On Being a Dominant (part 2)

The other day, I was talking about being honest with oneself. I said:

Also, when we are honest with ourselves, being honest with the other person in the relationship is easier. It makes saying “I want this because…” or “that is a limit because…” easier because what we know and have thought about is easier to communicate than that about which we are unsure or afraid to consider.

Dominants, I would hope, should have no problem with this. Knowing what we want and why should be important to us already.

And then in the comments, Sadey Quinn said:

One thing I’d like to point out is in regards to: “Dominants, I would hope, should have no problem with this. Knowing what we want and why should be important to us already.”

It’s my impression that a lot of dominants, particularly dominant men, do actually struggle with this. They may know what they want, but they might not understand why. And there is guilt that goes along with wanting to dominate a woman, especially in today’s society.

Her comment is quite right. I did not mean that I thought being honest with oneself was necessarily or inherently easy for Dominants. I meant that I thought Dominants should not object to the notion of being honest with oneself.

But more to Sadey’s point, being a Dominant can be very difficult. Our culture predominantly looks at things like Fifty Shades of Grey as degrading, and at Dominant men as predatory villains in the same vein as spouse abusers and rapists. This can make understanding oneself as a Dominant seem like admitting to being evil.

There are no mentors for young men who are Dominant. If anything young men with the traits of Dominants are usually punished for exhibiting those traits. It happened to me. More than once. It left me with severe self-image problems that I am still overcoming.

Once upon a time, I was enrolled in a private school that my parents could barely afford. (Lest you think we were wealthy, my father had to get a part-time job as a maintenance man at the school, and my mother had to get a job as an after-care worker just to be able to afford to pay for my education there.) Anyway, in this school I chaffed under all the rules. Your hair like this, your clothes like this, and here is lots of busy work for you to do at home. I say busy work because most of the time, whether it was right or wrong did not matter. Just doing it was enough. If you would otherwise get a D in the class, doing all the homework could raise your grade to a C. That seemed ridiculous to me even then. And there were times when I reached the end of patience with the rules. And then usually my parents would get told that I have a temper. And I had to get counselling to help me deal with things. Ugh.

No one looked at the young man who did not fit in and said, “Let us help him learn to be a Dominant.” Not that they would have known what a Dominant is. But the sought to push down all of those qualities. I was to accept what authority told me. Buckle under, submit, they said in essence. And they could not understand why I had a problem with that. Of course, at the time, neither did I. I felt like I was wrong any time I went against the grain of what they considered acceptable. I tried to understand why I was messed up. And that was just for Dominant traits. Do not even get me started in how the theology of the people who ran the private school (and the church I attended at the time) messed with my head.

Understand here, I was not a bully (except maybe to my younger sibling, but that was play, not serious). I was not beating people up. I was not actually doing anything wrong. I was trying to understand myself, and continually I was told so much about me was wrong. And some of it was. I was certainly not perfect. Nor am I perfect now. But I was made to feel guilty for things that were not character flaws. And I understand now that they did not know how to deal with me. I was not a trouble maker, but I was not conforming to their ways in the way they wanted. How could they know how to deal with me?

And all around me, at school and at church and even in popular culture, was the notion that dominating women was wrong. Not merely that spousal abuse is wrong. But even the very idea of how relationships work. When a man gets married, the wife becomes “the boss.” The man is always expected to flatter and coddle the woman, regardless of his own opinions. Jump through hoops to please the woman because this is romantic. If the woman asks you to fail, you do it to prove you love her. Basically, the man submits to the woman. I could not do that.

As I tried to work out who I was and my place in society, ever so often some well-meaning person would very politely and tactfully come to me to talk with me out of great concern. And what all their tactfulness boiled down to is “What is wrong with you? Why don’t you learn to be like everyone else?”

All of this left me with feelings of guilt and a twisted self-image. And how did I act with girls when I was left with a corrupted self-image and guilt? It was a disaster. Let’s just leave it at that for now.

Needless to say, I was bullied and picked on all through school. And the only time I seemed to have a group of friends was when I suppressed the parts of me everyone told me were wrong.

Even now, I find myself dealing with doubt and constantly hiding things from people. And the first time a woman said to to me that I should yell at her for being bad, I was hesitant. I almost could not do it, because surely that was wrong.

Coming to grips with being a Dominant can be very difficult. Particularly when it seems like something one can never say out loud. I cannot ever tell my friends at church (a different church in a different part of the country from the one where I spent my youth) that I want a woman to be submissive. Not a one of them would understand. And several of them, if not all, would be offended by the idea.

Being a Dominant in a culture that tends to frown on D/s relationships and the nature of Dominants is more than a little difficult. Basically, our culture tries to say “You are not allowed to be a Dominant.” Oddly, Dominatrices are apparently acceptable. One sees them popping up all over the place. But to be a Dominant, to be a strong willed male who wants a woman to submit, that is wrong and tantamount to wanting to be a bully. And we get taught through our lives that the things that make us Dominant are bad. I do not know how a man with Dominant tendencies comes through that without feeling guilty to some degree.

But I imagine strong women who want to submit would also feel guilty. They are told just as much they are bad for such a desire.

At some point one has to push aside the judgement of the culture. I cannot speak for all Doms, but I am not trampling anyone’s rights. I am not forcing anyone to be a submissive. I am not bad for being this way. This does not make being a Dominant easier, but it helps make it bearable in this society.

