A few weeks back I wrote a post on clearing out the last of the mental garbage associated with the ‘sissy’ label.
Around about that time there was a very good post by furcissy analysing the over broad usage of this label in confusing and pejorative ways. It’s a good piece, providing some insights in to the extensive behaviours and kinks that all get lumped under this single term.
I wanted to add something from my own experiences. I’m in an odd minority position in that I’ve survived. I recognise all the worst aspects of the psychological pressures and how people are damaged and destroyed by them.
If it sounds as if I have contempt for some of what I’ve seen, then you’re right. On the other hand I can’t deny that I met some lovely people and had some good times over the years. I have no regrets about the path and progressions I’ve been through in that environment, I’ve enjoyed most of it and I have learned an incredible amount about myself as I have evolved.
As a place to start, I went across to that place of probity and factual truth, Wikipedia, to see what they had to say about the term ‘sissy’.
It was with a sinking heart I read the extracts reproduced below. This first one is a rather out of date general definition that looks like it could have been written 25 years ago. It reinforces assumptions about gender and sexuality from a bad definition of maleness that a sissy is perceived to deviate from.
Sissy (derived from sister), also sissy baby, sissy boy, sissy man, sissy pants, etc., is a pejorative term for a boy or man who does not conform to male gender stereotypes. Generally, sissy implies a lack of courage, strength, athleticism, coordination, testosterone, male libido, and stoic calm, all of which have traditionally been associated with masculinity and considered important to the male role in Western society. A man might also be considered a sissy for being interested in traditionally feminine hobbies or employment (e.g., being fond of fashion), displaying effeminate behavior (e.g., using hair products or displaying limp wrists), being unathletic, or being homosexual.
“Sissy” is, approximately, the male converse of tomboy (a girl with masculine traits or interests), but carries more strongly negative connotations. Research published in 2015 suggests that the terms are asymmetrical in their power to stigmatize: sissy is almost always pejorative and conveys greater severity, while tomboy rarely causes as much concern but also elicits pressure to conform to normative gender roles. Applied to an individual, these terms become a form of social control, enforcing normative gender roles and often drawing on the unfounded link of gender nonconformity with homosexuality. Similar in meaning to pansy, or to nancyboy or poofter outside the United States.
It’s this second extract that has me shaking my head as it appears as a non-sequitur in the middle of the article. So many different kinks lumped in to one. The authoritative imprimatur of Wikipedia telling us that this is what being a sissy means in the BDSM community.
In the BDSM practice of forced feminization, the male bottom undergoing cross-dressing may be called a sissy as a form of erotic humiliation, which may elicit guilt or sexual arousal, or possibly both, depending on the individual. This is forced, changing the man’s sexuality. Methods include things like hypnosis and reinforcing gifs. After watching them, the man will start to think he is attracted to men and that he is a female.
The hypnotist Jacqueline Campenelli was the first person known to combine isochronic tones or binaural beats and frequencies with spoken-word self-hypnosis / guided meditation as well as the first known of combining these frequencies with forced feminization , Sissy Hypno, and Gender Hypnotherapy, in the early 2010s.
There’s an unfortunate effect on the Internet that it rapidly creates a consensus on the ‘right way’. At which point it soon becomes the only way. A good example of this is a Twitter question I saw some time ago: “why don’t we ever see a domme smiling in promo pictures ?”
The group think takes over, new entrants review what’s already out there and copy it. It’s a race to the bottom. The vast majority of website and Twitter promo material from dominant women play heavily on every negative reinforcement that you can think of. Every possible kink is catered for in a demeaning manner. A sub curious male, irrespective of any ‘sissy’ interest is bombarded with messages regarding his worthlessness, weakness and that this is what he must conform to in order to identify with and explore his submissive feelings.
BDSM interest sites have become more fragmented since I first got involved. They also seem much more entrenched on defining the rules for the kinks and fetishes they cover.
Consider a male with the not uncommon fetishes and kinks that include ideas of cross-dressing and being submissive. He may have done some browsing before deciding to go to a particular site and that browsing will have implanted some of the negative associations in those Wikipedia quotes. It can take a lot of courage to enter one of those sites and even more to participate. The male is confused, lonely, probably ashamed that he gets aroused from thinking about his kinks. He’s fresh prey for the vultures.
It’s a sad fact that the most common concern of the new arrival is that he’s asking the questions, ‘what are the rules to be xxx ?’ and ‘how do I belong to this group ?’ and ‘can you give me a label to identify with and conform to ?’
There’s a lot wrong with these questions that take years to correct and what’s more unfortunate is that there are hoards already on that platform to tell him how he’s expected to behave if he’s to belong to their ‘gang’. Of course, most of those experts have never come out from behind their keyboard. The most they have done is remove one hand from the keyboard so that they can masturbate whilst thinking about all those strict rules (and punishments) they are asserting are the mainstay of the fetish or kink.
