Archive for dominance submission

Fear of Being a Dominant

Posted in D/s, Dominance, Relationships with tags , , , on May 23, 2012 by Xajow

After I finished my previous post, the ideas were still simmering in my mind. And the obvious thought occurred to me that there is some fear associated with being Dominant.

As much as our culture tells women to be strong and independent, it also tells men that being dominant is okay with lot of things but never women. Men who are dominant in a relationship are generally equated with spouse abusers and sexual predators. Certainly almost any depiction of BDSM in popular culture is of a man or men submitting to a Dominatrix. If a man is depicted as a Dominant with a woman submitting to him, the man is usually a criminal. If he is not, the feminist pundits come out in force to denounce it, as they have for the Fifty Shades of Grey book.

As a Dominant whose friends are mostly not in the D/s scene, I know there are things I cannot say among them. I have to watch my words when they discuss relationship matters. I cannot say anything that might suggest a D/s approach to a situation. That is difficult sometimes. When one couple started having marital problems, I wanted to tell the guy to step up and take charge, and the woman to relax and be more supportive. But that would not have helped them.

But there is a deeper fear for me as a Dominant. And it has to do with trust. Accepting a submissive makes me vulnerable. I am letting someone see the more secret parts of my nature and my thoughts. The things I would never say to anyone else, the submissive may hear. What I do in private when I am, for example, angry, the submissive may see. But more than that, I have a responsibility because of the trust placed in me by the submissive. As a Dominant, I have to be as respectful of that trust as I expect the submissive to be toward me. And that requires communication.

For me there is a fear that I will forget my responsibility. As Dominant, I have the authority in the relationship. And people with authority forget their responsibility all the time. I have a responsibility to listen and to communicate my expectations clearly. I have a responsibility to be wise and steady. I have a responsibility to care for the physical, mental and emotional well-being of my submissive. If I lose sight of that, I will be abusing my authority, and the relationship will rot and eventually collapse.

That can seem like a lot for a person to take on. Which is perhaps why most men who play at being Dominants only play. But I am not a Dominant sometimes. And no offence to some, but I am not a Dominant only in the bedroom. (If you only do D/s in the bedroom, I am not criticizing you. I am just saying that is not who I am.) I am a Dominant all the time. It is my nature. I cannot not be a Dominant. I can hide it when I need to, but I do not stop being one. I cannot stop it any more than I can stop being a human. No, I do not treat all my friends as submissives. I would not have any friends if I did. I am just saying, this is who I am. It carries its responsibilities and fears, but that is part of life. Kind of like my being libertarian, those who can handle it know, and those who cannot do not.

This post got way more personal than I originally intended. But I am going to leave it this way.

There is something else I should say. Being a good Dominant requires self-knowledge. Examine yourself, if you think you are a Dominant. Ask the hard questions. Why do you think you are? What will you do when you do not get your way? Can you accept that being a Dominant means being a leader and all that entails? Can you pay attention to your submissive so you know her better than she knows herself? Examine your thoughts. Examine your desires. Know who you are and what you want. Know too that while being a submissive should lead your submissive to be the best person she can be, being a Dominant should push you to be the best person you can be. 

Remember, even Dominants always have something new to learn. 

The Fear of Submission

Posted in D/s, Relationships, Women with tags , , , , on May 23, 2012 by Xajow

In my grazing of things across the intertubes, I came across a blog post titled “Struggling with My Submission”. It is a short post, so I will quote just a snippet here.

Lately, I have found myself envisioning being curled up at the feet of a Dom, and even having him stroke my hair. Or, I picture myself in a position where I’m offering myself to him. This scares the f— out of me!

The bold emphasis is in the original. Expletive edited by me for those who may not be used seeing that language.

Anyway, this is, I would say, a common reaction many women have to being and/or discovering they are submissive. While some people will claim that our culture still tells women they have to submit, that claim is not true. Our culture tells women they have to be strong and independent. From makeup ads to clothing ads to daytime talk shows to television series, and on and on, all preach that women are to be strong and independent. So when a woman discovers within herself a desire to submit, it is frightening.

