Years ago, I watched a skit on Saturday Night Live, a parody of a college campus policy concerning sexual consent. It was Mike Myers and Ellen Cleghorn as two student players stiffly acting out an intimate encounter that would be in compliance with the school's new policy.
"May I place my hands on your buttocks?" asks Mike Myers as character.
"Please, I would like you to place your hand on my buttocks," responds Ellen Cleghorn's character with a nervous giggle.
I laughed my ass off when I saw that. I thought that the college that instituted that policy had lost their collective minds. I thought a policy where the man literally is expected to ask at every step of seduction whether or not the woman he is with wants him to touch her in a particular way was ridiculous and unenforceable and frankly, insulting. Now, I think that college was ahead of the times and trying to address a basic disparity in male/female sexuality that most people are still unwilling to address in their own minds.
I was talking to a caller when I remembered the skit. He is one of the many, anonymous, white males I speak to on a regular basis. His voice is not memorable and I suspect that he uses different names. He's a talker, not really interested in fantasy, just wants a PSO to agree with him. After speaking with him several times, I realized that not only is this man an incredibly selfish bastard and I pity any woman who ends up in bed with him, he's also kind of the norm. Most of what we talk about is pretty Vanilla. He certainly has that middle-aged white male's sense of entitlement. He asked me what I am into, sexually. My reply of "Domination," with a great deal of relish seemed to throw him off balance. He asked me for details and, trust me, I gave him a few while enjoying his discomfort with the topic. He asked if I ever got into normal sex. "You mean Vanilla? Well, sometimes," I replied, letting the disdain drip from my voice. "If I'm with a guy who can't handle being dominated..."
He seemed to have a real hard time with the whole concept. I will admit that I am being a jerk to these guys when I figure out what they want from a PSO and then, perversely, refuse to give it to them. This jackass is a Dom, he just is a very mild Dom and doesn't know it. A lot of men fall into this category. They assume that the woman they are with is into doing exactly what they want to do without ever asking the woman what she is into. He kept circling around the subject of Domination, trying to find a way to make my preference something he could tolerate. (On a side note, this conversation is why callers should never ask for a PSO to tell the truth. They really don't want to hear it.) He asked if I was ever submissive with a man. "Never, turns me off," I told him. "Never submissive with a girl, either. Not a sub, not a switch," and then, of course, I had to explain what the words meant.
I will give this caller credit, he obviously enjoyed something about talking to me because he kept bloody well trying to find some common ground. He asked if I enjoyed oral sex. Of course, I love to tie a man to my bed and spend hours teasing him with my hands and my mouth. He asked if I liked having a man hold my head and ram his cock into my mouth and I laughed at him. "Good way for a man to get bit," I said. He decided to ignore that statement and asked if I was into anal sex. No. That answer surprised him. He told me that he thought that I should be because of what I do for a living. What the fuck?
Here's the thing; sex workers know that their clients are into anal sex so they tell them that they are too, regardless of how they actually feel about the subject. I have talked to some sex workers about this and their response is usually "No, doesn't do a thing for me but, the freaks are into it so I pretend to be, too." I asked my gay friends what they think about straight men into anal sex and got an earful. In their opinion, straight men are terrible at anal sex. One friend said "Never let a straight man fuck you in the ass, they don't know what they're doing," and all my other friends agreed with him including the one who has a thing for picking up straight guys. He told me that he always penetrates his strait lovers first so they learn how to do it right before he allows them to penetrate him. In fact, it's a deal breaker if they refuse, as far as he is concerned. If they refuse, their intimate encounter and their entire relationship with my friend is over from that moment on. He laughed at my surprise and went onto to explain that experience had taught him that most straight men who are into anal sex get off on causing their partners physical pain. Not a lot but, the physical discomfort they are causing their lover is certainly part of their enjoyment.
The other thing that I learned that night is that gay men tend to talk about their former lovers much more honestly than straight women do. Most of my friends were single but, not all of them, and even the 'married' ones tended to analyze their lovers' performance. (Please don't think that I am against gay marriage. The opposite is true and the strides this country has made in my lifetime are wonderful but, we still have a long way to go. That conversation took place when the idea of gay marriage was a blip on the horizon.) The best part is that they shared information; who was good, who was bad, who was dangerous. I found out that one of my friends had a hardcore foot fetish. Another came with a warning label that he was very well endowed and liked very rough sex. He turned bright red blushing but, admitted it was true as his friends and former lovers teased him. I discovered that a man I had assumed was gay was actually bi-sexual and had a crush on me but, was too shy to admit it. More on that some other time.
