On Prowess

Leopard Staring by Nick Brandt. 2010. Image courtesy www.faheykleingallery.com

Leopard Staring by Nick Brandt. 2010. Image courtesy www.faheykleingallery.com

This is a much more confessional piece than I normally write, but I feel that, as with most of my writing, my sexuality is inherently tied to my work, so I’m calling this fair game. Consider yourself warned, (she said, cautioning her cagey self far more than you).

Every now and then, I realize I’m wired a bit differently, (though I am, by no means, unique). Occasionally I see myself from the outside and literally think, huh. That’s kind of weird. Those moments don’t happen often, but when they do, they make me think. Recently, I had one of those realizations.

You see, I love prowess. I love prowess in all things–athletics, the arts, intellectual pursuits–but I love sexual prowess most of all. I love it so much, I’ll say it again. I LOVE sexual prowess.

Well, of course, you might be thinking–who doesn’t love sexual prowess? Sexual prowess is great, especially when you’re on the receiving end. This is where my realization comes in. While I do love being on the receiving end of sexual prowess, (because really, who the doesn’t?), I also love watching someone I’m involved with exercise their prowess. In other words, I love watching a lover successfully seduce someone else.

I suspect this goes back to one relationship in particular. When I was in my mid-twenties, I was involved with a man who owned his prowess. He owned himself, and that gave him a magnetism that was difficult to ignore. We used to sit bars, sip Johnny Walker Black, and play a game…well, not really a game. It was more of a wink and a nod, fueled by the fact that we each loved watching each other seduce a pretty someone. Sometimes we’d bring that someone else home with us, but more often than not, we didn’t. The point was to see if we could. The end result was secondary, because regardless of who did, (or did not), end up in the bed, we would go back to his place and fuck, fueled by the charge we both got from watching each other in action.

Side Note: This is the answer to the question, how do two dominants make sex work? (Aside from very well, thanks). The answer is, they hunt together. There are many other answers, of course. This is just one of the answers that has always worked for me. But back to the issue….

My relationship with this man was unlike anything I’d experienced up to that point, and it seeded in me a love of something that, in many people, results in jealousy. I’m a voyeur to begin with, but when you add to that watching a man I’m involved with exert his dominance over someone else–whether in a purely top/bottom situation, or in a far more openly sexual way–it’s like catnip to me. He will have my attention and keep it as surely as ice cubes melt in gin. And the converse is also true. I love it when my partner responds to and appreciates my predatory instincts not with jealousy but with insatiability*. That response is, in and of itself, a turn on.

Since that first relationship, I’ve had a handful of partners who shared my love of prowess, but whether it’s watching my partner exercise his dominance over another, (“how many clothespins is she wearing?”) or my partner acting as an extension of my will, (“that pretty girl there. See how far you can get.”), it’s the shared experience–the mutual enjoyment–that creates the turn-on. In a way, it’s the acknowledgment of an affinity more than anything else that keeps that craving alive.

Which is why my head was turned by a lovely recounting of sexual prowess that in no way involved me. I like knowing that my partner can make a woman, (or man), want him, (or her), to distraction. I like witnessing it, even if only after the fact. It’s an entirely different sort of pleasure than being with that person myself. It’s the pleasure of the watcher, and while that isn’t to everyone’s taste, it’s tailor made to mine.

*NB 9/21/15: While I still agree with myself, something in my perspective has shifted on this point, or rather, I’m aware of a nuance that I wasn’t aware of before. Will very likely follow this up with another post.


  1. The more I get to know you, the more you fascinate me! Perfect piece, left me wanting to know more…

  2. confessional and sexy! and i am confessing to you, i am a psychological voyeur–i love to see why people do what they do. delicious post!

