Dominance, submission, feminism, and OKC

Here’s an exchange from OK Cupid, without commentary from me. What do you think?


N says:

I’ve perused your questions. I have no idea whether you will be remotely interested in me or not. I AM interested in you. For several reasons, in random order.

First, your answers to questions are thoughtful. Regardless of whether you and I agree or not (I like light bondage – handcuffs, blindfolds – you want no part of it), I have the sense that you and I would have fun talking.

Second, your profile is compelling. I too am a City kid, and I’m the opposite of you – I have OCD. And not in the way that everyone SAYS they have it. In the sense that I’ve been medicated for it. And it makes me more interesting/fun/vulnerable.

Third, your pictures are BOTH cute and hot. That’s actually unusual here.

Fourth, I think you misread (or misunderstand) what submission is (at least, has been, in my experience). You write, “I don’t want to have sex with anyone who gets off on hurting/degrading me,” and though I am dominant, I’ve NEVER hurt or degraded anyone, and doing so would be an enormous turn-off to me.

I’m not saying I want to dominate you – I take you at your word – but, given how smart you evidently are in response to other questions, I think, among other things, it’d be fun to discuss this answer with you.

So there you have it – my plea. I think you’re hot, cute, smart, interesting, and I want to chat with you. Beyond that? I’m eager to learn.

Tell me if you’re game.


P says:

All bondage, whether light or not, represents our sick culture’s hatred of women invading our most personal sexual realms. You get off on handcuffing women (ever wondered why it’s not the other way around?) because you’ve been raised in a culture that sexualizes violence and rape. So have women (which is why some of them consent to this), but I recognize and resist it. Leaving the issue of female consent behind, let’s talk about why MEN want to dominate us. Do you really think that’s just a natural branch of human sexuality? Because when the patriarchy is overthrown you can sure as hell bet that no one will get off on physically overpowering women (or some play-acting facsimile of such). Personally, I have only wanted and had that kind of sex when I have felt like shit about myself. Now that I truly believe in my own awesomeness I don’t need to be held down and slapped around in my bedroom. Men who get off on dominating hate women deep down, and women who get off on being dominated hate themselves deep down. That’s my feminist argument, I also have anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist arguments against bondage but I doubt you’d want to hear them.


N says:


1. I’m a pro-feminist, (mostly) anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist man. Who likes many things, including bondage and dominance. And submission, too, for what it’s worth.

2. ALL bondage represents our sick culture’s hatred of women? Really? I honestly love being handcuffed just as much as I enjoy handcuffing, in contrast to your presumption. Does bondage of men represent our sick culture’s hatred of women?

3. I think that power exchange is a natural and fun branch of human sexuality. Yup. Yes, I do. I have had great fun, both dominating and being dominated. And doing both. I agree with you that it CAN be a fucked up manifestation of the sexualization of violence and rape. But it also can be a fuck-load of respectful, empowering fun.

4. Rape play disgusts me. I have no interest, and would never do it. But I know people – women, mostly – who enjoy exploring rape fantasies. Not with me. Because I can’t. But I don’t judge them. I understand and respect that it gets them off, and feel no benefit in deriding it.

You seem to have a bead on men’s motivation, and women’s, too, evidently. My view, and my experience, is that people don’t choose what gets them off. Some of the staunchest feminists I’ve met have been submissive. Some of the most misogynist men, too. What we like to do in bed is only political to the extent that we disrespect our partners. This was the huge mistake of second-wave feminism, demonizing the desires of men and women both, rather than honoring and respecting them.

I love and respect women. I believe deeply in consent. I don’t judge my desires, or yours.

I think there’s a tell at the end of your message – “now that I truly believe in my own awesomeness, I don’t need to be held down and slapped around….” I’m sorry if you did need those things, for those reasons, and I suspect that you’re right, that it’d be a bad idea for you to go to those places, given what your motivation was, evidently.

But why make the mistake of assuming everyone’s the same as you? As the people whom you attracted in that mode? We’re not.

To be clear: dominance is like guns, or money, or chocolate. It can be used for good or ill, and in the hands of an asshole, it’ll be used for ill. In the hands of a decent and good person, it can be a boon.

I wish you well, and am sorry that your experience left you so soured on dominance/submission – not so much for yourself. It does nothing for many people, and there’s no reason it should do anything for you. But it’s a shame that it left you judging other people. Sitting in judgment is, for me, always a worse place to be than sitting in curiosity.

Take good care, and good luck here.



  1. My teeth were grinding at her reply, I enjoy light bonding (and light spanking) but don’t see how enjoying those things makes me anti-feminist or hate myself.

    I think you handled it with great respect and consideration, not many people would have taken the time to address her comments in the way you did.

    I would be interested in knowing if she ever replies to you again.

  2. Wow. What a Judgey McJudgerson. It must be nice to understand the motivations and desires of all the world.

  3. I’ve always been more or less a feminist and completely appalled by rape. I never had any kink in my previous life, when I was miserable and didn’t like myself. Now that I have come to like myself, I discover myself as well, without judgement on what I may like or not, with a very open mind. I realise I love light (and sometimes not so light) spanking, I love being restrained and actually would like to go further in that respect. I love some domination, which doesn’t mean that I completelly forget about who I am and what I want, on the contrary, I don’t think I’ve ever been more aware of it. I must admit I was a bit scared about it at first, because I’d been taken advantaeg of for too many years, though not in a sexual way. I didn’t want to go back to forgetting who I am. I realise this has nothing to do with submission/dominance. And as with everything, I’m now willing to consider it with an open mind. I agree with you. Being so judgemental is not going to make her happy. Too bad for her. But let’s not concern ourselves with it, it’s really her problem 🙂
    Love the way you replied, your ususal patient, kind self…

  4. till now still don’t get it about BDSM, why must a relationship be classified as domination and submission? why you submit to someone, you’re losing yourself as a person, in order to meet another needs, is this kind of relationship healthy? I wonder?!

    1. I can understand that you don’t get it. It seemed very weird to me not that long ago too. But the thing to remember, as N. wrote here, is that you’re not losing yourself as a person. You are allowing yourself to experiment beyond something that may be your comfort zone.
      Don’t be mistaken. The sub has a lot of power. And the power to say no at any given time. And they’re not submitting to satisfy someone else’s need, but rather to satisfy their own need to be dominated. It is a very different thing! The fact that at the same time it satisfies someone else’s needs (the Dom or Domme’s) is an added bonus!
      Also, I don’t think a relationship MUST be classified as domination or submission. It is more for people who WANT it to be that way. If it’s not your thing, just don’t do it! But accept that, for some, it is a very pleasant experience. And even that, at times, a Dom can become the sub in a different relationship. I see it all as a way to explore one’s sexuality rather than losing oneself.

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