Femdom – Who Holds The Power

February 6, 2015
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Femdom - Who Holds The Power

Female domination sounds so simple. Women are in charge, and their submissives, usually men, obey their orders. She who cracks the whip holds the power. But as with most issues concerning human sexuality, it’s not always that simple. Is she really in charge, or is it just two people playing a game.

In BDSM, power is given rather than taken. For a start, just how far can a sub be ‘made’ to do anything? Mistress Julia argues that in one way, the sub is actually always in control; they usually have a safe word to use if they feel uncomfortable or unhappy, and most dominants will respect hard limits (something the sub will not do under any circumstances) . And here she has a point: The absence of consent is just a fantasy. If a sub is forced into doing something he really hates, that could be tipping over into abuse. Of course, what one person considers abuse may be exactly what someone else enjoys. There are many grey areas and fine lines in the world of D/s.

But being a dominant does not mean that you automatically have power over a sub. Someone who identifies as submissive is not obliged to be submissive with any self-labelled dominant. Indeed, in fetish circles anyone who tried dominating a person who hadn’t consented to enter into a dynamic with them, even temporarily, would quickly be warned to desist. A sub actually has the power to decide who they submit to, in what context and to what degree. This is common sense – don’t put yourself in the hands of someone who would put you at risk (safe, sane and consensual – elaborate) or doesn’t have your interests at heart. And it is often considered that sub does not equal weak, and that the submission of a strong personality has more value because it is freely given.

Some BDSM practitioners call themselves slaves (usually horny men turned on by the fantasy of serving a powerful woman), but as slavery tends to be frowned upon in most civilised countries this is, in my opinion, just a role that both partners choose to adopt. Ultimately, how much power the sub or slave gives up depends very much on the relationship between the two people. This is something that they will negotiate between themselves. As for the horny men, a very quick way of  proving that they’re only pretending they’ll do anything you say, Mistress, anything, is to demand that they fellate a cucumber or insert a cactus up their own ass. The sound you hear is the metaphorical door slamming as their fantasy heads south.

And if you thought being the domme was all fun – hey, you get to order men around! Woohoo! – you should think again. With power comes responsibility. A dominant has to consider the welfare of their sub at all times; it is their responsibility to ensure that their sub is not put at risk of psychological or physical harm. So being in charge is not one big fun-fest for the dominant. Genuine power without consequences went out with the Middle Ages.

Pro dommes 

Some lifestylers consider that a professional domme doesn’t have any power at all, that she is delivering what the client wants. Certainly some women are what is sneeringly referred to as ‘a hooker with a whip’ – they’re playing the role of a domme for the client’s pleasure but wouldn’t really identify as a dominant. Many of us – and I include myself in this – see ourselves as genuine dommes who choose to be paid for our time. We’re aware that clients want something from the transaction, and any sub who is unhappy with the experience isn’t going to return. Ultimately that’s what we want, from a business point of view, and it’s also more enjoyable to build up a long-term relationship with subs than to have a series of ‘drive-bys’ who never come back for more.

Certainly some subs are more ‘fetish wankers’, as Mistress Julia puts it – they’re pretty one-note & only really interested in what gets them hot. In this case, are they not really steering the process? If the pro domme is giving them what they want, how is she in charge? But really, nobody is going to sign up for being ill-treated (beyond what they find gratifying in some way), and anyone who says that is what they want is a fantasist who would never follow through on this. So perhaps it has to be given as read that whatever the domme does is pleasing to the sub in some way. However, genuine dommes, even if they are professionals, aren’t interested in engaging with a sub who sees us as nothing more than a ‘fetish delivery system’. Some so-called subs think it’s like a vending machine; they drop their coins in the slot and pow! the domme does exactly what they want. We will only engage in activities that interest us, and don’t compromise our values. No sexual activities, no nudity. Hire an escort or cam girl for that.

Femdom - Who Holds The Power

Instadommes 

But even pro dommes may look down on the instadomme. She is a young woman who calls herself a domme but is really only using her looks to part men from their money. She’s not interested in them getting anything from the transaction. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, but everyone’s a financial domme these days – or at least 90% of the female ‘dominants’ on BDSM sites. Some aren’t even actually females, but dudes posing as female profiles. Which raises an interesting angle – men exploiting other men. But the point is this: If you’re using your sexuality to tease men into paying, then are you really in control? Are they exploiting you, or is it a symbiotic relationship? I lean towards mutual exploitation on this one. It could be said the relationship balances out in the end. She pouts and heaves her cleavage up, he drools and hands over the cash. Both are consenting adults getting something out of the transaction. Though the impression these girls give of success is largely window-dressing – there aren’t nearly enough genuine financial subs to keep even a fraction of the pay princesses in Louboutins. The reason there are so many is that the idea of getting something for nothing is very alluring. However, only a small percentage actually achieve a decent return for the time they invest.

So is D/s ultimately just a game, in which both domme and sub are playing a role, albeit one that both sides enjoy? Perhaps not. Mistress Julia suggests that the domme can have ‘enormous power’ in real-life D/s relationships. She herself has two lifestyle subs, D9 and Rascal.  ‘I would say that I do have power over these boys. For instance, D9 would be emotionally utterly crushed if he genuinely felt he had earned my disapproval,  and even Rascal, who has only been with me for 4 months, is exhibiting signs of being similarly emotionally effected by me not being happy with his behaviour.’

These are of course Mistress Julia’s lifestyle subs, and therefore different from her professional sessions. She will engage in activities with her lifestyle subs that she would not do with paying clients. ‘It would in my opinion make me an escort, not a Domme, to play for cash in that way.’ As for paid sessions, she says that these certainly can be consensual role play, yes, but that she rarely feels she is role playing. She feels very much in control of who she accepts for a live session and what she does in those sessions. Like any sensible pro domme, she screens potential clients carefully and will turn down sessions and therefore money if she feels that their requirements do not match with her own interests.

IMO a good femdom is aware of the issues involved in defining power, but retains control by only engaging in the fetishes she enjoys. For instance, I don’t deal with scat lovers (faeces). When asked by a regular online sub how much I would charge for a scat session, I considered briefly if I could bring myself to do this kind of session (it’s good to question one’s boundaries from time to time, if only to reinforce your limits). I would have enjoyed the cash, for sure, and I could probably have charged him what I liked. But my distaste for the subject and concern on health grounds quickly won out. It wasn’t worth doing something I dislike just for the cash. And then I would have been compromising myself just to give him what he wanted. That’s not what I’d call dominant. The moment a femdom does something she doesn’t like to get cash, she’s lost control. Her so-called sub is buying her, and money controls her.

So, my conclusion is that in many ways it’s really up for debate. It’s smart to be aware of the issues. Some say that everyone is a slave in one way or another and that we never have genuine control over our lives; if you really want to philosophise, we’re all slaves to the bank or our bosses. Freedom is an arbitrary concept, and maybe always has been. With domination and submission, there is rarely anything straightforward, and within the scene others may disagree profoundly with others’ take on the subject. Ultimately what matters is what the individuals concerned in any D/s relationship feel. I consider that I am in control of my dealings. I’m happy with that.

If you fancy discovering the joys of handing over your power (and cash) to a domme, you can find Kitty de Vine at Adult Work or Cass Cams.

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