Archive for May, 2006|Monthly archive page

Fantasy Come True?

Rachel Kramer Bussell wrote this story in her Village Voice column about the world of pro subs, or at least, two of them. The story focuses on Joan Kelly, author of The Pleasure’s All Mine: The Memoirs of a Professional Submissive, but also speaks (briefly) to New York submissive Ophelia. My favorite quote from Kelly, about the business: “Some subs won’t take off their G-strings but will let you cane the shit out of them. There are women like me who’ll get naked and jerk off in front of you, but you better not start caning the hell out of me unless it’s my idea.” Beautifully put.

But then, there’s this:

Byron Mayo, co-owner of the BDSM advertising hot spot and former owner of a commercial San Francisco dungeon, has nothing but praise for the skills pro subs bring to their trade. “You can touch places in a really good sub session that most marriages don’t get to in years. The result is a sense of psychological intimacy most of us crave but rarely get,” he says. “In a world of political correctness, confusing role models, and enforced ‘equality,’ the ability to tell a beautiful, intelligent, and demure woman to get on her knees and do what you say is a fantasy come true.”

And stunningly, this statement goes unchallenged by Bussell. In a single sentence, Mayo pretty much makes the case for a feminist backlash against BDSM play (at least, with male dom/female sub): BDSM play enables men to act out their sexist urges without fear of reprisal in a world they see as being restricted by “political correctness” and “enforced equality.” Of course, it’s quite possible that what Mayo intended to convey was exactly the opposite—that BDSM play is not inconsistent with feminism, and that dominant men often turn to pro subs for their kink precisely because of the widespread perception of the contrary being true; that it is a relief, for them, to be able to dominate sexually without fear of that persona being confused with their character in “reality.” Which makes sense. But to be honest, I’ve got my doubts about anyone who seriously uses the phrases “political correctness” and “enforced equality.”