Turn it around

Not so long ago I wrote a post sort of loosely inspired by a question posed ages ago about whether it was okay to s-types to blow off commitments they’ve made. Now I want to turn that question around. Is it okay for d-types to blow off commitments? I hope it’s obvious that the answer is no. I don’t see why anyone should be willing to be vulnerable with me if I won’t prove that I can be relied on to look after them.

There are two related ideas I want to get at here, so this post might get a little tangled up. The first one is that if you’re trying to figure out whether something’s okay to do, try looking at it from another angle. If you’re wondering if it’s okay for an s-type to blow off a commitment, turn it around and ask whether it’s okay for a d-type to do the same thing. Or to paraphrase Cunning Minx of Poly Weekly, what would you do if you were monogamous? The second idea is that if you get different answers depending on the circumstances, it’s worth looking into why that is.

Personally, I think blowing off a commitment is equally uncool for both an s-type or a d-type. Trust is a big fucking deal no matter which side of the slash you’re on. I personally can’t top someone I don’t trust and I can’t imagine anyone would feel comfortable bottoming to someone they couldn’t trust.

If you think some behaviour is okay for subs but not doms (or the other way around), it’s worth asking why. I’m speaking in very general terms here – inside of a relationship, the answer is very likely “because we like it that way,” which is totally valid. But outside of your personal relationship with your personal dom or sub, why would you hold people to different standards depending on the way they identify?

Outside of a negotiated relationship, I think it’s really insulting to expect less of s-types than we do of d-types. That’s like saying submission is for fuckups who can’t handle adult responsibilities. To keep beating on the now very dead horse of blowing off plans to attend a party together, I’d accept “I just don’t wanna” from a five year old but would see that as a ridiculous and immature non-reason from a twentyfive year old. Submissive people aren’t children! They are just as capable of keeping agreements as a dom or grownup.

Or to use another example, I’m very sad to say that I’ve seen more than one horror story online from a submissive person whose dom unilaterally decided they were going to find more submissive partners and the original submissive who thought they were in a monogamous relationship would just have to deal. If a submissive person decided they were going to look for more doms without their existing dom’s enthusiastic consent, we’d all say that was totally uncool, unkind, and more or less guaranteed to end the relationship, right?

So why on earth would it be acceptable for a dom to do that? Sure, inside of a relationship “because we like it that way” can be a good reason to do things that appear hugely unfair, but that only applies when “we” both actually do like it that way. Nothing about being dominant magically makes it okay to treat your partner like shit, and nothing about acting like a greedy little brat and totally disregarding your partner’s wellbeing makes you worthy of having anyone submit to you.

If you’re having trouble deciding whether something is okay to do, try turning it around. You won’t always like the answer, but you’ll probably learn something.

Things new submissive guys should probably know, part 1 of many

I was talking with a new submissive guy on Fetlife the other day, and I think the questions and concerns he had are probably common to an awful lot of male submissives. In hopes my advice will be useful to more than one person, here it is.

First of all, it’s totally understandable to look at the stories people tell on the internet and feel like you’re not submissive enough. When you don’t have any frame of reference for kink in real life, it’s very very easy to take people’s stories much too seriously. Yes, people like to talk about how they’ve been in chastity for fifteen months and how they beg on their knees for hours just for the chance just to lick their Mistress’s toe, but that in no way means you should give a shit. Some people do enjoy super long term chastity, and some people do enjoy extremely strict high protocol relationships. What you need to remember is that extremes are called that for a reason – it’s not an extreme if the majority is there. Most people are somewhere in the middle between extreme kink and none at all. And that’s assuming that most of the people talking about how extreme they are, are actually telling the truth, which is just not the case. Take Elise Sutton, for example. Not only is there no fucking chance that Elise is actually a woman, but their advice is both terrible and insulting to women. Having a website doesn’t mean someone is telling the truth. Having testimonials doesn’t mean someone is telling the truth. Having been around for a long time doesn’t mean someone is telling the truth.

Anyone and everyone on the internet could be a total liar. You’re going to need to develop your own judgement about what might have actually happened and what’s definitely just some poor schlub’s fantasy. That will take time and talking with people who are more experienced, but a good place to start is with your own attention span. An intense kinky weekend is a very common fantasy, but how many things can you actually do for 48 hours straight without getting totally sick of them? That’s right, zero. No matter how hot that fantasy is, eventually your knees get sore and your back gets tired and you just want a drink and a snack and half an hour without anyone yelling at you.

