Male Submission Art

Art and visual erotica that depicts masculine submission.

We showcase beautiful imagery where men and other male-identified people are submissive subjects. We aim to challenge stereotypes of the "pathetic" submissive man. Learn more….

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ztvf7jsh8a
Sun Feb 20
Lightly blindfolded and holding the handle of a flogger in hir mouth, a trans-male bottom is beaten by an enthusiastic top.
This photograph is part of a set in an album called Kinky Tea Party, although it arrived with a note titled “Reverse-tea scene,” which is perhaps a more accurate name. The set has numerous fantastic images, and I couldn’t easily decide which to feature here. Ultimately, I felt drawn to the emotional and physical exposure in this one; both models are emotive and, despite the violent symbolism inherent in the sadomasochistic act, neither model embodies violence.
That said, I’d be remiss not to point you at the other photographs in the set I think are particularly beautiful, especially because they reveal a wider, even more fascinating context to the photo shoot, which Sadie, who contributed this image, explained:
I am Sadie, the grinning trans-womyn in the photos.  My partner, the GQ [genderqueer] trans-male identified play-thing in the photos is Tanner Fierce.  The femme GQ photographer is my dear friend Milo Ampersand.
The premise for this shoot was that there is an intentional and awkward disconnect between polite society and the sexual reality of all human interactions.  Milo arranged a half-dozen of hir friends to have a well-dressed tea-party.  Tanner and I had a flogging scene in their midst, and the party-goers were dis-allowed from looking at or acknowledging our presence in any way, as they sipped tea and spoke in faux British accents of the weather and local politics.
What was especially exciting about this scene was the tension between Tanner’s physical submission, and the party-goers psychological submission.  In particular, the man in the grey suit (who is one of Tanner’s best friends) was exquisitely torn between the instruction to abstain from looking, and the irresistible desire to engage with the sexual reality of the space.  This tension, and the power of dominating without any direct interaction was the primary appeal of the scene.  The result was what I have come to think of as a reverse-tea scene, where everyone serves themselves tea, for one-domme’s pleasure.
That. Is. Awesome.
-maymay

Lightly blindfolded and holding the handle of a flogger in hir mouth, a trans-male bottom is beaten by an enthusiastic top.

This photograph is part of a set in an album called Kinky Tea Party, although it arrived with a note titled “Reverse-tea scene,” which is perhaps a more accurate name. The set has numerous fantastic images, and I couldn’t easily decide which to feature here. Ultimately, I felt drawn to the emotional and physical exposure in this one; both models are emotive and, despite the violent symbolism inherent in the sadomasochistic act, neither model embodies violence.

That said, I’d be remiss not to point you at the other photographs in the set I think are particularly beautiful, especially because they reveal a wider, even more fascinating context to the photo shoot, which Sadie, who contributed this image, explained:

I am Sadie, the grinning trans-womyn in the photos. My partner, the GQ [genderqueer] trans-male identified play-thing in the photos is Tanner Fierce. The femme GQ photographer is my dear friend Milo Ampersand.

The premise for this shoot was that there is an intentional and awkward disconnect between polite society and the sexual reality of all human interactions. Milo arranged a half-dozen of hir friends to have a well-dressed tea-party. Tanner and I had a flogging scene in their midst, and the party-goers were dis-allowed from looking at or acknowledging our presence in any way, as they sipped tea and spoke in faux British accents of the weather and local politics.

What was especially exciting about this scene was the tension between Tanner’s physical submission, and the party-goers psychological submission. In particular, the man in the grey suit (who is one of Tanner’s best friends) was exquisitely torn between the instruction to abstain from looking, and the irresistible desire to engage with the sexual reality of the space. This tension, and the power of dominating without any direct interaction was the primary appeal of the scene. The result was what I have come to think of as a reverse-tea scene, where everyone serves themselves tea, for one-domme’s pleasure.

That. Is. Awesome.

