A sub or not a sub?

To paraphrase Bill Shakespeare…

What’s in a name? That which we call a sub
By any other name would submit as sweetly.

Recently, there was a bit of a kerfuffle in the comments to my post The 10/100 plan in which Mykey suggested that coming makes being submissive more difficult while Maymay suggested that was poppycock.

Mykey:

The denial after [lots of orgasms] is much harder and much sweeter for it, and the submission deeper and more fun. Of course during those periods its hard to be as submissive, then hey perhaps you could consider taking a break from that too? Perhaps for all or some of the period. It might also make you both appreciate the submission when you start again that much more.

To which Maymay commented (in part):

Attaching a physical experience such as having an orgasm to a motive such as being submissive or not is oversimplifying the entire issue to a point I find demeaning of my masculinity and sexually submissive expression.

Mykey came back with (in part):

How I (and others like me that are so often derided for it) react to orgasms is part of who we are and what makes us tick, and that is no statement on your submission at all. Perhaps you are lucky enough not to get sub drop. Perhaps you are better at managing it. Perhaps you are wired differently, and perhaps your submission is a deeper one than some. Who knows. But you should accept that others can be different to you, with a different style of submission and different drivers for it.

Then they had a little more back and forth, but that’s the gist of it. Go read the whole thing for yourself as I’d hate to characterize their points of view incorrectly. Anyway, it all ended with Maymay saying he’d blog on the subject himself. I am eager to read it.

That being said, I find myself more in the Mykey camp than Maymay’s. I admit that I’ve struggled with coming to terms with my inner sub and probably should not be considered an expert on the matter, but I can totally relate to losing my sub mojo after orgasm. In fact, I’ve always felt that my interest in being submissive and wanting to be denied rises and drops in directly opposed correlation to my level of sexual arousal. My center of attention moves inward when I come. I’m sure Belle would agree with me on that.

So, am I a real sub? What’s the difference between me and Mykey versus Maymay? The web it littered with examples of both kinds so those of us who feel the ebb and flow of submission do, in fact, exist. Are we just psyching ourselves into believing we’re subs when we’re really not?

I wonder, for at least me, if it isn’t the orgasm itself that makes the difference but the way Belle acts when and after it happens. For instance, in the past, a planned orgasm for me has also meant a break from the device for at least a couple of days (usually at least a week, though not last time). Also, she allows them to happen inside her in a very outwardly-appearing vanilla way (just like the old days). Then, I detect just the slightest drop in her sexual dominance (usually by letting me get away with things she wouldn’t normally). Could it be that I’m less of a sub when she’s “less” of a domme? I’m in no way criticizing how she performs her role or suggesting she change a thing, it’s just a thought.

Also, while I can’t speak for Mykey’s experiences, I can say that one big difference between me and Maymay is where we are in our lives and when we discovered our submissive sides. I had cruised all though my adolescence with no inkling I was what I was (though I can see some signs that were there all along). Maymay, being significantly younger, came to his awareness much earlier than I did. That means I had an entire adult life living a way very different than I am now. Perhaps where we are relative to one another makes our experiences very different (at least, how our submissiveness manifests). Is there an inherent difference between someone who comes of age as a submissive versus someone who finds it later in life?

No matter, I can’t change what I know to be true about myself. Denial + arousal = submission. That’s how I work. That’s not saying I’m in no way submissive when my sexual appetite has been totally sated. I think I would be accepting of domination even then. In fact, that was something I was interested to test with the 10/100 plan: would forcing me to orgasm more than I would otherwise leave me feeling dominated just as a near-total absence of them does? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find out some day.

In the mean time, I’ll be interested to read what my readers think about this.

30 thoughts on “A sub or not a sub?

  1. In a few sentences, as I haven’t got more time to respond quite yet and my thoughts are not entirely together:

    those of us who feel the ebb and flow of submission do, in fact, exist. Are we just psyching ourselves into believing we’re subs when we’re really not?

