Dennis Reynolds: Power, Masochism, and the Nature of the Cumslut
Cumslut: a modern day vernacular for an act as old as time itself. Wiktionary defines a cumslut as “a person who badly wants to receive a man’s semen, particularly in an orifice.” (Wiktionary, 2014) Its etymology when broken down comes from cum, a slang word for semen, and slut, which is a derogatory term for “an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous.”(Urban Dictionary) (Merriam-Webster) While enjoying semen is generally viewed as degrading, there are a number of people of all genders who choose to reclaim the word and/or wholeheartedly embrace enjoying the act. Dennis Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is undoubtedly one of these people. Alongside displaying key psychological traits commonly found in sexually submissive people, he also has displayed and vocalized his homosexual and submissive desires onscreen in a variety of ways.
Before delving into psychological examination, it is useful to discuss the culture surrounding degrading sex. Of particular note is desiring to give rough oral sex to a man, which is commonly perceived as the most degrading sex act. This originates with the ancient Romans. The Romans had two different words for homosexual oral sex: fellatio and irrumatio (Hooper, R. 1999). Fellatio is a much milder form of oral sex in which the giving partner (or “fellator”) has much more control over the pace and intensity of the encounter. Though fellatio is a topic of much interest, the more relevant word to this discussion is irrumatio. In the crudest terms, irrumatio can be loosely translated to “face-fucking.” In the context of ancient Roman society, this was seen as a degrading act because it implied that one might be silencing another man from talking. It is in our interest, then, to address the following: for the most part, it is a very specific type of man who enjoys being degraded.
According to psychologist Roy E. Baumeister Ph.D, “Masochists seem to be drawn largely from the privileged classes. . . the people with the heaviest burdens of selfhood. . . need the escape of masochism." (An Inside Look at S&M) Dennis Reynolds is certainly one of these people. In comparison to his friends (who he colloquially refers to as “white trash”), Dennis and his sister Dee grew up in a privileged background. (Mac and Charlie: White Trash) His mother was cold, domineering, and abusive; his father was unstable, distant, and withholding. (The Gang Goes Jihad) (A Very Sunny Christmas) Dennis is a textbook case of narcissistic personality disorder, giving him a heavy burden of selfhood as he believes all of his worth lies in getting people to pay attention to him.
It is common for men who are masochists and submissives to be controlling in aspects of their lives outside of the bedroom. Even within the confines of the bedroom, certain people (known as switches) may feel comfortable being dominant in one situation and submissive in another. This is certainly the case with Dennis, particularly because he is a misogynist. Dennis often tries to “fill the hole inside of [him]self” by treating women as playthings and dominating them sexually. (Sweet Dee Gets Audited) (Charlie Rules the World) He even has a system in place to ruin women emotionally, and he commonly rapes them. (The D.E.N.N.I.S System) (The Gang Buys a Boat) However, ultimately, this domination of women only lends him temporary satisfaction while still leaving him empty inside. (Charlie’s Mom Has Cancer) It has been suggested by some individuals that Dennis’s behavior with women is ultimately reminiscent of sex addiction. (Kim, personal communication) Yet despite his hatred and dominating behavior towards women, Dennis says of himself, “I like to bind. I like to be bound!” Someone has to be doing this binding, and it is not the people that Dennis dominates and rapes. Those people are almost certainly men.
Dennis’s sexuality, though never stated in the official canon, has been confirmed by the show’s writers to be bisexual. (Comic Con Panel, 2013) Though he has never been shown to be in a homosexual relationship, he has made plenty of comments that display his comfort with his own sexuality. (The Gang Sells Out) (Thunder Gun Express) He also constantly engages in homoerotic behavior with his friends. Of particular note is his behavior with his best friend Mac, with whom he cohabitates. At one point in time, he even got down on his knees for Mac as Mac squirted murky vodka (reminiscent of ejaculate) into his mouth via a shotgun. Dennis thoroughly enjoyed this, saying “You want to feel the weight of a real gun in your mouth. You want to taste the metal. You want to feel the steel.” (Paddys Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens) He also has been known to wrestle with Mac. (The Gang Makes Lethal Weapon Six) Clearly, Dennis enjoys being dominated by and/or fighting for dominance with other men in certain homoerotic settings. Ultimately, the only woman he has ever had a long term relationship with is his sister; all of Dennis’s meaningful relationships are with men. It can be assumed then that the only person he would trust with his submissive nature would be a man.
The word cumslut has a well-known connotation of someone who is degraded by men. Dennis Reynolds has a deep desire to be bound and fits the exact archetype of someone who has these desires. He does not want to fulfill this through being dominated by women, because of his aforementioned misogyny; therefore, he would desire to be degraded by men. One of the most common ways to do so would be through irrumatio, an act that is viewed by many to be one of the most degrading sex acts. Therefore, there should be few doubts in anyone’s mind that Dennis Reynolds is a textbook cumslut, desiring to receive ejaculate in all of his orifices, but particularly in his mouth as was demonstrated in Paddy’s Pub: Home of the Original Kitten Mittens.