View From The Top: Daddy

The first time Sarah called me “daddy,” we were drinking gin and tonics on the roof of our Brooklyn apartment, and she slid it in at the end of a sentence asking for a refill. Like it was nothing. Like it was something she called me every day.

I played it cool: taking her glass, wearing a little half-smile smirk, hoping my sunglasses obscured my wide eyes, swallowing the saliva now pooled in my mouth. But inside, my heart was dancing, blood pumping like a flooded river, every inch of my skin sizzling and ignited. I’d called her “baby” since we started dating — it’s a common enough thing to call a lover, particularly one who liked being cooed over and coddled — but this, her slipping in that little word in reference to me, was different. It felt old fashioned, somehow; more ’50s daddy-o than fatherly, more Eartha Kitt than George Michael — but it evoked power and sexiness and the electric connection between us.

“Coming right up,” I managed to say back, after too long a pause while I took stock in my body and realized she was still waiting for me to say something, waiting for a response, my half-full glass and her empty one now both in my hands, but I was just standing there, like I was waiting for something. Waiting, I suppose, to trust that my knees would work again, and that they wouldn’t just turn to mush when I tried to take a step.

What was it doing to me? Just that one, simple little word — a word I hadn’t even been sure that I liked, and certainly wasn’t sure applied to me. “We already have the dynamic,” Sarah said later, when we talked about it. “We just don’t use that particular word. You’re this nurturing, caretaking masculine figure, you’re older than me, you’re bigger than me. I feel little around you, in the best way, all sweet and protected, and you already call me your pretty girl and things like that. It just… fits.”

I mixed her drink in the shaker we’d brought up to the roof, the tonic bottle almost empty, the gin still half full, the ice melting in the oppressive summer heat. She was wearing that red dress with the white stripes I loved, the one with the wide full skirt that she sometimes wore with a crinoline under it, the bodice almost like a corset, the sweetheart neckline, the straps that tied behind her neck. And those big, oversized sunglasses, and those espadrilles that laced up her ankles. I sneaked looks at her over my shoulder while I shook her drink until my arm was tired, the way she gazed out over the skyline of the city, shrugging her shoulders, crossing her arms over her chest like she was cold, even though it was still at least ninety and getting dark. I’d taken off my button-down and was wearing just a white tee shirt and black work slacks, hair slicked back with pomade, wingtip shoes — making me feel even more the part of a ’50s greaser daddy-o. Not like her parent. More like: an older boyfriend with one thing on my mind. More like: grateful to have been allowed into this woman’s inner world for one night, let alone the last year. More like: someone she encouraged to take advantage of her whenever I felt the desire to do so.

When I handed her full glass back to her, she looked at me a little quizzically, even sliding her sunglasses down her nose to inspect me more closely. The sun was behind her, her face in the shade, but I could see the curl up of her red lips.

“What?” I asked.

“You’re blushing,” she said, and took a sip of her drink, still watching me.

I don’t know how to tell you how much it means to me that you see me that way, as an adult masculine person, as someone able to nurture and nourish, as someone you trust to hold you. I don’t know how to tell you how vulnerable it is to be seen, really seen, in ways that I never feel like anyone sees me, maybe nobody has seen me like that until you, until now. I don’t know how to tell you that I loved how you called me that and I just want you to call me that again and again, and I’m not even sure I can say it so I’ll just keep saying “that,” because that word is so loaded, so potent. I don’t know how to explain how hot it made me, and how fucking conflicted I am because of how this culture glorifies masculinity and degrades femininity, about how incest isn’t sexy, about how I have feminist guilt for liking such a fetish. I don’t know how to resolve the awe I feel when I hear you talking about how much you like it, too, and how you forgive me my feminist guilt, and you have your own. I don’t know how to explain the effect it had on me to hear that word come out of your mouth, and know that it was meant for me, and only me. I couldn’t say anything. I smiled and took a sip of my drink, too, knowing that quiet stoicism sometimes stood in for my most vulnerable expressions of feeling.

It took longer to feel comfortable with me as a leather daddy, and longer to play with the role-play versions of daddy and girl, but the ’50s daddy-o and the nurturing masculine daddy-will-make-everything-better came easily with me and Sarah. It was bright and big and encompassed my whole self, all these different ways of being, from office-worker me to butch-boyfriend me to aspiring-stud-lover me to poet-writer me to swing-dancer me. Somehow, she saw all those different threads, different versions that I show in different contexts, and she wove them all together, just with that one word. I wanted to hear her say it again. I wanted her to say it while we fucked, while I was inside her, while she kissed me, while she came. It felt right, it felt extraordinary, it felt entirely new. Miles of new terrain opened up in front of me.

“Nah,” I replied. “It’s just the sun.”

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Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is “the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queer women” (AfterEllen), who “is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places” (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Sinclair identifies as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor and an introvert. Follow their writings at Sugarbutch Chronicles.

Sinclair has written 43 articles for us.


  1. OOF. Love, love, love. Everything about this. Your writing always hits me right in the gut, but this series is particularly fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

    • “Somehow, she saw all those different threads, different versions that I show in different contexts, and she wove them all together, just with that one word” –> actual tears

  2. Somehow in the writing of this article you made me feel understanding for a fetish that normally makes me cringe in the worst ways.

    • Yeah, same here. The “daddy” thing has always made me uncomfortable, but this article gives me a bit of a different perspective.

      • I still do resent the fact that this particular kink has become highly visible recently (which I consider separate from individual people practicing it). Just two days ago I was looking for a fairy tale book my dad used to read me and I googled the title, “father and daughter tales”, and nearly all the results were incest erotica. So that was disgusting. Thankfully the book is from the 90s so I’m pretty sure anyone susceptible of searching it is a grownup now, but still.

  3. Oh my this is making me feel all kinds of relatable things. Thank you for your eloquent honesty.

  4. Reading your articles always gives me more insight into my Dom. I really appreciate your work. Also, is it hot in here… ?

  5. Yes. This sums up the exact feelings and meaning behind this title (see, I can’t even say it either) perfectly. I love when Sinclair writes about this topic. Oh god, do they get it.

    The incredible hotness of sharing that connection and vulnerability, reconciling the feminist guilt, going beyond the d/s and top/bottom roles into something that feels *more*…how some butches just naturally exude that masculine, nurturing, daddy energy that flips my stomach and heart, how they harness and finesse it and make it into an art…sometimes unknowingly. As a femme with a major heart-on for butches who wear that “daddy” identity, I love, love, love reading how it feels from their perspective.

    I will now go re-read this 45 times.

    • I love your comment as much as I love this post. This is so relevant to my personal interests/sex live/relationships and it’s almost too much to see it brought to light on Autostraddle, it’s just this thing that I don’t get to talk about that often. I’m SO beyond excited to see you describe yourself as a “femme with a major heart-on for butches who wear that ‘daddy’ identity”—my heart is beating harder with recognition.

      • Aww! Yes, there are not many outlets for discussion about interest or engagement in this type of dynamic, and based on some of the comments this article received, understandably we would hesitate to discuss or share with partners and the queer community…

        Let’s be friends. ?

  6. thank you infinite for that expression, and for your gorgeous articulation.

    now i can live a little bit more comfortably and confidently in my affinity for “that” word.

  7. Okay, hi. There are plenty of bones I have to pick with this, a plethora of bones, a skeleton, a catacomb. Sorry, I’m a writer.

    First of all, I’m a little girl. Like, actually. I’m 15 and I’m nonbinary and I’m a lesbian and I probably shouldn’t have read this, but it’s something I’ve been frustrated about recently and also I recognized your name. (I’ve been googling feminist writers. Doing the best I can, haha.) Sinclair (Mx. Sexsmith? Whichever is more polite.), I think you need to understand the damage you do. I’m not addressing your intention or whatever “deeper meaning” some of the nastier people I’ve encountered think kink has, but reminding you of what actually happens. However hard you try, the words you use and the things you sexualise will make their way back to me. They will make their way onto the Internet, into the brains of teenage boys who harass me, etc etc.

    I think what you need to understand is that none of this is gooey or sweet or subversive. I’m sure you’re a lovely person who means no harm, but aren’t you an adult? Shouldn’t you have enough life experience and good judgement to know what you do when you sexualise us young girls and what we do?

