Submissive in Seattle

Going to bat

Going to bat

The struggle to make male submission an accepted expression of sexuality is obviously just one teeny-tiny part of a larger struggle for the freedom of sexual expression everywhere.

It’s one of those instances, where I figure one should lead, follow or get out of the way. I very much appreciate the efforts of those leading, but given my inexperience, and personal situation I had settled for the most part on getting out of the way. I’m not looking to make a huge scene, or put forth grandiose statement. I just want to make sure that the things I say and do don’t make the world a harder place to have a F/m relationship in, and hopefully someday make it happen for me.

So I had this Conversation on reddit the other day. The initial post was a woman interested in being a dominant looking for some pointers. I made the comment that  “there is a dearth of solid, realistic advice for female dominants and male submissives on the surface of most communities of BDSMers” and then linked her to some of my favorite blogs, that I thought would be useful either for beginners or for perspective.

The conversation that followed however was eye-opening for me. Basically, this Male-dom fellow wanted to know why I thought there was so little good information available. His responses, though cordial, reminded me that a large portion of the BDSM community never got the memo on the devaluation of male submission, and generally don’t see this as a problem.

DEV’s post was written just after I began to look into this side of myself, by the time I was regularly reading various Domme blogs this was already a common and well discussed issue. DDinterviewed me because she wanted to give malesubs a voice. Right from the get go for me I was able to surround myself with people talking about issues that could affect me and how to resolve them. It didn’t really occur to me that this wasn’t a revolution affecting the wider BDSM scene in the same way.

My kind of revolution.

I anticipate having to change one person’s perception of BDSM, of male submission especially, someday. I just never saw myself in a position to to affect the ideas held  by the rest of the people out there. At least not people who weren’t predisposed to agree with me. But I feel like after the back and forth on reddit that maybe the chap I was talking too (who for unknown reasons, seems to have deleted his account) changed his perspective a little.

However his parting suggestion was that perhaps separate subreddit’s might make it easier for femdoms and malesubs to exchange ideas without their voices being drowned out by the M/f majority. Which could be possible, there is a subreddit for femdom, but it is mostly in my opinion nonconstructive fantasy material and wanking. In my estimation a useful F/m community takes a great deal of moderation and a user base dedicated to having real discussion because as I said, submission is a common yet taboo fantasy for men, and so it is frequently relegated to online interaction, and the fantasy material will always get more attention.

Beyond that, segregating the dialogue is I think a big part of the problem, it means that participants in the M/f portion of community never see what it is that makes people in the F/m dynamic tick, they never get to see how their fellow BDSMers are being hurt by toxic attitudes about their gender and role. It means that neither community would get the benefit of advice, observations or experience from the other.

I guess what I realize is that by having a less common viewpoint, I have more responsibility to express it not less, or it may never be heard. I need to go to bat for other malesubs whenever I can because things aren’t going to get better on their own.

I can only hope someone will “go to bat” for me.

8 thoughts on “Going to bat

  1. lipstickandligature

    Interesting post. I think that it’s very easy to forget that the rest of BDSM doesn’t even think that male submission is an issue, never mind that it’s a negative issue. The only way I can think of getting around the fantasy wankers issue and actually being able to form a sensible discussion is through some very slow but sure re-education. Trying to explain to men that it’s okay to be submissive. I hadn’t even thought that the rest of the M/f scene might not even know that there was a problem. All I was aware of was those who actively devalued submissives or chose to ignore it. It’s so naive and yet, so obvious when I think about it. But you’re right. No one is going to fight this battle for us. It’s up to the F/m community to fix things for ourselves. The more that guys realise that it’s okay to be submissive and that there are women out there who are into that the better. I still think so much of this stems from sub guys who are really afraid. And that needs to change.

    1. Peroxide

      The more that guys realise that it’s okay to be submissive and that there are women out there who are into that the better.

