Thursday, April 21, 2011

Psychology Today meets kink

A friend recently brought an article to my attention. "I read it in Psychology Today," he said. I thought, hmmm...this will be a snoozer. But I gave it a read anyway and I'm glad I did.

The title of the article was Why Feminism is the Anti-Viagra. You can click the link to read it yourself, but I will outline the basic gist of the article.

Gender equality inhibits arousal.

I know in my personal life, I don't get turned on until my husband starts sending some dominant cues my way. I don't want to go to bed with an equal. I want to be conquered! I've always felt guilty about I'm setting womenkind back a few centuries. Then when I started writing books where women actively enjoy being dominated, even degraded for a man's pleasure--my God. It doesn't help that many of my friends, and indeed, my own mother, are card-carrying, raving feminists.

I've never considered myself much of a feminist. I'm more along the lines of women being free to act in whatever way is most rewarding to them. If this means submitting to the will of a man or looking up to a man as a superior, it's all good. If it means being equal out of the bedroom and inequal between the sheets, that's good too. If it means being equal all the time, even in the bedroom, go for it.

But I know for me, I need that power imbalance to really get to that nasty, dirty, horny orgasmic place. Thanks to Psychology Today, I have it on some authority that I am not alone in those desires.

The article has a couple more segments too, about the difference between dominance and rape, and why sexual prejudices and fears are bad for humanity. Many thanks to my friend Rebelicon for sending me the link!

Check it out for yourself--I'd love to hear the thoughts of other kinky women on the subject!


  1. Not being in any way a psychology expert, this makes total sense to me. Arousal is something that is really ancient, you know? I look at it like: feminism really doesn't have a place in the worlds of old, where physical power counted for a lot and education was rare and lack of birth control and breast pumps meant women spent a great deal of their lives being pregnant and/or nursing. Feminism is a pretty new idea in the grand scheme.

    My husband and I aren't overtly BDSM in the bedroom, but I think we both fall into our roles. One time I was in a mood and decided I would be in charge, just for fun. He went along with it but ended up literally laughing at me - that was not arousing, nope.

    I remember in As She's Told when Anders and Maia were talking and she couldn't orgasm while being on top, and that has been true for me as well. I always thought there was something wrong with me about that, because I'd heard that women were supposed to prefer it that way, that it should be easier to orgasm that way. I mean, I accept the way I am but I suppose it's nice to know that I'm actually the normal one :)

  2. I think the point women should take away is that there are lots of shades of "normal," and they shouldn't feel guilty for what pleasures them. I've actually been thinking a lot lately about issues surrounding Algolagnia (the tendency to derive sexual pleasure from physical pain, here's the wiki site: and the thin line between that and SH (self harm, here's the wiki site: I *think* most therapist would classify SH as a disorder, whereas Algolagnia, it would depend. The last thing you want to do is find a professional therapist or psychologist who will tell you your desires and sexual needs are abnormal and dangerous. (I guess I'm thinking about this stuff because one of my next stories is about a cutter, and how she uses BDSM, with help from her partner, to control herself from SH.)

  3. If the people I work with were to be told I ever voluntarily submitted to anyone, they wouldn't believe it. In my everyday life I'm more of an Alpha personality.

    For sex though... totally different story. I am capable of orgasming when on top, but only when I'm ordered to - LOL.

    Honestly, I think if you are a functioning member of society, you're happy with who you are, you understand the difference between pain and harm and you avoid "harm", and everything you do is consensual (even if it's consensual non consent).... that's the important stuff to me.

    I did find the parts in the article that talked about the switch for the male submissive interesting. Who knows which parts of our personality are biological and which are psychological?

  4. Shelby: Some doctors came to a group I was part of once to talk about self harm. I asked one later if I did it for pleasure and not out of a need to hurt myself is that still unhealthy. She seemed a little surprised but told me that it was different and as long as I wasn't putting myself in physical danger it wasn't a problem.

    Also when it comes to feminism I expect equal rights and legal protection because the only man I will submit to is my husband. He is the only one worth that trust and respect. <3

  5. Annabel, I think Gloria Steinham said it best. I paraphrase, but she said TRUE feminism (And humanism) is being free to express yourself as you TRULY ARE, not by the dictates of someone else or what society thinks is appropriate for you. I was horribly conflicted as a young feminist in the late 70s, early 80s, as to how I could be like this, wanting to be taken, ravaged, claimed, controlled, used...It was like an epiphany when I read her words. It literally set me free, though alas it would be years and years before I felt free enough to end a toxic vanilla marriage and really discover BDSM and the power of D/s for myself. Great blog entry! Thanks!, Claire

  6. Wow, interesting article. One thought I wanted to comment on... I find dominant men in very ordinary professions attractive as romance heroes. Maybe that's just because heroes should have a "flaw" or something, or maybe people like that seem more real to me. Anyway... I think I'm going to be thinking about the ideas in this post and that article for a long time.

  7. I think looking at a man as a literal superior 24/7 all the time could be harmful, not to mention I'd question the motives of someone who wanted to be submissive all the time- do you want to rely on someone else to "escape"? Why do you feel he's more "superior" than you?