    And don’t give me that “I don’t sexualise little girls, It’s just PRETENDING” bs, either. These women (“littles” *gag*) talk all cutesy like us, the wear school uniforms like my private school friends do, I’ve literally seen a woman in the “lesbian” (not lesbian porn, not lesbian whatever, just “lesbian”) tag on tumblr with the words “rape me” scrawled over her bare chest. I’m a rape survivor. My selfies have been reblogged onto a dd/lg blog because my thigh was showing (it was a pic of something I drew on my leg) and I unwittingly tagged it as “lesbian” and “teenage girl”. It’s totally gross that these things are sexual buzzwords.

    Also, what’s the point of saying “kink”, anyway??? Since when has sexualising the power dynamic between little girls and their elders, as well as a using that power, been a social tabboo????

    Sorry if I’m getting a little incoherent. I guess this is the point:

    Sinclair/Mx.Sexsmith, you seem like a nice guy (is “guy” okay?), but you need to get that your actions have far greater consequences than within the adult world. Us ACTUAL “little girls” WILL suffer the consequences, and you will not. I’d like to know what you think about it. I want to know if you are willing to face up to someone who gets the bad end of this whole thing.

    If you need evidence, here are some sucky things I experience bc of DD/LG:

    – q*eer/lesbian spaces being unsafe for me
    – being stared/snickered at when I address my father affectionately in public
    – being unable to wear anything resembling “school girl” attire for fear of being looked st sexually

    – my identity as a femme being treated as “too grown up” for me
    – I am “too young” for MY OWN community
    – and many more :)

    Sorry if this is too long and incoherent. Please respond with your thoughts.
    Thanks :)

    Anya Pearl, 15

    • I think this is complicated. I am going to write a ridiculously long comment about it and still feel like I’m leaving out most of what I want to say.

      I think some of the things that have happened to you are terrible and, as an adult, I’m sorry you’re growing up into a world where people do and think things to you and your pictures and your clothes and your words that you haven’t consented to and don’t want.

      I’m also sorry that reading this piece was painful for you. I get the sense you felt kind of ambushed by it, and less safe in on Autostraddle because of it. That’s really sad. I agree with some other commenters that this should have been tagged better. There is so so much on the internet that ought to be tagged better and also discussed better and contextualized better. That’s one piece of the problem. People who make sexual media should absolutely be thinking about who’s going to consume it and trying to ensure that people don’t have to consume it if they don’t want to and don’t interpret it as social permission for abusive behavior. Some of the media you’ve been exposed to absolutely crosses that line–people should not have been using your pics that way and whoever posted the picture of the woman with “rape me” written on her with no warning tag was wrong to do so (that could have been the woman herself, or her pics could have been stolen like yours).

      But that doesn’t really get to the bottom of your critique, does it? You say “however hard you try” this will get back to you and harm you because it is about daddy/girl and you think that all daddy/girl encourages boys to harass you. I think you’re wrong.

      I think there are people out there who will read something like this and use it to support their creepiness, but I think those people will use anything and everything that way. They will do that not because there exists a connection in their heads between the concept of teenage (or younger) girls (or people they perceive as girls) and sex or between paternity/authority and sex, but because they think they have a right to make you engage with their sexuality whether or not you want to. That is really really awful. That view of sexiness as something one person can legitimately take from/force on another without their consent is something we should all be fighting.

      And actually, I think this piece engages in that fight. I think that encouraging adults to pay close attention to their own and their partner’s desires, to seek out that feeling of being *seen* and *wanted* for who you are and what you desire is part of how we can help draw brighter clearer lines between behavior that is wanted by all parties and behavior that is imposed by one on another.

      Now, I could be wrong about that. My context for this piece is very different from yours or from the boys you’re getting harassed by, but…I guess what I’m trying to say is that it is possible to agree with your greater goals while disagreeing with your premisses, and that’s not just evasion and excuse making but a genuine alternate interpretation of the problem. Oh, and, I really hope there’s someone in your life who can help protect you from the damaging and often *illegal* things you have been going through. Nobody, whatever their age, should have to deal with that stuff.

    • Anya, you’re an eloquent, thoughtful young woman and I hope you continue to identify as a writer and pursue your passions.

      You must realize the blame for the patriarchal culture and the harassment and discrimination leveled at you, is not created nor perpetuated by queer feminists who partake in kink. It is perpetuated by the people who have committed those crimes against you and who treat all of us women as objects.

      Sinclair is not responsible for teenage boys finding misogynistic content on the internet nor does Sinclair’s content qualify as such. Sinclair is not sexualizing young girls. Sinclair is sexualizing adult women and other non-binary persons. Consenting adults. People like Sinclair must not be held accountable for the monsters in society that harm us. I am a survivor of multiple sexual assaults. I can assure you, feminist queer kink is not the source nor a remotely contributing factor to violence against women.

      Any adult sexualizing YOU, is a criminal. Plain and simple. Like Borealis said, I hope you have adults you can go to that will take action to protect you against the illegal acts you have suffered from.

      Personally, I almost never encounter offensive or shocking material online. I am highly selective about where I go and what sort of activities I partake in. If you are finding things are too difficult for you, you might consider taking similar actions.

      • @joanna1701: I agree with most of what you’ve said here but I’m not sure it’s the best idea to call a non-binary person a “young woman”. Please be more careful.

        • Quote: “First of all, I’m a little girl. Like, actually. I’m 15 and I’m nonbinary and I’m a lesbian”

          @luxpanic, I would agree with you… which non-binary person are you referring to? I’m referring to the young lady who identified as a girl and a lesbian. Thanks. =)

          • Ah, I see where you’re getting it, Lux. Let me clarify again that she identified as a “girl” and a “lesbian” and someone can be non-binary and still BE those things… and I don’t think “young woman” in any way contradicts the way she presented herself.

        • Joanna, my pronouns are they/them/theirs & I’d rather not be referred to as a young lady. Thank you :)

          • No worries. Might I suggest that terms like “little girl” are synonymous with “young lady/woman” and you might encounter this again in the future from people in general. =)

          • IDK, I think we’re going too far into this avoidance of putting a label on someone to the point where you would assume that someone who describes themselves as a “little girl” would object to “young lady”. Little can be a synonym for young and girl can be a synonym for lady. They are synonymous.

            It’s clear that Joanna isn’t going to continue to label Anya as such after she was told that Anya doesn’t want to be referred to as a young lady.

          • Thank you, Lady H! I certainly agree with you. I think the words provided led to a reasonable conclusion, however if someone offers their correct identity and pronouns to me, then that’s all that exists from that moment.

            It’s very simple to respect someone’s identity. It’s also fair to assume someone identifying as a “little girl” and a “lesbian” may be referred to with synonymous terms unless she/they/zir have expressed otherwise.

            I’m a little genderqueer and non-binary myself. I still use “bi” and “woman” to identify myself and I tend to assume people will use feminine language when interacting with and referring to me. I think it’s pretty reasonable. If I express a desire for more neutrality… I expect it to be respected immediately.

          • “Little girl” and “young lady” are not synonymous. “Young lady” is usually used to be patronizing and dismissive.

    • You’re a very intelligent and observant young person and everything you have said is absolutely correct. Don’t listen to these adults who are failing you, who are telling you that their own sexual gratification is more important than not promoting and getting off to the abuse of children. Don’t listen when they say that that isn’t what this is about because that is EXACTLY what they are doing but they choose to hide it under the guise of kink.

      All I can say is run, run far away from this god awful community as fast as you can and find other like minded young people who don’t swallow everything their fed for the sake of “community” Always, always use your head and your gut. If something doesn’t feel right or doesn’t compute. Question it.

      • Anya Pearl. I am so sorry. Echoing what ohnopls said, you have every right to your own opinion. You have every right to protection, for that matter, and you deserve to access queer spaces without encountering harmful and triggering things.

        Sometimes adults are just wrong, as you probably know. Sometimes they are more interested in protecting themselves than in protecting you. I’m sorry. Wishing you well and hoping you find a place where you can learn about your sexuality and identity in safety.

        • For someone who keeps telling people to run away from this godawful community, I find it really interesting that you’ve created multiple personas here to keep attacking it.

      • What’s Autostraddle’s policy on the use of sockpuppets in the comments where the same person (*cough* veeple *cough) can use a couple different accounts to basically agree with themselves? Do y’all track the IP addresses of these anonymous accounts?

