcutures.
            I’m asking—WHY IS IT THAT WE FEEL EMPWOERED WHEN WE’RE CHAINED UP IN TEH BEDROOM????????? in order to answer that, you need to understand the system and framework that sara lives in as a WOMAN in a patriarchy, racist rape culture!!!! It’s not a just a “personal” thing……that’s like saying, “I individually feel empowered when I wear a thong.” Sure, you might actually feel beautiful and “empowered”….but i’m asking…who gave you the initial idea that wearing a thong is empowering? Someone had to plant the idea, before you acted upon it!! Get it?
            Tehrefore, i’m not disssing sara for wanting to being chained up—if she feels great–then do it. However, i’m more interested in backing up from her bedroom,a nd generally questioning, what led sara to “get off” on being chained up?
            You need to re-articulate what political means….i’m not talking about the government. Your posts, like the article, are lacking critical thinking. Think BEFORE sara’s bedroom. You’re starting with her bedroom….and that’s why we’re debating.
            I’m looking to the external culture that her bedroom is situated in! Women don’t NATURALLY feel good in thongs just because…..our culture advertised this idea of commodified sexuality and empowerment, and now women feel “sexy” when they wear them…whereas in reality, they’re merely conforming to a script that society has given them.
            Similary, I don’t doubt that sara has orgasms to her chains…i’m just saying that she needs to question why she likes them in the first place! Where did she initially get this idea that being bound is sexy! Those questions will lead you to where I am.

          • JuJuBee

            This is my last response because I am now doubting your credentials and I think you’re a troll:

            -Climbing to the top of a mountain and feeling empowered and liberated is not “void of context and structures”. There are some cultures that see running up to the top of a mountain as a normal part of their routine. I’m sure animals stand on the edges of cliffs thousands of feet in the air and don’t feel liberated. In our culture, there is a sense of oneness of nature, or, for some, even conquering nature, etc. Lots of these are tied up in our doctrines of humanism and spirituality. So, lots of context and structure.

            -I don’t understand what’s supposed to be the upshot of your critique. It’s like asking “where did we initially get the idea that reading a lot of books is ‘smart’?” At some point, all of our concepts are going to bottom out at agreements made in society amongst people. Let’s assume we got to the bottom of where “sara initially got the idea that being bound is sexy”. How would that change anything? The fact would remain that she is turned on by that sex game. Ask a dude why he likes sports. If he’s wise, he’ll realize maybe there is some social conditioning going on. But that wouldn’t change anything. The reality would exist that he stills likes sports. The cause of why he likes it is irrelevant.

            Anyway, if you’re going to exist in a culture, agreements are going to be made as to what is “smart”, “sexy”, “humble”, “fast”, and whatever else or else people couldn’t communicate with each other if they were all deploying different concepts in conversation.

            -You’re getting too preoccupied on her being tied up or chained up or however you want to describe it. She’s not sexually empowered BECAUSE she’s a submissive. She’s sexually empowered because she’s finding sexual fulfillment and satisfaction by playing a sub as a sexual role. People DO play slave sex games (shocker!!)- yes, EVEN PEOPLE OF COLOR – and those women feel sexually empowered NOT BECAUSE she is playing a “slave” but because of the sexual fulfillment.

            -This is a HUGE feminist issue given we live in a world where
            for billions of years we have just TAKEN IT FOR GRANTED THAT SEX IS FOR MALE FULFILLMENT. Female sexual satisfaction IS a huge deal– i’d argue that no one can be a full agent without exercising their sexuality. (and
            this is why- if you remember any god damn thing from a feminist history course- the clit was considered “political” . .. and still is). Women and men are STILL TODAY – even in the states- stuck in the mindset that women don’t really want sex or enjoy it. .. that it’s “for men”. So our
            stories from the bedroom are extremely relevant. .. so the political context in Sara H’s story is implicit whether you acknowledge that or not.