    I also feel the ebb and flow of submissive desires, but I don’t find that a desire for submissive activity is the same thing as as a desire for a submissive sexual self-expression. I’ll clearly have to explain my thoughts on the matter in more detail, but that blog post will take some drafting time.

    Denial + arousal = submission. That’s how I work.

    Without challenging you, I wholeheartedly want to challenge that simplistic equation, because I don’t believe that’s a healthy view to perpetuate at all.

    1. Well, OK, I suppose I’d be willing to change that line to “denial + arousal = submissive energy”, but it doesn’t change the causal relationship. I wasn’t trying to suggest it’s just that simple (which is kinda the point of the entire entry), but they are strongly related.

      Based on your preceding paragraph, it’s likely we’re not that far apart anyway.

  2. I don’t understand this conversation at ALL, but to the extent I do, I agree with Maymay that if you’re thinking that denial makes you a sub but coming doesn’t, that doesn’t compute.

    I feel less submissive when my top teases me (not sexually, but emotionally–like, “Can you take this?!?!) because it brings out my competitive, resistant side. Cocksucking or being bound makes me experience a submissive feeling far more deeply. But at the end of the day, part of being under someone else’s control to me is the idea that I don’t always get to choose the stimulus that will make me “feel” submissive. And when my top was sexually hungry, he felt far more “dominant” to me than when he was sexually sated, so I get what you’re saying about Belle, too. In other words, everyone who plays at power games feels the ebb and flow of his or her own power; humans aren’t one-dimensional. But to me the question is the tendency.

    I’m not sure why all this matters to you–maybe you could explain the “so what?” of the issue? Is it the label you’re concerned about (that concerns me, too) or the question of what you and Belle should do about your orgasms (that concerns me less directly, and I think the answer is whatever the fuck you jointly decide as hottest to both of you)? But for me, the question of whether you’re a “real” sub because you don’t feel as submissive after you come is a non-starter. It would be like saying “My doctor says I’m depressive, but I’m not sad all the time, so that means I don’t REALLY have depression.” The question is your overall tendency.

    If this makes no sense or I don’t understand what you’re saying, forgive me. I should never comment after 3 glasses of wine.

    1. I agree with Maymay that if you’re thinking that denial makes you a sub but coming doesn’t, that doesn’t compute.

      I feel *more* submissive, not submissive vs. not submissive. The point I’m making isn’t that I have a switch that get’s flipped when I’m locked up and haven’t come in a month, I’m saying it’s like a battery that always there but takes on a stronger charge when she’s dominating me and not letting me come.

      …when my top was sexually hungry, he felt far more “dominant” to me than when he was sexually sated…

      Right. And, inversely, I feel more submissive when I’m sexually hungry.

      I’m not sure why all this matters to you–maybe you could explain the “so what?” of the issue?

      What set me off and made me write this post was Maymay’s strongly worded response to Mykey. I do consider myself to be a sub but felt Maymay’s position called into question whether I was a “real” sub. Then, when he responded by saying he didn’t “find that a desire for submissive activity is the same thing as as a desire for a submissive sexual self-expression” I realized this was about identity politics and less about sex.

  3. I haven’t had any wine, but I’m with Sera. Is the problem that there are two differing points of view? Or we’re not sure which camp (if either) we’re in? It’s a great thing that people with (for lack of a better term) ‘non-vanilla’ sexual tendencies can find expression for their feelings. But then these near-theological discussions about the precise nature of submission seem to stifle the feeling of freedom that it should all be about.

    A great place to hang out is the CB-3000 group on Yahoo!, because you see the whole spectrum there: Gay men, married men who want a little spice, chronic masturbators, fully dominated panty-wearing men, etc. And yet everyone seems to take everything in stride. There’s no finger-pointing, no attempt to persuade anybody else to an accepted orthodoxy, no need to apologize for the way you swing. Some of what you read might make you cringe, but there’s very little judging. I think a lot of people in the so-called ‘Kink Community’ sometimes push too hard, at the expense of others they’re supposedly representing.