    • hey pal, you’re totally correct. queer and lesbian spaces *are* often unsafe for young people, and even adults, and that’s so shitty. it’s inescapable that things like school uniforms get sexualized without our consent and young people like you literally everywhere get treated like they are not old enough to understand concepts that they *are* old enough to ask questions about!

      buuuuuttt…this isn’t related to kink and consent unfortunately. i mean yes, folks steal words used in consensual relationships and in kinky spaces, absolutely. and yet, just because the words are the same, it doesn’t mean they’re being used in the ways they were meant to be used in a kinky, consensual relationship. the key thing here is that everything you have described has been done to you *without* your permission. AND THAT IS NOT OKAY. it’s not okay to sexualize, catcall, objectify, or make any kind of move towards someone without their permission. i can’t control who uses the same words that i use and how i use them, unfortunately. we live in a society that actually allows for these words and non-consensual dynamics to take place daily, as if they were acceptable. they are not. i (and i feel like you too!!) fight against systems that make stuff like this appear acceptable every day. one of the ways I fight against the misuse of otherwise consensual play is by writing about it, like i’m doing in this comment.

      i think what i’m doing in my column and what sinclair is doing in theirs is offering folks other perspectives and narratives so if they are indeed into these dynamics in a respectful, consensual way, then they can practice them in the best way possible with another consenting adult. that means we each get to explore what we like and do not like without shame. as you know, we are shamed everyday for being queer, and i refuse to allow that to be acceptable, too. so, yeah, you’re 10000000% right that these words shouldn’t happen outside of kinky consensual relationships and when they do it’s wrong and unacceptable.

      i hope we stand together in thinking that everyone involved in a sexual situation (or non-sexual situation for that matter) should have complete control over it -that means consent. nothing said here is meant to excuse people participating in non-consensual behavior. i am NEVER here to defend rapists or abusers, so I wanna be clear on that too. i think this column in particular, because it can be so taboo was meant to support folks in finding the words to do what feels good to them in a way that is healthy and positive and mindful of everyone involved. i stand with you against rape culture (which is what allows catcalling to happen on a daily basis) and i’d love to keep engaging with you on this if there’s anything i wasn’t clear on.

      also, maybe some of the things i said *don’t* resonate with you, or don’t resonate with you yet. that is so so so so so so so sooooo ok. you’re totally entitled to your opinion and i hope that you’ve got trusted adults you can sit and talk through these difficult things with and who can support you in figuring out the things i said that maybe you don’t agree with and why. regardless, thanks for your words. seriously. they’re important words and i want to thank you for being brave enough to share them on this huge big internet website where literally anyone could try to make you feel shitty for them. i do want to name that this article is intended for 18 and up folks, like a lot of material written with sex in mind. i encourage you to please not seek information with explicit sexual information that is intended for adults, and hope that if you do see it that you get to process it with a trusted adult in your life.

      finally, i want to say thank you thank you thank you for participating in this conversation as kindly as i’m sure you could. ESPECIALLY when this subject is clearly upsetting to you. you are such a rockstar and awesome human <3

      • Hi, Alaina :)

        Thank you so much for calling me a rockstar and an awesome human!

        Here’s my issue: Of COURSE my oppression comes from kink. It comes from everywhere. It comes from anyone who chokes a woman, hits a woman, calls a woman “Girl”, etc. I shudder whenever anybody calls someone “bitch”. I get scared whenever a man raises his voice or hits something, even if it’s a close friend or a trusted elder. I especially cringe whenever a nurturing mentor/paternal/etc relationship between a man and a younger girl is perverted and sexualized.

        I don’t think that Sinclair is threatening me or making me uncomfortable on purpose, but they’re defininately empowering and making light of those who do.

        And don’t tell me they’re not, either. I think my comment was misinterpreted as a kid who misread an article and became upset, rather than me telling you (the general audience of Autostraddle, especially Sinclair) why this is hurting me and trying to articulate how it is. I really don’t want to sound like a brat, but explaining this to me isn’t helping.

        Thanks for being nice to me. :)

        • so i appreciate you and how you’re approaching this so so so much. and i want to challenge you to think about this statement: “Of COURSE my oppression comes from kink”. i think oppression comes from systems of inequality like racism, sexism, cissexism (aka transphbia), heterosexism (aka homophobia), capitalism, etc. and also, it is so so so valid that you don’t like being called a bitch or hearing people be called a bitch or seeing people yelled at or hit. me either. because usually when we see things like that it’s NOT consensual. but some adults find being called a bitch something enjoyable; they love being hit or choked or yelled at, and that’s gotta be okay; and it also can happen while you’re still uncomfortable. if you’re uncomfortable, you don’t have to do it, read about it, talk about it… BUT it has got to be okay for adults to consensually participate in things that make them feel good. just like it’s gotta be okay for you to not like those things. hard stop. even if it’s for the rest of your life. i wish i was a professional at this and could give you resources because i totally get why these things hurt you, but like, there are also things you shouldn’t completely understand until you’re old enough to be in a consenting adult sexual relationship. so this is weird and hard and it feels like you’re being talked down to and *i* even feel like i’m talking down to you when i’m not trying to (so i’m super sorry if i am) but i really do think it’s a discussion that you cannot *fully* participate in until you’re old enough to actually engage with the kinky queer community. like legally, you’re not there yet. intellecutally, you’re raising super important questions that i encourage you to keep thinking about and keep finding adults you trust to talk about them with.

    • Yikes, I saw some people who I think misinterpreted my comment as butchphobia? Which freaks me out bc I’m pretty sure not all butches want to hurt their girlfriends. :/

      Also, Sinclair hasn’t responded to this yet, which does bother me. I’ll admit to that.

      • Anya, I don’t think Sinclair owes it to anyone to explain beyond what they’ve written here. I don’t know them, but I can only assume that the best thing for self care would be NOT to read the comments here and perhaps they are refraining. “Don’t read the comments” is a great policy. At the end of the day, you really need to pick your battles and if an author on Autostraddle doesn’t want to wade into the comments to argue with people about whether or not they’re empowering pedophiles, that’s probably the smartest choice.

        It’s clear no one here is going to change your mind. I can clearly remember being your age and needing to sort through things myself. But it’s pretty troubling when someone comes into a space and talks about how the things that consenting adults do together is oppressing you. It’s also frustrating that you think that you’re owed an explanation or an argument.

        You’re welcome to your opinions, but you also need to respect that many of us have worked these things out for ourselves over many years and ask that you respect that we know what’s best for us. I think you’ve gotten a lot of gracious answers from people, and I wanted to make you aware that many of us have spent most of our lives defending whatever kink we may have and you’re not the first or last to ask us to do so.

    • I have been sitting on this for a day and trying to collect my thoughts. For reference, I’m 22 but I have participated in online feminist spaces when I was 15 and remember how I was treated.

      First, I want to address the general tone of this thread. “Young lady” and “little girl” are absolutely not synonymous, especially in this context. “Young lady” is often used towards teens in a condescending way especially when accompanied by a “[compliment], but” statement. And when somebody says they don’t want to be called something, it is not okay to get defensive and explain that it was their fault for using a similar word or phrase. Furthermore, there was no need to say “identify as a writer” instead of “I hope you continue to write” or something. I am sure an adult would not have been subtly undermined in this way.

      As Anya noted in a follow up, people have been trying to explain to them that any kink is inherently positive and cannot contribute to oppression because of the presence of consent. People are saying it like a fact that they just haven’t learned yet. I honestly don’t see why it is true. Adults have structural power over minors. Why are we not listening when a minor in our community says they are being harmed by something?

      I think this is a really complicated issue. Yes, people should be able to have whatever kind of sex and intimacy they want, with consent. But, kink communities exist. Discussions about kink exist, and these things do impact the broader culture. And kinks are informed by culture. I don’t see why anything should get a free pass from being analysed for contributing to structural oppression just because it is part of sex.

      Finally, it is totally unreasonable to suggest that people be more selective about which communities they participate in on the internet in order to avoid harassment. That’s plain old fashioned victim blaming.

      I really am not trying to attack anyone’s kinks right now, and I actually have been a fan of Sinclair’s writing for some time, but the way adults have been speaking to anya in this thread struck a nerve.

      • This has been keeping me awake. I find this conversation really daunting because of this call-out-culture where we can’t make the comparison between someone who is 15 and someone who may have double or triple the life/sexual experiences and say that the latter group may know themselves better than the former without sounding ageist or condescending.

        Anya is asking for two contradictory things, which is the right to be able to be a 15-year-old, i.e., to be a child and not an adult. To not be sexualized by adults and to define their sexuality on their own terms. But they’re also here engaging with adults about sex lives and expecting to be treated like an adult.

