“When I engage in kinky sex, I am not being oppressed. I’m not “letting” a man do anything to me – I’m participating, consciously and actively, in something I want to do.”

Content warning for explicit descriptions of kinky sex, including spanking, play piercing, and blood play. Includes mention of misogynistic slurs, but used in a consensual context.

The other night I had one of those one night stands that was totally worth the effort. Sitting at home on a Saturday night after a busy shift at work, I got a booty call from someone I used to fuck a while ago. Initially I said no – perhaps out of a reluctance to revisit the past, perhaps out of internalised slut-shaming; I don’t know – but I changed my mind pretty much immediately and said yes, out of desire for some purely uncomplicated sex, and walked over to his at 1am.

His company was easy, despite the time which had elapsed since we last saw each other, and we ended up having the kind of dirty, sweaty sex that I’d almost forgotten I even needed in my life. Hair-pulling, dirty-talking, arse-smacking sex. He fucked me while calling me a slut, and I left in the morning feeling powerful, sexy, and totally respected.

Some people – still, in 2014 – see some kind of conflict between enjoying this sort of sex and identifying as a feminist. Some particularly misogynistic men see it as somehow “proving” that women don’t really want respect. But, for me, there is no conflict at all. Woebetide any man who sees fit to call me a slut or smack me on the arse in my everyday life – but in bed, with my consent? Bring it on!

When I was twenty, I was with my first proper boyfriend. Although neither of us was having our first sexual relationship, the relationship we had together was one with a lot of space for experimenting with various kinks. We explored many things which interested both of us, and by most standards it was a sexually adventurous relationship. I called him Sir when we fucked, and he called me his dirty little whore. We did a lot of bondage and playing with pain, and I loved looking at the welts the riding crop left on my backside, admiring them in the mirror and tracing them with my fingertips, feeling proud of my pain tolerance. We made our own porn, and experimented with play piercing (the practice of piercing yourself or someone else for the sensation, rather than to have a permanent piercing – I hope it goes without saying that sterile needles should always be used, and that you should either wear gloves or be with a trusted and tested fluid-sharing partner if you’re going to give this a go, but you can never give too much sexual health advice!) Perhaps the hottest sex I’ve ever had in my life was the time that Sir tied me up in the shower and spanked me before piercing his own cock and covering every inch of me in his blood while he called me a whore. Penises bleed a lot, by the way. The bathroom was covered in bloody handprints and droplets and bumprints just from two thin needles through his glans, and it was immensely sexy and satisfying.

I did these things and more not because I secretly long to be subservient to men, but because they gave me pleasure. Engaging in consensual violence and humiliation was never, for one moment, about hating myself or losing my autonomy. Quite the opposite. I love the freedom and escapism of choosing to surrender aspects of control, while retaining the ability to make it stop at any time. I find the transgression of it erotic, and would never want anyone to call me a whore if I believed that’s what they truly thought – about me or about any woman.

That escapism is something I need in my sex life. Not every time I have sex, but some of the time. Surrendering to the pleasure of sensation and losing myself in this fantasy world are absolutely feminist acts for me. I feel no shame about enjoying being consensually degraded by a man during sex. As long as the situation is emotionally healthy for you – whatever that means in the context of your life right now – and the acts are consensual, go ahead and have whatever kind of sex you enjoy, whether it’s kinky and rough or sweet and loving (and it may surprise some people to know that sex can be all of those things at once).

Bodily autonomy is a central tenet of feminism. The right to contraception, and to an abortion. The right to have sex on your terms – and the equally important right to NOT have sex, whether that means right now or always. The right to dress as you please without fear of attack, and without being judged in the awful event that you are attacked. The right to control what happens to your body is hugely important for everyone, but especially for women, whose bodies in our society – in all societies – are so often seen as the property of men.

So when I engage in kinky sex, I am not being oppressed. I’m not “letting” a man do anything to me – I’m participating, consciously and actively, in something I want to do. It is only an illusion of losing control, and consent is key. My body is my own, and remains absolutely my own through every second of choosing to submit during sex.

There is nothing unfeminist about enjoying whatever kind of consensual sexual relationship you like. There is nothing unfeminist in choosing to surrender control within the fantasy. It is my body, and that can be my choice.

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2 thoughts on ““When I engage in kinky sex, I am not being oppressed. I’m not “letting” a man do anything to me – I’m participating, consciously and actively, in something I want to do.”

  1. I love this, you are saying out loud something I have experienced in my own life and also had conflicts with, not coming from my inner self tough but with the conditioning and upbringing I had… thanks !

    1. I’m glad the piece resonated with you! I think it’s so important that women (all people, in fact) aren’t shamed for their sexual desires – human sexuality is such a complicated beast and covers such an incredibly broad spectrum.

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