Submissive in Seattle

Tell me again, How can a man be submissive and sexy?

Tell me again, How can a man be submissive and sexy?

I’m still struggling to find a way to be a sexy man. One of my major stumbling blocks is that the foundation of heterosexual male attractiveness in our culture is masculinity, which is always coded as dominant (among other things.) In preparation and inspiration for this post I read another post over on the good men project The Codes of Gender.

 

Transcript of the video here.

The post and the video have a ton to say about how the culture, specifically advertising classify gender. What is really interesting to me in particular is what it says about masculinity and sexiness. Since advertisers recently started selling the idea of sexiness to straight men it is a useful place one can look to see what the culture considers sexy for a man.

…these images look a great deal like the world of gay male fashion, which for a much longer time has been focusing on men’s bodies from a perspective of desire – rather than identification… So how do you deal with this conundrum? Well, there are a couple of options. First, you  introduce women into the pictures so that this can be transformed from a potentially homoerotic tableau to a more conventional heterosexual one… The second strategy used to play down the potential of homoerotic aspect of these images is to make sure that the male bodies that you put on display are not weak and  powerless but powerful. And you do this by focusing on muscles, especially abs – the sixpack. This is not just a body to be looked at; this is the body of an athlete, of someone who does things. Unlike the bodies of objectified females, these are not bodies that you mess with

So, what is a single straight submissive boy to do? Get a six-pack is apparently first on the list. Beyond this I have very little guidance as to how to make myself desirable as a submissive man in this culture.

 

Men are given a handful of ways to appear sexy, and many of them relate to having control or power.

I am legitimately baffled as to where the fuck I’m supposed to fit myself into this mold. I’m doing my best to chisel my body into a muscular beefcake, but only because I want to be made into a woman’s play-thing.

I want to be submissive, passive, I want to feel safe enough to be vulnerable with her someday. Yet these are not masculine things, and beyond my desires in the sexual arena there is nothing really about me that’s feminine, nor do I have any desire to be (or be perceived as) feminine.

I think I need to find a way to project both my masculinity and my submissiveness if I’m ever going to find a compatible match.

My guess it that the advice I’m most likely to receive in this matter is just to be myself, and face it that’s really the only option anyone has. I’m just concerned that sense straight male submission is so unusual in the mainstream that I’m going to code as something other than what I am. Maybe established dominant women will be able to see what I am and appreciate the beauty of it, but will vanilla dominants?

That may be the crux of my issue here, while submissive men in the scene may not be valued as they should, outside the scene submissiveness is not an attractive or good quality for a man to have.  I still live and move through the vanilla worlds, I’m expecting that a good match for most of my needs can only be found there. I need to be attractive there, but also give of the subtle signal to woman that I make a better follower than a leader in a way that isn’t entirely off-putting.

27 thoughts on “Tell me again, How can a man be submissive and sexy?

  1. Tomio Hall-Black

    I really wish I wasn’t on the other coast, because I’d really love to have a beer with you and discuss this stuff.

    I hear you. You understand what our culture demands and you understand how it doesn’t fit you. That makes you wonder how you can remain masculine and attractive within our culture and still live an authentic life that will attract a worthy and compatible mate. It’s a legit worry, and one we all deal with. But don’t let it swing you in the wind.

    I’ve seen some VERY unmasculine guys who had beautiful girlfriends/wives. Not ever woman out there is attracted to the chiseled body…and most are not attracted to that alone. I understand the desire to make your body as wonderful as it can be so the woman you love (when you find her) will find endless pleasure with it. But what happens to those thousands of hours working on six pack abs when she says, “Abs really don’t impress me…I like freakishly long fingers….”

    The point I’m making is that you can’t please the woman of your dreams when she is still just a dream. My advice is this: Don’t work out because it might please her. Work out because it keeps you healthy and makes you feel good about yourself.

