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Male submission describes BDSM and other sexual activities in which the submissive partner is male. It generally refers to sexual activities and desires in which a male-identified person, such as a man, plays a subservient role to a dominant partner. The term "male submissive" and its abbreviation malesub are widely used in BDSM subcultures to refer to such a person. The female dominant counterpart is abbreviated femdom, while the male dominant counterpart is abbreviated maledom.
The particular activities considered submissive for men vary widely depending on local and cultural custom as well as the context for a particular encounter. For people whose sexuality is strongly heteronormative and "vanilla", merely breaking from traditional sexual positions such as having sexual intercourse with the partner who has a vagina "on top" may be considered a form of male submission. Within the context of sexual or romantic power-exchange (D/s) relationships, male submission may take a number of other forms, including sadomasochistic sex or non-sexual servitude.
Often several attributes may be used to show that a man is submissive within an BDSM-play. Of a high symbolic meaning is the wearing of a leather or even steel slavecollar, whereas being locked up in a chastitybelt makes clear that a submissive has handed over the say about his own sexuality to the dominant. Muzzles, gags and headmasks may attribute further to demonstrate the unequal relationship existing between sub and top, which may also be enhanced by a lot of rules about behaviour as a kind of SM-etiquette.
The motivations and effects of male subs (in porn) is a topic of debate among radical feminists, as well as between radical and liberal feminists.
Radical feminists critique the fact that female dominants and male dominants very significantly in terms of what they wear and how they treat the sub, and whether the professional Domme is simply obeying orders. They argue that “forced feminization” implies that being female or feminine is taken to be slave-like and degrading. And that if it were the portraying of a gender role unknown to the male sub that was the humiliating part, it would only make sense for female subs to dress as stereotypical males, which doesn't happen because femdom porn is meant to fulfill the desires of men just like other porn, not those of the female doms.
These views have been criticized by sex-positive feminists as being "kink-shaming" and claim that they exclude the voice of sex workers from feminist discourse surrounding submissive male sexuality.
Some interpretations of male submission draw analogies to chivalry, in both positive and negative contexts. While some people believe that cultural incentives to promote traditionally chivalrous actions promote negative stereotypes of men, others base their concept of male submission around the perceived strength of "the knight in shining armor."
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