A Team – Ed Sheeran

An insight into the overlap of addiction & sex work…and how society views it

I was getting ready to go out to work in Holbeck one evening, putting on my make-up, doing my hair and listening to Ed Sheeran’s album +. I love this album, it always made me feel happy and nostalgic. It broke into the charts whilst I was at school and felt like a soundtrack of a happy time of my life. It’s also quite calming, which is exactly what you need when you’re trying not to think about the risks of working the streets. Breaking the stereotypes, I put on on my gloves, scarf and hat and when searching for my keys, A Team started playing. It piqued my interest after hearing ‘long nights, strange men’. As the song progressed, I sat on my bed, listened to the lyrics and cried my heart out as each line seemed to tragically hit closer and closer to home.

For context, I didn’t…

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Sex Work and Clothing

a #SW maybe someone you know at work or school…not the usual “slutty” stereotype

A generic getty image used in a Metro newspaper article

What springs to mind when you think of a prostitute? Is it tight skirts, thick makeup, scraped up hair that is overdue a wash, high heels and breasts overspilling a clearly unfitted bra? In fact, your mind properly evokes somewhat of the same image you see above, a stereotypical depiction often accompanied with an article about sex work in the media. Yet, I have to ask, when was the last time you looked in your wardrobe and asked yourself how little amount of clothes you should wear in snow, bitter wind or heavy rain. Probably never. Sex workers don’t either, and we are much more likely to stand outside in the cold for longer than your quick run to the shop.

Perhaps this is appropriate attire if I decide to take up the extreme sport of jogging in high heels…

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Is the BDSM community stodgy? How to loosen up

“energy exchange requires consent and negotiation between all parties, no matter their gender, sexual, and BDSM role identity”

Many have fantasies of switching…but few switch

Many in the Femdom community feel they are excluded from most BDSM events and social media. Dommes are repulsed by men dominating women. Heterosexual couples distance themselves from the dommes. Dominant males have antipathy toward submissive males.

While the BDSM community preaches tolerance and including any and all BDSM practices, in practice, the participants ignore or snub those who do not fit. The following study shed some light on why this happens. It further suggests some remedies to those who feel they are excluded from mainstream BDSM communities.

Are BDSM males always dominant and BDSM women always submissive?

Katherine Martinez (1) found from over 200 surveys that:

men tend to self-identify as Dominant, Master, Top, or Sadist (DMTS) and always perform dominant roles, while women tend to self-identify as Submissive, Slave, Bottom, or Masochist (SSBM) and always perform submissive roles…BDSM reinforces gendered dominant/submissive binaries

But:

women and queer/pansexual individuals disrupt this binary through their Switch identities and roles. Switching and queer identities…offer the possibility for transforming dominant/submissive and other binaries.

The roles most commonly associated with BDSM are Dominant/Domme, Master/Mistress, top, sadist, submissive, slave, bottom, masochist, and switch [but] Some define BDSM as “anything from simply an occasional sexual practice to a sexual identity or orientation to a lifestyle” [which] may involve sexual contact or sexual role-playing “involving the infliction of pain or intense sensation, use of restraint, or power exchange” [and] also involve nonsexual contact with the “ritualization of dominance and submission.

individuals may adopt dominant or submissive roles, but the meanings they attach to these roles and the ways they enact them can vary greatly

SSBM interviewees seemed more open to the possibility for fluid roles, likely related to their gender and sexual identities—most were women and bisexual/heteroflexible or queer/pansexual. Most DMTS interviewees, being heterosexual men, were rigid about their BDSM roles, only willing to play with various partners but not submit to them. 

Switches explored their “multiple sexual selves” through partner selection, often choosing partners based on attitude, or what many called “energy,” and skill rather than partner gender and sexual identity … Switches, especially women Switches, creatively explored their own desires and needs that took into consideration the complexities of identity and practice, which may shift across time and context. 

