Imagine A World Without Amatonormativity

{This was originally posted on tumblr here, and this crosspost has been backdated to the original posting date, 27 June 2019. Some of the hypothetical questions edge into “what if we had a history without amatonormativity” territory that may overlap with how some people imagine far into a post-amatonormative future rather than addressing present day concerns.}

Carnival of Aros – June 2019 – Imagine a world without amatonormativity from @kaikiky​ [Call for Submissions] [Roundup].

I first encountered discussions of amatonormativity in relation to polyamory and types of ethical non-monogamy, so I must admit that there’s a somewhat cautious part of me that does not view getting rid of society level amatonormativity as creating some sort of happy utopia. The basis of who should have priority would shift (similar to how some polyam people cling to the primary/secondary hierarchy), but that’s a rather glass half-empty approach to this prompt.

Not to sound like that radical horror story your conservative family members would have nightmares over, but having a thriving orbit of friends, peers, colleagues, partners, etc. that can support each other emotionally, physically, financially, and in other community level care taking ways will also take reimagining and/or dismantling some other society level shit:

– It’s certainly a step forward if you can visit any member of your polycule in the hospital instead of needing to be a spouse, but eventually we’ll have to address the health insurance / access to healthcare elephant in the room beyond claiming non-partners on your individual plan.

– Changing rental and zoning particulars so that more than two non-married adults can live in one house and more than one house can be built on a property would be beneficial, but eventually we’ll have to address the inability to afford housing, especially housing that meets your accessibility needs.

– It’ll be cool to have more than one legal spouse or civil partner and to let non-romantic partners access various benefits currently only afforded to legally recognized marriages, but eventually we’ll have to address the loss in government benefits that anyone reliant upon SSI faces if they marry.

– Generally speaking, it would help alloromantic and aro-spec people alike to build up a network of non-partner relationships so that romantic partners don’t bear the brunt of emotional support, but eventually we’ll have to admit that we can’t friendship our way out of crippling student loan debt, inability to access college, getting stuck in underpaid and overworked “part-time” jobs, and other not-so-fun aspects of our current economy.

– Not facing negative social consequences for a platonic life partner, multiple spouses, etc. would certainly be a benefit to many people, but to indulge some selfish pessimism, that’s not going to do much to help me when people still connect sex and gender in ways that make society hard to navigate. (Gender {woman, man} is different from sex {female, male} despite our system currently calling sex markers “legal gender”.)

This is not an exclusive or exhaustive list, btw. Just some examples of how waving a wand to get rid of amatonormativity will not fix everything about how I am not prioritized compared to a romantic partner. Most of my friends are struggling to hold themselves together mentally (mental health issues) and physically (chronic illnesses) while working and finishing school to work the jobs they actually want. Leveling the playing field with romantic partners in terms of time and attention given to me is virtually useless when they’re too tired and sick for online communication and can’t afford gas money or other travel expenses to meet in person.

But that’s still rather glass half-empty. So, actual things I could look forward to:

1. Terminology that would be considered mainstream and common knowledge (instead of terms primarily known by aro-spec people).

Would we still feel a need to define QPRs and QPPs? Would we have a word for ‘friends with benefits’ without calling it fwb? Would a mainstream religiously backed history of polygamy mean we have separate words for different spouses (numerically or by different roles)? Would a heteronormative and sexist alternate history prioritize men with wives over women with husbands and queer partners still had to fight for same-sex marriage? Would we have more words in English for different levels of familiarity, closeness, and longevity in friendships instead of acquaintance/friend/best friend?

2. Tweak to how relationships are talked about in subcultures that already face ‘respectability’ issues. This example will specifically focus on kink / BDSM, play partners, and D/s partners, but this sentiment can also be applied to other communities.

I can’t say this is universal online and offline, but in my “I don’t have access to an irl community” state so I’m stuck with whatever website communities I can find experience, a lot of people assume that kink = power dynamic that will be 1) romantic, 2) sexual, and 3) aspire to a 24/7 live-in arrangement because they tend to assume kink is being added to a vanilla dating/spouse relationship, which assumes cohabitation or that as a goal.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to find non-monogamous sexual relationships or poly dynamics now, but waving this magic wand at amatonormativity would mean the default, 101 level information wouldn’t take a cisheteronormative ‘my bf/gf wants to try [fill in the blank’ or ‘I want to try [fill in the blank] with my husband/wife’ point of view. Fantasies of being loaned out to individuals or shared with a group might give some people the impression that sexual compatibility is a higher priority, but the emphasis that D/s and kink are about relationship styles means that there’s loads of romantic assumptions once you get past the ‘how to use this instrument’ articles.

Tweaking out the amatonormativity wouldn’t get rid of sexually (and romantically) monogamous dynamics. You can still do the possessive talk and wanting to keep someone for yourself thing. However, it would mean that actually helpful advice – how to communicate with your play partner, how to negotiate activities in the play partnership you’re uncomfortable/comfortable with, consent, having safewords not just limited to sexual situations, etc – isn’t buried beneath the assumed dating and marriage aspects. <sarcasm>It’s like communication skills are useful for non-romantic relationships, too.</s>

tl;dr I can’t blame every instance of not being prioritized in my friendships and non-romantic partnerships on amatonormativity, so imagining a world without it requires addressing other reasons for insufficient interpersonal relationships. Glass half-full thoughts around such a world include aro-spec terms going mainstream and becoming common knowledge and tweaking how non-mainstream relationships are talked about.

Thoughts on Financial Control

[A part of my brain is aware that it sounds kinda crazy, but the idea of a Dominant telling me that I can’t buy something, especially if it’s because ‘I haven’t earned it’, does set off a lowkey terrified fight-or-flight response. I don’t know if it’s particularly strong because a lot of people responding to @sccwriting prompts are women submissives with dominant men, but I’m pretty sure that gut level, kneejerk reaction can be currently classified as a hard limit.

Unlike other switchy pieces, I didn’t try to approach it from a Dominant pov because it would have to be something a sub would have to initiate entirely on their own, no pressure from our dynamic. I can look at my sorta craziness and see that I have Issues to work out, and even in the hypothetical future, they just might have better luck with budgeting apps.]

No # post: Financial Control

#1 Is financial control a part of your relationship?

Not to be horrifically morbid on main, but I’d rather die. Did my family and our exact living situation not give me the best tools for all aspects of financial literacy? Yeah. Did I get an unhelpful finances unit in the ‘we’re funneling you off to college but not preparing you for life post-graduation’ class in my high school? We had one (1) person who wanted to become a lawyer and two (2) people who wanted to become doctors, so the teacher told all of us that we’d be so rich we wouldn’t need to worry about doing our own finances. Joke’s on you, Mrs. S, it turns out you don’t have to do taxes if you don’t earn enough. But really, I would rather google embarrassing questions and try to ungracefully figure out what the fuck I’m doing with my own finances than ever let someone else have financial control over me.

“What if your partner is better with money?” If I can’t phrase my question correctly enough to get an answer while googling, I’ll try asking them. “But –” My account, my money, my decisions. No one’s coming in and going all ‘skip the latte’, ‘do you really need to spend $__ on [something I don’t think you should buy]’, and deigning to give me an allowance if I’ve ‘earned’ it. “I sense Issues.” My father stole my mother’s identity and fucked up her finances for a while when I was young. My grandmother spent part of her life not being able to make certain financial decisions separately from a man as a cosigner, was taught that the specifics were the man’s domain especially once she was married, and after ~57 years of marriage, is struggling with figuring out her finances after my grandfather died in Sept 2018.

I have zero desire to experience poor shaming from a partner, especially if we have different backgrounds and approaches to finances [The Latte Factor, Poor Shaming, and Economic Compassion]. I may objectively understand that there’s a difference between negotiating finances as an area of control in a power dynamic and financial abuse, but I also know that vanilla partners can wander into questionable ‘is this financial controlling’ territory, finances are typically in the top five things couples argue about, and financial abuse is a common non-violent method of domestic abuse [When Money is the Weapon: Understanding Intimate Partner Financial Abuse].

