Tuesday, May 11, 2010

submissive Desires, Selfishness, and Responsibility

Lady Grey's recent comments on my previous post got me thinking on a related, but different subject.   I have dabbled on this subject a bit on previous posts as well but I'm going to explore it briefly, time permitting.

I am a submissive with a desire for deep submission.  Through my experiences I have discovered my own particular fetishes as well as how certain things affect me.  A while back I had posted that submission is like altruism, you do it for someone else but you also do it for yourself because you like how it makes you feel.

I find that many things in the D/s lifestyle can't be linked to a single motive.  I desire deep submission because it increases my love and devotion.  I desire deep submission because I can make her happy when I am this way.  I desire deep submission because I feel good about myself when I make her happy.  I desire deep submission because it makes me feel safe and loved.

I know to some of the more "hard core" types, I should be willing to bury my own feelings and only be driven by the fact that it makes her happy.  The question is, should I feel guilty at all for the other three reasons being a part of it?

This extends beyond my basic submission but into a few more specific fetish areas.  If she wears a fur coat and leather boots and gloves I immediately fall into a deep subspace.  It makes me feel more submissive and both of us enjoy this fact.  I also get incredibly turned on and both of us also enjoy this fact.  She also enjoys wearing fur and leather on its own.  Should I feel guilty for wanting her to dress that way since the motive is not solely for her pleasure? 

As I've come to accept myself as a sissy, this has nagged me constantly (please read my "The Making of a Sissy" posts for a background on this), especially when I admitted it to my Mistress at our first meeting.  Being forced to be fully dressed in a humiliating manner complete with locking collar and cuffs probably has the greatest affect on me as a submissive as well in terms of my arousal.  This drives me to the deepest level of subspace I have ever experienced.  It pushes my love and devotion to the greatest levels I have felt.  It maximizes my attentiveness and focus.  While she derives some pleasure from my humiliation, she mostly does it for the other reasons I listed.  Should I feel guilty about wanting this?

I don't know the answer to these questions and I'm sure people will have mixed responses on it.  Since my desire is truly to experience deep submission, does that make it okay since they all contribute to that?  Since they provide some sexual arousal that isn't directly linked to the submission should I feel guilt?


  1. You seem to examine the question of guilt quite a bit, so I'd assume it's something you've felt when your Mistress has done things that put you into the ecstasy of subspace. If I'm wrong about this, then just ignore the rest of the comment because I'm going to speak to you as though you are feeling this guilt.

    You seem to feel that your pleasure actually exceeds hers, and that to some extent she gives you this pleasure to make you happy. It's almost as if you feel she's giving you "pity dominance" despite the fact that she's clearly getting something out of it.

    I think it would be much healthier for you to realize that a D/s relationship is a symbiotic one unless the Mistress is a prodom and is receiving money for some sort of performance she's putting on. I know that's not the case in your situation, so I think this guilt you may feel is misplaced.

    You must assume that she wouldn't be maintaining this relationship if she weren't getting as much as she's giving. Why would a Dom accept any less? Why would she even bother to hang around? What about domspace? No one ever seems to talk about that, but it exists just as much as subspace when the proper stimulus is applied. Why would you think that your subspace is more intense than her domspace? If her putting you in heavy bondage or forcing you to wear "humiliating" outfits or administering harsh physical punishments puts you there, why would you not think it's putting her there too?

    I'd be interested to know if you've talked about this "should I feel guilty?" question with your Mistress and what her answer was.

  2. Thank you for posting, Lady Grey.

    Guilt from what I see as excessive pleasure is one aspect of this, so what you are writing is relevant.

    There are a couple of other aspects where guilt stems from.

    One of these is my idealism. I have developed a rather long philosophy on male submission and male submissive behaviors. A lot of them are based upon male inferiority and methods of controlling the male tendency to gravitate towards bad habits.

    Even though I am aware of these habits, I am not immune from them.

    What I had hoped myself capable of is what I would view as being the purest form of submission. In such, I would not need any extra factors except love to submit and maintain high levels of performance.

    I shared these ideas long before my Mistress and I ever met. The problem I am finding is that I am not capable of actualizing my ideals. I am still a bit trapped in the cycles of typical male sub behaviors and without her executing control to regularly push me to subspace I always manage to falter and I feel guilt/responsibility for it.

