As it’s probably been obvious, I’ve been thinking a lot about submission, D/s, and power exchange over the last few weeks. It’s something that, despite my extensive involvement in kink, I haven’t explored much. I’ve been afraid, and I may delve into that in a moment, but as I’ve experimented I’m seeing just how much it fulfills a need in me.
Most people – women especially – enjoy and need to feel protected by and safe with their partners. Respect, desire, trust – all those things play a role in most relationships, kinky or otherwise. Something about my history and my personality have combined and make it so that for me, I feel most safe when I trust and respect my partner enough to surrender control to him. I’ve built my life around maintaining control and doing so quite well, and for me to give that up indicates you’ve won me over entirely, heart mind body and soul.
That right there, that last bit – that’s the clincher. True submission comes with great trust, and the latter doesn’t come easily. To trust someone enough to submit to them means I need to trust them not to judge me negatively for the emotions I experience, to trust that they are committed enough to discipline or correct me for infractions rather than break up with me, to trust that honesty is encouraged and not too much information. I need to trust that they desire me and want to possess me. This is reciprocal – I obviously also need to desire this person, trust them to be honest and communicate with me, and be committed to them; if I was submitting, the presence of those things would be implicit in my submission.
So many people I know can have casual play situations that explore and delve into power exchange. I wish so much I could do so. I want to kneel at someone’s feet, wear his collar, crawl for him, stand in a corner, restrict my eye contact, use proper forms of address, worship his body, suffer for him, please, obey, and serve him. I want to be possessed, to be someone’s pet or plaything, to be mildly embarrassed and objectified. I crave that type of submission – the stern, knowing look, the command, the firm hand on my shoulder/in the small of my back, the caress of my hair, the slightly paternal condescension/arrogance. Thing is, the thought of most people doing this horrifies me, and I can’t be like this casually.
I have had to be independent since a very young age. If I didn’t take care of myself – from my basic needs to my professional/academic success to my happiness – no one would. I stopped relying on my parents to fulfill these things in middle school; I still let them influence me beyond that, but I could not trust them to make sure that I was ok. I had to rely on myself, and I strengthened and did so. Being weak was never an option in my household, and only invited further difficulties. When I trust someone to be my superior at something, I respect their authority wholeheartedly and I will have no problems asking them for guidance. Outside of that, asking for help is very difficult for me. I am stubborn and prideful.
I have built my life around this strict code of pride and independence, and it’s worked for me. I’ve gotten better at letting people in over the past few years, but it’s a challenge for me. I want people to see me as strong, to respect me – even if they’re Dominant and I’m submissive. I don’t defer right away. I don’t usually treat Dominant men any differently than any other men. I’m always a bit shy when I’m flirting with someone new, and I cater my manner to the person I’m talking with, but it isn’t the batting of eyelashes – oh Master please don’t hurt me – type of thing. I have purposefully kept myself from becoming the type of woman someone needs to pity or rescue, but most men go for the obviously deferential.
Basically, when I interact with men, even in the scene, they tend to see me as an equal right away. They see me like this because that’s what I want, and what I’ve spent my life trying to project. They may try to play; in fact, I was told recently I’m getting a reputation for being a good bottom, so cool beans on that. Men rarely try to get me to submit, however. It’s like they dismiss it immediately because I’m a bit type-A. They rarely get stern and commanding, slightly paternal or teasing. Yes, if you’re an arrogant ass, it’s annoying if you act like that. Thing is, my tendency to slip into an alpha role fades immediately when there’s another alpha present. I do react to “Domly mannerisms,” and my inner deferential submissive will show itself. If people don’t act like that with me, then they usually don’t see that side of myself. I lead when no-one else leads, I maintain control when no-one else is around who does it better…when someone who does it better steps up, I more than happily step down.
Essentially though, my issue is that the image I’m projecting isn’t attracting the type of man I’m interested in, but I don’t really know how to alter my mannerisms to change that. I don’t know that I want to, either, because I want to be true to myself and the strong, independent person is a big part of my life, just not necessarily my romantic/sexual life. It’s complicated, because to attract a Dominant, I need to show my submissive side, but to show my submissive side, I need to have this really high level of trust and respect that only comes with time, which happens after someone decides to get to know me.
To clarify, people that have known me a long time and are Dominant in nature don’t question my submissiveness. It’s like with everything in my personality. I guess I’m a bit complex, and I’m the type of person that reveals her personality slowly. Different questions, activities, interactions show different facets. People who know me really well love me for all these things that don’t really show up in a one-off happy hour or on a first date. It’s the same here, I just need to find a Dominant man who sees the underlying natural submissive urges and is willing to invest the energy and time to draw that side of me out from under the hard shell it’s been shoved under for so many years.
Lastly, I will add that I still worry that a fully D/s relationship would become stifling in time. I’m hesitant because I do enjoy elements of my independence. My level of submission does still entirely depend on the person I’m with and our interactions, personalities, etc.