While kinky people have to spend more time working on communication, there’s always renegotiation, and somewhere out there, there is a dynamic that has managed to negotiate financial control without any issues, I’m lowkey terrified by the idea. Someone deciding that I shouldn’t buy something inspires the same level of panic as someone deciding they can order for me at a restaurant. “N-e-g-o-t-i-a-t-io-n.” The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions.

#2 Is the topic of money ever a source of stress for you or your partner?

Honestly, it may not be the worst thing that I don’t have a partner right now because I clearly have Issues. Come back to me in like five years for a less neurotic answer. It’s entirely possible I’ll change, but I still feel like financial control isn’t something I’ll be interested in soon because it’s something I would definitely need to have an incredibly established dynamic to consider.

#3 Is it hard to maintain the D/s dynamic if the submissive partner is better with money?

In theory, it shouldn’t be. Offering up financial skills could be a means of assisting your Dominant.

Wolf Mode (secular explanation)

On some of my other blogs, I have a tag called #Wolf mode, and after running across a comment from someone wondering why Dominant leaning people tend to do the wolf thing, I thought I’d write a bit on how I’m approaching this.

I’ve tried to rephrase this opening to not sound Like That, but really, I can’t avoid the werewolf lit in my younger years. When I hadn’t realized I was trans yet, the physical strength of the women characters (on par with or stronger than the men) and capacity for the women to ‘outrank’ men was appealing. These weren’t women who were fragile damsels in distress who needed a strong man to rescue them, you know? Though problematic in some areas about how the roles were still gendered, the Alpha/subordinate dynamic did make some allowances for w/w and m/m ships, and the fledgling queer that I was, I needed some place to look for that.

Lunar transformation as metaphor for menstruation also provided a way to alter how I viewed my relationship to being a menstruator. These were often big women (not dainty) and often hairier than the smooth, practically prepubescent images of conventional media and porn. As someone trying to deal with social messages about what was appropriately ‘womanly’ (and hated shaving), I found a little relief in a character who didn’t have to get rid of their body hair. Add in lycanthropy as metaphor for HIV (most well known example is Remus Lupin), and I was pretty solidly in the werewolf camp. Being turned and experiencing a second puberty of sorts that seemed awfully similar in some ways to transitioning? Cherry on top.

(But wait, a reader may be thinking, you’ve also got vampire shit in #Wolf mode? That’s not being in the werewolf camp?) Despite what some franchises would like you think, you don’t have to split yourself solely among vampires or werewolves. Especially when you start browsing romance or erotica, they’re often shelved in close proximity to each other, in a manner of speaking. I view the animalistic, feral, and more Predator aligned aspects with both groups, but depending on what you’re trying to read, some stories focus on that more in the vampire category.

True, it depends on where you’re getting your romance and erotica stories from, but some writers can split kink distribution differently between the two categories. I attribute blood, knives, scratching, biting, leaving bruises, Marking, Claiming, and quite frankly a lot of sadism with either, but for example, a fair number of people default to vampires for biting and blood. (Maybe I’ve gotten a little jaded from a segment of fanfiction, but you don’t have to turn the character into a vampire in order to have blood play. Really.)

(So you’ve got a thing for sadism. How is this any different from other dominants connecting to their inner Predator in this way?) Keeping in mind that I’m not a wolf expert, I’d say pack dynamics and how they are commonly portrayed in werewolf and wolf-shifter stories. Ah yes, the Alpha route that takes inspiration from outdated wolf pack dynamics (notably, Alpha Men™ looking for their submissive mate, who is commonly a woman). Now, it does work for some people in terms of Dominant/submissive and top/bottom, or I imagine it wouldn’t still linger in storytelling and irl roleplay. There can be something satisfying about clearly defined hierarchies and group dynamics, but sometimes, the determination of who falls where leaves something to be desired. (At the person opening with “looking for bitches / females to breed”: Yikes.)

(Not everyone does Alpha/beta like that. You just have to look past the posturing.) My gateway was wolf related fiction (and research for fic), not preexisting D/s or top/bottom roleplay. Packs where humans don’t throw random wolves together in captivity are mostly family units, which means the alpha pair are typically the main breeding pair (mother and father, if you will). In the smaller, one family packs with only one breeding pair, the ‘betas’ and ‘omegas’ are different generations of siblings. Alpha starts to seem like a moot descriptor, since “calling a wolf an alpha is usually no more appropriate than referring to a human parent or a doe deer as an alpha. Any parent is dominant to its young offspring, so alpha adds no information” (source). And honestly, after exposure to A/B/O aka Omegaverse in fanfic, bringing out ‘beta’ and ‘omega’ doesn’t have a wolf / pack dynamic aspect to me.

(I think you might be overcomplicating this. I just want to be a Dom referred to as an Alpha, and I want to call my sub a beta.) You do you. When someone starts bringing in wolf stuff, I have to cycle through what they don’t mean: Wolf/human, Tamer/wolf, Alpha/Alpha (top/bottom/switch factoring, but not necessarily involving D/s), and wolf/wolf (related to puppy play, more or less, with both participants being pack members). One person’s pack is a D/s couple, but another person’s pack can be an Alpha/Alpha pair with each Alpha having at least a sub, cub, pup, etc. Den Mother/Father may not be involved if Cg/l isn’t combined with puppy play, it’s entirely possible to have non-sexual puppy play, the submissives don’t have to be “shared” by the Alphas, etc.

And that’s why the ‘you’re just another ~Alpha Wolf~ dom’ thing feels like we’re on different pages. I’m not necessarily an Alpha looking for a beta, and inhabiting Wolf mode doesn’t always mean I’m a Dominant looking for a submissive. Sometimes I need to let my inner sadist and Predator out to play, but other times I have a strong caretaking urge to be Den Leader taking care of a cub.

Menstruation Does Not Equal Feminine

[At least half of my response is critiquing part of the caption, which has been edited in order to not sound angry, passive-aggressive, or salty. Like, I don’t particularly care if no one reads my personal responses to the questions, but please take away that menstruation =/= feminine. You can just call someone a menstruator, which doesn’t presume anything about their gender.]

No # post: Menstruation & Hormones

Source. Captioned: These questions were suggested by bugsdaffy4401duck. We sincerely hope that our male followers will forgive us for delving into a uniquely feminine area.

Part of the caption: “We sincerely hope that our male followers will forgive us for delving into a uniquely feminine area” (emphasis mine).

One hand: Yes, working on breaking down US culture around the taboo of talking about menstruation is important. Depending on where you live and your access to sex ed without Christian overtones (that often tie into purity culture), there are adults who need accurate information about what their bodies are doing and how to effectively manage their menstruation experience (ex. the difference between ‘everything is normal’ and ‘something is wrong’ period pain). Cis women do need places where they can talk about this sort of stuff, and I’m not trying to silence anyone.

Other hand: There are trans men and transmasculine people who also menstruate. [Example #1, #2, #3, and not every trans man experiences dysphoria around menstruation (#4).] Objectively, you can repeat to yourself that menstruation is not an inherently feminine act, but you also can’t wave a magic wand and make a lifetime of socialization disappear (menarche is a sign that “you’re a woman now”, menstrual products are marketed and shelved as “feminine products”, menstrual product dispensers and those little bins in the stalls are in women’s restrooms, the way some women frame insertable products (tampons, cups) as better than pads even though transmasculine people may find pads better for their dysphoria, etc.).