    The hardest thing to do is to be authentic – but I believe it is what inspires the confidence that most women find sexy, even in guys without sexy guts (like me). You are already way ahead of me…I didn’t understand that I am submissive until I was 38 and didn’t start looking for Her until I was over 40. I have two failed marriages because of that.

    You understand your submissiveness. That is HUGE. So…what else is authentic about you? Do you secretly love film noire? How do you define success so you will know when you get it? In five years, what do you want to have in life – career, financial, emotional, whatever else?

    Know thyself. From that, all wisdom flows.

    I’ll be putting my soapbox away now.

    1. Peroxide

      Thanks man,

      If you’re ever in Seattle I’ll take you up on a drink, but I’ll be having something fruitier (beer doesn’t like me.)

      Don’t work out because it might please her. Work out because it keeps you healthy and makes you feel good about yourself.

      I already feel good about myself and my health just doesn’t motivate me. The Idea that I may be making my body a sexier toy for my dream woman gets me to the gym (and that does make me feel even better about myself, and it’s keeping me healthy) So I’m going to keep doing what works for me.

      What else is authentic about you?

      I think I’m fairly authentic, I certainly try to avoid wearing a mask, but it depends on who I’m with. The thing is, at this point the only success I’m concerned with is being happy and finding someone. In five years I’d love to be married, my other goals are things that would be nice, but having someone to share life with I think is essential for me to be happy.

      And my love of Film Noir is hardly a secret.

      1. Tomio Hall-Black

        Hey, I’m up for a bottle of wine, too. I like wine starting at about $7 a bottle and up to about $25 a bottle…then I get scared of it.

        I realize I came of a bit condescending about the working out. I apologize for that. You have to do what works for you. Just don’t let it make you crazy.

        Same thing is true with the authenticity. We all have different roles we fall into at times, it comes with the territory.

        In all honesty, you seem like a great guy and if my daughter wasn’t married and in Florida, I’d have no problem with her being with you. I have no idea if she’s kinky at all, though (some topics dads just don’t breach with their little girls). You’re solid. You’ve got an abundance of character, and it’s just a matter of time before the right woman sweeps you off your feet.

  2. Ferns

    I will come back with more, but my first piece of advice: Stop referring to your submission as ‘passive’. Passive implies that there is no active participation from you, that you want to lie down like a lump of boring and wait. I can tell you right now, that shit ain’t sexy.

    Ferns

    1. Peroxide

      Yes Ferns,
      I used passive since it’s listed in that image as a feminine trait. I do want to actively participate of course, but I want to be acted upon, acquiescent, and compliant. I will not be a lump of boring, but if desired I have no problem being a lump of sexy.

      1. Ferns

        *smile* I know you want to actively participate, it’s just a poor choice of descriptors and I cringe every time I see it used in reference to submission (and I didn’t notice that it came from the image, so thank goodness there’s a reason).

        As for the gym for the hot-sexy, you go, boy!! Don’t let anyone rabbit on about health and all that (yes, I’m looking at YOU, Tomio!!). Doing it for the potential sexual objectification and appreciative *raawwrrrr* is totally valid. Also doesn’t hurt to boost your ego, confidence, grrrr-ish swagger… all that.

        Also ‘lump of sexy’?! *laugh* The phrase hurts my feelings for the language, but still… yes please.

        Ferns

      2. Tomio Hall-Black

        Rabbit? Me?
        (looks innocent – TOTALLY pulling it off)

        Whatever works, works. I’m totally allergic to gyms and exercises and stuff like that…

        My family history of early death pushes me, so I may be a bit biased about motivation for exercising.
        (sticks his tongue out at Ferns when she isn’t looking)

      3. Ferns

        *laugh* Yes you!!

        “Whatever works, works.”

        Agreed.

        Now stop trying to scupper my ultimate goal of seeing Peroxide all buffed up and half naked! Um… I mean… getting all healthy and stuff.

