The nose on my face

Back in September of last year, I bought Belle Uniquely Rika. Over the course of the past week, Belle’s read most of it. She seemed to resonate with much of it and asked me to read it, too. I’m about half way through now and, I have to say, it’s blown my mind.

Before I go further, I’ll say this is not the post where I actually discuss Rika’s approach. I have questions (as do others), but I’m not done with the book yet so I think trying to get into it now would be premature.

As I sat there in my sudsy warm bathwater (who doesn’t read in the bath? and who knew “bathwater” was one word?) and I read the Rika Way® (which, even though I’m not actually discussing it, does seem to make more than a little sense to me) I was suddenly struck by something very profound. Something I’ve danced around and paid lip-service, but have not really owned up to. Something that has, oddly enough, left me somewhat shaken.

I am submissive.

Seriously, I know. Isn’t that ridiculous? Like, it says that right up there in the blog description. “Submissively inclined.” I’ve known this. But no. It’s different now. I’m not submissively inclined. I am submissive, period. I really can’t describe how finally and fully realizing this seemed like a massive chasm suddenly opened up underneath me. I actually felt a bit of weightlessness in my chest. Both terrifying and exciting.

I have, in the back of my mind, always clung to this idea that I might be a switch. Not that it mattered much since Belle’s unlikely to ever let me top her and she’ll never let me top anyone else, but I clung to it. Like a blanket. Like a thing that made me feel better but was actually totally worthless. Now I know, thanks to Rika and what she wrote and how it finally knocked the final pieces into place, that I’m not ever going to be a switch. I am, in fact, always going to be on the bottom. And that freaks me the fuck out.

First of all, I admit to carrying around a prejudice against submissive males. Submissives in general kinda creep me out. It makes no sense, I know, but that’s what it is. It’s like I’m the white supremacist who just discovered the black grandmother he never knew about or the uber-masculine father of 12 who suddenly figured out he was gay. This is all horrible and all nasty and sad and not anything I’m happy about, but I see now that I’ve never fully embraced my submissive nature because I don’t especially like the archetype as it exists in our culture. In fact, there is no archetype. No role model. Nothing positive to look towards. Just layer after layer of stereotype and ridicule and cultural indifference. And now I know I’m one of them.

Second, I’m very self-centered. Always thinking about myself and how I can get what I want from a situation. Always thinking about my needs and my POV and how I know what’s right and everyone else just hasn’t figured it out yet. You can’t be a self-centered submissive, right? That’s not actually possible, right? Who’s ever heard of that?

Finally, based on the first two points, I’m very afraid of failure. Of not being able to live up to the ideal I’m even now creating in my head of what a good submissive partner needs to be. Not someone playing at submissiveness, but an actual submissive. How can I embrace something that gives me the creeps? How can I square my selfishness against my desire to serve Belle?

I admit I’m freaking out. Overreacting. Not making an abundance of sense. As Belle said several times yesterday, we’re already living 80% of what Rika describes. But that other 20% is a big 20%. What I feel opening inside me is maybe the biggest emotional and relationship challenge I’ve faced. It scares me. The thing I’ve been approaching from the periphery, while always looking in another direction, for over a year now scares me like never before. Understand, I do not doubt. I know what I am because of the wave of warm euphoria that washes over me when I think about it and how Rika’s words ring so true and (frankly) the way it chubs out the contents of the tube (every male’s divining rod). It feels true.

But now what? How do I move forward? And honestly, how much more of a prat could I actually be?

25 thoughts on “The nose on my face

  1. In the short time I’ve been reading your blog seriously (as opposed to not reading it at all), I feel that a lot of time, you over-analyze yourself waaaay too much. Stop thinking about it, and just experience it!

    Secondly, you know that trying to conform to outmoded stereotypes is just plain wrong. As a kinkster (and you were a kinkster before you realized you were a ‘submissive’), you are aware that you can’t put labels on people. That way leads to ‘forced femdom’ and wearing lingerie, etc.

    You are your own version of submissive, not anybody else’s. What works for you may not work for me, and vice-versa. Don’t do a mind job on yourself.

  2. …you over-analyze yourself waaaay too much.

    Isn’t that what blogs are for!? No? Oh…

    You’re probably right. And I probably didn’t adequately express my feelings in this post. I’m not especially happy with it. Anyway, thanks for the input.

  3. Frankly, it takes a hell of a lot larger set of cojones to be a sub male than it does to be a Dom male. There are a LOT of people out there who respect (or at least don’t disrespect) sub males.

    In the local group we hang out with, there are several submissive males, partnered and single, and they are treated just like anyone else.