Third hand: I’ve only ever come across anecdotal stories, but some trans women who are on HRT may experience cramping and other PMS symptoms on a cyclical basis. This isn’t to say that their experiences with period pain/discomfort are exactly the same as a cis woman’s, but there are women who do not menstruate [Yes, Trans Women Can Get Period Symptoms]. “There is no singular universal definition of womanhood. We cannot be reduced to vaginas alone, nor periods, nor motherhood” [I’ve Never Had a Period But I’m Still a Woman].

Fourth hand: There’s not really a singular, all encompassing way that a nonbinary person relates to menstruation because it will depend on their particular dysphoria and any specific labels. [What Trans & Non-Binary Menstruators Should Know About Periods; that writer’s perspective.] Personally, it is not a newsflash to me that my body is doing something in line with the average cis woman’s body because I was assigned female at birth and haven’t taken medical steps to alter my body, but I don’t feel comfortable with describing this bodily function as feminine. I try to avoid female = feminine because people can wind up going female (sex) = woman (gender) = feminine; even though they may mean well, “females” becomes a substitute for “women” instead of meaning those AFAB. I am a menstruator, a person who menstruates.


Menstruation and the hormonal fluctuations that tag along are something about my body that I cannot control. I can’t submit to someone when I’m dealing with PMS and menstruation; I need to exert control over something and that is more likely to come out as Dominance instead of submission. If I were in an established dynamic with a Dominant who didn’t have any switch tendencies and didn’t want to offer submission, even in a slight way (no scenes or play, but perhaps a change in titles, f’ex), I’d honestly need a break from the dynamic.

Some people write like they hate the idea of taking a break from a dynamic and having days where someone says, ‘I’m not feeling it today’, but I’m not incorporating managing menstruation into a dynamic where I’m a sub. You can be the most loving, caring, understanding, well meaning Dominant, and you can come up with The Best Self Care Plan, but I can’t ‘give’ you my body at a time like that. I can’t be your property, you can’t own my body, you can’t talk about my body possessively, and there’s no marking, claiming, MINE stuff. Doesn’t matter if you’re a menstruator or a non-menstruator; I need to manage my own self care because this is my body.

There are people who will think this is a bit absolute and very unsubmissive. I might find that I can have a dynamic where I just need to have a different level of protocol, rules, and technically not take a break with a *particular* Dominant. Personally, I would rather set large boundaries on this in the beginning and discover where I’m comfortable adjusting them later after my partner experiences a few cycles. Just sharing that it’s happening can be nerve-wracking enough because I’ve grown up trying to hide that I menstruate to avoid ‘time of the month’ teasing (of course you cried at that picture of a cute puppy, a variety of cat noises or bitch comments if I snap or get short with someone, it’s no wonder you’re eating like that, etc.).

Period Pain

I’ve never done pain play while menstruating, but I know from my past experiences with activity that would be considered self-injurious that it would be safer for me not to mix these activities. I’m not equating pain play and self-injury, but sometimes, the lines can get blurry, especially all the mental stuff going on inside the bottom’s head. I can see myself wanting to be hurt in some way so I can escape what else is going on with my body (as opposed to using pain to ground). Punishing my body in the short-term might feel alright (neurotransmitters, adrenaline, and stuff), but long-term I can’t build up that habit without firmly entrenching the connection between ‘body is menstruating’ and ‘body needs punished’.

Emotional Fluctuations

Not to be too glib, but everyone is always hormonal. In theory, those AMAB experience a daily cycle of fluctuating testosterone and those AFAB experience a monthly cycle of estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone (AMAB people also have estrogen, and there are activities that can cause hormonal fluctuations outside of these rough cycles, but this isn’t a full breakdown of endocrinology). Have I ever gotten into an argument solely due to monthly hormonal fluctuations? No, but I’ve certainly found myself with a shorter rope that makes it harder to ignore other stressors I may experience (for the cis: misgendering is a stressor), which tends to get eaten up by pretending to everyone outside my living space that nothing is amiss. Inside the living space, there’s a lot of biting my tongue because I actually don’t want to come across like That Bitch who bites everyone’s heads off. (Will this reduce when I can shift around the closets I’m in and reduce overall misgendering and dysphoria? Possibly.)

Genderfluidity & Switching

[Cross-post (here). Passive-aggressively subtitled in my mind – why saying ‘gender doesn’t matter’ when looking for a play partner and putting down switches can be irritating to me. Sometimes switching and scene work is an element of gender expression, even if I don’t want to drastically change my public presentation for everyone else in the world to see.

I am aware that ‘gender doesn’t matter’ is how some people personally self-define being bi and/or pan, depending on if they personally overlap between the two, and this is not going after that. It’s more directed at posts where that doesn’t appear to be the context and gender is assumed to fall in line with Dominant men / submissive women even while saying that gender identity and sexual orientation don’t matter in dynamics.

Also: There’s an overlap between switching in the sense of being able to fill either a top or a bottom role and switching in the sense of being able to be either a Dominant or a submissive. Some call a top/bottom switch versatile, but AFAIK that’s more of a gay/mlm label that’s borrowed and vanilla. Personally, the liminality of both switch meanings works with being nb, genderqueer, and genderfluid.]

Genderfluidity & Switching

This isn’t really intended to talk about nonbinary, genderqueer, genderfluid, and other potentially trans identities that are not binary in a 101, explaining to cisgender people manner. Be not afraid to Google, and remember this is merely from my perspective (this is not what every nb, genderqueer, and/or genderfluid person will experience). I have a separate post that goes into more of how I claim nb and genderqueer despite being able to potentially describe some internal perceptions of gender with other words, but not all of those descriptions are relevant to how I relate to top/bottom/switch, so I won’t be covering everything.

Masculine woman / female, which I also relate to Butch

I first ran into stone being attached to butch while growing up and feel comfortable with the combination of stone butch, but “What is Stone?” explains how stone isn’t exclusively tied to gender and can be used by femme and other non-butch people. I most strongly relate to stone as having “limits on touch/penetration/nakedness”, “being a sexual top”, and “pleasure is centered on another”.

Not on the gender binary, the Other

Dark Mori, flowing peasant skirts, make-up, voice pitched low, layers hiding my body until I turn into a Mystery. (“What is it?” An Eldritch Horror. “What are you?” Mostly void, partially stars. “I’m confused…?” Good.) Waistcoats, long hair, voice pitched high, color coordinating dagger like claws with suits as a polite Monster. Freak, genderfucker, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

Something in the direction of more masc / femme

Sometimes but not always, certain types of play or dynamics sift up masculinity or femininity. It may not be enough for me to want to use different pronouns, address / titles, or change my presentation, but the thing about scenes with a finite time period is that I can play around with this for a bit. F’ex, I could be a Daddy, Mommy, little girl, little boy, and not have to give up neutral address (Caregiver or little). Sometimes but not always, my partner’s gender will sift up feeling more in one direction or another. It’s not always easy to explain, but they can draw out certain pieces of myself (I’ve only noticed same-gender instances so far in my life).

A neutrality or a sense of not being able to specify

“Hello…Sir?” Meh. “Ma’am?” /gestures to body/ I don’t know, I just work here. “Person?” Tired Monster who doesn’t have the time or energy to terrify and mystify, who is just barely human. Partner, datemate, if gender is a social construct I would like to cancel my Gender Bill today. Connecting with not-quite-human perspectives is easier, so pet play, animal play, and non-sexual objectification is easier. It’s not an automatic that I would have to be a submissive in one of these scenes, depending on specifics and potentially how many people are in the scene, but from what I’ve seen so far, it’s far more likely. This neutral or unspecification area is also where clinical, task oriented, non-sexual Human/tool is also easier (something has been designated Work, and I am helping to accomplish that; the clearest example I can think of is a job where hierarchy fits in where I may simultaneously have a Boss and I supervise employees under me).


