On the rare occasions that I happen to talk to vanilla people about BDSM, it’s always quite eye opening. One thing I hear a lot is they could see themselves enjoying giving such a beating or doling out orders, that it seems fun. But getting a beating or following orders…? Dream on, Pokemon.
So one would expect that there’s a glut of dominant folks with no one to submit to them. After all, that seems to be how “normal” relationships work out in the wild, the ones where everyone takes their cues from sit coms. Y’know, people keeping score, trying to one up each other, trying to “win” at the relationship (whatever the fuck that means). This imbalance even translates fairly well to a virtual space. Kinky social media is filled to the gills with dudes with handles like MasterBigCock69* who is looking for an 18-year-old nubile sub who is worthy to serve him. In fact, he will state, a dominant woman is just one who hasn’t found the right man to tame her yet.
But on the actual real-life organized kink scene, this is not the case at all. Sure, there are some douchebags like MasterBigCock69* kicking around, but generally speaking, good Doms/Dommes are always in short supply. It’s understandable. Domming someone in an ongoing and serious capacity is a lot of fucking work when done well.
You have to work to understand the fantasies of the submissive, as well or better than they understand it themselves, find where that overlaps with your own fantasies, and then design and execute experiences that thrill and challenge the both of you.
It’s extremely gratifying to me, sexually, emotionally, and otherwise, when I can be the architect of such a thing. But it’s rare to find someone that it works with, especially so when we’re talking about Domming guys. Even setting aside the fact that I’m sexually attracted to fewer guys than girls (I have a very specific type, so specific it verges on silly and embarrassing), I absolutely cannot stand when guys “top from the bottom,” i.e., they start trying to run the encounters when the Domme is supposed to be in charge. A hearty struggle and a chance to put a brat back into their place is one thing; the sub ordering experiences like toppings on a pizza? No, thank you. I’m nobody’s pizza chef, not the kind of topping I’m into.
Why would I do something for free that you’d pay a professional dominatrix for?
There are female subs that top from the bottom, too, but in my experience, male subs are especially bad – if I had to hazard a guess it would be that men don’t have great cultural models for how to be submissive and service oriented. Many male submissives come out of the box (mmm, that new sub smell!) extraordinarily selfish and entitled. It’s not because they’re bad or anything. They just lack cultural scripts, having been shortchanged by society.
It’s definitely been a source of frustration for me in the past since when it comes to sexual submissives, it largely rains men. I’m not interested in doing the emotional labor required to pull someone through lessons on the virtue of patience and what unselfish service and submission are. Or, as I say when I’m being a bitch (which is how my Domme persona is, more or less), I’m not down for paper training someone.
It probably doesn’t help that my early experiences with kink were all informal, a mix of all sorts of childhood, adolescent, and young adult shenanigans, and my own experience as submissive came about late in life in an impromptu way hooked into just one of those impressions, a fuzzy one without a whole lot of fantasy details fleshed out, other than “Wouldn’t it be hot to make someone feel extraordinarily good? I could go to great lengths to achieve this.”
So I was kind of short-sighted and had no clue how this would even play out in someone else’s head who didn’t have the same experiences I did.
Recently, I got a really good view into what it looks like.
My amazing friend submissivedude has written a tour de force essay that I highly recommend. (Please note that I am not the Page that SD refers to – that is just an amazing coincidence.)
Here’s an excerpt:
My first exposure to kink was through the internet, where I met girls who would tell me what to do as we whispered into the phone or typed one-handed into instant messages. Intoxicated by the mixture of novelty and pubescent testosterone, I badgered them all incessantly.
It took me years to realize that I was not only hobbling myself, but wasting the time and attention of the women who tolerated (usually) and encouraged (occasionally) my libidinous outpourings. Untrained in human patience, I never gave them the space to explore and communicate their fantasies. There was no compromise, no conversation, no mixture of elements to catalyze a reaction greater than its parts. I had unwittingly treated my partners like fantasy fulfillment machines.
The ability to focus on someone else’s world, to proactively anticipate their needs and desires, is paramount. This goes for relationships of every shape and size, kinky or “vanilla”, monogamous or open. Relationships between a “submissive” man and a “dominant” woman are no exception.
The ability to understand what someone else is looking for and say, “It sounds like you want to jump into a very serious full-time thing, which is great, but I’m just experimenting casually,” is paramount.
Unless you can set expectations this way, you will always be adrift at sea with no compass. Expectations are the maps we use to navigate relationships. If you set sail without a map, well, you’d better be good at reading the stars.
I never was.
For a moment, I no longer felt like prey, or a captured hero, or any of those things. I was confused. The sudden change in context had surprised me in a way I’d never experienced before, and it was only in retrospect that I truly understood the impact of what happened:
They were having fucking fun.
In that moment, I was not “the sub”, and the three of them were not “Mistresses”. They were just three friends having a total blast and sharing in each other’s delight.
Anyway, it’s a good read, and I’m very grateful to SD for explaining something I couldn’t quite wrap my head around before.
*If someone has this actual screenname, I both apologize and laugh at you because what the fuck, dude?