            AND FINALLY!!!!

            -Feminism is not a zero sum game. . . it’s
            not like if we talk about our sexuality as a feminist theme that this somehow TAKES AWAY from other feminist themes like sex trafficking, domestic violence, etc. We can work on multiple issues at a time.

            I’M OUT.

          • RadFemFTW

            hahahahaha, what did i even just read…I don’t even think clown colleges would stoop so low as to allow for this ignorance to pass through their doors

        • RadFemFTW

          My guess is you went to Clown College where they distribute imaginary degrees to completely clueless people. But it’s cool, because you ride a unicycle across stage to pick up your degree made of balloon animals.

          • JuJuBee

            If anyone’s gone to “clown college”, it must be you because you seem to know a lot about it.

            (no offense to anyone currently in training to be an actual clown)

      • Sherrie Silman

        The discursive violence on this page exists within acts of name-calling and claims of elite access to the “one truth” everyone else is too stupid, lazy and/or uneducated to comprehend. Words are actions, and the use of terms of discrimination, such as the term “idiot”, is the purposeful infliction of systemic violence. Non-violent, productive discourse engages in collaborative dialogue, not verbal assault.

        • KA

          “one truth”—tell that to the author of this article. Even if was being “non-violent” (which I am)…you would still silence me because you’re uncritical. You want to talk about NON-VIOLENCE….look at the image posted with this article…fuck off Sherrie. If you consider my words violent, then you OBVIOUSLY don’t know what discursive violence is. This whole blog is violent because it’s so uncritical.

          • Sherrie Silman

            So, as a feminist you believe it’s okay to inflict histories of subjugation, sterilization and murder by using the term “idiot” (in addition to your rampant, non-contributory name-calling) because the discursive violence you want to participate in is “okay” but the discursive violence you accuse others of using is somehow not? Words have meanings, KA, and specific representations; word choice is a statement of belief, and your word choices make it clear you believe that it’s okay to subjugate the people you find it convenient to subjugate. By using the word “idiot” you are perpetuating a history systemic discursive and physical violence against marginalized social groups. And you’re doing it despite bragging about an education through which you should by now know better than to.

        • RadFemFTW

          Hahaha, nonviolence, yeah, in defense of the image used for the article, which is clearly drawing on violence, and then your clowns are attacking me as a “moron” for daring to compare how the author’s words contribute to rape culture, then making a mockery of my own similar rape. Yeah, nonviolence, tell me more.

    • RadFemFTW

      The Feminism Club: One vagina for entry. Please leave brains at the door.

  • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com/ MsVanillaRose

    I don’t quite understand why KA writes that she doesn’t “give two shits about what you [Sara H] do in your bedroom”. Clearly, she *is* bothered. A personal account of watching a lovely sunset from a bedroom window would not have attracted this amount of disagreement.

    • RadFemFTW

      It’s not about what people do in their bedroom, it’s about what they post on fucking “feminist” websites with absolutely ZERO critical discussion of how their rape/domination/racist sex operates within a RACIST RAPE CULTURE

      • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com/ MsVanillaRose

        At least you admit to not approving of what Sara H does, hence the negative way in which you describe it.

        • KA

          Ms. VanillaRose—you’re actually making me laugh now. You keep focusing on what you want to focus on. Read PAST the part where we say WE DON’T CARE WHAT SHE INDIVIDUALLY DOES IN HER BEDROOM……

          • JuJuBee

            SHE’S TALKING ABOUT SEXUAL EMPOWERMENT- WHAT MAKES HER FEEL SEXUALLY LIBERATED- SO THERE IS NO WAY SHE CAN LEAVE OUT THE INDIVIDUAL STUFF SHE DOES IN HER BEDROOM.

            STOPPPP EQUIVOCATING ON ‘EMPOWERMENT’, PLEASE, DEAR, FUCKING, GOD.

          • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com/ MsVanillaRose

            That isn’t actually accurate, though, is it? If you felt truly neutral, RadFemFTW wouldn’t use terms like “rape/domination/racist sex” to describe what Sara H does. You both disapprove very strongly of her sex life.

    • KA

      Evidently, you need to read more as well. If you read anything that I wrote above, you would know that I don’t care about Sara…and what she does with her body in her bedroom.
      What DOES bother me is her lack of feminist education…but, the whole website is like this, so it makes sense that it’s published through here.
      I don’t know sara..and if she wants to stick toilet paper in her vagina…good for her….what I am concerned about is the fact that feminspire decided to publish this garbage that is NOT critical…and is NOT feminist…it’s just a random woman’s account.
      I’m going to write an article about the shit I took this morning…and then i’ll get it published here…because it’s feminist…because I have a vagina.
      I look forward to your loyal support on that article since you seem to not also know what feminism is.

      • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com/ MsVanillaRose

        Oh, that’s original. Do you tell *everyone* who disagrees with you that they clearly haven’t read as much as you have? Because I have to tell you, that’s kind of patronising.

        • KA

          Well, I tell people to read more–and i’ll tell you to read more…because evidently–you didn’t get past my first sentence…..if you can’t even get past my first sentence, I can only imagine what type of literature you’re reading to support your claims.

          • JuJuBee

            Hail to the rise of ELITIST “GOON” FEMINISM. Basically you’re appropriating tactics employed by douchey men in academia who have to act like fucking assholes in order to gain credibility and legitimize their totally biased “objective” claims. You’re doing EXACTLY what they do- calling everyone who disagrees with you “stupid” and to “read more”, referring to them with condescending names like “hun” and “sweetie” and dropping your credentials with every breath you can take. Now I’m just waiting for you to copy&paste a passage from a writer you idolize and have made your god . . .

          • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com/ MsVanillaRose

            Maybe you would have a more productive time if you didn’t assume that everyone who disagrees with you hasn’t read up about feminism.

    • Heyyyyyyyyoooooo

      ^THIS.

      Yea and I also don’t see the value in filtering out Sara H’s *personal* satisfaction. She said she feels sexually empowered in this act.

      i don’t think we *should* filter out her personal satisfaction that’s the thing I’d like to make a tiff about. I know lots of radfems detest this “fun” feminism (their words, not mine). According them, feminism is supposed to be about representing the interests of the worst-off women (I don’t know why it must be exhaustive in this way, btw). But I don’t know how relatively privileged western women are supposed to find the confidence, motivation and wherewithal to “fight for” all of us non-privileged women if they are not full human beings themselves. Being a full human being entails minimally personal confidence, control over your own bodily sexuality, etc. All of these things “fun feminism” draws attention to is the need for us women to be full human beings *so that* we can be fully functional and effective agents in this movement. So women feeling sexually empowered is going to be essential to being a “full” human being. If women today *still* shrink from leaving their houses because they are not wearing make up or avoid running for school president because they have no confidence or cannot or will not find satisfying relationships because of what their bodies look like, how can we possibly ask them to just OVERLOOK those as unimportant and to now stand up for other women who are being oppressed in equally disturbing (and many times more disturbing) degrees?

      • KA

        Personal satisfaction is constructed by the mainstream culture. Yes, you have your own individual body, but our “personal” choices are constructed by culture.
        “feminism is supposed to be about representing the interests of the worst-off women”
        YES!!!! BECAUSE THESE WOMEN HOLD THE EVIDENCE THAT WE’RE NOT AS FREE AS WE THINK WE ARE!!
        Why should feminism by created by the most free or elite? (The problem with feminism today!) While idiots like Sara are jerking off to be in chains, women of color do not have the privilege of doing the same! Aren’t you interested?
        Instead of wrting an article about garbage like this, why DON’T we focus on the women who are currently being sex trafficked in chains? Why should we only focus on the women who think they’re liberated? There’s no activism in there!
        Yes, white women/privileged women are still not viewed as full human beings because we exist in a patriarchy—-therefore, women are trained to objectify themselves….have you never read ariel levy’s “female chauvinist pigs???” Holy shit!
        Feminism, or ANY type of activism should focus on those who are the most oppressed!
        Smiilarly, if we’re doing anti-racist work, why would we focus on the most privileged people of color? We should focus on the people of color who are at the bottom of the socio-economic chain!
        that’s the whole point of social change….not to make the privileged more privileged….but to help those who are underprivileged…and part of that quest is being reflexive because you, as a privileged person, might be reproducing their oppression in your own “liberation.”
        Read up hun.

