When you conjure the word femdom, often the stereotypical vision of a strict sadistic dominant female wearing a latex corset, thigh high boots and yielding a nasty whip emerges.
Yes, please Mistress!
Yet, put gentle in front of that term and the mind may become confounded.
The term “gentle femdom” (or GFD for short) may seem like a dichotomy, with “gentle” being on one end of the spectrum and “femdom” on the opposite. After all, femdom (a term that arose in the 80s to define dominant women in BDSM porn) means female dominance, or one “who takes charge during consensual sex acts involving power, pain, or humiliation.” Oxford Dictionary further defines a dominatrix (another word for femdom) as “a dominating woman, especially one who takes the sadistic role in sadomasochistic sexual activities” or “a woman who controls a man during sex, often using violence to give sexual pleasure.”
In the above references, we see no words to describe “gentle” femdom. But, just as BDSM is multifaceted, femdom also encompasses a wide variety of nuances, playing styles, kinks, fetishes, relationships and activities within the BDSM dynamic, some gentler than others.
So, what exactly is gentle femdom, and how it is different from the stereotypes of female dominants portrayed in both the media and porn?
To find out what gentle femdom is, I asked two professional femdoms, Ms. Ava Durga and Mistress Carol, to help unmask the term, and define its complexities as it relates to their lifestyle and work within the broader spectrum of the BDSM scene.
Read on to discover what gentle femdom means from their unique perspectives.
Domina Doll: “So what IS gentle femdom?”
Mistress Carol: “What exactly is gentle femdom? I’m not sure I know… I’m a kind, compassionate person, so maybe this side of my personality is the gentle femdom side. But, to me it is just a label, or a way to pigeonhole someone into a defined role. BDSM is creative and multifaceted. Labels tend to limit your exploration and identity.”
Ms. Ava: “I’d say gentle femdom acts as an affectionate leader or owner for a submissive. Her sub serves her from a place of devotion and desire, or a drive for acceptance and self-improvement, unlike obedience that’s imposed through force or humiliation. It’s collaborative under the surface… an elegant give and take that benefits both partners.”
Domina Doll: “How does gentle femdom relate to your domming style?”
Ms. Ava: “My demeanor is accepting, affectionate, encouraging, playful, and protective. With a personal partner, it’s also very sensual and teasing.
A partner once said it felt like “being embraced by a Goddess rather than straightjacketed by a diva.” I like that.
It’s devotion without demanding. Service is offered as a gift, without the need for coercion or harsh reinforcement. In return, they [the submissives] receive emotional safety, guidance, and a partner to explore various fantasies with.”
Mistress Carol: “Although I’ve professionally “dommed” with other ladies in paid sessions, this is not generally my line of work. I’m a hypnotist and I love creating “mental journeys” into my world for others to enjoy.
However, I personally never engage in mental pain or humiliation. It goes against my own beliefs and principles. That doesn’t decrease the effectiveness of my domination nor do I scoff at those who enjoy giving it or receiving it.”
Domina Doll: “In what ways, do you use gentle domming in your play or relationships?”
Mistress Carol: “I create erotic hypnosis and there are all types of men who listen to my work. I generally always come across as dominant and assertive in my work, but sometimes I soften the experience to fit those customers who might feel truly uncomfortable in a full on femdom experience.
In my daily life I’m not always sitting in my femdom persona and use it for partner BDSM experiences and harder core erotic hypnosis creations. It would be exhausting to be there full time.”
Ms. Ava: “The physical play isn’t always gentle, but the psychology is always soft. I rarely raise my voice. Even when using impact play (spanking, caning, paddling, flogging, etc.), it’s administered for physical pleasure, for playful “punishment,” or to facilitate an altered state of consciousness—not to express disapproval. I may rub their ass and sweet-talk them between strokes. Punishment for someone who disappoints me is withdrawal of attention, not infliction of pain.
I don’t ‘force’ anyone to do anything… I don’t even like it in role play. It’s against my nature and personal philosophy—strange as that may sound from a domme. I make them into better, happier men by guiding from a place of loving authority and paying attention to what makes them tick.”
Domina Doll: “What types of gentle femdom play do you and your play partner(s) enjoy exploring together?”
Ms. Ava: “In a personal relationship, I love service and devotion. Extreme chivalry. Body worship. Tease and denial. Impact play. Thoughtful surprises. Protection. Mutual appreciation. A substrate of playfulness and affection that permeates daily life. A focus on my happiness that’s reciprocal. Enough distance and novelty to keep the passion alive. Think of traditional romance on steroids, with a few kinky twists.”
Mistress Carol: “On days I’m feeling less physical, I love to use hypnosis in our femdom play. There are no floggers, no bindings, no internally applied devices and though the D/s dynamic is still fully on play, a hypnosis session can be loving, gentle, deep and opening, creating a greater bond between players. Although, after a good long trance I can’t help but reach for the nipple clamps to snap him out of it.”
