Friday, November 23, 2012

Dominance as a Meta-Fetish


Author’s note:  This will probably be my last serious entry for a while.  I realized today that I had hit the mania phase of my depression cycle and that has driven a few of my recent blog posts.  During these times I have a tendency to overstate some things and make an ass of myself.  The downside is that once I leave mania I tend to sink into a pretty deep downswing.  I think I was able to “catch it” in time and channel it in my last post on “deep submission,” hopefully steering me clear of the worst of it.  I am feeling fine now but I have taken the internal note that I should write when I feel like writing and not grasp at straws trying to write simply to express the mess going on inside.
End note.

I had a rather striking breakthrough realization today.  It is probably the most important step in understanding the nature of my submission since I entered the lifestyle.  It answered about twenty thousand questions that had been lingering within me and my outlook is a lot clearer now.

The concept that has granted me solace is Dominance as a meta-fetish.  That is, while a varying number of activities are able to act as subspace triggers and cause sexual arousal, it is not the activity itself but the symbolism of those activities that are of greatest importance to me. 

Failing to truly grasp this caused a lot of confusion over the years because I was never quite certain what was going on at the essence of my submission.  It also explains why such a wide variety of activities appeal to me on some level.  I have often said, “I hate it, but I love what it does to me.”  I feel like it should have been clear then but it seems that I just didn’t see how the pieces fit into the puzzle until now.

If a sub has a fetish for Dominance, what I mean is that their peak response is to the symbolism of power exchange.  They will respond to activities that (A) increase the power of the Domme, and (B) make the sub more vulnerable.

This is an interesting fetish since it seems to cover both giving and receiving types of activities.  The sub may appear as if they have a fetish for service-oriented submission but their actual response is to status inequality and fear of punishment.  They may appear as if they have a bondage fetish but the inner draw is her control over him and his helplessness before her.  They may appear as if they have a fetish for forced feminization when the inner draw is that she has the power to make him dress how she wants him to and his status requires him to comply no matter how unpleasant it might be. 

I’m sure on some levels someone might read this and feel, “well duh, this is common sense.”  There’s been many cases where I described these reasons for specific fetishes, but I have yet to really hear from anyone who is drawn to pretty much all activities that fit the A + B archetype.  Like, you’ll find bondage enthusiasts that do not respond to any more intense activities.  You will find sissies that respond to cross-dressing when it isn’t forced.  You will find subs that respond to many “receiving” activities (such as play) but respond to very few “giving” activities (such as service). 

This is why I find this unique in a way.  You will find many that respond to some activities, but very few that will respond to pretty much all activities. 

I think the other separating point for subs with a fetish for dominance is that the greater the symbolism of power exchange in an event, the stronger the submissive response.  I believe this is why some subs will crave cruel treatment yet still wish to be loved by their Mistress.  The greater the cruelty the, greater the display of A and B, the deeper the sub falls into subspace, and the more he loves his Mistress. 

If you believe in my theory of D/s escalation (that repetition gets ordinary which requires new, more intense activities to trigger the same feelings) it makes complete sense why subs seem rather insane at the intensity they crave. 

This brings me pretty much full-circle back to the reason I started blogging in the first place.  I am not so much a sissy, I just crave the display of power exchange of being forced to wear a humiliating uniform while serving my Mistress because it amuses her. 

The Deep submissive

There exists a submissive type that is a bit different than most.  I call them the "deep submissive."  These types of subs are usually easy to spot but are easily misinterpreted and misunderstood.

The deep submissive is an interesting one because they display characteristics of several different submissive types but seemingly all at the same time.  They often display the yearnings of a service submissive, the devotion and selflessness of a slave type, but still have the sexual desires of a fetishist.  The difficulty in understanding them is that they may display some of the characteristics of a different submissive type but they are usually fundamentally different in their motives and often don't share any other traits with that type.

At the core of the deep submissive is the intense need to please and obey the woman he submits to.  To say that he would do anything for her probably isn't too large of an exaggeration.  However, he is not a doormat.  He has a strong sense of self and lots of creative energy, he just focuses himself intently on her needs.  He is also willing to change himself if it will make her happier.  He has the ability to adapt and will act independently when it is appropriate or submit to strict rules and guidelines when that is appropriate.  Basically, he doesn't need to be told what to do but if he is told, he obeys to the T.