    Quit buying into the stereotype and define yourself, don’t let others define you. All that matters is if YOU respect yourself and if Belle respects you, and actually, except that it’s probably better she does respect you, it really doesn’t matter that much if she respects you or not, in the grand scheme of things.

    Define yourself.

  4. I don’t especially like the archetype as it exists in our culture.

    Right … but the project you’re working on (and, to some degree, the project I’m working on) is to figure out what works for you. The archetype is irrelevant; what matters is what you and Belle create for yourselves – and parts of that will match the archetype while parts won’t.

    That said, how much of your being worried about it is a worry about what other men will think?

  5. …how much of your being worried about it is a worry about what other men will think?

    Probably a fair amount.

    Define yourself.

    Trying.

    I think I need to clarify something. I am *happy* to know what I know about myself. I am *excited* to see how it all turns out. In fact, I can’t wait to get started. However, I’m still full of trepidation because I know it will be difficult for me. It’ll be hard work. Also, I have my own internal baggage to work through. But I am not sitting here thinking, “Woe is me, why am I like this?!” Far from it. I’m relieved to be able to see it as clearly as I suddenly do (over-analyzation or not).

  6. you over-analyze yourself waaaay too much

    I would add, though, that I’m very happy that Thumper overanalyzes himself: i’ve found the things he’s said very helpful in figuring out what I’m looking for in my relationship with my husband (i’ve been wearing a cb3000, under his control, 75% or so of the time since Halloween). It’s not a 100% match, but simply reading the actual thoughts of a man learning about his submissive nature has been much food for thought … and much more helpful than the submissive fantasy porn I’ve found elsewhere.

    All of which is to say: thank you. 🙂

  7. …how much of your being worried about it is a worry about what other men will think?

    Probably a fair amount.

    I find that I have a strange desire to tell all my male friends about it. On the one hand, I’m confident that they’ll be supportive; on the other hand, it’s almost like I want to brag about it … I’m enjoying being locked up and controlled so much that part of me assumes it must be good for all men.

  8. I think what my post and most of the others are trying to convey is not that you’re bemoaning your epiphany, but that you’re working through the idea that a submissive is by definition, this, that and the other.

    If you are submissive, then you must also be (or contain) these elements, even if you don’t feel those components are part of your mental makeup. This buying into the whole package leads to things like the whole ‘Is topping from the bottom a bad thing’ nonsense, and so on.

    For example, you’re submissive. Fine. So why do you ask Belle to whack you. Is that topping from the bottom? Isn’t that a bad thing? Maybe for some people, but it obviously works for the two of you, so nuts to whatever other people think. It’s a common problem to see someone complaining about how other people don’t kink to conform to *their* rulebook. It’s ridiculous.

    I’m happy that you are accepting your submissive nature. But don’t feel you have to conform to the expectations of what that means as defined by other people. You create your own definition. Trying to fit into their rulebook is where the mental contortions start.

    And for the record, my previous post was not a complaint about you or the way you do things, but just an outside observation that the other respondents seem to agree with. I have a great deal of respect for you as an intelligent person who’s not afraid to share some pretty intimate details with a wide and unknown audience. Your openness and candor are appreciated.

  9. First of all, I admit to carrying around a prejudice against submissive males. Submissives in general kinda creep me out. It makes no sense

    LOL! I totally get this.

    Great post, Thumper!

  10. @pervette – Thanks for the link! I’ll check it out. Also, thanks for delurking!

    @aph and Billus – I find there’s a fine line when doing something so personal yet public – that’s intensely focused on one’s private life – between being interesting and helpful or pedantic and annoying. I wrote this post because I felt something new and different and both freaky and cool. Whether or not I succeeded is open for interpretation, but I think you’re both right. On the one hand, I over-analyze myself. I always have and always will. In fact, I over-analyze *everything* I’m interesting in. On the other hand, I want to be honest and as unfiltered as possible. You’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some.

    @aph – WRT telling everyone, I’m *so there*. Handing over control of my orgasm to Belle has been revelatory and, obviously, continues to be. That said, I also admit to worrying more than I should about what other people think about me…

    @Billus – We’re in total agreement. I’m not going to try to be something someone else has defined. I think my trepidation actually is based in the fact that I’m really going to have to face this part of me and integrate it. I appreciate your comments.

    @Tom – Finally! Someone who gets me!! 😉

  11. Hi,

    Given how much this is all tied up with culture I probably am not best placed to comment specifically being from the UK. Still, why should that stop me?

    I don’t see submission as negative but, in some ways, I used to. So maybe the things that changed my mindset may be of interest to you.