-maymay

ztvf7jsh8a
Fri Feb 18
A young man, gagged with ribbon, clutches at the white sheets he’s resting on.
This image of a “submissive boy with a rosary” was suggested by Emily Marigold. I like it in part for the obvious talent in the drawing, the signs of anguish, evinced by lacerations on the man’s shoulder and the smudged eyeliner, and the fact that he’s wearing eyeliner in the first place. And, yes, I also like seeing the broken rosary, since it offers a narrative hook to imagine him as someone religiously persecuted—a martyr.
Martyrdom is a common narrative among BDSM players; “I’ll take it for you.” Certainly sexy, but many utilize the script to abdicate personal agency; rarely do these bottoms remember the more important words: “I want to take it for you.” As Dr. Staci Newmahr writes,  “Martyrdom bottoming does not rely on the ultimate denial of pleasure, but in adherence to a martyr script.”
It’s unfair to levy blame on the bottoms who display such unthinking loyalty to this cultural script, though, especially the men. Other than martyrdom, common characterizations of men bottoming rely on archetypal feminization, whether implicitly (the meme of submissive men doing housework is a particularly sexist example) or explicitly (“sissified sissy maids who insist on talking about their sissy clitty”). These are obviously problematic formulations for any masculine-of-center individuals, not just men.
This may explain why I’ve seen what’s become a predictable uptick in suggestions to this site featuring Saint Sebastian, perhaps the most famous Christian martyr save Jesus himself. It’s not the abundance of the martyrdom script I find frustrating, but rather its omnipresence. This ubiquity has real (and, to me, troubling) consequences; as Dr. Newmahr points out, “A self-identified male top who sometimes bottoms, for example, is more likely to claim identity as a top than as a switch. A woman with the same inclinations is likelier…to consider herself a switch.” (See Playing on the Edge: Sadomasochism, Risk, and Intimacy, p. 109, ¶2.)
In other words, this goes some distance towards explaining that “the number problem"—the assertion that there are simply not as many dominant women as there are dominant men—is an unfortunate cultural construction.
-maymay
Attribution update: This piece is called Imprisoned and was created by feimo, originally published on DeviantArt.

A young man, gagged with ribbon, clutches at the white sheets he’s resting on.

This image of a “submissive boy with a rosary” was suggested by Emily Marigold. I like it in part for the obvious talent in the drawing, the signs of anguish, evinced by lacerations on the man’s shoulder and the smudged eyeliner, and the fact that he’s wearing eyeliner in the first place. And, yes, I also like seeing the broken rosary, since it offers a narrative hook to imagine him as someone religiously persecuted—a martyr.

Martyrdom is a common narrative among BDSM players; “I’ll take it for you.” Certainly sexy, but many utilize the script to abdicate personal agency; rarely do these bottoms remember the more important words: “I want to take it for you.” As Dr. Staci Newmahr writes, “Martyrdom bottoming does not rely on the ultimate denial of pleasure, but in adherence to a martyr script.”

It’s unfair to levy blame on the bottoms who display such unthinking loyalty to this cultural script, though, especially the men. Other than martyrdom, common characterizations of men bottoming rely on archetypal feminization, whether implicitly (the meme of submissive men doing housework is a particularly sexist example) or explicitly (“sissified sissy maids who insist on talking about their sissy clitty”). These are obviously problematic formulations for any masculine-of-center individuals, not just men.

This may explain why I’ve seen what’s become a predictable uptick in suggestions to this site featuring Saint Sebastian, perhaps the most famous Christian martyr save Jesus himself. It’s not the abundance of the martyrdom script I find frustrating, but rather its omnipresence. This ubiquity has real (and, to me, troubling) consequences; as Dr. Newmahr points out, “A self-identified male top who sometimes bottoms, for example, is more likely to claim identity as a top than as a switch. A woman with the same inclinations is likelier…to consider herself a switch.” (See Playing on the Edge: Sadomasochism, Risk, and Intimacy, p. 109, ¶2.)