His fetish is for actions and symbols that display power inequalities and his devotion to his Domme.  It is highly likely that simply wearing her collar will arouse him since it is both a proud symbol of ownership by his Mistress, but also a symbol that he is below her and exists to please her.  He responds well to rituals and actions that make him feel connected to his Domme and these too will probably arouse him.  There are a few activities where he may respond with arousal in a way that gives him the appearance of having a fetish for the activity, when his arousal really comes from the display of power by the Domme over him.  These may include but are not limited to:  CFNM, forced feminization, chastity, restraints, corporal punishment, pegging, and protocol restrictions.

In many cases the line becomes so blurry that a deep submissive won't even know why he is responding sexually to the activity.  He may mistake the activity as the fetish rather than his response to the symbolism of the activity.  What is so interesting is that this deeper connection can make him respond sexually to a very large number of activities, even ones he finds unpleasant or strongly dislikes.

Deep submissives tend to love their Mistresses with a very intense passion and these types of subs are usually married to their Dommes.  They are kind of a Swiss Army Knife of the submissive world.  They understand the roles they must fill in her life and can adapt at any time.  They are a friend, lover, confidante, servant, plaything, sex slave, and whipping boy all in one.  They can easily converse with their Dommes on topics of shared interest, they have a sense of humor, they want to share rewarding life experiences with her.  They will respond to her beck and call with gusto, submit as her source of amusement, pleasure her sexually, and are willing to suffer for her.

It is sometimes difficult for a Domme to understand what makes a deep submissive tick (for the same reasons deep submissives may struggle to understand).  They key is always to look at the symbolic nature of the activities and there's a very good chance that the stronger the display of power, the more connected the sub will feel and the more he will become aroused.  Another interesting result is that the farther a Domme pushes a deep submissive's limits, the stronger his love and devotion to her will grow.

Deep submissives are complete people but may appear incomplete or desperate if they are single.  It is easy for them to become depressed or agitated when single because they have so much love to give that they feel lost when there is no one there to receive it.

Why more women should practice lifestyle D/s

I’m always curious why there aren’t more women that practice lifestyle D/s. I think there’re a number of reasons for why they don’t, ranging from upbringing/posturing on gender roles, negative preconceptions on the lifestyle/kink, beliefs on balance and equality, etc. I have given a lot of relationship advice over the years and something that has really become clear to me is that a defined power structure within a relationship makes things run more smoothly and has the potential to bring about greater happiness for both individuals, kinky or not.

The case against a 50/50 power balance

The idea that each member of a relationship should have equal say in the direction of the relationship doesn’t really work unless the both of you are able to naturally agree upon everything all the time. If you disagree even in the slightest, one person will end up compromising to the other person’s wishes. This becomes a battle of stubbornness vs. “it’s not worth fighting about so I’ll just give in.” If one person is more stubborn and the other person is more harmonious, the balance has already shifted to at least 51/49 in favor of the stubborn individual. The illusion of balance comes from the idea that each person will be stubborn on some things and harmonious on other things. E.g. As a stereotypical example, the woman cares more about the living room furniture, the man cares more about the size of the living room TV. He compromises on the couches, she compromises on the TV. When it comes to bigger things, the balance becomes more precarious since you aren’t able to “alternate” who gets their way. Someone gets promoted at work but it involves a transfer to a different state, do you say their career is more important and move or should they get a different job and stay put?

I’m not going to generalize and say that all women are better decision-makers than men or vice versa. Instead I ask the question: if you were entering into a relationship and before-hand you decided that one person was going to have final say on all decisions, would you rather be the person with power or the person without it?

Do keep in mind, “final say” doesn’t mean “ignore the other person,” it just means that when you have both made your cases for what you think is best, the one with final say will ultimately make the decision. This would apply on any decisions you wanted it to, whether big or small: where to eat, which car to buy, what movie you want to see, or what kind of sex you are having.

I think most women would answer that they would prefer to be the one with final say. The possible hang-up is that they might believe that it isn’t right. What if upon entering the relationship, the man was fully agreeable and supportive of unequal power and the woman having the final say? If that is what he wants, and if given a choice, that is the choice she would make, I don’t see a problem with it. Also, she can always choose to cater to his desires, but she doesn’t have to.

This arrangement can lead to a situation that is relatively free from arguing and she never has to compromise unless she wants to. In my opinion, its harmony makes this a very desirable outcome.

