Tag: dominance (page 1 of 2)

On Submission & Strong Women

Black and white of a woman wearing black boots and ball and chain by Ellen von Unswerth for On Submission, Strong Women and The High Alpha by Malin James

Ellen von Unwerth, from Revenge

I had a brief conversation the other day that got me thinking. I’m going to paraphrase chunks of the exchange rather than quote directly (because consent), but I’ll stick as close to the original as I ethically can.

So, here’s the opener:

Hi Malin. As a high-alpha male, I appreciate strong women. Dominant women are a rare challenge. I love your work – it gives me a lot of insight into how strong women tick. 

Given my initial response, the smart thing to do would’ve been to ignore it and move on. Unfortunately, those three sentences annoyed the fuck out of me so I responded with this:

A rare challenge…interesting. Care to unpack that?

Here’s his response:

Sure! For alpha males there’s nothing as exciting as an alpha female. Alpha females handle themselves, which is great (and rare with women in my experience, IMHO), but even more exciting is the challenge I mentioned. When a strong woman breaks and submits to you, that’s the biggest high you can get as a Dom. All women, alpha or not, want to submit to a strong man and being the only man that an alpha female submits to is a fucking high.

So…setting my visceral response aside, what he’s essentially talking about is a fetish for strong women. That, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. Strong women rock in all kinds of ways because there are all kinds of ways in which women are strong. Where it goes wrong for me is in why he appears to fetishize a particular kind of female strength.

He doesn’t love strong women because he thinks strong women are interesting. He doesn’t love strong women because he wants to submit to a worthy Domme. He doesn’t even love strong women because he thinks an alpha female is the only kind of woman who can match his “high alpha” self. He loves strong women because they’re a challenge.

Let me rephrase that. He loves strong women because making a strong woman “break and submit” to him is a challenge.

The attraction isn’t in the woman. It’s in a narcissistic fetish for a certain kind of power. He wants to be the very special, uber-alpha male who breaks an unbreakable woman and makes her submit. He’s not fetishizing her strength, he’s fetishizing the idea of being the only one who can strip her of it.

Needless to say, I’ve got a few issues with this. The first is that it devalues the actual submission of actual female subs (many of whom are fucking bad-asses). The second is that it makes the “strong woman” in question a challenge (ie: a thing to surmount) rather than a person, and any view that reflexively turns a person into something other than a person is pretty much a no-go for me. The third is that this appreciation for strong women is entirely ego driven. Here’s what I mean….

If you work from the stated assumption that “all women, alpha or not, want to submit to a strong man” (*eye roll*), you get the implication underlying the attraction –  that any guy can make a submissive woman submit because women are, by nature, submissive. It takes a “high alpha male” to break the “rare” dominant woman.

That particular appreciation for female strength has nothing to do with respect or actual, you know, appreciation. It’s a purely reflective thing – the value of her strength is in how brightly it highlights his.

Full disclosure: I have a button here. Though I’m not a Domme, I am naturally dominant with a wide streak of  don’t-tell-me-what-to-fucking-do. I’ve written about how my natural dominance attracted an ex who was, to put it bluntly, a diagnosed sociopath who loved me best when I was needy (“but only for him”) and who wanted to “crush me and break me and make me his”. (Direct quote. Fuck it).

That’s not to say that this gentleman is a sociopath. To be honest, I don’t think he really understood what he was saying. It just rubbed my fur backwards and, once I got over my initial annoyance, I didn’t like how it unpacked.

Essentially, this kind of attraction turns a very specific form of female strength into fetishized commodity while dismissing all the other ways in which women are strong. In other words, it turns female dominance into a kind of drug that makes a certain kind of man feel special. It has nothing to do with the woman or her dynamic with that man. It has to do with the ego boost that comes from fucking her in a particular way.

It also turns the “rare” alpha-female one of two things:

  1. a disposable experience, or
  2. a possession to groom and keep.

Either way, it’s no good. Every woman does not crave submission, and those that do should have autonomy within their submission. Anything else falls back on a cultural mode that normalized a husband’s right to spank his wife for failing to make the perfect pot roast.

In the end, there’s a fundamental difference between spanking Lara Croft and spanking Lara Croft’s alpha female glory to the breaking point. The spanking isn’t the issue – it’s the motives behind it that makes the difference between awesome and toxic. If a dominant woman (or man) trusts you enough to submit to you, even if only for a night, that should speak to the connection and trust between you, not to your prowess as an alpha.

Fetishize power in a partner. Revel in it. Love strong women. Love strong men. Just don’t turn whatever happens into proof of your Domminess. Don’t fetishize the ego boost that comes with “breaking” someone you perceive to be strong. Sex and submission aren’t about how alpha you are. They’re about feeding off each other’s strengths – that’s the real fucking high.

NB: I realized after I posted this that I should clarify some terminology as usage in that conversation got fairly muddy.

“Alpha male” and “alpha female” don’t equate to Dom and Domme (or sadist or top). All alpha means it that someone has what might be called a dominant personality. Some alphas have personalities that are more dominant than others, as do some betas, etc. All dominant people are not alpha, nor are all alphas dominant.

Alpha, dominant and Dom are often equated in casual conversation, which is fine insofar as it goes. It’s just important to acknowledge that a person’s alignment in social hierarchies may differ than their (natural or chosen) position in sexual power dynamics.

As for the term “strong women”, it most definitely does not apply exclusively to dominant women or alpha females. Some of the strongest women I know are subs. Sexual wiring has little, if any, bearing on a woman’s integrity, resilience or strength.

Erotic Fiction: Slow Burn

“Come closer.”

I lie back on your bed, curled up in the nest of your rumpled, blue duvet.