While it’s easier to call up dominance while butch, sometimes the service top qualities get a bit blurred into submission. While I certainly feel like I’m more attracted to feminine people when butch, I can’t say that I would only ever consider consider femdom from the service top / switchy sub angle. When it comes to the Monster portion, it’s a bit hard to tell (alternating top/bottom in terms of scene). I want to hurt, I want to control the sensation play, I want to consume my bottom’s pain; I want to take the pain (you can’t kill a monster that easily), I have to let someone facilitate certain play, I want someone to See my pain (you can’t ignore monsters). When it comes to leaning one way or the other, I haven’t noticed a clear preference for one side of the slash over the other, but it does lead to some disconnect in certain online spaces where cishet experiences are more prominent (wax poetic about a Daddy Dom all you want, but I’m not going to be his little girl; you just might get the attention of a little boy, though). I went into the D/s under the neutral section a bit more than others. It’s possible to be ‘in charge’ of another submissive when dealing with some of the objectification and animal related areas (two animals can play together, f’ex), but typically, I’ve primarily heard of those who are Human in the scenario being the Dominant. It may not overlap with a slice of gender, but I also do have times where I want to facilitate that kind of play for a submissive and remain the Human in the scene.

Cool Story, Why Share?

There’s a reason why I tend to go with broader labels to describe my understanding of my gender to other people (nonbinary + genderqueer, some genderfluidity involved, they/their pronouns). Quite frankly, if I were to try to divulge all the little details and how they might potentially relate to being drawn more to top/bottom or Dominant/submissive for a particular kink and/or scene, it might just turn into a clusterfuck not even I would understand. I currently call myself switchy because I’m not sure I can definitely, 100% come down on one side of the slash over another in all scenarios. I can see myself flexing certain tendencies in a dynamic with someone where we work together without my switchiness, but I wrote “Gender Play” precisely because I’m not always the same me and/or certain scenes could bring out different aspects of myself to play in a manner of speaking.

Sometimes I like being the butch in the archetypal butch/femme pairing, and I may or may not want temporary he/him or masculine address. Sometimes the idea of being the Monster to someone’s Monsterfucker is intriguing, and I want to try on a different pronoun set to more clearly delineate the finite acting / roleplay quality. Sometimes I still find myself drawn to being a Caregiver, but I can’t always settle on just being a Mommy or Daddy, like overextending a muscle in a certain direction. This isn’t to say someone has to be a certain gender to engage in certain kinks or roleplay, but when I try to imagine different scenes depending on how the gender flows, some kinks have a quality of being flavored differently by my shifting gender. F’ex, I don’t mind the idea of being someone’s nb little, and I’m sometimes a bit surprised I can tolerate the idea of being someone’s little boy, but I don’t have an interest in being a little girl.

I’m aware that one play partner more than likely will not be compatible with the entirety of my interests and fluidity, and it will more than likely be easier to indulge in certain play with a separate partner. It’s not like everyone is some degree of switchy and feels comfortable taking on temporary top/bottom roles to indulge a partner, and there are the usual incompatibilities in kinks to keep in mind. However, I don’t particularly want a long-term partner to skip over part of me simply because it’s easier for them. For example, I may never do a Human/tool or non-sexual objectification scene with this person, but we’re going to be on different wavelengths if they can’t accept neutral expression of they/their pronouns.

Thoughts on Humanization

[Cross-post (Humanization) written in response to “Objectification”, which touched on how dehumanizing already takes place in certain ways for me. Because of that, there are times when I need to be Humanized instead of objectified. I’m certainly not the first person to realize or write about this, but given that I have another post that touches on Monstering gender, I thought it’d be helpful to balance out that image.]

As a nonbinary trans person, who includes genderqueer among longer descriptions with more specific labels, I’m not unfamiliar with how some people like to Monster their gender and reclaim monstrosity (on other online places, I’ve definitely fallen into this category myself). Sometimes it is about how a person wants to present and interact with others, but other times it’s a humorous way to blow off steam in an online community, such as the cryptid stuff in the past year or so.

Ex. More Americans claim to have seen a ghost than have met a transgender person – The statistic comes from comparing a 2009 Pew Research Center survey on supernatural experiences, which found that 18 percent of Americans claim to have seen a ghost, and a 2015 GLAAD study on transgender visibility that found only 16 percent of Americans say they know someone who identifies as trans.

However, this isn’t a B-side horror/sci-fi movie, and I am not a literal monster, alien, mutant, cryptid, werewolf, etc. I have a human meatsuit, and I have to try to navigate this human body through a society that doesn’t particularly like, accommodate, or acknowledge that I exist at times. I touched on dehumanization and objectification in “Objectification” and how sexual objectification isn’t an absolute hard limit but is something I’m wary of (non-sexual varieties have less personal hang-ups). I mentioned Humanizing aftercare when I touched on possibly having issues with being able to do long-term objectification of a submissive (there’s a learning curve for everything), but I didn’t really get into what that might look like.

I’m not really trying to create a new term for others to use, but I can’t rule out that it may be effective for me to be able to point to this when trying to explain something else. For most people, it’s probably just part of aftercare, and that’s okay. Because my post on objectification included scenes (finite time limits) as being a way to work around some of my discomfort with long-term objectification, musings below may not be applicable for dynamic level scenarios.

As a submissive, the basic frame is for my partner to see and hear me with non-sexual touch (my humanity doesn’t lie in whether I’m fuckable at the moment). Some of the specifics vary on whether I ran into non-consensual external objectification (aftercare from life, in a manner of speaking ) or I need to readjust after a scene, so these aren’t blanket statements that will always apply.

— Re:Fat. A hug will probably feel appropriate because my partner has to wrap zir arms around me. Remove blame from my body – “My body is doing its best.” Connect to humanity in the terms of ancestors, lineage, species – “Your body has been finely tailored to survive a famine. Evolution doesn’t care about bikini season.” Example situation: An exercise routine has been added with Dominant providing accountability (mindset and approach are more positive because I’m bringing a sub perspective), but a stranger says something fatphobic, “I am not exercising for their approval.” “Why are you choosing to exercise?” “I want to increase my flexibility / endurance / whatever.” The emphasis on choice and restating the desired goal separates what is being done from a compulsion in this example.

— Re:Queer. Example situation: A date with some sort of discrete sex toy goes sideways after disgust or disapproval after a public display of affection. Use my name while checking in to see if I’m alright. There’s an over 90% chance I’ll want to continue the date out of spite, but the sex toy may no longer be alright / comfortable. Depending on the location and the region, continuing PDA or offering reassuring touch may need to wait until we’re in private. Depending on the specifics of the situation and what exactly we agreed to do on the date, I may or may not want to continue with discrete titles, deference, or asking permission to do something.

— Re:Trans. Because part of being misread and misgendered has to do with pronouns, this is an area where I can see reading a third person structured statement in order to use indicated pronouns, in addition to I/you dialogue. You know, no titles, use indicated name, reassuring touch of some sort that grounds into the body without kicking up dysphoria. Depending on which closets a trans person is out of and how often they experience misgendering, I can see statements being made up ahead of time, so the partner doesn’t have to solely ad lib on the spot.

As a Dominant, I’m not entirely sure I can give such concrete examples as above because it will depend on my submissive, what influences their approach to objectification, and what they find humanizing or appropriate aftercare. Working with the submissive frame of being seen and heard, I’d say the basic frame on the other side of the slash would be to listen, to see, and to be present and acknowledge my sub in the moment. In the event of me struggling with dynamic level objectification or the specific phrasing for a scene, I’d ask for a little patience and a warm-up (leading questions from the sub and enough practice to not feel like I’m stumbling).

Thoughts on Objectification

[A cross-post (Switchy SCC Writing: Objectification). I can’t really predict if there’s going to be interaction with that post on tumblr or what kind, but this provides the context for what I wrote about Humanization, so I figured it’d just wind up being less confusing to share here.]

I must admit that I gave up on scrolling through the entirety of the uncaptioned images with prompts for @sccwriting’s prompt history, so I’m not sure if there’s a prompt number for this or not.

