On Submission and Shame

submission and shame

I believe firmly in sex-positivity. I know that your sexuality is okay, and that you should do whatever you want as long as everyone is consenting and you aren’t causing any true harm. I know that your kink is okay.

I believe in bodily autonomy, and that people should do precisely what they want with their own bodies, including their sex organs. As long as the above conditions are met, whatever you want to do in your sex life is good and fine and your business. You should do what makes you happy.

I believe that willful submission is an act of autonomy. It is an exercise in independence and strength. Actively choosing to cede control to another person is a show of power. It is strong, and it is powerful. It is not passivity. I know that it is okay to want to submit to someone.

So why am I still so goddamned ashamed of myself?

I’m a kinky person. I’m also a switch, I like both dominating and submitting. I like all sorts of weird shit that I find difficult to explain to people who don’t share my kinks. Usually, I’m completely cool with that. I’m allowed to hate cottage cheese, and you’re allowed to love cottage cheese. We may never understand each other, but we are both completely valid and fine. The same rule applies to kinks, and sex acts more generally.

Power exchange is really core to my sexuality. Some of the things I like doing, I enjoy less for their own sake and more for their ability to facilitate power exchange. Pretty much everything I’m into is in some way related to power. The only things that make me feel deeply ashamed, that make me feel guilty and wrong, all have to do with submission. Things like wanting to serve, to be owned, to be used. A part of me still feels like this is wrong and I’m not sure why.

Maybe it’s because I’m so scared of being dependent on another person. I have pretty severe trust issues, and I never want to be in a situation where I have to depend on another human for money, shelter, or emotional stability.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been taught that I have to be strong. I’m supposed to be enough for myself, I’m supposed to be able to face the world alone. I’m supposed to be able to take whatever is thrown at me and keep on kicking. I don’t want to feel like I have to lean on someone in order to be okay. Since my kinks focus so heavily on caretaking, there’s a huge conflict there.

I think this is one of those situations where it’s easier to be kind to others than it is to be kind to yourself.

I believe in those things I said at the beginning. I believe in sex-positivity, and bodily autonomy, and that there is power and beauty in willful submission. I know that when friends come to me scared that they are wrong or broken, I tell them that their kink is okay. I believe that too.

If I was a friend of mine, I would tell them that their desires are just fine. I would tell them that the roles we enact in kink scenes don’t have to translate to the rest of our lives if we don’t want them too. I would tell them that we can want one thing in our kink lives and a different thing in our daily lives, for balance. I would tell them that no human gets through this world by themselves, and it’s okay to need to lean on each other sometimes.

I hope that someday I believe me.

Tails and Portholes Abyssal King Review

abyssal king 3

Sometimes I get to take people on tours of my toy collection. I love getting to talk about my favorites, explain why I like them so much, and just get really excited about a thing I really like. The past three times I’ve done this, the person in question has picked up the Abyssal King, looked at it, and asked “What is this supposed to be?” Last time, I shrugged and said “Interesting.”

The toy that has confused so many friends of mine is the mini size of the Abyssal King, made by Tails and Portholes, a dildo maker on Etsy. It’s definitely an unusual design, which is why I was so excited to try it. It looks almost like the spine or ribs of some creepy, bony creature, which is just a tad macabre in a way that I find very aesthetically pleasing.

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This is a pretty short, fat dildo. Above, you can see it next to the Tantus Echo, another toy with lots of ridges. The Echo is taller, thinner, has fewer and deeper ridges, and is much firmer than the Abyssal King. (Keep in mind that I do have the Mini size in Soft firmness, and a Medium and Large size both exist, as does a Firm firmness.) The Mini Abyssal King is 4.5″ long with a 5.5″ circumference, for reference. I love getting surprise colors from indie shops, and this one turned out so pretty! It’s a rich blue and gold that seems rather fitting for a king of the deep seas.

One of my favorite things about fantasy toys is that you get to try out weird new shapes. This is certainly an odd one! Tails and Portholes has a bunch of weird heads on their toys, and I’m into it. The shape took some getting used to, as it’s sort of wide and curvesĀ  all the way around. The best comparison I have for the shape is a pear, which is frankly kinda weird. Just know that instead of having a traditionally phallic shaft, it’s much fatter and rounder. The girth is pretty well within my comfort zone, but the shape and ridges made it a bit trickier for me to insert sometimes. Once in there, I did appreciate the extra sensation of fullness from having it be kinda wide on the sides. The short length didn’t bother me because I have a pretty short vagina even on a good day. It is something to keep in mind, cause your mileage may vary.

