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Describing Submission Helping a friend with an identity shift

#1 User is offline   lil.red.ridinghood Icon

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 11:59 AM

At a recent dinner with a friend, he confided his interest in exploring submission.

He wasn't "coming out" to me, I met him at our local sex club. It's just that he did what many large burly charming men do when they enter this community two years ago. He assumed he was a top. He went about exploring the skills involved in leading partners through scenes. As part of that exploration he bottomed a fair amount to see how things felt. He actively avoided situations involving emotional power exchange (read: we never actually played) because he had no desire to dominate in that way.
Then one day...
On a whim, a trusted play partner turned the tables and started leading him into submission. That tiny taste has engaged a pretty big hunger for more. (Any submissive surprised by this? Yeah, didn't think so.)

He's now in an information gathering phase: What is this submission stuff? How does it work for me? How is it like what others experience? How do I describe what I'm looking for to someone else? How do I describe what I don't want? Am I really a submissive if I'm not willing to do someone's laundry and dishes? Can I feel the things I want to feel and still stay within my limits? and the million dollar question... How do I go about finding a dominant who fits my submission?

We had the first of what will likely be many lengthy conversations about submission that night. It's often such a nebulous thing that it's hard to put into words. I did a lot of listening and tried to provide a couple frameworks for him to organize his thought and feelings.

Does anyone here have questions or frameworks I could bring to our next conversation?
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#2 User is offline   ONEEOD Icon

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 12:39 PM

That is quite a laundry list of topics, but one just jumps out at me as a place to start. Here goes....

The very first thing your friend is going to have to do is define what he wants to be (or already is). I don't even want to peek into the "bottom/sub/slave" can of worms, but this is a time when "call yourself what you want, no one can tell you what to call yourself, etc." just ain't gonna get it. There is a whole world of difference between a Saturday night ass whopping for a half hour and a long term power exchange relationship. Words that describe what one is looking for (OK, I'll add the "in my opinion" now) is the key to finding what one wants.

Everybody else can come into the water now.

Bob
"Seek and ye shall find"
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#3 User is offline   -cheyenne- Icon

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 10:28 AM

Bob you hit what I was thinking. At first I thought, "oh I can jump in here" but I might need to think about how to respond now. It is difficult to put into word something that has just become who you are. If he decided he wanted me to do few loads of laundry after that Saturday night "ass whopping" I would not think twice about saying anything other than "yes Master". But if you ask him I might roll my eyes a little. That is what is comfortable for me and it has sort of evolved to this place over time.

I think finding the words to describe yourself, whether its a long list or simply slave/sub/bottom is the first step. Maybe if he started writing down what he likes & dislikes about his experiences so far and even what he thinks he would like and dislike about those he hasn't had it would help?

cheyenne
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#4 User is offline   ONEEOD Icon

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 01:11 PM

Exactly Chey,

There are lots of ways of getting those things out there but it will take some kind of work, the kind of work no one can do for you or comes out of a box. And after you search long and deep (don't get too excited folks) you have to pass that information on to others in some meaningful way.

I was just looking through some older threads and came across a topic by slave ziggy in the Beginners Forum entitled Finding Master. Some great thoughts in there about what to do after you DO figure out what you are.

Tallyho!! (what one says at the beginning of the hunt, NOT what you say to the prostitute when asking what you owe her)

Bob
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#5 User is offline   lovely1 Icon

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 05:44 PM

Red, I'm a little confused. Are you saying you covered all of those topics already? (Maybe not "covered" but addressed/touched on.)

I do think a good area of discussion is the topic of emotional (or mental) submission vs. physical submission. I don't know quite how to phrase that. I guess it could be like...physical submission is doing the dishes because you're told to/it's part of your arrangement/whatever, whereas emotional submission is more of what you feel when you do the dishes, why you do the dishes...I'm not really getting this right.

(It's hard putting all this into words!)

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I submit physically (both by bottoming and by serving), and I can do that on a fairly casual level. I can enter into the "service" head space or whatever and do what I'm told for an entire evening or weekend, make sure the Dom(me) has what he/she needs, be looking for little ways to please them, etc. It's fun and I definitely enjoy it.

That's about as far as I went with submission during my first two years.

