THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Being submissive & motivation
Let’s kick off with some serious thoughts on submissiveness and motivation. Bear in mind that everyone is different – hence every situation, but also every emotion, feeling or perception is different. As much as people would sometimes like you to believe …. there is no One True Kind of Submissive. There are many, many different men and women, fascinated by power and feeling a desire to subdue to it. However, the what’s, if’s, and how’s of submission are strictly personal.
- Being or feeling
One of the first things to consider is if your submissiveness is about being submissive or about feeling submissive. Or maybe even (don’t be alarmed) acting submissive.
Are there differences? Yes, there are – although the difference between feeling and being is not easy to put into words. Feeling submissive is a more abstract situation, which usually – but not always – creates a situation where there will be less need for real action, but where fantasy (or “sex in your head”) is more important. Any real life action will predominantly be aimed at triggering the buttons of the internal VCR. Being submissive is more about being fascinated by the actual situation and action itself, responding to that rather than to fantasy. Of course the two may be intertwined.
- Submissiveness as a fetish
Acting submissive is an entirely different story. Submissiveness as such can be a fetish. It is in no way “less real” than any other form of submissiveness, but it is totally different. Simply because people with a submissive fetish will have a different motivation (you’ll find many of these among those in “virtual relationships” but not just there) and yes, there are people with a dominant fetish as well – quite a few in fact.
This is one of the main reasons why so called “real life people” – the ones in actual relationships – are so different from the majority of those, in an online situation only. To them, talking about it and/or dreaming about it is their main turn on – because it is a fetish.
Difficult? Maybe not if you look at it this way. A vibrator can be – and usually is – a very functional instrument. But would you believe there are women who only HOLD their vibrator in their hand while masturbating with the other HAND? Well, there are – they have a vibrator-fetish. That is where the difference is.
We cannot stress this enough: one is not BETTER than the other, the situations are just DIFFERENT. To you it is important to understand these differences, since they go directly to your motivation, (possible) relationship and your (prospective) partner.
- Submissive by default
And there is a fourth category – let’s call them non-sub submissives (or sub-by-default). Quite a few people are into erotic power exchange for all the wrong reasons. It might be they in fact seek help for a traumatic experience, it might be the romantic picture, painted by many, appeals to them, it might be they are incapable to deal with life themselves or it might be they have a low self image. Let’s spend time going through all this in more detail:
o Trauma history – Childhood or spousal abuse, rape and other forms of sexual assault are very serious problems. As such, these things do NOT belong in a BDSM-situation. Mind you, this does not mean to say people suffering from such trauma do not belong in a BDSM-situation. The point however is this. The traumatic experiences are something that should ALWAYS be dealt with in a professional situation.
Dominants are probably caring, supportive and understanding people, but they are not professional therapists. Even if they are, they may simply lack the basic need for professional distance, if they happen to be the victim’s partner. BDSM is a love-relationship, not a therapeutic environment. The intended love and bonding in a BDSM-relationship and the often high levels of spirituality can be therapeutic. They are NOT therapy.
Re-enactment is NOT the same as a loving, fun power-based relationship (besides, re-enactment is a pretty dangerous trip anyway and something that should never be done without a whole range of professionals available anyway).
In the event you suffer from a traumatic experience, the only wise thing you can do is to deal with that OUTSIDE your power exchange relationship and preferably before entering into any active BDSM. Yes, people may suppress trauma to the point where their memory – in that area – is completely blanc and BDSM-experiences may trigger the memory of abuse-survivors. That is not a problem, as long as people are sensible and immediately seek professional help. A trauma history – no matter how terrible – is something you can recover from (to the point where it will find a reasonable place in your life – of course the mental wounds will never completely heal), but that requires professional help and probably a long time. Amateurs have no place in such a process – they (and you if you are the survivor) are very likely to make things worse if they try. And, you should only make decisions about entering into a BDSM-situation, if you can do so without the trauma-history being more or less at the root of such a decision.
o Romance – Many people – unfortunately – lack romance in their lives. Some of them may easily be turned on by the romantic picture, many people paint when it comes to erotic power exchange. Images of the “always caring, understanding and loving dominant” to such people maybe – and probably are – intensely appealing. The “beauty of submission”, the “intensity of the relationship”, all this may appeal to you.
But life just isn’t like that, not even a power exchange based life. Dominants – although probably not intentionally – at times can be bitches and bastards as well – selfish, unreasonable and in general: human! If and when an erotic power exchange relationship reaches these heights of mutual understanding and love, that will be the result of TWO partners working very hard to get there. Just sitting back and hoping everything will be all right, once the BDSM-dynamics are in place, is NOT going to do it.