      I think this is the root of the problem, Male submission is way outside the man box and thoroughly shamed just about everywhere, including the BDSM community. That shame definitely manifests as fear of actively pursuing F/m in real life.

      That’s part of why we’ve got wankers treating every dommely woman online like a fetish delivery system, that’s why we’ve got people pandering to the wankers to make a profit. If F/m seemed was an accepted dynamic I think there would be fewer people interrupting constructive conversation trying to get their fantasy fix.

      The internet exacerbates the problem by letting people selectively chose their forums, smaller more active spaces online seem to have the best conversation but the exposure doesn’t spread beyond people who share the core interest for that space, right? So for the last year or so there as been some awesome conversation for F/m interested people, to which the majority of BDSMers aren’t privy. No wonder they aren’t concerned.

  2. Tomio Hall-Black

    I took a second look at that conversation, and I must commend you. It’s obvious that you were talking to someone who was open-minded and curious, and you were able to set out a boatload of information in a fairly short space. As for deleting his account – do you think the Dom Union revoked his card for being nice to a malesub?

    All of the things you’ve mentioned here, and in the reddit discussion (and a bit more) are why I started the Submissive Men and Women Who Love Them group on Fetlife. A few times, there have been male Doms wander into the group and wanted to be part of the conversation – and they were badly hurt when I informed them (somewhat bluntly and rudely) that they were not special enough to be included in a group that was specifically set up to exclude them. Nor do I feel badly about that exclusion, because, whether they realize it or intend it (or not), a male Dom’s presence in a FemDom/malesub group states emphatically that we are not able to run a group on our own – that their experience somehow trumps ours. When I’ve gone toe-to-toe publicly about this, I always get a ton of email from malesubs who appreciate having a safe-haven (so to speak) away from the oppressive social structures inherent in the “scene.”

    Generally speaking, I prefer to unite and not divide, but so long as malesubs are seen as sniveling cowards that violate the universal law of manly manliness, I’m not interested in engaging with those who start from a place of assuming I am somehow less than they are.

    1. Peroxide

      Thanks, it was nice getting into a conversation about a topic that I have given much thought. I think his deleting his account was probably unrelated, it’s not uncommon on reddit if you’re getting down voted somewhere to delete the whole account rather than take the karma damage.

      I really like that group and when I was on Fetlife all the time it was my favorite place to lurk ( for some reason I stop getting email notifications from it, and stopped checking all the time after that.) It would be great to see something similar on reddit, but it would take a solid task force to make it work in that environment.

      Interestingly enough, I saw submissiveness mentioned in a thread discussing safe spaces today and was rather gratified that someone recognized that my voice can be drowned out, or that I might be made to feel unwelcome in unrestricted environments. So yeah, I know exactly what you mean, and for making and enforcing that policy you are awesome.

      It would be excellent if these divisions weren’t necessary but you’re right, until everyone acknowledges that D/s roles have nothing to do with someone worth as a human being or the value of their opinion, having separate forums is important.

      1. Tomio Hall-Black

        I cannot take full credit for the Submissive Men group – there is a great team of dedicated mods that provide so much help that I am barely needed. And there was an extended period of time when I was so caught up in my own mess that I neglected the group entirely.

        I would liken it to discussions about religion (there are many parallels). I’m willing to discuss religion on both an academic and personal level, so long as there is a basic level of respect given on all parts. But when I get into a group whose obvious belief is “we have a monopoly on the truth” I just don’t feel like participating. I like discussion and debate and creating a better understanding all the way around…I dislike proselytizing.

        1. Peroxide

          I see the parallels and unreservedly concur. I especially hate when someone talks at me like they know more about who I am than I do, which is a vibe I occasionally get from discussions about submission by non-subs.

    1. Peroxide

      I’ll bet. I’ve noticed the slight softening of acceptable gender roles growing up, and I’ve seen the backlash against the same. I would assume that the same conflict could be observed in The Scene.

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