  3. Always fuelling my fascination…

  4. I think ee share this love… I am a dedicated voyeur both of my own sexual experiences…fuck me in front of a mirror and i will come soooo damn hard but also i love watching him with someone else. From flirting and talking all the way to fucking or beating them it fascinates me and makes me throb…

  5. “How do two dominants make sex work…. The answer is, they hunt together.”
    This sentence resonates big time.
    I get messaged by a lot of self identified dominant guys on one of the sites I’m on.
    I’m still finding my feet as a dominant person myself, so am wary of male dominants, but I like the idea of your “hunt scenario”.
    When I’ve suggested it, thinking they’d fall in love with the idea, they get stroppy though. It’s one-on-one or nothing, and ‘I’ve’ got a problem for not being up for that.
    Odd – they’re either frauds or have other issues, I suppose. I haven’t the experience to get to the bottom of that one, yet.

    • I’m really glad that resonated. Actually, I’ve been thinking about your comment all week-end – you brought up a really interesting point. I’ve never had a partner get stroppy about it, but I think that might have to do with the fact thatnone of them have *identified* as doms or dominant. They just were. So there weren’t any issues of self-identification to get through – there was no “I’m a dominant male which means that all women I see must be submissives so that my dominance isn’t challenged.”

      That’s why I wonder if there might really be something to your observation that they guys who’ve said that you’ve got a problem for wanting it turned out to be frauds. I’d totally buy that.. Especially as I’ve noticed a fair number of guys out there who really *want* to be alpha, but who aren’t, so they take on the behaviors of dominance but aren’t comfortable wielding them or, in some way, feel insecure with it. Hmm. I’m going to stop myself there, because the more I think this through, the more I think i want to give it it’s own post. Thank you Cava Supernova – you brought up a really important angle. I’d actually love chat more about this with you at some point!

  6. I’m glad you thought my comment was of interest. Thanks for replying – and I’d definitely love to communicate some more about the whole topic. 🙂 xx

  7. This is so hot to me as well, and I’ve had one lover with this dynamic. It was always an adventure.
    Beautifully written.

    • There really is nothing quite like this kind of dynamic – an adventure is a great way to put it, (and with the right person an incredibly hot adventure). Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I’m glad you liked it 🙂

  8. Your ideas on prowess have really done something to me. My mind is reeling right now. It gets at a certain element of attraction that I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about lately. Every time I get that feeling, I analyze the source of it endlessly to try and figure out what drives it. And so far, the best word I can pin it to is agency. Other ideas like talent, dominance, creativity, autonomy, and will relate as well. And prowess most certainly fits in that category. (Unsurprisingly, these are all linked to submission and bottoming in my attraction to them, and I think it’s the perceived contrast between submission and autonomy that does it for me.) For example, the idea of a mischievous boy seducing someone into fucking him—well, that’s absolutely lethal to me.

    I’m glad to have prowess involved in this web of concepts now that I’m spending so much of my time with.

    But it wasn’t only submission on my mind when I read this post. This really struck at something in me too:

    “This is the answer to the question, how do two dominants make sex work? (Aside from very well, thanks). The answer is, they hunt together.”

    I have absolutely had that sensation towards other dominants. When I enjoy the thought of a man quietly and confidently seducing a woman, it’s not because I want to be her. And it’s not because I want to be him, either. The voyeur in me just wants to see him in action.

    • Oh, your comment just made me so happy. My relationship to this subject is very much in keeping with what you wrote. It’s such an admittedly specific, not-quite-standard thing that I always perk up my ears when it resonates with someone.

      Also, this –> “When I enjoy the thought of a man quietly and confidently seducing a woman, it’s not because I want to be her. And it’s not because I want to be him, either. The voyeur in me just wants to see him in action.”

      Absolutely yes.

  9. CAVA – I should have said this in my comment on your post but I was so preoccupied by the ugliness of the situation you had to navigate that completely neglected to do so, so thank you for the shout out. I’m really glad On Prowess resonated and I’m especially glad that it illustrated that two dominants can be in a successful relationship, so long as one of the dominants isn’t a misogynistic jerk. Damn. And here I was doing so well on the not-name-calling thing….

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