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Saturday, 25 October 2014

So, do subs have particular emotional or relationship issues? (A personal view)

...subs -- who would have
guessed? -- get cross if
you imply that we are in any
way inferior or broken
A while back I started a thread of this name on the Reddit SubSanctuary. I had thought it being a sanctuary for subs it would be a safe space for this kind of discussion. However, it I accidentally pushed some buttons; subs -- who would have guessed? -- get cross if you imply that we are in any way inferior or broken!

The dismissive responses and my considered responses made in the... sanctuary of my own blog were pretty much along the lines of:
  • "We're just the same as everybody else, just with a different way of doing sexuality!" - But the difference must logically mean we have specific issues. Not more or less, just specific to us.
  • "A study proves we're really emotionally healthy!" - I'm sure we are. I'm just interested in the landscape we have to negotiate.
  • "How dare you imply we're different!" - LOL. I'm typing this response while wearing a chastity device my wife "makes" me wear. You're probably sporting whip marks and pierced privates. of course we're the same as everybody else. Really.
The more engaging but contrary responses (again, with my considered responses), were:
  • "Purely erotic submissives - bedroom subs and bottoms - don't seem to have any specific problems." - Presumably because the kink is compartmentalized. 
  • "You can be submissive and still not have a bad-boy/bitch fixation, meanwhile vanilla folks can suffer from this." - I wonder how vanilla the dynamic of the bad-boy/bitch fixation really is.
Two subs, however, both said something that indicated:
  • "Some subs derive self-worth from service". 
So an interesting thread, but ultimately not one that reflects what I actually see on the Sub Sanctuary and elsewhere on BDSM Reddit.

My take on the main emotional or relationship issues for subs

Sexual submission, however,
does 
look weak.
Here's what I think the main emotional or relationship issues are for subs:

Our submissive kink is almost by definition humiliating and can make us look weak (and for female subs,  anti-feminist etc) 

If somebody discovers you are a sexual dominant, they may decide that you are wicked or evil, but they won't think you're weak or pathetic. Sexual submission, however, does look weak.

I think this leads to issues like shame, secretiveness and defensiveness. It can take us forever to bring up our needs with a partner, and we can often do it in such a tentative way that we irritate rather than entice them.

I certainly wasted years trying to spin my submissive nature as merely being sexually adventurous.

Since submission can be a gift, we sometimes mistake all our kinks for gifts

If I clean Xena's shoes then
that's a gift. If I lick them
clean, then that's just me
being a fetishist 
Doing things for another person, building them up, treating them like a god... that can be a gift, especially if that person identifies as a dominant.

However, many of our submissive kinks and fantasies don't offer much benefit to the dominant.

For example, if I clean Xena's shoes then that's a gift. If I lick them clean, then that's just me being a fetishist unless she specifically likes the idea. This is very true of kinks that require any kind of effort from the dominant.

I see lots of posts where people complain that their significant other isn't dominant enough, doesn't put effort into protocol, punishment, edging, forcing them to dress funny etc. These all stem from this issue.

Supply and demand makes some of us emotionally vulnerable

Some of us don't just want a
dominant to dominate us,
we want a dominant to be
part of our lives.

As a young man, I spent years yearning for a dominant, not know where I could find one, or fixating on any girl who would tie me up once.

Some of us don't just want a dominant to dominate us, we want a dominant to be part of our lives. It's an emotional need as well as a sexual one. It's quite different to a specific sexual fetish and similar to being gay in that it pervades our existence and requires another person to form the other half of a relationship.

This need makes us vulnerable because, unless we are young and attractive and move in particular circles, there are not  a lot of visible dominants to go around! We're often pathetically grateful and compliant when we do find somebody to dominate us.

This explains threads about subs being utterly heartbroken by purely online relationships, or acting like doormats in relationships, or letting a dom push their boundaries past what's sensible.

It's simply hard to discern where
being giving and supportive leaves
off and being submissive to the
demanding or needy begins.
Because giving is one of our traits, we may drift into non-sexual submissive behavior during "normal" life

I've done this and I've seen at least one post describing the experience. No matter how assertive and take-charge we are usually, sometimes we encounter a situation or person that makes us neglect our boundaries or run around after them.

It's simply hard to discern where being giving and supportive leaves off and being submissive to the demanding or needy begins.

Is there truly a difference?

We can be drawn to eroticizing and enabling domineering partners

This describes my early sex life.

Domineering is what happens when you not only let somebody push you around, you subtly encourage it. If you're young and haven't embraced your submissive sexuality, then it's very very easy to drift into this. If you're inexperienced, it's also sometimes hard to distinguish between "good domination" and domination which is really abuse.

Why I think we subs are not broken people but face challenges

No wonder, then, that subs have a
harder time than their vanilla friends
As people pointed out on that thread, we really have the same problems as vanilla people, just different variables. I once craved a dominant so badly it hurt. A vanilla friend meanwhile craved a girlfriend so badly it hurt. Ultimately, we were both lonely and looking for The One. 

You can take each of the above issues and find a vanilla equivalent. We subs really aren't broken people!

However, I think these issues are more pressing for subs because we lack role models and established norms, especially when we're young.

 It's true the online and offline kink community offers these. However, online, there's a lot of "noise" from one-handed typists, and hooking up with the offline kink community is often not practical or emotionally viable. 

Meanwhile, society prepares us for vanilla dating from an early age and as early teenagers we rehearse for the real thing via books and soap operas. 

No wonder, then, that subs have a harder time than their vanilla friends.


Don't resign yourself to just getting off on other people's adventures! When we started out, my wife was vanilla. Use my manuals to help you walk the same Femdom path! There's one for him, and one for her

2 comments:

  1. Nice post as usual.

    The way I see it, everything is a gift. You may clean her shoes as a gift to her, but if you get off by serving, letting you do it might be considered a gift to you. Asking you to do it might be even better. Letting you lick her boots is clearly a gift to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unless it gets her wet and you hate it...
      Really, the whole idea quickly gets silly! A D&S relationship is still a relationship with tangled layers of reciprocity.

      Delete

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