#What is – submissive

I’m going to start his by restating that this is not an exact science. For every piece you read about what something is you will find another that provides a counter opinion. This really just is one person’s understanding of what this is.

What is submissive?

Most people would start something like this off with some kind of dictionary definition; I’m not. I find that presenting a bunch of words from a book called a dictionary is too simplistic and cannot represent the diversity of experience.

What I’m going to say is this:

Submission is fundamentally all about the position you choose within a specific relationship. It is an idea that allows someone to express their sexual needs and identity is a constructive way that allows that identity to be validated and needs meet.

The idea of submission within the context of a dominant/submissive relationship can look like many things. So for ease of conversation submissive, slave, bottom, little, all of those labels that identify the submissive partner in a relationship are all tied up in this one word. The variation of expression is going to be explored in later posts.

Within this context submissive is the object, the dominant is the subject, and while the subject acts and the object is acted upon this is done in a way that provides both parties with a relationship that is fulfilling and engaging.

The way a submissive exists within any given relationship is unique. There is no one way to be the submissive partner. The way that a relationship looks; in terms of structure and everydayness, is totally up to those people in the relationship.

There are NO acts that are inherently submissive (or dominant for that matter) a woman who chooses this role does not have any obligation to satisfy anyone elses understanding of the word but her own and the person she is with.

The variety of relationship that a submissive can engage in is endless; some want marriage & kids others wants a onetime experience with someone who has a specific skill set. Some have rules and some don’t. Some have a dynamic that uses punishment others don’t. Some call their partner by a title and some don’t. The only limit to what can be is what those people in the relationship need.

Being submissive is an authentic experience. That is you are being true to who you are at all times rather than reproducing what others assume this to be. This includes reproducing what you may have seen in porn! Porn offers a very narrow representation of the submissive in a D/s relationship. One that is often void of agency & character.

Being submissive is a satisfying experience that allows you to explore your sexuality and sexual desires in relationships and through experiences that satisfy you.

Being submissive means that you have explored this idea and gained enough knowledge into what this can look like in order to create your own identity and experiences.
Being submissive is about taking a need and having that meet in a way that is both safe and consensual.

WHAT IT ISN’T

An excuse for dysfunction – if you are not in control than you cannot hand control to someone else. Submission will not fix anything that is not working!!

Co-dependency; constant and excessive emotional and psychological reliance on your partner is not healthy. D/s allows both the dominant and the submissive to have their needs meet, these needs balance each other out within the relationship.

The ability to set and maintain boundaries. We all have a limit as to the attitudes and behaviours that we will accept and being submissive does not change this. You do not have to accept everything in order to be submissive. Saying no is perfectly normal and okay.

A way to avoid responsibility you are as equally responsible for maintaining the functionality of the relationships as your dominant is.

A reason to not communicate! Communication is the key to a functioning mutually beneficial relationship. Being the submissive does not take away your responsibility for actively communicating with your partner!

Abnegation – the denial of the self is not submission. You do not step away from the entirety of yourself because you are submissive.

Once again this is just meant as another piece of what this is. Submissive/submission means many things to many people & one post on one person’s website is not enough space to explore the diversity of experience and opinion.
I see the idea of submissive; in the context of a healthy mutually beneficial D/s relationship as a positive. It allows the submissive woman (or man) a starting point to explore their sexuality and sexual desires in a way that fulfils them.

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#What is – BDSM

#Whatis Wednesday

 

 

The acronym “BDSM” is used to refer to both a subtype of sexual variation (1), and an alternative expression of sexuality (2). It is being used as an inclusive term to describe various and overlapping themes which frames an unambiguous consensual “triplet of two-letter dyads: bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism (3), from which individual’s experience “erotic arousal and/or personal growth”(4). Within each of these dyads there is a vast and varied collection of interrelated and common language, expectations and sexual behaviours. BDSM is both a subtype of sexual variation (5), and an alternative expression of sexuality (6) .

 

It refers to the eroticisation of these activities and dynamics that create negotiated and consensual sexual interactions. Within the confines of these interaction individuals engage in erotic behaviours, actions, customs, rituals and play which allow them to express their sexual identity and gain sexual (physical and emotional) satisfaction. The diversity that creates BDSM is often only limited but the individual’s imagination and while to the outsider what is most commonly associated with BDSM: pain, physical impact (spanking, flogging) control, humiliation and dominance may seem violent, confronting, over the top or just plain strange what is visible is not all there is to the interaction. In this way BDSM is very similar to other non kinky sexual interactions in that there is a need for relationship, desire, attraction, want and conversation and just as with all sexual interactions consent; that is informed and freely given is crucial.

1.Hébert, A., & Weaver, A. (2015). Perks, problems, and the people who play: A qualitative exploration of dominant and submissive BDSM roles. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 24(1), 49-62.