I’m naked. I love being naked with you, in your bed, where my body feels soft and silky, like a celluloid princess in a silent film. But I’m not a princess. Nor am I silent…not that I can’t be quiet as a mouse. I just don’t want to be. Silent. There is too much joy in your weight between my legs; and in the way my body feels fitted into yours.

You come closer to the edge of the bed. There isn’t much room, but now you’re squarely in front of the window, which is where I want you to be.

“Strip for me.”

You flush. You’re still cold from your run to the store. I imagine dark heat spreading through your cells, and seeping into your skin. We’ve done this before—the stripping. But your sloping shoulders seem bashful. So does the curl of your hand, as if you’re surprised that I want this from you…. But you do strip, meeting my eyes the whole time once your shirt is off.

“Slower,” I say.

I’m teasing you now and you know it. You’re already going slow. But you comply and go slower as your lips pull up to one side. You’re going to tease me back. You slow down even more. But I love it. I love the frustration and the time it gives me to watch your body move. And all the while, your eyes stay on mine, focused, very precisely, on me, and on us, and on the game we’re playing now.

You’re already hard when you take your pants off. I knew you would be—we’ve been playing all day and you’ve already fucked me twice. Once, slow and sweet, like spoons in a drawer with your arms wrapped around me and my hands clutched in yours. The second was  hard and fast, up against the counter after breakfast and tea. I was still soaking wet after the first time. I’m soaking wet right now.

Being around you makes me wet—your quick solidity; how small and strong you make me feel; your scent; our skin. I love the way we fuck. I love the noises you make when you come. I love the noises you make when you don’t. Since we woke up, I’ve come, in great, hazy waves, more times than I can count. You have not. You haven’t come at all because we’re playing a game and you won’t until I say.

I open my legs, half snuggled into your bed. My cunt feels soft and warm when I slip my fingers in. You watch me. You know what we’re doing. I don’t have to say. But you wait for me anyway.

“Lick your palm and stroke your cock.”

You do, eyes still on mine. My fingers slide over my cunt without my having to try. My body wants to be filled. It’s sucking at my fingers as I drag them out and push them slowly in.

My legs drop open even more. You pause and take a step.

“No,” I say. “Don’t touch me. Slide your hand up and down your beautiful, fucking cock and think about how good it would feel to be fucking me instead.”

I think about us when I get myself off. I think about us so often that it’s natural, even now, despite the fact that you’re less than a foot away. And all the while, your eyes are on mine. Your eyes bring me closer in ways that my hand alone never does….

I lie back and arch my hips, bringing my cunt up to your cock, as close as I can without blocking our hands. I want to keep the hard, thick pull of wanting you this bad. But I come, and I cry out as I do, a guttural, not-beautiful sound. And then I come again.

You’re sweating and your face is flushed, not cold anymore; I smile up at you and you smiled down at me. We are co-conspirators. You know what we’re doing. I don’t have to say. But you wait for me all the same.

“Don’t you fucking come.”

It’s a slow, slow burn.

Thank you to Exhibit A for the use of the words-fail-me, (very) inspirational image.

And if you haven’t read Exhibit A’s work, you should. The man is much more than just a pretty…em…face. He’s brilliant and his erotic fiction and sex writing are some of the best I know. Find more of him here.

Guest Post: An Evening with Alex & Em

Back in February, I had a birthday. As a present, Exhibit A wrote me a guest post called “Strong Foundations”, one of the sexiest birthday presents anyone could wish for. He tailored it to my kinks and tastes, so what I ended up with was a piece of erotica specifically designed to turn me on. I am happy to report that it did (and continues to do) its job very well.

In fact, it was such a fantastic birthday present, that when Exhibit A turned 34 a few weeks ago, I decided to return the favor. The story I wrote for him is called “An Evening with Alex and Em” and it’s a saucy little mash-up of a few of his many and varied sexual interests – Femdom and CFNM, with a little voyeurism and exhibitionism thrown in for good measure.

When he asked me if I’d mind if he put it up on his blog, I very demurely acceded (meaning I said yes without even pretending to hesitate). In fact, it’s up on his site as a guest post right now. You can read it by clicking here.

And if you haven’t already, check out “Strong Foundations” too. It’s a hell of a hot story, and it inspired “An Evening with Alex and Em”, a story that was a hell of a lot of fun to write.

Femme Fatales & Dames

My daughter was sick for most of last week, so I spent a lot of time on the couch, jotting notes on a legal pad. One of the things I scribbled was something I’ve been mulling for awhile – different portrayals of women in media, and how archetypical images of femininity and sexuality can affect a person’s development. On a whim, I made a list (because I freaking love lists) of women that I’m drawn to in film and history. It’s short so I’ll include it here:

Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not (1944)

Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not (1944)

Boudica (the Celtic queen who led an uprising and killed a lot of Romans after they raped her daughters)

Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer’s. Of course)

The female vampires in Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Lauren Bacall

Myrna Loy as Nora Charles

With the exception of Boudica, who is in a class all her own, every woman I listed falls into one of two categories – dames or femme fatales. There are a lot of superficial similarities between the two – dames and femme fatales have a certain energy about them, a sexual assertiveness for lack of a better word, but beneath the superficial gloss they are actually fairly different, as was my attachment to them at different stages in my life.

Femme fatales are the image I was most attracted to as a girl, so their influence wove itself into my sexuality at a pretty young age. Moreover, femme fatales have been around for centuries, while dames are a 20th century phenomenon.  The femme fatale first manifested as a supernatural evil – Lilith, lamias, succubi and vampires. Later they took the form of dangerously sexual and often villainized women, like Mata Hari.

The femme fatale, as  a figure, is problematic. She was, quite literally, created to embody the perceived evils of an assertive (i.e.: predatory) female sexuality, a sexuality that is almost always punished. While I’m aware of that now, I didn’t know that as a girl, so my attraction to this type of woman was fairly simple. Because of that, I’m going to skim the deeper cultural issues attached to the femme fatale (for now – I’ll eventually write a post on it), to focus on her relevance to a younger me.