    There are probably similarities to Protestantism just after the death of Martin Luther, when a sometimes freewheeling approach began to harden into dogma. Or perhaps I should say, “If I have to explain it, it’s not submissive”.

    1. [T]hese near-theological discussions about the precise nature of submission seem to stifle the feeling of freedom that it should all be about.

      Could not agree more.

      I’m not sure how I can agree with both you and Sera while also supposedly taking a view opposing Maymay, but maybe that just highlights how finely we’re splitting hairs with this.

      I have no interest in theology or even the politics of this. I just want to have hot sex with my life partner.

  4. I don’t see that there are any actual arguments. But I do want to point out that one of the “selling points” (i.e., the stereotypes that keep being raised) about chastity and orgasm denial is that men are no longer submissive after they come. They become less attentive, less pliable, and sometimes even smug and cocky.

    Is this a self-fulling prophecy? Is there some truth to this? And if so, does it even matter? We can only be responsible for our bodies up to a point. If some people have more of an endorphin drop, then they are probably going to feel less subby for a short period of time. But let’s not confuse *that* feeling with the mindset of having little or no desire.

    1. I don’t see that there are any actual arguments. But I do want to point out that one of the “selling points” (i.e., the stereotypes that keep being raised) about chastity and orgasm denial is that men are no longer submissive after they come.

      Yes. Exactly. I never brought into question “real” subbiness. That’s poppycock. But so is this stereotype, that both MyKey and Thumper are still stuck in believing.

      I have about 4,000 words written in a draft about this. They’re not the right words yet, so I haven’t published my draft. But I will. Cuz this is A Thing now.

      By the way, Thumper, my strongly-worded comment is a reflection on me and my brashness, not on you or my respect for you. I love your blog. 🙂

      1. But so is this stereotype, that both MyKey and Thumper are still stuck in believing.

        How can it be a stereotype when I’ve lived it? I’m not saying that there are certain things that will make a man submissive, but there are things that enhance my submissiveness. Maybe it’s stereotypical, but lots of stereotypes have some foundation in reality.

        By the way, Thumper, my strongly-worded comment is a reflection on me and my brashness, not on you or my respect for you.

        I totally understand that. I also have a great deal of respect for you which is why I look forward to reading what you’ve got. I’m sure it will be thought-provoking, as usual.

  5. Is there One True Way to be a submissive?

    That is a ridiculous question! You might as well ask if there is One True Way to make love, or One True Way to be human?

    The confusion begins because a large part of the desire to enter into a D/s relationship is based within our sexual drives.

    A D/s relationship is at its core very intimate… and a big driver for humans to get into intimate relationships with one another comes from our sex drives. But sex drive is not just about making babies or to get to have an orgasm. It also serves as a means to bond us intimately and emotionally to one another. In that capacity the sex drive goes well beyond any simple physical act. Women will probably understand what I am saying intuitively, for males it is a little harder to grasp. But stop and think about it for a minute guys, and you will see that what I say is true. Sex isn’t *always* about breeding or just getting your rocks off. It is often about emotional bonding.

    As long as anyone continues to equate any sex act (or lack thereof) with their level of D/s mojo, there will be confusion. Even though D/s begins with sex acts for most of us, it can and does occasonally transcend our sex drive to a completely different level. A level derived from our sex drives but more about our desire to enhance intimacy with out partner, which in turn leads right back to more sex, and at that stage it stops being about any specific act of sex and becomes a kind of self-fulfilling emotional state. A positive feedback loop.

    Most of us males in the life style have experienced what I am talking about to at least some degree even if we didn’t recognize it at the time. Words like “focus” and “devotion” and “trust” and intimacy” come to mind as descriptors much more than “collars” or “crops” or “clamps” or even “chastity.” It stops being about pain or control per-say and becaomes all about the intimacy and devotion between a Top and her sub.

