Thu, Jul. 28th, 2011, 05:59 pm
[public to Est]
I recently read two things, which, taken together, provide an interesting picture of submission, including female submission.
From an interview with porn star James Deen: The lines get blurry when porn gets as rough as Deen likes it. He tells me about a site he recently stopped working for because he didn’t like the premise. “Girls acted like they did something ‘bad,’ like step on my shoe,” he describes, “and then I’d have rough sex to punish them. It made me feel icky. At Kink, this girl and I are having awesome sex and she likes to get slapped in the face. The sex isn’t punishment. It’s BDSM lifestyle, and they make it super clear it’s the girl’s fantasy.”
And from a kinky blog post: It wasn’t until half an hour in when I finally broke down and cried. Sara wrapped me in her arms and rocked me until I stopped. She checked out her work, poking at newly forming bruises and marveling my ability to take the pain. Not only had I proven my own strength to myself but my willingness to “go deeper” in our play awarded Sara with elevated confidence as a top. My body was her trophy and I was happy to wear the bruises created by my lover. “See, I told you. You’re much stronger then you think,” she said. And as my body continues to stockpile bruises and scars administered by her hands, I can’t help but agree with her.
I've heard plenty about how kink is good because the sub likes it, but to me the idea that wanting to submit in extreme ways, even as a woman, even as an inherent part of your nature, could be a demonstration of strength rather than weakness is new. Thinking of submission as a way to show how strong I am is really intriguing, and makes certain acts seem less scary. Thoughts?
Thu, Jul. 28th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
I frequently come out of hard scenes feeling--empowered, I guess--like I can take on anything. :-)
Thu, Jul. 28th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
I know that feeling. You articulated it really well.
Thu, Jul. 28th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
Wow. OK, I thought that was totally new to me, but... it's not. It explains a lot
When I first joined the club I mostly played with House doms if I wanted to sub to a man. Because honestly? My head wasn't anywhere where I could just hook up with some guy and do whatever and be cool with that. It just wasn't. House was different because it was more obvious that I laid down the rules.
But I went straight for heavy stuff. Which I hadn't really done before, not to that level. Stuff with more than one guy, serious bondage, proper beatings, that kind of thing. And I think some of it was me proving to me that I Could, but... yeah, I think some of that is about being strong. Maybe about being as strong as I felt I needed to be, you know?
OK, and now backwards to the start
of your post... that's actually some of why I went House, again, because I didn't trust that some guy who wanted to hurt me wanted it because it was sexy and fun, and not because he was that kind of a bastard. I'm over that but it has come up. The whole punishment thing is bullshit, no-one gets to punish me, and I don't want to play with anyone who thinks they do.
Thu, Jul. 28th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
*hugs* It's interesting, because I am feisty and sometimes even bossy, but I don't think I ever saw submission as strength, really. Maybe "you're submissive BUT you're strong," not "you're submissive BECAUSE you're strong." I've used bossiness or talkativeness to cover up the submission, or counteract it, or rationalize with myself. Now I wonder if maybe strength could work a different way for me by seeing going quiet and vulnerable and hurting as an act of strength.
I can't do the punishment thing because it's triggering and to me gets into "you're bad, you're weak, you're submissive and you deserve pain because of it." Ugh. Really bad place.
Thu, Jul. 28th, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
So you were seeing it as this in spite of thing, like you were a sub but (it was OK because) you were strong?
*hugs a lot* I don't have any of that, I just don't like it - I'm not that kind of girl.
Thu, Jul. 28th, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC)
I think so, yeah. I've had this voice in my head for a long, long time saying that me being a sub is a big fat "I told you so"--I told you that you're weak, that you're dependent, that you can't fend for yourself without a man, and so on. Certain things are no-nos for me because of that. They go too far in the directions of humiliation or punishment or something that a "girl like that" would do. And now I'm playing with this idea of the "girl like that" as stronger than any fucking man (sorry, men) and I like it. It's kind of cool and subversive (from my moderate middle class mom perspective).
Thu, Jul. 28th, 2011 11:45 pm (UTC)
Isn'y being a middle class mom and doing this more
subversive than being 20 and doing it? So that's kind of cool all by itself. ;)
And I think anything, not just taking pain, can be about being strong if it means you're overcoming something to do it, overcoming your fears.
Thu, Jul. 28th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
Woo hoo! Kinky mommy! *laughs* I've already been called a cougar, privately at least.
Yeah. That's true. Maybe it just helps me to think of it as something ballsy, because I like dares.
Thu, Jul. 28th, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
Hey, whatever works. I know that worked for me, I threw myself into kink to 'prove' that I wasn't scared of it, that it hadn't been taken away from me, and... well, I'm here now.
Fri, Jul. 29th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
(I noticed so far the comments seem to be women-who-sub, so my apologies if that was the point of the post. You gave me food for thought.)
Coming from the opposite point of view - yes, I see the people who kneel for me as being strong. Aside from anything else, they're doing something that I couldn't manage.
Beyond that I think it takes strength to put yourself in someone else's hands to that extent - to be willing to accept that level of vulnerablity. And not just vulnerability in the sense of risk, but in where headspace can take you.
Punishment isn't something I particularly deal with, I prefer correction where necessary. "Icky" is a good way of putting the idea Deen is describing there. I have no issues with slapping someone if they've invited it (Or I should say, no issues now, that one took a while) but there's a world of difference between punishment and something intended to be enjoyed.
