Seize Him! Considering the Man in Chains

26 Oct
Behold! Hell is leashed.

Behold! Hell is leashed.

By Alexa Day

Last week, I got myself all fluttery inside talking about the abduction fantasy and the $65,000 Jaguar F coupe. Truthfully, I’m still a little fluttery over all that. In the course of our discussion in the comments, my colleague Elizabeth Shore suggested that I should address the equally tingly issue of men attached by chain to showerheads, beds, and/or other fixtures and heavy pieces of furniture.

Of course, I’m happy to pursue the pressing topics of the day for your enjoyment.

I mentioned last week that I found the imagery of various hot shirtless men in bondage stimulating. I personally prefer looking at hot shirtless men with chains or handcuffs, but in a pinch, rope will also work nicely. The reasons for this are just a little complicated, now that I stop to think about them.

The man in chains is in chains for a reason. My favorite reason is that he might be dangerous. Russell Crowe’s Maximus in Gladiator is my favorite example. When Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla goes to visit him in a suitably dark place, he’s chained to the wall, but not totally immobilized. (A wealthy Roman lady could pay for a gladiator’s sexual favors, you know. So you’d want him to be able to move a little, but not enough to hurt you nonconsensually.) In their scene together, Maximus gets Lucilla’s attention by advancing toward her until the chain goes taut. Restraint has only altered his authority. There’s still plenty of Maximus to reckon with, but a big part of the thrill comes from proximity to someone dangerous enough to warrant restraints.

Just how good is it to be queen? Click and see.

Just how good is it to be queen? Click and see.

The man in chains was restrained as a courtesy, probably by other men. For most women, the actual task of putting a man in chains without his consent is outside the realm of practical possibilities, although it is certainly interesting to think about winning that particular wrestling match. (I’m hoping to hear from an exceptional woman in today’s comments section.) If I arrived somewhere, like a hotel room, and found a man secured to the bed with handcuffs, I would know that I had authority over not only the fellow in bed but over whoever left that person there for me in lieu of a mint on the pillow. That’s one hell of a concierge service! (Emma Holly wrote one of my favorite stories in this vein, “Queen of All She Surveys,” in Beyond the Dark. The heroine maintains a harem of men to satisfy her sexual appetites.)

The man in chains is there because he chose the chains. The man who chooses to

Tell me you don't want a little of that. Click for a lot of it.

Tell me you don’t want a little of that. Click for a lot of it.

surrender to us has given us an amazing gift — trust that is not necessarily backed by his physical strength. If he’s restrained, he’s subject to our whims — whatever they are, for as long as we want. He has to trust that we care enough for his safety to free him if necessary because he won’t be able to free himself. The experience is powerful and rare, and erotic romance hasn’t devoted enough attention to it in the context of female domination, frankly. (For FemDom done beautifully, I will always refer you to Joey W. Hill’s work, especially Natural Law.)

So much of bondage’s allure emerges from symbolism. I think that’s why male bondage imagery works so well; it’s a visual representation of our planet’s most dangerous lifeform, rendered helpless. The darker charge behind male bondage fantasy comes from the behavior of the man in chains. Is he a prisoner? Is he a very special gift? Are we his saviors, his jailers, or a little of both? In our fantasies, it’s entirely up to us.

Follow Lady Smut. We’ll keep you all tied up in knots … in the nicest possible way.

3 Responses to “Seize Him! Considering the Man in Chains”

  1. Madeline Iva October 26, 2014 at 8:18 am #

    Alexa is going there…gotta love it! You and I share a mutual friend (Nara Malone) who goes breathless over Joey Hill’s ability to do the alpha male-but-submissive-to-his-female-lover thing so very, very well.

    I would suggest however, that this is not really what you’re talking about. Ultimately, a submissive male tends to be a man’s fantasy. The submissive female the woman’s fantasy — why? Because the submissive gets to lay back and enjoy the ride. Perfect for the woman who’s just worked all day, then come home to the second shift of meals, laundry, kids, etc. She’s too pooped to do more than imagine loving a man who will take care of all her pleasure needs.

    I think the man in chains is a perfect metaphor for what women want. Danger leashed. Not a submissive at all — a man who is biding his time for payback later–when he gets free. It makes me shiver thinking about it.

    Who does this REALLY well is Kresley Cole in KISS OF THE DEMON KING.

    Like

    • Alexa Day October 26, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

      I love going There! I keep a little summerhouse There, right on the lake.

      I think we have been taught that the submissive male is for other men, in much the same way that society has been trying to teach us about toys for boys and toys for girls for many, many years. I know about the fantasy of female submission, in which the woman is freed from the burden of control over her sexual needs or from having to assert her sexual needs. And I know it sounds like I’m sneering at it here, but I’m not, I promise. If that’s working, then keep working it. I absolutely respect the allure of the man who leads. I’m tired of leading all day, too. But to me, it can sometimes feel a bit like propaganda. “You know what would make you feel better? No? Good thing I do.” Dude, if you want me to feel better, why didn’t you take care of the second shift? I want to see the man earn his right to hold the reins in the bedroom by leading elsewhere. As much as I love seeing female submission done right, I think fiction has been giving men a pass on actual leadership lately.

      Much of the world agrees that submissive males are for men, though. I had a very, very difficult time finding male bondage imagery that wasn’t specifically being marketed for other men. It’s even more difficult if, like me, you don’t care to look at full frontal nudity.

      (I know. It’s probably a little surprising coming from me. But if I’m not going to use it, I don’t need to see it.)

      At the outset, I think much of popular society considers the submissive male to be “less than.” He’s not. I saw a Facebook post, from a submissive hetero male, describing the submissive man as the knight who rides for the queen. He bows to no one but you. He’s absolutely a toy for girls, especially the alpha girls. He handles the second shift by the time you get home because it would be shameful for him to leave it for the queen to handle. His body is at your service, and he has served you well. Right?

      But more importantly, I think there’s a large subset of women who, in their darker moments, long for the man who’s here when you want him and gagged when you don’t. Much of the reason we have to deal with a second shift, or the long day on first shift, is the often unreciprocated deference to the feelings of others. In this context, where our friend in chains is more of a prisoner than an actual submissive, we need not defer to his feelings or his pride or the male ego or whatever. He’s ours. He does what we tell him to, in the manner of our choosing. That can be a huge relief for a woman who spends any length of time wondering “Will he? Won’t he? How do I get him to?” Freedom from deference to his desires can be very hot.

      But, now that you mention it, I definitely see the merits in wondering what he will do when he gets detached from the radiator. I definitely see that. 🙂

      Now I need to see about Kresley Cole.

      Like

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  1. Raindrops, Roses, Femdom and Warrior Women | Lady Smut - December 7, 2014

    […] essays and vignettes about female dominance and male submission. I touched briefly on the subject here because I find it fascinating, and Ferns reinforces in her interview the notion of the male […]

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