It is frightening because it seems wrong. It also has to do with the nature of submission. Which is to say, submission requires trust, and to trust a man that much, when a great deal of our culture teaches women that dominant men are abusers or sexual predators or both, can seem frightening. And more than that, to submit is to be vulnerable. And that is often frightening in any circumstance.

This is one of the reasons why I believe being submissive is not something for the weak. Being submissive requires a reservoir of strength. And the more a woman seeks to submit to a Dominant, the deeper that reservoir needs to be.

The key is (and this is something anti-female-submission feminists miss) to know yourself. If the desire/need to serve is in your nature, if you can feel it in the core of your being, then you ought to examine that and ponder it. Grapple with it and understand it as best you can. Gradually that fear will erode and you will find the strength you need was within you all the time.

In my opinion, if a woman has a desire to submit, submission for her will be empowering. How? It will give her the opportunity to find happiness and to be the best person she can be. And as she finds her strength, she will be strong for others, not just for herself or her Dominant. And she will come to understand herself better, and that will help her be a better person in all area of her life.

So to submissive women I say, do not ever let fear stand in the way of understanding and exploring your submissive nature. You do not not have to be perfect. Just be you.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” and Learning about Dominance/submission

Posted in D/s, Philosophy, Relationships with tags , , , , on May 18, 2012 by Xajow

No, I still have not read the book Fifty Shades of Grey. (I am working my way through Neal Stephenson’s The Baroque Cycle currently, and so it will be some time before I get to any other novels.) I have been reading about it, however.

I am a bit dismayed by how many articles seem to be about how horrible it is that anyone might enjoy a story about a woman submitting in a BDSM relationship. The basic jist of most of them is that because women are now free to choose how they experience and express their sexuality, they should never choose to read a book like Fifty Shades of Grey. And worse than that, these articles pretty much say any woman who reads and enjoys it is wrong and ungrateful for the feminist/sexual revolution. To which I say, stop trying to subjugate women to your personal worldview.

Anyway, one or two articles brought up a more important issue. Some are arguing that the book’s presentation of BDSM does not accurately or well represent a healthy BDSM relationship. I would argue most romance novels do not present examples of healthy relationships, but I doubt anyone reading them expects they would. That said, to misrepresent BDSM could be potentially more harmful.

As I understand it, the book Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels basically tell a sort of Beauty and the Beast tale, wherein the woman tames the man’s inner troubled soul by her love. Which is a nice fantasy. But such a thing rarely if ever works out that way in real life. And adding in BDSM can set a person up to be subjected to some serious abuse.

Let’s be honest. A lot of the guys claiming to be Dominants are pretty much in it for the chance to, in one form or another, punish women. And those guys are generally not interested in long-term meaningful healthy relationships. A woman thinking she can tame such a fellow may or may not do so, but along the way, she is going to suffer a whole heck of a lot. This is not healthy.

Also, to be clear, not all Dominance/submission relationships are or have to be BDSM relationships. There is no rule that says if you want to submit you also have to be into whips and bondage.

A healthy relationship, D/s or BDSM or vanilla, is built on trust and honesty and communication. (Yes, love should be there too, but not all D/s relationships start there.) And as important as such things are in a normal relationship, they are doubly important in a D/s relationship. All the whippings and spankings and bondage toys in the world will not result in a healthy relationship if there is not an abundance of trust and honesty and communication. And even in a D/s and/or BDSM relationship, if both participants are not benefiting then there is something wrong and eventually the relationship will break down.

So even if the book Fifty Shades of Grey sparks an interest for you in BDSM or D/s, please please please read more about it before you go looking for a Dominant (or a submissive). I do not want to stop any woman from exploring her submissive nature, but do not use that exploration as an excuse to be careless. Sure, BDSM games can be sensual, erotic and fun. But placing yourself in the hands of the wrong Dominant (or Dominatrix) can get you seriously hurt physically, emotionally and mentally.

So be careful. Remember, being a submissive does not mean you get to stop thinking altogether. Be smart about it. Take your time. Do it with the right person for the right reasons, and it can be a beautiful, enlightening and uplifting thing.