The Brides, Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

The Brides, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

When I a kid, I was, like a disturbing number of people, made aware of how vulnerable I am. My response to this realization was multilayered. On the surface, I became mousy, quiet and reflexively apologetic. I shrank and made myself as small as I could, driven by anxiety and the desperate need to avoid confrontation. Beneath the surface, however, my real, private self was angry – massively angry, all the more so because I wouldn’t allow that anger to show. By the time I was thirteen, I was a seething ball of sweetness. As my sexuality kicked into gear, I bifurcated all the more, becoming the ideal good girl on the surface, while having violent sexual fantasies in the privacy of my head. That was the year I saw two movies that influenced my sexuality to a great degree – Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Dracula and Batman Returns. These movies introduced me to the femme fatale.

I remember watching the scene in Dracula where the three brides ravish Jonathon Harker. It’s a sexualized assault wherein they seduce and then literally consume him while he writhes in horrified ecstasy.  As I watched that scene, something in me clicked. I wanted to be one of those brides. I wanted to wield my sexuality like a weapon, just as those women did. Of course, they were punished (stake through the heart, beheaded, etc) and, of course, they were subject to the control of the man who had made them, but I didn’t care about that then. What I cared about was that they were predatory women, claiming what they wanted without remorse or apology. It was a revelation to me.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, Batman Returns (1992)

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, Batman Returns (1992)

Then I saw Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman, a different sort of femme fatale, one that I identified with all the more because I felt like her mousy alter ego, Selena Kyle, who was pushed out a window for being too clever. Rather than die as she should, she resurrects herself and becomes something else, something hard and sexual and overtly predatory (once again, the predatory). She goes from being a victim to owning and asserting herself in a way I could only dream of.

For me, the femme fatale represented overt, rapacious sexual freedom. More to the point, the archetype was a picture of the violent reclamation of sexual agency that I desperately needed. As a result, my early relationships were fraught. I was angry and deeply hurt, and I wanted to make other people, especially men, hurt too. I was a toxic mixture of hollow weakness, rage and simmering sexuality and, as a result, I did a lot of damage, both to others and to myself.

Enter the dame. The definition of the word “dame” varies greatly, so here’s what I mean when I use the word. A dame is a woman in full possession of herself. For me, Lauren Bacall is the ultimate dame – smart and sexy, cool under pressure, holding her own in every situation. Whereas femme fatales seduce on instinct, dames watch. They play power dynamics like hands of poker. They make moves, but only when they’re ready. Femme fatales are about carnal impulse. Dames are about control.

By the time I entered the The Reconstruction (the period in my early twenties that directly followed my inevitable breakdown), the archetype of the femme fatale had welded itself to my sexuality so, rather than uproot it, I tried to explore it in a healthier, less aggressive way. I needed agency, a sense of autonomy and power. I enjoyed the slightly wicked, predatory streaks in in my sexuality and I didn’t want them to go away, I just wanted to be in control, wielding them, rather than letting them wield me.

Bogie and Bacall (1944)

Bogie and Bacall (1944)

Around that time, I went on a Lauren Bacall binge. Even at eighteen, Bacall was something. Paired with a man over twice her age, she held her own so well that when she cocks her head and teaches Bogie how to whistle, you know he’s the one in trouble, not her. Even when he holds her jaw as he kisses her, you get the sense that she is allowing it because it pleases her. She is a fully present partner, owning her half of that kiss. That’s why their chemistry is so insane – she’s right there with him every step of the way. Now, that’s a dame.

So is Myrna Loy, though in a very different way. As Nora Charles, Loy was unfailingly charming. She had such a light, funny social grace that it’s only when you really pay attention that you see her gently maintaining the upper hand in nearly all of her interactions. She’s at the top of the social curve, not for any overt reason but because she’s open and confident, so confident that she literally has nothing to prove.

Myrna Loy (1926)

Myrna Loy (1926)

The difference between the femme fatale and the dame is the difference between what I aspired to at two very different stages in my life. I needed the agency and self-possession represented by both, but beyond that I wanted control after I had so thoroughly lost it. I wanted calm where there had been chaos, perspective where I’d had none. I wanted measured looks and unflinching gazes and dry observations and crooked smiles. I wanted to relax and finally be myself, without apology or aggression. So I embraced the dame and subconsciously rebuilt myself in a different mold.

It would be easy to think of the these figures as constructs – personas that were / are separate or laid over my actual personality, but that would discount the fact that for many people, personalities are fluid. We all have baseline characteristics – compassion, cruelty, extroversion, introversion – but different people bring out different qualities in all of us, just as different events change and shape who we are. The femme fatale and the dame are that for me – responses to events that shaped the woman I became.

Iconic figures are complicated and how we related to them is even more so, but for me, they were a mirror, not only into what I was, but into what I wanted to be. They were something to pattern on while I explored and found myself. I didn’t (and don’t) try to be predatory or sexual or wry or watchful. At various times, in various circumstances, I just am, all while maintaining the priority of trying to be an essentially good person. I will never be fully rid of the anger, but because these two different versions of feminine sexuality resonated so deeply at pivotal times, they allowed me to stop being the apologetic mouse with the target on her back. The femme fatale took me too far to one side, whereas the dame helped me find my natural self.

Strong Foundations (Guest Post by Exhibit A)

I got a lovely birthday surprise today – a guest post from Exhibit A. He wrote an excellent introduction to this story, which is up right now on his blog. I really encourage you to check it out, as he talks about what went into creating a story out of this particular scenario.  

