[Content Note: BDSM, submission, rape]

"The idea that there is one best way to do sex afflicts radical as well as conservative thought on the subject." -Gayle Rubin, Deviations 

image by Shiri Eisner

image by Shiri Eisner

With the latest release of the Fifty Shades of Grey movie franchise, there are more and more people who incorrectly believe it to be legitimate BDSM.

Newsflash: it's not.

BDSM is not about abuse. BDSM is consensual. There is a lot of trust between those practicing it. Fifty Shades is abuse. It's about a man who stalks, coerces, and pressures his partner--all tactics of abuse. 

Many of the comments were from women who view BDSM as inherently anti-feminist. I didn't plan on commenting (and, in essence, outing myself as a feminist who enjoys BDSM), but I did, and I'm glad. 

Gayle S. Rubin, a pro-BDSM feminist states, "Most people mistake their sexual preferences for a universal system that will or should work for everyone" (Deviations, 154 If we decide to judge or policy other people's sex lives, we aren't being feminist. We're being patriarchal.

Without giving too much information about my sex life (past or present), I will say that I enjoy being submissive in the bedroom. Yes, you read that right... I'm a feminist who likes being held down, choked, spanked, etc during sex. I can do the dominant thing, too, but I prefer being the sub. 

I’ve spent years trying to feel "ok" with the fact that my sexual interests aren't "fucked up" or "abnormal" or "doesn't belong" with my feminism. If I’m in charge of what these acts mean to me--to my own body--then I don't believe I’m engaging in my own oppression. 

The men I've dated have been both surprised and appalled by my sexual proclivities. I usually get the response of, "What? Really? But you're a FEMINIST!" I used to have a really difficult time explaining how the two can coexist. I still sometimes do, but it's definitely easier. I now answer their question with a question of my own: how is engaging in consensual sexual acts anti-feminist? 

Another question I get is, "Do you like regular sex ever?" First of all, what does that even mean? You mean, can I fuck without kink? Yes, of course I can! I like variety as much as the next grrrl, but let's unpack that word, "regular" for a moment: "regular" is a substitute for what is "normal" based on society's standards. Normal is rooted in oppression. Everyone's "normal" is different.

Perhaps, the most difficult question I get asked is, "How can you like this stuff when you, yourself, were raped?" This question is reductive, triggering, and invalidates any sense of sexual autonomy or agency. Sometimes I think about how having been raped early on in my "sexually active" life shaped my sexual interests. Did it? Do the two have anything to do with each other? I'm not sure. My thinking is that, no, my having been raped has nothing to do with my sexual desires. And if it does, even a small bit, it's a way for me to take back that power that I lost. It's a way for me to choose how I want to be in this body of mine as well as how I want to share it with someone else. It's on my terms.

Choosing to be submissive in the bedroom is empowering for me. I know some readers will roll their eyes at that, but it’s true! It’s not something forced on me (and it's not something I force on others). It’s something I choose to do when I feel like it, and when my partner also feels like it.

And guess what? It doesn't make me any less of a feminist

 

 

 

 

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