    I guarantee to you sub-males out there that if you have not yet experienced what I am talking about, it is the thing you crave most of all, and it is the essence of why you *are* a sub male. For the dominant females, that secure, warm, intimate, feeling of total devotion and absolute focus from your sub will be your reward for taking charge. And believe me, it is all very sexy for “D” or “s” alike without having anything to do with any particular sex act.

    Can a submissive feel a loss of focus after he comes? Does comming knock him out of the head space I describe? I suppose so, though it doesn’t happen for me very often. So I believe it happens, but not always and not to everyone. I think one reason *why* it doiesn’t happen to me very often is usually my coming is realted toa sex act that my Top wanted me to engage in for her pleasure or amusemen. So I see my orgasm as a part and parcel to of my submission to her, not as a reward for me. But that is just me. Others may have different experiences.

    Can someone make the claim that orgasm denial does not *equal* submission? Absolutely, because it doesn’t. Submission is a head space, maybe even a personality trait, it is not a sex act.

    Denial may be a means to an end. It may be a major aspect of a particular D/s relationship, but is “denial” itself the *essential essence* of D/s? A required and necessary element? And the only “One True Way” to submission?

    Don’t be silly. Of course it isn’t.

    If denial works for you, it works. If it doesn’t it doesn’t. If you loose your focus after coming, so be it. That does not mean we all do. That also doesn’t make your situation, or mine, or Mykey’s or Maymay’s or Thumper’s any less or any more valid an expression of true D/s.

    The way to grock what I am trying to get at here is to comprehend D/s as beyond sex. It is related to our sex drives, sure, but it goes beyond physical sex. How we express ourselves within our individual D/s relationships, what we do and don’t do, what works to keep us in that happy head space, varies from couple to couple. Some of stuff may be specific sex acts of which denial is just one. And all of them are perfectly valid.

    Life and marriage and D/s don’t come with scripted roles that have to be adhered to like performing a play on stage.

    At least that is my take on it.

    BT

    1. “For the dominant females, that secure, warm, intimate, feeling of total devotion and absolute focus from your sub will be your reward for taking charge.”

      Actually, my reward for taking charge is the hot hot sex. I’m not kinky for the intimacy – I’m kinky because it turns me on.
      Dominance isn’t something I do for my partner. It’s not a favour for which I need to be rewarded. It’s a kind of sex that I really enjoy.

  6. A great place to hang out is the CB-3000 group on Yahoo! … There’s no finger-pointing, no attempt to persuade anybody else to an accepted orthodoxy, no need to apologize for the way you swing.

    Since I managed to inadvertently start a small-scale flame war by posting about my husband locking me up, I’m not sure I buy the rosy picture you’re portaying of the group. 😦

    Back to the subject at hand, though: I find that I feel more submissive when I’m being actively teased and denied, and that when I’m not being actively teased, or when I’ve just recently had an orgasm and my desire lets up, I feel less submissive. Which isn’t to say that I am not submissive then, or that i’m completely submissive otherwise; it’s just a shifting on the scale. Which is to say: I do find that I feel more of a desire to be controlled the hornier I am (and also that the more I am controlled, the hornier I get; they’re self-reinforcing tendencies).

  7. DT wrote :

    A D/s relationship is at its core very intimate… Women will probably understand what I am saying intuitively, for males it is a little harder to grasp.
    ….

    Most of us males in the life style have experienced what I am talking about to at least some degree even if we didn’t recognize it at the time. Words like “focus” and “devotion” and “trust” and intimacy” come to mind as descriptors much more than “collars” or “crops” or “clamps” or even “chastity.” It stops being about pain or control per-say and becaomes all about the intimacy and devotion between a Top and her sub.