Emotional sumbission is an area that got me into a lot of trouble before finding the scene. It's not the same as "asking for abuse" or "being a doormat" or whatever, but it *is* that deep, deep desire/need to serve, to please, etc. If neither person in the partnership understands what's going on, limits don't get set and feelings get hurt, and advantages might be taken completely by accident, or lines crossed or what have you. But anyway. To me this isn't something I can put on for the evening or with just anyone...it has to be either in a D/s relationship or with a very, very close friend, where the friendship does include some D/s dynamics. (But even then it's not quite "full emotional submission" to me--using my definition for myself here.)

Or I dunno...maybe the physical submission could be "sexual submission" even though it isn't about sex per se...but it's sexual. Whereas the emotional submission is relationship-based. (And often encompasses the physical submission.)

Obviously, this isn't a "here are the answers" discussion, but it just touches on different aspects of submission, to me, including the kinds you can have when you're "just exploring" and not quite ready to commit just yet.

Not sure if this is what you're looking for... :P
"They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much." --Arundhati Roy
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#6 User is offline   MasterDale Icon

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 07:53 PM

I have used this analogy before, but it is buried deep in the myriad of posts and topics somewhere on the Board. But it does fit here.....

I equate figuring out the answers to pretty much all of the questions you posed with going clothes shopping. Everything looks great hanging on the displays in the store, but you have no idea how things are going to fit you till you try them on. You certainly wouldn't commit to making an expensive clothing purchase without trying it on. You pick something you think will work for you then you go to the dressing room. There, in privacy and safety, you shed the clothing you already own and try on the new garment. Then you stand in front of that full length mirror and decide how this looks on you, how it feels, and if it really fits you. Only after you are sure it's right for you will you commit to buy it and make it your own. And in so many ways, defining ourselves in submission is done exactly the same way.

Figuring out who you are and at what level of submission you will be fullfilled at is a very personal process. And just like going out to find that perfect dress or suit, you may have to try on quite a few different things till you find the ones that are right for you. It definitely is a process of trial and error, tests and tastes....till you find the things that fit you and you are ready to take ownership of them.

As most people grow in experience, they find that the things that they chose so carefully when they were new.... and even used to define themselves when they started out.......dont fit so well any more. They may be too limited or maybe they just dont make you feel they way they used to. And at that point it is perfectly ok to start the process of "trying on" and exploring again. That is what most of us do as we learn, grow, and expand our horizions.

The biggest value of being part of a larger established Lifestyle Community is that you have access to so many safe, trustworthy people with skills in our arts. What better lesson in exploring your submission than learning to approach people, negotiate a "taste" of what they are skilled in, and knowing that after you have tasted you dont have to ever do that again if you dont want to? Many of the Dominants I know are very happy to play down to the level of a new person and allow them a chance to experience something. This can be either a corporal punishment, a service, or some other thing. Our Lifestyle is about communication and negotiation. So going out "shopping" and "trying things on" with qualified, safe Community members is a win/win situation for a new submissive any way you look at it.

M. Dale
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#7 User is offline   lil.red.ridinghood Icon

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 07:54 PM

Thanks all, I'm glad this stirred up some good conversation. That's really what I was hoping for. My friend and I will likely talk more about labels and definitions the next time.
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#8 User is offline   Michael's jewel Icon

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 08:05 AM

Good morning, Red! Great question.....my answer is not as easy though.


I try to remind newly exploring submissive souls that submission is subjective. I think that once I was able to grasp that concept, it was easier for me to let go of dogmas and realize that my submissive nature is to be nurtured. But I need to nurture it first and foremost. The more I was able to do this for myself, the less vulnerable I felt, and the more I was able to sort of self-protect my sensitive nature.

With this in mind, I dont walk this earth as a submissive. I walk this earth as Michael's submissive partner. It seemed that more pride I was able to nurish in this....the more my own sense of self, my confidence level started to rise and ripple outward. With time, the stronger a person I grew into, the more subjective I was becoming with those around me. Soon, male bottoms were feeling that sense of self....and subjective as this is....they "felt and saw" me as a dominant.

I hope that makes sense. It is one of things that others either get right off and understand or dont get at all.

Julie
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It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."

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#9 User is offline   lil.red.ridinghood Icon

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 10:07 AM

Michael, on Jul 24 2008, 06:05 AM, said:

I hope that makes sense. It is one of things that others either get right off and understand or dont get at all.


Julie,
That made absolute sense to me. I'm one of those sensitive natured people as well, and I'm sure Dale could tell you what caring for my submissive nature has done for my confidence and the power I present to those around me. Thanks so much for getting it into words for me!
--Red
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