In other words, this goes some distance towards explaining that “the number problem"—the assertion that there are simply not as many dominant women as there are dominant men—is an unfortunate cultural construction.

-maymay

Attribution update: This piece is called Imprisoned and was created by feimo, originally published on DeviantArt.

ztvf7jsh8a
Wed Jan 26
Facing away from the camera while on all fours, a bald, naked man presents his ass to be caned by a woman smiling into the camera. She wears a T-shirt, jeans, and multi-colored socks.
This photo was brought to my attention by Molly Ren, who simply wrote, “This photo sums up everything that Male Submission Art is about.” Well, perhaps at first. What Male Submission Art is about these days, however, is less the images and much more the wonderful responses to them. Thankfully, here, too, this image provides a fantastic showcase. To wit, here’s one thread of commentary this picture has received online:
iheartsmut:

I love it too!  I have my domme moments, so far just in my head, but I think, geez, I need a new wardrobe before I can try any of this.  Maybe not.  Love her impish look, too—another encouraging sign, because I know I don’t have a bitch goddess in me.
continuousstateofdesire:

I adore this pic.  She is cute, she is smiling, and she holds a cane.  I wish there were more D/s images where the Domme is not dressed in stereotypical atire (not that there’s anything wrong with that once in a while).  This pic gives me hope that the cute, unassuming, woman at work or at the cafe is in reality a pervy Domme who might want me to crawl around for her. 
ireensarrows:

dishevelleddomina:

Awwwa, look at the cute redheaded domme in comfy clothes preparing to cane her yummy bald fucktoy…
sigh of contentment.

This picture makes me so many kinds of happy. It reminds me of the one time a sub told me that I cannot possibly go about dominatrixing in my cute striped socks. Why yes, sweetheart, I think I can. (Not him, though. He got dumped.)



The BDSM community ghetto, which I argue has been a largely self-imposed social stricture of internalized exclusion, does seem to be betraying its frailty. I am at once unspeakably proud and enormously humbled to recognize whatever small part I’ve had in tearing down these walls.
-maymay

Facing away from the camera while on all fours, a bald, naked man presents his ass to be caned by a woman smiling into the camera. She wears a T-shirt, jeans, and multi-colored socks.

This photo was brought to my attention by Molly Ren, who simply wrote, “This photo sums up everything that Male Submission Art is about.” Well, perhaps at first. What Male Submission Art is about these days, however, is less the images and much more the wonderful responses to them. Thankfully, here, too, this image provides a fantastic showcase. To wit, here’s one thread of commentary this picture has received online:

iheartsmut:

I love it too!  I have my domme moments, so far just in my head, but I think, geez, I need a new wardrobe before I can try any of this.  Maybe not.  Love her impish look, too—another encouraging sign, because I know I don’t have a bitch goddess in me.

continuousstateofdesire:

I adore this pic.  She is cute, she is smiling, and she holds a cane.  I wish there were more D/s images where the Domme is not dressed in stereotypical atire (not that there’s anything wrong with that once in a while).  This pic gives me hope that the cute, unassuming, woman at work or at the cafe is in reality a pervy Domme who might want me to crawl around for her. 

ireensarrows:

dishevelleddomina:

Awwwa, look at the cute redheaded domme in comfy clothes preparing to cane her yummy bald fucktoy…

sigh of contentment.

This picture makes me so many kinds of happy. It reminds me of the one time a sub told me that I cannot possibly go about dominatrixing in my cute striped socks. Why yes, sweetheart, I think I can. (Not him, though. He got dumped.)

The BDSM community ghetto, which I argue has been a largely self-imposed social stricture of internalized exclusion, does seem to be betraying its frailty. I am at once unspeakably proud and enormously humbled to recognize whatever small part I’ve had in tearing down these walls.