Overtly romantic descriptions of an erotic power exchange based relationship should be taken with a firm grain of salt. You will have to be realistic about your perspective, probably even more so because of the power dynamics, which can sometimes be a complicating factor in a relationship.
o Life’s problems – Dominants have a tendency to “take care of things” – at least, that is the picture quite a few dominants like to paint. For you, submissive or not, it is important that dominants are NOT looked at as white knights in shining Armour coming to your rescue. Even if they give you that impression, it will – sooner or later – become a disaster, leaving you with more problems than before.
You may not like it – not many people do – but your responsibilities will always be yours and your submissive emotions are no reason to step away from them. You will need to sort them out yourself – maybe with the help, support and guidance of a (your) dominant but not BY them!
BDSM-dynamics sometimes can be useful in such cases. You will not be the first submissive successfully losing weight or gaining a better social position as a result of BDSM-training and coaching. However, it is important – for your self-image as well as for very, very practical reasons – you do this yourself. If it takes the discipline of a riding whip to help you focus and concentrate better on tasks, there is nothing wrong with that – but they will still be YOUR tasks and responsibilities. And, more importantly – if it works they will also be your achievements and successes. Training and discipline can be extremely helpful, but should be used with care, caution and – again – within a realistic perspective.
o Low self image and low self-esteem – Let’s face it, quite a lot of people – submissive or not – face many uncertainties in their lives. “Am I good enough” is the credo of just about every mother, for example. Low self-image, lack of self-confidence and even low self-esteem are problems that widely occur within the BDSM-community when it comes to submissives and in all honesty, just as trauma, they do not belong there!
Again, a supportive dominant can be an anchor in such a situation and very helpful – but that does not just go for dominants, that goes for EVERY responsible, caring, understanding and supportive partner, BDSM-dynamics or not. Low self esteem and related problems – regardless their nature – require external, professional help and you should not bring them into the erotic power exchange dynamics between you and your partner. Neither should you expect BDSM to be able to “solve” these.
What all this comes down to is motivation and motivation is something that you should think about very carefully (and preferably talk about if you have that opportunity). It is all right to have problems. It is all right to be human. But you should enter into a power exchange based situation for the right reasons. No, that doesn’t mean to say that everything should be perfect and fixed, before you are ready for such a relationship. But you should put the right stuff in the right boxes and make sure the power exchange relationship does not get mixed up with other things. You need to be realistic – even though it is all right to dream and have fantasies – and self-critical. That as such takes a lot of courage and probably quite a bit of soul searching.
(c) Lucretia Faddoul & The POWERotics Foundation – all rights reserved
I panicked when I began reading about being submissive. To me there is, and never will be a right or wrong way to be submissive, or even dominant. Though this information makes sense. We all experience things in life. Trauma, low self esteem, in-securities, fear; it is all apart of us. Some worse than others, but its what we experience that helps shape whom we are. Its what we do with it, that helps us understand ourselves.
Our journeys are all different. Unique paths to a better self than we were the day before. Though we are all the same as well. We all want pretty much the same things. Whether you be of dominant minds, submissive minds, in the end its all about the power exchange, the bond, the connection we have with someone else. We all want to feel connected.
So why did I panic as I began to read the three pages of information someone wrote? I panicked because I have been traumatized. I have been abused, and neglected, unloved, unwanted, and told for most of my life that I am worthless. Do I believe I have poor self esteem insecurities, suffer mentally with my own issues? Yes, I do! I am not afraid to admit this. So I got scared. It made me think about my own master, and the beginning of our relationship.
BDSM alone is terrifying to first enter, and so is a D/s relationship. So much has to go into the foundation of it, for it to even work. So did I step into this relationship, because I was traumatized? No!!! If anything the trauma made it that much mor difficult to give into being in ANY relationship. BDSM or Vanilla! Did I need someone to be with me, because I just wanted love, affection, an ego boost? What person doesn’t want to experience these things? I certainly do not feel it is what I needed when I stepped into a D/s relationship, but hearing I am beautiful, loved, adored, wanted and needed, is nice to hear, and makes me feel good!
Now the difference is, I do not NEED these things from my dominant. I never seek for my owner to fix me. In fact I know they cannot. Not that they would fail, but because though I have been traumatized, and abused, I am NOT broken! I am human, and not perfect, but I am also not broken, and even if I was, it would be me, no one else, that would have to fix me.
I admit I wasn’t always like this. In my past I believed all of my problems were because of someone else. This belief, cost me many relationships in the D/s world. It took a lot of self growing, research, and work that I put into myself, to get me here. Each submissive may be different. They all come for some reason or another, whether its deep in their soul submissive, the fetish submissive, or just the being around to get off submissive. We might all come for different reasons, but we still need the same thing. So we are all the same. We need that control stripped from us. Whether its permanent, just on the weekends, or just to role-play.