2. Weiss, M. D. (2006). Mainstreaming kink: The politics of BDSM representation in US popular media. Journal of Homosexuality, 50(2-3), 103-132.

3. Freeburg, M. N., & McNaughton, M. J. (2017). Fifty Shades of Grey: Implications for Counseling BDSM Clients. VISTAS 2017.

4. Wiseman, J. (1996). SM 101: A realistic introduction. San Francisco, CA: Greenery Press.

5. Hébert, A., & Weaver, A. (2015). Perks, problems, and the people who play: A qualitative exploration of dominant and submissive BDSM roles. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 24(1), 49-62.

6. Weiss, M. D. (2006). Mainstreaming kink: The politics of BDSM representation in US popular media. Journal of Homosexuality, 50(2-3), 103-132

 

Where to begin.

Negative attitudes to sexuality and sexual expression are not something new, inherently paternalistic attitudes that deny an individual the ability; either through law or social customs and sanctions, to make judgment and choice have been governing human sexuality as long as we have been fornicating. These attitudes are more often than not dismissive about the intention of an individual making a choice and more about retaining the current status quo through an attitude of superiority. While paternalistic attitudes are not always coercive in nature they do provide a starting point for limiting the social permissibility of authentic expression and experience.

The subjugation of women has been a dominant objective of both the moralisation of social customs and the ways in which the lives of women have been governed through law for centuries. History both ancient and modern tells us that women have always been thought of as lesser, weaker beings than man and in need of protection; from both themselves and the world at large. Even today in 2014 there are examples of inherently paternalistic social and legal requirements and acts that are in place for the sole purpose of controlling the lives of women in ways that are vastly different to men.
But for every obvious act of paternalistic control and coercion over women’s sexuality there are other attitudes that are far less evident yet are as equally limiting and while the coercion may not be intentional by the authors the consequences are just as limiting to individuals and their ability to engage in the sexual experiences that they are interested in.

Women who desire sexual experiences where they are actively playing a submissive role to their dominant partner are not ignorant of the social permissibility of their sexuality. How this affects their choices is dependent upon the individual but I can be relatively confidant in arguing that when a woman sees constant negativity about the way they see themselves sexually or about the way that they think they want to explore their sexuality causes harm. Harm to her sense of identity and it harms her confidence in seeking relationships to explore these desires. The social impermissibility of sexual submission is paternalistic; it limits choices and implies that individual women cannot be trusted to make decisions about her sexuality.

Much can be said about the cultural phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey and I will be the first to admit that not all of it is positive. But one of the most distinctive positives that have come from this is the changing landscape of all things kinky; for better or worse kink is now okay. From what is essentially the traditional boy meets girl HEA story that we have all read before comes this idea that female sexual desire is okay – even when it involves handcuffs and ouches.
The dark world of bondage and submission used to be the playground of anybody other than me; the collective me. The average woman, who is indistinguishable from the rest of us is not the usual suspect when it comes to the world of whips and chains and yet since this one book became the New York Times best seller for 100 weeks, making it the ‘biggest-selling series in publishing history’, women have not only been buying up a storm in sex stores across the world but the average woman has been opening herself up in ways that would make her inner goddess blush. E.L. James took the wild west of all things kink out of the hands of men and placed in firmly in the hands of the average woman’s libido that has made us less paternalistic and just a little more open to the idea that some women really do just want this. Women who are like you or I; not mentally unstable, not running from a dysfunctional past, not using BDSM to justify intimate partner abuse, just women who like things a little bit different.

Fifty Shades of Grey repackaged kink into something that is normal and accessible. This was nothing more than the right product sold at the right technological time, if it wasn’t for the Ereader then Ana and Christians HEA may not have been viewed by so many women. The writing style of E.L. James may be open to criticism for generations to come but the content of her work was deliberate and focused on what it is that turns women on; desirability, conflict, hesitation, fantasy and hot sex that uses all of the sense.

The thing with kink; that makes it fundamentally different to non-kink is that there is a purposeful and advantageous use of all of our senses; sight, smell, touch, taste and what we hear. The entire sexual interaction moves away from the primary erogenous zones of the genitals and breasts and moves to the rest of the body and the mind. Language and the way that words are used is the other significantly different element of kink; and now thanks to the repackaging of all things sexual this other world of sex is accessible in ways that it never has been before.

So where does these leave women who are dipping their toes into a newly found sexual world? Do women really live in a world where the architecture of choice around sexual expression is diversifying in a way that gives permission for women to want to be submissive? Are women allowed to socially describe the expressive content of their submissive fantasies in a way that provides relative information that informs their ability to make healthy choices rather than condemns their desire? Is paternalism and the attitudes that deny individuals the ability to make satisfying and healthy sexual choices still there or are we really living in a post FSOG sexual reality?