We’ve all dreamed of becoming a princess since Anne Hathaway makeover of straightened and Y2K waxed eyebrows. And once Chris Pine was introduced in Princess Diaries 2, we had other dreams involving our royal bedchambers. If you love to be treated like a royalty in the bedroom, you may be a pillow princess.
This title was lovingly bestowed by queer women to describe a woman who loves to be serviced in bed. But more recently, men have started to use it to disparage women who they think are lazy starfishes in bed.
So what’s the truth about a pillow princess? And how do you know if you are one? Come with us as we clear up this title. And then maybe later tonight, too.
What Is a Pillow Princess?
“Generally people use the term ‘pillow princess’ to describe someone who takes a passive role in bed, receiving pleasure from partners. The implication is that they are not as interested in reciprocating, and the imagery of the name itself evokes an idea they are laying on a pillow, being treated, well, like a princess,” says Dr. Timaree Schmit, sexuality educator behind the podcast “Sex with Timaree.”
Queer women created the term pillow princess to describe a dynamic in lesbian relationships where one sexual partner loves to give sexual pleasure, and the other loves to receive.
Pillow princess often refers to someone who enjoys receiving oral sex, but not giving it. But it can refer to any sexual acts where one partner is steering the sex ship. Land hoe!
According to Dr. Schmit, “Sometimes lesbian couples had delineated roles: one partner was more butch and one more feminine, and the butch might take a more active role sexually. In the 1940s and 1950s someone might identify as a ‘stone butch’ and they would not allow partners to touch them during sex, and their enjoyment came from giving pleasure. The pillow princess might be the ancillary to that.”
Is it bad to be a pillow princess?
“It can be a cute thing to call yourself or others to explain what kind of a bottom you are in bed – as opposed to a power bottom or someone who ‘tops from the bottom’ and controls the action while being the receiver,” says Dr. Schmit. “But it could also be interpreted as being lazy, selfish or something else pejorative.”
Like many things, the term “pillow princess” got worse once straight men got involved. More recently, heterosexual men started using pillow princess differently than the LGBTQIA+ community: to describe a woman who is – according to him – lazy in bed.
Urban Dictionary’s second definition of pillow princess is “a girl who lays back on a pillow during sex being pleasured but doing nothing in return.” It can be used as a way to shame women for not performing like porn stars in bed. They do know that’s acting, right?
“I wish there wasn’t shade thrown at pillow princesses. It’s just a person that has identified that they access arousal by receiving and may lose arousal, otherwise,” says Whitni Miller, sex educator and pleasure coach. “When seeking out our preferences and/or desires, it’s very helpful to have language to help identify and be seen by those we would be most sexually compatible with.”
Miller says there are several reasons why someone may be a pillow princess, such as “history of trauma, performance anxiety, internalized shame, or simple preference.” There’s also nothing wrong with being more passive in bed or preferring to bottom.
There are many ways you can be an active participant in sex without being the top: talk dirty, use your hands, make sure all of the sex toys are charged. The key is to find the loyal knight to your pillow princess.
“Look for partners who like being in control of a sexual situation, who derive satisfaction from being able to provide pleasure, and who value their ability to service a partner,” says Dr. Schmit.
7 Signs You May Be a Pillow Princess
1. You’re the Center of Attention
You love the spotlight on your G-spot. Your muff is the main event. Your clit takes center stage. If your main character syndrome stays true in the bedroom, you may be a pillow princess. You’re the star of the show and your adoring fans love it.
2. You Want to Get Tied Up
When you’re trapped in fuzzy handcuffs, you can’t even hold your own sex toy. So there’s not much to do other than lay back with your legs open. Your partner gets to do whatever they want to you, and you get to enjoy the torture. Well, “torture.”
3. You Love to Get Pampered
You get your hair done twice a week because you just want someone to play with it. Your plumber is on speed dial to fix clogs caused by too many bath bombs. Your night time skin care routine takes until work starts the next day. You love to bask in luxury, so you want to sit back and relax in bed.
4. You Love a Service Sub
If dominating is more your speed, you love a sub who is ready to serve. You’re not here to wrangle a brat – you want a sub who will get on their knees and thank you for the privilege.
5. You’re Tired of Girlbossing
You’re in charge at work, then you come home and have to decide what to feed yourself. And, according to your financial advisor, DoorDashing every day is not an acceptable option. Now you need to pick a sex position? The decision fatigue is real. By the time you hit the bedroom, it’s time for someone else to take the wheel.
6. You’re an Expert Pillow Stacker
You may throw off your pile of decorative pillows before going to sleep, but you have them for when you need them. Laying down can be hard work if your neck is sore from looking down on your royal subjects. You know how to surround yourself in comfort by placing pillows under your hips for better access and behind your neck so you can enjoy the show.
7. You Claimed the Princess Title
True royalty knows that you have to own your title. Your favorite sex position is up on the throne. When you know what you want, you know how to get it. Wear your Pillow Princess crown with pride, and you’ll find many adoring subjects. Wesley, come to bed, darling.
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