    ….. For the dominant females, that secure, warm, intimate, feeling of total devotion and absolute focus from your sub will be your reward for taking charge.

    ****

    The above comments interest me because they relate to something I had been pondering. You talk about denial or D/s as being a way to create or enhance intimacy. This suggests that there was a lack of intimacy before you began to explore this dynamic. Why do you think that was? Why does intimacy require this type of relationship? Or why does this type of relationship permit intimacy that was previously absent?

    If coming reducing the submissive feeling, does it also reduce the feeling of intimacy? If so, why?

    As for the final paragraph, that has helped me see why I personally cannot embrace this dynamic in my own relationships – for me, equality (which I see as the opposite of unfairness)is an essential ingredient of intimacy. Without equality I can’t really connect. But that’s my deal and not intended to be anything more than a musing.

    1. D/s is not required for intimacy, but if one or both of the people in the relationship are wired to respond to that dynamic, then it will strengthen their bond (and, therefore, they’re intimacy). For me, the discovery of my submissive side was simultaneous with my disclosure to Belle that it was how I was. Being more true to one’s self with the support and active cooperation of one’s partner can only make that relationship more intimate.

      Nobody would say you can’t be truly intimate in a relationship without D/s. That’s nuts. Being allowed to express your sexuality to the most satisfying degree possible leads to intimacy (and all kinds of other good stuff) regardless of the form that sexuality takes.

      And with regard to “equality” being an essential ingredient of intimacy, I’d say that’s bunk. In many parts of our relationship, Belle and I are equals (or close enough), but it’s only after she was elevated to a dominant role in our sexual relationship that I’ve found the highest degree of intimacy with her in our entire twelve and a half year marriage. “Equality” may be what you require, but everyone else is a unique snowflake of a person with their own different desires and triggers.

      Lastly, don’t confuse the word “equality” with “respect”. In a healthy D/s relationship, there will be little equality but there should be plentiful respect.

      1. Being allowed to express your sexuality to the most satisfying degree possible leads to intimacy (and all kinds of other good stuff) regardless of the form that sexuality takes.

        This. This right here.

        I think that it’s especially relevant in those relationships in which you have only discovered (or uncovered) those desires after some period of time. It’s a completely different flavor than when you meet and know about the kink upfront.

      2. Being more true to one’s self with the support and active cooperation of one’s partner can only make that relationship more intimate.

        Absolutely. One of the ways in which introducing D/S into my relationship made it more intimate is that it liberated me to express a part of myself that I’d been keeping away from my husband; it’s impossible, I think, for that not to lead to greater intimacy.

        only after she was elevated to a dominant role in our sexual relationship that I’ve found the highest degree of intimacy with her in our entire twelve and a half year marriage

        I think I’d still describe that as you being equals, though. Or at least, as starting as equals: from a place of equality, you voluntarily surrendered something, with the result that there was a new inequality which you had created. That seems fundamentally different to me than starting from an assumption of inequality.

  8. You talk about denial or D/s as being a way to create or enhance intimacy. This suggests that there was a lack of intimacy before you began to explore this dynamic

    I don’t think that follows.

    I would say that I had a very intimate relationship with my husband before we started introducing D/S elements to our sex life; I would also say that those elements have enhanced our intimacy … rather than starting at 0 and going to 75, it’s like starting at 50 and going to 75. Other people’s mileage might vary.

    Without equality I can’t really connect.

    Ahhh, that’s the thing. My husband and I are equals. But there are times when I am submissive to him, because that’s what I choose and what I want. It wouldn’t work if we weren’t coming from a place of equality.

  9. The Reader posed some interesting questions regarding my prior post and I wanted to respond. It is a little verbose, I know, but I wanted to make it clear and understandable even to people who live outside of D/s circles.

    I will begin at the end by addressing the matter of equality relationships.

    Exactly what do we mean by equality? “Equality” if strictly defined means “identity,” as in the way your math teacher talked about identity. i.e. The two things being compared are 100% identical. Apple to apple. Orange to orange.