As for me, my capacity for critical thought is a little challenged right now – “Strong Foundations” is, quite literally, exactly the kind of story that turns me on most. It’s fantastically fucking hot, and  full of the sort of tension and boundary pushing that can only happen when two people trust each other implicitly.  It’s a brilliant story from by a brilliant writer. I hope you enjoy! xx.M

NB: Exhibit A just put up a supplement to the story on his blog. It’s got some additional (hot) background on the writing of it, as well as a very illustrative visual aid. Have a look…

Strong Foundations

by

Exhibit A

“Here – you look stressed.”

I turned away from my laptop just in time to see Ally put a fresh cup of tea down on the kitchen table next to me.

“I can’t fucking concentrate with all that banging going on downstairs. Do they have to be so loud?”

“Honey, they’re ripping out the whole shower unit. I’m not sure what made you think that would be a silent process.”

I glared back at Ally, but only because I knew she was right. Arranging to work from home on the day the builders came had not been one of my smarter moves. My desk sat flush against the bathroom wall, and vibrated each time hammer struck chisel next door; moving upstairs to the kitchen had helped a bit, but in our cosy maisonette apartment there was really no escape from the repetitive thud, and the sound of tiles clattering down onto the floor.

“I know, I should have gone to the office. I’m an idiot.”

Ally pressed her fingers into my shoulders, easing out the tension. I leaned back into her as she bent down and brushed her lips against my ear.

“Mm, you really should have done. I’d have had far more fun with those two if you weren’t here.”

I pulled her round onto my lap and she squealed with laughter.

“Oh really? And what exactly do you mean by that?”

“Well…they’re not exactly painful to look at, are they? And such strong young men. I bet they have plenty of energy. Yum.”

I rolled my eyes. Ally’s nipples were hard against her tank top, inviting attention, but when I moved my hand toward her breasts, she slapped it away.

“Do you think they’d enjoy seeing me like this if I took them tea right now? That one in the khaki overalls, I know he definitely liked what he saw when I went down there earlier. I bet he’d love to know what the thought of his bulge was doing to my nipples.”

Ally squirmed in my lap, and I felt her grind down onto my cock. I willed it to stop twitching, to stay soft and unresponsive, but she knew my body too well; her grin was triumphant and smug as it started to swell beneath her.

“Oh, don’t worry, I know that you would like that. In fact, maybe I should leave you up here with your work and go see how hard their dicks get when I sit on their laps. What do you reckon? It’s not as if these shorts leave much to the imagination.”

I paused, weighing up my response. Ally smirked down at me.

“Maybe you’d prefer to hear them hammering away at my cunt instead of the bathroom wall. Making me scream. Is that it? Would you find it easier to concentrate on your laptop then?”

I could feel the skin at the base of her spine getting warmer with every word. It was one of her favourite games, and she played it with merciless proficiency. If I hadn’t already hated the builders for their intrusion into my working day, the lust that practically dripped from her tongue would have left me wound tight with rage at how wet she was for them; and for how she held that arousal just out of my reach, teasing me with it.

What we both knew all too well was that the anger only turned her on more, so it was no surprise when she swung one leg over me and hopped up onto the table, her feet kicking together as she contemplated her next move. I saw it spread across her face well before it reached her pursed lips, but that did nothing to deaden the impact.

“Ok, get up. We’re going to have a bit of fun here.”

I levered myself out of the chair and shuffled across the wooden floor. She slid into the space I’d vacated and leaned back, arms crossed behind her head. My shoulders tensed at the sight of her body stretched out like that, lithe and feline. In contrast, mine felt clumsy and awkward, weighed down by the dense, thrumming desire that only her piercing gaze could awaken in me.

“Strip for me. Slowly. Jeans first.”

I tugged at my belt, my fingers cold and shaky without the reassuring warmth of her body curled in my lap. Downstairs, the hammering stopped and I tensed, a nervous response I inwardly cursed as she raised a questioning eyebrow.

“Sorry, I just…well, what if one of them comes up?”

“Huh. What indeed?”

“Are you kidding, Ally? They can’t see me like this, ok?”

“Then why are you getting hard? And don’t deny it! I can see you straining against the fly. Are you worried they’ll see you? No, that’s not it: ah, you’re worried they’ll think you’re small!”

“I…”

“Because I saw the way they filled out their overalls. Fuck, there’s no comparison. Those boys are packing, and you…ha! I mean…well, we can’t all be superstars, can we?”

I flushed, a deep, angry red that I felt warm my chest and set my stomach on spin cycle. The heat spread lower though, and I gritted my teeth against it, trying to stop my body betraying me, even as I shimmied out of my jeans and presented myself to her.

She looked me up and down with a careful, studied gaze. I felt shy, coltish and awkward; undone by her forensic attention. I trusted Ally to push my buttons in a way that worked within the context of our relationship, but the sudden charge to the atmosphere between us indicated that we were both moving into new territory.

The hair on my legs shivered in the cold of the open, airy kitchen. I lifted my striped, long-sleeved t-shirt up over my stomach, and extended my arms towards the ceiling, stopping only when her voice cut through the silence.

“Did I tell you to take that off? Boxers first. I want to see how much you want this.”

I untangled my arms and let them hang limp by my side. Casting a final anxious glance at the stairs, I slowly peeled the tight boxer-briefs down over my cock, and let them join my jeans in a puddle on the floor.

Ally leaned forward and watched intently, fingers tapping against her thigh as I stood exposed in front of her.

“I really should take them tea, you know. They’re working ever so hard. Put the kettle on.”

My mouth hung open, but no sound came out. We stared at each other like poker players; it only took me a few seconds to realise that Ally wasn’t going to blink first. She held my gaze, then pulled my eyes over to the worktop where the kettle rested. The nod was subtle enough that I almost missed it; firm enough that my feet had already started to move across the floor by the time my brain processed her message.

