Introverted submissives

This thread has some excellent advice for shy people who want to get into their local scenes, but it also reminded me of a couple of my pet peeves. While I applaud the original poster for wanting help overcoming his shyness so he can make friends in the scene and hopefully find a partner, it irritates the shit out of me when people conflate shyness and introversion and when they treat being introverted like it’s some kind of terrible flaw that must be overcome if you ever want to find a partner.

Introversion and shyness are not the same thing! Being an introvert just means that spending time with people tires you out and spending time alone recharges you. Note that there is nothing in that definition about being afraid of people, disliking people, or having poor social skills. Being shy, on the other hand, actually does mean that you’re uncomfortable around people, particularly strangers. It’s not unusual to be both shy and introverted, but that doesn’t make them the same thing. I happen to be both shy and introverted and the feeling of exhaustion I get after a busy week is very different from the feeling of anxiety I get before I have to spend time with a group of strangers.

That anxiety and the awkwardness I feel when I talk with people I don’t know well isn’t a good time or anything, but it’s not exactly ruining my life, either. If your shyness is ruining your life, it’s possible you have social anxiety disorder. Please, please, talk to your doctor if you have one and check out some of the resources online. Anxiety can be treated, you don’t have to spend your life afraid and alone.

Back on the subject of garden-variety shyness, sure, it’s inconvenient and uncomfortable, but as personality flaws go it’s just not that bad.  It’s certainly less of a hurdle to finding a partner than being selfish, irresponsible, or thoughtless. Some doms think a bit of shyness is cute, and many of us like being given the opportunity to make the first move instead of being hunted down by someone we may not have any interest in.

As for a potential partner being an introvert, for me that’s an absolute necessity, not a flaw to work around. I have extraverted friends who are perfectly lovely people, but for a partner I need a fellow introvert. I need someone who understands my need to hide inside and not speak to anyone for little while after I go to a party, I need someone who won’t try to fill the house with people every chance they get, and I absolutely have to have a partner who can entertain himself when I’m trying to read (not that I’ve ever had terrible experiences with extraverts being unable to leave me alone for five minutes straight).

To bring that back around to kink, there is simply no level of kink-compatibility that would make me able to tolerate living with an extravert without getting resentful. Play is great and all, but it’s only one small part of a relationship. When I’m not playing, I still need to be able to be around my partner without wanting to smother him with a pillow.

You might not want an introverted partner, and you have every right not to, but if you think there’s anything wrong with introverts you can fuck right off.


Lots of kinky people have heard the term subspace (if you haven’t, it’s the happy, floaty, blissed out state some bottoms can get into when they have a good scene), but it seems like fewer people have heard of top space.

For me, topspace is a relaxed but extremely focused state where everything inside my scene is fantastic and everything outside of it might as well not exist.  It feels like a type of flow state, but more altered, if that makes any sense. While my topspace isn’t quite as floaty and spaced out as I’ve heard subspace can be, I wouldn’t want to make any big decisions while I was in it. It feels really, really good but my judgement is definitely impaired when I’m in topspace.

If that sounds dangerous, it’s because it is. I can get so focused on landing the flogger exactly where I want it that I don’t realize just how close my bottom is to their limits. Fortunately I mostly play with people who are awesome at calling red when they need to so no harm was done, but since then I’ve been a lot more careful to stay focused on my bottom’s reactions when I feel myself slipping into topspace.

On the less dangerous and more funny side, a friend and I were once on the way home from a play party where we had both played and I got us completely lost by being too spaced out to navigate. All I needed to do was reverse the directions he had printed out to get us from my house to the party, but somehow I messed it up and we ended up driving around lost until we found some random people to ask for directions. Moral of the story: don’t play and navigate.

If you know you’re prone to getting into a spacey sort of topspace, I don’t think that means you’re an inherently dangerous top but I do think it’s important to know the signs that you’re getting into an altered state, and to correct for that by putting a little extra attention on your bottom. Personally I start feeling intensely relaxed, letting out happy sighs, and sometimes it seems like colours get brighter and my vision gets sharper. Being someone who has a lot of trouble really relaxing (not that tops are prone to being control freaks at all :), that intense relaxation can be so seductive that it’s hard to remember that I need to pay really close attention to what I’m doing.

Cautions aside, how do you get into topspace? For me, it’s easier to get there if I’m doing something rhythmic like flogging or whipping. Music seems to help too. And to go back to the flow state thing, it seems to work better if I’m doing something I really need to concentrate on. Flogging can get me there, but it doesn’t take the intensity of focus that using a whip does. I imagine needles or knives might do it too, but I still haven’t tried either of those.

What about you, readers? Do you go into topspace, and if you do what does it feel like? And if you have any tips for getting there I’d love to hear them.

What on earth is a dominant bottom?

Some time ago now, I mentioned that dominant bottoms are a thing. I think it’s worth going into a little more detail about just what I was talking about, because that’s kind of an oxymoron for a lot of people.

