Friday, October 14, 2011

Femdom as and Economic Theory - Dommes and Monopoly vs. Oligopoly

Monpoloy Power

In a perfect world, a capitalist system functions under the theory of perfect competition.  The idea of perfect competition has a few underlying principles, but the basic outcome of this theoretical model is that both buyers and sellers are "price takers," and accept the prices determined by market equilibrium. 

As I have described in previous posts, the D/s relationship "market" is far from ideal.  If Dommes are sellers and subs are buyers, this system of imperfect competition closely resembles that of a monopoly, with Dommes holding an immense amount of market power.

A monopoly has several distinguishing characerstics:
-There is only one seller of a particular commodity.
-There are no close substitutes.
-Other parties are barred from entry into the market.

Dommes set the "price" and all subs have to concede.

As I had originally started to write this I found the last characteristic rather bothersome because there's really nothing preventing more women from becoming Dommes, so the "market" being this biased is a bit interesting.

Hypothetical: Evolving into an Oligopoly

Hypothetically speaking, if enough new Dommes appeared to shift the sub to Domme ratio from ~26:1 to something closer to say, 6:1, the behavior of the market would change a little.  While the market would still favor Dommes, the Dommes themselves would more closely resemble an oligopoly. 

To make things easier (and more realistic), I am working under the assumption that all subs do not grant equal utility to Dommes.  Subs that are more physically attractive, financially stable/successful, most loyal/obedient/capable in their submission, etc. will yield more utility to a Domme than typical or mediocre subs. 

While Dommes are still in the minority and are in control of the scarce resource, they must now consider the behavior of the other Dommes seeking subs in order to attract the subs yielding the highest utility.  Basically, they can still be in the position of power but they may have to be willing to make certain compromises to maximize their utility or the Dommes with the most favorable terms (read as: the most enjoyable kinky activities for the subs) will likely end up with the "best" subs.

It is, however, unlikely that the number of Dommes will quadruple any time soon so this probably won't be too significant of a threat.  I also find it rather interesting that Dommes can put themselves at a disadvantage by having more Dommes around.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Femdom as an Economic Theory - More is better: Poly-relationships, Imperfect Substitutes and Composite Utility

I'm doing my best to keep the economic theory to a bearable amount but still include enough to reach an understanding of how it explains what actually happens in D/s courting.  In this post I will likely candy coat the basic ideas of the theory since if I tried to go in depth it would likely bore the shit out of everyone.

At the end of my post on Perfect vs. Imperfect substitutes I touched on Dommes generally being more discerning than many subs. 


Economic theory often deals with an idea known as "Utility."  Basically, utility describes the amount of "goodness" someone receives from something.  Perfect substitutes occur when choosing one item over another yields the same level of utility.  Imperfect substitutes occur when choosing one substitute (lesser) item yields less utility than another (better) item. 

Dommes are often faced with the challenge of considering or accepting subs that yield less utility than their ideal sub (read as: they aren't as happy with a good "fit" sub vs. a perfect fit sub).  Their perfect sub probably doesn't exist, so substitution is a very common practice in D/s courting.  The challenge then becomes finding a sub that is "good enough" and trying to shape him to something that is as close to perfect as possible.

Technically, the economic theories on utility generally work based upon a fixed income and/or describe what happens during changes in income. However, as I wrote about in my Barter System post, Femdom is a scarce and valuable resource. 

Maximizing Utility through Poly-relationships

If a Domme realizes her services are an extremely valuable commodity, she can in turn increase her "buying power" tremendously. That is, rather than settle for one imperfect sub, she can take on multiple subs that together can meet every one of her desires and maximize her utility. 

e.g. one sub is her emotional lover, one sub is her cleaning maid and money slave, one sub is her big cock for sex, one sub is her intense pain slut, etc.

This has its advantages as she never has to go without something she wants and there is less emotional attachment to individual subs if they ever decide/desire to leave.  It also sends a strong message to subs that they are replaceable if they don't meet her performance expectations. 

There is a Limit

While it might seem perfect on paper, the more subs that are present the less attention each sub will inevitably receive, reducing their utility.  Also, the number of subs capable of functioning as part of a stable over the long-run (even if they say they can) is relatively small. 

While this idea may have its flaws, I can see many cases where it would probably yield greater utility for a Domme than searching for one perfect sub. 

