|Determined by personality type?|
Nobody wants to be inherently evil, or weak, or have daddy issues, or be a cliched kinky middle manager. And, what little real research there is tells us that there's no correlation between social dominance and sexual dominance.
So it's pointless and divisive! Pile on the sandbags!
Except information about how relationships work is always useful.
For example, just as vanillas need to distinguish love from lust wrapped in romantic fantasy, kinksters need to distinguish D/s compatibility from kinkiness wrapped in D/s fantasy: "Is this me, or just me getting my kicks?"
And, yes, the waters are muddy making research difficult. The meaning of BDSM preferences - kinky activities we like - depend on the context. Are people satisfying randomly acquired fetishes? Service topping? Enjoying the physical sensations with a little fantasy thrown in? Messing around..?
However, things get clearer if you rise above all that and consider just the dynamic. Here's my take, and my prediction about what future research will show.
...turns out to be the least useful, not because the answer is "Random people", but because the answer is "Almost everybody".
|Hierarchical relationships are |
the human norm.
It's like the way the "gay question" is dissolving into a realisation that almost everybody is at least potentially bisexual and that this has always been hidden in plain sight. (Duh.) Humans are wired for hierarchy. Our revolutions are about choosing leaders, not abolishing them. If we do abolish leaders, new ones emerge anyway. And so, quite naturally vanilla relationships tend towards hierarchal.
In every relationship I can think of, one partner leads - not dominates, erases, or abuses, just leads. And there's even a study that suggests that couples work better when one partner is in charge.
This is not about gender essentialism. Just as with homosexuality, as we strip away the cultural layer enforcing gender norms, we see a roughly 50/50 split between male and female leadership - and as with bisexuallity, that's always been hidden in plain sight.
Couples even eroticize hierarchy in vanilla ways. Romantic gestures and courtship usually express dynamic. It's perfectly possible to be dominant or submissive in bed without using whips and chains. And we all know apparently vanilla relationships dramatically skewed in the apparent favour of one partner.
This is all normal.
It follows that Dominants and Submissives need have nothing to fear from scrutiny, because in all things other than the whips and chains, they're really very ordinary indeed.
Which brings us to the big question...
If it doesn't, then the core compatibility in all those vanilla couples around you is random, none of them could infer that compatibility before actually dating, and people's most lifestyle-critical decision says nothing about their personality.
Logic and my experience of other people tells me that this is unlikely.
However - before you whack me with the sandbag - it's most certainly not about social dominance.
Social dominance is both situational and a learned skill. Wanting to be in charge is not the same as being any good at it. Also, it's not the Stone Age! Real world leadership roles are rarely about waving a branch and bashing other people into submission. A sexual dominant doesn't need to defeat a submissive partner - except perhaps in werewolf erotica.
(If it were about social dominance there would be a very limited number of dominants rather than one in most couples; or else dominance would be relative, so that Mrs Femdom would keep her husband in chastity, but yearn to go down on her CEO. Successful people would become more dominant as they grew older and gained status - midlife crisis subs wouldn't be a thing!)
Nor can it be about the tired cliches of strength and weakness: the saintly partner who cheerfully revolves around a physically or emotionally weaker spouse is (technically) submissive but very much a pillar of strength.
My take from observing other couples, including the kinky ones, is that people generally divide into Commanders and Champions. Quoting my own blog entry:
Champions are natural joiners, Commander's aren't.
Commanders lead decisively, Champions tend towards consensus building or else implementing/defending existing traditions or practices.
Commanders know what's good for you or an organisation, Champions are all about facilitating.
Commanders build empires, Champions run them.
Guinevere was a Commander, Lancelot was a Champion.I'm not claiming it's simple!
|Good advice for a conflicted |
People aware of their type often manage it. I'm so easily sucked into clubs and organisations that I almost instinctively avoid joining them. When people unburden to her, my Commander wife has to hold back her urge to try to fix them.
Finally, it doesn't have to be about people at all. An introverted Commander might be most at home managing a network or designing interiors. An introverted Champion might be happiest renovating old buildings or gardening.
So I expect that careful studies will show it's down to personality type after all, but multi-dimensional type of the kind you might measure using the Myers-Briggs, not a single variable like social dominance. However, these studies will only be fruitful if they address the elephant in the room: the way most vanilla couples also have a power dynamic running.
Learn how to how to walk the same Femdom path with your partner!
CLICK HERE to download my Femdom Erotica (all written while chaste!)