First of all, credit where it’s due: I got the idea of human sexuality & kinky interests as a number of separate spectrums from Midori, who teaches fantastic classes and who you should definitely go see in person if you get a chance. She presented a really interesting class on the idea that if you were to graph any given person’s position on the spectrum of sexuality/kinkiness (because not everyone links sex and kink), you would need far more than just one axis for kinky/non-kinky and one for gay/straight. You would also need axes for interest in kink in general (don’t forget, there are plenty of kinks that don’t have to involve power exchange), interest in power exchange, interest in pain, interest in bondage, etc, etc. For example, a person might be could be very interested in giving pain, but that doesn’t mean they care at all about being in charge, and they might or might not have any interest in bondage.

To bring that back to the idea of dominant bottoms, there’s no reason that a person couldn’t be very interested in receiving pain, very interested in receiving bondage, and have no interest at all in actually giving up any control. That might seem completely contradictory if you’re stuck on the idea that actions have any inherent meaning, but if you can let that go it makes perfect sense. If, for example, a dominant woman with a masochistic streak orders her submissive to give her a spanking where and when she wants, exactly as hard as she wants, for only as long as she wants, she is clearly the one in charge. Receiving pain doesn’t magically make you submissive if you’re telling the person giving you pain exactly what to do, and giving pain doesn’t magically make you dominant if you’re doing exactly what your dominant tells you.

As long as everyone knows what they want and can express that, everything is great! But where things get complicated is where people don’t think through what it is that they really want. To use an example terribly common in the female dom community, if a dominant man with a fetish for bondage and pain play assumes that means he’s submissive, he’s going to irritate the shit out of every dominant woman he tries to order around and will probably end up lonely and frustrated because he can’t seem to find a “real” dominant woman. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad person (although I do sincerely want to smack that guy upside the head and tell him to be honest about what he wants already), and it doesn’t mean that the doms who get fed up and dump him are bad people either, it just means that a lack of self awareness makes it really difficult to find good relationships.

To complicate things even more, it’s totally normal for even really submissive people to want to act out their fantasies just the way those fantasies have gone in their heads. I mean, would you go into a scene thinking “Oh, you know that thing I think about all the time? Let’s do a scene where we don’t do any of that!” I know I wouldn’t. Having a bit of a fixation on acting out a certain scene in just the right way doesn’t mean the person who wants to bottom to that scene can’t possibly be submissive, but it does mean they’re going to have to work harder to convince me they really are interested in my needs too.

If you’re a dominant bottom, great! Good on you for figuring out what you want and looking for people who are compatible with you. I might even be willing to service top you if we have compatible kinks and you can make it through a whole scene without trying to order me around. However, that only works if you know what you want. If you’re a dominant bottom who doesn’t know it or won’t admit it, well, it’s going to suck to be you until you figure your shit out. Best of luck with that!


Not long ago I was chatting with some kinky friends and the subject of years of experience in the scene came up. Specifically, the way we give people more credit than they necessarily deserve just because they’ve hung around for a while. It’s absolutely normal to assume someone knows more than you do if they’ve been around for longer, but it’s also important to remember that just grimly sticking around does not make a person smarter than you, it doesn’t mean they’re amazing at everything, it doesn’t mean they know what’s right for you, and it doesn’t even mean that they’re good at much of anything. All it means is that they’ve stuck around.

Taking myself as an example, I’ve been part of the local scene for around seven years. Impressive, huh? Well, not so much. First of all, while I started showing up about seven years ago, that doesn’t mean I’ve been coming to events at all regularly. The organizer of those munches used to good naturedly tease me about how I would show up once a year and then go back into hibernation. Even after I started showing up to munches and parties more regularly, there were plenty of times where I was especially busy or just feeling anti-social and didn’t come to much of anything.

Not only does however many years of experience not tell you much at all about how many events someone has gone to, but it doesn’t tell you anything about how much they’ve been playing either. I played fairly regularly at parties for the first few years I was in the scene, then that tapered off for a while, then I started playing mostly privately, then I had another dry spell, and more recently I’ve been playing privately again. Even if I could come up with a rough estimate of how many scenes I’ve done, that wouldn’t tell you whether I’ve been learning from each scene or if I’ve been making the same mistakes over and over. It wouldn’t tell you how the people I’ve played with felt about the scenes we had, or whether I’ve been playing infrequently because I’m picky, shy, and kind of a dork or because I’m such an asshole that I can’t find people to play with.

Of course, having tons of play partners doesn’t necessarily mean much either. Pretty much any idiot can prey on new people who don’t know any better and look like the best thing since sliced bread unless/until they finally hurt someone who has friends and the house of cards comes down. Even having long term relationships doesn’t mean someone is a good person, let alone a good pervert. The whole birthday spankings at munches debacle in my local scene completely destroyed my respect for a number of people who have been part of the scene for longer than I’ve been living outside of my parents’ house and have had plenty of serious long term relationships.

If someone’s advice sounds reasonable to you, if you like the way they play or run their relationships and think something similar would work for you, by all means listen to them. But do not take anyone’s word as gospel just because they’ve been around longer than you have. Despite what some douchebags out there will tell you, you don’t owe any special treatment to people who have been in the scene for longer than you. If somebody wants you to hang on their every word, they can goddamn well earn it.