Monday, May 8, 2017

Why isn't there more writing about the mental aspects of D/s?

Why isn't there more writing about the mental aspects of D/s?

I find this completely puzzling as there are often carefully crafted relationship dynamics in place with the goal of keeping a sub twisting in deep subspace and a Domme maintaining a heightened Domspace.  I find it fascinating how people manage to keep a sub enduring through hardships that seem better suited for an abused step-child in a fairy tale yet they are in love, emotionally fulfilled, and happy.  I find it fascinating how Dommes turn themselves on and increase their dominant desires by keeping a man under her thumb and finding new ways to suppress, crush, and exploit his ego.

I only know a handful of bloggers that confront these topics head on.  I wish this weren't the case but I also wonder why.

A theory I received recently in response to some comments left on a blog was that understanding the mental aspects requires thought and that "most" people don't put the thought in. 

Another theory I've read is that unless someone is a switch, it's just too hard for someone to understand what is going on in the other role. 

I don't think this is an easy topic.  I think that a lot of people have trouble sifting through confusing and often conflicting emotions and that articulating it can be a challenge.  Difficult doesn't mean impossible.  If someone isn't interested enough to take on the challenge, that I can understand completely.

The "accepting" ideal from BDSM communities tends to stifle this as well.  "Your kink is not my kink" or "I like what I like" actually discourages conversation and attempts at understanding.  I can understand this as an idea for people trying to grow comfortable with deviant interests, but don't more people get curious as to why they like what they like?  Or also, why they don't like something else?

I've also found people that follow a train of thought that everything we experience is unique so it doesn't do much good to talk about it.  While it is true that people have specific triggers that act as turn ons or turn offs, think people are more similar than they are different when you get to the core of it.  Pretty much every written account of slavespace I have ever read was pretty damn similar.  When sadistic and controlling Dommes start talking about the symbolism behind an act that turns them on, the way they describe it is pretty damn similar (even when the acts differ completely).

Do people struggle to see beyond the specific act and find the nature of D/s?  Or are people just so bad at separating themselves from a specific kink to where they are unable to describe it adequately?  I don't know.

As for being unable to understand the opposing role, do we actually have to completely get it in order to find it interesting?  On its most basic levels, triggers are just cause and effect and repeated use of certain activities eventually breeds trends and consistent behaviors.  It is probably a bit easier to read submissive males because well, it's pretty obvious when something affects them.  If an act fuels their subspace, they get an erection.  If an act deepens their subspace, they will get more shy, docile, and obedient.  Sorting out activities that garner reactions by their "essences" should give a pretty easy road map on how to control a sub's mental state.

Reading Dommes are a bit more difficult.  Based upon her choices of activities you can see what appeals to her. Finding the essences of those activities should give a good idea of what D/s concepts/principles/ideals speak to her.  The reason why this read is harder is that there are fewer obvious cues to look for.  I can tell when a Domme is thriving in Domspace by her eyes (they look "predatory") but beyond that, it's all a crapshoot because the more intense she gets, the better she is at masking her aura and intent.  That is, in many cases the more aroused, empowered, and in control she feels, the more she is able to hide and/or deceive a sub while keeping true intentions hidden. 

I do believe that a good number of people within the lifestyle understand the symbolism and ways that it fuels their own space.  I really wish they would talk about it more as I really do enjoy reading and conversing about it.


  1. Re: people manage to keep a sub enduring through hardships that seem better suited for an abused step-child in a fairy tale yet they are in love...

    This, right here, is one of the reasons I don't get into my own mental processes around D/s dynamics. Because I DON'T TREAT MY PARTNERS LIKE THIS. For some reason, "mainstream" F/m is presented as She's horribly mean and he just takes whatever he dishes out. My relationships are not structured this way. Loving leadership? Yes. Female-Led relationship? Yes. Porned-out hateful Dominatrix? Not even remotely.

    Other terms you use here that don't resemble anything I do or feel:

    sadistic controlling Dommes
    the more aroused, empowered, and in control she feels, the more she is able to hide and/or deceive a sub

    The things that I do to/for/with my partners are enjoyable for us both, and are done with full consent and constant communication. I look for things like peace and joy and turned-on-ness when I bind my partner. I show happiness and give affection when they do things that please me. I don't think power exchange is all about pain and humiliation. The most commonly written-about F/m narrative says otherwise.

    I am in charge. Period.

    There are a lot of reasons this works for me, and I could go into the psychology of my childhood or my caretaking/motherly tendencies and explain why they exist... But why? I understand my motivations pretty clearly myself. I understand my partners' motivations and know their histories. Having a firm grasp on the psychology of the relationships I'm in is one of the reasons they work.

    But I don't think that's the psychology you're talking about here.

    1. If what I wrote is nothing like the way that you view your own relationships then it does not apply to your relationships.

      This topic in general ends up being misunderstood a lot of the time. There are a handful of bloggers out there that write about these topics, but only a small handful. Unfortunately those that I usually go back and forth with in discussion seem to be MIA at the moment.

      None of this is hateful. It is consensual. It is loving. There are subs out there that enjoy having their limits pressed and a Dommes that enjoy pressing those limits in both daily life and in play. If it wasn't something that brought about overall positive feelings for both parties the relationships wouldn't last.