-maymay

ztvf7jsh8a
Tue Jan 25

On March 22, I’ll be speaking at The CSPH. Here’s the presentation title and description I just confirmed:

Remaking Male Submission: Confronting sexism in BDSM

Oscar Wilde once said, “Everything in the world is about sex, except sex. Sex is about power.” In this interactive seminar and slideshow, we’ll examine the nature of sex and power by exploring common cultural depictions of sexually dominant women, and especially submissive men. Join maymay, a sexually submissive man himself and curator of the crowd-sourced erotic photography blog MaleSubmissionArt.com, to tackle deeply-held beliefs about gender and challenge assumptions about “kinky” sex. Just how prevalent, or lacking, is imagery of submissive men? Further, does the existing imagery really offer an alternative to mainstream sexual stereotyping, or does it actually serve to reify the—pun intended—dominant paradigm of male power? Is the public BDSM subculture a haven of free expression, or simply another cage of rigid gender roles dressed up (often literally) in different clothes?

If you’re in or around the Providence, Rhode Island area in March, please come out to this event. :) If not, please spread the word.

ztvf7jsh8a
Wed Dec 22
A man rests naked in a fetal position, one foot cozily curled around the other, laying on the legs of his partner.
This is an adorable image, provided by T-anon, who had the following explanation for it:
This is a photo I took of my partner just after a rather fun bout of BDSM. Once I had untied him from the bedpost he curled into my thigh, shuddering and moaning that he loved me. I just about exploded with the rush of adoration. He was so beautiful in that position with the ruddy marks from my nails across his back, the blindfold and the medical restraints still tied to him. I simply had to take a photo.
It has since become a mutual favourite, commemorating our love and our trust. We thought it was worth putting on this site as a way of supporting safe and healthy sex along with the beauty that is submissive men.
Ordinarily, I try to have something especially witty or insightful to say when I post here. In this case, however, I feel adding too much of my own would merely be a shadow to the literal and emotional light emanating from this photograph.
I am sincerely thankful to T-anon and their partner for sharing a moment of such evident love with me, and I am sincerely grateful to have the privilege of sharing it more widely with others in the world we all share.
-maymay

A man rests naked in a fetal position, one foot cozily curled around the other, laying on the legs of his partner.

This is an adorable image, provided by T-anon, who had the following explanation for it:

This is a photo I took of my partner just after a rather fun bout of BDSM. Once I had untied him from the bedpost he curled into my thigh, shuddering and moaning that he loved me. I just about exploded with the rush of adoration. He was so beautiful in that position with the ruddy marks from my nails across his back, the blindfold and the medical restraints still tied to him. I simply had to take a photo.

It has since become a mutual favourite, commemorating our love and our trust. We thought it was worth putting on this site as a way of supporting safe and healthy sex along with the beauty that is submissive men.

Ordinarily, I try to have something especially witty or insightful to say when I post here. In this case, however, I feel adding too much of my own would merely be a shadow to the literal and emotional light emanating from this photograph.

I am sincerely thankful to T-anon and their partner for sharing a moment of such evident love with me, and I am sincerely grateful to have the privilege of sharing it more widely with others in the world we all share.

