Let’s be perfectly frank (but not sexually explicit*): I’m a person who has interest in submissive/dominant sexual relationships and who uses online sites to interact with potential romantic/platonic partners. (This isn’t about my interests, I just feel like sharing where I’m coming from.) When I create profiles for online sites (primarily Fetlife and OkCupid) I tend to put onto my profiles something about my interest in sub/dom sexual relationships. My profiles don’t necessarily say that I lean one way or the other but they do mention my interest. Despite not declaring myself a submissive or dominant I tend to get messages from dominant folks looking for a submissive and that’s perfectly fine, but here’s what I don’t think is fine: the way in which I’ve been approached by doms.
When I look at the messages (and I’m thinking primarily of two messages I’ve received on Fetlife) I’ve received from doms my “WARNING! UNCOMFORTABLE! UH-OH! NO! OH DEAR!” Klaxons begin to sound. My first thought was that I’d just happened to get two icky apples but after spending more time in online kink communities I felt that I was seeing similar experiences being shared or brought up. So here’s a pro-tip for doms approaching subs via messages or pictures: just because I’m interested in exploring sub/dom relationships does not mean that I’m coming to react favorably to demanding and explicit messages. There’s a big fucking difference between a message that reads something like this:
“Listen Up Slut, Master Here [List of bossy-ass demands]”
and a message that reads something like this:
Hello, I saw your profile. I am also interested in dom/sub. I like X, are you interested in X? Let me know!
The issue that I take with the first message is that it presumes that the sender knows what I’m looking for. (And let me just say that if you dare to presume you know what I want then you can go and take a long trip down an abandoned mine-shaft**.) The sender presuming that they know what the other party wants makes me instantly uncomfortable. I feel that these messages immediately set up a not-so-equal power relationship where the messenger/dom is setting a tone of “I am in control and we will do exactly what I want and your input doesn’t really matter to me.”
Look, it would be one thing if my profile said:
I want you to send me explicit and bossy and X and Y messages
I want to be in a relationship where the master is in control and we will do exactly what they want and my input shouldn’t really matter to them.
In this case the rough (Pardon the pun.***) particulars of the relationship are already set out. A vague framework has been established of what one party wants out of the relationship and the manner in which the dom replies helps to establish what the other party wants. My gut instinct is to say that before any sexual (or really any relationship) begins all parties involved will have an honest and open conversation about what exactly they’re comfortable with, what they want and what they definitely don’t want. That being said, I totally get that not everyone is going to share my view on this. Not everyone is as turned on by open conversations as I am (Open conversations are right up there with full consent, Ezra Miller and conversations about bog bodies.) and I can respect that, as long as everyone is satisfied with what’s going on.
Oh, here’s another note for doms messaging subs (or really anyone messaging anyone): If the recipient responds by turning you down then you really shouldn’t take it personally and you really, really shouldn’t respond in anger. What you were offering simply wasn’t what that person wanted and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’m going to draw on my own first-hand experiences to show you what I don’t recommend doing:
Messenger: [Bossy-ass demanding and demeaning opening message that I was really turned off by.]
Messenger: “FUCK OFF AND DO NOT FUCKING BOTHER ME.”
Yeah, please don’t be this dude, alright? And let me know what you think. Also, comment about Fetlife. It’s a bizarre website with some… some… somethings in its past that makes me uncomfortable and I’d like to hear other people’s thoughts on it.
(*Hello! You found the footnote! Did you know that WordPress doesn’t seem to have any sort of footnote feature for their posts? It’s the truth. That’s not the point. A note about the sexual nature of this post: I don’t want this to be a rated-R or NSFW (Not Safe For Work) post. Rather, I’d like this post to be a friendly conversation about an aspect of life that has to do with sex and kink. If you’re not comfortable reading this then please don’t.)
(**I could be alone in this. Disagree with me? Agree with me? Feel completely neutral about this? Please let me know in the comment section, I really would love to hear your feedback on message senders thinking that they know the recipient’s interests.)
(***Yeah, I know it’s not a great pun but I’ll take any pun.)