The New Power Femmes Fear No Kink
Some sort of a shift is happening in the general social consciousness about women and kink. For a change, it seems to be a good shift this time.
Albeit a small sampling, my travels and teaching across geographic and demographic groups give me a nifty and unusual perspective in changes in attitudes around sexuality. For nearly a decade I’ve been teaching my women’s dominance weekend course, Forte Femme. In the past couple of years I’ve noticed a gradual change in the type of women drawn to the weekend intensive. What initially seemed like a fluke is now a noticeable pattern. In the past, the majority of the attendees had prior exposure to consensual kink play or self-identified as being from the BDSM or Leather “communities.” They were likely to be regulars at play parties, own some toys and fetish garb, and know the basic kinky patois. A few even had decades of experience but decided to join Forte Femme to get their mojo back and perk up their wilting passion. Among these perv-seasoned students were always a few entirely new to kink, but who were no strangers to sexuality classes and in their own ways were experienced erotic adventurers. On a rare occasion a woman would show up with absolutely no kink experience or exposure to sexuality education other than advice columns in women’s magazines.
Instead of being problematic, this wide range of student experience is actually an advantage, since Forte Femme’s structure celebrates diversity of background and incorporates that in to a richer learning experience. Regardless of sexual knowledge or history, each of the women brings with them the richness their life experiences to draw from and support one another. Taken as a whole, however, this variety of Forte Femme women give an interesting sample and barometer of the current state of social attitudes around sexuality. The desire to learn about the art of feminine dominance has been, until recently, reserved for the “in-crowd” of a certain subculture.
Lately, however, the balance of Forte Femme attendance has shifted. The veterans of erotic power play are still there, as well as the sexual adventurers from other realms, but the numbers of those entirely new to any non-conventional sexual expression is surging.
An easy, offhand answer would be “the Internet”; but to begin the search and then commit to a not-insignificant amount of time, money and focus requires a desire greater than mere passing curiosity. Corporate professionals and suburban moms don’t suddenly book a flight and go to Domme School for a weekend just because Dan Savage or some other media personality told them to. They had to have been looking for something to fulfill a need.
Another simplistic answer might be “the media.” While the classic form of media, with its unidirectional distribution of information, can influence language and trends, it’s just as much a warped mirror of society, regurgitating undercurrents of social change a few seasons late. By the time they get it, it’s already been happening.
So this means that there’s something bigger happening that’s seemingly still on the surface but pulling powerfully beneath like some giant undertow.
Each of the new explorers who arrive at Forte Femme, especially the ones hitherto uninitiated in the ways of the pervy underground cultures, bring along their preconceived ideas about feminine dominance and kink, imprinted upon them by society. Over time, listening to their fears, assumptions and hopes that have brought them to the course has given me some sense of what’s in the flow of this quiet cultural undertow.
Until the recent past, the mainstream, generally dismissed the feminine dominants—and BDSM in general—as part of the amoral cultural fringe: inherently abusive, emotionally damaged and exploitative. Media expands on this to use "S&M" imagery as shorthand for psychos, nut bags, misfits, evildoers and the fallen. Fem doms and those who loved them were assumed to be serial killers, damaged women, deranged power mongers, or worse: politicians and stockbrokers. This was the attitude that kept many mainstream women away from my women’s intensives in the early days. I know this because of the conversations I’ve had with women and men in polite society. Whether at some cocktail party, social mixer or media interview, their questions invariably turned to “What sort of strange people come to these weekends?” They wanted their views confirmed that fem doms were losers, hookers or man-haters. They were never convinced by my reality-based reply that they were "just like any one here, just like you.”