        I don’t think it’s patronizing to say that this particular comment section on Autostraddle (part of the NSFW section) likely isn’t going to be a safe place for 15-year-olds. 15-year-olds (hopefully) aren’t having emotionally intense sexual play around submission/domination. However, my previous comment was referring to this probably not being a safe place for Sinclair to engage, either, there’s a lot of vicious things being ascribed to them and “don’t read the comments” is pretty much standard advice for writers on the internet. This discussion has definitely affected me negatively and taken up a lot of space in my head.

        Anya, you said to Sinclair that their writing is feeding into a culture that makes men harass women. Do you think there’s anyone here who hasn’t been touched by the same rape culture that effects you? That there aren’t rape survivors here, survivors of sexual assault and incest (hi, that’s me), who have thought long and hard about feminism and the ethics of BDSM and realized that it can be empowering and healing to use the word “daddy” with our lovers?

        We’re all fighting against rape culture and the charges you’ve leveled at Sinclair (and by extension, those of us who use the word “Daddy” with our activity partners) is yet another person shaming us for defining our sexuality for ourselves and not for someone else. I hope that you’re able to define your sexuality for yourself without experiencing that shame and to keep an open mind about what is being talked about here if you choose to keep engaging.

        • I’m sorry that I misinterpreted your comment about avoiding spaces on the internet, and that my words kept you awake. I do agree that Sinclair does not owe it to anyone to engage in the comments, and that you don’t owe anyone the emotional labour of explaining how you’ve arrived at your conclusions about the ethics of kink.

          I want to reiterate that I don’t think age play is inherently problematic, and since this article resonated with many people I respect, I am going to assume that the way Sinclair engages with it is positive, even if I personally don’t understand on an emotional level.

          My comment wasn’t meant to be a call out for cool points. I actually don’t think there’s anything contradictory about somebody asking to not be sexualised because they are a minor and also engaging with people in a conversation on this topic as intellectual equals. Having more life experience doesn’t automatically make a person right, because people tend to forget the perspectives of positions they once inhabited. I know I do, and have to work very hard not to underestimate thing people. Suppose some way of engaging with age play was harmful to minors (which I believe is possible because i don’t think kink is exempt from being harmful by virtue of consent being involved). How can they advocate for themselves if we don’t listen to what they are saying simply because they are minors?

          I think this is my final comment since the conversation seems to be emotionally charged and draining to everyone involved at this point. Thank you for your thoughtful and respectful reply, I appreciate it.

          • Jane, I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your comments! They were really respectful and thoughtful to everyone involved. Thank you :)

  8. This is so good! Like I really want to say something eloquent here but that’s all I’ve got :)

  9. This one was a very sad read. Made me realize that we, as the lesbian community, had the chance to prioritize the hearts and minds and bodies of abuse survivors over orgasms, and we blew it. I’m not even angry, just ashamed.

    Going to say a prayer for any incest survivors who are exposed to this headline against their will.

    • As an incest survivor, I wanted to say emphatically: you don’t speak for all of us. Please don’t say a prayer for me. I am beyond thrilled to see Sinclair writing about this dynamic here. I find it disturbing that you’re going to pray for me in the same way that people want to pray away the gay.

      Look, it’s okay that you dislike this post and I’m glad you expressed your opinion and don’t want to jump all over you. But be careful not to paint with a broad brush something that consenting adults choose to do in their private lives, and be careful not to speak for other people.

      The thing is, I didn’t have a choice when I was a child and I have a choice now. It’s not really any of your business whether my sex life is healthy, but since you’ve made presumptions that it isn’t, I wanted to say that every therapist I’ve talked to about this has been supportive of healing by exploring, again and again, a situation in which I have control and where the person I call daddy is indeed prioritizing my heart, mind and body.

      • The key phrase there was “against their will.” It is the people who will see this post — not having searched for anything related to BDSM/ ddlg, totally unprepared– that I’m concerned about.

        Y’all give me a lot to think about in your comments about submission in general. Some of what I said about submissives in that column a few weeks ago was probably overzealous. But this column, View From the Top, is about dominance… And it has not convinced me that dominance– i.e. Indulging in a desire to dominate or hurt another person for sexual gratification– is healthy.

        • Then, in all likelihood, it is safe to say it would not be healthy for YOU to engage in that sort of relationship, V. You also said, “the lesbian community”, well that’s not what Autostraddle is. This is a site for all queer women, lesbian and otherwise. You fail that community yourself with exclusionary language.

          Do not presume to speak for the hearts and minds of all abuse survivors. You certainly do not speak for me.

        • Sinclair’s column doesn’t exist to convince you that dominance is “healthy” and I find your use of sockpuppet accounts to continue to attack their point of view in bad faith.

          • I don’t use sockpuppets.

            Tbh it sort of astonishes me the mods haven’t banned me, since I would say I’m the toughest of the commenters.

          • This isn’t an echo chamber, and implying that you’d be banned for disagreeing is, again, not in good faith.

            I guess it needs to be for Team Autostraddle to confirm if you’re using fake accounts to bolster what you’ve posted. But you have a very distinct way of phrasing things and when non-member accounts show up that only agree with you that use very, very similar phrasing (and are from accounts who have no other comments except the one or two used to reply to you) on both this and the last thread you were active in, I find it very hard to believe that you’re not using sockpuppets.

  10. I feel like this needs a content warning. This isn’t just a frank discussion of sex or topping like I have read elsewhere on AS. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this defense of fetishizing daddy/little girl dynamics and the use of phrases like “take advantage of her whenever I felt the desire to.”

    • This is honestly so disgusting. Having an orgasm doesn’t make your glorification of child abuse okay. The queer community refuses to think critically about anything and it’s rotting because of it. I’m ashamed to be considered a part of it because of people who approve of this sick shit.

    • You left off the first half of that quote, which was “someone [Sinclair] she [Sarah] encouraged to take advantage of her…” It really takes it out of context to leave off that part.

      • You really shouldn’t get in the way of critical thinking by using facts, Lady H. ;)

        • My regrettable reaction to this piece is on me and my experiences and has nothing to do with my critical thinking skills. I’m sorry if my words have hurt you in some way.

      • I read the entire piece. That’s the part of the phrase that sticks in my head even when reading the entire paragraph for context. I realize I’m alone and don’t expect her to change anything.

  11. (Posting this logged off because it’s too personal)

    As a young adult, with my girlfriend of the same age, I initiated some roleplay in which I was younger than my own age. It was not because I think teenagers are sexy as an adult (heinous), but entirely and solely about me rewriting the script of my own youth. I never had the joy to be innocent about my desire at that age, I had been feeling stained and monstrous since forever and I wanted the part of me that was still young and frightened to experience something gentler in life. And that role playing was good, therapeutic, and got it out of my system.

    *However*, I was aware that although I was not screwed up for partaking, that kind of role play is the product of a toxic environment and I wish it to be unnecessary in future generations. And because I know that humans are scum, I didn’t talk about it so that I wouldn’t be contributing to influencing people’s tastes (this is *not* a dig at Sinclair but at the bigger blogging/kink scene where people will take pictures of their little girl outfits, etc.) I wish for a future in which those things aren’t sexy, and I thought about this roleplay like methadone – something that felt good and necessary on the road to healing, but certainly not something I want to encourage people to try out in their free time.

    Tldr; I think there’s a difference between doing these things and making them popular, and I think it’s wrong that they’re popular even though some people might be doing it for the right reasons (healing from trauma or, for a top, helping someone heal).

    I don’t think Sinclair is writing an advert for this stuff and I don’t take issue, but I do agree that this should have come with a trigger warning and an assurance that the people involved are free adults, like Sinclair usually does while blogging.

  12. So like, I’m absolutely going to say more tonight when I can formulate opinions. But as a childhood sexual assault survivor who also has a daddy kink, I think folks who are saying that the kink is the result of sexual trauma and needs to be eliminated should find ways to…make less assumptions????? Ummmmm….just feeling a little kink-shamed over here. I’ll come back with more.

    • Just a thought, but I feel like the psychology of submission is very different than dominance. Never understood why kinksters talk about them like they’re the same thing. Your columns are rigorous and thought-provoking, this person’s… Not so much. Anyway, don’t want to speak over another survivor. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

      My 2 cents, if you want to read (feel free to skip) after I was assaulted, I started subbing and self-harming to cope. Both activities felt roughly the same to me. Guess which was more stigmatized? I found so much pleasure in self-harming. But I stopped when I realized the effect it had on the people around me.

      So submission isn’t bad per se. But submission (and BDSM more generally) does very much have an effect on other people who come into contact with it, and our culture as a whole.