Femdom as and Economic Theory - Perfect vs. Imperfect Substitues: Discerning Dommes and Idiot subs

This post somewhat builds off of the last scenario I wrote about in my Barter System post and is also rooted in the Theory of supply and demand..

Substitution as an economic term refers to people consuming/purchasing one good instead of another for various reasons.    
A perfect substitute is an item that is consumed that yields the same amount of  "goodness" (utility) as a different item.  e.g. If Pepsi goes on sale, people will increase their consumption of Pepsi and decrease their consumption of Coke.  Similarly, if the price of Pepsi goes up, people will increase their consumption of Coke and decrease their consumption of Pepsi.  In either case, the total amount of cola consumed will remain pretty much the same.  In this example, Coke and Pepsi act as perfect substitutes.  

Why some lonely and single male subs can be super annoying

In many cases, Dommes in a particular area often know each other.  They often see each other at munches/play parties/gatherings or at least correspond every so often on the internet.  One of the biggest headaches for Dommes in a particular area is often a couple of subs that are so starved for dominance yet oblivious to manners and etiquette that they end up being a pain in the ass to every Domme in the area.

When 22 women in one city receive an email from one person saying "u should dominat me" and includes a picture of their dick, you can be fairly sure that this person will be shit-listed by all of them.

On occasion, you'll also find a few subs that aren't as stupid but still seem to make the same general mistake:  contacting all of the Dommes within a relatively short period of time.

Desperation tends to breed this behavior and this behavior indicates that a sub in this state treats Dommes like perfect substitutes.  No Coke?  Pepsi.  No Pepsi?  R/c.  No R/c?  Shasta... and so on.  They are so starved for domination that they will take it in any way, shape, or form.  No matter how you look at it, it wreaks of being pathetic.  Unfortunately, this is also a product of the drastic inequality of Femdoms to malesubs, so the tendency for this to happen remains consistent with the economic theory.

Discerning Dommes

Dommes tend to approach courting in a very different way.  Dommes tend to treat subs like imperfect substitutes.  That is, taking on a sub who is a poor fit (usually) yields less "goodness" than a sub who is a good fit. Rather than trying every available sub she will likely key in on ones who she feels can meet her needs or is of a frame of mind that could be easily molded to meet her needs. 

Oddly enough, Dommes that are overtly cruel and prefer subs that hate what they do to them will almost always search with a similar, if not greater amount of discretion.  This is an odd scenario where her good fit is a poor fit for him, so it requires a sub that has the capacity to endure both mentally and physically under those circumstances.

Femdom as an Economic Theory - Adverse Selection and the Lemon Problem

At the end of my Barter System post I briefly discussed some of the negative aspects of being one of a few Femdoms confronted with an over-whelming number of malesubs.

These problems are rooted in a couple of economic theories that were developed in order to describe certain types of market failures (market failures = when supply and demand fail to establish a perfect equilibrium).  

Asymmetric Information, Adverse Selection and the Lemon Problem

Asymmetric information is a term that refers to a situation when one party has better or more complete information than the other.  Adverse Selection is term referring to market failures due to "bad" outcomes occurring based upon asymmetric information. 

The Lemon Problem describes the market for used cars and is the most common example used to describe this situation. A person selling a used car knows exactly how it has behaved over time and what problems it may have.  A person buying a used car only knows what the seller tells them, which may or not be completely accurate/true. 

Let's say:
1. A perfect, great running, used car should sell for $10,000.
2. An unreliable, problem prone, used car of the same year, model, and features should sell for $4,000.

The buyer doesn't know if the used car will be #1 or #2 (or somewhere in between).  The actual selling price will likely be somewhere around $6,000-$7,000.  This is considered a market failure since good cars sell below what they are worth and bad cars sell for more than they are worth. 

The same used car may sell from a dealer for say, $9,000 since the dealer will likely have done a thorough inspection and offer some sort of warranty, but that is outside the scope of this post.

Why this makes it harder for subs

This same type of market failure happens frequently in D/s courting.  The sub is like the used car and the Domme is the buyer.  Good subs will sell themselves as good subs and bad subs will also sell themselves as good subs.  It's (almost) impossible to tell good subs apart from bad subs without spending a significant amount of time with them. 

