Feminist - image of wonderwoman in chains

Dominance, submission and feminism

Ever since I can remember I have been a feminist. As a child, I refused to play with Barbie dolls, saying they looked ridiculous. In High School I was the sort of girl that tore down FHM centrefolds from the common room walls whilst shouting about the casual objectification of the female body and at university I pushed myself hard to land a glass-ceiling busting job (the sort of thing that would please your parents). I am, innately, a feminist.

But I am also a submissive.

I did not realise this latter fact however, for a long time. I came to this place, not uniquely, after childbirth had left me feeling desperately unsexy and breastfeeding had ground down my libido. Despite having been very passionate prior to children, we were in a rut and I found myself becoming more and more passive in the bedroom. Then one night, when I had a precious moment of spare time, I was lying in bed reading (of all things) a relationship advice column in the Guardian and it dealt with the subject of D/S* relationships. It was something I had never heard of before and I was immediately consumed by it. (NB: I knew what BDSM was, I’m not that innocent.)

I spent many hours that night researching, learning about the dynamic and how it can function in a long-term relationship. I realised that the increasingly passive way I approached our physical interactions was an attempt to get my husband to dominate me. (Of course, it didn’t work, it was just off-putting, but at its core I had been crying out for him to take the lead.) Within 24 hours I had written a letter, sprayed it with perfume, kissed it with lipstick and pushed it into my confused husband’s hands as I ran out of the door on an errand. I cannot imagine what must have gone through the mind of my caring, liberal partner as he read my words. Well, that was almost a year ago now, needless to say he accepted my proposal and here I am, writing this.

So far, so happily-ever-after, save for the feminism. At the beginning (and sometimes even still) I battled with the part of me that is concerned that what we subs do might make several second-wave feminists turn puce: Some of the online content I see can be extreme and it’s fair to say that a few people that I have come into contact with probably wouldn’t get through their first interview with the HR department! I have therefore, given a lot of thought to the subject of submission and feminism and in my moments of self-doubt, I try to remember the following things:

Sex Positivity

I am choosing to do this, I asked for it, and it is what I enjoy. No one forced me to become a sub or even expected it of me and I have been fortunate enough to have the freedom to decide to do it. This, arguably, is a freedom that I enjoy due to the success of the feminist movement.


Since I have taken this road, I have become more aware of the power struggles around me. I should probably add here that I know I am not an easy sub:  I need to be actively dominated, to have power taken away from me, so we play a lot of power games. The power play that I engage with at home has allowed me to more clearly see the dynamics between others outside of it. It’s almost like seeing new colours as you interact with the world. This has allowed me to deal more effectively with unfair power-plays from others. Strangely perhaps, I would say that as a result of D/S I am a more confident and effective person.

The Balance of Power

The very first website that I came across, after leaving the advice column behind, taught me that ultimately, we subs hold the balance of power: We set the hard limits, we have our safe words and we can stop the situation at any time. The latter factor is unique to the D/S dynamic, this was not an option for vanilla me either in the bedroom or in the middle of a blistering row. In the end, the source of a dom’s power is our own submission.

D/S has increased the trust and communication within our relationship to a level that I don’t think would have been possible in our vanilla lives. It has changed the way I think and perceive myself, but I would like to think that I need not give up on the fundamental principles that I hold dear. For any subs who are struggling with this, I would recommend finding a community and talking to others (for example, the excellent The SafeworD/s Club). I have found others like me and it is invaluable.


*Yes, I am capitalising the “S” because it is just as important as the “D”.


Posted in Living a D/s Lifestyle and tagged , , , .


  1. I think you will find there are very many of us subs who are strong women, with feminist views as it relates to life, work and ourselves … and yes, the key being we are submissive because we choose to be. For me … when I held down a stressful, high level job in a male dominated industry, it was good to be able to hand the strength and control I needed to maintain during the work day, to my man when when we were just us, in the bedroom … thanks for sharing your views, Huntress … happy for you that you found your way to a dynamic that works for you both … and here to the SWC … nj

  2. This post is very true for many Subs, however; I have learned it is not only a female or Sub, that may have these “views”, of a feminist in ways. My Dom for instance, was raised by a mother and father with the values and morals which in return, he was taught, “how to treat a woman”, Lead by example which is hindering a lot of our lifestyle. I am a 24/7/365 Sub, to where he has never been a Dom or Daddy prior. Trying to reassure or bring out the Dom, with the support and communication that, this lifestyle is actually the “way” to treat a woman, with respect ,love and discipline , is more bonding then a vanilla relationship. I have explained to him the hands that hold me are the same hand that discipline me but in the end these are the same hands that love me. It’s very difficult to convert one’s concept of how “women should be treated”, when all women are different.

  3. This is a fascinating concept and thank you for bringing it up. My Norseman and I are old time D/s ers. I have been a submissive since the womb and had excellent training in 12 years of Catholic convent school. Being taught by the most openly submissive women in existence did rub off on me and feed my submissive mindset. It also gave me something major to rebel against.

    The “women’s Lib movement” had just begun when I was coming into my awareness that I was a very sexual being, I had embarked on a career that was dominated by men while there was bra burning happening all around me. This environment caused me to be in utter confusion for many years. How to satisfy my need to be submissive yet survive in the outside world as an aggressive go getter hungry for power? In school we were told we could ‘have it all’ but it did not mesh with my upbringing, my learned values and my overwhelming need to be submissive to a strong dominant male.

    It actually took me a good 20 years to really come to grips with who I was and what I wanted. In the end when I could no longer keep that pressure building inside me it came out and so did I. But by then I was experienced in handling huge bodies of people and controlling them and educating them to produce a desired result. I presented a very strong persona in my professional life. I also was very good at controlling and directing my Sir.

    Coming out to the Norseman was difficult at best and giving up control to Him was the most difficult thing (and still is) that I ever had to do. In the end I did give up all control to Him then things fell into place. But giving up control to HIM was and is a never ending chore. I have to make the conscious decision to do so daily or both of us will revert back to our vanilla selves, a place we do not wish to revisit.

    What I came away with was this – I am still the same strong and capable woman I was yesterday and will be the same one tomorrow. If something comes up I will handle it just as always and people know they can depend on me to make things happen. Difference now is I defer my decisions to my N. That means I submit to HIM only and nobody else. It’s a choice I made and one I will stick by because it’s where I want to be. And by doing so, by making this choice, I am empowered. Being a feminist means I work at being a female.What my personal choice does is tell me how to be the female I need and want to be.


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