      • Here’s another thought V, if you were self-harming and “subbing” at the same time, you weren’t really able to consent to that. You cannot take your experience with your own negative experience and apply a general rule to everyone else.

        Plenty of people are ignorant about something they come in contact with and misinterpret, misunderstand it, and misrepresent it. The solution is not to prohibit everything different like we’re a social conservative collective from the 50s.

        • Because I was mentally ill, I couldn’t give consent? Wow, way to make some powerful assumptions of your own.

          I am also tired of the focus on consent from the kink community. Consenting sex is not automatically ethical sex. And consent is MANDATORY to have even sex. If all you have to say for your dommes is, “Well, they’re not rapists,” that’s a pretty fucking low bar.

          • You’re self-injuring yourself. No ethical Dom would consider making you sub while you’re engaging in behavior that could get you in a lockdown unit. That’s not an assumption.

            I’m sorry if you’re tired on a community you’re not part of focusing on something that’s really important to everyone. I don’t think you have anything to constructively add to the conversation.

      • The idea that submission is okay but domination isn’t is a product of denying the agency of submissives and devaluing the traditionally-feminised role. It is chauvinist to imagine women need to be protected from their own desires.

    • Cool so here are some more formulated words:

      We have sex for lots and lots and lots of reasons. Especially as trauma survivors, I think having sex can have a lot more baggage associated with it than it may for nonsurvivors. But the thing is, assuming that sex is directly related to trauma is wrong. You can’t just make a blank statement like that. Like, I guess you can, but it makes you an asshole. I also think that like, unless you’re on autostraddle dot com with a copy of licence to practice psychology, maybe stop trying to get into the psychology of submission and domination. It’s totally cool and awesome and GREAT for you to figure out why you have sex the way you do, but folks can only do that for themselves. shaming people is not okay. telling someone that they’re wrong for the way they want to have sex is (and trust me, i fucking hate comparing ‘oppressions’) almost as bad as shaming someone for being queer. and if we’re actively working to end oppression for performing/practicing our sexualities and gender identities the ways we want to, how can we, in the same breath, on the same damn site, shame people for the way they have sex?

      when two consenting adults agree to something, that’s what matters. it doesn’t matter if YOU think that one person isn’t really consenting to something else because guess what, you’re not there, and until that person comes to you and looks for your guidance, you’re just kinda being a nuisance. also, like, if you really really read what was happening in this scene, it was the submissive partner who wanted this sort of play to happen. Sinclair recognized the tension around the word and while it was something they wanted it wasn’t something they forced onto the partner. that’s important.

      i’m sick of hearing that subs/bottoms don’t actually know what they want and that they’re just playing into what their tops want because you know, i work SO HARD to communicate my needs very clearly. i think a lot about what submission means to me (like a lot you guys i write a column about it lmao) and i know that i’m not the only person doing that. subs are just as much consenting adults as doms. treat us like we know what we want! and sometimes, it’s to call our partner daddy because it’s fucking hot and it makes us feel good and it makes them feel good and you gaaaaayyyyyyyyssssssss sex/play/kink should feel good.

  13. this struck a chord in my bratty bottom heart – I haven’t engaged in this particular kink yet, but now I have #goals, so wow, thank you

  14. Thank you Sinclair for your honest portrayal of dynamic. I have loved Daddies (who have not been *my* Daddy, because I’m a Femme Top), and what you write resonates with what I’ve heard before.

    I’m frankly surprised at the kink-shaming/blaming happening elsewhere on this thread. Do folx get this squicked by Mommy/boi dynamics? Is it the power, or is it the supposed power in the hands of a “masculine” person that has folx so upset? Are we Dworkinizing all masculine folx? That any “masculine” sexuality is suspect & evil & something to be hidden away? People need to have a more nuanced understanding of the difference between masculinity & “toxic masculinity”. They are not the same. Masculinity is not inherently dangerous or violent. Masculine folk can be gentle & nurturing & sweet & commanding & powerful & controlling & arrogant & as long as they are with people who are attracted to that particular energy, it’s all good.

    There *is* a difference between being a 15 year old, & being an adult who wants to be taken care of & nurtured in sexualized way. To say that there is not is bullshit. Adults who engage in sexualized touch (I don’t want to call it sex because sex and rape are not the same things) with children are predatory rapists, regardless of what either party is or is not wearing.

    And, I cannot stress this enough, predators are in the BDSM scene (I’m in no way calling Sinclair a predator), because the BDSM scene is comprised of *people*, and some people are predators. Predators can be found in every mainstream & marginalized community. Because some people are predators. People who are not predators are not “responsible” for the behavior of predators, the predators are. The number one cause of rape? Rapists. Telling feminist lesbians (sorry Sinclair, I don’t know if you currently ID as a “lesbian”) that their consenting adult sexual behavior is responsible for Rape Culture is just…well I don’t even have the words for the ridiculousness of it. But it’s easier to punch across than it is to punch up, I guess.

    • I would love to see this expanded into an essay for Autostraddle. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head about the false equivalence of masculinity as toxic masculinity.

    • Hah, I was reading this and impressed and like, “this is a smart smart person,” and then I realized it was M’Kali Hashiki. <3 Hi and thanks for chiming in with your smarts!

  15. Joining in on the people asking for content warnings here as well please. Obviously whatever Sinclair and their adult consenting partners get up to is their own business, and I’ve enjoyed and learnt a lot from their other articles; but while Sinclair did touch on some of the issues they dealt with, I felt there wasn’t enough critical reflection on the ideas here to make it read like it wasn’t an unthinking butch reflection of patriarchy (which I have no doubt was not the case, having read and admired some of their other writings).

  16. The expectation that butches should be invisible because patriarchy and masculinity is inherently bad and triggering is hard to hear as a butch. I don’t have a choice in my masculinity, and my masculinity isn’t something patriarchy celebrates. Despite being strongly lesbian-identified I’ve mostly dated effiminate men because I don’t have to worry about whether I am hurting them by existing. One of the things I appreciate about Autostraddle is that it was the first place I’ve encountered other butches under the age of fifty.

    Women and non-binary individuals are responsible for their own behaviour, not men’s behaviour. If the vision of a better world requires some of us to be quiet about who and how we love, I hope that people will at least recognise that that better world isn’t better for everyone.

    • Butchness and masculinity isn’t what’s triggering, the daddy/little dynamic in this piece is what is triggering to some. Very, very different things and this comment almost presumes the two are linked when I know several butch or otherwise masc of center women who would be grossed out by fetishizing being any kind of daddy.

      • Ah, right… “You know someone who…” Fill in the blank. Because that’s how you “win” arguments online. XD

        • ? I’m not trying to win an argument. I’m trying to convey my issue with what they’re saying. Do I need to say ‘I’? Do I need to say I’m a masculine of center woman? Because I am. Does that interfere with your desire to snark all over this thread? I wanted to convey that it wasn’t just a ME problem but instead that there’s not a cohesive idea of masculinity.

          • If “snark” is arguing that you can’t make sweeping generalizations for all people… ? Then I’m snarky as hell, yes. If you’re bothered by an element of BDSM, I suggest you not partake of it. Similarly, if Republicans are bothered by a gay marriage, I suggest they not have one.

          • ??? I can’t reply to Joanna’s comment but I never intended to make a generalization about anyone. I simply meant to portray feelings of those close to me who I know feel similarly. I apologize to anyone that felt I was shaking them or painting with a broad brush – the opposite was my intention. My head is obviously not in a good place.

  17. I have a really complicated relationship with the practice of referring to a partner as Daddy. I used the label to identify a previous sexual partner and I struggled with my inability to articulate why it was safe, validating, powerful and vulnerable to people outside of that sexual relationship. I have opened my mouth and closed it without speaking when the topic arises in conversation as many times as I have typed in this comment box and erased the words.

  18. I guess I’m not suprised at all the calls for content warnings, but honestly, I felt like the blurb was a content warning in itself, as it clearly laid out the theme of the content. I don’t mean to be facetious, but if you pick up a murder mystery at the library, do you want a content warning for murder on the cover?

    The title is “Daddy” and the blurb accompanying is “I wanted to hear her say it again. I wanted her to say it while we fucked, while I was inside her, while she kissed me, while she came. It felt right, it felt extraordinary, it felt entirely new.” That for me was enough information to know that I should approach with extreme caution vis a vis my triggers…

    • Autostraddle prides itself on being inclusive and sensitive to everyone. I did not expect some of the language in this piece. I expected something different, and maybe it’s my fault and I’m a fool, but that doesn’t mean content warnings aren’t warranted for things like this in a place like autostraddle.