I flicked the switch and stepped back again, shocked by how eager my body was to submit. Ally laughed, rich and warm, the way she did whenever I was stiff with her friends or slow to warm up on a night out.

“God, I’ve never seen your cheeks that colour. They’re almost as dark as the head of your cock. Speaking of which…”

Ally closed the gap between us with the sort of balletic grace that only further exposed the way she’d reduced me to slow motion, my body stuck in quicksand as hers took flight. She tapped her hand against my chest and held me in place, just far enough away that my cock could only graze the soft cotton of her white top.

“Mm, not quite dear.”

I felt my arse clench in frustration. Biting back every swear word that threatened to pour out of my mouth, I presented myself to her, wondering for the first time just what the two builders might have that I didn’t.

I watched Ally press the pad of her thumb against the tip of my cock, and slide her index finger down the shaft till it nestled snug against my pelvis. She jerked back as I twitched against her, and lifted her measurement in front of my face; I frowned, and wrinkled my nose in disbelief, but she refused to widen the space between her digits.

“Heh. You wish.”

The kettle boiled, but neither of us moved. Slowly, Ally lowered her hand and curled it around my cock, her fingers silken and warm. I longed to feel her mouth as well; she gave head with great enthusiasm, her tongue as skilful at working me into a frenzy as it was at taunting and teasing me. Instead, she caressed the shaft with quick, light touches, just enough to keep me achingly hard, but well short of what she knew I really wanted.

I dreaded the sound of footsteps on the stairs, but Ally showed no sign of putting me out of my misery. She scraped one nail over the head of my cock and pushed the pad of her finger against the slit, almost as if she was telling it to stay quiet.

“You…you clearly want me to make you come. But what you want isn’t really important right now. What I want is for you to be a good boy and make the tea. Think you can manage that?”

She stepped to one side and ushered me to the worktop. I dropped a teabag into each of the mugs laid out on the side, and poured hot water over them. When I wheeled around to fetch the milk out of the fridge, my cock bounced in front of me, and Ally gave it a playful tap as I moved past her.

“You’re not going to make me take these downstairs, are you?”

“And deny myself the chance to have another perv? Not fucking likely. Besides, while I’m sure you’d enjoy walking down there like that, I don’t think they’d be quite as impressed.”

Nodding meekly, I picked up the mugs and tried to hand them to Ally. She put a hand on my arm and steered it back to the worktop.

“Uh uh, don’t be so eager. There’s something else you need to help me with first. Unzip my shorts, please.”

“What? Why?”

“I stood at the end of our bed this morning and put this underwear on especially for you – you didn’t even notice it. Perhaps the two chaps downstairs will be more appreciative.”

I felt the disconnect between my brain and my body growing. The shame I felt at the thought of her parading in front of them only seemed to make my fingers work faster, helping her to push the waistband over her hips, and exposing the sea green lace beneath. They were her favourites, and I stopped to admire the way they clung to her arse, accentuating her curves and leaving just enough to the imagination.

I knelt to untangle the shorts from her feet, and she put her hand on the top of my head, using me to balance at the same time as she held me in place. She ruffled my hair and slid her fingers through it, letting them come to rest on the back of my neck.

“Kiss me. You know where.”

My lips were dry, but I let Ally ease them towards her crotch. I could smell her arousal well before the soft material made contact with my skin, but it still took me by surprise to feel how wet she was. I kissed her cunt through the knickers, and she moaned, a sound that never failed to make my cock tingle in response.

“Can I lick you? God, you smell amazing.”

“No. Not yet. You have to wait. For that. For me. For everything.”

“But I…”

“No, let me finish. You’re going to wait here for me, on your knees. Don’t get up. Don’t cover yourself. Just stay right here, with your dick hard between your legs and think about them looking at me. Think about those fucking delicious bulges in their overalls getting bigger and bigger as they stare at my arse in these tiny knickers. As they imagine groping my tits and filling my wet cunt with their fat cocks. Then maybe – just maybe – you’ll actually notice the next time I make an effort to look nice for you. If there is a next time.”

I sank back as she turned to pick up the two mugs, my arse resting on my heels. The blood rushed to my head and I barely heard her cross the kitchen floor toward the stairs. Her footsteps were light; where the wood creaked under my weight, she seemed to dance over it, and I knew the builders wouldn’t hear her coming. They wouldn’t know she was there till…God, even just thinking about it!

The hammering stopped and I closed my eyes, listening intently. A million thoughts raced through my head. I hated every single one, but each got me harder than the last. Her laughter floated up the stairs, followed by the low murmur of voices. It was maddening to hear them talking, without being able to make out the words.

A second laugh joined hers. Rough and dirty, a bark next to Ally’s musical lilt. Fuck, what did she say? I imagined her telling them what she’d done to me. Holding her thumb and forefinger up for them, even closer together this time to emphasise her point. My cheeks burned, but my cock refused to stop responding to the torment my brain was determined to inflict.

I didn’t think anything could be worse than the laughter – right up until the moment it stopped. The voices fell silent and I strained to hear what was going on. I thought about her fingers skimming the front of their overalls. Reaching inside. Their big hands pulling down her tank top, under her breasts. Cupping them. Pinching and teasing her nipples.

The click of a latch almost brought me to my feet. It could only be our bedroom door! She wouldn’t, would she? I fought to remain calm, my fists balling again and again by my side. One minute passed. Two minutes. Three. I tried to empty my mind, but the images wouldn’t stop scrolling across it. Ally on her knees in front of them. Ally bent over our bed, twisting the sheet between her fingers. Ally’s eyes scrunched shut, her mouth open wide in a soundless scream of ecstasy.