Thinking back on that night, I wonder why women aren't more honest with each other about their lovers. Certainly, we do not imagine that we are going to make a life long commitment to all of them, making such information irrelevant to our friends. At least, that is the ideal that we hope for with our long term commitments. My friends acknowledged that there are many men out there who believe that once a person consents to sex, that's it. It's a done deal. Those men seem to feel that consent is surrender and once it is given, they are allowed to do whatever they please without asking their partner's consent for anything else. One of my friends described his first time as rape; he met a man at the club, took the person home with the intention of having a very heavy make out session with oral sex. Instead, his lover pinned him down and sodomized him without ever asking my friend if that was what he wanted. My friend told me that he had been too shocked to protest at the time it had happened and I believed him. I remember the first time a boy grabbed my tits and how shocked I was and how powerless I felt. I was forced to learn (very quickly) as a teenage girl to fend off male fondling with knees, elbows and a very loud voice. Then and now, I am infuriated at the necessity.
As a Domme, I always have a lengthy conversation about limitations with my would be lovers before we play. Yes, I lied to the caller and every caller who is stupid enough to ask about my personal life, I do enjoy Vanilla sex. Not every sexual encounter needs to be about dominance. However, I have also learned that I need to be very straightforward and fast about what I will tolerate. Perhaps it is because of my taste in men but, it feels like I always have to make my boundaries very clear, suddenly and without warning, because my lover will decide that he wants to try something and not bother to discuss it with me first. My most memorable misunderstanding was years ago when a lover slapped my breasts, without warning. I discovered, later, that watching a woman's breasts bounce and redden after striking them was his thing. It turned him on. Surprising a woman with his actions was part of the turn on. Being kneed in the groin by a woman with fast reflexes and powerful legs, however, was not part of his fetish. Nor was being kicked in the sternum while being called vile names and having his clothes flung on top of his prone body. We calmed down enough to bitch at each other, quickly enough.
"What the hell is your problem? I told you I wasn't into that shit!" he said, meaning BDSM.
"What the hell made you think I would enjoy being hit without warning, you dumb motherfucker," my question.
"It's sexy! What the hell is your problem? Are you frigid?"
A moment of complete silence while I stare at this idiot, bemused at the depth of his arrogance and stupidity. I chuckle at myself. Lust does blind us all, at one time or another. A shake of my head. "You know what? We are done. Get the fuck out. You are not worth the effort."
That bothered him enough to act like a bucket of cold water. He calmed down enough to apologize for his actions and asked me what I meant. I calmed down and explained that slapping a woman's breasts without discussing one's taste in BDSM first was not appropriate. I was shocked to discover that he did not consider his actions to fall under the category of BDSM. He was shocked to discover that I did not find his actions 'sexy' and had no interest in just going along with it because it was what he wanted to do. He stated that no other lover had ever complained about his actions before. I didn't believe him then and told him so. I do believe him now.
As far as I can tell, women are programmed by our culture to nurture male ego constantly and at all levels from our girlhood onward. We would like to think that things have changed and they have, just not enough. Most men have no idea how much they are protected from criticism by this behavior because they can dismiss the few women who do offer criticism as bitches and go back to business as usual. In a way, my job as a PSO is to bolster male ego about their sexual performance and I do, most of the time. However, there are more than a few callers who have gotten my evaluation on their fantasy sexual performance in the harshest, most uncensored terms possible. Usually, I reserve my comment to a simple "No" and then explain if they ask. Others have gotten "Wow, way to kill the mood," in response to callers demanding that I 'COME! NOW!'. As if there is a button I can press to have an instant (and loud) orgasm. Or "Jesus, that is so not sexy," to a few descriptions of dumbass behavior that would get them hurt in a face to face encounter.
I find the knowledge that many women, myself included, tend to coddle our lovers in real life horribly sad. Why are we doing this? I can understand not wanting to offer an ongoing critique of his or hers performance during an intimate encounter but, why not mention the things we didn't like afterwards? I have no problem stopping someone from causing me pain or discomfort, it is the subtleties that cause me to stay silent. Yet, I know that I have hurt the men I have been with by simply letting them drop from my life when they have displeased me instead of talking to them. I just didn't consider them worth the effort to speak to. Experience has taught me that the conversation will end in an argument with insults thrown my way nine times out of ten. Still, shouldn't women warn each other? Why not talk freely about our ex-lovers among ourselves; the good and the bad?
And dammit, that university was right all along. Men should stop and ask their lovers if it is okay before they stick their fingers, tongues, cocks or opinions anywhere they might not be welcome.