Saturday, 29 October 2016

Problems with the Submissive Personality type

I have a theory. I can't prove it, but I swear someday somebody will.

I've noticed, that in most
relationships, one partner
leads and one follows
I've noticed, that in most relationships, one partner leads and one follows. The followers - it's as often the male as it is the female - seem to share some broad similarities; though they are not doormats and are often leaders in the outside world, they are facilitators and champions with a tendency to orbit other people or causes. Where I know their kink preference, they are invariably submissives or service tops.

I'm pretty sure that this represents a Submissive Personality Type (link). Not all people of this type are sexual submissives, but I think a core category of what we think of as sexual submissives fit this type.

The first problem with this is that people get cross if you suggest it!

"the kinkster doth protest too much"
Really! They will jump all over your head, and not in a kinky way.

Most of the jumpers will be subs because the last thing that they want to be told is that their desire to - to take an extreme example - be peed on and called a slut or have their sexual organs insulted - has any relevance to their day-to-day life.

I share that defensiveness. Just because I will do my wife's bidding doesn't mean I'll do yours... or does it?

To me, this outright denial of any link is "the kinkster doth protest too much".

Ask somebody about any other hobby or passion and they'll cheerfully tell you how it scratches a more general itch. Nobody who likes model railways, for example, is going to say, "Oh I just like model trains. How dare you suggest I might be detail orientated or like making things with my hands."

So just because suggesting a link causes a problem, doesn't mean that the link doesn't exist!

The second problem is that there are two flavours of kinkster who seem to invalidate the type.

service tops who are really
dominating in a submissive way
There sexual submissives who are actually what used to be called bottoms or even masochists. Let's call them masochistic submissives (and bear in mind the masochism may be non-physical).

For masochistic submissives, submission is a route to BDSM thrills, or is itself a masochistic thrill. Over time, through repetition, they develop a fetish for submitting in its own right. They may also find it's a psychologically comfortable place to go to escape the stresses of work and daily life. Even so, it's not who they are, otherwise it wouldn't give them such a kick.

I'd expect masochistic submissives to be adventurous and tend towards the physical. However I wouldn't expect them to have a submissive personality even though they might identify as a submissive.

There are what's known as service tops who are really dominating in a submissive way. Yes, they do BDSM from a dominant posture, but they focus on playing their submissive partner like a musical instrument.

I would expect service tops to have a submissive personality type even though they identified as a dominant.

So the bottom can say, "I'm a submissive and I don't fit your type" and the service top can say, "I'm a dominant and I don't fit your type." Both can choose to feel insulted.

However, if you set these two flavours aside and focus just on what I'll diplomatically call, deep submissives - people who feel very comfortable submitting and enjoy BDSM primarily as an expression of dynamic, then you do seem to have a cluster of very similar people.

The third problem is that there are other non-kink parameters, e.g. introvert/extrovert,
 "knight" might do if only it were
not such a gendered concept
bold/timid, passionate/subdued... people have personalities!

For this reason, you can't easily sum up the submissive type with a single archetype, though "knight" might do if only it were not such a gendered concept.

Because of this, non-sexual submissive behaviour isn't always obviously submissive. You find deep submissives in top leadership roles as well as in more lowly supporting roles. In relationships, deep submissives can be doormats, or a tower of strength.

Even so, I think deep submissives exist on a spectrum of...

Champion - Facilitator - Pleaser.

The fourth and final problem is that deep submissives often fight and deny their nature, flipflopping between being too selfless and too defensive.

This muddies the waters with respect to their underlying type. It also confuses everybody, and is the reason why it would be helpful for them to be more aware of their personality type so they can embrace and manage it...

...or so goes my theory.

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  1. Heroic attempt in coming up with submissive personality types. Many theories have several archetypes, charts, and diagrams to illustrate the idea. Perhaps you can concoct some “Giles English Submissive Personalities” and monetize that?

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      As per my article, I think the complexity results from (i) interaction with other traits, and (ii) denial.

      I think the concept of the type is useful not in its detailed manifestation but because it's helpful to know that about yourself. Article to follow...

  2. It's hard to realize an ambiguous personality type...such as submissive.

  3. Indeed yes! As per my article, I think there's less ambiguity than is at first apparent if you first weed out the people who aren't really subs...

  4. I think many bottoms are unhappy because they try to be only one type of bottom subtypes. Overwhelmingly the submissive bottom type, when they are really not. I blame the Internet. So many negative words about “topping from the bottom.”

    I haven’t even found discussions celebrating topping from the bottom.

    Additionally, people’s preferences change all the time. A person may want beef for dinner one night and chicken another night. A dominant top may want to switch to submissive top at times. Or a submissive bottom may feel like a dominant bottom. It can even change from one minute to the next. “Switch” is already taken meaning changing top/bottom. Perhaps another term is needed for changing within subtypes.

    Since dommes are in short supply, for a true submissive bottom subtype, if the best he can get in a vanilla marriage is topping from the bottom, he should be told that’s ok too. That’s better than nothing. Also, I’ll repeat again, people’s preferences change. Once topping from the bottom starts, true D/s may happen from time to time

    1. Yes. Perhaps the world would be better if we started with "bottom" then looked at types of bottom.

      And your point about preferences shifting and evolving is a good one. We need a word for that.


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