Another very important thing to keep in mind that you will be hard pressed to find on the internet (particularly the porny part) is just how much work it is to top in a scene like that. Guys, doms are people. If I do a heavy flogging scene my shoulder is sore for the next couple days. I am not physically capable of beating on someone for more than a couple of hours, let alone an entire weekend. I fucking love hurting people who want to be hurt, but not only do I not have the physical or mental capacity to do that for an entire weekend, but I’d get bored. I love videogames too, but I can only spend a few hours playing The Witcher (no I still haven’t finished it) before I need to do something else for a while.

And to be clear, the “anyone on the internet could be a total liar” thing applies just as much to me as to everyone else. I am just some asshole on the internet, I have absolutely no special qualifications (unless you count being a judgmental jerk). If my advice doesn’t ring true to you, throw it out and do your own thing.

Another very common concern is that dominant women don’t have or like sex and if you get involved with one you’ll never get your sexual needs met. There’s a whole lot to be said about how society fucks things up for women and by extension for straight men by telling women only filthy sluts actually want to have sex, but in the interests of keeping this post from ballooning over 5000 words I’ll just say that you are going to hear a whole hell of a lot about how doms won’t fuck you from prodoms who are sick and fucking tired of men who keep asking for services they don’t offer and that that is not at all relevant to your personal relationship with a dom who you are not paying. Some people do prefer to keep sex out of their d/s relationships – I’ve read about at least one person who prefers not to have sex with her personal submissives because she wants them to be focused on pleasing her, not on how long until they get off – but they’re by no means the majority. I’m convinced the majority of people are a lot like you: they just want a partner they can share their kink with and whose relationship style is compatible. If you haven’t already joined it I highly recommend the Submissive men and women who love them group on Fetlife, which is full of women who like submissive men and generally want submissive male romantic partners. You just don’t hear as much from women who want a submissive boyfriend as you do from women who want a stable of slaves they can rotate as they get bored because once the women who just wants a boyfriend finds him, she stops advertising.

Or to boil this post down to its simplest form: people lie on the internet, odds are you’re a lot like all the other kinky people, and there’s probably someone out there for you if you can avoid being a dick 🙂

If anyone out there has suggestions for things you wish you’d known earlier that might make a good blog post, let me know!

What does submission mean to you?

Quite some time ago there was an interesting discussion about whether it’s okay for s-types to blow off commitments. It did eventually start to go sideways, but there were a lot of interesting points made.

The point I want to get at is that different people have very, very different ideas of what submission means and you need to talk that out if you’re going to have a d/s relationship with anyone. I fully agree with KinkInExile’s statement that “It has to be possible to say “no, that’s a limit” & still be submissive for saying no to be emotionally safe.“, and I also agree with Ferns’ when she says “That’s great kids, but *how is that submission?!*

Obviously it’s never okay to coerce someone, full stop. I’m also too fucking lazy to make my (purely hypothetical) submissive do something he doesn’t want to. But if I did have a submissive and we’d made plans together that he canceled on at the last minute (which is the scenario that inspired Ferns’ post), I feel like it would be kind of a dick move not to warn him about how badly that would damage our relationship. Does that count as coercion? Personally I think it depends on the exact form that warning takes (“You know that being able to trust you to do what you say you’ll do is a really big deal for me, right?” vs “Get your ass to the party or we’re through”), but you can make a case either way.

I think it’s more of a problem of mismatched expectations than any given behaviour being “fundamentally unsubmissive.” Everyone has bad days and emergencies and just plain screwups, no one can be the perfect submissive (or the perfect dom) every minute of every day. I enjoy a noodling theoretical discussion of what submission actually is as much as the next person, but if you want a relationship to work I think it’s much more important to figure out exactly what you expect from each other and how you’re going to handle it if your expectations don’t get met. Sometimes that means a serious talk and an apology, and sometimes that means the relationship ends because it’s just not working.

Another thing to think about is that while expecting a dom to tolerate bad behaviour is nowhere in the same ballpark as actually coercing someone, it’s still massively unfair to expect me to hold up my end of the d/s relationship when you’re not holding up yours. Power dynamics are incredibly fragile, all you have to do as a submissive to break it is to say no and keep saying no (yes I link to that post all the time, I’ll stop when it stops being awesome and relevant). I can’t dominate someone I can’t trust. I literally can’t, trying would put me in a headspace like the one Ferns describes in her post:

Should I ask him to get me some water? What if he says ‘no’? He looks pretty comfortable, maybe he won’t want to get up. Ahhh, he’ll say ‘yes’, I’m sure he will. Maybe he won’t… what if he doesn’t. Ahh, hell, I’ll just get it myself, I don’t want to fight about it.

