Submissive in Seattle

May I please be weak?

May I please be weak?

There is a lot of crap written about BDSM (and F/m relationships in particular.) We’ve all seen unrealistic, downright dangerous advice doled out to the eager and inexperienced, personal fantasies framed as sage instruction, and unlikely erotic narratives posted in the guise of autobiographical truth.

This sort of post soon becomes easy enough to recognise by it’s tendency to ignore important aspects of BDSM like consent and communication, and the way it characterizes the individuals contained within. it’s the sort of writing in which we find a lot of rhetoric concerning female supremacy, and about pathetic, weak-willed, wimpy, submissive men.

Once you’ve been around the block a few times, you recognise the the tropes, stereotypes, and language that is common to so many of these types of posters. You’ll see it in blog form, in porn, in advertisement for pro-dommes, and for cam sites, you’ll even see it in online forums as posters try and to get other users to facilitate a personalized wank session based on their kinks.

I don’t know if we can ever get rid of the drek, but today that’s not what’s bothering me. (By today, of course, I mean two weeks ago, when I first started writing this post.)

What’s bugging me is that even in the “Good Femdom Writing Category” there is a regrettable tendency to be a bit gender essentialist (or at least, I think that’s what’s going on.) I’ve mentioned it before  in older posts like Comfortable. There is a narrative here, that reinforces the idea that submission is not normal for men. Even, if it is viewed as a positive thing, it’s still a bit of an aberration.

 

http://prurire.tumblr.com/post/61611035250/in-these-moments-i-cherish-your-submission-more

In these moments, I cherish your submission more than you can know. That this big, strong, capable, intelligent, man chooses to cede authority to me. That he can be my shield and armor against the world, the knight to my Queen, to kneel for me of his own volition, and cage that strength to hand to me – it just makes me catch my breath. My protector, my strength, my property, my everything.

 

I came across this very good post on Tumblr, and it bothered me, because at the time I really didn’t feel strong. I’ve been feeling pretty weak and flawed lately, and as ever feeling weakness (not to mention displaying weakness) is a detriment to one’s perceived masculinity. Weakness, means that culturally, you are less of a man. What really bothers me here, is the implication it that it makes me less of a submissive.

I’m pretty candid about my mental health, my struggles with depression and anxiety here, the fact that I’m not great at getting certain things accomplished when I’m really struggling with either of those. It’s taken me years to get to a place where I can admit that I’m having a hard time just getting by. When I was in my teens I wouldn’t even admit it to myself, let alone anyone else. In fact, I’m pretty sure my father is dealing with some of the same symptoms, and will probably never be able to do anything about it. All because men aren’t allowed to be weak.

The tumblr post that triggered this thought, totally points out how desirable and attractive submissive men can be, but I’m left with the feeling everything that is sexy and romantically attractive about a submissive man is based on him being a man, a manly, man’s man, without weakness, or doubts, or insecurities.

That would suck, because that’s not me.

A lot of the time I’m the one who needs to be held, and shielded from the world.

 

8 thoughts on “May I please be weak?

  1. Ferns

    I hear you.

    For me, THIS is another reason why the chest beaty “I’m submissive, but don’t worry, I’m an alpha male!” thing grates.

    It’s just laying down ANOTHER set of fucking boundaries within which it’s ‘okay’ to be submissive, and I hate it.

    FUCK THAT!

    We are all, ALL OF US, vulnerable and insecure and need nurturing and strong and confident and broken and helpless and invincible and weak and happy and sad and scared and brave and sensitive and lonely and lost and courageous and and… *the entire gamut of everything that makes us human beings*.

    Well, fancy that. Who’da thunk it?!

    *sigh*

    Also *hugs*.

    Ferns

    1. Peroxide Post author

      That’s exactly it, it seems like no matter how much progress one makes towards being comfortable as oneself there are always new boundaries being thrown up around everything. Obviously, I realise that it’s not just male submission being limited by absurd expectations of infalliblity.

      I’m just trying to get to a point where I don’t let it get to me, which I guess is all we can do.

      *hugs*

  2. Neophyte

    For me it took finding the right person to open up and be vulnerable with. She cherished that I was able to do that with her, and she made it worth all of the anxiety it took to get there. She broke up with me later, which could have made me close myself back up. I didn’t, though. I’m trying to find someone who I can be that vulnerable with again. It hasn’t been easy, but it will be worth it when I find it.

    1. Peroxide Post author

      Granted, relationships can allow the opportunity to be vulnerable, but it can still be hard to allow oneself to be open, or believe that that is an emotionally safe thing to do.

  3. Jess Mahler

    Of course you can be weak. *hugs* Personally, I think we are all many things. Sometimes I’m strong, and sometimes I’m vulnerable. I don’t see any reason why other people in my life (men, women and non-binary) shouldn’t have the same complexity.

    Culturally, it seems like it’s a double-sided trap. Society’s idea of masculinity creates the ‘ew, submissive men are weak and pathetic.’ We try to refute it, ‘No, the submissive men in my life are wonderful and strong, etc,’ and that creates a mood where a submissive man feels the need to ‘prove’ he’s all those wonderful things, or he isn’t good enough. I don’t know a good way to handle it. The best I’ve come up with is to try and make all the characters I write about real people, with both strengths and weaknesses, and even then I know my own writing probably reinforces way too many stereotypes, because even as a I prune out the ones I am consciously aware of, others that I haven’t recognized and confronted will slip through.

    1. Peroxide Post author

      I feel some pressure as submissive man (especially since I’m putting myself out there this way) to try to sort of be the best submissive man I can be. It’s like, I know “we” get a shitty rep, and are dealing with tons of negative cultural programming getting in our way, so I need to be super awesome to make up for that.

      Sometimes I just can’t.

      I’m getting better at accepting my limitations, but it’s frustrating to feel like I might be letting the whole team down when I’m struggling just to get by.

  4. Naga di Kandang

    As others are saying, of course you can (and will, at times) be weak. And the dominant can and will be weak, too.

    In my relationship with Jalan, I came into it knowing I needed help. With mental health issues, with relationship recovery issues, with (increasing!) physical health issues. She knew it, too. And there were things (not mine to say) she knew she needed help with.

    One of the things she values most highly in me is my readiness to ask frankly for help when I need it. I’m strong in many ways much of the time, weak in other ways and at other times. She helps guide, discipline, and channel the strength and helps me get through (and, gradually, shore up) the weaknesses and facilitates the growth. I do the latter two for her, as well.

    She’s not and shouldn’t be my therapist, that’s not what I mean. But we each “serve” the other in these ways.

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