My knees ached. My thighs and back were rigid with tension, but still I didn’t move. Then, like a car radio bursting back into life as it exits a tunnel, the voices picked up again. Hers quickly left the other two behind, getting louder and more distinct as theirs tailed off.

“…oh yes…definitely…ha, the pleasure was all mine…”

Ally’s head came into view first, the rest following swiftly as she hopped up the stairs. I waited, unable to meet her eyes with mine. She walked over to the table and leaned against it, her feet crossed. Without speaking, she peeled off her knickers and spread her legs a shoulder-width apart. Tossing the discarded underwear in front of me, she cleared her throat and spoke, her voice softer than it had been earlier.

“Taste them. Taste how wet I am.”

I reached for the knickers and pressed them against my face, afraid all of a sudden. Afraid that I’d taste not just her arousal but theirs too. Her lips quirked up.

“Don’t worry sailor. There’s only one cock I want inside me right now. I’m so fucking horny, and I need you to take care of that. Think you’re up to the job?”

I scrambled to my feet. I no longer cared who might hear us, or who might see my dick as it pulsed with desire. Ally turned and bent over the table. She was soaking, her thighs sticky and hot, and her cunt wetter than I’d ever felt it before. I thrust inside her, as deep as I could; she shuddered around me, her whole body vibrating against the wooden surface.

“Jesus. I’m not going to last long. Harder – fuck me harder.”

I did as I was told, pouring myself into her with a fury and hunger that shocked me even as I let it flow out of my body. I came in seconds and Ally followed me over the edge, her cunt squeezing me in desperation.

She slumped down underneath me. I rested my forehead between her shoulders, feeling our sweat mix together. Her hand found mine, and she gave it a tired shake. I looked up in time to see her lift the index finger on her other hand. The one holding onto mine disengaged and move back up to the table. With a theatrical flourish, she extended a second index finger, lined the two of them up alongside each other, and slowly moved them apart.

Four inches. Five. Six. Still going. Still…

The smile on her face as she turned to look at my reaction was more wicked than happy.

“What the…”

“I do like men who travel with their own tape measures. Don’t you?”

Jade & Malin Talk 50 Shades

Jade & Malin, minutes from embarking on the FSoG experience.

Jade & Malin, minutes from embarking on the FSoG experience.

Hello everyone! I’ve got a bit of a departure for you today. Over the week-end my lovely partner in crime and platonic valentine, Jade A. Waters, and I saw The Movie. We got to talking about it over lunch, (of course), and decided that, in the face of so many proper reviews and opinions, we’d skip writing anything truly critical and record an off-the-cuff conversation instead. We meandered, we drifted, we laughed a lot, (we might have even snorted). Most of all, we had a lot of fun making this recording. A few notes before you press play:

1. We went into this with a particular context in mind – that FSoG is a formula romance, and the kink / BDSM elements were going to be geared for a primarily vanilla, mainstream audience. Also, R rating.

2. We tried to consider it through the lens of the audience it’s intended for, (rather than our own erotica writer / kinky person perspective)

3. The most pornographic moment in this film was the opening credits with Christian Grey’s wardrobe. See #1 on context and rating.

4. We get kind of loud at points so apologies if we laugh you out of your earbuds.

5. There are outtakes at the end! Listen on through if you can!

And now, without further ado, Jade and I talk 50 Shades. Thanks for joining us – we hope you enjoy the conversation at least half as much as we did.

xx.M

(NSFW) Spotlight: Revenge by Ellen von Unwerth

Time for another installment of Spotlight, an occasional series in which I shine the light on books that I love. This time around, I’m looking at a decadent and thoroughly debauched story / photo collection by the brilliant fashion photographer, Ellen von Unwerth. It’s called Revenge, and it’s the prettiest, most artistic piece of soft-core pornography that I’ve ever come across. 

revenge16 I need to preface this post by admitting that I’ve been wanting to spotlight Revenge for ages but held off because it isn’t that easy to find, and the copies that are out there tend to be fairly expensive. I bought it on a lark when it first came out in 2003. I had no idea that my first edition was one of only 10,000. That said, I was flipping through it the other day, and was struck again by how…well, striking it is, so I decided to go ahead and run with the post and hope that anyone interested in getting a copy has some good luck or a generous Santa. xx.M

Let’s begin with the premise, because the premise says it all. An evil Baroness, (yes, I know…), takes her step-sister’s daughters and nieces in after a terrible cable-car crash devastates the family, (yes, I know…). Little does anyone know, but the Baroness is plagued by her late husband’s debts and has been forced to let most of her household staff go. All she has left is a nameless stable boy, a chauffeur named Eric, and three pouty sadistic maids.

So, the Baroness takes in the lovely young naifs, (eight in total, all legal yet beguiling in her own way), off her step-sister’s hands, but little does anyone know that these poor, poor, poor young women will be “forced to earn their keep” and take up the roles left vacant by the chateau’s departed staff. As you can imagine, a certain amount of discipline is required, much to the girls’ dismay. But the girls are resourceful, and not nearly so innocent as the

The Baroness & Veronique the maid. From Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

The Baroness & Veronique the maid. From Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Baroness assumes. Despite setbacks and misadventures, they manage to turn the tables in the end.

Revenge is the photographic retelling of the girls’ misadventures during their stay with the Baroness. As the premise implies, it’s an unabashedly over-the-top BDSM fantasy. The whole thing reads like an elaborately choreographed scene. In fact, I could almost believe this whole scenario going down during a long week-end at a private play party.

The book is signature von Unwerth – gorgeously sexual and fantastically staged. But within the staging and premise, the models are given a remarkable amount of freedom to act and react naturally. That’s what keeps it from straying into a sort of vacant, cynical exercise. It’s obvious that everyone is having a genuinely good time. While there is no doubt that this is a photo-shoot and that von Unwerth has a firm hand on every frame and angle, everyone’s hamming it up, and that’s charming. There’s no way to take the situation terribly seriously, so they don’t. The models pout and grimace and sneer like pretty, X-rated cartoons, and engage the “story” with a gusto that I find totally and joyfully infectious.

