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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on October 8 at 16:13 PM

I get more letters at “Savage Love” than I could ever hope respond to in the column or in print. But until October 16 you can get a guaranteed response by going to, making a donation of $25 or more, and sending me your question along with your donation confirmation email. Today’s letter is from a reader that donated $100 to the No On Prop 8 campaign.

I’m a 31 year old heterosexual woman and my boyfriend and I are starting to experiment with “pegging” (great term, btw). He’s very much into submission and humiliation, and I find I’m pretty damn good at the fem-dom thing. I understand that preferences run the gamut and every couple needs to figure out their own boundaries, but I was wondering if you could give me your perspective on a couple things I find troubling.

#1. My boyfriend can be bossy sometimes, but I find his assertiveness particularly irritating when he tells me how to dominate him. Shouldn’t this be my job to figure out what I want to do to him and just do it? I would never actually hurt him, but I think he’s too bossy for a sub—or is that what people mean by “the bottom is actually in charge?”

#2. One of our “games” is when I get him almost-to-orgasm and then don’t allow him to come. He really likes being denied orgasms. Maybe it’s my inner man-pleaser, but sometimes I like when he comes because it makes me feel some sense of accomplishment and competence as a lover. However, I’ve noticed lately that when I do let him come, he kind of acts like a jerk afterward. It wouldn’t bother me except that he’s normally very sweet and affectionate. Is this typical post-orgasm men-don’t-need-to-cuddle behavior, or is he upset because I didn’t “deny” him? I’ve asked him, but he’s not very chatty when he’s in his post-orgasm jerk mode.

Inexperienced Pegger Eager to Gratify

#1. It’s not your job to “figure out” how to dominate him. It’s your job—both of your jobs—to talk about your turn-ons, and to talk about them at great length, and then come up with a mutually pleasurable list of BDSM activities and fantasies that you want to explore together. Then when you’re fucking around, IPEG, you should stick pretty close to the items on that agreed upon list, while gently pushing his boundaries here and there. And he should refrain from all bossy behaviors and just freaking submit—unless, of course, he wants to employ a “safe word.” But tell him that the use of his safe word ends the scene and the sex. If he uses his safe word, you get up, clean up, go to bed, give each other a kiss, and talk things over later. That way he won’t use the safe word to edit the scene, i.e. it won’t be a tool he can use to boss you around while you’re topping him.

#2. If he’s not chatty in post-orgasm mode, chat with him later—you know, when enough time has passed to put him back in pre-orgasm mode. (An hour? Two? Twelve?) And tell him what you’ve told me: You’ll deny him orgasms regularly, but you also want to make him come regularly. Because it’s what you want. And make him repeat after me: A fem-dom relationship is supposed to be what you, the fem, wants, and not what he, the dommed, wants.

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You know, there are two kinds of safe words: one that acts like a yellow light and one that acts like a red..

I fail to see where the use of a safe word has to mean the end of a scene immediately. You of all people should know this, Dan..

(But I still like reading you!)

Posted by glendaleted | October 8, 2008 4:26 PM

Can't quite agree with you on the safeword thing. Around these here parts, use of a safeword means "Hey, let's pause and talk." At that point the talking can certainly be "Uh, need to stop now." But sometimes it's just "Stop flogging my goddamn tailbone!" I also like using a "caution" safeword - I like red & yellow, red meaning "Whoa! Too much!" and yellow meaning "You are getting awfully close to my boundaries. Could you back that off a little, please?" Your mileage may vary, of course.

As for the "fem-dom" thing... In light of your relentless championing of compromise and GGGness, should we assume you mean that "And make him repeat after me: A fem-dom relationship is supposed to be what you, the fem, wants, and not what he, the dommed, wants" is more about the repeating and less about actually being the case? Dom-sub relationships are more about the consensual illusion of control, the deliberate exchange of power, and not just an opportunity for one partner to be a selfish jackass - which, quoted out of context, sounds like you're suggesting.

Posted by breklor | October 8, 2008 4:34 PM

I think Dan was suggesting the "stop everything" safe word as a counter to the fact that this woman feels like her boyfriend is bossing her around when she's dominating him. If they just used a regular-old "let's stop and talk" safe word, he would probably use it a bunch to try to change the scene and tell her what to do differently.

Somewhere between those two alternatives, maybe they could have a word that means "stop what you're doing right now", but then the guy does not get to give any input as to what she does instead of whatever she was doing. He still gets to be a little bossy, but he doesn't get to micromanage...