    The other factor is that as my conditioning grew more ingrained, my physical responses became limited. I feel weird about this sometimes and I also worry that it upsets her when I don't respond how she wants me to. Since much of my submission is rooted in sexual arousal (or at least sexual frustration) I find it difficult to enter a depth of subspace without certain factors present.

    I feel like I should be able to, no matter what circumstances are involved. It makes me feel guilty.

    We have talked about this, but it most commonly comes out when she is angry about something. Both these aspects plus the one you listed above tend to surface when we argue.

    She makes me feel guilty for much of it, but it is worsened by knowing that she is right. It's hard because when she gets angry, she is far removed from Domspace. She tends to lash out and tries to hurt me emotionally. I'm not sure if she really feels this way or not because she doesn't talk to me about her problems with my behavior until we argue.

    Overall, she tells me I make her feel unloved and deceived since I told her all of my ideals but I'm not able to deliver on all of them. She tells me it hurts her feelings and makes her feel unloved when I can't immediately snap into a deep subspace by my own will and when I don't get an erection if something she is doing doesn't turn me on. She tells me I am selfish for needing her to "go along" with what gets me off in order for me to be fully submissive.

    When things are going well, all of what we have going seems to do quite well with appealing to her Domspace. When we argue she acts like she only does any of those things for me and not at all for herself. During those arguments I tend to surrender and accept complete responsibility for things and it tends to wreck my self-esteem.

    I have been in four and a half D/s relationships, none of which have really been bastions of emotional health. I guess I'm trying to figure out if it's her, me, or both of us that bring out this guilt.

  3. It sounds like a vicious circle to me. She gets angry if you haven't gotten an erection when she thinks what she's doing to you should bring about an erection; she harangues you for it out of frustration and perhaps a bit of personal guilt that she hasn't gotten you hard; you feel ashamed and guilty that you didn't get the erection and that you've been less than a "perfect" sub; and most importantly, the seeds are now sown for the next cycle because even if there's a happy ending and all is well once again, there's that little memory of failure which often precipitates another failure, on and on, ad nauseum. Ouch.

    As I read your reply, a little light went off in my head, and I thought about a conversation I've had with my husband. He told me about a friend of his who was ten years older, which puts him in his 50's, and who had a high blood pressure problem. He was put on medication, and suddenly found that he wasn't getting his normal erections. He would be aroused and look down, and his cock was just hanging there. He asked his doctor about it and was told that this was normal with his type of medication because his blood flow was being reduced by the pill and it takes blood flow to get an erection. He suggested Viagra. The man was somewhat horrfied because he associated Viagra with older age and didn't want to have to take a "sex pill". It made him feel old and inadequate. The doctor educated him. All Viagra does is increase blood flow on a temporary basis. It doesn't raise your libido. If you're not aroused, you won't automatically get an erection anyway, but if you are aroused it lets the blood flow into your penis and all's well.

    What's more, even if he wasn't taking blood pressure medication, there was the problem of aging. As you grow older, your blood circulation begins to slow down. Once again, blood flow to the penis can be affected. My husband said that he'd always been told that any man who failed to achieve an erection in a situation of arousal had some sort of mental or emotional problem. It was "all in his mind', so to speak. In other words, it was his fault. That was shown to be a false assumption, as many men had problems with circulation or were taking medications that affected arousal.

    All of this came up because I have always used a man's erection as a sure fire indication of whether or not he was aroused. My husband had now educated me that it's quite possible for a man to be aroused and yet not have an erection. He realized that as he got older (and he's 10 years older than me) this could well start happening and I shouldn't regard it as an automatic indication that he wasn't aroused just because his cock wasn't hard.

    I don't know how old you are, but circulation problems can happen at any age. You've spent years being bound and chained and I'm sure your cock and balls have been involved in this bondage. It's not impossible that over the years a problem with circulation could have developed because of this, no matter what your age.

    At least consider that your not showing arousal may have physical roots. It's not
    always mental, and there's certainly no reason to feel guilty. You might even want to share this with your Mistress. If you're aroused and unable to get an erection, and you pop a Viagra, and the erection appears, the case has been made that it was a circulation problem rather than a libido problem, and maybe everybody can relax again.