Some Thoughts About Women, Dominance and Relationships

Posted in D/s, Philosophy, Relationships, Women with tags , , , , , , , on May 13, 2012 by Xajow

While taking a look around (at/for what you’ll just have to imagine) I came across a blog called In My Opinion. There I found a post wherein the author of said blog addresses the question “What makes a strong/powerful woman?” My only criticism is that the list of women she gave did not include anyone like Rose Wilder Lane or Isabel Paterson. But that maybe more my bias than hers.

Anyway, in the post the author says this:

While I write these words I can almost see my dad’s eyes rolling in my mind.  I have never asked my dad if he thinks that men are dominant to women.  I think I have never asked because I was unsure if I really wanted to know the answer.  I love my dad with every part of my being but there is a HUGE generation gap between us (he is 74 and I am 33).  Times have changed and our viewpoints just don’t seem to match up on a lot.  He may never express it (which I respect him for) but I have a sneaking suspicion that my dad thinks the woman’s place is in the home….cooking, cleaning and taking care of children.  This is what he knew for a large portion of his life…this was the role of most women at the time he was growing up.  He has now raised a daughter that has none of those interests whatsoever.  I was the child to always push the envelope and fight societal norms as hard as I could.

That made me smile a little bit. But also the mention of the word dominant brought to mind the fact that I am Dominant. Not for hire. I don’t do that. It’s just something I am. I am also tall, a  fan of intelligent sci-fi and someone who enjoys fresh seafood. I have mentioned being a Dominant here before, but I don’t talk about it much because it is not a big deal. Anyway, so as the female author of the aforementioned post spoke of “the woman’s place,” I thought: it is where she wants it to be.

And then I thought: I wonder how many people could grasp that notion. A feminist Dominant. It seems not strange to me, but then, I am libertarian. Strange is subjective.

Being libertarian is perhaps the key there, I think. I believe in people being free to choose for themselves. Being Dominant does not mean I think all women should be subjugated. However fun that might be (kidding, sort of), I firmly believe people have to be free to discover themselves and make their own choices. Men, women, brown, pale, hetero, homo, bi, bald, even people who like the Hallmark channel.

But if I am a Dominant, doesn’t that mean I expect women to submit? Not unless she wants to. Some people like conflict. I prefer peace and liberty. I’m not saying for a woman who submits there are not rules or that there is no punishment for disobedience. Of course there is. What I am saying is that I will not force anyone to submit. Besides forcing someone to submit being unethical and generally immoral and probably illegal, my job is not to tell you what to want. I can help you figure that out, but I cannot define you. That is up to you.

Which is not to say I think the author of the aforementioned post is someone who would or should submit to a Dominant. I do not know enough about her to say. Besides which, this post is not about her. It is about my thoughts. So do not think I am commenting on her personally, because I am not.

So what about men being dominant? Some men are. Some men are not. Some women are dominant. Some are not. Some people learn dominant behavior. Some people are simply naturally dominant. Some people are naturally submissive. Neither is better than the other. Neither is truly stronger than the other. Both roles require strength to be performed well. Both require a willingness to listen and communicate honestly to be performed well. 

Make no mistake, I am not talking about a guy who abuses his significant other and/or expects her to do everything while he does nothing. I’m talking about a relationship which elevates all parties involved. I’m talking about a healthy relationship involving trust, communication and honesty. I am talking about a relationship wherein the Dominant and the submissive each have responsibilities toward the other.

But perhaps I should leave further discussion of that for another time.

What Is This “Fifty Shades of Grey” I Keep Hearing About?

Posted in D/s, Feminism with tags , , , on May 5, 2012 by Xajow

Someone mentioned to me the other day something about a scene in a book called Fifty Shades of Grey. It sounded intriguing. And then my mind moved on to other things. Earlier today, my Google News page listed articles about this book. Didn’t someone mention that the other day, I thought. Yeah. So what is this? I clicked a few links, and it gets more interesting by the minute.

