Off The Record

When Femdom Meets The Thinkpiece

“I’m a journalist, DON’T DELETE MY EMAIL,” I paused my cursor over the trash can button and decided to keep reading. “[Our mutual friend] said you’re private about the whole female domination thing. But from everything she’s said, we should talk. I just don’t want to keep writing the same stupid online dating article. Let’s meet and you can hear me out about how much I’m not going to treat you like a zoo animal. Meet me at Trick Dog?” Ugh, she must have told him I liked that place. Fine.

I contentedly sipped my cocktail from a ceramic pineapple while a lanky, horn-rimmed bespectacled man in a cardigan (with the elbow patches and everything, holy shit this kid is a stereotype) explained that he was a full time staff writer for a fairly well-circulated national magazine, working on a piece on online dating and catfishing in the Tinder era. He liked the idea that, as my friend had explained to him, I was honest in my profile about my femdom proclivities. What you see is what you get with me, and he thought it could make for an effective thrust on the whole “be yourself” counterpoint.

I liked it, it seemed affirming and definitely not zoo-like at all. I tire really quickly of titillation-driven articles about kink and BDSM, like we’re something to be gawped at in an episode of HBO’s Real Sex or Hustler letters. I made him make a deal with me that I’d help contribute to his piece, but he would have to make the effort to see the whole completely unremarkable arc of most BDSM dating: the non-sexual social gatherings, the often tedious negotiations, the reasons we supplement our boldness with the support of community.

He visibly bristled at the idea of eventually “going to a dungeon” as part of that arc. It took a full ten minutes of me swearing up and down that yes it is 100% fine to attend and be 100% an observer only. Eventually I successfully convinced him that no one is going to truss you like a goose when you’re not looking (unless you’re very lucky and consent to it first).

On a warm weekend afternoon we sat at Coffee Bar drinking cold brew while I tabbed through my dating messages as he took notes and peppered me with incisive questions about why I chose to put my kink interests upfront, how well it worked, if I ever regretted not waiting until after a first date to disclose. I showed him my online dating profiles, some choice messages from suitors that made his face flush pink, and a few that made him shake his head with secondhand embarrassment.

“Are they all that rude and upfront about it?” he said squinting at a first message from a man that all but demanded my participation in his fetish. “And what is… pegging?”

I showed him texts from kinky suitors, from vanilla but curious ones, kinky but closeted ones, all of them in their trepidatious variety. He pecked away at his laptop like a bird, examining everything through his glasses with a look I couldn’t quite place, especially not after I explained that pegging was intercourse involving a strap-on dildo in a man’s ass. “Interesting,” he said looking up into the air and pursing his lips as if attempting to imagine the mechanics of the activity in question, then dropping his head back down to type some more. His cheeks were pink again.

Later the next week I dragged him to a BDSM happy hour with me at Armory Club, a kink-themed cocktail bar adorned with beautiful paintings of bound and gagged submissives, leather and latex clad scenes of pleasure. After about two hours of what he called “surprisingly normal” socializing, we sat at the main bar upstairs and debriefed, swirling our cocktails around in glasses with a single huge brick cube like an iceberg with a mint leaf smashed into it. His glass clattered to the table and the giant cube slid out across the bar when I told him, “You know, some of my friends thought you were very cute, asked me if you were a top or a bottom.”

“What did you say I was?!” he said, frantically scooping the cube back in to his glass off the edge of the bar top.

“I said they should ask you,” and I gave him a wide smile.

“I don’t know anything about this stuff, that’s why I’m here talking to you. I don’t know what I like… IF I even like any of this.”

“Well everyone likes some of it, lots of vanilla people like hair pulling or spanking or some talking dirty, right?”

“I guess so, I mean… I’ll have to take your word for it.” Hmm, methinks thou doth protest too much.

The following Saturday I’m practically frog-marching him up the stairs into a dungeon party, where he barely says more than four words as I whirlwind him through the expansive, dimly-lit space thronging with half-naked attendees and clusters of restraint-friendly furniture. I introduce him to my coven of cackling dominant friends, and then plant him in a seat where he sits, stiff and bewildered with eyes darting in every direction as leather and lace-clad partygoers bustle past with bulging bags and arms full of equipment. The relentless pecking questions of my journalist, it seems, have finally been silenced.

A good friend and former fling in attendance sidled up to us and after a polite introduction if I wanted to “scene together,” or engage in some kink play during the party. I take him up on his offer. We leave the journalist in his seat and walk on to the main platform. Well-practiced in my preferred protocol, my friend kneels on the ground, arms gripping his elbows behind his back. I caress his face with one hand and ask him, “Why are you here?”

“To please you, Miss Ava,” he replies without missing a beat. Like two fencers bowing to each other before a match, the game begins.

So much of dungeon play compared to what we do in our homes is performance, an elaborate public display of the ritual, the vocabulary, the protocol, the outfits, the shine of the latex, the heavy thud of leather, the snap of so many varied materials meeting willing skin. I pull the heavy leather floggers through the air and they sail and crack over my friend’s shoulders as I sweat under the lights. I stop once in a while to scratch and rub his skin where it is red and raw, as I know he needs when the searing thud of the floggers becomes too intense. The sensation makes him writhe as much as his tethered limbs on the St. Andrews Cross will permit.

Just over his shoulder I see the journalist, his hands gripping his knees, white-knuckled. I smile at him, and his mouth hangs open.


A week later and I am shoulder-to-shoulder with the journalist at a bar, a favorite for beer and cured meats in his neighborhood. He’s showing me his notes on his phone, and even some drafted paragraphs. He jiggles his foot impatiently while I read, and I can feel it rattling against the bar. “I like it,” I finally tell him, “it’s scandalous but respectful, and I know it’s not traditional to let me look at this ahead of time so I really appreciate it.”