Sexual objectification or objectification kink can be defined as the act of treating a person as an instrument of sexual pleasure, and/or broadly implies treating a person as a commodity or an object. The inclusion of negotiation and consent makes it different from the common vanilla definition of the above often without regard to others personal dignity or emotional experiences. In my experience, most people don’t outright talk about objectification, but they do talk about different types of play that fall under this broad category.

Most often the focus is on the use or attributes which defines the object.  Common types include:

 Role: bimbo/himbo, personal slut, sex slave

 Toys & Parts: fuck doll, live dildo, T&A, etc

 Degradation: party favor, house slut, performer/entertainment

The most often expressed benefits include a clear sense of role & purpose (utilitarian); the feeling of being removed of guilt or shame; and a lighter conscious knowing that matters of safety and care are left to the one in control. Sexual objectification is often no different in other forms of objectification in that the submissive or bottom will often experience being “turned on by turning off” – shutting off the brain, silencing the chatter, and allowing themselves to go into a state of dissociation (sub-space) and just “enjoy the ride”. – Sexual Objectification Part I

Types of play include, but are not limited to: sex slave, human sex doll, removal of birth name (refer to self in third person; “This slave is Master’s property”), hood play, caging (placing in a literal cage, may not be part of animal play), pet play (common ex: pony, puppy, kitten), and human furniture (source, Furniture of the Flesh: Objectification Kink). Some people separate pet / animal play from objectification out of a sense that these types of play are more about animalization than sexual objectification (as someone with an interest in non-sexual pet play, I tend to separate most animal play from objectification), and some people also find overlapping areas of humiliation play or involve other kinks with the human furniture.

On a theoretical, cerebral level, I can understand objectification kink. Hell, depending on who you’re talking to, Master/slave and animal play count, so I’ve perhaps unintentionally participated. I can’t say I’ve never thought about it (there’s some overlap in bondage and human furniture), but the stumbling block for me is sexual objectification. I’ve most commonly experienced this on my tumblr dash with people talking about sex slaves, human sex dolls, and humiliating talk (whore, slut, cunt, etc.) that intrinsically link objectification with sex. Yes, you do you, and all that about personal dynamics, but I can’t ignore that this is how I’ve typically run into it and I have fluctuating feelings of being uncomfortable.

Broadly speaking, I already have issues with cultural and social level messages about objectification and dehumanization. Regardless of how people talk about being / having fat and critique obesity / BMI categories, my body has enough “extra” fat that I can’t ignore being reduced to a fat body (headless images accompanying ‘obesity epidemic’ news reports, ‘you should tolerate ___ because you’re lucky someone’s interested in you’, jokes about fat people crushing their sexual partners, ‘you should wait to do ____ until you lose ___ pounds’, etc.).

As a queer person, I have a tangled relationship to sexual objectification. Growing up, the first places I found same-sex sexual activity was in porn and the main source of same-sex attraction was fanfiction (whether we’re talking about fluff or lemons). I initially identified as a lesbian, but there was this insidious problem with existing as a queer person and even non-sexual activity being a sexual show for men (not to mention the ones who have this idea that they can cure wlw if they’ll just have sex with them). True, a fair number of us queer people need places and spaces to reclaim our sexuality and sexual expression, but I can’t ignore how heterosexual people, particularly the conservative Christian types, reduce me to solely being Evil, Sinful Sex.

Also of note: In the past, I’ve blogged about how I came to find being able to point towards a label – ace spectrum – to be helpful even though I’m not asexual per se because it’s a way to communicate that I, as individual, am not broken and sex with the ‘right’ person will not fix me. This isn’t an invitation to open up debate to whether ace spectrum truly exists or is part of the LGBTQIA+ community, btw. It’s just a little surprising and mystifying how trying to explain that my fluctuating and sporadic experience with sexual attraction, low libido, and fluctuating interest in sex draws out the “ALL humans are sexual” crowd. I didn’t suddenly turn into a Conquest for someone to proudly get me to have sex that would change me – not having the straightforward ‘spark’ of sexual attraction that allosexuals experience when meeting doesn’t mean I won’t or can’t have sex with someone. It also doesn’t mean I’m childish or not fully human (robotic).

Despite my internal sense of gender changing over my life, I can’t outrun my biological sex and how people objectify bodies AFAB or read as femme / women. I can experience that type of humiliating talk and being reduced to a sex doll by overhearing the wrong conversation between men, and at this point in my life, it doesn’t seem to be something I can reclaim agency or power over by experiencing in a controlled environment like a scene. I feel small, depending on the specifics I may even feel misgendered, and I wind up getting angry rather than getting turned on. As a trans person, I’m a bit wary of the dehumanization of objectification. Cis people often have a curiosity about trans bodies (especially genitalia), might only know about trans bodies via porn or sex work, and in the US at least, have levels of transphobia that make it hard for fantasy about objectification – f’ex, The Discrimination Administration and a desire to legally erase trans people.

My existence isn’t a theoretical game or a political debate, and being someone’s sexual experiment doesn’t necessarily mean they actually respect me as a person. While I think I’ve heard of one trans person who accepted ‘it’ as a pronoun (part of it had to do with being a native speaker of a language with more contextually happening than what English speakers use ‘it’ for), it’s not something I’ve ever run into in person. However, I have run into a person who thinks ‘it’ is what they should use for all trans people, and let me tell you, in a moment like that, I need as much humanization as possible. (The hypothetical it/itself person is generally not talked about precisely because they’re often hypothetical; almost all English trans 101 resources caution against ‘it’ as a pronoun because of its use to dehumanize trans people.)

Realistically, I can understand why someone might be interested in objectification, but I would have to really talk about it with a potential play partner and make sure we’re both starting (and remain) on the same page that we are both human. It’s possible that most of my concerns could be worked around with a lot of trust, situational awareness (not doing this play too close to external objectification instances), only trying non-sexual objectification, and restricting this to a scene with a finite time limit. I might be willing to try it once with a very trusted nb or femme Dominant, but I’m honestly not sure if I can make any commitments towards this type of play with a man right now (higher trust bar). I can see myself being more willing to accommodate a submissive interested in this, but regardless of which side of the D/s it would be, I can’t see myself extending this outside of a scene very well initially. It is possible that a submissive would have their own reasons for not wanting objectification outside of a scene, but personally, I can’t rule out that I – even as a D – would need Humanizing aftercare.

Dark Moon Rising (Review)

Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM & The Ordeal Path by Raven Kaldera (2006) [$5 pdf / ~$20 Amazon with New – Used variation]

Blurb: Throughout history, from the Hindu Kavadi ceremony to the Lakota Sun Dance, the Ordeal Path has been an honored spiritual road to the magic of the flesh, and to touching the Gods. Today many Pagans are discovering this path, by accident or by design. Simultaneously, many practitioners of secular BDSM are finding themselves having spiritual experiences in the middle of their most secular scenes. This book explores the crossover points between both these communities and practices, a cross-section which is growing steadily, baring controversial articles on topics as diverse as sacred pain, bondage, hook suspension, cathartic Pagan ritual, the spirituality of dominance and submission, and being the slave of the Gods. With contributions by noted authors and activists in both communities, and stunning photography by artist and Shibari-Do master Bridgett Harrington, Dark Moon Rising is an awe-inspiring gateway into the Realm of the Underworld…and back again.

I downloaded the $5 pdf sometime between 2012 and 2015. It survived my factory reset back in autumn of 2016, so I know I’ve had this book long enough I should’ve done a review earlier. If you use the link attached to the title above, you’ll be able to see a preview that includes the full table of contents, but I want to pull out just enough to get an idea for the organization of the book. I’ve also linked to online places where some of these articles, rites, prayers, etc. have been shared [more Articles and Rituals since I’m not listing the full table of contents].