  4. I see a lot of questions here. My short answer to "Should I feel guilt" is most definitely not. I think this description of guilt is very apt:

    "Guilt is a false currency - no matter how much of it you spend, it buys nothing."

    I don't know who said that, but I keep coming back to it when people talk about guilt. I like it a lot.

    However, your question seems kind of senseless to me for two reasons.

    1. You are actually feeling guilt already. You might as well ask something like, "Should I write this blog post?" Oops, too late, you did, so what now?

    2. Somehow I doubt that my uber-powerful dommely words made all your guilt magically disappear. So I said you shouldn't feel guilt. Did it all go away? Cos if it did that would certainly impress me. :)

    Now, I think the reason you're asking yourself this rather pointless question (because why debate a fait accompli?), is because guilt feels unpleasant and you'd probably rather feel less of it and more of something nice. If I'm right, then I think the most useful thing to explore here is not should you feel guilty, but why do you feel guilty, and how can you reduce or eliminate it? Do you think that sounds like a more useful question here?

    I've got a whole bunch of thoughts on this but that would big up this comment into epical proportions, so I'm going to leave it here pending your expression of interest. :)

  5. Lady Grey, thank you for the comment. Sorry if I seem a bit scatter-brained tonight, I'm a bit on the fatigued side.

    It is indeed a vicious cycle and a similar pattern develops with every issue we have in our relationship. I wouldn't mind if she simply punished me each time we argued in a D/s sense, but it's difficult for me to handle the way things currently go. She'll ignore me and then explode on me with no chance for communication in between. Even after we have sorted things through and administered punishment she still won't really forgive me.

    I'm trying to figure out if this relationship is even possible to sustain in the long run. Writing here on my blog has definitely helped me get a grasp on things and get a feel for different points of view. You had mentioned on your blog that you feel I'm fairly good at exploring different angles and points of view on subjects, unfortunately my weakness definitely lies in which angle/POV is the most correct one for the situation.

    As for my arousal in response to what is going on, I'm 99.9% certain that I don't have any types of circulation or ED problems when it comes to my plumbing. I've always been a bit odd in my arousal though. e.g. I find completely clothed women more arousing than naked ones. I'm currently in my early 30's.

    Part of what I have noticed over the years is as my desire for escalated situations has increased, the environment necessary for me to get really aroused (and deep into subspace) has increased by a similar margin. During a play session, something like "Don't touch yourself" doesn't do nearly as much for me as "Keep your hands behind your head" or having my hands restrained and unable to touch myself.

    My arousal is strongly mental and emotional. I've never responded to typical pornography. I'd much rather read a story that paints a delicious picture of a situation than just watching two people having sex. I also respond very strongly to verbal interplay, even if it's just talking dirty and portraying a fantasy in words. If I'm not there mentally, I'm not there physically/sexually either.

    It seems my arousal is more of a boiling pot of water than a light switch. It takes me a while to get into the mood and there are several things that definitely supply more "heat" than others. When I am revved up and ready to go it's pretty intense.

    When I'm a cold fish to what she thinks should be turning me on, it's usually when something doesn't get me there mentally.

    I do feel that being limited in what I could climax to for several years had some affect on this. I know it is possible to condition certain types of responses by damaging the psyche in a certain way with a mix of physical stimulus.

    The biggest Femdom "horror story" I read about on Elise Sutton's site years ago was a sub who claims his wife only let him have any sexual arousal by handcuffing him and having a dog lick peanut butter off his genitals. She ended up leaving him and after that point he found himself only able to have an erection if a dog was near/involved. I'm not sure if this story was true or not but I also don't know why someone would make that up.

    I know I had a point somewhere, but I'm not sure where it went. I'm also a bit on the embarrassed side for talking this much about my arousal and genitals :)

    If I remember where I was going with this I will definitely post more.

  6. Lady Lubyanka, thank you very much for posting. You have asked some very good questions and raised some valid points. I will do my best to respond to them. Please let me know if you would like me to elaborate on anything or if there is anything important you feel I have missed.