    One form of equality in a relationship is where there is strict equivalence between two people. An example would be the agreement: “I’ll buy my groceries and you buy yours; I’ll pay for half the electricity bill and you pay for half; I’ll make my dinner and you make yours; and I’ll do my dishes and clean my room and you do yours.”

    It sounds like a couple of 20 year old apartment room mates, doesn’t it? Specifically a couple of room mates who are not getting along particularly well. Most of us who experienced that sort of situation never found it to be the least bit intimate, though it could be said that it is 100% equitable.

    But there is another sort of equality possible. Specifically it is an asymmetric equality where something intangible is what is balanced in a totally non-identical comparison. “I’ll trade you two apples for one of your oranges” establishes this sort of asymmetric equivalence. An intangible has been established to be “equal and fair” even though an apple is definitely not an orange, nor are two apples any more like an orange than just one. But assuming both parties freely agree to the terms of the trade the relative values of apples to oranges have found an intangible and asymmetric equivalence.

    This happens in human relationships all the time. Returning to our roommate example it is the sort of asymmetric equality that comes about when you make bargains like “I’ll buy if you fly” (meaning I’ll pay for a six pack of beer if you will agree to drive to the store and get it.)

    Other examples of this sort of asymmetric equality exist in all things in life. Lots of vanilla marriages have agreements like “I’ll wash if you dry; or I’ll cook if you clean.; or I’ll pay the utilities if you take care of the groceries.” An equivalency is struck by mutually agreeing to asymmetric and equivalent, but not identical responsibilities and roles.

    And that just begins to scratch the surface of asymmetric relationships. Let me offer a few very simplistic examples of how the world can’t function without them: A good baseball pitcher needs a good catcher. A good football quarter back needs a good receiver. And good judge needs good advocates for each side of the proceeding before his court.

    But these examples do not yet demonstrate how the outcomes of the asymmetry in these relationships are far more than simply symbiotic. The outcome can be much more than the simple sum of the parts. It can be synergistic. Here is how:

    A pitcher has the authority to wave off the catcher’s signals until the two of them agree on the next pitch. For the pitcher to really reach his full potential he [i]needs[/i] a catcher who is of a similar mind to his own. Constantly waving off signals is a distraction and an annoyance and will adversely effect his game. The pitcher is incapable of being “good” without a good catcher. And vice-versa.

    The quarterback calls the plays, not the receiver. But he needs to be able to count on his receiver to make it to the appointed field position to complete the pass, just as surely as the receiver needs the quarterback to execute an accurate throw. They do entirely different things on the field, but they must coordinate their actions almost as if they were as of a single mind to do them exceptionally well. And it is not sufficient for each of them to accurately follow the play book either, to be really good they both must adapt mid-play to minor variances and unexpected glitches together, playing as one unit. The quarter back is incapable of being good without a good receiver. And vice-versa.

    The judge alone decides to sustain or overrule an objection and the lawyers before him have to abide by his decision. If a wise judge, one who knows the points of law better than the two opposing lawyers before his court, hears one of them breaking proper protocol he wants to hear the opposing council object. That is because the objection must first be made before the judge can rule on it. And his ruling is necessary to assure the proper conducting of the court proceeding and prevent future appeals. Doing that enhances his reputation and career as a judge. Meantime on the lawyers part, if he has confidence that the judge will fairly consider his objections he will be quicker to make them, and so he enhances his reputation and career as a good advocate in the courtroom. The judges is incapable of….

    Oh heck. You get it by now…. Each party needs their counterpart to perform their particular role very well if they themselves want to be exceptionally good. And none of them has the talent or ability to “cover” for lack of talent in their counterpart should that be the case. Pitchers don’t catch, receivers don’t throw passes, and judges don’t present arguments.