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 8, 2008 4:58 PM

Well the point of the safe word, in this instance, needs to be more strict. Otherwise the boyfriend is going to end up taking advantage of the safe word to continue his bossiness.

Posted by your mother | October 8, 2008 5:00 PM

Women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake. But I do deny them my essence.

Posted by Gen. Jack D. Ripper, USAF | October 8, 2008 5:24 PM

I can't recall a time when this has been addressed in SL, but sometimes, albeit rare, "talking about it" doesn't work. This can be because of a number of reasons (obviously), sometimes it can't be fixed for [obvious] reasons...and sometimes it may work, but not to the desired extent.

I've come across a few people that just don't like talking about what they like or what they want, and when pressed to disclose and explain, they can't take themselves seriously when the talking is done and the sex is back in play. It's like they expect everything they like to just happen step-by-step with this almost complete stranger. If it isn't something easy to read, like variations of blowing or hot spots to lick, suck and handle on their body, it's just not something they want to talk about. So if it's some odd fetish, you'd really never be able to make it work. You won't find it with casual sex, and if you search for it you'll wind up hitting a major no-no before you draw the right card.

I guess what I'm getting at, although it's OT, is that if you run into this type of person, leave it. They're looking for a perfect sex scene in a porn they love or a movie they saw at some young age, which is something you can't give them until it's too late and it won't work.

This was typed on an iPhone, on a bus, so excuse all errors please. Word.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 8, 2008 5:31 PM

ah, fuck it. just DTMFA.

Posted by max solomon | October 8, 2008 5:35 PM

Was that the longest comment Mr. Poe has ever made?

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 8, 2008 5:40 PM

Not sure she got what she paid for with that advice from Dr. Obvious.

Posted by Bob | October 8, 2008 5:59 PM

What bears pointing out is that this is not a case of 'the bottom being in charge' (which is not really the case anyway; Mistress Matisse has loads to say on that topic) but doing something that is generally frowned upon in BDSM-land called 'topping from the bottom'. It's bad form. If he's such a bossy control freak that he can't keep from trying to micromanage every damn thing, then he's eventually going to drive IPEG away when she figures out that she doesn't have to put up with his crap forever, and he'll have a hard time finding people to play with. Especially if that's coupled with a reluctance to discuss things. The guy sounds like a jerk taking advantage of a g/f who's a bit of a doormat, but she seems to be waking up to that fact.

Posted by Stacy in Austin | October 8, 2008 6:17 PM

Just take turns.

Posted by chicagogaydude | October 8, 2008 6:24 PM

@8: No. Mr. Poe is insightful and frank in quite a lot of his posts and on a variety of topics.

Posted by Mikki | October 8, 2008 7:27 PM

I agree with Dan for most of it.

some thoughts...The sub doesn't want to orgasm, eh? I guess that would mean for a few moments he was actually out of control? Also, why is the dom's competency felt to be dependent upon his orgasm? Is this a way to give oneself permission to be the top by making sure he is satisfied the way the top wants him to be satisfied? Maybe the bottom is "topping from the bottom" maybe the top is more of a "service top".

Suggestion: Play around with when he orgasms. Maybe deny him orgasm while you have your fun, end the scene, go to sleep and then have him jerk off for you much later. Like the next day as a quick surprise or as part of a different scene. See what happens if he has to orgasm at the start of your play and continue on in a post coital state for your pleasure. As others have said: switch roles.

Posted by LMSW | October 8, 2008 9:00 PM

I can understand the edging thing. The games are hot, can be hot for quite a long time, until you come. Then it's just silly and boring. I lose all interest when I come. That's why I encourage my partner to come first, so I won't be a jerk and just fall asleep. I've trained myself to be patient and help him get off after I've come, but I can't keep it up for hours.

Posted by wow | October 8, 2008 10:15 PM

@10. What you said.

Posted by TVDinner | October 8, 2008 10:46 PM

Dan, really...

Fix the error in your italics preamble. I am tired of proofreading your Slog posts. Your colleagues do a much better job than you. I let your missing word slide for a week, but you keep posting the same thing with the same error.


Posted by tired of copy edting lazy Dan | October 9, 2008 7:40 AM

There's a damned easy way to stop someone topping from the bottom. Gag 'em.

(Agree on some kind of gesture that serves as a safeword, first, though.)

Posted by Geni | October 9, 2008 1:13 PM

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