The fear for those who hold firmly to dominant/submissive, male/female, masculine/feminine, and self/other hierarchical binaries is that without these binaries, life becomes unstable and uncertain. The joy for those who actively work to deconstruct these binaries is in the celebration of diversity and movement toward equality. To be certain, a binary is not inherently problematic; as dominants, submissives, and switches attest, energy exchange requires consent and negotiation between all parties, no matter their gender, sexual, and BDSM role identity.

Heterosexual’s tend toward fixed Dom/Sub roles. The paper reviews the history of Western culture and it’s patriarchal preferences. This society promotes heterosexual couplings and disapproves deviance from this “norm”. Heterosexual BDSM practitioners carry this cultural bias into their preferences and activities. Most social media that still allows BDSM posts are largely Male Dom/female Sub themed. Posts that are not conforming to this narrative receive little if any interactions from participants. Women who deviated are tolerated at least somewhat, but men are shunned, possibly because women can still reproduce and add to the population, whereas submissive men are considered too weak to express their “manhood”.

many public bdsm events have more onlookers than participants

Do gay or GQ people tolerate Femdom participants? Survey results from the study suggest that this group has more switches. Women who bottom, for example, might readily switch to a top role depending on the partner. Butch Dykes, TG’s are often dominant with those they prefer to engage. Femdom couples that appear to be heterosexual are treated with prejudice by many sexual minorities despite their apparent gender-switching of top and bottom.

Some women can dominate and submit in the same session

The BDSM community, like most communities, is segregated by cultural preferences. Many dommes prefer “Femdom-themed” gatherings (such as the Pedestal in London) to the more common male-dom/female-sub ones. There are few social media sites that feature femdom activities and get sufficient participation.

women prefer gender-fluid bdsm

Conclusion. The femdom “community” is an isolated minority in the BDSM one. While “switching” may become more popular in time, many heterosexuals who switch may still retain intolerance toward lifestyle femdom couples.

(1) Katherine Martinez (2018) BDSM Role Fluidity: A Mixed-Methods Approach to Investigating Switches Within Dominant/Submissive Binaries, Journal of Homosexuality, 65:10, 1299-1324, DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2017.1374062

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Do women have body issues…and how does it affect them?

most women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape

can a woman perfect her body? Will she feel better if she does?

Body image is closely linked to self-esteem. Low self-esteem in adolescents can lead to eating disorders, early sexual activity, substance use and suicidal thoughts. 11 FACTS ABOUT BODY IMAGE

common body image components include:

  • Body dissatisfaction: an attitudinal component of body image that refers to a person’s subjective negative appraisal (or general unhappiness with) of their body or aspects of their body.
  • Overvaluation of weight/shape: an attitudinal component of body image that occurs when one equates their self-worth largely on the basis of weight and shape, and their ability to control them.
  • Body preoccupation: another attitudinal component of body image that refers to the tendency to obsessively think about body weight or shape.
  • Body checking: a behavioral component of body image that occurs when one repeatedly checks their weight and shape. Common body checking behaviors include self-weighing, staring in the mirror, comparison oneself to other people, or pinching various body parts to assess for fat and muscle.
  • Body image avoidance: another behavioral component of body image that refers to the active avoidance of situations that elicit concerns about body weight or shape. Avoidance behaviors include a refusal to be weighed, wearing baggy clothes as a “disguise”, or the covering up of mirrors.
  • Body dysmorphia: a body image disorder characterized by the obsessive idea that some aspect of one’s own body part is profoundly flawed and hence warrants behaviors designed to hide or fixed these perceived flaws.
  • Muscle dysmorphia: a body image disorder that centrally comprises a core belief and fear around being of insufficient muscularity, and a simultaneous drive for muscularity.

In one Switzerland study of 1000 adult women (aged 30-74 years), despite 73% of women falling within the normal weight range, more than 70% of these women expressed a desire to be thinner.

according to the media, men should be extremely lean and muscular and women should be extremely thin…In one study of young girls aged between 13-17 years, nearly 50% reported a desire to be as skinny as the models they viewed in fashion magazines and reported that these magazines gave them a body to strive for.

