Femdom might seem like a recent word, well that’s because it is. The term Femdom was coined at some point during the 20th century when BDSM started to be more widely explored. However, the term Femdom comes from, you guessed, ‘female domination’ And that has been around before the 20th century. Here’s a brief history of female domination through history and how that ignited Femdom as part of BDSM.

 

Femdom in ancient mythology 

In ancient mythologies, powerful goddesses were revered as symbols of strength, wisdom, and dominance.

Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, warfare, and strategy, is often depicted as a powerful and strategic figure. She emerged fully grown and armored from the head of her father, Zeus, symbolizing a birth free from traditional maternal influence. Athena’s prowess in warfare and strategic thinking aligns with the qualities associated with dominant figures.

Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, wilderness, and wild animals, represents an untamed and fiercely independent aspect of femininity. She is often portrayed as a skilled archer who roams freely in the wilderness. Artemis embodies a sense of sovereignty and dominance over the natural world, reflecting a form of Femdom in her mythological context.

Isis In Egyptian mythology is a powerful goddess associated with magic, motherhood, and sovereignty. She played a crucial role in the resurrection of her husband Osiris and the protection of her son Horus. Isis’s combination of maternal attributes and magical prowess reflects a multifaceted form of dominance and authority.

Inanna, known as Ishtar in Babylonian mythology, is a goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, and war. Her divine attributes include both nurturing and assertive qualities. In the myth of the Descent of Inanna, she exhibits strength and determination as she journeys into the underworld, showcasing a form of dominance over challenging circumstances.

Freya, the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, is also associated with war and death. She is a powerful and independent deity who chooses her own romantic partners. Freya’s autonomy and ability to navigate her relationships align with themes of dominance and assertiveness.

Kali is a fierce goddess in Hindu mythology associated with destruction, time, and empowerment. Her imagery often includes multiple arms, symbolising her ability to multitask and embody various attributes simultaneously. Kali’s assertiveness in the face of adversity aligns with aspects of dominance and power.

These goddesses were venerated for challenging traditional notions of femininity and illustrating the diverse expressions of female power. While ancient mythologies did not explicitly define Femdom as a contemporary subculture does, the qualities and narratives associated with these goddesses provide historical precedents for the acknowledgment of powerful, dominant, and assertive aspects of femininity.

Today, many dominatrices take inspiration from ancient mythology and the feminine strength that was honoured so deeply.

 

Matriarchal societies

While there’s debate about the existence of fully matriarchal societies, there are historical examples of cultures with matrilineal or matrilocal elements, where women played central roles. Here are some examples:

Minangkabau (Indonesia) The Minangkabau people, indigenous to West Sumatra, Indonesia, are often cited as an example of a society with matrilineal customs. Property and family names are passed down through the maternal line, and women hold influential positions in the family and community.

Akan (Ghana) Among the Akan people in Ghana, lineage is traced through the maternal line, and inheritance is often passed down from mother to daughter. Women may play significant roles in decision-making within the family.

Mosuo (China) The Mosuo people, residing around Lugu Lake in China, are often discussed in the context of matrilineally. Lineage and property are passed through the female line, and women in Mosuo society have economic and social influence.

Khasi (India) The Khasi people in Meghalaya, India, practice a matrilineal system where lineage and property are passed through the mother’s side. Women often own and inherit property, and they play important roles in family and community decisions.

Iroquois Confederacy (North America) Some Native American societies, like the Iroquois Confederacy, had matrilineal aspects in their social structure. Clan membership was determined matrilineally, and women played crucial roles in decision-making processes within the community.

Trobriand Islands (Papua New Guinea) The Trobriand Islanders have been studied for their matrilineal kinship system. Inheritance, family names, and land ownership are passed through the maternal line, and women have a central role in social organisation.

Nagovisi (Papua New Guinea) The Nagovisi people in Papua New Guinea have a matrilineal kinship system where descent, inheritance, and clan membership are traced through the maternal line. Women are involved in economic activities and are important decision-makers in the community.

 

Femdom in Art & Literature

Medieval and Renaissance art depicted powerful women as rulers, warriors, and mythological figures. Literature, such as the Arthurian legends, introduced strong female characters like Morgan le Fay. These depictions challenged traditional gender roles and contributed to the evolving perception of women in positions of authority.

BDSM and fetish literature in the 19th and 20th centuries meant the emergence of explicit exploration of dominance and submission themes.  Works like “The Story of O” by Pauline Réage and writings by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch contributed to the development of BDSM culture. These works explored power dynamics and laid the groundwork for Femdom as an explicit subculture.

The journey of many female sex workers and dominatrices into their work began by reading this type of literature or seeing this type of art which allowed them the rare opportunity to see women portrayed in a position of godlike power. The influence of art and literature as a reflection of ourselves and our potential should be never be underestimated.

 

Femdom in BDSM communities 

If you reality doesn’t allow you to be something that you want to be, what do you do? You create another reality where you can be that thing. In a world that is predominantly run by men, we can escape this reality in BDSM. Women can come into their power, and men can exhale the pressure on them to always be the alpha.

The mid-20th century witnessed the formation of organised BDSM communities. These communities provided spaces for individuals with diverse interests, including Femdom kinks, to connect, share experiences, and explore their desires. The communities facilitated the development of rituals, protocols, and norms associated with Femdom relationships.

 

Feminist Movements

Feminist movements of the late 20th century further progressed engaged in discussions about women’s agency and sexual autonomy. While not universally embraced within feminist circles, some argued that consensual BDSM, including Femdom, could be a form of empowered choice, challenging traditional gender roles.

Radical feminism and punk feminist movements also made created more female dominated spaces. Punk feminism had many links to Femdom in the sense that both were about erotic empowerment, both were about empowering yourself in your own way, without having to rely on the system to change things, and both had some similar aesthetical choices when it comes to clothing etc.

 

Femdom in the Digital Age

The rise of the internet and online communities in the late 20th century transformed the landscape for those interested in Femdom. Online platforms provided spaces for discussions and education on a global scale. The internet has quickened up the normalisation of BDSM including Femdom, making it more mainstream than ever. As the conversation has expanded, more and more variations of Femdom have come into fruition, like sensual Femdom or Femdom sugar babies.

For so long BDSM has been represented in mainstream culture using a dominant male and submissive female, but now this is gradually starting to shift. The online dominatrix scene has blown up. Sex-positive movements are rife. Whilst gender equality in society is still slow moving, Femdom provides an alternative space where women can step into their power with ease and even overcome traumas caused by gender inequality in their everyday lives.

 

Explore or create BDSM experiences like Femdom today on Sensuali

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Author

Iso

Author

Iso is a writer and filmmaker based in East London. She is passionate about all things erotic and leads a sexy, shame-free life in hope that she can inspire others to do the same. Originally from a Northern seaside town, she is naturally drawn to the best things in life: candyfloss, trashy karaoke bars and heart-shaped sunglasses.


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