I hope you have been enjoying Rika’s Lair, my monthly column dedicated to thoughts and experiences regarding power dynamics in Service-Oriented D/s relationships. Look up “Ms. Rika” in the search box for links to all of my articles in KinkWeekly!
I’ve recently heard the term “Role Reversal” used in the context of female-led power dynamics and it struck me that this is likely a source of confusion for many couples. I thought I would explore that here today. NOTE: For this discussion, I’m deliberately ignoring the misogynistic implication of the presumption that males are naturally the dominant partner, and allowing that stereotype to influence my response. I’ll leave that battle to another discussion!
The common notion is that when a woman is the dominant in a relationship, she is taking on the stereotypical male role. For example: FLR (Female Led Relationship) is often described as the “1950’s man of the house” role now being assumed by the woman. Or when a woman wants to be the aggressor in the bedroom, the stereotypical imagery of the dominant male in leather and chains, must be transitioned for her to be believable. The porn-industry takes this to the extreme: It’s almost mandatory that videos with female dominants have at least one scene where the women are “pegging” guys with strap-ons…or the men are sucking their heels “like it’s a cock”. Basically, the message is that role reversal means “a woman acting like a man”; penetrating their submissives and getting their “cocks” sucked.
Unfortunately, many people – both men and women – believe this to be true. Many submissive men only will seek women who follow that trope and even try to insist on it, in order to consider her to be dominant. I speak to many women (in and out the D/s realm) who fall into the trap of assuming that “being like a man” equates to freedom and independence – that equality is achieved through mimicry. Maybe that IS what they want to do, but the presumption of “male behavior equaling dominant behavior” overrides the process of individual discovery.
Many women want to break away from the docile role and seek freedom and independence: Fact. However, many men and women struggle with the notion that a woman who wants independence and freedom may want something different than what a man wants. I have met way too many women who won’t consider being the dominant in a relationship, because they don’t want that stereotype. They end up missing out on something that could be very fulfilling for them.
So, when we think about changing our roles and define role reversal in this way, we end up limiting ourselves by restricting our own expectations. We basically allow our standards to be set based on a stereotypical scale, rather than determining what being a dominant really means to us – defining what “submission to us” entails – and then setting out to create that in our relationships. If you’re going to be a dominant (male or female), step one is to introspect and determine what you want, regardless of the stereotypes.
I know this from experience. When I was younger and found myself in relationships where I was in control, I found a thrill in “acting like a guy”. I found myself being rough and demanding, dressing strong, yelling, striking. It was a strange feeling, because although I was enjoying the power, I wasn’t being myself. These scenarios would last for relatively short periods of time – usually a couple of hours, or
occasionally a day or a weekend at most. It worked for scene-based relationships. But as my relationships matured, the prospect of transitioning that to a full-time, lifestyle D/s dynamic was downright terrifying to me. I could never pretend to be someone that I’m not…not for the rest of my life! I almost missed out on what was my second most fulfilling dynamic (the first being motherhood). Life for me changed when I realized that being a dominant in a D/s relationship in which the submissive is focused on MY definition of submission, is not only more fulfilling, but is doable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – because I remain who I am and am not trying to play a role.
So, my recommendation for all of you budding dominants…and even those who are deep into the scene and looking to extend it to a lifestyle dynamic: This is not “Role Reversal”, because no one is already in YOUR role. The definition of YOUR role is unique. Throw away your preconceived notions of “what dominants do” – and introspect on what makes you happy…whatever that is. Identify what you want, then define submission to be all that enables whatever that is. Communicate that to your submissive. Then enjoy!
Ms. Rika is a lifestyle dominant, educator, and author; living in the suburbs of NYC with her husband/slave. She has written several popular books on her approach to adding Dominant-Centric, Service-Oriented D/s to relationships. You can find her books (in both print and eBook formats) at Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/msrika), or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iStore, Books-A- Million, Kobo.com, or anywhere books are sold. Search for “Ms. Rika”.