    I agree that a lot of guilt isn't all that beneficial. I tend to use the word guilt as a sort of a summary term covering both feelings of responsibility for a given situation and the negative emotional reaction of knowing you are responsible.

    When I was still in my teens I began to use guilt as a motivator for change. To use negative emotions as a catalyst for conditioning a new means of reacting to situations. In my youth I was quite selfish and had adopted a "me first" attitude. As I aged and began to understand more of the world I realized I had to change if I wanted to respect myself and I set upon a quest towards leading a life without guilt nor regret. My goal was to open my heart and use enough forethought and empathy to never inflict harm or misfortune upon others unless it was absolutely necessary. Basically, I sought to live in a way that I would never be ashamed of when it came to how I treated other people.

    My current relationship has been a rather rocky one over the past few years and a few times it barely survived. The way conflict appears is fairly ugly. I know that most problems in relationships bear joint-responsibility between both parties (although it may be weighted more heavily to one end or the other). I think the problem that has developed over time is that she doesn't want to accept any of the responsibility when she is angry and she accepts too much of the responsibility when she is calm. I have compensated by accepting total responsibility in all situations and changed myself to meet her expectations where I could in order to keep things together.

    I have asked myself (and others) several questions when I have made many of my blog posts. A lot of what I am trying to sort out is reaffirmation that the responsibility should indeed be shared and that I shouldn't feel bad about who I am.

    I have dodged a lot of this because I am uncertain of the future of our relationship. I'm having trouble finding the line between Femdom and emotional abuse. I can't really talk about these things with her without triggering an argument and that probably speaks volumes about the situation.

    In a lot of ways I have taken on a large burden by accepting responsibility and trying to use the negative feelings following that as a motivating factor like I have done in the past. Unfortunately the D/s aspects of our lifestyle aren't frequent enough for me to avoid drifting into other interests, which further detract from my focus.

    A healthier route would probably be to simply accept my share of the responsibility which would yield a much weaker set of negative feelings to contend with.

    Your #1 did lend a little peace of mind.

    Overall, to answer your questions more directly, yes I definitely have explored why I feel guilty as well as ways to eliminate it. It is definitely the more useful question and I tend to seek those answers naturally.

    There's two factors that have kind of led me to exploring these topics lately. One of which has been some recent fights/arguments with my Mistress. The other factor is being in contact recently with some of those "holier than thou" subs who scoff at anyone who admits that sexual arousal is linked to their submission. I usually just brush off the latter but the former is impossible for me to ignore since I deal with it on a daily basis.

    Somewhere down the line I got a lot more insecure than I ever wanted to be.

    Thank you again for writing. If you have more to share, I would greatly appreciate it.

  7. I tried to post this after my first comment but Blogger wouldn't let me for some reason "We're sorry, but we were unable to complete your request." Oh well.

    So I'm going to try this in a few parts.

    "Guilt from what I see as excessive pleasure is one aspect of this"

    "Excessive" pleasure? Who decides what amount of pleasure is excessive? Cos I think there's no such thing, personally. You think maybe there should be more suffering around the place? Huge amounts of pleasure is just the right amount in my book, no matter who's experiencing it. More pleasure everywhere is a good thing in my opinion. Go pleasure! More pleasure! :)

  8. "Overall, she tells me I make her feel unloved and deceived since I told her all of my ideals but I'm not able to deliver on all of them. She tells me it hurts her feelings and makes her feel unloved when I can't immediately snap into a deep subspace by my own will and when I don't get an erection if something she is doing doesn't turn me on. She tells me I am selfish for needing her to "go along" with what gets me off in order for me to be fully submissive. [...] When we argue she acts like she only does any of those things for me and not at all for herself. During those arguments I tend to surrender and accept complete responsibility for things and it tends to wreck my self-esteem."

    I'm going to be quite blunt here, because I think you're a really smart guy - right up til it comes to your sexuality and your relationships. So.

    One word. "Dysfunctional".

    She can't make your penis bounce up and down like pushing a button on a machine, and she thinks this is incontrovertible evidence of your feelings and honesty? When you get a cold does she regard that as concrete evidence that you intentionally deprived her of your health? And then she thinks that guilt-tripping you is going to suddenly inspire you to give her that epic boner she was so disappointed to be missing out on?