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  1. Palmer, Mario. “5 Facts About Body Image.” Amplify. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://amplifyyourvoice.org/u/marioapalmer/2013/05/21/byob-be-your-own-beautiful. ↩︎
  2. Good Therapy. “Eating and Food Issues.” Accessed February 23, 2014, http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-eating-disorders.html. ↩︎
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Developing Adolescents.” APA: American Psychological Association . Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/develop.pdf. ↩︎
  4. Palmer, Mario. “5 Facts About Body Image.” Amplify. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://amplifyyourvoice.org/u/marioapalmer/2013/05/21/byob-be-your-own-beautiful. ↩︎
  5. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. “Eating Disorders Statistics.” ANAD. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/. ↩︎
  6. Manwaring, Ayarza. “Reality television and its impact on women ‘s body image.” Encompass. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://encompass.eku.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1049&context=etd. ↩︎
  7. Geary, Kevin. “What Girls Are Taught About Health and Fitness (Roundtable).” The Rebooted Body. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://rebootedbody.com/038/. ↩︎
  8. ASAPS: The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. “Survey Finds That Women Are More Likely To Consider Plastic Surgery Than They Were Ten Years Ago.” Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.surgery.org/media/news-releases/survey-finds-that-women-are-more-likely-to-consider-plastic-surgery-than-they-were-ten-years-ago. ↩︎
  9. Palmer, Mario. “5 Facts About Body Image.” Amplify. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://amplifyyourvoice.org/u/marioapalmer/2013/05/21/byob-be-your-own-beautiful. ↩︎
  10. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. “Eating Disorders Statistics.” ANAD. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/. ↩︎
  11. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. “Eating Disorders Statistics.” ANAD. Accessed February 24, 2014, http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/. ↩︎
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Should Guys Strip?

Should you strip for your partner?

The ladies want him to do it, but the men are shocked

YOU’RE PROBABLY NOT THE WHOLE PACKAGE, BUT YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO BECOME THE WHOLE PACKAGE—FAST.

Everyone deals with their own challenges and insecurities. “I didn’t have a background in dancing at all. So I struggled a little bit,” says Reigns. “Some people don’t have the body and shape that they want, so they have to deal with working out and getting the body they want. Others have to change their diet. Some people don’t have the personality for it. I didn’t really have the personality to be a male entertainer at the start so I had to kind of create a persona that was more of an entertainer. 9 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Male Stripper

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Why do guys lose interest?

Is sex a good enough reason to like a guy?

After a few great dates with a seemingly great guy, most women can’t help but get excited about the possibilities. They think of where the relationship might go and they start to invest in a fantasy future.

Do guys like to be seen as a sex object?

Most guys can intuitively sense when a woman is reacting to them as an object rather than a person, when she is using him as a means to fill a void within herself.

Guys typically don’t operate this way in relationships and he can’t fully understand what happened to turn this seemingly happy, cool girl into an unpleasant, emotionally-reactive, reassurance-seeking mess. The Number One Reason Men Suddenly Lose Interest

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Suffer in Silence

When a guy has been rejected by his partner…his insecurities come back to the surface

A guy has to be tough…if he’s going to make it

If They’ve Made the Wrong Choices

Whether or Not They’re Good Partners

Having (and Showing) Emotions

Is his dick big enough

Where They Are in Their Careers

Is he attractive enough

Not being successful enough. Attractive enough. Talented enough. Man enough. You name it. I think in general it just comes down to the way I unconsciously, and sometimes even consciously, compare myself to others and this overwhelming feeling of not being enough for anyone. But then I remind myself that the eight-year-old boy inside me who is still so hurt from being bullied, and teased, and who came home so broken, in reality has so much to offer this world, is loved deeply by many, and is more than enough. And when I can go there, I feel at peace. – Justin Baldoni

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