-maymay

ztvf7jsh8a
Sun Nov 28

This image was submitted by Jason C. Woodson, who’s also its creator. The artwork is part of a series called Bound (You Felons On Trial). I’ll leave analysis of the image itself in Jason’s words alone:
Bound (You Felons On Trial) was created in response to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, a bill introduced [in Britain] to ban extreme forms of pornography. In an article published on the Index for Censorship website, lawyer John Lovatt advised that There are many books it would be safer to mutilate—or destroy altogether.
The idea of consenting adults burning books in their backyards to avoid an intrusive State was alarming to me. As a gay artist whose work is often sexual in nature and could be seen by some as of an obscene character as described under Section 63 of the Act, I was reminded of a poem by Walt Whitman. Entitled You Felons on Trial, it asks, Who am I too that I am not on trial or in prison?
Many classes of people, such as the BDSM community, will be affected by this legislation. That’s why I chose to photograph a male nude in a BDSM act. The images are defaced but hidden inside them run lines from Whitman’s work, ending with the last line of the poem: And henceforth I will not deny them—for how can I deny myself?
I’ve discussed §63 before. At best misguided and at worst malicious, the law criminalizes possession of sexual depictions the State finds objectionable. It is not hyperbole to explain that under this legislation, you are subject to pain of criminal prosecution even if someone else sends you the objectionable material.
Laws like this, frequently lobbied for by pro-censorship groups euphemistically calling themselves anti-pornography feminists (or, more frighteningly, anti-trafficking), are a clear and present danger to the citizenry—to you. They represent a (barely) pseudo-fascist moralism borne of the same virulent disease as rampant nationalism or religious doctrine, and corrupt the humanity of government with a two-faced appeal to an individual’s most humane ability: empathy. A form of security theater, it takes advantage of a demanding and ignorant public by using the lowest common denominator of reason and behavior to craft law and policy—but the lowest common denominator does not make for sound law.
Sexuality is a frequent scapegoat in attempts to justify power-grabbing laws, and you need to be concerned about that regardless of your sexuality or place of residence. Australia has recently seen the creation of a literal secret government Internet blacklist whose scope, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, “had been rapidly expanded from child porn to other material including political discussions.” Since it’s all on one list, I guess the Australian government considers child pornography and political discussion to be the same thing.
Americans enjoy precious First Amendment protection, but the anti-porn pseudo-fascist moralists are batting for the same pro-censorship team as the RIAA, who have recently introduced the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). A copy-cat law, COICA would mandate government-decreed Internet censorship of any site found to be infringing record and movie industry copyrights. Since copyright infringement is a relatively unpopular cause, mark my words: child porn will be a future excuse.
-maymay

This image was submitted by Jason C. Woodson, who’s also its creator. The artwork is part of a series called Bound (You Felons On Trial). I’ll leave analysis of the image itself in Jason’s words alone:

Bound (You Felons On Trial) was created in response to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, a bill introduced [in Britain] to ban extreme forms of pornography. In an article published on the Index for Censorship website, lawyer John Lovatt advised that There are many books it would be safer to mutilate—or destroy altogether.

The idea of consenting adults burning books in their backyards to avoid an intrusive State was alarming to me. As a gay artist whose work is often sexual in nature and could be seen by some as of an obscene character as described under Section 63 of the Act, I was reminded of a poem by Walt Whitman. Entitled You Felons on Trial, it asks, Who am I too that I am not on trial or in prison?

Many classes of people, such as the BDSM community, will be affected by this legislation. That’s why I chose to photograph a male nude in a BDSM act. The images are defaced but hidden inside them run lines from Whitman’s work, ending with the last line of the poem: And henceforth I will not deny them—for how can I deny myself?

I’ve discussed §63 before. At best misguided and at worst malicious, the law criminalizes possession of sexual depictions the State finds objectionable. It is not hyperbole to explain that under this legislation, you are subject to pain of criminal prosecution even if someone else sends you the objectionable material.

Laws like this, frequently lobbied for by pro-censorship groups euphemistically calling themselves anti-pornography feminists (or, more frighteningly, anti-trafficking), are a clear and present danger to the citizenry—to you. They represent a (barely) pseudo-fascist moralism borne of the same virulent disease as rampant nationalism or religious doctrine, and corrupt the humanity of government with a two-faced appeal to an individual’s most humane ability: empathy. A form of security theater, it takes advantage of a demanding and ignorant public by using the lowest common denominator of reason and behavior to craft law and policy—but the lowest common denominator does not make for sound law.

