The History Of Femdom

It's rough.
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Photo – Brazzers (Kleio & Cassidy)

Female domination, while fetishized today as part of the BDSM subculture, has existed for a very, very long time in one form or another. Take a look at the ancient Mesopotamians, for instance. The Mesopotamians had a seriously badass goddess named Inanna. You might recognize her by her more popular Akkadian name: Ishtar, goddess of love and war, among many other things, who pretty much ran the show in the Mesopotamian pantheon.

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Photo – magoism.net

Beautiful beyond comprehension and the very picture of feminine dominance, she subjected her male counterparts to her will with the use of her unbridled sexuality as well as her raw power. To worship her, followers would cross dress, performing intense rituals of pleasure and pain to yield states that bordered between ecstasy and agony and that were meant to be transcendental. Sounds awfully familiar, doesn’t it?

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Photo – Mural on wall in Pompeii | bossy girls

Romans weren’t strangers to femdom either, though their’s was far darker than what the Mesopotamian’s practiced. Roman women, in a display of power and domination, would sometimes force their slaves to perform oral sex and, one can imagine, other things for their sexual gratification. They even made their slave lovers wear “thecas,” a kind of chastity belt, and treated them not as humans but as sex toys. They did not just perform the mistress/slave dynamic like we do today. For Romans, it was the real deal.

Photo – “The Cully Flaug’d” | British Museum

At the beginning of the secular age, femdom slipped into the dim lit backrooms of brothels where it became a kind of specialty that was reserved for more particular clientele. Flogging, as it was then called, was a kind of art form, just as it is today. Paintings and prints readily depict the act, a testament to its popularity. One such, “The Cully Flaug’d”, circa 1674-1702 shows a distinguished older man getting his rump lashed, an expression of delight upon his face.

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Photo – Tumblr

Theresa Berkley, one of London’s most famous 19th century governesses, an early term that would today be synonymous with our “dominatrix”, accumulated a small fortune as a result of her flagellation brothel on Hallam Street where she birched, beat, hung, needled, burned and cut some of England’s most influential men and women.

Berkley, something of a femdom hero today, was also responsible for inventing a BDSM apparatus: the chevalet, now known as the Berkley Horse. What makes her and the colorful governesses of her era so fascinating is the public image they maintained as a result of their work. These women were, in many ways, the forerunners of the popular professional dominatrices today, and they set the tone for what was to come.

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Photo – Tumblr

Our century marks an openness to and genuine interest for femdom, and it’s only grown over the years as it becomes more visible in the culture and in pornography. From Mistress Monique Von Cleef and her now infamous 1960’s House of Pain to amateurs seeking to explore that fine line that separates ecstasy and agony in the comforts of their own homes, femdom is well entrenched in our sexual practices.

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Photo – Brazzers (Sex Sells)
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Written by Hugh Jasse

An eloquent soul, a lover of women, fine wine, and travel. I can often be spotted aboard a skiff in Santorini, catching rays and artfully plucking at my lute.