Can you Enjoy Submissive Sex as a Feminist?
Actively exploring our sexuality can allow us to discover that we want more than just vanilla sex. This discovery may lead us to experiment and, in turn, find ourselves liking our hair pulled, being blindfolded, spanked, held down, handcuffed, etc. AKA: the “kinky” shit. As humans – especially those who identify as feminists – we want (and deserve) respect, equality, and recognition for our competence and strength outside of the bedroom. Cue internal struggle.
How do we come to terms with separating our sexual preferences from who we are as people and finding between wanting equality and respect and taking pleasure in having some submissive sexual kinks? Is this even possible?
A resistance to traditional male over female control seems to be the issue, but plot twist: that’s what’s turning us on here.
The reality is that the lines between social objectification and sexual desires have become blurred as a result of the constructs around sexuality and gender norms. The classic male/female power struggle (male = dominant, female = passive) is an outdated idea that is, for lack of a better word, just boring. Women are so much more than their unfortunate, normative reputation as the weaker sex, and they are equally as capable as their counterparts. The belief that finding pleasure in a guy taking full control in bed is contradictory to feminism, which aims at dissolving the barriers created by these traditional gender constructs, is a common misconception. Getting out of that learned mindset helps us understand and be okay with what we like.
The F Word: Breaking it Down
Feminism. It’s a word that can carry negative stereotype, especially according to the disheartening, scathing definitions provided by Urban Dictionary (obviously a reputable source for research) but feminism really is the idea that women and men are equal and deserve the same political, social, and economic rights; nothing more and nothing less. We have this idea that feminists want to be better than men, but that’s not the case. Feminism in its simplest form is the desire for the progression of equality in all aspects of life, including sexuality.
I think it’s safe to say that most women have experienced one too many catcalls, derogatory names, or even sexual assault. In all honesty, feminism is entirely necessary. This is not to discount the fact that men are victims of sexual violence too; according to RAINN, however, statistics show women are at a profoundly higher risk with 1 out of 6 experiencing sexual violence in their lifetimes versus 1 out of 33 for the men.
Things like the large gap between this sexual violence statistic, slut-shaming, and women receiving lesser pay in the workforce are a few of the many reasons why we need feminism.
Rewriting the Rules
A rewarding shift in perspective can occur going through the motions from hurt and frustration to empathy and compassion, causing us to extend the definition beyond women to include all humans as a whole. The movement reaches beyond equal rights between men and women to equal rights for all people regardless of gender, sex, race, or sexual preference. It’s forward thinking that makes us more open-minded, including open-mindedness about our sexuality.
A super interesting study found a link between having a feminist partner and a healthier, happier heterosexual relationship. The researchers looked at men’s and women’s perceptions of their own feminism and how it relates to the health of relationships, measured by a combination of relationship quality overall, agreement about gender equality, relationship stability, and sexual satisfaction.
Of 242 American undergraduates and 289 older adults with longer relationships and greater life experience surveyed, results showed that men with a feminist partner had more stable relationships and greater sexual satisfaction. Forget the stigma that feminism kills romance – as it turns out, it does the exact opposite and improves the quality of it overall.
The Feel-Good Oxymoron
Why are the submissive sexual kinks so hot, and why do we enjoy them so much?
It’s a fascinating paradox. Surrender can be liberating. Giving away control to someone you trust is empowering and ironically puts you in control in choosing to give up control in the first place. You dictate exactly what you want and how you want it because you know how much pleasure it gives you. This kind of sex also has emotional implications; it can bring you closer to the person you’re giving power to with a necessary exchange of trust. This strengthens physical and emotional bonds and creates deeper connections. It’s saying: “I’m comfortable enough both with myself and with you to let you take the lead.”
Feminism involves owning your sexuality: knowing what you like, asking for it, and not judging others for doing the same regardless of their gender. Once you identify what you want, that’s your power; you’re free to lend it as you choose because it’s always yours. Being dominant is sexy, being submissive is freeing, and you can enjoy both – it doesn’t have to be one way or the other every time.
What you like in bed isn’t a definition of who you are; it’s about how it makes you feel. Self-awareness is key, just make sure you’re always asking yourself what you want and being aware of your intentions.
Morgan / SeXis Magazine. (2010, March 15). Feminist Sex Submissive? How I Reconcile My Politics With My Sex Life. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from
Springer. “Feminism And Romance Go Hand In Hand.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071015102856.htm>. How feminists are happy in bed
Dominant or Submissive? Paradox of Power in Sexual Relations. (n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2017, from https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201206/dominant-or-submissive-paradox-power-in-sexual-relations%3Famp
(n.d.). Retrieved April 30, 2017, from https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence
Greaves, K. (2017, April 27). Before You Roll Your Eyes, This Is What Feminism Actually Means. Retrieved April 30, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/04/26/feminism-meaning_n_16271432.html