Part I: Introduction and Definitions

The Ordeal Path: Introduction to Neo-Pagan BDSM [here]

Words Of Power: BDSM Definitions For Pagans [here]

Part II: Sacred Pain

Sacred Pain: S/M as Spiritual Connection

The Many Paths of Earthly Bondage: Bondage as a Tool Towards Spiritual Release by Bridgett Harrington

Sacred Toys, Holy Tools [here]

The Invisible Toybox: Incorporating Energy Work Into BDSM [here]

Part III: Journey to the Underworld

Journey to the Underworld: Ritual Catharsis

Staging Sacredness: The Practical Considerations of BDSM Ritual [here]

Master of the Underworld: Sex Magick from the Top Perspective [here]

The Way Of The Ordeal Master

Shadow Play and Monster Work [here]

Chaining Fenris: A Ritual for the Inner Beast [here]

Part IV: The Path of Service and Mastery

The Path of Service and Mastery: Spiritual Dominance and Submission [here]

Sacred Masks: BDSM Archetypes [here]

Dedication to Sacred Service [here]

Dedication to Sacred Mastery [here]

Oath of Service [here]

Part V: Guardians of the Castle

Guardians of the Gate: Patron Deities

Part VI: This LeatherPagan Tribe

Conclusion: The LeatherPagan Tribe

That Fenrir ritual was the inspiration for my Gleipnir’s Ingredients posts, in case anyone thought that sounded familiar. After some time in online BDSM spaces, I must admit that some of the introductory parts were already incorporated into my knowledge base, but I found the variety of ideas and perspectives at least interesting if not directly applicable to some component of my life and path. (Previously a godslave dynamic with Sigyn, but recently, I’ve been rethinking how this can factor into playing with humans.)

Kaldera does have definite Norse influences, but there’s inter-pantheon references throughout, rituals in Part III, and articles for other Deities in Part V that can provide inspiration even if those Deities aren’t your People (ex. Aphrodite, Baphomet, Babalon, Herne, Ianna, Lilith). The only personal drawback I found to the dedications in Part IV came from my limited inter-pantheon clearance, but that’ll be a personalized issue. As someone who’s already been interested in kink and Paganism separately, and as someone who’s returned to this book repeatedly throughout the years to brush up on ideas, I’d give this my highest mark (based on the O.W.L. system).

Final Decision: O – Outstanding

Thoughts on Gender Play

[Another one of the technically a cross-post ones (Switchy SCC Writing: Gender Play). While parts of this do come across as rather trans 101, this is more my thoughts and perspective on how gender play can be trans-inclusive rather than just focused on cis men and feminization in introductory examples. In the event that I have a potential play partner in the works, it will also be helpful to point to something like this when trying to explain dysphoria related limits and such.]


I am not an educational or authoritative source, and I am not speaking on behalf of the entirety of the trans, nonbinary, genderqueer, etc. communities. It is very possible that a trans person can be found who will disagree with something or not find it applicable. For the sake of consistency, I will use nonbinary (nb) and ze/zir pronouns when discussing an example featuring someone who is nonbinary, genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, multigender, or otherwise may not self-identify with a binary trans identity (the commonly thought of trans women and trans men).

Stealth and “passing” (successfully being read as their gender) are tied into safety, especially for trans women (particularly TWOC), and medically transitioning can be a mix of personally complicated (an individual may not want any of the numerous surgeries but wants hormone replacement therapy, HRT) and inaccessible (insurance may not cover a desired surgery, and it’s expensive out-of-pocket). I admit that this may not be helpful for those who have to prioritize stealth and don’t want to be misread in the scene.

I am closeted in varying degrees (Closets are not one and done) for safety, have not undertaken any medical steps to change my body, and already have to deal with outing myself to potential partners, so that will all play into my thoughts shared here. {This is not revolutionary or new in the sense that genderfuckery has been taking place within kink and BDSM communities for years, but as someone whose experience with some genderfluidity relates to being open to gender play, I wanted to be able to collect my thoughts into one piece.}

What is gender play?

Some definitions assume a cisgender person is playing and rely on the gender binary to explain gender play as “an individual is encouraged or forced to take on the role of the opposite gender” (Kinkly) with an emphasis on sissification and forced feminization examples. More broadly speaking, it’s “roleplaying a gender other than your own” or “playing about with gender roles” ( A binary trans person might want a scene where they try gender neutral address, or an nb trans person might want a scene where ze plays at being a woman, but neither of them are dealing with a man-to-woman or woman-to-man ‘opposite’ scenario. This might seem nitpicky to some people, but the point of sharing a broad definition is to also show that there is room for playing with your gender instead of playing as something else.

Gender Play as Gender Affirmation

Pronouns. Whether it has to do with not medically transitioning, having a body type that doesn’t meet cis beauty standards, or being unable or unwilling to constantly perform masculinity / femininity to be read correctly, it’s not uncommon for trans people to be misgendered via pronouns. In a customer service scenario or brief interactions with strangers, an individual trans person might pick their battles and decide to not correct a person they’re unlikely to meet again, which can make it more significant for people they regularly interact with to use the pronouns they indicate. How is this different from being a decent person using indicated pronouns? I’d suggest the negotiated control and possibility of punishment that can’t be found outside of a dynamic. Ex. “In the apartment, I have a zero-strike rule, and I will pick one of our agreed upon punishment options if you use a pronoun set other than ____ when referring to me.”

Means of address. I debated combining this with pronouns, but it’s possible someone may want to purposefully use a title that doesn’t ‘traditionally’ match their pronouns. Whether it has to do with more exposure to Daddy Dominants or her own reasons, a trans woman may want a scene where she’s called Daddy despite wanting Mommy, Caregiver, or another title outside of that scene. A nb person may like the familiarity of “Yes, Sir” or “No, Ma’am” even if ze doesn’t want to be called Master or Mistress. I think it’s more popular outside of the US, but there are nb people who prefer Mx as an alternative to Mr/Mrs/Ms, so ze could want that as zir title instead. This area can vary depending on playing with D/s, primarily being interested in scenes with a finite beginning and end (temporary title usage), wanting to counteract dysphoria around their body / nudity during some types of play, having a specific role in mind (“naughty school girl”), or expanding roleplay outside of the play room(s).

Gender Essentialism. I am *not* saying everyone should go around doing the whole “xyz is for boys, abc is for girls” schtick because gender essentialism hurts binary and nb trans people (just one example post of many because this is a topic that lots of people have covered over time). However, in the words of a genderfluid blogger, “We may opt out of binary identification, but we don’t get to just opt out of society. And not everyone is dedicating their very existence to tearing it down.” Clothing isn’t inherently gendered (an intro comic to gender play re:feminization touches on this), but it’s still possible for a transfeminine person to want to wear lingerie to feel more in touch with her/zir femininity. A transmasculine person may not have been able to play with ‘boy’ toys during his/zir childhood, so even if he/ze knows that girls can play with a certain toy, he/ze may choose to play with it during a little scene. It may not seem “progressive” when talking about trans people and gender play, but it’s possible that a scene is where they feel safe enough to take part in something associated with their gender that they may not have experienced while growing up or yet in life because of their sex/gender assigned at birth.

Dysphoria. Not every trans person experiences gender dysphoria because some find that gender euphoria is more prominent, but I can’t avoid the elephant in the room if I’m trying to broadly touch on trans people when it comes to gender play. There are different types of dysphoria, and not everyone experiences every type, regardless of being binary or nonbinary. While a trans person’s play partner isn’t expected to be a mindreader, there should definitely be a way to negotiate around accommodating their dysphoria, especially if it fluctuates (due to their body’s hormones, menstruation, HRT, misgendering, transphobic news stories, etc.).