        Ferns

  3. Ferns

    I have a really long version of this that I should turn into a blog post of my own to avoid blathering on here, but the upshot for me is this: Be sexy in whatever ways make you feel confident and charming and raawwrrr with women, and hey, you’re submissive too (versus ‘how to be a sexy submissive’).

    Some women will simply not like the submissive part, sucks to be them. But you are not going to win over those who don’t like it with whatever sexy you are bringing to the table, they are excluded, so what you want is those who are neutral or latent (assuming vanilla world here).

    * Personality… I know I know… boring! I’m not going to type it out, this is a given and is about compatibility of the interesting and funny and etc.

    * Body beautiful… you are going for that, it’s wonderful and not enough men think it’s a thing they should do for goodness knows what reason (why why why?! The silly things think women don’t care?! Pfffttt!! They have obviously never seen the feeding frenzy amongst dominant women when a good looking, smart submissive man suddenly pops his head up above the parapet… it’s unseemly!)

    * Confidence… what are you good at? Hone those skills. Being good at stuff is uber sexy and makes you walk around in the world a little differently

    * Passion… what do you love? Hobbies, interests, *something*. I always look twice at a man when he glows with delight about something (and what that ‘something’ is really doesn’t matter so much)

    * Be proud of your submission… there are a million ways to do this, but the objective is to talk about it in a way that is romantic and courtly and wonderful, which is exactly what it is. And while I say ‘be proud’, also avoid ‘scene’ language – that shit is scary as hell (ref: Any google search on any BDSM term EVER)

    I think to be submissive and sexy, you have to be a well rounded, attractive man who offers *all of that awesomeness* to his woman. In short, you have to have power and agency to give and be active in giving it. There is a big difference between “I dunno, whatever you want” and “I’d love it if you told me what you want and I will make it happen”.

    Ferns

    1. Peroxide

      Your response here (which I would totally still read a whole other post on) is great and all but, it is a tad generic. Perhaps it’s a cliche because it’s good advice, but to me it reads as “be sexy” first and then “you can also be submissive”. Which while you make it clear that they are not mutually exclusive, it also seems apparent that they don’t naturally go hand in hand. You know what I mean.

      However…
      Be proud of your submission.
      This is something I could stand to be reminded of, and certainly a message that could stand to be spread far and wide, thank you!

      1. Ferns

        “… it reads as “be sexy” first and then “you can also be submissive”. Which while you make it clear that they are not mutually exclusive, it also seems apparent that they don’t naturally go hand in hand.”

        No, it’s not that they don’t go hand in hand, it’s that *what makes someone sexy is complex*, and of course it’s different for everyone, BUT I want to be very clear that *submission is not enough*, it is part of the whole, so isolating it as if it’s ‘a thing’ doesn’t make sense to me. Also the fact that you are asking about a vanilla audience is significant here.

        NOBODY is going to think you are sexy solely because you are submissive: your submission will *heighten* your sexy for some, will be neutral to others and will actively turn off yet others. That’s fine, and I can say the same for any trait you might want to choose (ref: women who say “ewww, “gym-honed men” are icky” etc), so my point is that you can’t isolate it as something that is going to take you into home base.

        I have never chosen to be with a man because he is submissive, I have chosen him because he is teh awesome-sexy AND he’s submissive in the exact way that fits with me. It’s the package that is sexy and it’s a mis-hit to try and concentrate on one aspect as if it’s more important than the others.

        I would add here that the other qualities *enhance* your submission significantly because they give you personal power, and when submission comes from a place of personal power, then it is much sexier.

        Ferns

        1. Peroxide

          Hmmm. This is something to think on.

          Essentially is what you are saying “enhance the whole package and it makes individual traits (such as submission) more desirable because they are coming as part of a deluxe matching set?”

      2. Ferns

        YES!!! That!