Sexuality is a frequent scapegoat in attempts to justify power-grabbing laws, and you need to be concerned about that regardless of your sexuality or place of residence. Australia has recently seen the creation of a literal secret government Internet blacklist whose scope, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, “had been rapidly expanded from child porn to other material including political discussions.” Since it’s all on one list, I guess the Australian government considers child pornography and political discussion to be the same thing.

Americans enjoy precious First Amendment protection, but the anti-porn pseudo-fascist moralists are batting for the same pro-censorship team as the RIAA, who have recently introduced the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). A copy-cat law, COICA would mandate government-decreed Internet censorship of any site found to be infringing record and movie industry copyrights. Since copyright infringement is a relatively unpopular cause, mark my words: child porn will be a future excuse.

-maymay

ztvf7jsh8a
Sat Nov 27

Search for pictures of men being submissive, and you end up seeing pictures of women being dominant.

Changing that simple fact was what Male Submission Art sought to address. In this 20 minute audio clip, recorded way back in April of 2009, I talk a bit about the current media landscape with regards to representations of submissive masculinity, which should be interesting listening if you come here “for the articles.”

And on that note, you might also particularly enjoy Issue 7 of Filament Magazine.

ztvf7jsh8a
Tue Nov 23
A man’s back bears raised red marks that spell out the words, “I LOVE YOU.”
This photograph was submitted anonymously but arrived with a heartwarming note attached. So heartwarming, in fact, that despite my own current solitude I audibly responded to myself reading it:

I’ve had a rough few weeks.  A series of setbacks in my career and social life have made me feel very isolated and alone.  In a moment of weakness, I asked my Girlfriend to show me that I am needed, that I am worth something to someone.
This was her answer.
It couldn’t have been more perfect.  Her willingness to mark me proves her ownership of me.  Her authority and acceptance of me as her property makes me worthwhile.
I love you בעלה.

For the monolingual, בעלה is the Hebrew word for “Mistress,” which is relevant because it gives her two roles: Girlfriend, and בעלה. Far from unusual, many relationships between two people have more than two roles. The monolith of “husband” and “wife,” or “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” or even simply “partner,” is a dramatic oversimplification, one that too often obscures relationships like “supporter,” “sounding board,” “buddy,” or even “cheerleader,” all of which and more are crucial for relationships to thrive.
Further, this is not an unusual concept, or even one the mainstream rejects. Yet its application to the realm of relationship choice is bizarrely downright taboo. I’m reminded of a recent email chain letter I received the other day, which read, in part:

When I was little, I used to believe in the concept of one best friend, And then I started to become a woman. And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up, God would show you the best in many friends.
[…]
It may all be wrapped up in one woman, But for many, it’s wrapped up in several. One from 7th grade, One from high school, Several from the college years, A couple from old jobs…

Lots of people are so ready to accept the need for many friends. Why are they so eager to demonize the need for many loves, as a new Canadian law set to criminalize multi-partnered relationships with jail time up to 5 years seems to do? Similarly, many people readily accept that different people’s ideas of worth are different, often citing “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but then turn right around and decry BDSM’ers notions of what makes us feel worthy of love.
When it comes to self-worth, love is not different than friendship. Both must play by the same rules: yours.
-maymay
Update (Dec. 27, 2010): Apparently someone thinks this post is anti-Semitic because I got the translation wrong. They say the Hebrew word doesn’t mean “Mistress,” but rather “Husband.” What they may not have realized is that I looked the word up in the dictionary (as they’d have seen if they bothered to look at the link the word points to, so even if I’m wrong about its meaning, I’m not a primary source) and that I’m Jewish. Further, while I’m no longer fluent in it, Hebrew was my first language. It seems I’m not the only one who may be jumping to conclusions based on incomplete information.

A man’s back bears raised red marks that spell out the words, “I LOVE YOU.”

This photograph was submitted anonymously but arrived with a heartwarming note attached. So heartwarming, in fact, that despite my own current solitude I audibly responded to myself reading it:

I’ve had a rough few weeks. A series of setbacks in my career and social life have made me feel very isolated and alone. In a moment of weakness, I asked my Girlfriend to show me that I am needed, that I am worth something to someone.