Social. Dysphoria that crops up in social situations like pronoun usage, names, being misread and misgendered, public restroom access. When I try to think of examples, I wind up with ones like a cashier using sir/ma’am where a relationship or dynamic actually won’t have a ton of influence because it has to do with other people and their assumptions around gender and gendering clothing, body parts, and sex characteristics. I suppose being mindful of language and providing the desired safe space to alleviate the distress might help. What could mindful language look like? Ex: Vagina =/= Woman. Remember pussy hats and pussy power (a la Women’s March on Washington)? Empowering to some, but not all women have vaginas, and some people have vaginas who are not women. Feminine hygiene? Menstrual hygiene because there are men and nonbinary people who menstruate.

(A reader may be thinking, 1) this seems awfully political, 2) this is not very sexy or kinky, &/or 3) why does this matter when it comes to playing and/or sex? It could very well be possible to negotiate casual scenes or casual sex without touching on this, but if someone wants a long-term play partnership or a dynamic outside of a scene, some of these social dysphoria examples might factor into negotiation and get into whether a person still considers the trans person to ‘actually’ be cis. Working on correcting one’s inner monologue may extend beyond however long the relationship with the trans person lasts, but f’ex, if someone talks and acts like menstruation = feminine, a non-feminine menstruator may not want to deal with misgendering.)

Primary Sex Characteristics. Some may have ambiguous external genitalia at birth, have a hormonal or chromosomal disorder that’s discovered at puberty, and/or be intersex, but for most people, these are part of the body they’re born with and puberty doesn’t drastically change them (genitals and reproductive system). There isn’t a universal experience in regards to how trans people feel about their body or primary sex characteristics. Some view their genitals as being as non-gendered as their hands, nose, elbows, etc.; others are more concerned with other body parts. The cisgender preoccupation (dare I say, obsession) with trans people’s genitals can be dehumanizing and objectifying, so please be aware that a cold open inquiring into genitalia is Rude, like you may not be playing with them even with non-sexual kink levels of rude. However, sexual activity and kink can overlap, so be polite. (Primed: The Back Pocket Guide for Trans Men and the Men Who Dig Them, Brazen: Trans Women’s Safer Sex Guide (2.0 via Wayback), Google can be your friend.)

Genitals. Some don’t want their genitals interacted with (might prefer a clothed or non-sexual scene), while others have limits around interaction (might be interested in chastity devices and orgasm control where the other person isn’t physically interacting with them). Some may want to work around not having the various surgeries that make up “bottom surgery” (strap-ons, muffing, anal, focusing more on giving than receiving certain acts, etc.), and others are completely fine with sexual and physical interaction but prefer to call their genitals a variety of names. An example from How to Eat Out a Non-Op Trans Woman – “clit,” “vagina,” “vulva;” some say “dick,” “girl-dick,” or “cock;” some say “junk,” some say “genitals,” some say “lady parts,” and one woman described her nether bits as “[Name].”

Secondary Sex Characteristics. Again, there is no universal trans experience about how trans people feel about their bodies or how their bodies changed during puberty (HRT is like Puberty 2.0 in terms of bodily changes). Some trans people are fine with their bodies, while others only experience dysphoria with certain body parts or aspects (it’s not all-or-nothing). A play partner should not dictate an element of transition or dysphoria management, even if the trans person is a submissive in a 24/7 TPE.

Chest. Not all transmasculine people are able to or want to bind, but some do. In terms of gender play, he/ze may want to experiment with clothed scenes or certain rope harnesses when not wearing a binder (physical safety first: long-term wear can injure the wearer and may not be suitable for certain types of play). Transfeminine people may or may not want breast inserts, a gender affirming bra, or to visually create the appearance of breasts.

Voice. One’s perception of one’s voice is not exactly the same as what other people hear, so some trans people may be alright with their speaking voice while being unable to stand voice recordings of themselves. If a trans person is already interested in and/or in the process of vocal training to readjust their pitch, a kinky or dynamic related saying can be incorporated into recording their progress. While trans people have experienced silencing and erasing on a social and cultural scale for quite a bit of human history, it is possible that an individual trans person might want to experiment with gags and silencing methods for limited periods of time.

Body. There’s a conglomeration of traits that cannot be affected after Puberty 1.0 and traits that might be affected but aren’t guaranteed. Fat redistribution, musculature, height, and shoulder and waist width might be hidden or disguised in certain outfits, but I don’t see these as elements where someone must do gender play so much as areas where a play partner should be cautious of gendering, especially if their dirty talk plays around with humiliation. Yes, negotiation should be able to filter out minefields, but sometimes, mistakes happen and “real men/women” comments can garner a variety of reactions.

Gender Play as Experimentation

One’s understanding of their gender and gender expression can be a bit complicated, especially when our culture doesn’t acknowledge or teach anything other than the gender binary. Generally speaking, it is true that gender play doesn’t have to impact someone’s understanding of their gender. A cis man can wear a sexy maid outfit and still think of himself as a man, and a cis woman can wear a strap-on and still think of herself as a woman; being penetrated isn’t inherently feminine, and penetrating isn’t inherently masculine. Some people play around with gender roles because it’s Taboo, it’s hot, it’s in the porn they’ve tried to watch, etc. I don’t feel qualified to speak about sissification, forced femme, and how the inclusion of humiliation comes across as misogynist, but some cis men feel like it works for working out questions / demons about misogyny and toxic masculinity. Sometimes, Life is a Messy Bitch. The road of gender self-reflection and self-discovery is complicated and unique to each person, and some people may not tune into internal questioning or act out curiosity until sex, kink, or roleplay are involved because it provides a trusted and safe space, scenario, dynamic, and/or partner(s).

Pronouns. Depending on the role, dynamic, and scenario, a person might want to use binary pronouns or dip into the numerous nonbinary options. Post about an app called Xe where the user practices using different pronoun sets. Practice With Pronouns (website, 9 options). Interested in a pronoun set that predates tumblr? You’ve got choices – Elverson set of Spivak pronouns (ey/em/eir), ze/hir, ze/zir, xe/xyr (1970s); Spivak set (e/em/eir), hu/hus/hum, ve/ver/vis, (1980s); thon/thons (1880s); singular they/their (~1400). But really, c h o i c e s. You can type in a name and pronoun set to see their use in short stories at the Pronoun Dressing Room (website).

Titles / Address. Someone AMAB can try being a Mistress / Ma’am, someone AFAB can try being a Master / Sir, and anyone can try out the gender neutral Mx. Feeling a little more masculine or feminine? Mxter or Mxtress, perhaps? Depending on the interested dynamic and role, a person doesn’t have to put a lot of thought into finding a neutral name – Owner, Trainer, Handler, pet, [animal], sub, slave, servant. Despite the prominence of DD/lg, there are other dynamics (DD/lb, MD/lb, MD/lg, etc.) and the neutral community name itself could be a descriptor (Caregiver/little). Combining ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ into Dommy, Moddy, or other options can be done if Caregiver seems a bit distanced for a scene, and a variety of titles can be found here (since some like to use aunt, uncle, and sibling relations instead of parent/child, or use sovereign and royalty descriptors).

Proceed With Caution: Humiliation & “Forced” Gender

People have probably been doing forced feminization, masculinization, and neutralization for decades, if not longer than that if you allow for not having a name for it and shifting cultural ideas of gender roles. I can’t truly stop someone from experimenting with it, and everyone involved should already be doing talks, negotiating, and consenting to everything anyway. However, I would like to share something for people – especially cis people – to consider who are interested in playing with a trans partner, who may or may not be solely acting or roleplaying when trying gender play out.

