Why Role Reversal is Key for Me

A couple of posts ago, I talked about three of my labels. Truth be told, I think that “top” and “gender role reversal” are even more important concepts to me than “dominant” is. I mean, “dominance” is important too, and since it’s actually intrinsic to both of those ideas, it permeates every aspect of my sexuality and thus becomes a key as well. It’s just that it’s more important to me as a general concept than it is as a component of D/s.

Setting sexual desires aside for a moment, here’s how I know how important gender role reversal is to me in the relationship as a whole. When I imagine having a boyfriend in a traditional sort of way, and how that would work, I can feel myself becoming the quietest, shyest part of me. Not sure how to handle myself, or how to interact. Just out of place. Uncomfortable with my role, and constantly doublethinking everything. Calculating. Putting on a performance of someone who’s only remotely connected to my own sense of self. In short, I don’t like the kind of person it would make me. But then when I imagine having a boyfriend who takes the submissive role with me, I’m amazed by the world of difference I feel in my own presentation. There’s more life there. Without the pressure of a girlfriend role, I could be everything I like most about myself. Like the person I am when I’m alone. Free and comfortable to be myself, and proud of who I am. It just fits. Whether it’s with the two of us alone or in front of others, a submissive boyfriend is just the kind of energy I would want to play off of.

It’s not enough if the relationship is one of equals in every important way. It’s all about the dynamic. We could be best friends in the world and respect each other, but if I feel like people are projecting girlfriend roles onto me, I’ll feel that discomfort. It’s not who I am. First and foremost, I need him to know it’s flipped. I need us to be self-aware, rather than just not embodying any roles. Because those gender roles are always there, the subtext behind everything, and I don’t want to be assumed submissive by default. Not by him, and not by those around us either. It creates a discord that I’m uncomfortable dealing with.

Role reversal is what even made me open to the idea of a relationship in the first place. It was not until I envisioned this dynamic for myself that I thought, Hey, maybe I could actually manage that relationship thing. It’s still not something that I feel like I need in my life, but now that I understand what kind of relationship could work for me, I’m able to embrace the possibility.

It’s About His Body, Not Mine

Maybe this is an odd way for a dom to feel—I’m not sure. I’m still a novice in my education about the BDSM community. All I know is that my desires revolve around touching, not being touched.

Rather than being pleasured, I want to have. I want to take. For me, it’s an entirely mental satisfaction, rather than physical. I couldn’t care less about having the attention on me.

For similar reasons, I do not want to dress up my body in leather to dominate him. I may wear certain things by request, but I’m uncomfortable with a lot of fetish clothing. No nurse’s outfit, either, or skimpy things. I’d rather wear my own style and be attractive to him that way. “Can you put on that grey sweater I love?” is more what I have in mind.

There are some things I may let a partner do to me, if he wanted to. I want his desires to be fulfilled too, and if he desires my body, I’d be willing to explore that (albeit cautiously). But there are things that I would not do—like be the receiving partner in sex. If he wants me to penetrate him, I’ll do so with utter glee, but I’m not up for switching.

The things I wouldn’t do are often the things that make me feel like a sexual anomaly, with little to relate to. I know I must not be alone in this. Trust me, I do know that. But my impression of mainstream BDSM is that femdoms want their subs pleasure them. And while I think that’s awesome, it just isn’t me.

I’m not interested in my body—I’m interested in his. Be a good boy and let me have my way, will you?

Differentiating Dominant Labels

I describe myself on the About page as “top, dominant, gender role reverser.” Are these different ways of saying the same thing, or are they applicable to different areas of my identity? Let me explain my current thinking on this subject.

I am dominant. In sexual situations, I would like to be in charge, to be allowed to do what I want, and to have my partner submit to my wishes. There is control here. I’m also a top because in these same sexual situations, I do not want to be penetrated or “taken”—I want to do the taking. (Or, in other sexual acts, the pleasuring.) The key to my idea of a “top” is both control and position: I am physically on top and leading the action, and I am also taking the top role in sex. At the same time, this slides into the idea of role reversal, because I want the position that is traditionally a man’s. I want that role in sex as well as in the relationship as a whole.

You can begin to see how the terms link together and where they separate. Let me elaborate further.

