Released this summer from Cleis Press and edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, one of my favorites, it admittedly took me a while to read and review The Big Book of Submission. Why? Well, it’s not really a book made for reading all in one sitting. With a mishmash of genders, D/s dynamics, and points of view, these 69 stories are perhaps best for grabbing on the go one at a time, skipping those that hit your triggers and flipping through for the stories that hit your own submissive buttons.
So there’s been a lot of shit going down in the feminist blogosphere about an blog post I just got a chance to read on the Psychology Today website, authored by Ogi Ogas (of fandom survey fail fame) and Sai Gaddam. The post is called Why Feminism Is the Anti-Viagra, and despite requisite ass-covering, the premise is basically that gender equality is making sex suck for heterosexual women because women are wired to have submission fantasies.
I’m not going to try to respond directly to the article, though if you’d like to read a good response, you should try Jill’s Feminism makes boners sad or Thomas’s Inherent Female Submission Follies: Why Ogi Ogas Is Full of Shit. Instead, I want to share a perspective that is entirely anecdotal, and doesn’t prove anything about this hypothesis because I’m a queer person that does not live on the gender binary. I want to share it because it’s important to me as a submissive, as a feminist, and as someone who believes in the importance of sexual communication.
There was a mention in the book I’m reading about Greek vase paintings, and a particular image of a woman performing fellatio on a man while another man penetrates her from behind, possibly anally, with a hand on her hair. In the book, this is used as an illustration of how particular demeaning sexual positions were available only with particular classes of women in Ancient Greece. I don’t doubt that this was the case in Greece, as everything I’ve come across in my studies of Greek and Roman sexuality (admittedly, that was a while ago) suggested that sexual relationships were heavily regimented based on the positions of the partners. However, it got me thinking about that particular position in modern parlance, and the meanings ascribed to it.
I’ve seen a moderate amount of pornography in my lifetime, so I’m no expert, but what I have seen of this configuration (one partner fucking from the rear, another receiving fellatio) in porn tends to fall under a particular formula that does suggest at least some level of shame inherent to the position. In heterosexual porn, I’ve seen it used with two men and a woman where either the men are using explicitly humiliating language to demean the woman during the act, or alternatively the men seem to be using the woman as a vessel for their desire for each other (basically ignoring her). In gay male porn, I’ve seen it mostly in a gang-bang situation, where the bottom is portrayed as particularly eager but there’s still an implication that he’s a slut and there’s some inherent meaning to the position.