Ivy turning the tables. From Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Ivy turning the tables. From Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

As with much of her work, Ellen von Unwerth’s photographs feel like throwbacks to Weimar Berlin. The grainy, black and white images starkly highlight the girls’ pale skin, dark lips and glossy hair as they are forced to chop wood in stiletto heels and scrub floors in artistically tattered thigh highs. In fact, the entire book feels like what would happen if Vogue decided to run a unapologetically explicit sex issue. I almost never find anything this staged to be sexy at all, regardless of how aesthetically pleasing it is, but something about the book’s tongue-in-cheek, winking quality turns my head every time.

It’s that charm, more than anything, that turned me on when I first found Revenge nearly eleven years ago. On the surface, there’s a lot to get caught up in – a flagrantly abusive Baroness and her tool of a chauffeur, the lovely clutch of suffering nymphs, a trio of sly, sadistic, barely clothed maids – but beneath the sex-drenched premise and the glamor of von Unwerth’s images, the reality seemed to be that a bunch of people were getting a kick out of acting out a fabulously over-the-top fantasy, complete with crops, iron cuffs and pretty, black masks. That’s what made it impossible for me to put down.

What little text there is winks at novels like The Story of O and many of Anais Nin’s short stories, while never delving deeply into the potential psychology of the situation. This is one, very rare example of something that I think is sexy because it skates the surface of a fantasy without going deeper or darker than it has to. Forexample, the girls, who have “immaculate manners,” write the Baroness a thank you note after they liberate themselves from the chateau and leave their evil aunt in a compromising position in the village square.

Image from Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Image from Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Ridiculous. And yet…I kind of love the entire idea of that note, and of their aunt receiving her just desserts at the hands of outraged peasants who’ve been primed by rumors of her wicked ways. The fact that there is almost no story is actually one of the book’s strengths. The premise remains a premise, undeveloped and whole unto itself. Normally, I hate this. But I love it in Revenge.

I stumbled over Revenge when I was only just beginning to get a sense of my kinky side. I didn’t know much about BDSM then and, while I enjoyed sex, (a lot), I wasn’t consuming a lot of explicitly sexual material. I was still trying very hard to be my mother’s very normal, very good girl. But I couldn’t ignore this book or it’s arch, in-your-face sexuality. It was delicious and wicked and beautiful. It turned me on in so many ways, and I couldn’t put it down. It became one of those tiny bits of media that my sexuality latched onto. Something deep inside of me said, this is okay. This is good. It’s okay to want things that aren’t “safe.”

I’m honestly not sure I’d love it nearly so much if I hadn’t stumbled over it at such a pivotal point in my own sexual development. I might just have dismissed it as really pretty soft-core porn, or flipped through it and put it back on the shelf without paying what was then more than I could afford for a single book. But I did stumble over it at a pivotal time, and it tapped something inside of me like a tuning fork. It literally turned something inside me on. I didn’t know then whether I wanted to be the Baroness or one of her poor, put-upon nieces. All I knew was that I wanted to be in that book, and that was a revelation to me.

Image from Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Image from Revenge, by Ellen von Unwerth

Ownership: On Sexuality & Feminine Relations

Black and white image of nude woman sitting up proudly

Photographer’s model, circa 1910. Image courtesy of Flickr.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about ownership—ownership of myself, or rather, of my sexuality – and how it affects the way I engage the world and other women.

Even as I write this, I realize that I’m walking a fine line. What I want to say is so specific that it goes well beyond splitting hairs, so before I jump in without a foundation, I’d like to take a look at the culture of female relations. I want to look at how women treat other women, because whether it’s in the name of decency, religion or gendered feminism, women tend to treat each other like shit.

Now, there are massive exceptions to this. I am lucky enough to be close to women who are extraordinarily supportive, accepting and kind, and I’m intensely grateful to have them in my life. They are the sort of women who don’t like being told that their friendships with men are suspect; that submission in a woman is an insult to feminism; that sexual agency is a threat. They use words like “cunt” and “slut” with broad, unconstrained grins, or decline to use those terms as a matter of personal taste without taking offense when others do; they talk about sex with frankness and curiosity. They don’t weight their worth by who, or when, or how they fuck.

I’m hardly the only woman who enjoys healthy, caring, supportive friendships like these. And yet, women exist in a self-imposed hierarchy, one where sexual agency is often viewed with suspicion. Women long to be “perfect,” and yet we secretly hate the sexy doctor who is both an excellent mother and a wildcat in bed, (though perhaps not at the same time). The mere existence of this idyll is often viewed as a threat – a condemnation of other women’s failure to achieve perceived perfection. But rather than turn the focus inward, to ask ourselves why this woman’s status should affect our own, feminine culture teaches us to get catty and bitchy and cliquish. And that’s before you even start to deal directly with sex.

A woman’s sexual agency directly engages male sexuality, so the pervading notion in our culture is that a woman in full command of her sexuality is, by extension, a sexual threat, not to men, but to other women. How can you trust a woman who might just fuck your man? It’s an ancient anxiety that has thrived within the parameters set by gender, (rather than equity), feminism, and which now greatly influences the manner in which women police other women.

This is where my thoughts on sexual ownership come in. It still seems that to be strong, feminist, and thoroughly modern, a woman should play down her sexuality. Granted, it’s all right for her to have one now, but really, many women would prefer not to have it made plain. When she does not temper herself for the comfort of others, she is often labeled a slut and a whore, judged with immediate, knee-jerk invective and distrust, not so much by men, but by other women.