My dominance does not necessarily apply to everyday life, although there is a connection. I think it would be most accurate to say this: dominance is for sexual play, whether that takes place in the bedroom at night or in the middle of the day at a café. Outside of sexual play, I want equality, but still reversed roles. There’s a nuanced difference here. Role reversal can look like dominance, but the distinction is in the rules involved. In everyday life, I’m not going to command him to clean the bathroom (unless it’s part of sexual play), because we have an equal relationship, and I do not have to be in charge of every action he takes. What I am going to do is lead him with my hand on the small of his back when we’re in a crowd, like a man would traditionally do to his girlfriend. Or I’m going to have him sit in my lap when we watch a movie. They’re not commands so much as they are behaviours stemming from the masculine role. This is what I want in the relationship framework, and this is where “role reversal” comes in.

There’s actually another relevant term I want to bring up here in order to distinguish things further. A Female-Led Relationship and gender role reversal do not have to be the same thing. At least for me they don’t. I understand an FLR to be one where the woman makes all important life decisions, whereas I am just as okay with this as I am with having equality in making those decisions. An FLR would be fine, but it’s not part of my wishlist. To reiterate, role reversal to me is about behaviours, not control of all aspects of the partner’s life.

One thing that’s interesting about the term “top” is that a man who performs the same actions I do with his partner probably wouldn’t feel the need to use this term, even though it’s true. It’s what’s expected of him, so it’s the default, and thus needs no attention drawn to it. This means that “top” is unique out of my three chosen labels in that its relevance is gender-specific.

The differences between my labels can be small, and they become clouded when I try to differentiate sexual play from simple behaviours that turn me on. I.e. if he sits in my lap, it’s going to turn me on, but we may just be doing it to watch TV with no plans of play. Even so, maybe the very act of reversing roles is sexual foreplay for me, because it turns me on. Do you see what I mean? It gets tricky for me to distinguish them. What’s more, dominance is often at the source of masculine gender roles. Leading someone through a crowd by guiding them with your hand is controlling, after all.

These ideas cannot be separated completely, but I do think there are distinctions between the three, and this is how I understand them right now. I welcome your comments on the subject. Do you have thoughts about these specific terms, perhaps based on how they apply to your own relationship? Does anyone else use all three, like I do? Or completely different ones?

Introduction

Since I’m new here, I’ll give you a little taste of my blog’s purpose in the style of FAQs—key word being “style.” Watch as I ask myself questions and then answer them.

So what is it that you want, exactly?
Submissive boys. Please and thank you.

Are you a femdom, then?
You could say that. There are certain connotations this term has for me that don’t match my identity, but I am indeed a female who likes to dominate.

Describe your style of dominance in ten words or less.
I like to nurture, control, and take, not cause pain.

How old are you? Where do you live?
Check out the About page for this kind of information.

Do you write for a living?
Nope. It’s been my hobby forever, but only a hobby.

Are you trying to propagate your views on power structures?
Not in the least. Let me make this very clear from the get-go. In no way do I think that women should dominate or men should submit. Despite my love of role reversal, this blog does not express a belief that men and women as a whole should switch places. Rather, people should play how they want to. And for me, that happens to mean switching conventional roles. Neither does this blog suggest that all doms and subs should act in the way I describe. For you linguists out there, think of my blog as descriptive, not prescriptive.

Are you a BDSM expert?
Nothing could be further from the truth. Full disclosure: I’m new to the ideas in BDSM culture. I’m not new to the desires, but to the terms, the theories, and the realities of the lifestyle. The taboos, the trends, the problems, the cultures and the subcultures. Even now, I’m not actively engaged in BDSM culture. I’m merely an outsider with a stake in some of these ideas and an interest in the conversations. I do not have experience in any of this. Don’t take my word as law. I’m not here to teach you about these things, I’m here to talk with you. All I can do is share my own mind. That’s what I’m an expert on.

What makes you think people will care about what you have to say, then?
Probably most people won’t, but if there’s even one, I’ll be happy. I know I like reading about people’s experiences with desire, and I can’t be the only one. That’s all this is.

If that sounds good to you, stick around to read and comment. I’d love to hear from you.