    A D/s relationship is an utterly asymmetric one, but that doesn’t make it at all unequal. In fact the emancipation from having to maintain any pretense whatsoever of equivalency; the eschewing any measurable form of “fairness;” is exactly what opens the door for the organic development of asymmetric equivalency and symbiosis. It is there out of the symbiosis that a D/s couple finds the joy of their relationship as synergy.

    Interestingly, maybe even surprisingly, the joy each of them discovers is what they really sought in the first place, which makes it all way more than “fair” or “equal” for each of them. Contradictory? Non-intuitive? Yes. I know it is. But lots in life is.

    The above should now answer your first question re: intimacy; D/s doesn’t create intimacy. Intimacy certainly exists before and without D/s. But the wonderful synergy of the couple in a successful D/s relationship (and certainly there are lots and lots who are not successful) enhances intimacy to wonderful levels. It gets us to synergies that “equality” or “fairness” cannot possibly imagine, much less achieve.

    Some (not all) of those synergies are definitely related to primal sexual needs of both bonding and erotica for both the top and the bottom. When that clicks it creates the subbie buzz that drives us bottoms and the Dom-rush our tops enjoy so much.

    And that Reader, is a truly wonderful, intimate place.

    from Aphrael:

    I would say that I had a very intimate relationship with my husband before we started introducing D/S elements to our sex life; I would also say that those elements have enhanced our intimacy … rather than starting at 0 and going to 75, it’s like starting at 50 and going to 75. Other people’s mileage might vary.

    Is a D/s relationship the only way to achieve that intimacy? The only path to relationship synergy? No. I am sure there are other ways. But I do honestly believe that no relationship can come to its full potential without applying some degree of asymmetric equivalence.

    All really successful partnerships must develop and support the differing talents, abilities, and roles of the individuals within the partnership to enhance the rewards for the entire partnership; which superior bounty is then used to enhance the rewards directly back to the individuals. It is circular. A positive feedback loop. The partnership flourishes because the individuals benefit, and the individuals benefit because the partnership flourishes.

    And that is a truth that exists in every relationship in this world from stockholders in huge corporations, to the playing field, to roommates, to marriages. Unfortunately it is also one most people never understand, and so they selfishly try to take advantage for their own short term gain. In that case they are only “Killing the goose who lays the golden eggs.”

    Where is Jeff Skilling now? He screwed his shareholders. He screwed his employees. He screwed his clients and customers. He thought by doing that he was going to make himself rich beyond imagination forever. He is in jail. Meanwhile Warren Buffet just keeps making more money each day by “doing the right thing.”

    So I hope I have demonstrated a kind of “loopy-logic circle” for you. You follow the thread of thought and you wind up back at the beginning. These logic circles turn up everywhere from physics, to business, to love once you learn to look for them. We went from sweeping generalizations about human relationships, zoomed down to see how those generalizations specifically apply to D/s, and then zoomed out again to all relationships. By doing so we can see that the most successful relationships are driven by similar parameters. When you “discover” a loop like that, one where the end leads you back to the beginning, chances are good that you are very, very close to certain truths.

    In this case I hope you can see that one truth is that it is not in the least bit unfair for a Top to take full advantage of her sub. It is what makes them both happy, and that ultimately that is the most “fair” arrangement of all. And in that specific, counterintuitive fairness we find great personal fulfillment, and loving intimcay with our partners.

    BT

    1. Is a D/s relationship the only way to achieve that intimacy? The only path to relationship synergy?

      Certainly not. It is a way. Different men have different paths, etc.

  10. As usual, I seem to have started a small fire. I do that. Sorry. But here I go, pouring petrol on it….

    Can I start out by sying that sporting analogies don’t help me much, so maybe that is why I am struggling with your reponse!

    In respect of intimacy, I think Aphrael’s comments make the most sense to me. I understand that to fully expressing your sexual desires obviously increases intimacy in an already intimate relationship. And because you (and Thumper and BF) started as you relationship as non D/S you already had a clearly defined dynamic with your partners, so there was a level of intimacy there at the start, and this has just ramped it up.

