It’s hard out here for a feminist. We spend all day kicking ass and taking names, and at night if we feel the slightest sub impulse, the desire to just hand over the reins for an hour or so, we second-guess our urges.
Such was the case for Jessica Wakeman of TheFrisky.com, who recently elaborated on how her penchant for the paddle jibed with her feminist worldview.
Like the nebulous feminist character I described in the first paragraph, Wakeman was one driven D.O.B. (That’s daughter of a bitch, natch.) She was working on a women’s studies minor, publishing a feminist newspaper column, and she was president of her campus National Organization for Women chapter.
After years of playful spankings that often led to, ahem, more, Wakeman acknowledged her fetish. But not without some hang-ups. It wasn’t that she bought into that old adage, “If he hits you in jest, he’ll hit you for real,” or that she felt guilty for finding pleasure in a smack when so many women worldwide are the victims of domestic abuse. Wakeman “felt conflicted about giving up her physical power.” She thought “spanking wasn’t something an independent and opinionated woman should enjoy.” We don’t just bend over and take it!
Wakeman finally met a man who helped her along in her journey to accepting her spanking kink, but their bliss was short-lived. When that relationship wen the way of the Dodo, Wakeman sought the aid of a therapist to come to terms with her fetish. Unfortunately, this therapist also had some hang-ups: Namely, she couldn’t look beyond childhood and oedipal issues that didn’t actually enter in to Wakeman’s situation.
In actuality, being dominated is a perfectly natural — although sometimes paradoxical — component of what lights a woman’s fire. I regularly quote a New York Times magazine piece that ran in January titled “What Do Women Want?” in which sexologist Marta Meana identifies the “dilemma” of female desire: “Women want to be thrown up against a wall but not truly endangered. Women want a caveman and caring.”
The same article also engages the subject of “rape fantasies.” Of course, what women are really looking for in these scenarios is not rape, but to feel they are the objects of unstoppable desire. Simultaneously, they want to feel safe enough to acquiesce and get swept into the midbrain for awhile.
At the risk of dishing out TMI, I myself found the road to enjoying a spanking a difficult one. I was in a relationship with someone who really loved it, but seemed to purely for his own satisfaction. There was no communication involved, I never asked for it, and he didn’t seem to be listening to my body in a way that good, generous, fun lovers do. As a result, I never felt safe enough to let my guard down and enjoy it.
Fortunately, down the line I ended up dating someone who was incredibly attentive and open-minded, who made me feel safe, and our dynamic was such that we fed off what gave the other person pleasure. It was a sort of kink-exchange, if you will. We both agree that nothing is sexier or more feminist than a woman asking for — and getting — what she wants in the sack.
That’s the sort of happy conclusion Wakeman came to for herself:
“Even though my sex life is the best it has ever been, it’s more important to me that I’ve figured out how I define my feminism for myself. The thrills of a dom/sub relationship might not work for other women and men who use the same “feminist” label that I do, but I’m not worrying about them anymore. I know I can enjoy a bedroom dynamic which, outside the bedroom, wouldn’t be acceptable. And I can still call myself a feminist.”
Now, if you’re into spanking as part of a greater role-playing fantasy — or you’re a lady who wants to try – but you feel the need for a clearer line between when he’s allowed to dominate you and when he’s not, Dan Savage offered a word of advice to a feminists/domestic-discipline enthusiasts in his column Savage Love:
“Get a necklace … that you wear only when you want the boyfriend to take charge. You decide when that necklace goes on, you decide when it comes off, which puts you in control, paradoxically, of your own submission.
When you’re wearing it, you’re BETTY CROCKER (whoever she is) and the boyfriend has your consent to order you about, spank your ass, and fuck you senseless. When it’s off, you’re equals. Easy!”