On why penis does not equal power

Image by the awesome Stuart F Taylor

Yes, we live in a patriarchy. And in our patriarchy, men are generally at a bit of an advantage in terms of money, power, opportunity, and so on. But I’m not going to talk about that today – I want to talk about power and penetration. Specifically the idea that the power in any kind of sexual play is, by default, in the hands of the penetrator.

The other week I wrote something disgustingly filthy about pegging (aka strap on sex). In subsequent discussion, a few people talked about me ‘having the power’ and ‘being the dominant one’, which was interesting. Even when I’m fucking a guy with a big fake cock, I don’t tend to feel that dominant. I get waves of it occasionally, but it struck me that we do tend to assume that strap on sex gives the wearer an immediate power boost. That it’s the cock that’s synonymous with power. That no matter how doe-eyed and submissive I usually am, just by strapping it on I have performed a transformation into a powerful sexual superhero.

Are strap ons powerful?

Of course, there are a lot of expectations around being the penetrator. Watch most mainstream porn, or even most mainstream romance, and men tend to be seen as the ones in control – the ones doing. Men fuck, women get fucked. But of course, although this is the way the story tends to play out, there are a hundred different problems with it, as there are with most of our expectations around gender.

Naturally the obvious point is that not all men have dicks, or indeed want to be the penetrators. Likewise there are many women who can be powerfully sexual, who can penetrate and fuck, while their partners (male or female) prefer to be more passive, more laid-back. And – in the kind of situations I enjoy – there are many people who switch between the two.

I enjoy sex in which I am the fucker rather than the fuckee, and to be honest I don’t usually need a strap on in order to do that. In the right mood and with a fair wind behind me I can shag a guy using only my delicate, weak, unpowerful vagina and he’ll still feel as if he’s been used like a fucktoy.

Your dick as your weakness

Not only can you be powerful with no dick at all, but there are certain sexual situations in which a penis can be the very opposite of a powerful tool: it can be your weakness, your misery, and one of the ultimate symbols of submission.

Knowing you can penetrate me with your dick might give you power in the eyes of a society with a skewed view on genitals, but it’s not going to make you feel that powerful when you’re lying on my bed, constrained by an order not to come, twitching and moaning as I rub lube gently into the aching head of it. Nor when I squeeze it to just before the point of pain and you beg me to put it in my mouth. And certainly not when I lie on my back, with your bound wrists behind my neck, and tell you to fuck me without coming.

As you pull out, shaking with the need to come and pleading with your eyes, your penis doesn’t feel very powerful, does it?

A dirty story to illustrate the point

So are strap ons powerful in and of themselves? The fact that they don’t give direct pleasure to the wearer does give the wearer a certain element of control. Maybe I’m the ‘powerful’ one when I fuck a guy with a strap on purely in virtue of the fact that I feel nothing – that I’m wholly focused on what I can do rather than what I can feel.

Except even that doesn’t really work, because this lack of feeling can also be harnessed to make the wearer feel deeply cowed and submissive. Ask the guy who loved the trembling feeling of submission so much that I used to wrack my brains in bed at night trying to think of new and better ways to make him feel small – the guy who, eventually, I ordered to fuck me with a strap on.

He got hard and shook and begged me to let him fuck me – wrists bound behind my head, as above. I turned him down and dressed him in the strap on harness instead, letting him fuck me with cold, rubber strokes until I came – twitching and clenching around a cock that couldn’t feel it. A cock with no desire, no sensation, no power. Then I told him I was done, and he curled up hard and aching and unable to fall asleep.

What makes a powerful dominant?

Power isn’t contained within a penis – real or fake – and it doesn’t accrue to you just because you are the penetrator. This is one of the many myths we’ve been fed for a number of years, which we still tend to play up to in much of our fucking. I certainly do most of the time – as a straight female submissive, dominance and dick usually go hand-in-hand. I want to be on the bottom, I want to be penetrated: I need to get fucked.

But it’s nice to take a step outside this every once in a while – think about what it is, exactly, that makes someone powerful. It might be different for different people: what makes him powerful is his voice, and the way he has with commands and words. What makes her powerful is the way she can speak volumes just with her eyes or a turn of her head. What makes them powerful is their imagination – the fantastic new things they can order their sub to do, that brings both parties to the brink of shivering climax.

Power isn’t contained within a particular object, or act, or person: it’s a complex, intricate thing. And it’s good to remind myself of that every once in a while – not only does it give me a better perspective on what I truly love about dominance, it also gives me loads of new ideas.


  • codex says:

    Being dominant for me is a creative impulse. While I think it is possible for two people to enjoy a power-equal sex life (we did for years) I can’t help but not remember any of it specifically. Power-equal sex tends to all merge in to homogenous mass of blurry vagueness in my experience, where as I could pretty much catalogue, index and provide detailed notes and appendices when it comes to the s/D sex my partner and I enjoy now.

    I think the difference between the two is narrative. It could be likened to the difference between reading a factual book about political philosophies and then reading Animal Farm. Introduce an element of fiction or narrative to something and it allows you to loose yourself and experience. It also provides you with neat little triggers or chapter marks for recalling every time you reached for that cane or paddle.

    Additionally assuming a role, (even if that role is “take it like a whore”), gives you a degree of confidence and direction. Confidence is hot as hell, it doesn’t matter if you are tying someone up, or on the slappy choky end of consensual non consent, the fact you are engaging in something like that means you have some confidence to brag about.

    Perhaps the dominant one in a relationship is merely the one who is more creative or the one more able to tap in to instincts of the other. Maybe thats a joint thing and the assumed roles say more about the individuals hidden true natures/desires. It probably varies from couple to couple.

    From personal experience I once asked my wife to be rough with me as a sort of experience of role reversal. While she rode my cock she clawed at me, bit me and attempted to punch me in the face, it ended up with me grabbing her wrists before she did some real damage, pinning her down and reverting to what we were used to dressed up as ‘punishment’. I suspect thats what she wanted, she obliged my request to play rough, but she isn’t a dominant at heart so her attempts at wrestling power were clumsy (and probably deliberately so). But it did go to show that in our case our roles are defined and concrete and that we both play to our strengths.

  • Cwandipe says:

    Your comment count is broken.

  • Serocco says:

    You actually bound a guy’s wrists behind your neck and forced him not to come? o.0 Hot.

  • Yingtai says:

    Ask the guy who loved the trembling feeling of submission so much that I used to wrack my brains in bed at night trying to think of new and better ways to make him feel small – the guy who, eventually, I ordered to fuck me with a strap on.

    I’m with Serocco. [GULP]

    Perhaps you have seen Dumb Domme’s post on turning her sub into a boy blow-up doll? She may have taken it a tiny bit further than you. Just three words: Mr. Potato Head. :p

    Though I will say my primary reaction to that post was 0.o, and my primary reaction to your post is, um, now I need to find a showerhead on massage setting. :)

    • Serocco says:

      What the fuck. Dumb Domme… like, what the fuck.

      I prefer the wrists behind the neck thing. Even the strap on is better.

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