 And this does not even touch on the responsibility of taking care of a submissive. Being a Dominant is not an easy thing. But then, that is why being a good one can be so satisfying.

I am approaching 1400 words here. I am going to stop for now, and possibly take up this topic again at another time.

12 Responses to “On Being a Dominant (part 2)”

  1. Western society has this sigma ingrained in it. Yet a lot of Eastern cultures are the opposite. Women are and are expected to be extremely submissive to their mates. Most if not all of it is religion based. Ironically, these are also the cultures who are much more open about sexuality than the Western world is. Be it the Kama Sutra or Hindu temple stone sculptures of the most perverted nature they are frank and open about sexuality. Yet women have far fewer rights and worth.

    Yes, its difficult to overcome decades of social dogma as far as how to treat women, as you alluded to in your school days. Perhaps Dominatrixes are OK in that its a perceived embodiment of what some view as the height of feminism in its stereotyped form?

    • I think Dominatrices are perceived as more acceptable because they represent strong women, possibly as you say the height of feminism, but also because most men never object to the idea. The only time I ever saw a male Dominant portrayed who was not a villain (and I think this was on a CSI episode) the whole bit about the sub being in control was (in my opinion) over emphasized. No one, so far as I can tell, says the sub is in control when Dominatrices appear. This is an odd double standard.

  2. Very well stated. Hopefully the stigma is changing as people start to accept BDSM and alternative lifestyles/sexualities. *Hopefully*

    btw do you have twitter? I’ve tweeted your posts a couple of times now and usually at mention the author, but I can’t find you.

    • Thank you. I think the internet is helping to connect people who were, often at best, stuck in small and isolated groups. And as BDSM and D/s relationships in particular are talked about more on the internet, where people can find and/or stumble across the subjects, attitudes will slowly change. The biggest help, in my opinion, will be women who explain that being submissive is okay.

      But no, I have not gotten into the twitter thing yet. But thank you for the tweets. The other day I had, for my site, a record number of views. Perhaps that started with one of your tweets. In any case, I am glad you like what I say well enough to repeat it.

      Will getting a twitter account help? I doubt I will use it much. I’m usually too verbose for 144 characters or whatever the limit is.

      • I love twitter, but I’m also a very fast person. Not fast in a good way, per se, just fast as in I can sputter off twenty tweets a day without really thinking twice about it. You could try it, can’t hurt. 🙂

        I’m actually working on a so-far secret project about it being OK to be a submissive female. It should be pretty fun and hopefully inspiring to would-be subs who are afraid of society’s reaction.

        • Excellent. Female subs are going to have to get this ball rolling, I think. Seems unlikely people would take the word of male Doms that submission is okay.

        • hi sadey i would be interested in your project as i am a married mum and have three kids i have come to realise i am a submissive and have done the hard part of telling my husband and that i want him to be my dom, he is finding it hard to get his head around it as he is such a kind and gentel man i would love some advise. i have started my own blog if you want to follow it . it is called memoirofasubmissivewife.wordpress.com any body is welcome to follow my story from the beginning to hopfully a happy ending and all advise would be greatful thanks caroline

          • First of all, you should probably mention this to Sadey on her own site, sadeyquinn.com. Second, welcome to D/s. Third, the best bit of advice I can give you right now is to be patient and to keep being honest with your husband. Be submissive to him, and talk with him about this, and help him understand that he can be your Dom and still be a kind man.

  3. Great read and so very true.
    I can totally relate to how society looks at D/s, more accurately misunderstands it, social norms and graces, religion and upbringing all play into the shame and guilt associated with D/s in general, but how it impacted me and my acceptance of who I am as a Dominant man.
    I had dabled for years, not heavily mind you, but always assuming a Dominant role. But I wanted “normal”, not that I thought I was perverse or evil, but I couldn’t reconcile that I could have the wife a family and be a Dominant male or have BDSM in my long term relationship.
    It has taken a soon to be failed marriage to a vanilla woman to open my eyes and finally embrace who and what I am, accept that and decide to pursue the lifestyle with vigor. I have never felt more complete, more positive and more comfortable in my own skin than I do now.

  4. thedreamingsub Says:

    But I imagine strong women who want to submit would also feel guilty. They are told just as much they are bad for such a desire.


  5. shapeofagirl Says:

    In my humble opinion, feminism has FUCKED us over. Yes women can vote and blah blah blah but as was mentioned in previous comments, the feminism movement has created a stigma against submissive women. At heart, I think every woman wants a strong dominant man, in vanilla relationships as well as kinky ones. Feminism has told us for generations that the women are supposed to be the strong ones, and walk all over our men, when I believe that we were designed for exactly the opposite. I have felt this very acutely, when faced with my very feminist mother. Having grown up in the 60s and 70s, she is a very strong woman who dominates pretty much everyone around her. And she cannot wrap her head around my kink, or the fact that I’m happy being a stay-at-home-mom and bake pies and whatever. But that’s a whole different story. I do hope more submissive women speak out. If more people could see that we are submitting because we WANT to rather than because we’re being forced into something unhealthy, attitudes would change.

    • Submissive women need to speak out more about why they are submissive and why submitting to a male Dominant is a healthy choice made by a strong woman, rather than simply an abusive relationship. They need to challenge the vocal feminists who are trying to define what other women should be. Then we would start to see change in acceptance of female submission.

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