If you don’t want a d/s dynamic anymore or need a temporary break or need things to change that’s totally fine, but don’t pretend your dom can magically keep a dynamic going without you doing your part. You don’t get the hot fearless dom if you’re not willing to be the devoted submissive.

The reason I’d be so unhappy if my submissive suddenly cancelled plans for no particular reason is because of the way I define submission. If I were going to call someone my submissive I’d expect him to do what he says he’ll do. Someone else might have a vastly different definition of a good reason to cancel plans, or they may only expect their submissive to text and cancel instead of standing them up or they might just think “Hey, there are plenty of other people at the party to hang out with if my submissive doesn’t show up.” Personally “I don’t wanna” is a shitty reason that would destroy my trust in him but “I had an unbelievably shitty week and if I have to spend any more time around people I might start screaming and not be able to stop” is disappointing but valid and “my friend just got dumped and needs a shoulder to cry on” would make me happy that I picked the kind of person who would put his friend’s needs above his desire to have fun.

For me, I define submission as putting my wants above your wants and treating my needs as extremely important (but not necessarily more important than yours). That does mean that I expect my submissive to keep commitments when he doesn’t feel like it but doesn’t have a serious need to be elsewhere, because I can’t keep a d/s dynamic going if he doesn’t. It doesn’t mean I get to ignore his limits or that he can’t tell me we’ve run into a limit he didn’t know he had, just that I expect him to keep submitting to me when it’s not convenient.

That’s only my personal definition of submission, though. Yours is no less valid just because it’s different, although it might mean we’re not compatible. Readers, how do you define submission?


It’s personal

It’s personal. Domination, that is. I want to someone to submit to me because they like and trust me that much, because I as a person inspire submission in them, not because I’m a woman, dominant, and within 50 feet of them.

That’s why I can’t fucking stand bullshit like female supremacy. If you’re only submitting to me because you believe women are superior, then it really doesn’t matter which woman you’re submitting to. Not to mention that in my experience female supremacists also absolutely fucking despise women, but that’s a separate blog post. Even if you don’t abruptly lose all respect for women when one of us disagrees with you, I have zero interest in people who only “respect” me because I have tits. Just fuck off until you learn to relate to me like I’m a human fucking being.

I’m also infuriated by trash like this idiotic article by Ms Alexandra Stevens about the “one true way” to control a submissive man. Most of my complaints about that crap are already covered in my rant about lying liar Elise Sutton, but it never hurts to have another example of how people are willing to lie to submissive men to part them from their money. Guys, if someone is telling you exactly what you want to hear, down to the level of saying that your favourite kink (chastity/tease & denial/orgasm denial in Ms Alexandra Stevens case) is the one true way you should be dominated, they’re fucking lying to you!

Assholes who scam submissive men aside, saying that orgasm denial is the one true way to dominate a guy is just fucking ridiculous. If I were to blindly follow “Alexandra’s” extraordinarily detailed plan for how long I should keep my submissive locked up (no way that could possibly have been written by a male chastity fetishist, nope, totally sounds like an actual woman whose world doesn’t revolve around some guy’s dick), then I’m not in control, “she” is. And again, it’s totally impersonal. Nothing in that entire article is actually about the woman in charge, it’s about how she can service her submissive’s dick. The almost certainly a guy who wrote this doesn’t seem to care at all which woman locks his dick up as long as someone does it.

If I’m interchangeable then it’s not about me and I don’t want to play. If I have to act out a kink I may not have (newsflash, not everyone is into orgasm denial!), then it’s not even slightly about me. If I’m expected to act out this kink down to some random asshole’s specifications about how long I should deny my partner an orgasm, again, it’s not about me! How can it possibly be about me if I don’t get the chance to do things my way? Even people who are really, really interested in chastity have their own desires, there’s no chastity hive mind. If your dom only wants to deny you for a few hours and then have passionate sex, shouldn’t what she wants be more important than what random asshole from the internet says about how long she should deny you?

Wanting domination to be personal is also why desperation is such a turn off for me. If you want to play so badly that you’re willing to do that with literally anyone, then a) it’s not about me, and b) you’re not looking out for your own wellbeing, which is a gigantic problem all on its own. If you just enjoy playing with a variety of different people and feel confident about your ability to stop or redirect a scene that isn’t working for you, that’s totally cool. What I’m talking about is the seriously unsettling “oh god I need someone, anyone, to dominate me” level of desperation. If anyone will do, then you’re both treating me like I’m interchangeable and deliberately ignoring the fact that me being a dom doesn’t mean we have any interests in common. You can see how that’s gross and dehumanizing, right?