        You know how people become more attractive and desirable if you get to know them and discover that they are funny and smart and fabulous? Your submission is part of who you are, and it becomes more attractive because it’s part of what *you* offer, not some random dude, but *you*, this amazing, fascinating, lovely man (versus an ‘alright but kind of dull’ guy whose submission might look and feel just like yours and who ends up going ‘why doesn’t anyone want this submission I’ve got on offer right here? It looks just like Peroxide’s and he gets all the wimmins…’).

        Ferns

  4. Rougemarie

    What’s the point in norms like beefcake for male beauty that are just as unattainable for most men as the stick-with-tits ideal is for women? It’s not going to make most men feel sexy… it’s going to make them feel that there is such a thing as a sexy man, and they’re not it.

    Perhaps most relevantly to what you’ve written here – who says that’s most attractive to a woman anyway? And who says that female desire has to express itself in this way that turns men into something like a commodity? With this advertising business, mostly I see a bunch of men dictating what an acceptably sexy male body looks like, and how sexual desire is meant to work generally. Maybe some women relate to it, but I don’t.

    Based on that, I’m not sure it’s a good yardstick to be measuring yourself up against – I know it’s difficult because it seems like nothing else is out there, though.

    1. Peroxide

      “Beefcake” is a bit of hyperbole on my part. My goal is really to sculpt my body to a toned muscular physique, which given my metabolism and build should hardly be impossible. I’m doing this essentially as a preemptive act of submissision, trying to mold my body into a shape that is statistically most likely to be visually appealing to my future partner.

      I expect that anyone who loves me would love me regardless of whether my physique were Will Ferrel-esque (an actual comparason once made about me) or my goal to be more Daniel Craig-ian. I don'[t think it is too shallow for women to desire that their men put some effort into achieving a higher standard of physical beauty.

      I get of course that Madison Avenue is not the healthiest reflection of real life to compare oneself too, but as you said there doesn’t seem to be anything else out there.

      1. Rougemarie

        Hey, I fear my comments may have come across as being directed at you, when I was only talking about the premises of the quote you posted – basically I question the whole idea of a bunch of men in advertising talking about how to present men as objects of desire to women, which apparently means they have to be muscular because otherwise they might look gay (gay being somehow linked to being “weak and powerless”).

        Your own fitness goals are your business – if muscling up makes you feel good, who am I to stop you 🙂

        I remember this Bjork quote where she said something like choosing men and women was like “choosing to have only one kind of ice cream… why limit yourself to one flavour when there are so many delicious ones out there”. I guess I sort of feel that about men and body shape. I’m not all that experienced, but I’ve been with a guy who was very slender and petite, a guy who was soft and cuddly, and then a pretty well muscled broad shouldered type. I definitely couldn’t say that I thought one of them was sexier than the others… they were all really beautiful, just different.

        1. Peroxide

          I totally agree that the images we are being sold are not good for us as people to be so focused on. This sort of shallow image obsession certainly does a good deal of harm.

          But, and this was one of the points of the video, Advertising is a hyper-distilled version of what “we” want on a primal level.

          As such I think it will make an effective rubric for what I ought to shoot for if I’m going to sell myself and my submission as an attractive partner.

          Once you get to know someone, appearance drops way down the list of what makes you attracted to them, but often looking good is the best way to “get your foot in the door” so to speak.

          Especially if I’m looking for a women with latent dominant tendencies, I probably need to sell “myself” as sexy first and my submission second.

          at least that’s what I’m thinking at this point.

  5. Unrepentant

    Ferns is totally spot on here.

    Also:
    “I want to be submissive, passive, I want to feel safe enough to be vulnerable with her someday. Yet these are not masculine things, and beyond my desires in the sexual arena there is nothing really about me that’s feminine, nor do I have any desire to be (or be perceived as) feminine.

    I think I need to find a way to project both my masculinity and my submissiveness if I’m ever going to find a compatible match.

    … I’m just concerned that sense straight male submission is so unusual in the mainstream that I’m going to code as something other than what I am. Maybe established dominant women will be able to see what I am and appreciate the beauty of it, but will vanilla dominants?”