      • Def don’t think you’re “a fool,” and also am realizing my awareness of the probable content was somewhat informed by my previous exposure to Sinclair’s writing…

    • You’re right those things are pretty clear and I’ve kept thinking about that since I wrote my response to the teenager above. I’m not really sure what I think at this point. Because on the one hand, yes, it’s clear before you get into the body of the text. I can certainly imagine just the title being triggering for some people, as I think it was for Pearl, who it sounded like read it in a sort of can’t-look-away state of anxiety and anger because even the title seemed like a dangerous incursion into a space she wanted to be safe–I do understand that when something you find threatening is in a space you’re in, you often do feel like you have to engage with it enough to evaluate it a bit. But that doesn’t make it

      On the other hand one of the functions of content warnings, for me, is to tell me that the author is being careful with a subject that they know is potentially painful to people or could potentially be misread as endorsing things it doesn’t want to endorse. It’s sort of an inoculation against shallow reading. (Not that it always works, but I still think it has value.) It shows care. I think there is a lot of care in this piece, a lot of engagement with the specificity of what this dynamic was for Sinclair and Sarah at that moment and what it wasn’t. However, for someone having a panic reaction, I can see how it would be easy to miss that, in part because it is so embedded in Sinclair’s internal experience which, from the inside of that panic, would be a scary place to try to access. Stepping outside the narrative/character frame right up front might make that care more accessible.

      Also, I think this piece would have had a content warning on Sinclair’s own blog (or at least, it would have until fairly recently, content warnings seem less consistent there lately as other formatting shifts happen). If it would have a content warning there, with all the rest of Sugarbutch to contextualize it, it seems to me it would ideally have that warning here as well.

      In the end, I don’t think it was wrong to publish this without a content warning, but I think it would have been better to publish it with one.

      • Thanks for your thoughts. I too was thinking more about the content and the general idea of content warnings once I read the response from Pearl above. (Still not sure I would use them, just thinking about them.) I actually haven’t ever seen a content warning on AS, does anyone know if they have a general policy?

  19. I believe Sinclair is very brave to express a relationship dynamic which fills Sinclair with such happiness.

    The choice of the “daddy/child incest” metaphor to frame the “nurturing- but selfish-dominant-but needy powerful ” to the “innocent-submissive-appreciative-dependent one” is regrettable in my opinion.

    I believe Sinclair could choose a different metaphor to frame this same masculine power fantasy which would satisfy Sinclair’s emotional desire without causing a trigger for some readers.

    • “I believe Sinclair could choose a different metaphor to frame this same masculine power fantasy which would satisfy Sinclair’s emotional desire without causing a trigger for some readers.”

      But like, is it their responsibility to do so? As a lover, obviously not — so what about as a writer? As someone who writes honestly about kink and whose body of work shows they are not above interrogating their desires, as someone who has written extensively about how to partake in kink ethically and thru a feminist lens…how could we ask them to change who they are or lie about the scenes they partake in with their activity partners because it is triggering for some of us?

      No one is insisting that we read View from the Top. I read it very cautiously, myself. But how can we insist that those who do get something from reading this, and from partaking in scenes like the ones Sinclair describes, frame their desires differently? How can we tell them their kink is wrong, when it’s between consenting adults?

      • I’m someone who asked for a content warning and I agree with this completely. There’s no reason for Sinclair to not write this piece, or not to use the wording best suited to express themselves, or not to share it here. The only thing I would request is that when delving into topics like this, there’s a foreword or content warning at the beginning. Kills two birds with one stone: don’t have to worry about people being unintentionally triggered, and Sinclair has full freedom of content.

      • I meant only to suggest that as a writer Sinclair might choose a different metaphor that is less offensive to readers. Or perhaps , just add a trigger warning.

        I would also be interested in hearing some of the members talk about why that scenario is sexually exciting to them.

        • But a ‘different metaphor’ wouldn’t be the one they employ in these scenes, so they would be lying, which kind of defeats the purpose of a personal essay?

          People have already delved into how this scenario fulfills or helps them above – and the writer also went in-depth in the original article when they wrote:

          “I don’t know how to tell you how much it means to me that you see me that way, as an adult masculine person, as someone able to nurture and nourish, as someone you trust to hold you. I don’t know how to tell you how vulnerable it is to be seen, really seen, in ways that I never feel like anyone sees me, maybe nobody has seen me like that until you, until now. I don’t know how to tell you that I loved how you called me that and I just want you to call me that again and again, and I’m not even sure I can say it so I’ll just keep saying “that,” because that word is so loaded, so potent. I don’t know how to explain how hot it made me, and how fucking conflicted I am because of how this culture glorifies masculinity and degrades femininity, about how incest isn’t sexy, about how I have feminist guilt for liking such a fetish. I don’t know how to resolve the awe I feel when I hear you talking about how much you like it, too, and how you forgive me my feminist guilt, and you have your own. I don’t know how to explain the effect it had on me to hear that word come out of your mouth, and know that it was meant for me, and only me.”

          • But why “daddy” and “baby”? Which implies incest.
            Is this the predator excusing himself for abuse because it makes him feel so good?
            And we applaud him for his honesty?

          • Not a predator, not a ‘he,’ not abuse. Kink employs somewhat scripted scenarios that obviously are not real – Sinclair obviously isn’t a father and isn’t sleeping with their daughter, they are two people mutually agreeing to role play in specific ways that help them (to process past trauma, to get off, whatever). So.

        • Sinclair literally did explain why this scenario is sexually exciting to them, I’m not sure why you’re calling for more people to explain it because as many of the comments are saying, they expressed it perfectly. I guess go back and read again if you want to know why it appeals to me?

  20. I think it’s one thing to like rolling around in fucked up scenarios and another to rewrite them as wholesome and pure. I’m not going to judge someone for being kind of a weird edgelord in the sack (god knows I’m a weird edgelord out of it) but there’s something about an organic free range edgelord that feels a little bit off.

  21. Hi! NSFW editor (also editor of VFTT) here.

    Autostraddle does not use content warnings. We give readers the credit to note the headlines and excerpts and make their own decisions about whether to read any given piece. In this case, the piece was literally called “Daddy,” the excerpt mentions fucking, the category (visible from the front page, as well as the top of this page) is “sex and relationships,” and, if you don’t see all those things somehow, “daddy” is also seven words into the first line. Remember that if any content makes you uncomfortable, you are welcome to not click through to begin with, or to head elsewhere.

    Also please note this is not a space for viewing masculinity as inherently toxic or kink as inherently bad.

    Mutually enthusiastic consensual kink/play/BDSM/sex/not sex/whatever is a huge, rich world — I would never suggest that anyone should like everything anyone else might be into, or that a particular conversation about anything would apply to everyone in the same way or even at all. VFTT is a space for a particular individual exploration of kink, and just as you would like your experiences and journey respected, respect those of others.

    • Thank you, Carolyn. Your comments are greatly appreciated. As is the content AS puts out. Keep up the great work. =)

    • I apologize if I have prompted your post. I appreciate the feelings of Sinclair, though I don’t share their feelings!

      I simply wonder, since you don’t post warnings, do you not read/reject articles submitted? with regard to the various groups of females who are your members here?

      But now I am taking deep breaths…. and relaxing….Hillary won….on to the Drump!!!

      First Female President of Our Country!!!!???

    • I feel like I see multiple sides here. I thought the content was pretty obvious from the title and blurb, although I understand why other readers felt blind-sided. Based on the reaction, it seems like it could have been a little more obvious. On the other hand, I understand the editorial decision to not have trigger warnings. I especially get it in this case – putting a warning on this article could really interfere with the intention to see and support kinky and MOC queer people.

      I’m a survivor of CSA/incest and I definitely did think before I clicked – I know myself and my triggers pretty well and I enjoyed this article. But even with all of my self awareness, I have been accidentally triggered by a few things I’ve read on AutoStraddle. There have been a couple times I wished that the content had been more obvious before I clicked. But I really truly believe that I am responsible for managing my triggers and managing my responses – ultimately it’s my job, not AS’s to manage my reading choices.

      This shit is hard. Talking about power dynamics and sex and fantasies and is hard and scary. This shit can be really triggering. I feel for everyone who was triggered – it’s not pleasant to get triggered. It’s like getting hit in the face with a water balloon full of intense, repressed emotions. It sucks. I lost most of this weekend trying to get grounded / come down from getting triggered by the coverage of the Stanford case, so I know first hand how hard and horrible it can be. (I seriously spent hours this weekend saying (more or less) mindfully “I notice I am thinking about something I read on the Internet” and identifying things with all 5 senses, etc, before my thoughts stopped spinning out of control.)

