Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Why Male Subs Are Crap 1: Transactional Analysis and Femdom Styles

"...all I want is a full body massage
and dinner I don't have to cook..."
Submissive men are mostly crap and getting worse.

A domme friend of mine posted:
Guy asks to worship my boots, but all I want is a full body massage and dinner I don't have to cook/pay for.
And increasingly (it seems) dommes are complaining of being treated as "kink ATMs" or cheaper alternatives to a pro domme. This can manifest in one-handed email and IM exchanges and then no further contact, through to actual in-person encounters where the "sub" is mostly manipulating to get his particular kinks (perhaps using safe words as a sort of skip track button).

Finally, male subs seem to feel the need to position themselves as losers, as if diminishing themselves will make them more rather than less attractive.

As a first step to understanding what's going wrong. it's worth revisiting the transactional analysis ego state model.

Short explanation:
We all have three mental places we stand - Ego States. How we behave is determined mostly by behaviour we've learned from other people. So when I'm in my "Parent" ego state, I'm usually nurturing, but at other times disapproving or judgemental. When I'm in my "Child" I can be playful but also needy and brattish. When I'm in "Adult" I'm - supposedly - above all this, though I may carry around funny ideas of what an adult does (look for "contaminated adult").

Interactions between people are actually transactions between their ego states. For example, an Adult-Adult transaction can be super sensible and productive, a Child-Child interaction can be playful, and an Parent-Child interaction can be patronising or nurturing depending on the people and situation. And of course, people can shift between states, sometimes in weird ways, which gives us Games People Play.
It strikes me that most BDSM activities belong to a single transaction. This doesn't tell the whole story. For example, Adult-Adult covers both two kinksters trading kinky pleasures and the core of a coldly instrumental owner-slave relationship. Even so, it gives a sense of where people are at when they do stuff and why, for example, Xena likes me to be stoical when she beats me.

When I look at this, I can see three ways that wannabe male subs screw up both when approaching self-identified dommes (and when trying to bring onboard a vanilla partner, but that's a different topic).

It's not entirely their fault, though a little critical thinking might help.

The trouble stems from the way two kinds of kinky transactions that get more prominence than they should:

#1 BDSM Culture encourages Adult-Adult conversations about kinky activities

Adult-Adult conversations about kinky activities
This is a good thing and fits in with the wider emerging consent culture.

The snag is that online BDSM culture puts so much emphasis on these conversations and how to have them (because they can be difficult and require both assertiveness and shared terminology) that to an outsider, it appears that all BDSM is about the activities, and that all  kinksters like to be approached this way.

This is where, "Hello I like face sitting and golden showers and want to be your submissive plz" comes from.

Some kinksters do like to be approached this way, especially if you're part of the same community of trust (anonymous subs often seem to miss that part!).

However, most dominants are interested in a particular dynamic (because power exchange) and have their own kinks that reflect that. Also - tragically - most male subs are in reality also more interested in dynamic than particular fantasies, if only they'd stop and reflect. The Adult-Adult conversations are just there to permit the power exchange to go ahead.

Thus, opening with particular requests without context is like trying to pick up vanilla women by boasting about your oral skills: it's at once not enough information and too much information. It's also cold and unengaging.

There's also the problem that unreflective men presuming a reciprocity of fantasies: that what gets them hard and sweaty will get a domme hot and wet. (The reality, of course, is that much D/s is asymmetric at any given moment, which can be hot.)  That's one of the reasons why some men think stating a list of their own kinks is enough, that announcing you like being feminised is the equivalent of sending up a flare.

This partially explains the "domme as kink ATM" attitude. However, there's another factor...

#2 The high visibility of Pro Dommes emphasises Parent-Child transactions (meet the Kink Fairy)

 (Let's be very clear, I'm talking the ego states of consenting adults here. Also, what follows is not a criticism of pro dommes! They are often community leaders, they push the boundaries in terms of skills and toys, and - most importantly - stop some men going crazy. They also have a right to sell erotic services to consenting adults without having to justify it by being useful.)

Combined facilitator and personal trainer,
therapist and local guide. 
The top prodomme is a Kink Fairy: combined facilitator and personal trainer, therapist and local guide.