    First was the realisation that there is a big element of submission in love. I love my wife, Claire, and with that comes a strong desire to do things for her, to please her, and to make her happy. Submissive virtues. If that makes me less of a dom then tough.

    There is also the argument that in D/s the submissive serves the dominant and the dominant serves the relationship.

    Next was the appreciation that those who chose a path of submission in a relationship are doing so from a position of choice and that choice is equally as valid and valuable as being the dominant in a relationship.

    In a D/s relationship I view both the dominant and submissive as fundamentally equal, from a philosophical perspective, despite the asymmetrical nature of the relationship.

    Submission is something that requires strength, courage, determination and is downright hard at times. It’s difficult not to be impressed by that.

    Western culture does not value submission as highly as it should. Again, tough. Actually in a perverse way it does and there are plenty of submissive role models out there. You’ll find them serving in the military, law enforcement, health care, politics, and almost any field you care to look at. You’ll find them in literature, in cinema, on television. Heck, Star Trek is full of them, Chekote and Riker to name but two. It’s just that people have the submissive equals doormat misunderstanding.

    Where you’ll be harder pushed to find submissive role models is in the BDSM scene. That’s because so much of it is intertwined with fantasy, kink, and sadomasochistic focus. This is where we find the lowly worthless worm style of submissive, mostly male, and the do me bottom.

    I think your prejudice and being creeped out by submissive males is entirely valid when it comes to some of those one sees in the bdsm scene but look deeper and you’ll encounter some very impressive male submissives. Incidentally Maymay is very eloquent on this topic.

    Moving on to the concept of “a submissive”. The current best personality theory is the five factor model. It doesn’t come up with being ” a submissive” as a personality option. Nonetheless there are plenty of people who could be termed submissives based upon there preference for a relationship style in which their partner leads.

    Ultimately submission and domination are an evolved solution to the problem of the high cost of fight to the death and winner takes all competition. They are about cooperation. In a relationship that’s not a bad thing. Sumission is not losing and being a submissive is not being a loser.

    Many vanilla relationships are effectively D/s. The difference about wiitwd is that it is explicit and intended. People making informed choices and being authentic.

    Many more vanilla relationships chose an alternate strategy, that of territory, to handle power and control issues. That can lead to couples who exclude each other from large and important chunks of their lives. Not a recipe for intimacy. Maybe that’s why love has such a big element of submission in it.

    As for being self-centred, it is normal to have needs, wants, desires, and for these to be important. The successful M/s and D/s relationships work, and other relationships styles too, in part, because people recognise that and both strive to see that their own and their partners are fulfilled. There is nothing wrong in that. Quite the contrary. It’s only when that is recognised and those are mostly met that one has time or energy to live life to the full. Some couples spend 80% of their time trying to get their partner to meet their needs, D/s can cut through that like a knife and free up all that effort for other things that you value.

    Ultimately handing over authority, power, and control, submitting, and thus being a submissive is a pretty impressive thing, it’s not for sissies. (Well, unless that happens to be someone’s erotic kinks/fetishes in which case more, or should that be less, power to them).

    Michael

    P.S. Being an ethical dominant is also confounded by stereotypes, prejudices, cultural baggage, but I’ll spare you the angst. I’m sure Belle has had her struggles with these.

  12. I totally agree with Michael on this. When my husband first approached me about “doing this,” after years of what was, in retrospect, already a FLR relationship (but in contrast to you, I basically had a “fantasy” that he was the one in control when the truth was anything but), it freaked me out. Not because it freaked me out sexually, but because I searched online and in no way, shape, or form could I relate to the “traditional” stereotypical Dominatrix. That was soooo not me, and soooo not the kind of relationship I wanted with nakeysub.

    Once I found a couple of real-life mentors (ironically, male Doms), they insisted I needed to totally IGNORE the “stuff” that was out there and define our relationship based on reality and us. And that was the best info I ever got.

    nakeysub is a service/obedience oriented slave. He’s not a pain slut, although he is starting to enjoy light impact play. I am not a physical sadist, although I am coming into my own as an emotional one with mindfucks (but not humiliation, I cannot and will not do that, that’s a hard limit for me).

    So we’ve found a common ground and built on it.

    Once I got rid of that idea of trying to be a “perfect Domme,” we were both a lot happier about things.

  13. Funny–I am halfway through Orlando’s post and was just about to link to it, but I see you’re on it.

    Congratulations that you’re finding out what you want. As you said, you’re happy about it, and that’s a good thing. Go, Thumper!

