Friday, 10 March 2017

3 crap things people say about sexual submission

For all that a lot of male subs are crap, it's not helped by the crap that people say about sexual submission. Here are three memes that bug me:
Ultimately, nothing happens
without the dominant

1. The submissive is really the one in control

This is an old one.

It's guaranteed to be off-putting for young dominants - guess what, you're a service provider! - and a poor guide to behaviour for subs.

I'm guessing it has its origins in the early BDSM world of pro-dommes, where it still makes approximate sense. Otherwise, it feels like a wilfully... twee misreading of the situation, desperately trying to make sadomasochism into something nice and affirming.

Of course, the sub has - must have - the ability to pull the plug at any moment. However, a veto is not the same thing as control.

Ultimately, nothing happens without the dominant, and the minimum requirement for D/s is a pro-active dominant and a consenting sub.

2. A submissive is just a strong person looking for somebody stronger

A strong submissive nurturing their
more vulnerable dominant.
This one is so toxic it's hard to untangle!

It paints the submissive as a tragic figure whose strength masks weakness: Look, I'm so strong that my strength is a burden.... I've gone on so long... To me that feels vaguely passive aggressive.

However, its worst sin is that it conflates relative emotional strength with relationship dominance. 

This is misinformation.

It discounts the possibility of a strong submissive championing and nurturing their more vulnerable dominant. Its implied advice for emotionally strong submissives is about as useful as telling a tall woman to look for an even taller man. It also obscures the risk of being drawn into vanilla submission to a weaker but emotionally person. Finally, it paints the D/s relationship as vaguely paternal/maternal (how patronising and unattractive for many dominants ) and implies that a proper dominant must be strong all the time.

The truth is, dominance and submission are relationship orientations or preferences. If there is a correlation with relative emotional strength, it is only a weak one.

3. It takes strength to submit

 It takes strength not to submit.
No it doesn't. It takes strength not to submit.

OK, at first it takes strength to transgress gender roles and vanilla norms. And perhaps some submissive acts require emotional or physical bravery (though that line of argument seems disingenuous, since many of us enjoy being scared).

However, people with a strong submissive streak spend most of our lives submitting one way or another, while seeking out actual kinky dynamics.

We drift into orbiting other individuals, sometimes appropriately, often not. It's where devoted PAs and doormat spouses come from. It's what drives unrequited love and maintains the friend zone. Understanding and embracing erotic submission often comes as a relief since it actually provides a safer outlet for such urges.

If we don't have a dominant partner, we put vast effort into trying to find or make one, even surreptitiously through stealth submission.

Perhaps submission makes us stronger. Having our needs met plugs a chink in our armour. Weathering all sorts of BDSM experiences and coming out whole can make us feel social indestructible  - once you've licked cum off a boot, there's not much in the vanilla world that can truly embarrass us.

Even so, it really doesn't require strength to submit.

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  1. You make some very good points! I have to say there is a particularly HUGE emphasis on 'the sub is really in control' especially where female subs are concerned a lot more than in the Femdom world. I think that's because they're worried about charges of misogyny.

    As for stealth submission, I agree that it will often be an inauthentic substitute for what we are looking for. But I've also seen the positive side too; a kind of 'testing the water' has led me to some fun status themed flirtation with female friends and line managers. I know not to cross a line and take it too far, they are happy in their relationships and I am happy in mine. But just as I think mainstream flirting can be harmless, so it can be with this kind of playfulness between friends. After talking in the office about my lifelong love of imposing female characters (Queens, Sorceresses, Superheroines & Villainesses) with my line manager, she now delights in openly referring to me as her 'good little minion' and sporadically adopting a stern demeanor which though ultimately theatrical, is rather convincing!

    I don't believe she likes me in a sexual way. I think she thinks it's fun, a game. Like role playing as a kid. I'm also pretty sure she's not naïve to the fact that I get a buzz out of it, and yes, by her tongue-in-cheek eyerolls, I think I can safely say she'll suspect the buzz has a sexy element.

    Doormat are a different matter, I think that's often more of a moral masochism. But I think the devoted PA thing can be nourishing for the 'minion' and assure a high standard of work and general all round decent behavior for the boss. And the two can be friends, and both be in happy relationships, I believe I've been in such situations. Obviously though, one shouldn't try and force things and become a nuisance. The thing is though, I have tended to instinctively gravitate towards these certain types of women as friends anyway, aside from trying to get them to be sexual partners in any way, just because I tend to feel stimulated and connect with dominant women generally. And with women generally I often find myself behaving a little deferentially just instinctively, without needing to make a conscious effort, it's like a natural default.

    Anyway Giles, thanks for this inquiry. I'm really enjoying this blog and am glad I found it! :)

    Mr. Bump

    1. You sound not dissimilar to me!

      I don't think what you describe is quite stealth submission in the classic sense, just flirting with a little dynamic as spice.

      When I think of "stealth submission", I tend to picture husband who suddenly starts submitting to his wife without telling her.


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