I prefer to use the Abyssal King with the ridges facing the front of my vagina. You may remember that I’m a fan of ridges for G-spot action, and the Abyssal King can definitely deliver. In the softer silicone, it’s less of an intense digging in and more of a “oh hey, focused pressure, that feels nice.” I tend to thrust the Abyssal King a lot in order to get that sensation, and I was able to do that fairly easily by holding onto the base.

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You would probably like the Abyssal King if you like short wide toys, ridges, unusually un-phallic shapes, unique designs that are reminiscent of deep sea creatures, beautifully colored silicone, and supporting rad small businesses.

If you want to pick up a mini Abyssal King of your own, you can find one at Tails and Portholes’ Etsy store here!

The Abyssal King was sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Thank you, Tails and Portholes!

On (Not) Being Femme Enough

lipsticks

I bought a new lipstick today. I spent about two hours in the drugstore, looking at different displays and trying the testers on my arm. My arm was covered in little dots of color by the time I was done. I wanted to do something for me, something to make me happy. I had a lot of fun, and I walked away with a beautiful new red matte that I’m really happy with. As I type this, I’m wearing it and I love it. I feel pretty and painted and femme. And I have some feelings about that.

I’ve always felt drawn to the word femme, but I’ve never known whether or not I can claim it. In general, I love labels and love having words to describe myself. I love that “femme” is a word made by and for queer women, that dates back to the butches and femmes of the 60s. I love that femme is queer. I love that anyone of any gender can be femme. I love the queering of femininity, I love the unique and creative expressions that happen when queer meets feminine. It’s not like traditional mainstream femininity, it’s weirder, bolder, twisted. I love the reclaiming of femininity, the refusal to bow to the patriarchy’s hatred of it. I love queer femmes.

The thing is, most days I’m not femme. I wear jeans and a t-shirt, sneakers, no makeup, no jewelry. The only truly femme thing about my appearance is my long hair, and even that I always wear tied up so that it’s out of my way. Most of the time, I feel too practical to be femme. My current job requires a decent amount of manual labor, which make skirts or dresses rather impossible. I’d rather wear jeans with a belt than have to suffer from chub rub. I have to get up early, so I choose to sleep more and eat breakfast instead of do my makeup. I find that jewelry gets in the way of typing or baking or studying or lifting heavy boxes, so I don’t wear it. Performing femininity often feels like something that requires time and energy from me and doesn’t give me a payoff other than making daily tasks slightly more annoying. I’m also not especially butch- I don’t have a rad queer short haircut or a closet full of men’s clothing or a single pair of Doc Martens. My everyday style is comfortable, casual, and gender neutral.

But sometimes, I have days like today. I’ll have a day where I put makeup on for no other reason than I feel like it and it makes me happy. I love an excuse to go all out and get dolled up, especially in my wildly impractical goth regalia. I’ll wear dresses to go out dancing because I like the way they swish and twirl. I get excited when I have an occasion to literally let my hair down- I keep it this long because I think it’s gorgeous and I’m so proud of it.

So what does that make me? I feel like a femme with a femme-incompatible lifestyle, except on rare and glorious occasions. Maybe I’m just a lazy femme. But all I hear from the femmes in my life is that being feminine, to them, makes them feel alive and energized and happy. How can I be a proper femme if I find doing makeup every single day to be tedious and unnecessary? I’d rather only do it when I have time to play with it and have fun. The rest of the time, I’d rather be able to rub my eyes. I’d really like to have a strong gender expression. I’ve always loved high femmes and hard butches, for their commitment to a personal aesthetic and intense personal expression. But it’s so much easier and low-maintenance to just throw on a comfortable t-shirt.

When it comes to clothing and expression, I am a firm believer that there’s no reason to do anything unless it makes you happy. (Workplace dress codes aside, of course.) I’m going to keep wearing my comfy everyday clothes and having random, infrequent femme days. But boy, it sure would be nice to fit neatly into a box for once.