And on a slightly different note, I also like my play to be up close and personal. For the longest time I just wasn’t interested in whips because I didn’t want to be across the room from my play partner when I could be right up in his face hearing all the fantastic little noises he makes.

Speaking of play partners, as much as I want our play to be about me, I also want it to be about them. I’m not going to dominate just anybody, I can’t be bothered. It fucking matters to me who you are, what you’re doing with your life, what you want out of this scene, what you have to give and how much you can take. Even outside of wanting to have some sort of connection with the person I’m playing with, it’s just so much more fun to use a smart, capable human being as a toy. I can’t get that hit of “yeah, you could be building a house or writing beautiful music or giving a speech in front of hundreds of people, but instead you’re here getting slapped around because I wanted to play.” That’s an amazing feeling, and it’s one I can only have with someone I can relate to outside of a scene.

It’s personal. It’s about who I am, who you are, and how we fit together. I want you to bring your whole self to our play and I want you to expect me to bring my whole self. I need you to want more than just any female body. If you can’t connect with your play partner, then why fucking bother?

When are you ready to be a dominant?

As usual, this post is inspired by a discussion I found on Fetlife. The gist of the question, for those who don’t do Fetlife, was whether or not other female doms are actually paragons of efficiency and virtue or whether perhaps the questioner’s former s-type might possibly have had unreasonable expectations, and whether other female doms somehow made themselves perfect before they felt ready to dominate someone.

First off, while there are no shortage of shitty doms out there, if you bash your dom/former dom for not being perfect every second of every day, go fuck yourself. Doms are human beings, just like you. We have faults and bad days and make mistakes just like you. If you need your dom to be perfect you don’t actually want a relationship, you want someone to act out a fantasy for you.

On the late and lamented The Black Leather Belt blog, Lily Lloyd said something very smart about how needing your dom to be perfect is about fear of surrender and wanting submission to be easy and risk free and not wanting to face the fact that your dom is human and will make mistakes sometimes. That, uh, sounded a lot smarter when she originally said it. I think her point about wanting submission to be risk free, even as clumsily as I’ve restated it here, is really important though. I get that it’s scary to make yourself that vulnerable to someone. I certainly couldn’t do it. But you can’t blame other people for your fear of taking that risk, and you can’t make it their job to somehow magically make submission risk free. That’s simply impossible, so suck it up or admit you’d rather stick to fantasizing.

Back at the topic of when you’re ready to dominate someone, you’re never going to feel perfectly ready. As a bunch of commenters in the Fetlife thread already said, there’s always going to be something you could be better at. None of us are ever going to be perfect, and if we wait until we are we’ll never get to have any fun.

That’s not to say that there’s no bar to clear whatsoever, though. While I very strongly believe that people are allowed to identify however they want, once you get involved with another person you have a responsibility to at least try to do right by them. Shit happens to everyone but you have to try. Like in any relationship you need to have something to give (that is, not be in a constant state of crisis where you only barely have enough energy to keep your own life going), half-decent communication skills, and reasonable expectations, and particular to d/s relationships you need to be willing to take responsibility for getting your partner back on an even keel if a scene goes wrong.

Some people will say it’s not fair to blame only the dom when a scene goes wrong and that the s-type is just as much at fault if they failed to communicate (because that’s always effortless and not terrifying when you’re in a bad headspace), but a) that’s blatant douchebaggery and b) I’m not even talking about blame. Taking responsibility for helping your partner is something you do because they need it, not because you screwed up. Honestly, what kind of person would only help their s-type if they were certain it was their fault things went wrong? If your s-type really does have shitty communication skills it’s probably wise to step back from pursuing a d/s relationship with them, but dammit you help people who need it even if there was no way you could have kept things from going wrong.

Note that none of that involves being debt free and having your dream job and an awesome house with a fully stocked playroom and a signed note from a therapist saying you’re officially ready to ride this ride. You’ve just got to be a grownup and willing to try, which, coincidentally, is exactly the same thing I’d expect from an s-type. Like I keep yelling, doms are not that special.

As long as you’ve got a handle on the first two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you officially have my blessing to look for a d/s relationship. You know, if for some reason you care what some asshole on the internet thinks 🙂 But in general, no one’s going to hunt you down and give you permission to call yourself a dom and find a d/s relationship. You’re never going to get a certificate in the mail saying you’re ready. You’ve just got to give it a shot and try to learn from your mistakes, just like everyone else.