“Consent,” he replies sliding his phone back across the bar, “we’ve been talking a lot about it while I’ve been writing this, and I figured it’s… fair to you. You’ve given me a lot of leeway.” His foot is jiggling nervously again. He taps his empty glass. “Would you like to get another drink? And talk maybe… not about this? You’re a lot of fun.”

“So I’m told,” I smile, “and sure, I pick the next spot.”

We are walking out from our second round of drinks down the empty street towards the corner, when suddenly the sky opens like someone cutting a bag of water with a sharp knife. Rain peels down in torrents, pushing against us in curtains in the wind. “Fuck!” he yelps. He wraps one arm across me and presses me back under a nearby awning, a look of alarm on his face as he tries to shield me from the rain with his body. “Dammit, of all nights… fuck.”

“What?” I ask, laughing a little at his overreaction. “It’s just rain, I’m not made of sugar.”

“I just wanted this to go well, I wanted you to have a good night with me and of course a fucking thunderstorm, when does it even ever do this here? I wanted tonight, for me to… meet your expectations,” the look of terror in his eyes, “I want you to be pleased with me.” I study his face.

“Are you… are you femdom hitting on me?” I say with an incredulous smile.

“I… uh, I ah…” he stammers.

“After all that fussing at me? YOU ARE, I knew it.” He looks like he’s going to cry.

I start to laugh, and I can’t control it. I throw back my head and it comes out from deep in my belly as his eyes widen. He is still trying to catch most of the rain, keep it off me as I howl with laughter at his terrified face only inches from mine.

I wrap my arms around his middle, dig my nails into his sides and kiss him, hard. I laugh harder, and do it again.

I grab his hand and pull him into the rain. We run, our feet pounding through puddles, stopping every block or so as I push him hard under an awning or in to an alleyway to put my tongue into his mouth, my hands up his soaked shirt, my lips along his dripping neck before pulling him back into the rain to run towards his apartment. The pavement glitters in the street lights as the rain rips across the street in sheets, the wind crashing through the trees as loudly as his pulse pounding in my grip.

Once inside his apartment I rip my boots off and fling them on to the pile of shoes by his door. I strip my soaked clothes off, leaving them in wet heaps as I enter. I didn’t even bother to ask if he had a roommate, oops. As I get to my underwear a loud crack of thunder brings me back in to the room. I realize that he’s behind me and hasn’t moved. I turn around and spot him kneeling on the floor, hands wrapped behind his back as he saw me instruct the other boy in the dungeon a week ago.

“Tell me what to do. Please tell me what to do…” he is shivering on the floor, struggling to hold himself still, “Ava, Miss please.”

“Do you want out of those cold, wet clothes?” I ask him, walking back to him and smoothing his dripping hair out of his face.

“Only if it pleases you… I mean, only if it pleases you Ava.” Very good.

“Strip,” I motion for him to stand and he pulls his wet shirt off. I enjoy how it sticks to him, his chilled gooseflesh underneath. I especially love how his eyes always return to meet mine, every blink, every turn of his head, they look back expectantly to me for instruction.

The hallway opens in to a tight living room, hemmed in even smaller by a wall of books. I love a man who reads. He walks in and pulls a blanket out of the closet, then holds it out to me, eyes looking at my feet and then up at my gaze.

“Thanks,” I wrap it around me, and he grabs another from the same closet. We settle in on the couch. He is so nervous I can almost hear his heart pounding through the comforter.

“You know you can’t write your article after this, right?” I say, jostling him gently with an elbow. “Journalistic objectivity and integrity and all that?”

He slides to the floor and kneels again at attention. “I don’t care,” he says without stuttering for the first time all night, “Fuck it.”

Still wrapped in my blanket, I place my foot out of it in front of him. “Really?” I ask, raising my eyebrows at him.

“May I show you Miss Ava?” he replies.

“You may.”

He takes my foot in his hands and kisses it gingerly, eyes up at me as if to say, “is this right?” I nod slightly to encourage him. He then with renewed vigor licks and kisses my foot, long slow drags of his tongue punctuated by soft grunts of enjoyment. He takes both my feet in his hands and digs his thumbs into the soles, rubbing them in his strong grip.

I spend the rest of the night showing him where to put his hands, his feet, how to speak to me, how I speak to him, how touch can be instruction, fixing his postures, making him practice, repeat and get it right. He places his forehead on the floor between both hands as I’ve shown him, and waits for me, waits for permission to touch me. He kisses my feet, grips and licks my legs and ankles, my thighs and ass, placing his mouth on me everywhere he can receive permission to taste. He closes his eyes when I whisper “good boy” in his ear, and I feel the goosebumps rise again on his chest and back.

The thunder rolls so loud it rattles the windows, and I watch the lightning flash, laying on my stomach on his couch with my chin on my folded arms. His face is buried in my ass. “Know what you like now?” I say over my shoulder to him with a wry smile.

He pauses and looks thoughtful (or as thoughtful as one can from betwixt two asscheeks), then extracts his face and says, “I think so, but probably still not pegging.” Funny boy.

“You’re welcome,” I push his head back down with one hand. We fall asleep on the couch to the sounds of the retreating storm.

The article runs without my part in it. I run my finger over the byline, its glossy magazine ink smooth to the touch. The thunderstorm was the only big one to happen that year, but it would be a wet winter, and the rain taps again on the windows as I read his piece. He kneels in front of me, arms folded behind his back, waiting patiently for me to finish.

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