I’m Not a Femdom (Anymore?)

I can’t call myself a femdom anymore.

I’ve been slowly coming to (and fighting) this realization for over a year now.

I’m not a woman, I’m ay’lonit, enby, non-binary. And it wasn’t long after I first came out about my gender that I started feeling uncomfortable calling myself a femdom. But I continued to do so because… well, because what else was there?

Femdom has been a part of my identity–a pretty big part of my identity–for nearly 10 years now. I’ve learned about kink and my own sexual and relationship needs and preferences through the lens of that identity. My closest friendships and connections with other kinky people are based on that identity (either as a shared identity or subs who prefer to serve femdoms).

Separate from the label “femdom,” I don’t “fit” in kink. My experiences, from harassing CollarSpace messages to no-show subs to fighting against the stereotype of the leather clad dominatrix to learning to recognize and accept my preference for being on the left side of the slash have all mirrored those of so many femdoms I have spoken with.

I could simply call myself a “dom” as I did when I first entered the scene. In fact, for a while I was pretty fierce in my insistence that I shouldn’t need to hang “fem” on the front, I’m a dom, period.

But I found that doing so brought it’s own set of assumptions. A dom is assumed to be a man in the scene. And a woman is assumed to be a submissive. And so I gradually started using femdom, which connected me with others like me and made it easier to find subs who were interested in me.

In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be divisions based on gender. It would just be “dom” and “sub” and none of the bullshit stereotypes.

Years ago, in order to find the section of the kink community that I fit in, I had to accept and eventually own and learn to take pride in “femdom.”

Now, for the same reason, I need to walk away from that same label.

I am not femme, not a woman, not a femdom.

But in walking away from the label I am walking away from so much more than just a label.

All the femdom representations that I lovingly collected over the years, they don’t represent me. I thought they did, and I still love them for their better-than-average portrayal of a kink dynamic that is far too stereotyped. But they don’t reflect me.

Nothing does. Even my own book, which I wrote in large part because at the time I couldn’t find any good femdom rep in the novels I read. It’s still a good femdom rep. I’m damn proud of the work I did on it.

But it isn’t the rep for me and my identity that I had intended it to be.

So many communities I have been part of, from Fetlife groups to CS chatrooms to a few Discord chats, they aren’t made for me. I thought they were, because I thought I was a femdom. And maybe I was before I came to terms with the reality of my gender. But I don’t belong there now.

If I simply call myself a dom, a dominant, then I go back to the communities that are dominated by maledoms and femsubs. But the assumption that anyone who presents as or is read as a woman is submissive. I don’t want to wade through that bullshit again. I don’t want to read more kink “representation” that paints women as inherenty submissive and in need a big strong man to take care of them. Leaving aside any philosophical issues, I spent most of my life identifying as and thinking of myself as a woman. I am STILL closer to being a woman than a man. I don’t the mental stress that wading through that bullshit puts on me.

So what am I? Where do I fit in kink? Or, better, how can I make kink fit me?

I’m an enbydom. A non-binary dominant. For all I know it’s a term I made up. I’ve never seen it before, and Google thinks I’m looking up a word in Welsh.

But it fits. It’s me.

And if I need to create communities and representation and place in kink for enbies (dom and sub) with my own two hands, I’ll do it. Maybe only in a small way. But someway.

I’m stubborn like that.

The Bargain by Jess Mahler is Now Available!

When I started writing The Bargain, I wanted a story with polyamory and kink (especially kink!) that I could relate to. All the femdom fiction I could find at the time was either straight pron or man-hating bitches or just flat out unrealistic and icky.

A lot has changed since then, and while femdom* still isn’t widely written, there’s a decent amount of it that I can read and enjoy.

The funny thing is that while I was actively trying to create a story with polyamory and kink, I unintentionally built my story around much more universal themes.

The kink is there, don’t get me wrong, and I think I did a good job with it. But the story… the story is about family. About what it means to be family. It’s about love and the different forms love can take. It’s about life after trauma, when you think the past is behind you but somehow it still manages to dog you around years after it’s “over.”

Most of all, I think it’s about choice. The most pivotal moments in the story all hinge on someone making a choice. Some of those choices are good ones. Some… not so good. But they all have consequences that ripple through the story. Including, of course, the choice to make a bargain…

The Bargain by Jess Mahler

It was supposed to be a straightforward sacrifice. After their mother was killed by Lord Oeloff, Mattin swore to do anything to protect his sister. When the fae lord came for her, Mattin traded his life and freedom to Oeloff’s enemy for the promise of his sister’s safety. He thought he was prepared for anything. Anything except what he actually

It was supposed to be a political gambit. Struggling against Oeloff’s latest ploy, Jahlene found an unforeseen opening in the arrival of the bitter Mattin. Bringing the stranger into her household was a risk. Trusting him was a bigger one. To protect her family, Jahlene bargained with him. She never guessed how it would end…

Sometimes, what starts as a bargain, becomes something more.

The Bargain is a fantasy thriller exploring themes of family, betrayal, trauma, and sacrifice. It is an “own voices” book for polyamory, kink, and PTSD.

The Bargain by Jess Mahler

The Bargain is now available on Amazon

*Check back tomorrow for more on why my writing this for more femdom rep turned out to be somewhat ironic…

Next Polyamory on Purpose Guide: Polyamory and Kink

After a lot of thought I’ve decided to make the next Polyamorous on Purpose Guide about mixing polyamory and kink.

Why Polyamory and Kink?

I’d originally planned to make the next book about raising kids in polyam families, but then my custody case blew up. Since polyamory was a reason the kids were taken from me, this topic is currently hitting a bit to close to home.

Polyamory and kink has been on my to-do list for a while. Not only is it near and dear to my heart, but, as both kink and polyamory have become increasingly popular, it’s a topic I see a lot of questions about in polyam groups and discussions. Still, I know that Raven Kaldera had a book out on polyamory and D/s relationships. So I thought I’d focus on topics that hadn’t already been covered.

On a whim this spring I picked up Kaldera’s Power Circuits. And well, the truth it isn’t really written for polyamorous people. The whole focus of the book is on helping people in M/s relationships figure out how to do polyamory. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a book that was needed. But it’s actually very different from what I think of when I think of writing about polyamory and kink.

So since I was shelving writing about children for another time, I decided to dust off polyamory and kink as my next topic.

What Will Polyamory and Kink Cover?

Since my main audience is already familiar with polyamory, I’ll start by introducing kink. We’ll look at kink as an activity vs kinky as an identity, the jargon of the kink community, and some of the common kinky activities.

From I don’t have a clear outline yet, but topics will include:

  • how to find polyam & kinky partners
  • navigating kinky/vanilla relationships
  • introducing a vanilla partner to kink
  • safe ways to explore new kinks
  • making D/s and polyam relationships work outside the bedroom
  • advice for a vanilla polyam person who has a partner in an outside-the-bedroom D/s relationship
  • probably other stuff too

Will You Share Your Experience?

I actually have more years in kink than in polyamory, which is saying something. But no one person will experience everything.

  • What would you like to see in a book about polyamory and kink?
  • What do you think polyam folks who are new to kink or are trying to understand a kinky partner should know about kink?
  • Would you be interested in contributing an essay or personal story to the book? ($10 for each accepted contribution, paid on publication)

Since I’m not a sub and have no experience with Big/little dynamics, I’m especially interested in input from folks who are subs and/or littles.