        • Heyyyyyyyyoooooo

          also i think you should reconsider your calling your dissenters “hun” and “sweetheart” and other such names. men always do this to women in order to dismiss what women are saying like she’s just this sweet innocent idiot simpleton.

  • KA

    Oh gosh. This is becoming a nightmare. Make sure you read all of my comments through before you tell me to do the same to you. I’m all about critiquing AND congratulating…however, if someone was to write an article for black women about acting like a slave in a bedroom as a means to empowerment…I would be saying the same thing. Be careful about what you congratulate! I choose not to continue this convo on with you….you seem to not get what’s going on here.

  • KA

    Are you a writer for Feminspire?….because that would make sense with how “keen” you are….no i’m a woman of color actually. What difference would it make it I were a man saying the same thing?
    let me guess–you’re white??

    • JuJuBee

      She didn’t direct the “you’re a man” comment at you, you cretin. She’s on your side!

      And by you, in turn, guessing that she’s white, you’re doing the same thing she did to me in assuming that I’m a man.

      • RadFemFTW

        Your arguments surely make it seem as though you are a man…not just a man, but a “men’s rights” activist…how else could you be so disgusting.

  • KA

    Solace—is that the great wisdom that you’re bringing to this? Well, social reality would disagree. The way in which we create discourse about women DEFINES women’s positions. So, I would argue, that women’ actually AREN’T equal to men…..and that’s why they’re not treated as equal. We socially construct reality—nothing is fixed. If we don’t treat women as equal, then we have socially constructed them to NOT be equal…go take a feminist class

    • SolaceSylum

      If “the way we create discourse about women defines women’s positions” then any argumentation suggesting women are not only treated as unequal to other genders but actually are unequal to other genders is creating the very inequality you believe in. You believe women are fundamentally lesser than other genders? You believe that people are defined wholly by the way others treat or interact with them? By that logic you are creating the inequality you are simultaneously lamenting – you are creating your own cage and bemoaning the gaoler to whom you gave the keys. Moreover, the premise of feminism is all human beings are fundamentally equal in dignity and worth to all other human beings regardless of how inequitably or violently they’re treated. If you believe women are not equal to other human beings, if you believe that women are lesser than other human beings, then what you’re spouting isn’t feminism.

  • Mlac

    By the way, Prof. Gail Dines just RIPPED apart this post! lol. I don’t know a critical feminist who would support the way this article was written! I just think it’s super uncritical.

    • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com/ MsVanillaRose

      She hasn’t “ripped it apart”. She’s suggested that people who are into BDSM have all been victims of trauma. Which means she disbelieves the ones who say they have not.

  • JuJuBee

    you must be one of KA’s brilliant goons to deduce that completely false conclusion

  • JuJuBee

    I only brought up my education because you kept asserting disagreements were being made by “people who didn’t read feminist literature.” My point was, many of us DO read feminist literature (a shit ton) and we’re still disagreeing. The problem here is that you worship Gail Dines and have never considered that there are other feminist texts, ideas and epistemologies that assert different ideas and just because they are in disagreement DOESN’T MEAN THEY FAIL TO BE CRITICAL.