The Benefits of Inequality

Anyone that has dated has probably noticed that relationships are exciting, romantic, hot, and steamy during the courting phase but as the relationship goes on, it becomes a bit more mundane. The man she thought was Superman starts showing he’s a little bit more like Clark Kent than he had originally advertised. He no longer feels the need to impress her and win her over so he falls back into old habits and patterns. This is around the time she learns about his inner slob, inner sloth, and the man behind the mask. If she is lucky, he’s still a great guy and his negative qualities are minor and few in number. If she is unlucky, she gets to feel what it’s like to have been his mother when he was a teenager.

Improving him
Who you are is most important in the eyes of the one you love. What if it would make her happier and she would love you more if you were just a teeny bit better/different in a few ways? If you truly love her, isn’t it worth it to her to make small changes to make her happier? I think most men would answer yes to both questions but there’s often some ingrained resistance that has been programmed into us. “Be your own man,” “never change for someone else,” and so on. So a different haircut or wearing a different shirt or learning to put the toilet seat down can become symbolic and leave a man open to shame from his peer group.

What if it was already established upon entering into the relationship that he would willingly change if she wanted him to and he would follow that up with a strong effort?

A submissive is a lot like clay. She can shape him, mold him, and change him into the form that pleases her the most. He accepts this upon entering into the relationship and it’s part of the natural process of D/s.

Freedom from the mundane
Most vanilla marriages and live-in relationships have an imbalance in household duties. This is rooted in long-standing posturing about the gender roles. While more and more men are developing domestic skill sets, I would estimate that in the average household, the chore details probably have about an 80/20 split with the woman taking on the majority. The man may “do the heavy lifting” with mowing, shoveling snow, and fixing the sink when it clogs while the woman takes care of most of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, dry cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. While the man may contribute in some capacity, she generally cares more about the state of the house than he does and where he stops, she keeps going. I know these are stereotypes, but there’s a lot of situations where this situation holds true, especially if children are involved.

What if she could do as much as she wanted to and trust that the man would take care of the rest? She would have time to pursue her hobbies and interests or relax after a stressful day and enjoy life without being bogged down by necessary but unpleasant tasks. With a submissive she could pass on all of those duties to him, but there’s a good chance she would still do at least a little as it’s impossible to enjoy each other’s company if he’s occupied all day fulfilling those duties.

To a man with a deeply submissive mindset, a woman stuck doing mundane tasks because they “need to get done” and missing out on leisure time is a travesty and he is willing to perform those tasks in her place. These men do exist and this could be agreed upon before entering the relationship.

Exactly how she wants it
Women often have a type of sex or sexual activity they enjoy a lot. In some cases, the man they are with doesn’t enjoy it. When these preferences fail to overlap, she often compromises what she likes most for the sake of “mutual pleasure.” In other cases, she may have to “fudge the truth” in order to protect his ego, wishes to maintain harmony, “trade” sexual favors, or hold out for special occasions (Valentine’s day, Birthday, Anniversary, etc.).

What if she didn’t have to worry about any of that and could have exactly what she wanted, whenever she wanted it, and for however long she wanted it? This is also something that would be agreed upon before entering the relationship. If she wants two hours of body worship and foreplay before sex, so be it. If she wants a marathon cunnilingus session, so be it. With a submissive, it’s just assumed she will always get what she wants (assuming it is negotiated before entering into the relationship).

Clean Slate
This is the first benefit that really falls outside the realm of vanilla relationships. Women punish men. This pretty much happens in every relationship and it has been happening for a very, very, very long time. Aristophanes wrote the comic play, Lysistrata, in 411 BC where the women of Athens and the Women of Sparta refuse to have sex with their husbands until they bring an end to the Peloponnesian War. I take this as proof that the “doghouse” and “cold shoulder” are as old as antiquity. In vanilla relationships these can occur until the woman stops feeling angry/hurt. This can sometimes take quite a while and it makes life miserable for both parties.

D/s speeds this process up quite a bit. Direct punishment can take multiple forms: physical (corporal), sexual (denial/chastity), emotional (scolding/corner time/behavior restrictions), or sacrificial (extra chores/grounding). While the act itself might feel unpleasant for the woman, it is a great way to purge the anger inside her in a very quick and direct way. For the sub, he is freed from guilt for his transgressions upon completing the punishment.

Basically, it wipes the slate clean and allows for the relationship to return to harmony at a much faster pace and with less repeat infractions. Again, this is something agreed upon before entering the relationship.

