The patriarchy’s worst nightmare, in and out of the sheets, is the alpha female; being beta is not in the toxic masculinity playbook. Real men stick to the basics, the “get on your knees” and “good girl” dirty talk — sex entirely catered to themselves — a true indicator of their immaturity.
I am no stranger to the bedroom power struggle. In my case, it’s often the dance between two dominant dispositions. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room for two alphas in bed, and men always seem to be on top — their only exception being the cowgirl position.
I’ve put my sexual experiences in the spotlight, scattered throughout Berkeley in various unassuming newspaper stands — so when I get referred to as “alpha,” I shouldn’t be so taken aback.
I’ve always known I was a top — it’s a familiar term delegating me as the dominant party in girl-on-girl sex. My flexed arms, holding me up while I watch my partner writhe in pleasure, are simply a physical manifestation of my need for control. I didn’t seriously explore men for fear of domination; the risk of being overpowered by a man’s body scared me.
When I did, I always chose the least threatening men I could find. I didn’t realize that I was subconsciously playing it safe in order to protect myself; all I had known were aggressive boys who held me down almost as fast as they came — boys who paid greater attention to my throat than my clitoris.
After falling victim to the eager, objectifying hands of men and feeling powerless in a world where I needed to be in control, I didn’t care to prioritize my sexual preferences or turn-ons. My type, therefore, was the “beta” male: safe, gentle and soft enough for my embrace.
With them, I was in control of every kiss and touch. I was too scared to relinquish the power I felt climbing on top and staying there. My need for dominance was disguised as confidence: a misleading marker of my experience with men. No wonder guys thought they were getting in bed with a — and I repeat, verbatim — “sex god.” Any sign of feminine dominance was completely foreign, so I must be special.
With college came a bounty of dominant men, and I found myself tempted to quietly comply with the way they commanded the world around them — whether in the classroom or between the sheets. After spending four years in classrooms of only girls, my encounters with men were frustrating, to say the least.
Dominant men did not wait their turn to speak, and soon, I discovered these “alphas” had never waited their turn in the bedroom. It was always male pleasure first, feminine enjoyment nothing more than an afterthought.
For the first time in my life, I fell victim to submission. I liked being in charge, but I liked approval even more. If I wanted to participate in Berkeley’s sex scene, my dominance wouldn’t get me anywhere, nor would turning away my potential partners — alpha men, who saw sex as a quick nut and their female partners as a vessel for penetration.
Just like I began sitting in the back of my male-dominated classrooms, watching as male students led discussions and corrected our professors, I climbed down from the top and waited for attention.
My new approach to hooking up took a turn for the worse when intimacy became synonymous with aggression — make-outs were always accompanied by hair pulling, choking and biting. He would seem careful enough until his teeth would clamp down on my lower lip, leaving my kiss raw and bruised. I hated it, but it would take a few more scratches before I had the courage to pull away.
When I began speaking up in the classroom and taking back control in bed, among a male population of business students, STEM majors and frat brothers, I was met with confusion. Girls weren’t supposed to be in control between the sheets — and boys talked. The “alpha female” was a threat, and they made sure that title followed me in conversation.
I was worried I would scare confident guys away, throttling myself into an unintentional period of chastity. My divergence from submission would disqualify me in potential hookups — but did I really want to be with the men who were so desperate to dominate and control women?
In all honesty, I enjoy letting my partners take the lead as long as sex is a compromise — a mutual exchange of power and trust. I have matured to realize that I don’t always have to be in a position of power; I can share control without being completely dominated.
I can be both alpha and beta, but in favor of womanhood and liberation, I now prefer the term “alpha female.”
I plan to conquer the patriarchy with every trip to the bedroom, straddling toxic masculinity with orgasmic femininity. And I’ll stay this way, on top, throughout the rest of my college career.