I don’t mean the book. I have not read it, nor even purchased a copy. But the news about this is interesting. More interesting still are the opinion articles that seek to condemn the book.

Apparently the book is a novel about a woman who ends up in a Dominance/submission relationship with a man. And not a mild one either. Apparently this novel includes some explicit BDSM scenes. The interesting part is that the relationship is not, as seems typical in fiction of various sorts these days, a Dominatrix and a man who wants to be abused. Rather this Fifty Shades of Grey book is about a woman who chooses to submit to a man as he seeks to control her almost completely, if the descriptions of the book are to be believed.

And apparently the popularity of this book has some women scared. Several of the links via Google were to opinion pieces that were swift to insist that the book was somehow a setback for feminism. Whitney Frink, over at msnbc.com, says

Some argue that the storyline (and graphic sex, no doubt) provides escapism for its readers. I would have no problem with this rationale if the book wasn’t gaining popularity on the idea that it’s both fun (“mommy porn”) and positive (“a true love story”).

[…]

I’m no Gloria Steinem (I do like a door held for me once in a while), but the feminist in me was clawing to get out as I read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” If S&M is your thing, be my guest. If vapid books are your thing, to each their own. If it helps awaken your bedroom imagination, so be it. But let’s not tout this book as anything other than the big step backwards that it is.

She does not actually explain why someone should not find the book fun and romantic. She just seems to assume everyone would agree a book about a woman submitting to a man is a “big step backwards.” Though why is it is a step backwards she also does not explain.

Gina Barreca at the Hartford Courant says,

Women are pretending that they are the virginal heroine (with the all-too common name of “Anastasia Steele” — don’t you know, like, 12 women with that name?) whom he chooses as his object of desire.

Except “desire” is maybe not the right word for it: maybe “target” or “victim” would be more accurate.

And maybe “bondage” is a just sexy word for “degradation.”

1) I don’t know many women named Katie Scarlett O’Hara either. Sheesh. 2) Clearly this woman feels threatened by the book. Or at least its popularity. Apparently she is one of those feminists who cannot fathom why a woman might choose to submit. Indeed, that a woman might choose that offends her sense of feminism. She starts her column with this:

A hundred years of the women’s movement and what do we have? Women sneaking off to read “mommy porn” on their Nooks.

Wouldn’t our suffragette grandmothers be proud?

Why women choosing their own sexual fantasies and/or lifestyle is somehow anti-suffrage, Ms. Barrecca never explains.

This book must be some kind of awesome to have some women so afraid of it.

But Ms. Barreca lives in a strange place. She says also,

Women are encouraged by our culture to look for men who will provide them with an identity, even if that identity is “slave.”

They are? Where is this going on? Somewhere this must be, because over at Salon.com (where Tracy Clark-Flory talked to Dominatrices about the book) is this quote:

[Melissa] Febos, who considers herself a feminist and also has submissive fantasies, says, “I still live in a culture that floods my consciousness with instructions to be a passive, sexual object; that my only power rests in my sexuality as defined by men’s desire,” she says. [sic]

Where do these women live? In the 1950s? In the U.S. culture of 2012, images of strong women are everywhere. Very nearly the only BDSM images one ever sees in the mainstream media are of Dominatrices punishing men. There are strong women in comedies, crime dramas, sci-fi, fantasy, medical dramas. Some of the most popular authors of our day are women. Women hold places of power in politics and corporations. Yeah, I know, it’s still a male dominated society, but don’t tell me females are not told be strong independent women all the time, all over the place. Because they are.

Any feminism that does not allow for women to voluntarily choose to submit in a non-abusive relationship is not feminism. If women are to be free to choose their own lives and free to own their sexuality, then we cannot also say to them, “but these choices are unacceptable and if you choose one or more of them then there is something wrong with you.” Why should we not say that to them? Because that would just exchange one kind of paternalism for another.

I suggest those who frown upon submissive women should try not to be afraid of strong women. There is more to strength than being bossy. And not all bossy women are strong, just at not all bossy men are strong. If what I am saying offends you, I suggest further that is your problem, not mine.