Regardless of whether they intentionally and consciously include gender play into their kink or dynamics, binary and nonbinary trans people already grapple with gender in a way that society tries to ignore (forcing gender) or punishes (have you ever thought about the harassment, assault, and murder rates for trans women?). Trans people face varying degrees of dehumanization and being reduced to a sexual object, which is intersectionally compounded (transphobia X misogyny = transmisogyny X racism = transmisogynoir). Have you taken at least a moment to consider how you’re distilling Society’s messages down into your humiliation or your specific scene idea? Yes, ideally negotiation should catch off limit topics for humiliation, but for the ad libbers and/or new people, do you have a habit of falling back on saying XYZ for female bodies or ABC for male bodies that could misgender them or trigger dysphoria? Did you already have an interest in CBT or breast torture, or are you making an assumption that this trans person must be interested in that play because they’re trans (assuming dislike/hatred of that body part)? Did your idea for a scene hinge on misgendering, especially if you were the one who initiated the idea?

This isn’t meant to guilt a cis person out of a scene with a trans person, and it’s possible to find an individual who has a different relation to humiliation and forced gender play. Trans people are not a monolith. It may not be easy, but taking the time to self-reflect a bit before initiating a certain kink or scene can be the difference in cornering a trans person into being a teaching moment and being able to show that you’ve thought about how to play with them that acknowledges it won’t be 110% the same as playing with a cis partner. Negotiation for a casual scene doesn’t have to turn into a deep soul-searching journey, but something as simple as phrasing can keep the sharing of a fantasy from being conveyed incorrectly – “I’ve always wanted to try breast torture” versus “I want to take off your binder and ___”. Sometimes, you just may not be compatible with everything you might like the idea of: “I want you to edge yourself in the bathroom at [public location].” “Um, I try to avoid public restrooms.” “What about at work?” “I’m more focused on safety and getting done ASAP / The way other people sexualize trans women’s existence in a women’s restroom makes is hard for me to relax enough to do that / etc.”.


Getting into nitty-gritty role or dynamic ideas is beyond this already long post because it’ll be unique to a particular gender non-conforming cis person or trans person. Some people just want to explore their kinks and happen to also be trans (no explicitly named gender play involved), so remember that there isn’t one trans experience or point of view. In sum, gender play can be as casual and non-gender expression related as you like, but be a decent person and follow indicated pronouns, titles, names, and so on. Talk, make sure you’re on the same page about limits, and genderfuck responsibly.

Ace Killjoy (Thoughts on Orgasm Control)

[Cross-post (Switchy SCC Writing: Orgasm Control). Context: The portions of tumblr I’ve been able to find most easily as community resources tend to be into sexual kink and incorporate orgasm control. A tl;dr for those not interested in the whole post:

Other than managing kneejerk reactions against Cishet Men, being on the ace spectrum just doesn’t quite deliver on the somewhat common control/denial/permission seen in erotic fantasies and some online communities for submissives. On the other hand, the matter of control and working around meeting a potential sub’s sexual needs means that I can’t throw it out of the toolbox from a Dominant perspective.]

@sccwriting Prompts:

#24.2: Have you ever done orgasm control/denial play?

#196.1+3: Is orgasm control part of your dynamic? How does that work for you? | What are the advantages for you from orgasm control? Are there negatives?

Definitions (as I have encountered)

Definition as I’ve encountered it – a submissive consensually giving their ability to orgasm over to their dominant, whether it’s through an honor system (submissive agrees to not masturbate unless their dominant gives them permission) or manually enforced (cock rings, cock cages, stopping sexual activity before orgasm, ‘chastity’ devices to prevent masturbation). It can be less involved by needing to ask permission ‘for’ their orgasm or more involved with toys, teasing, edging, and ruined orgasms (physically preventing ejaculation).

Tangentially related to denial is ‘forced’ orgasms, in which the dominant gives an order for masturbation, per their discretion continues sexual activity or stimulus (as with a toy) for at least one orgasm (instead of denial), or seeks out a dry orgasm (typically associated with prostate massage or ‘milking’, it’s an orgasm before the refractory period for ejaculation is up). It’s commonly associated with continuing stimulus for at least one more orgasm after achieving one aka in some porn, it’s tied up with ‘fucking machines’ and vibrators (like hitachi wands).


With how much kink overlaps with sexual activity, I’m not surprised this is a thing, and I probably ran into the concept before I ever found out the actual terminology for this. For some submissives, it’s a relatively easy controllable factor in their life to hand over to a dominant, and it appears especially common when dealing with temporary distance or LDRs (long distance relationships). For some dominants, it’s immensely satisfying to have that permission element and the power to deny their submissive an orgasm, even if they don’t actually deny it. When I’ve come across personal experiences, it’s usually more focused on abstaining from masturbation either as a temporary measure before a scene where compliance is more important or over a long-term period where permission is more important (may get into teasing and edging). {Due to how popular this is to try, I am not trying to capture the entirety of everyone’s experiences.}

I find the idea of handing over orgasm control to a dominant to be intriguing, but I’m not sure I can handle the reality of it. I’m somewhere on the ace spectrum, and I have body dysphoria as a trans person; I can’t really confirm or deny to what extent one directly leads to the other, but as a fat person assigned female at birth, I can’t deny that I have some knee jerk reactions based on the social and cultural environment I was raised in. Dominants are strongly associated with cis men {resources are typically geared towards this perspective}, and I fluctuate on whether I can keep up my end of agreeing to orgasm control with a cis man. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be sexual, shouldn’t masturbate, should practice abstinence until marriage (to a cis man), should strive for chastity and celibacy, shouldn’t be naked in front of others or sexual until I’ve lost weight; I’ve been told submissive inclinations come with a high libido, I should be constantly horny and struggling with celibacy, I should be comfortable with interacting with my body and want to fuck myself with any number of sex toys, I should want to have sex with other people, I should specifically want a cis man to fuck me.

Now, a reader may be going, ‘Hold on, you’re not fucking Society or Cis Men(™). What does this mean with real people?’ Sometimes, I’m sex averse and do not want me, a toy, or any part of another person interacting with my body in a sexual manner. Other times, my interest in sexual activity, libido, and sexual expression fluctuate towards conditional and situational willingness for sex. Given enough time to talk, negotiate, and work through the Issues that involve a partner and can’t be resolved all by myself beforehand, I can build enough trust for partnered sex and kink involving sex. A cis man will probably have an extra element to building trust, and he should be prepared for the possibility that he may not unlock my sexual mode let alone get his input along the lines of orgasm control acknowledged. Enbies, femmes, and the menagerie of other genders? Fewer Issues and a higher probability of unlocking sexual mode.

However, even when the stars have aligned, I don’t feel a deep burning desire for sex that creates the tension and feeds the arousal of orgasm control. I can’t say with 100% certainty that I would never figure out a compromise that worked for my partner if I’ve already worked out sexual negotiation anyway, but it would definitely have to be something she/ze/they initiated. On my dash, I’ve typically seen a link or overlap with forced orgasms, denial, and edging in personal experiences, hence going over a definition for a forced orgasm above. Personally, even if I undergo a drastic change within a dynamic and really love other aspects of orgasm control, I draw a line at forced orgasms. It’s not even a hang-up on the “forced” part, really, but I wind up associating this with objectification and being dehumanized into a sex toy / doll / slave isn’t one of my kinks (not the limit of sexual objectification but the roles I’ve often seen overlap this).

On the other side of the coin, I wouldn’t be opposed to orgasm control with a submissive. In theory, it could be a way to meet their sexual needs without directly engaging in sexual activity. I can’t say that I would never, ever want to have sex with a submissive, and there’s something about shifting the focus from what my body is or is not doing to a submissive that makes the idea of partnered sex easier. Writing that out definitely sounds like I might have service top inclinations (or really feeling stone right now [link isn’t affected by tumblr shenanigans]), but I’m not entirely sure how trying a dynamic will change my comfort with orgasm control. I can see myself enjoying the power and control over my submissive, but I might not get off on it, y’know? I could realize I actually like partnered sex and click with this means of control, but I might find out that my lower libido makes it hard for me to key into meeting their sexual needs. I’m just not sure right now.