This was her answer.

It couldn’t have been more perfect. Her willingness to mark me proves her ownership of me. Her authority and acceptance of me as her property makes me worthwhile.

I love you בעלה.

For the monolingual, בעלה is the Hebrew word for “Mistress,” which is relevant because it gives her two roles: Girlfriend, and בעלה. Far from unusual, many relationships between two people have more than two roles. The monolith of “husband” and “wife,” or “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” or even simply “partner,” is a dramatic oversimplification, one that too often obscures relationships like “supporter,” “sounding board,” “buddy,” or even “cheerleader,” all of which and more are crucial for relationships to thrive.

Further, this is not an unusual concept, or even one the mainstream rejects. Yet its application to the realm of relationship choice is bizarrely downright taboo. I’m reminded of a recent email chain letter I received the other day, which read, in part:

When I was little,
I used to believe in the concept of one best friend,
And then I started to become a woman.
And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up,
God would show you the best in many friends.

[…]

It may all be wrapped up in one woman, But for many, it’s wrapped up in several.
One from 7th grade,
One from high school,
Several from the college years,
A couple from old jobs…

Lots of people are so ready to accept the need for many friends. Why are they so eager to demonize the need for many loves, as a new Canadian law set to criminalize multi-partnered relationships with jail time up to 5 years seems to do? Similarly, many people readily accept that different people’s ideas of worth are different, often citing “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but then turn right around and decry BDSM’ers notions of what makes us feel worthy of love.

When it comes to self-worth, love is not different than friendship. Both must play by the same rules: yours.

-maymay

Update (Dec. 27, 2010): Apparently someone thinks this post is anti-Semitic because I got the translation wrong. They say the Hebrew word doesn’t mean “Mistress,” but rather “Husband.” What they may not have realized is that I looked the word up in the dictionary (as they’d have seen if they bothered to look at the link the word points to, so even if I’m wrong about its meaning, I’m not a primary source) and that I’m Jewish. Further, while I’m no longer fluent in it, Hebrew was my first language. It seems I’m not the only one who may be jumping to conclusions based on incomplete information.

ztvf7jsh8a
Mon Nov 8
One man licks the stomach of another whose hands remain at his sides, near the back of unbuttoned jeans slipping down his hips.
The anonymous contributor who suggested this photograph offered a delightfully unexpected interpretation:
Despite the men not being my ‘type’, I find myself coming back to this photo again and again. I think it’s because the man whose face you can see seems like the top to me—there’s a stillness to the other man, with his hands on the backs of his thighs, like he was told not to move or touch and had to hold onto himself to make sure he didn’t do either. The look on the other man’s face is also beautiful to me; he might be looking up (usually a submissive position in most porn) but he seems fierce and watchful.
It’s interesting to note that “watchful” can accurately describe both so-called submissive and dominant behavior. Can “fierce”? I think so; the man on the right has what appears to be a scar on his side, and if that man is the submissive partner, then of the two, his body is showing more grit.
Reversing assumptions is a precious skill; compassion and empathy are circumscribed without it. Although I first assumed submissiveness in the man whose face we can see because of the way he is licking the other model, once I understood the alternative possibility, I noticed that the man doing the licking is the active partner here. And, as our anonymous contributor correctly states, since the man doing the licking is in the stereotypically submissive position, if he is the submissive partner, then it’s his activeness itself that queers this image.
So much for a simple narrative.
-maymay

One man licks the stomach of another whose hands remain at his sides, near the back of unbuttoned jeans slipping down his hips.

The anonymous contributor who suggested this photograph offered a delightfully unexpected interpretation:

Despite the men not being my ‘type’, I find myself coming back to this photo again and again. I think it’s because the man whose face you can see seems like the top to me—there’s a stillness to the other man, with his hands on the backs of his thighs, like he was told not to move or touch and had to hold onto himself to make sure he didn’t do either. The look on the other man’s face is also beautiful to me; he might be looking up (usually a submissive position in most porn) but he seems fierce and watchful.