    This reminds me of the frustrated child throwing all their toys out of the pram. She can't play with them, so she blames them and wants to break them. Ouch.

    Like most people, your self-awareness is limited. So you told her some incomplete information about your desires because that was as much as you knew yourself. And because you can't reference your entire sexuality like an internet search engine, this means she can read your mind and know for sure that you're dishonest and think less of her?

  9. Off the top of my head three things come to mind which I see going on here between you:

    1. Unrealistic expectations (you and your boner are not a machine, you can't be responsible for everything)
    2. Unproductive communication strategies (blame is less useful than finding out what's going on, giving in has resolved nothing)
    3. Poor self-image (why take the presence or absence of your boner personally, and why accept responsibility for stuff you can't possibly have caused?)

    Also, I have a big problem with the word "selfish" because what's so terrible about focusing on the self? If you did more of it, then maybe you'd know more about yourself and your sexual responses. I honestly think there'd be a whole lot less conflict if more people invested more time, energy and thought into themselves. Self-centric-ness is a good thing in my book. (I call it the "Me me me me me" philosophy) So I find that when people use the term "selfish" about other people, they're usually thinking about themselves in the first place and demonstrating the sacrifices they expect other people to make on their behalf. And in that circumstance, who's being "selfish"?

    I prefer to use the term "self absorbed".

    I think that name calling, mind reading, and blame are just incredibly horrible, pointless, painful things which have no place in a healthy relationship. If you want my advice, I'd suggest that you both seek some counselling separately, so you can stop asking questions about whether you should feel what you're already feeling, and start asking questions like "How can I make choices which lead to more comfortable and pleasurable outcomes?"

    It sounds to me like you are honestly trying to explore what's going on inside of you, and I think that from your previous efforts, you already know that this can sometimes be a painful process. From what I've read in your blog, you sound to me like a lovely, sincere, straightforward person in a lot of pain. I apologise if anything I said to you felt hurtful or intrusive. The reason I wrote all this is because I sincerely wanted to contribute something to help ease your pain. I hope I have.

    Good luck.

  10. Lady Lubyanka, thank you for the follow-up. I read some of your blog entries and I can appreciate your no bull-shit attitude.

    Please skip over any of my blog entries that involve numbers or demographics as the approximations are meant not to be a factual statistical representation of the world as a whole but merely guidance to single submissive men out there on how to treat the courting process and present themselves as real people and not just some chronic masturbator with a computer and an internet connection.
    After reading some of your blog entries I have this bit of fear that one of my entries will appear on your blog with a big "fuckwit" graphic on top of it :)

    For the past few years I have been a bit of a mess emotionally and my self-awareness is definitely riding a low that rivals the early years of my childhood.

    Reading these responses has given me a bit of a "kicked in the gut" feeling. Mostly because I know what you are saying is true and what that may ultimately mean for my relationship. I have been trying to take the problems on in bits and pieces in an effort to find something that will work. I agree that things are dysfunctional.

    Much of the problem is that both of us struggle with self-confidence and insecurity but we channel it in different ways. I try to change myself so that I feel more confident and less insecure by attempting to fix things I see as flaws. She tends to shut down and retreat.

    The thought of excessive pleasure is rather silly. I guess I have always gone at things from a position of foregoing my own pleasure in order to better suit her pleasure. Ideally, what gives her pleasure and what gives me pleasure should coincide but sometimes it just doesn't line up as well as we'd like it to.

    We have gone down (and are still going down) the counseling route. My own personal hurdles I have yet to overcome are my fear of abandonment and my fear of significant change. These two factors often dominate my decision making.

    It's odd but between when I started writing this until now I have gone through a rather complete cycle of emotions and I feel quite peaceful right now. A knot in my chest has loosened up that had been tight for far too long.

    Upon some reflection I know that pretty much all of my relationships I've ever had have started out strong but deteriorated into a state that was emotionally damaging to me and I stayed in them for a rather prolonged period of time. While I would like to say that it was solely because I felt they would work (this was part of it) a good chunk of riding it out was based upon the fear of being alone and depression.