    I appreciate that now you feel that you are more intimate because you have revealed and explored part of yourself that you hadn’t before – you and BF have shared something with each other to the exclusion of others and in a deeply personal way.

    I don’t agree that “no relationship can come to its full potential without applying some degree of asymmetric equivalence”. But I do think that to reach its full potential there needs to be TRUST. I see that as being key to intimacy – allowing yourself to reveal or experience something deeply personal because you trust the other person. You and BF demonstrate your trust in each other through your D/S dynamic – people in non D/s relationships may demonstrate trust in other ways that may be less linked to sexual behaviour.

    I fully appreciate the need for complimentary characters and roles in a relationship. I was never suggesting that both parties in a relationship had to have exactly the same gifts and make exactly the same contribution.

    But I do think you are rather sugar coating the fact of the power exchange that exists in D/s relationships.

    My defintion of equality is that both parties have the same rights as each other and that no party enjoys rights that the other does not.

    My understanding is that in a D/s power exchange one person hands over control (on whatever basis and for whatever period) and the other takes it. Whilst it might be consenual and pleasurable, one party divests themselves of certain rights. If so, that cannot be said to leave the parties in a position of equality. You have divested yourself of certain rights. BF tells you when you can come. She controls all of your sexual behaviour. In terms of your sexual interaction, she has rights that you do not have. Yes, you can revoke your divestiture of your rights at any time. But you don’t because you derive benefit from the inequality.

    So yes, your sexual relationship is symbiotic. But that is not the same as equal.

    I appreciate that this might offend you and that is not my intent, but I struggle to understand why when in past posts you have talked about how much you want BF you treat you unfairly, how much it excites you. But BF can only be unfair to you because of the inequality between you, because she has rights that you don’t. It seems to me that it is the inequality in your respective positions that excites you.

    1. and because you (and Thumper and BF) started as you relationship as non D/S you already had a clearly defined dynamic with your partners, so there was a level of intimacy there at the start, and this has just ramped it up.

      Right. And I would say as a corollary to that that, while D/S has improved the intimacy of my relationship, it is entirely because it is an opening and an exploration of what turns me on. I would not say that it would improve the intimacy of relationships of people who aren’t turned on by it; it would probably actively harm their intimacy.

      But I do think you are rather sugar coating the fact of the power exchange that exists in D/s relationships.

      Are you talking to me here, or to Thumper? You’re talking about BF, so I think you must mean Thumper, but that’s odd, because he said he thinks the notion that equality is required is bunk, and you seem to be trying to argue with [whomever you are talking to] about equality.

      I would say that you and I define equality differently. Giving my husband the power to decide when I cum no more makes me unequal than giving him the power to decide where we are going for dinner today. It means that in a certain sphere of our life, I have ceded power which was mine and gained something thereby; but we continue to conceptualize each other as equals and treat each other as equals in every other regard.

      I mean, I can see where the rhetoric of femdommery often seems predicated on the notion that the domme is somehow superior to the disgusting, inferior, male slave … but that’s not for me.

      1. Definitely. And I knew it writing it. But if that’s the one and only thing I hang my hat on it, I’m pretty sure it’ll stay on the peg.

  11. How about: it’s a big tent. I once tried to tell a guy what being a yankee fan really means, with the implicit suggestion he wasn’t one. He rebutted by punching me in the face. From this I deduced that it’s best to stay focussed on enjoying the baseball, and let everyone else go to hell and eat shit.

  12. Shame ive been busy recently. Its been a very interesting thread to which it is probably too late to add anything.

    I would only add that there are many different people, with different beliefs, reactions, physiology etc. To underestimate that is a big mistake. My truth is not yours and vice versa, there are few absolutes in human life, fewer than we would like.

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