      I’m not sure if I have a point with all of this sharing – mostly I just want to say that I’m glad AS works so consciously to create a safe container to discuss difficult but important things. And I hope the editors continue to be conscious of how to make the content as clear as possible. Judging by the response, this article was both tremendously empowering for some readers and tremendously upsetting for others – the challenge is how to recognize the validity of everyone’s experience without denying anyone else’s experience. I’m not sure if it’s possible, but I’m glad to try it here.

    • Thanks for clarifying AS stance on content warnings – it looks like I mixed up common practice here and somewhere else.

  22. Awww…I’m a big defender of the word “Daddy” as a term of endearment for romantic couples. I’d call my husband that if he’d let me.

  23. Wow,just wow. I found this article to be interesting. I don’t like the whole use of “daddy” or even “mommy” in the bed room but hey, if that’s your cup of tea by all means drink it since my lips are not meant for it.

    I notice there is a lot of hostility in the comments. I hate that a lot of people are feeling like their safe space is being violated, or taken away. All of a sudden wounds are opening and words are being said that make the experiences of others seem like they mean nothing at all. Their are a lot of victims that are hurt by behavior that was sexually unwanted and I feel bad that this article hit a nerve. I truly believe that the author was not trying to undermine the experiences of those that suffer from abuse. Nor do I believe that the author was promoting the sexual portrayal of little girls because in the end, she knew that there was a grown woman in front of her. I can’t hang the author for expressing her view on the subject or her rationale behind her actions and the actions of her consensual partner. Maybe the author should have just explained the subject better or explore it more deeply. Or maybe if we got to read the view of the sub, we could understand this better.

    Also, maybe we just need to chill because “daddy” is just a word. It is another identity for some and not others. I know it’s not mine, but I am not going to tell someone that it’s no who they are either. The reason I say this is because I did read one of the comments that made me think a lot. Why do so many people have a problem with “daddy” and I rarely here anything negative about the use of “mommy”? Is it because it is so masculine and no one wants to admit it? Do we really put “mommy” an such a high pedestal that even when it is sexualized in the same way, we ignore the negative implications? Is it because “mommy” equals girl/girl action and that is somehow okay? Seriously, can we take a moment to ask ourselves why it bothers us or doesn’t. Shouldn’t this be a moment to reflect on our own experiences and opinions in a truly in depth way? But no, lets all argue. I guess using “mommy” is okay because I hear it all the fucking time in the form on “Mami”.Oh and “daddy” is okay too if you say “Papi”. I don’t remember anyone throwing a fucking fit when an L Word character went by the name of “Papi”. Guess what, Alice was saying “daddy” when she came but it was okay! Hell I even notice it is okay to use the word “daughter” for loved ones too whenever I hear people use the word “mija”. Why? Words mean something different to everyone. So yeah, for some “daddy” means something that promote rape culture when used in kink. For others, it could mean something as simple as a provider and is in no way sexual.

    And to be fair, I don’t really need a content warning with a title like that and reading some of the author’s previous stuff. The question is, if you know that the author writes things that you don’t agree with and you have previous experience with the other works of that author, why the fuck do you keep reading her articles? Did you not learn the first couple of times? That’s like me watching the 700 club even though I already know what it is going to be about and that it will upset me, but I go a head and watch anyways.

  24. Alright, Fun Fact; I top ALL THE TIME. I’m usually bigger, I’m(at least physically) usually stronger, my face and shoulders are carved in boyish ways, there was never a closet for me. There’s expectations. Everytime I’ve run into someone who’d “daddy” for me was the best time of my life, just because it’s so, so rare. It means the world to me that they probs enjoyed it, too.

    • But Amanda, what does “daddy” mean to you? That is and has been what I have been talking about. And all avoid the implied meaning of the word “daddy” when they simply desire to feel vulnerable and powerless in trusting another lover. It has nothing to do with a “daddy”…. it has to do with you being honest with you being vulnerable to another woman…..because being vulnerable makes you feel wonder able inside. And if you disagree, and cannot explain….then stop using the male gender word for how you feel. Stop using a male gender word to explain your need to full the joy of beingvulnerable.

      I am proud of feeling vulnerable to my sweetie gf…..and I never use a “male” crutch to justify my wonderful feeling. It is the feeling of being vulnerable that makes you feel happy……and it has nothing to do with “daddy”…..”daddy” is your excuse for feeling happy while you are enloying being vulnerable.

      I enjoy being vulnerable to my lover ….but I don’t use a scapegoat male “daddy” image to make it “ok” for me to enjoy being vulnerable, because “daddy” makes me vulnerable.

      My vulnerability is my choice….not “daddy’s”…. because I want to feel vulnerable to a woman I love…..and I don’t need a male daddy fetish to allow me to feel what I feel.

      If you depend on using a male based fetish to feel happy about being vulnerable to another woman, then “daddy” is in control of you.

      You are in charge of yourself and your feelings. Be honest about your desires. Don’t make excuses by using “male” metaphors for what have nothing to do with maleness….or “daddies”…. but simply the amazing, loving, complex differences of females……lesbians.

      • Omg Bae, literally no one is here for your kinkshaming.

        So you don’t get why people would use that word. All the same, some people do. Let it go.

      • Sorry for the mistyping.? It has nothing to do with wine, I assure you.

        Always proofread before posting!

      • Lady I don’t know your life, but genderplay in kink is not a crutch or an excuse.
        If you don’t like it, fine don’t like just don’t try to “fix” people that do.
        We don’t need fixing and know how to be honest about our desires otherwise why the fuck would we do it or like it.

        • Good question. That is exactly what I am wondering……why the fuck do you do it……pretend to be another gender? So… you have an answer…..other than you wish you or your mate was the other gender….. In your ” gender play”?

          Try not just being angry…..just answer the question.

          I really don’t care what your answer is…..all I care about is you simply thinking about the question. But hate me if you must…..but it is a question worth answering.

          Sleep tight and good night to all.

          • Yeah, because queer people never fuck with gender or reclaim words that have previously been used to hurt us because that would totally mean we’re actually straight and want to fuck our dads. You got us!

          • You’re seriously asking a site loaded with genderqueer, trans, and other non-binary and non-conforming queer people why any of us might role-play or pretend to be another gender in sexual play and intimacy… ?

            No, it’s not a question worth answering. No, no one hates you. You’ve just got this bizarre compulsion to criticize people different than you and it’s fuckin’ annoying.

          • Genderplay doesn’t mean I’m pretending to be another gender. Why do I do it? Because it gets me hot, I like watching my “cock” disappear, get covered in wet shiny fluid, and telling someone they’re so good and they’re taking it so well.

            It’s KINK, there doesn’t need to be a reason or your approval.
            It also gets me hot when I get called Diosa and get my booblets worshiped or be the source of life in breath play, but because that is feminine you don’t question it. You have no problem with it.

            I struggled with viewing my sadism, dominance, masculinity together as some sort of sign that I was a monster, that I was Bad and could never be good for anyone or myself. Femininity was my crutch for the longest time when I wanted to do anything dominant. I was trying to lessen myself not bloom in it and it hurt me.

            I can be an evil bitch goddess from hell that cackles, a life giving Diosa, Daddy who coos, Sir that chuckles, or a dirty boy who likes getting it without feeling like I’m trying to crush myself down into something “appropriate” because The Masculine is evil, The Feminine is good.

            “Try not being angry just answer the question”


            “I really don’t care what your answer is all I care about is simply thinking about the question”

            Bit of cognitive dissonance with those two statements unless your aim is to incite, which it is. You take issue with dominant masculine people and roles. Not everyone has your issue learn to deal with that and not project your whatevers on to other people.

            If you’re looking for me or any of us to have a come to Shesus moment and be good little feminine roles only queers ain’t gunna happen.
            Some of us just aren’t feminine in dominant roles or submissive roles in kink or even in everyday life and we’re fine with that.

            I may have wasted my time because you are firm your beliefs, but that’s okay someone else might read this and find their way outta 2nd wave feminism and into the 21st century.

          • “try not just being angry… just answer the question” is the most ‘male’ statement in this whole thread

  25. “Nah,” I replied. “It’s just the sun.”

    Ignore the “Daddy” word, or anything about this particular kink that you aren’t comfortable with and you will see a supremely relatable tale about somebody getting to a moment in their relationship when their partner does something they truly longed for, but couldn’t necessarily verbalize because sometimes asking for things makes us feel vulnerable in a way that we aren’t ready for. That’s a pretty amazing moment.