    Anyway, you’re just a fucking troll at this point. You remind me of those guys who go on feminist sites just to say “see, these REAL LEGIT sites think you’re lame, so, yeah!” Again, you’re an elitist goon “feminist”.

    STOP TROLLIN’, SWEETIE.

  • Sherrie

    Take your comments to your professors, ask them why what you have said would never pass a peer review, and use the instruction they respond with to improve your processes of analysis before attempting to participate in conversation, as
    what you are doing here is a form of bullying rather than critical analysis. If you were able to generate commentary that engaged critically with both the text and relevant theory you wouldn’t need to continually attempt to justify your
    bullying tendencies as arising from education. Just as ethnicity is not requisite to an informed opinion, academic training is not requisite to critical analysis or even critical thinking – if you’re not capable of critically engaging with the topic then it doesn’t matter how much education you have,
    your failures to learn within an educational program are not justification for your desire to gain attention by behaving inappropriately and then trying to divert deserved criticism of your actions to the people you are attempting to bully. If you cannot engage critically with your own commentary and behaviour, you are not ready to engage critically with the text of others.

    Yes, I am a writer for Feminspire. That has nothing to do with the conversation – in fact, by attempting to dismiss what I say because I write for Feminspire you are participating in a logical fallacy, once again demonstrating that your purpose here is not about critical analysis.

    Sara does contextualize her article; that you don’t like her context is an altogether different matter. Further, the piece is not meant to be a “critical piece on bondage culture” and it doesn’t have to be. Your comments are the problem on this page, which is why you don’t want anyone focusing on them. Noticeably you have not apologized for or corrected your prejudicial statements or problematic behaviour, indicating an unwillingness to engage in the critical
    analysis you accuse the rest of us of avoiding. No one owes you a critique of anything other than the prejudice and bullying you are enacting.

  • KA

    I’ve read Corey Lee Wrenn’s literature (I see that she’s commented on this blog site as well…since she uses her real name. I’ve heard of Aph Ko (i think he’s a guy actually) through the vegan feminist network with corey. I’m a fan of their articles, and yes, I am borrowing a lot from what I’ve read from them. I’m a fan of their page because I actually think they’re critical so yes–you may see very similar sentences. .
    My name is actually Kasie—but i’m not going to tell you my last name bc I have no clue who you are! Like you, i’m done commenting as well. we’re evidently not getting anywhere AT ALL.

    • JuJuBee

      (rolling eyes)

    • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com/ MsVanillaRose

      Kasie – or are you secretly one of the Kardashians?

      (That was a joke.)

  • SolaceSylum

    Equality cannot be understood without examining power dynamics – nor can it be understood without particularizing instances of inequality within socio-political contexts, which requires understanding of cultural genesis and reproduction of hierarchization, and which if you actually understood you’d be able to understand that sub/dom culture is global and that nawa shibari didn’t originate in “white supremacist culture” and that this article does contextualize its author as an oppressed subject in terms of gender in a similar way to hooks’ initial musings on the act of pulling a wagon. You might also understand how your behaviour here reproduces histories of tactical manipulation of oppressed subjects in order to perpetuate internal conflicts within the ranks of the subjugated.

  • Phil

    Hello,

    So first off, full disclosure: I’m a white, straight male. I come to this website every now and then to see what articles have been posted, and to read the comments that invariably follow.

    I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t know the first thing about feminism–I have no idea what the difference between “third wave” feminism or post-feminism or gynarchy means, but I’m willing to learn because it’s a movement that I really have no exposure to down here in Florida.

    One thing I HAVE noticed is that there is a ton of criticism on this site when it comes to the more controversial articles that are posted, and it’s feminists criticizing other feminists! I haven’t seen anything quite as vicious as the flame war between Juu Juu Bee and KA, but I’m sure it’s going to happen again in the future.

    My question is this: is this fight the result of two people being on the Internet, or is this an unfortunate trait that feminism has generated, specifically which “form” of feminism is correct?