What our curious male is liable to be told is that his curious interest in Femdom and dressing is a one way progression to becoming a feminised cock sucking whore and the property of a female who will treat him like dirt and punish him mercilessly – if he’s really lucky.
I’ve seen this brainwashing in action, I’ve had to counsel someone away from suicide because of it. You wonder why I am largely contemptuous of this scene and process ? I learned to make my own choices, to pick and choose my kinks and parse them through reality. Many can’t, the pressures to conform are intense.
Why is the pressure so intense ? Largely because the number of females on such sites is minute compared to the males. The competition for their attention is extreme and the most obvious way to compete is to take those ‘rules’ and try (pretend) to conform to them as extremely as one can. That this rarely works isn’t usually noticed.
Let’s be honest about this, most on those sites are there to get an orgasm discussing the intricate details of their fetish or kink. To give that second Wikipedia extract some credence, the occurrence of that orgasm is very often associated with shame and guilt and that can easily become hardwired. The addition of a female in to the equation is an added bonus but as often as not they have as much consideration for her as they would a Fleshlight. The goal of many is to find a female with whom they can have free kinky sex – depressingly that’s all too familiar across every D/s site.
Some females play the game and whether they know it or not, they significantly contribute to embedding feelings of lack of self worth, self respect and dignity. Fetish driven orgasms at the behest of, or under the control of a female can be as addictive as crack cocaine and rapidly rewire the brain’s reward centres.
It’s easy to follow the progression from here. Chastity becomes attractive in that it’s another way for orgasms to be controlled and for a female holding the keys it is the ultimate male training (and abuse) tool. The cross dressing fetish can be directed towards an extreme caricature of femininity. The male become so used to the idea of degradation that his dressing style is his concept of a degraded female, a street walking whore on display [please forgive this disrespectful image, I’m explaining the mis-wired thought processes]. And what does a whore do ? Why, she services men !! Dirty filthy men. And, apparently, she loves doing so.
The process doesn’t always lead completely down this path, it doesn’t often go beyond online fantasy. But, however far it goes it programs the male to a sense of shame, guilt, degradation and worthlessness.
Very rarely does one see positive outcomes from this.
You might ask, why I regard myself as a positive outcome escapee ? I’ve been through many of the steps of ‘sissy’ fetishes, but I’m sure now that it was for different reasons. My dressing was never for sexual arousal and excitement and I think that made me question the ‘rules’ from the very beginning. I always questioned why a female would be interested in someone who had no self-respect and considered themselves worthless. I was determined to be proud of who I was, kinks and all and no one would take that away from me.
Yes, I was seriously in to chastity and although it was at first exciting and arousing with lots of erotic play potential, this tailed off when D/s and submission became the important factor. Chastity turned out to only be important because it was a foundation of our D/s relationship, it no longer was an erotic kink. You might say that it was no longer about sex. That would be wrong, it became about the absence of sex as a distraction to the more important D/s and as a result just naturally became permanent.
My dressing was certainly a caricature of femininity, witness the frilly satin dresses. Yet I never considered those to be shameful or degrading. They made for some lovely role play with somebody who took them for what they were and enjoyed me for what I was.
And what I was was transgendered. Floating in the closest environment I could find that expressed some of my needs.
When I filter everything through that recent realisation, it all makes perfect sense. The lack of arousal from dressing is a classic clue and I knew at the time that this made me different to most I encountered in these places. The progression through to permanent chastity was a repudiation of being male rather than a fetish.
I have a lot of sympathy for those locked in to the sissy group think. The extreme psychological pressures are some of the worst negative mind fucks there are. However, I despise those that enable and validate that abuse – yes, large numbers of sissy’s are abused because the pressures to degrade oneself rarely have an element of consent about them.
Even the idea of submission often gets perverted. To submit to someone should be a choice, one that is special and enhances both. In the domination of sissy’s it’s rarely positive or benign. Instead it’s used as an additional mechanism to suppress and subjugate. A healthy D/s relationship may employ degradation as part of a hot scene between consenting partners. A sissy is often led to believe that the female attention as a result of submission is non-consenting abuse and degradation because she has the right to treat his worthlessness in that manner.
This has been a long post. I hope it shines a light on why the sissy part of the spectrum is so broad and why it’s not deserving of the mockery it so often attracts. What I really wanted to shine a light on was the processes of abuse and how sissy’s are often programmed to expect and want that abuse. It needs to be called out and I wish I’d known enough to speak out back then for more than just the egregious examples I encountered.
Since I’ve been writing this blog I’ve also expanded my reading to other blogs. There’s many discussions highlighting consent and abuse for one section of the community or another. I’ve never seen a discussion about consent and abuse of sissy’s. It strikes me as horrific that within a group of vulnerable people so many believe it is their raison d’être to be abused and that it’s ignored by much of the community.