The Dom and Sub Dynamic: The Changing Gender Roles in the Bedroom

What you should really know about dom and sub dynamics today…

Whether you’re watching Tarzan or Fifty Shades of Grey, it seems like all the men and women follow the same script: he dominates, she submits. That narrative isn’t as accurate as it used to be, however. In fact, changing gender roles are transforming sex in surprising ways.

One of the biggest changes? Traditional “dom” (dominate) and “sub” (submissive) roles are no longer being tied to a specific gender. In fact, more men are embracing submission in the bedroom … and more female partners are feeling empowered enough to take charge.

Changing Gender Roles

How do I know? I’ve witnessed some of the changes first-hand through the Skirt Club, an underground community I founded for girls who play with girls. When I used to go to other play parties, I noticed they all had one trait in common: I didn’t see any women fucking men. I didn’t see women taking charge of how they wanted to have sex. They simply felt required to do it, and that had to stop.

In fact, women have even asked me to take part in threesomes only because they wanted to please their boyfriends. My response? Don’t do it for them – do it for yourself. So with Skirt Club, my intention was to build a sexually safe environment where any woman can explore her bisexual or bi-curious side.

In fact, I think women’s increasingly dominant role in bed is a direct result of their improved sexual confidence. Gone is the shy wallflower who accepted her role as the pleaser, and in comes the siren who knows how she’d like to be pleased. Knowledge and taking control are two of the factors driving women to demand men meet their needs.

However, women aren’t the only ones trying to find the sexual behavior that fits them best.

“I don’t think that men are becoming more submissive,” says one interviewed dominatrix. “Instead, the ones who had the urge to be submissive

One 2015 study even reported that the more powerful a man or woman, the less inhibited and more aroused they are by sadomasochism. This lack of inhibition helps powerful people disregard social norms. Powerful women are often aroused more by sadistic thoughts while powerful men are typically attracted to masochism.

What Relationship Roles are the Healthiest?

So today, more women are taking charge of their sexuality and more men are learning to take the backseat in the bedroom. But what dom/sub dynamic is best for a healthy relationship?

A healthy relationship might give both partners the chance to dominate and submit, depending on their moods. For instance, a hard day at the office often creates the need for stress relief at bedtime. That could mean anything from being ordered around, physically hurt or reprimanded.

As sex therapist Hannah Green points out, “It can be really healthy to experience all parts of yourself. And it gives you access to a wide range of experiences.”

are feeling more validated to bring it up because it’s becoming more mainstream [from projects like 50 Shades]!”

She further explains, though, that “many men definitely don’t always want to be in charge all the time. It’s a huge weight off their shoulders when women take charge, initiate intimacy and play the role of the pursuer. Men want to feel desired too.”

The “healthiest” dynamic, though, is whatever dynamic best fits you and your partner. Wanting to dominate or submit to someone is nothing to be ashamed of, and you shouldn’t feel required to “act” a certain way in bed because of your gender.

Whether you’re at a play party or just spending time with your partner, sex shouldn’t be the main goal, per se. Instead, the experience should be about self-discovery and empowerment.

I’m proud to say that I know myself, I never doubt myself and I’m never unsure. Hopefully, as more men and women find sexual gender roles that fit them – and not society – more people will be able to say the same.

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