      "Joy" isn't always clear cut. "I don't like this but I like the way it makes me feel" is one of the more interesting feelings that can happen when delving into the mental aspects of subspace.

      Porn doesn't approximate this either and I'm actually curious as to why that comparison is even made.

    2. The question you asked - the one that I answered - was, "Why isn't there more writing about the mental aspects of D/s?"

      In unpacking your post, your focus was on the psychological aspects of mental/emotional S&M.

      The two concepts can go hand-in-hand, but do not mean the same thing.

      Re: "There are subs out there that enjoy having their limits pressed and a Dommes that enjoy pressing those limits in both daily life and in play."

      I think this is fairly universal. I also think you mean something different by 'pushing limits' than I do. Which is one of reasons for the oft-repeated the YKINMK, I think.

      Re: "If it wasn't something that brought about overall positive feelings for both parties the relationships wouldn't last."

      I disagree. People stay in relationships for thousands of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with the overall positivity of feeling.

      As for "porn doesn't approximate this", I have to say I'm not sure what 'this' you are talking about. I was offering a comparison of What I Am versus What I Am Not. And because the "mean Domme" persona is so often depicted there, as well as in written material, with S&M elements being the standard focus, it is a stereotype that perpetuates and a theme that is consistently reinforced. Which causes confusion for people who are looking-for/curious-about the D/s but who are often made to feel like they are "not doing it right" if they aren't into the S/M. For you, this may not be an issue. For me, it is. Or at least, it has been in the past.

    3. Thank you for the clarification. Your original comments appeared mostly hostile and critical moreso than answering the question.

      I agree that I focus heavily on the psychological aspects of mental/emotional S&M, but they were not limited to those things. There are many D/s rituals or practices that appeal to some and not others that do not fall into that category. Kneeling, addressing with a title, orgasm control and the like are fairly common and generally not associated with S&M. As this is a consensual lifestyle, subs are willing participants but I do believe that at times there is some psychological resistance that creeps in due to mood and/or when it comes to activities that they are not fond of.

      Submission in general requires a lot of psychological adjustment as it is frequently very different from how people would live their lives in its absence. I find that the number of people that are "perfectly wired" for a submissive role naturally are few and far between.

      Porn doesn't approximate loving, trusting, intimate bonds that have been built over time. It also frequently lacks subtlety and context.

    4. Sorry, Fur. Re-reading my original comment, I can see how that misunderstanding occurred. My words were not written with hostile intentions. I was taking your stated desire to discuss and understand different perspectives and waving my hand: "I have a different perspective!" :)

      For the record, I don't bother with hostility. I have too few hours in my day to waste them in that manner. ;)

    5. Thank you, Mrs Fever.

      My apologies if I reacted in an overly defensive manner. I went through an entire gambit of emotions before writing my first reply.

      I do believe the views and style of relationships you practice are the more common and healthier forms of Femdom and I don't mean to discourage that in any way.

      My introduction to the lifestyle and my relationship that followed after my first Domme passed due to cancer were both very loving but very intense and strict types of D/s. I discovered parts of my subspace that run so deep and feel so "right" that I would never leave those mental states if I didn't have to. It is a style that does not appeal to most and I know many subs would not be happy in such an environment. When I first started blogging there were a dozen or so of us that seemed to view things in a similar light. Unfortunately about half of them died and the rest went dark leaving only two of us left from that original group.

      I do appreciate the outside point of view and I'm always eager to learn more.

      Take care.

    6. I understand the so-perfect-you-never-want-to-leave headspace. I had a partner that... Well, we were like gasoline and matches. Together we went places - blazing firey hot places that fueled one another's flames - neither of us had ever before been, mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. There were times I felt like I wanted to stay in that "space" forever.

      Impractical, of course.

      And as happens whenever you play with fire, I got burned. Sigh.

      Lesson learned.

      I'm sorry to hear of the losses you've suffered in your support network. That's hard. I hope you are able to make some new connections that 'feed' you the way you need.

    7. Thank you, Mrs Fever. That is unfortunate it ended u combustible. It can be a fun ride but it feels devastating if it ends.

      People writing about that space is actually what I was hoping for with this original post. To hear people describe it, how they maintain it, what pulls them out, what pushes them deeper, and so on. Chasing headspace is my favorite part of kink.

      While it's a bummer that the network has broken down it's also been an interesting process. When you only hear from the save 5 people for years it is easy to feel like that is the common view. What I've learned over the past year is that we were actually the less common type, we just happened to get lucky and find each other.

      Take care.

  2. That mental aspect is hugely important, and not enough bloggers or authors deal with it. I remember the first time I suffered subdrop, and I had no idea what was going on. I ended up getting out of bed at 3 in the morning, getting dressed, and just wandering the streets, trying to straighten out what was in my head. I thought I was going crazy or having a stroke. I was completely unprepared.

    I found a great discussion group around it on Fetlife that helped me to understand what was going on and, more importantly, allowed my wife and I to discuss and better plan our after care.

    1. Thank you, Sally.

      Aftercare is immensely important for dealing with the often complicated and conflicting emotions that can occur when falling out of subspace.

      I really do find the process of how things play out mentally to be a very interesting subject.

  3. I agree that not enough people write on the mental aspects of d/s. Some thought evoking ideas here. I enjoyed reading your words

    1. Thank you, Miss Lily.

      If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them.

      Take care.