    That last line though…yeah, we’ve all been there.

  26. When I accidentally call her Daddy in public, we say I picked it up because our dog calls her that

  27. Yeah… “someone she encouraged to take advantage of her whenever I felt the desire to do so”.

    This whole thing is really gross. That feminist guilt probably needs closer examination.

    • You want negative power? You just wielded it. You didn’t care who you hurt. I’ll take BDSM any day over online bullying and harassment.

      • I’m not sure you know what harassment is. I’ve only disagreed with someone online?

        • “This whole thing is really gross.”

          Because I’ve never heard that before for being a queer woman. I have to hear it from another queer woman who doesn’t like kink, therefore it’s “icky”.

          You’re a bully. Plain and simple. If you were reasonably mature your reaction would be, “I don’t understand this, it does nothing for me, and I don’t feel the need to comment or participate.”

          • Um, no. I do understand this. I understand the kick someone gets from being in control, from being the dominant one.

            The poster, however, needs to understand that her kink does not happen in a vacuum. Incest and pedophilia are *wrong*, but they are pervasive and normalised the world over.

            If re-enacting oppressive, sexually abhorrent societal structures in your lesbian relationship gets you off, then that needs analysing. It didn’t happen in a vacuum. Performing hetero & abusive norms in a lesbian relationship just shows how the patriarchy can still affect women who have opted out of loving men.

            This kind of behaviour perpetuates hetero, patriarchal abuse patterns, which hurts *all* women. All of us, whether we participate or not. Have some sisterhood and stop treading on your sisters out of the need to look all “right-on”.

          • So, you understand one element, but not the other. That justifies your bullying.

            Sinclair is genderqueer. They do not use feminine pronouns. Their kink is their own business and unless you are in Sinclair’s bedroom, you are unaffected.

            No one is “re-enacting oppressive, sexually abhorrent societal structures”. That’s your straw man. Sinclair is genderqueer, AGAIN, and you are using the term “lesbian relationship”. Also, I have to say, gay women have not “opted out of loving men”. That’s now how it works. You’re failing others on so many levels.

            My “sisterhood” is not subject to your whims, nor do I even appreciate having your binary “hood” forced down my throat without you even knowing me. You want oppressive? You want patriarchal abuse patterns? AGAIN, look no further than your own shameful posts.

    • I agree! Perhaps you could examine your own feminist guilt and explain why you think it’s okay to tell people that what they do with another consenting adult is gross and whether that’s really feminist of you…or just total bullshit.

    • Sinclair has been examining kink and feminism in their personal blog for, like, ten years now.

  28. Okay, so multiple folks have ripped this line out of context:

    “More like: grateful to have been allowed into this woman’s inner world for one night, let alone the last year. More like: someone she encouraged to take advantage of her whenever I felt the desire to do so.”

    This is a statement about mutual consent, mutual trust, and mutual intimacy – which is VERY FEMINIST, so I’m a bit confused by the reaction.

      • Still bullying, I see. Perhaps YOU missed the memo where feminism did not include shaming other women for our sexual desires.

      • I’m confused why you’re insisting on ignoring the mutual consent here.

        “Go learn feminism” is a really shitty thing to throw at someone that you disagree with. You can find a sex act not to your taste without gatekeeping whether people who engage with it are feminist.

        It is not, indeed, feminist to condescend to tell queer folks what they should be doing in their private sex lives when all parties are consenting and legal. No one is asking you to participate in BDSM.

  29. “Two lovers are having drinks. One of them says ‘can I have a refill, daddy’. The other one blushes.”

    That’s pretty much the content of the post, which I found to be extremely sweet and vulnerable. I’m really surprised by the response in the comments.

  30. Idk…reading this column and the comments, I think there’s a tension in terms of structural issues (which is likely where the feminist guilt comes from) versus individual choices/empowerment. It’s not that I think kink is bad or that even what Sinclair has discussed here is bad,but I do think a lot of defenders are sort of stopping at “I choose my choice so it’s an empowering and feminist act” analysis. But those choices don’t exist in a vacuum – they can have ripple effects for other people even if it isn’t intended. While I am sure that Sinclair has worked out some of those ethical questions elsewhere, that really hasn’t happened in this column. Maybe there needs to be a View From the Top post that helps do that work.

    • I’m sorry, but my sexual choices do not have “ripple effects” on others. A lot of the arguments “against” in this thread have sounded remarkably similar to the anti-queer remarks of other elements in society. If you don’t want BDSM to effect you, don’t partake in it.

    • This strikes me as pretty condescending. You’re implying that those of us who engage in kink haven’t thought critically about these issues and missing that it takes a lot of emotional labor to unpack all the work that we’ve all done personally in every single comment that implies we’re not feminist or complicit in rape culture.

      You also are taking this series by Sinclair as a one-off, when indeed they have explored the ethical questions about kink pretty in depth here (and off-site, obvs.)

      • No, actually, I’m not implying that people haven’t thought critically. I’m sure people have done that thought. I actually said that I’m sure Sinclair has done that writing elsewhere. I do think the comment discussion on these posts is pretty shallow and I would like to see more unpacking of those issues.

        • But Ash… are you a therapist? I mean do you honestly believe anyone here feels the need to “unpack” with someone who doesn’t understand? Particularly with so much shaming and hostility in this thread? Particularly when the AS staff themselves has said this isn’t the place for that?

          No one here owes you or any other critic a damn thing. I say that as softly as possible. If you want to engage in a conversation, if any critic here wants to engage in a conversation… you’re doing it wrong and you shouldn’t get to dictate what that conversation looks like. This is our space.

          • I’m not actually a critic. I don’t have a problem with Sinclair’s post or their other posts.

            All I’m saying is that there are like 150 comments on this thread and if we’re all going to go around in circles maybe there could be some more work done on digging through the relationships between kink and feminism instead of leaving off at “it’s my choice, so it’s fine.”

          • Not all articles need to be all things for all people, ash. This is an article for kink. Not for people who want to criticize it and shame it.

  31. Perhaps we could not re-fight the Lesbian Sex Wars every time Sinclair posts a column.

  32. I have a trans girl friend who wants to call me “daddy”, and I recalled having seen this article in my feed. I came here wanting to learn from the conversation, so that I can find a way forward that is healthy for both of us. Today I’ve learned that… I need to tell her she’s a bad feminist?

      • Why did you put quotes around “her”?

        Also, the kinkshaming you’re doing is outrageous and not worth arguing with — guess what? No one gives a shit if you approve of what we do in the bedroom.

          • You know what’s more bullshit that the patriarchy? A fellow queer woman ignoring the autonomy of women to choose what they want to do in the bedroom. Ignoring the countless explanations given in this comment section that repeat, over and over, that we’ve thought about it and we’ve vetted our partners. Ignoring that Sinclair Sexsmith has been writing about the intersection of kink and feminism both here and extensively elsewhere. That’s all available for you to go check out if you want. Instead you’re here, ignoring what we’re saying and insisting that no one is giving you the analysis you’re apparently desperate for — do your own analysis if it bothers you so much. Don’t demand that other people do it for you and then dismiss it when it’s given.

            You’re being patronizing by insisting that we really haven’t thought about it, because you think that if we did then we wouldn’t do it.

            I’m an incest survivor, I’ve done decades of work undoing that trauma, and you are actively being harmful if you insist that I don’t have the autonomy to decide for myself what to do with another consenting adult.

    • No, Nerd. She’s not a bad feminist. It’s between you and her and not the opinions of bigots. If it turns you both on and you love and respect each other, then go for it. Just always communicate your thoughts and feelings with each other honestly.

    • To expand… Transness is relevant because of the history of being denied girlhood. I don’t have that experience, but I know this community can often speak to that in a compassionate and comprehensive way.

  33. If this was written on Return of Kings, y’all would have no problem condemning it. Just because it’s a woman doing it, doesn’t mean it’s not rooted in (internalised, perhaps) misogyny.

  34. I have a HUGE issue with this article; a gin and tonic is NEVER shaken! If you shake a carbonated beverage, such as tonic water, the carbonation comes out of solution and you are left without bubbles. ‘Daddy’ should know better.

    • yep, that was an editing issue, where we went back & forth about what drink for it to be and then didn’t edit it correctly. I wrote it with the drink that I actually made in the real-life version of this story, which is shaken, and then changed it at the last minute.

      so, my apologies for the mistake in editing.

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