Fri, Jul. 29th, 2011 01:07 am (UTC)
I think it's cool to think of it as something to accomplish, rather than something you give into, or "letting go," which I've seen a lot. Thinking of it as a presence instead of an absence, if that makes sense. If you think of subspace as a sort of swirling abyss into which you might fall and never get out, it's scary, but if you think of it as a mountain that you need strength to climb, that's easier. Okay, enough metaphors.
I like the mix--not just "no punishment" or "she should like it," but the idea of a man or woman getting off on my strength and my enjoyment of what I'm doing. I realize that's a big part of what was fucked up about Bill and I's relationship. He didn't get off on seeing me strong, he got off on being able to conquer my strength. And that wasn't safe, sane, or consensual.
Fri, Jul. 29th, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
Where would exploration be without metaphors? I think they can be helpful - they're rarely exact, but they can help you tease out ideas just by looking at which parts work and which don't.
I've never understood that mentality. Aside from the obvious fact that it is fucked up and harmful, in my opinion it takes far more skill to make someone want something than it does to force them to do it. And that's part of the reward, in a way, having someone choose to offer their submission.
Fri, Jul. 29th, 2011 01:16 am (UTC)
Maybe it's just a lack of maturity. Not being able to see what's there that's good because you're so focused on proving yourself or "winning" or whatever.
Fri, Jul. 29th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
True - and there are too many men brought up thinking of women as something to "conquer". I'd be curious to see how that comes up for dommes, thinking about it in those terms.
Sun, Jul. 31st, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
I think that's part of why I had such a strong negative reaction to mainstream-ish femdom porn when I went investigating it a few months ago. Because that whole dynamic of 'untouchable bitch goddess' and 'crawling worm' holds zero appeal for me. I'm not interested in weakness or obsequience or blind obedience just because I have a cunt. I like men
. I like muscles and tattoos and attitude. I like guys who could throw me around - and would, if
I told them to. And there had damn well better be messy, intimate touching and lots of it!
Sun, Jul. 31st, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
I think I've mentioned before, when there was a discussion about humiliation and I was talking about having a history of slut-shaming, that I essentially came into my strength as a sexual being via training as a submissive. I'd been sexually active for years at that point, and an Est member for a couple of those. I didn't really scene a lot then, or at least, not well
; I'd tried it both ways and despite being naturally bossy *g*, I didn't really have the knowledge or confidence to successfully run a scene as a domme (I was still pretty shy then), and I was too resistant and rebellious to really go down for someone as a sub.
And then I met Steve. *g*
I think that learning from someone who respected my submission and respected me as a person is a huge part of what allowed me to access that same respect from myself, to myself, and come to a point where being a 'girl like that' does
make me strong - owning
that about myself makes me strong. It's like a lot of other personal characteristics in that learning to understand, accept, and like that aspect of yourself can be so empowering.
Another thing that springs to mind when I talk about my training being empowering is the topic of trust. In order to submit effectively, I need to be able to trust the dominant - and myself, to some extent. One of the things we focused on in early days of training was negotiation skills and limit-setting, so that I didn't get taken anywhere I didn't want to or wasn't ready to go. This is seriously one of the best skills ever (I use it in career settings too!). Having firm limits and discussing ahead of time how the scene will play out so as to not hit those provides that initial foundation of trust for me. Once I've been playing with a dominant for a while and we know each other better and that, I don't necessarily need to have everything laid out upfront like that anymore, because that person has earned a greater measure of trust from me.
The other thing I wanted to touch on, especially with the kinky blog post excerpt, is that 'strong' is not the same thing as 'capable of taking lots of pain'. You can "go deeper" into submission without having someone beat you. I think the act of kneeling for someone - genuinely, properly kneeling, making an offer of one's self - involves a lot more strength than standing there whilst someone smacks you with something. For me, the latter is about sadomasochism, about pain - I get off on it, and so does the dominant, and it can certainly enhance
my submission, but it isn't
my submission, in and of itself.
I think I wandered off topic there some, lol. Apparently I have Things to Say today!
Sat, Aug. 6th, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
I like the way you explain this. It's not that I haven't heard about being strong as a sub before, but I think it takes examples to really get what that means. Also it seems that it's a lot about choice--I'm with you, trust is the absolute most important thing when it comes to picking a dominant (and part of that is just how much experience they have and how well I know them, apart from general trustworthiness). I think it kind of comes down to choice, because submission isn't just this thing you fall into and once someone proves that your nature is submissive, now everyone
has a right to do what they want with you. Part of me just wants to walk up to my ex one day and say "you know what, I've discovered that you're right, I am a big submissive slut, and you are never ever going to get to see it." Like it's a privilege that only certain people get because I trust them.
And yes, though I think for me the idea of exploring pain from this perspective is much less of a leap than kneeling. Kneeling has been a trigger and a hangup for me, so I completely recognize how significant kneeling can be and I'd love to be able to do it one day. But I think trying to show strength through something that does require a sort of emotional release (having someone standing over you and seeing the power difference that represents and truly accepting that for the moment) that's difficult for me right now.
I'm glad you have Things to Say! Your Things are interesting. Sorry I took so long to reply *hugs*