This leads to several problems. 
Many good subs will get passed over while being mistaken for bad subs in disguise.   
Many bad subs posing as good subs will be chosen (and discarded), making Dommes even more skeptical towards subs in general. 
It becomes next to impossible to truly sell yourself for who you are.

I know many Dommes that have developed intensive evaluation and testing periods in order to weed out the good from the bad.  While I think that it is wise of them to do so, I think it's a bit of a shame that it has to be that way.

Femdom as an Economic Theory - The Barter System and Double Coincidence of wants

The Barter System

The evolution of money came about as a solution to the inconvenient method of trading known as the barter system.  The barter system is trading ones' own goods or services in exchange for goods or services the one is seeking.  Instead of trying to trade a day's labor for a bag of salt or 20 rabbit pelts for a bushel of wheat, it was easier to work a day's labor and be paid in money to buy the salt directly or sell the rabbit pelts for money to buy the wheat.

The principle governing success of the barter system is known as double-coincidence of wants.  This occurs when the trader and tradee each want what the other is offering.  Unfortunately this can be a very difficult task depending upon what one is offering and what one wants. 

How this applies to Femdom relationships

BDSM relationships are often described in terms of their "fit."  Fit rarely describes personal compatibility but usually focuses upon commonalities in desired kink.  I won't comment on whether I think this is a good priority to have, I will just accept this is how courting usually occurs (although I will note that successful relationships of any kind usually requires good personal compatibility).

Dommes and subs seeking a good "fit" closely resembles the double-coincidence of wants.  In most cases, you can think of someone's kinky desires as both what they have to offer and what they desire in return. 

Why Femdoms hold all the bartering power

As I wrote in my post on Supply and Demand, the numbers are stacked in favor of Femdoms.  Basically, for every one woman offering wheat, there's 27 men wanting wheat who will have to meet her demands to get it.

An example
male submissive X wants:
-A fetish-model sexy Mistress.
-Frequent kinky sex play. 
-Light bondage.
-Light physical punishment.

Femdom A wants:
-Complete devotion and submission.
-Gainful employment / financial manipulation.
-Well-educated conversation. 
-Strict chastity and orgasm denial.
-Intense corporal punishment and torture.
-Full domestic service.
-Body worship.
-Frequent cunnilingus.

Is Femdom A a good 'fit' for malesub X?  Hell no.  Will malesub X fore go his own wants and be willing to bend to Femdom A's demands?  Probably.  Does that make malesub X a good fit for Femdom A?  If he'll go along, why not? 

This is also rather inconvenient for Femdom A.  If her demands are that strict the number of malesubs truly offering it are probably scarce as well.  However, since she holds the power any sub that meet her criteria and will bend to her desires pretty much works out.  Her greatest inconvenience is weeding out the fakers to find those truly willing to sacrifice. 

I will cover more on this in my next post.

Femdom as an Economic Theory - Supply and Demand

The Basic Theory of Supply and Demand

Economic Theory is pretty much all based upon the theory of supply and demand.
The premise:
At a given price, consumers will demand X amount of a product.
To increase demand, lower the price.
To increase the price, lower the amount supplied (below what is demanded at its current price).

Scarce Resources and the BDSM Pyramid

It is generally accepted in the BDSM community that there is a pyramid-like hierarchy of orientation representations when it comes to BDSM preference.  The actual numbers are sometimes debatable because it's common belief that male subs are over-represented on the internet but I also believe they are under-represented at BDSM functions.  However, the order of the levels in the pyramid are never really questioned.

In my estimation (taken from both the internet and BDSM functions), the percentages are probably something like:
Female Dominant: ~2%
Male Dominant: ~13%
female submissive: ~32%
male submissive: ~53%

This means there is an approximately 2.5:1 femsub to Maledom ratio, but more than a 26:1 malesub to Femdom ratio. 

The inequality leads to a special type of supply and demand interaction known as scarce resources.  No matter how limited the supply, demand tends to remain the same.   The end result is inflated prices and excess demand.

Basically, Femdom Nation is OPEC and male subs are the automobile driving public.  No matter how "expensive" domination is, male subs will pay it, and regardless of the price, most male subs will be left out in the cold without it.  Unless there's a drastic societal change, this situation won't change any time soon as there's no electric car equivalent to femdom. 


Since the number of male subs so drastically out populate the number of Femdoms, Female Dominants have every advantage in both courting situations and D/s relationships.