I’m thinking here of the girls who watch with grim satisfaction as the class slut is sexually assaulted by a pack of alpha males; or of good, Christian women who assert that a whore cannot be raped. The office slut… the waitress who holds your boyfriend’s gaze rather than demurely look down… the woman with whom your husband is friends. All traditionally suspect.

This is a very old phenomena. It’s The Scarlet Letter and The Crucible. It’s Vanity Fair, The House of Mirth and Anna Karenina. It’s the in-built cultural assumption that a woman in full possession of her sexuality is somehow a threat, always and still to other women.

I’ll be honest. I’m tired of women looking at each other with distrust. I’m tired be being evaluated not by what I say or do, but by the tenor of my sexuality. It’s the tradition of female relations that has been passed down for generations. It’s the reason my mother tried to steer my away from Marilyn Monroe. It’s why she always hated Angelina Jolie. They are figures of unabashed female sexuality, and of course, “sweetheart, that’s not the sort of girl you want to be.”

Well, actually it is. It is precisely the sort of woman I’ve become after years of apologizing and placation. And I will not pass that legacy, the one that shamed me for being sexually appetitive, on to my daughter. I will not teach her to value other women’s comfort over her own authentic nature. I will teach her not to worry about what other women do with their bodies, because being secure enough not to judge is the height of self-possession and therefore of power. I will teach her to own herself.

This is what I own:

  1. I own that I don’t know how many sexual partners I’ve had. I lost count in my twenties and have never much cared.
  2. I own that whatever that number is, I wouldn’t mind if it were higher, nor to I care if it doesn’t budge until the day I die.
  3. I own that I don’t care too much what other women think of me. That concern burned itself out after much pain and confusion over many, many years.
  4. I own that I do care very deeply what my friends think, as my friends judge me on the basis of my actions, not by who or how often I do, (or do not), have sex.
  5. I own that I have issues with power and control, and that I inflexibly protect my autonomy.
  6. I own that this inflexibility is the result of damage incurred when I was very young, and compounded by experiences later in life.
  7. I own that I am a good woman, not because it comes naturally to me, but because I care enough to try.
  8. I own that I will be goddamned if I inadvertently teach my daughter to weigh her own worth against any measure but her own.

This post is not meant to be prescriptive. It would be the height of hypocrisy for me to suggest that anyone should engage their sexuality in the way that I have deemed appropriate for me. I would however suggest that perhaps, we might be happier as a culture if we concern ourselves less with what other people are doing, and instead spend our energies and attentions on own behaviors, insecurities, sexualities and loves. There is enough love and self-possession and joy for everyone.

I dream of a day when women stop reflexively seeing a woman in full possession of her sexuality as a threat. I would like women to feel secure enough with each other to simply enjoy their own lives. I would like to see that day, but if I can’t, I hope my daughter does.

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.

Pillow Talk Secrets 2: Those Boys, Alphas and Doms, Oh My!

KissyFaceTalkingDirtyHello and welcome to the second session of Pillow Talk Secrets! This is Malin, your host for this round, and all I can say is that Tamsin, Jade and I have quite a chat lined up. You see, all three of just read Those Boys, which will be coming soon from Go Deeper Press – it’s the highly anticipated sequel to Alison Tyler’s fantastic novelette, Those Girls. Of course, we wanted to discuss it right away, but instead we decided to be incredibly good and save it for this session. As you can imagine, by now, we’re dying to talk to each other about it so, rather than torture ourselves any longer, we’re going to jump right in and get this party started!

Pillow Talk Secrets 2

Malin: Hello ladies!

Tamsin: Hello Malin, hello Jade!

Jade: And hello to both of you!

M: So, I don’t know about you two, but I’m dying to talk to you both about Those Boys. Should we start there?

T: Absolutely. But before we launch in, we should tell people who might not know this is the second book in Alison Tyler’s series that started with Those Girls – both published by Go Deeper Press.

J: Yes, and that we were fortunate enough to score ourselves an early copy of Those Boys – quite possibly because the Universe is just amazing – and wow are we happy about it!

The gorgeous cover for Those Boys, by Alison Tyler. Courtesy of Go Deeper Press.

The gorgeous cover for Those Boys, by Alison Tyler. Courtesy of Go Deeper Press.

M: It was a really lovely treat. There’s a lot of food for thought in both the first book, and now the second. For those readers who haven’t read the first book yet, let’s do a really quick run-down.

T: No spoilers!

M:  I would never! Okay. Summary not spoilers: it’s told from the POV of a Dom named Sandy. This man is the real deal – a Dom’s Dom. Basically, the novelette is about how he goes about initiating the lovely, slightly stand-offish Vanessa. How’s that?

J: Good – and I want to add this little piece I once read on Alison Tyler’s blog – I can’t remember her exact verbiage, but she said she originally thought Sandy was going to be a she, and then Sandy become this beautifully bisexual Dom. But the key, or the power of Sandy, was that it didn’t matter who he had control over – only that he had that control. The magic is being in his head, because he’s such the Dom’s Dom, as Malin said.

M: And there is magic in his head. You rarely see such a nuanced, authentic portrayal of a dominant in erotica, especially a male dominant, which is a shame.

T: But, I have to admit to a little disappointment with Those Girls, (shock! horror!).

J: What?!

T: Not because it wasn’t brilliant – it was! But it was too damn short! I wanted more. Straight away!

J: Oh well then, in that case…I totally agree.

T: I think Sandy’s character really came into its own, though, in Those Boys. I really got much more of a feel for him – this is a massive development on the first story and with the addition of a new character, Rem, we really get to understand how Sandy’s mind ticks….

And that’s just part of the conversation. To read the rest, in which we talk about fictional doms and a catch-all of related things, click here. I hope you do….

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