The Kink Fairy helps the sub embrace and fulfil his kinks, expand his limits, and possibly expand his horizons. For example, she may make his complex feminisation fantasy come true, "torture" him in highly technical ways using expensive equipment, and then parade him around at a BDSM club.

The sub in question may be middle aged, feel unattractive, and insecure about his sexuality... the pro domme is a kind of rescuer. A good thing.

The Kink Fairy dynamic is, of course, focused on Parent-Child (and not unique to pro dommes).

The snag is that the high visibility of articulate and mesmerising pro dommes makes the mainstream media treat the Kink Fairy as the default for Femdom, and confirms this view when male subs look online.

To add to the confusion, to an outsider, the lines between pro dommes and non-pro dommes can seem blurred. Pro dommes often teach activity focused classes attended by other dommes. They also often have non-paying relationships. Nobody makes a big thing about who is or isn't a sex worker (nor should they!) . And many of the most visible non-pro dommes are also Kink Fairies.

So it's easy for wannabe male sub, who possibly already feels insecure about his kinks, to assume that all dommes are happy Kink Fairies, with non-pros being cheaper but less well-equipped alternatives to pros who can, however, be approached in the same manner.

This is where the weird supplicatory self-infantalising fantasising approach comes from: "I'm weak and dirty and need somebody to control my masturbation and sit on my face..."

The sub assumes that the Child Ego state is the right one for the initial approach. They are playful - don't differentiate between their fantasies and their real self - and at the same time needy, demanding a bit entitled, and above all else, too immediately intimate.

Presumably a pro-domme plays along with this she is there to provide a service and knows how to move the client to where he needs to be. Just about everybody else, however, goes "Ewwww.... BLOCK."

#3 Focusing on a Single Transaction whether Adult-Adult or Parent-Child

Even a kinky relationship is more than
just its kink...
Finally, even a kinky relationship is more than just its kink, and the kinky dynamic needs to cover more than one type of transaction. This is especially true when kink and vanilla are interwoven.

Xena and I - who do this 24/7  - go through the whole range of kinky transactions kink:

Sometimes I'm the long-suffering slave to her brattish mistress (Parent-Child), sometimes she's guiding and disciplining me (Child-Parent), sometimes we have serious conversations with serious consequences (Adult-Adult), and sometimes she toys with me in delicious ways (Child-Child).

So any approach that obsessively fixates on a single transaction - "let's trade kinks" or "rescue me, Kink Fairy!" - feels neither like it comes from a real person nor that he is treating the domme as one. It certainly doesn't suggest that any kind of relationship is possible.

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  1. Hi, you make some great points here (especially about the fetish-dispenser-machine approach of many male subs) and I like the idea of using TA for those various interactions - especially in the last section when you illustrate TA with examples from your own relationship.

    I do think that an exchange with a pro starts very much with a adult-adult transaction (some professional dominant sex workers actually specify that the initial negotiation is NOT part of the fantasy and shouldn't imply any power dynamic) and only later moves on to more of a parent-child transaction.

    While ideally, a play exchange that doesn't involve paid-for service provision starts with an adult-adult negotiation to them move to a child-child interaction of the play? And occasionally, if people get on immediately and want to take risks, the adult-adult part gets curtailed into almost non-existence?

    And finally, if the play develops into a more complex, full relationship, then the variety of interactions grows too as do the demands of life.

    The biggest danger of FLR is perhaps settling into a parent-child situation, not just with the Kink Fairy bit but a caretaking one, especially as women are predominantly socialised to caretake and for many dominants caretaking is already a strong drive.

    1. Thought provoking!

      My impression of (ethical) pro dommes is that they would take the C-P approach and shift it to A-A for negotiations. The important thing, here, is that C-P would not be a disastrous approach for the sub.

  2. Thought-provoking article. Thanks for writing it. I'll revisit it later.

  3. (P.S. Did not suggest that I "neglected" reading it the first time. I just meant that when I seriously consider anything, I read it more than once over a time period. Thanks. )

    1. Thanks! I'm honoured! Your own blog is always so articulate and thoughtful. I was also worried this article was too long and technical.


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