It’s interesting to note that “watchful” can accurately describe both so-called submissive and dominant behavior. Can “fierce”? I think so; the man on the right has what appears to be a scar on his side, and if that man is the submissive partner, then of the two, his body is showing more grit.

Reversing assumptions is a precious skill; compassion and empathy are circumscribed without it. Although I first assumed submissiveness in the man whose face we can see because of the way he is licking the other model, once I understood the alternative possibility, I noticed that the man doing the licking is the active partner here. And, as our anonymous contributor correctly states, since the man doing the licking is in the stereotypically submissive position, if he is the submissive partner, then it’s his activeness itself that queers this image.

So much for a simple narrative.

-maymay

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Sun Nov 7
In the glow of sunlight, a shirtless man on his back locks eyes with his clothed partner looking down at him.
Dylan sent in this photograph with the following note:
This is a photo of myself and my partner Cedar. A friend shot a series of photos for us on a winter morning in Cedar’s bedroom. I love the look on his face as he looks up at me: honest, willing, open, attentive and very turned on.
I am a genderqueer boy (ftm), and Cedar is cisgender. The degree to which C.’s being came through in the photos is remarkable to me—his expressiveness was encouraged, not restricted, by the presence of the camera.
While I presume a power dynamic was palpable for Dylan or Cedar in the moment, it’s extremely subtle for me as a viewer. Nevertheless, it’s there, in Cedar’s splayed arms, in his nakedness contrasted with Dylan’s being clothed, in their eyes and, especially, in their mouths. Even from this angle, Dylan’s lips seem sharp and piercing while Cedar’s seem flush and parting. (Also, wow, he has pretty lips.)
So the camera, as useful and remarkable a tool as it is, has its limits, because the photograph alone is extremely soft spoken about Cedar’s submissive stance here. That’s where Dylan’s note comes in: realizing Dylan is genderqueer adds a whole new layer of implication on an already somewhat ambiguously gendered photograph. Now we also see Dylan’s travel, begun where the hegemony says sexual power cannot exist—the female and the feminine—and ending in a place of sexual domination, which the hegemony says only men can obtain. Cedar’s submission, in that light, is all the more transgressive—and all the more accepting.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
-maymay

In the glow of sunlight, a shirtless man on his back locks eyes with his clothed partner looking down at him.

Dylan sent in this photograph with the following note:

This is a photo of myself and my partner Cedar. A friend shot a series of photos for us on a winter morning in Cedar’s bedroom. I love the look on his face as he looks up at me: honest, willing, open, attentive and very turned on.

I am a genderqueer boy (ftm), and Cedar is cisgender. The degree to which C.’s being came through in the photos is remarkable to me—his expressiveness was encouraged, not restricted, by the presence of the camera.

While I presume a power dynamic was palpable for Dylan or Cedar in the moment, it’s extremely subtle for me as a viewer. Nevertheless, it’s there, in Cedar’s splayed arms, in his nakedness contrasted with Dylan’s being clothed, in their eyes and, especially, in their mouths. Even from this angle, Dylan’s lips seem sharp and piercing while Cedar’s seem flush and parting. (Also, wow, he has pretty lips.)

So the camera, as useful and remarkable a tool as it is, has its limits, because the photograph alone is extremely soft spoken about Cedar’s submissive stance here. That’s where Dylan’s note comes in: realizing Dylan is genderqueer adds a whole new layer of implication on an already somewhat ambiguously gendered photograph. Now we also see Dylan’s travel, begun where the hegemony says sexual power cannot exist—the female and the feminine—and ending in a place of sexual domination, which the hegemony says only men can obtain. Cedar’s submission, in that light, is all the more transgressive—and all the more accepting.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

-maymay