  14. @Michael_X – Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    Given how much this is all tied up with culture I probably am not best placed to comment specifically being from the UK. Still, why should that stop me?

    Well, I’d say given how well-represented UK guys are in the online world of OD/chastity, I’d say sally forth.

    Oh look, you did!

    You’ll find [submissive role models] serving in the military, law enforcement, health care, politics, and almost any field you care to look at. You’ll find them in literature, in cinema, on television. Heck, Star Trek is full of them, Chekote and Riker to name but two.

    Huh. That’s a really good point. And I’ve always had kind of a thing for Chakotay…

    …look deeper and you’ll encounter some very impressive male submissives. Incidentally Maymay is very eloquent on this topic.

    Absolutely. May is great and there are many others. I was describing a *prejudice* which, by definition, is not necessarily based on facts but is more an emotional, visceral response. I agree that there are many examples of non-creepy male submission all around me. It’s kind of how like my great aunt used to complain about all the “negros” in her neighborhood, except for the nice black lady next door because she wasn’t like the rest of them. It’s a response based in fear and ignorance.

    Some couples spend 80% of their time trying to get their partner to meet their needs, D/s can cut through that like a knife and free up all that effort for other things that you value.

    That’s a very perceptive observation and sounds very much like something from Rika’s book.

    @sera –

    I am halfway through Orlando’s post and was just about to link to it, but I see you’re on it.

    Somehow I’ve never read his blog before. He’s a terrific writer.

  15. @nakeysub’s Mistress –

    Once I got rid of that idea of trying to be a “perfect Domme,” we were both a lot happier about things.

    I bet you and Belle would have a lot in common. I found the “perfect domme” trap was more coming from her than me. I just wanted her to do what she was comfortable with. But I understand the motivation.

  16. Hi again,

    Thanks for the kind comment re sounding like Rika. I read her website a long while back and found it pretty good. I’ve now an eBook of her book and have skimmed through it. Although she posts a disclaimer I think much of it is applicable to M/f.

    As for the UK and Chastity there does seem to be a disproportionate representation but I’d bet the Germans beat us hands down on this. They certainly have far more CB manufacturers than anyone else. Ever curious I’d love to know why. Still we have Tollyboy, arguably the best belt maker and they are based only a few miles away.

    There is the perfect dom/me trap and there is also the perfect submissive trap. They can really tie themselves in notes with that one, and not in a nice way.

    Michael

  17. I loved this post, little rabbit! I thought it was beautiful.

    It really does explain very well the internal conflict that many (if not most) submissive males go through when they come to the realisation that they *are* submissive, not just playing at it, not just bottoming, not just looking for kinky play… that it is something deep inside them. It *is* scary as hell as you say, because you have to reconcile this realisation with that person you thought you were for so many years. I am glad you have Belle and she has you.

    On another note, and selfishly, I am delighted to see another smart, articulate, thoughtful man join the ranks.

    Ferns

  18. Oh, I had a long ramble some weeks back…it was kind of disjointed, but the point was that I’ve noticed that submissive people (not just men, but men do it much more) disavowing an identification with submission…and I suspect it’s usually because of it’s CRAP public reputation (especially for men!), and not because they aren’t “really” submissive. (Whatever the hell “real” submission is, if it’s not, uh, “unreal”…?)

    Problem is…the more that all the various submissive people in the world avoiding calling themselves “submissive,” surely the more the concept gets tied to ideas that people find icky. Rather than expanding to include things that people find sexy.

    Take some heart, Thumper – you’re wrong that there’s no positive role models for submissive men. You are. You have been since you started this blog, whether you were aware of that or not. You may not have a national audience, but you certainly have an audience. That’s not meaningless.

    More positive images of male submission haven’t exactly reached critical mass (*coughs*), but they certainly never will if people aren’t willing to identify themselves as submissive.

    I also wanted to say that you’re totally not alone in the big-and-scary revelation of, “this is the broth and not the spice.” That sense of a chasm opening under your feet was pretty much exactly the way I felt when, “Wait, I don’t just like ‘kinky things sometimes.’ I’m actually sadistic, aren’t I?” finally clicked.

    It was nice to finally feel like I was really starting to understand my sexuality at last; but all the implications that occurred to me also caused me to feel like I was in emotional free-fall for a long time afterward. Erm, I maybe still am reeling a bit, but not nearly so much as before.

    Oh, also? Orlando’s awesome. If you haven’t read his blog before, you so totally should.

  19. This is wonderful! I can’t wait to see where it leads you. I think you’re making a wonderful role model for showing the world what submissive men can really be like. Thank you for that.

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