When I hear “force me to submit”, I think someone’s looking for some kind of D-type Ubermenschen who’s so completely confident and knowledgeable that it makes submitting effortless.
The idea that the fantasy of being forced to submit is really a fantasy about submission being easy makes so much sense to me. This is just guessing, since I’m not submissive, but I’d assume it would be a lot less scary to submit to someone if you could somehow be sure they’d never fuck it up. Not to mention, it’s a scary thing just to admit you want to submit – if you’re a man, well clearly you’re not a real man, if you’re a woman, you’re a traitor to the feminist cause, and if you don’t fit into the gender binary, you’re buying into heteronormative power dynamics. If someone conveniently forces you to submit, you don’t have to admit you want things that you’re not supposed to want.
So, if from the submissive side fantasies about force aren’t really about force (or at least not solely about force. Let’s be honest, force is hot), is the same true from the dominant side? I think it is.
When I fantasize about forcing someone to do whatever I want, sure, it’s partially about having the power to that. But it’s also about not worrying that I’m going to screw up. Sometimes I think the most attractive part of that fantasy is not having to worry about my partner’s happiness. Just like no-one actually wants to be forced to do things they don’t enjoy on any level (having your submissive buttons pushed by being forced to do something you don’t like, to heavily paraphrase a comment of Ferns’, counts as enjoyment on some level), I would never actually want to force someone to submit to me. If someone needs to be “forced” to submit, I’ll wish them well and find someone who can demonstrate that they really do want to submit to me. Consensual non-consent is hot for the space of a scene, but if I have to fight you to get you to submit every bloody time, I’m going to start wondering if you really want to submit to me at all.
In a fantasy, on the other hand, I really enjoy not having to worry about anything but my own enjoyment. I may have to hand in my control-freak badge for this, but it’s actually kind of nice when not everything is my problem. Taking responsibility for making a scene work is deeply satisfying for me, but it’s not effortless. It’s also a vulnerable place to be. If I try something new and it falls flat, I’m going to feel pretty stupid. It’s nice to imagine dominants are all-powerful, but every time we ask for something there’s a chance we’ll be told ‘That’s just weird and I think you’re kind of a freak for wanting to do that’. Maybe not in so many words, but nobody wants to see that ‘I’ll never see you quite the same way again’ look in their partner’s eyes.
Having taken my argument this far, I just figured out that we’re pretty much all fantasizing about the same thing we fantasize about “force”. We all just want to feel safe, whether that’s safe enough to submit or safe enough to ask for anything we want.
What do you think, readers? Am I completely out to lunch here?