    Or is it simply the case of two people clearly not liking each other?

    Regardless, I find this utterly fascinating.

    • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com/ MsVanillaRose

      Both.

  • http://www.vanillarosetangents.blogspot.com/ MsVanillaRose

    I do not believe that Corey Lee Wrenn has commented on this debate under a false name.

  • Mung Beans

    I hate commenting on anything older than a day BUT ~~~ having been involved in BDSM/kink both in a personal sense and a ‘scene’ sense, I really disagree with the maxim about how the sub holds all the power, all the cards. To me, that power seems entirely… illusory. It’s ‘power’ contingent upon the goodwill and nonshittiness of the dominant partner. Sure, it takes strength to trust others, but I dunno, it just hasn’t ever sat right with me. There are too many situations in which that power does prove to be illusory, i.e. in the context of an ignored safeword, or a perceived pressure to perform/please the dominant partner (especially if Being Submissive is a big part of their sexual identity)… especially in a situation in which the submissive partner is bound, gagged, unable to move because restraints, in an altered state of mind, etc. Obviously boundaries can be ignored in ~vanilla~ (hate that word ewwwwww) relationships so it’s not like this is a unique problem of kink scene, but yeah, the ‘sub has the power’ stuff just doesn’t ring true to me. Them’s my 2c

    • Sara Luckey

      All good points! And I don’t care if it’s 137198381381 years later, I always want to hear what you have to say, and I value your opinion. I guess we could add the modifiers that in safe and trusting BDSM relationships where both people are respectin each others wishes and not violating trust or guidelines set forth that the sub has all the power. But I completely agree that if somebody crosses boundaries, ignores safewords, or ignores the needs and wants of the sub that the sub has had their power taken from them.

      • Mung Beans

        I think that in a safe and trusting relationship of any sort that the ‘power’ is always shared, no matter what that looks like, and sex is always a collaborative effort, no matter what that looks like. I also think talking about ‘who really has the POWER’ is just a weird way of thinking about sexual interaction, even if I get the impulse to like… codify that when it comes to relationships that play with domination/submission dynamics and especially in the situation of like a man-dom, lady-sub where there will be (fair, I think, tbh) criticisms of playing out damaging cultural ideas about the roles of men and women… Although in a dom/sub type of thing, the sub is generally more at-risk and so it’s very important to think about and maybe it’s helpful to some to remind themselves that they’re supposed to listen. I dunno!

        TBH I find my own sexual preferences very very confusing (not in a bad way, just in a ‘huh…’ kind of way) and I do think some of them stem from abuse or like have roots in negative emotional things (not NOW, but I do think with some things, that’s… the genesis or w/e and I don’t think I can change it and I don’t particularly want to because it would be hard and boring). I do think there’s something to a lot of the criticism lobbied at BDSMy stuff but y’know end of the day, my life is my life and I’m just trying to have a good time

  • Occasionally kinky

    Wow! AMAZING levels of vitriol in the comments section. I’ve never seen such a troll fight. I’m sure they are out there, just maybe not on topics I’ve cared enough about to read through. Both sides resorting to name calling repeatedly, whilst occasionally bringing up insightful points among the strawmen and circular reasoning. I found the original article more helpful, though. And despite its brevity, more nuanced. Thanks for the article Sara. It was very interesting. Glad you are finding fulfillment. I hope the rest of you do, too. Peace.

  • Guest

    I’m really glad I read this article. Yes, this article is about personal experience and not generic feminist concepts. That’s what I liked. I don’t think many people on this site were making the presupposition that anyone’s sexual preferences make them non-feminist, but I can see why someone would think a submissive person in the bedroom might be submissive in general. And that’s why personal narratives that debunk that are important.

    Personally I’m glad I read this article because I’m the same way; I have the same desires and the same concerns about enacting them.

  • Jessica

    I just wanted to say that I really relate to everything you said here. Thanks for posting it.

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