The Feminism of the Amateur Humiliatrix

CW: sexual degradation

The opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and are not representative of the views of The Hysteria Collective as a whole.

Taunting him over text, belittling every nude he sends you, buying lingerie and nails and lashes on his card, fucking other people in his bed. It’s the most toxic situation you’ve ever witnessed. You’re effectively play-acting an abuser.

Except he loves it. It’s a game. And the humiliatrix is the winner.

Feminism and sex always seems to be an uncomfortable subject. The straight, white second wave vilified everything from porn videos and sex work to sexy magazines, promiscuous clothing and adverts. Boobs on page three were banned and sex workers were marginalised from conversations of empowerment. Yet, it gave us birth control and a somewhat-still-repressed sexual revolution while Gay Liberation demanded rights for LGBTQ people and (typically middle-class white) gay men at the very least began to move their sexuality out of the private and into the public. While now at least we aim to be intersectional, the feminism of history hasn’t been and the dregs of the second wave seem to linger like flies around the ways we talk about sex.

So, you can see my fascination when, from a fairly innocent conversation about my politics with a man on a dating app, he asked if I’d ever dominated a man. Humiliated a man. Belittled a man, he said, in the name of feminism.

What does that mean? To my still ghosts-of-Catholicism ears, that sounds like misandry. But then is a man dominating me misogyny? Or is it a sexual game to which we both consent? I realised, ultimately, I didn’t know but, like any good story hook, it had grabbed my attention.

For context, I am the biggest submissive in bed. Call it what you want. Pillow princess. Even lazy. There is nothing better, in my humble opinion, than being held down, thrown around, your hair yanked backwards from your head as they push your back arch further down into the mattress. I fucking love it. I am probably the least likely person to end up in this situation.

But, amusingly, some people probably think I’d be built for this.

I argue with weak men all the time; they are my favourite debate partner after a few drinks and I revel in decimating their often-ill-planned arguments until they inevitably call me a bitch and I laugh. But I exclusively date and fuck ‘woke’ men. So, in a romantic or sexual sense, aggression is unchartered territory and something I tend to associate with domestic abuse and toxicity. But here is an educated man, a self-proclaimed feminist, who is telling me that he really enjoys being degraded by women. He is experienced and knowledgeable and self-aware about this kink that he has. And suddenly, I don’t know how to be mean. I have spent so many years splitting every bill 50/50 and associating any drink that a man might buy me with some kind of expectation from him that I then have to go back to his that, when this man has to postpone a date and begs to buy me lingerie to make up for it, I am SHOOK. More than that, it’s not even lingerie for him and I. He wants me to wear it for my next hook up, with someone else, with another man. And he loves it.

When, as most of us have, you’ve spent twenty-plus years of your life being borderline accommodating – trying to respond politely, even enthusiastically, to a very aesthetically displeasing sexual organ, telling them you don’t mind it they can’t get hard, stroking their back, acting like their mother, checking they’ve eaten or remembered their keys or called their therapist that week – how do you then do the opposite?

He asks to hear about my hook ups with others, what other men do to me and what I do to them. He loves it when I leave him on read or ghost him or get him hard and then leave. He loves when I demand he pays for my nails or my lashes or my dinner or lingerie for girls I might be seeing. He loves when I laugh at his nudes, when I tell him he’s a disappointment and he can’t possibly match up to the other people in my dms that week.

It’s bizarre. Oddly liberating. And, honestly, tiring.

No wonder people do this as a full-time job. If you or your friends do sex work, or you’ve even just watched the Netflix’s Bonding or Pose, you’ll know there is an art to dominance. One which I am very much yet to master.

So, while I can hardly say I understand what it is to be a humiliatrix, and sex workers everywhere are probably laughing and cringing at my ineptitude, this experience is giving me a view from the other side of the looking glass. While I am sure I won’t be hanging up my sub ways for good, dominating and having power over a consenting partner can be fun. Let’s see what happens next.

Image courtesy of Dainis Graveris.

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