Final call
I think I pretty much covered this in the 50/50 section, but I’ll say it again because it’s important. She can choose to have the final say over any decision in the relationship.

Overall, the benefits of D/s are pretty strong. The idea of a man that is willing to change for the better, willing to pitch in more than his share of household duties, pleasure her exactly how she wants it, willing to be punished when he upsets her, and give her the final say on decisions is probably a fairly appealing prospect for the woman who enjoys being pampered and feeling like a Queen.

The Cons

It’s not all perfect hearts and flowers all the time. There are set backs and issues that often prevent women from living out this lifestyle. Here are a few of the common ones and how to view them to overcome them.

It’s hard to find a good sub
Finding a good man is a challenging task. Finding a good sub is also a challenging task. It may take several misses before you finally hit, but one thing is true: It’s easier to find a good sub than a good man. This might seem counter-intuitive since submissive men are a smaller group than vanilla men, but the ratio of women seeking submissive men to submissive men seeking dominant women makes the D/s hunt much more favorable to the woman vs. vanilla dating. It’s supply and demand. When you vanilla date, the ratio of men to women is on average somewhere between 1:1 and 3:1. When you court in D/s, the ratio of men to women is on average somewhere between 30:1 and 2,000:1. Basically, you can make a sub jump through as many hoops as you want him to in order to prove he is worthy. In vanilla dating if you try to put a man through the same scenario, he’ll most likely walk because “there’s other fish in the sea.”

He loves the kink more than he loves me
This is usually the biggest stumbling block when a submissive man tries to introduce a vanilla woman to D/s. Most subs are only submissive when certain criteria are met. This might be something small, like a collar, or could be something larger, like a leather-clad Dominatrix wielding a whip. Some are more realistic than others. Some are more appealing to women than others. Regardless of what the sub’s particular kink is, his love and devotion for the woman willing to explore the kink with him will dwarf anything else.

It gets a bit complicated and to adequately explain this requires some in depth analysis of the submissive psyche, but I will just say that subs sometimes need something present in order to bring out the best in them. “Their best” is the man I described in the benefits section. This is how subs are wired a bit different from most men. If you think about their kink as a key and their submissive nature as being locked away, the kink unlocks their submissive nature and allows them to shine.

They didn’t choose to be this way. Many times they don’t want to be this way. It is just how they are and it’s a part of them. If the kink aspect makes a woman hesitate, the key for the woman is to find a man with “acceptable” kinks and this is a regular part of the courting process.

Does this make me a deviant?
There’s so many people in the world that are drawn to kink and BDSM-related themes that it’s hardly something out of the ordinary. Most people are very private about their sex lives, so you may know several people that engage in these activities and not even know it. If you exercise the same privacy, from the outside it will merely appear as if the man is pussy whipped.

Besides, no matter what fetishes she may have, there’s a very good chance that the man will always be more deviant, so by relativity, the woman is still quite normal.

Subs are too needy
There’re a lot of subs out there that focus selfishly on their own sexual needs. So many of them are this way that it often skews perceptions to a negative stereotype. With every sub there is a portion of them that enjoys activities that involve giving and activities that enjoy receiving. This varies greatly from sub to sub. The majority enjoy receiving more than giving. There are many that enjoy giving more than receiving. There are many that enjoy both giving and receiving relatively equally. Finding the right sub can be hard but it is possible. If you want to find a sub that focuses on giving they tend to really stand out in how they present themselves. There are also ways to twist their desire to receive into motivation to give.

In any case, compatibility is a factor just as it is in vanilla dating.

I don’t like kink
I’m not sure if I really have a direct answer to this one but I have found there is a direct relationship between self-confidence/self-esteem and dominant potential. Even if it doesn’t turn her on to have a direct fetish, such as spanking, I don’t know any women that don’t enjoy body worship, being pampered, and other things of that nature. In this way there may be some compromise on her part: to embrace/accept some kink in order to have the man they want or to avoid kink and accept a man with flaws that can’t be corrected. Sometimes understanding the value of kink can make it more appealing.