    I can see a path towards steering my current relationship towards greener pastures through love and support. At the same time I am aware there may be point when this is impossible and I have to be prepared to act in my true best interests. Much of this process involves less time on the internet and more time connecting.

    As painful and unpleasant as reality checks can be, they're never something I regret having happen. I just have to keep looking for opportunities to outgrow my pain and baggage.

  11. Please take a moment or two to research NLP practitioners in your area. They specialise in dealing with fears and decision-making. I think that instead of just naming your fears and saying "Oh, that's what's wrong with me" and carrying on just the same, you could really be improving a whole lot faster. It sounds to me like your thinking is all muddled up, and if you've already been in counselling for awhile, then these results must surely be improvable.

    Just think about it, please.

  12. Oh, also, I noticed this:

    "I'm having trouble finding the line between Femdom and emotional abuse."

    if something in a BDSM context feels wrong to you, and you feel unsure your judgement is valid or reliable because of the BDSM element, I wrote a post a few months ago which may help clarify your thinking on that.

  13. I agree with your thoughts on analogue in vanilla. In some cases it's still a bit murky for me, especially when it comes to "well, you're submissive, what do you expect?" vs. "that's going too far."

    I have looked into NLP's a bit, it seems very similar to therapists that call themselves "life coaches." Would I be wrong in assuming this?

    The therapy route is a bit of a mixed bag for me as I rarely find a therapist that I can really connect with. It seems most have tried to lead me to numbing my emotions or just existing on a day-by-day basis, both kind of implying "you're fucked up beyond repair."

    The other struggle lately has been finding one that is kink-friendly. The last one I saw had a wall lined with degrees that may as well have been wallpaper but when I mentioned lifestyle domination and submission I was met with a blank stare and a "I have no idea what you mean?"

    I was referred to an out-of-state therapist that was known for kink-friendly counseling but her rates were beyond what I could afford. She has since changed her advertised approach and it seems she now uses a method closer to NLP.

    I know this is something I have to do to better myself and be happier. I will definitely explore local options.

  14. I agree with your thoughts on analogue in vanilla. In some cases it's still a bit murky for me, especially when it comes to "well, you're submissive, what do you expect?" vs. "that's going too far."

    "well you're submissive, what do you expect" is absolutely the perfect candidate for my analogue-in-vanilla rule, and this rule works perfectly with expressions just like that. All you have to do is substitute "the girlfriend", "the man", "a landscape architect", "homosexual", or any other vanilla equivalent to find out if that expression has a valid analogue in vanilla. If it hasn't then the expression is invalid. Consent is every bit as relevant for BDSM practitioners as it is for everybody else.

    My definitions of consent and abuse may help you clarify things further.

    "I have looked into NLP's a bit, it seems very similar to therapists that call themselves "life coaches." Would I be wrong in assuming this?"

    You're correct, NLP is useful for all kinds of professions including life coaches, nurses, counsellors, nutritionists, doctors, almost anything you can think of really.

    A life coach well-schooled in NLP might be very helpful to you. NLP isn't about revisiting what went wrong in your past, NLP is about working with who you are right now and building your ability to make useful decisions and choices right now.

    Remember that a lot of people claim to use NLP who aren't trained or qualified at all. My experience is that if the person concerned advertises their NLP as just one of a long list of other qualifications then chances are they're going to be pretty useless. Look in this database for qualified NLP practitioners near you. The person you're considering should advertise an "NLP Practitioner" or "NLP Master Practitioner" or "NLP Trainer" right at the front of their information.

    "The therapy route is a bit of a mixed bag for me as I rarely find a therapist that I can really connect with."

    I agree that finding the right counsellor can be difficult and frustrating. I've had that problem myself. So many people schooled in traditional psychology regard the client with a persistent difficulty as "a problem client", as if it's your fault the therapist failed to help you. With NLP the counsellor takes responsibility for trying as many things as they can until one or more of them leads to a useful result. My experience is that once you do find the right counsellor, the effort was soooo worth it.

    Also, since here is a new avenue to explore, hopefully that makes this search easy to start and easy to persist, until you successfully find an understanding and capable counsellor. If you really want to, I know you will succeed.

    Good luck.