Domina Doll: “In your opinion, how is “gentle femdom” different than other types of BDSM play?”
Mistress Carol: “You can participate in all sorts of BDSM activities while being gentle with your partner or you can turn up the heat and push limits. I think femdom is femdom, gentle or otherwise.
Engaging in D/s play or BDSM is strengthening for couples in whatever capacity they want to enjoy it or are comfortable with. The amount of trust and growth that can be experienced in this realm is huge. It all starts with communication and acceptance. Be open to new things. You might discover you enjoy getting “kinky”.”
Ms. Ava: “I’d say it’s more about the attitude than particular activities. Rather than a D/s dynamic based on fear of pain or disapproval, it’s rooted in mutual affection and a drive to please without power struggles or harsh punishments.”
Domina Doll: “What would you say to others in the kink community who don’t think gentle femdom is “real” BDSM, because it doesn’t involve physical or mental pain, including harsh punishments and humiliation?”
Ms. Ava: “The DS in BDSM stands for dominance and submission, which is unquestionably what this is. A dom-sub relationship doesn’t have to involve sadomasochism (SM) and bondage and discipline (BD) to fall under the BDSM umbrella.
The trouble is the public’s image of femdoms. The porn industry reinforces the stereotype of female dominants as domineering control freaks who get wet forcing submissives to their knees, because the theatrics make more stimulating visuals. And that style is a turn-on for many people. But the assumption that “real femdom” must be aggressive, forceful, and bossy in daily life can grow tiresome for those of us with a more subtle approach.”
Mistress Carol: “That’s like comparing apples to oranges. Real BDSM doesn’t have to involve pain, punishment or humiliation. BDSM is what two (or more) consenting adults want it to be within the realm of “Bondage, Discipline, Domination, Submission, Sadism, Masochism”.
Why is it we always have to label everything and react negatively when it doesn’t fit our preconceived opinions of what it should be? Just enjoy your own levels inside this huge world of experimentation.”
So, What IS Gentle Femdom?
To sum it up, gentle femdom can’t be characterized by one type of person or play style. The more people you ask, the more definitions you will get.
However, it tends to be a more compassionate type of female dominance—a benevolent Goddess, mentor, teacher, or familiar role. It is based on intimacy, mutual pleasure, respect, and even empowerment. While it can sometimes involve aspects of bondage, chastity, or discipline, it is done from a place of loving care within the power dynamic, rather than harsh disapproval or punishment. Rarely does it consist of extreme pain or humiliation.
What Activities Could Be Considered a Part of the Gentle Femdom Playset?
Again, any activity could be a part of the gentle femdom power dynamic, and would depend on both the partners’ particular interests and desires.
Nevertheless, some common themes include feminization, male chastity, orgasm control, pegging, tease and denial, sensation play, erotic hypnosis, pet play, nurse, teacher, Mommy roleplaying, sissification, crossdressing and age play. Other activities could involve all the usual types of BDSM play like bondage, blindfolds, collaring, body or Goddess worship, queening and pussy worship, foot fetishes, breast worship, cuckolding, tickling, household servitude, and various aspects of dominance and submission, with praise, rewards and affection instead of punishment and humiliation as the motivation.
Gentle femdom is whatever turns you on.
A Big Thank You to My Interview Guests:
Ms. Ava Durga from CircleofQ.com is a professional dominant who specializes in advising crossdressers (CDs), sissies, and men who are exploring the feminine aspects of their nature and their sexuality. She also works with wives and girlfriends to help them understand and support a CD partner.
Mistress Carol of EroticHypnosisForMen.com is a dominatrix, erotic hypnotist and clinical hypnotherapist. Praised as one of “the best in the industry,” Mistress Carol is an expert in controlling the mind and taking her clients into the deep surrender of erotic hypnosis, submission and male sexual fantasy.
Domina Doll is a Passion, Pleasure, and Empowerment Expert, a Sex Witch, Magic Manifesting Alchemist & Metaphysical Muse. Her work has been published in Sexpert.com, Bustle, Kinkly, YourTango, SheKnows, Slutty Girl Problems, Thought Catalog, and Women’s Health. She is Managing Editor of Sexpert.com, with BFA in film, photography, and feminist film studies. Her photography, film and installation work has been featured in UNB Art Center, NetPorn Amsterdam Expo, Tidal Wave Film Festival, Center for Art Tapes, Anna Leonownes Gallery, to name a few. Domina is a Certified Sex, Love and Intimacy Coach, Reiki III Master, and Kundalini Reiki Energy Healer and has trained in several holistic modalities including Sacred Tantra Sexuality, Ancient Taoist Sexual Empowerment, Sex Magic and Manifesting, Jungian & Goddess Archetypes, as well as Water Priestessing. Domina lives in Port Saxon, Nova Scotia by the ocean.