Conclusion

While it’s not without its faults, D/s just has a lot of advantages over vanilla relationships. I believe more women would be happy if they were willing to confront the cons and we were willing to see how far they can go when they have a man that makes them feel like the most important person in the world. Confidence goes a long way and often women find some latent dominance deep within themselves that had been buried under years of living in a world that finds it profitable to keep a woman’s self-esteem as low as possible.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ethics vs. Choices

Throughout the internet you'll find many discussions on "appropriate" levels of BDSM intensity.  There are numerous inclusions of what constitutes consent vs. just pleasure, what is okay to do in reality vs. play fantasy, and the like.  The views are often shaped by the background experiences of the individual (especially those who have been active in a formal BDSM community), but it seems regardless of a person's experience level, there are many who will share their opinions whether their bias is based on experience, logic, ethics, or fantasy.  The greatest levels of D/s intensity generally come under the greatest scrutiny.

The world history of oppressed and oppressors, the slave trade, etc. give ample firepower to those who wish to condemn or speak out against relationships with a high degree of power exchange.  Is this really a fair comparison?  I believe when people cannot picture themselves enjoying a certain lifestyle there is a tendency to condemn it.  The great and over-riding difference between power exchange and history is consent.  The power differential is not based upon wealth, skin color, religion, religious decree, race, gender, class, caste, or birth.  A Domme doesn't come into existence like a Queen or Tsarina, she isn't born into an existing oppressive power structure with the ability to abuse power merely through title and standing.  Her power structure is created when another agrees to fall below her in the heirarchy of the world they create together.  This is a might difference.

A sub isn't dragged into his situation kicking and screaming.  While he may kick and scream for different reasons later, at some point he made a choice.  While I would like to say he enters "with his eyes wide open," in many cases it's with his eyes half open (yes, this is a reference to men who squint when they masturbate).  I have often been told that a Domme that arouses a sub in manipulate him sexually and make him agree with something he doesn't really want is doing something wrong or unethical.  A case can be made for both views on a personal level but I tend to feel if he "can't help himself," he is still responsible for his choices.  A frat boy pillow talking a girl with low self esteem into bed with sweet sweet lies is considered responsible for his actions.  A sexual predator seeking the object of his desires and acting out his twisted fantasies is also considered responsible, even if he did it because he "couldn't help himself."

I find it to be an odd double-standard when men follow their penises and some are seen as helpless victims and others as rational beings pulled along by sexual desire.

I also find it odd when people view a Queen abusing her servant in the same light as a couple who choose to live like a Queen and servant.  The notions of power by birth and power by consent are indeed very different subjects.

On a side note, I feel that woman's ability to sexually manipulate a man into certain choices isn't an abuse of power.  If men were meant to be able to resist feminine charms, our intelligence wouldn't cut in half when we get an erection.

Taking submissive Inventory

About once a year I tend to go over my thoughts on submission. It can clear things up in my head and it's interesting to compare from year to year how my thoughts change and how many things stay the same. It usually stays relatively static but the importance of each thing will shuffle around. Here goes this year's.

The most important factor in being a good submissive follows the same principles of being a good lover: make her happiness your greatest priority and things will generally turn out well. If your actions and impulses reflect this principle you are in good shape.

This does not mean to become a boring sycophant that just goes along with anything and everything. Be someone worthy of being her life partner.

On a personal level be someone that stimulates her intellectually and emotionally. Be interesting conversation, have a sense of humor, and be able to share things with her that are something unique that only you can offer. Have a personality but do not argue with her.

On an external level be someone she is proud to be with. Be polite, respectful, courteous, and chivalrous . Pay attention and know her body language and visual cues. Be mindful of your surroundings. Be the man that other women will wish they had.

On an emotional level be someone that makes her feel special. Be attentive and a good listener. Be affectionate and open with compliments. Do not let your stubborn masculinity and self-consciousness get in the way of a phrase, act, or gesture that may bring her joy. "I didn't say it because it sounds cheesy," is a weaker man's excuse. She is your Queen. Make her believe she is a Queen.

On a physical level be mindful of your appearance. This does not mean to be vain or shallow. It does mean that there are certain things that she holds a preference for and be mindful of these preferences. If she likes it when you are clean shaven with well kempt hair and nails and dressed in a manner that she finds attractive, this is how you should present yourself to her. Staying in shape and eating right are a plus for the both of you. "I wish you would [insert action here]," should not be in her vocabulary. You should know and have already done that for her.

On a submissive level remain focused on what pleases her. Conduct yourself in the manner she deems most fitting of your position. If she is happy, horny, confident, and proud that you are her submissive, there's a very good chance you will get the kind of activities you also enjoy without having to ask for them.

She is the special one. A submissive exists to make her feel that special all the time.

(After writing this I realized I completely skipped over any sort of romance/romantic gestures.  I guess I have failed there).