    Submissive desires are *not* unmasculine, and I highly doubt you come off as feminine or queer just because you want to be vulnerable and dominated in a relationship. What all of it comes down to when trying to attract a partner is confidence, and being unselfconscious – those things are probably more attractive than any other traits that you could have. What’s sexy to me, as a dominant woman, isn’t a swaggering beefcake of machismo but more likely the more average guy who’s not necessarily got every masculine trait in the book, but has the balls to be true to himself and comfortable in his own skin.

    And..

    Submission, when it’s coming from a guy who’s respectful and confident and a pleasure to be around, is sexy in and of itself.

    1. Peroxide

      “Submissive desires are *not* unmasculine, and I highly doubt you come off as feminine or queer just because you want to be vulnerable and dominated in a relationship.”

      I think that is a more generous assumption about the general publics insight, remember I move in fairly conservative circles. Beyond the possibility of being mistaken for feminine or queer, vanilla women might simply assume that I am dominant simply because I am a man, I’m puzzled as to how I can seamlessly integrate my submissiveness into projecting a sexy and masculine vibe.

      I’m fairly confident, but hardly un-selfconscious. I cannot help but frequently examine myself, my actions and my public face. I do make every effort to be genuine but there are many things that I do not feel comfortable sharing with the world around me.

      Submission, when it’s coming from a guy who’s respectful and confident and a pleasure to be around, is sexy in and of itself.

      Quite possibly, But to whom? I’m of course interested in attracting a dominant woman, (whether she is conscious of her dominance or not) but I wonder how best to do that, whether submission will be off putting to some women regardless of the rest of the package, and if that will affect how I’m perceived by women who might otherwise or eventually be interest in leading a relationship.

      1. Tomio Hall-Black

        “I’m puzzled as to how I can seamlessly integrate my submissiveness into projecting a sexy and masculine vibe.”

        I want to ask about this.

        Are you wanting to project submission to anyone walking down the street? If so; then it just isn’t going to be masculine (note: it isn’t feminine, either).

        I think what you want to do, and what Ferns is suggesting, is that you simply learn what makes you look sexy and appealing. Then, when the time is right, you can unwrap your submission and devote yourself to the one who deserves that service (obviously, there will be much talking along the way).

        1. Peroxide

          when the time is right,” you can unwrap your submission and devote yourself to the one who deserves that service.

          Yeah, I don’t intend to let just anyone in on my submission, but I also don’t want to wind up getting to a “time is right” sort of place only to find that the person I thought deserved service is expecting me to take the lead and dominant, aggressive and stereotypically male.

          I would like to be sending signals that can be picked up by those who will appreciate them that when the time come they ought to take the lead and I will happily follow.

  6. Clarence in Baltimore

    You need to put yourself in situations where you can expose and express deference.
    Not the kind of “you can walk all over me” vibe (unless you are convinced you are a worm and are looking specifically for that type of extreme and unusual femdom) but polite deference. See how the lady reacts to leading. Check HER agency. Does she seem self-assured or at least capable of standing up for her desires? If so, and if she also seems ok with your deference, you have a good candidate for a dominant or latently dominant woman even if she seems “vanilla” as hell.

    Another way to put submission out there is in sexually charged (with a submissive theme) or self-deprecating jokes. Except for the very most gentle and inoffensive of these, however, it is usually (direct works on some) best to get to know her a bit first so she is comfortable with you.

    Speaking of direct, providing you’ve known her at least half an hour or an hour and you’re in the “revealing personal stuff ” phase (you gotta be in that phase first) sometimes directly stating it works. Yes, some women appreciate a man who is confident enough to state directly what turns him on. Generally speaking -women do not like male submissives who seem ashamed of it, as opposed to merely shy about it.

    Cosign everything Fern said, as well as Mr. Hall-Black. Armed with these ideas you are in far better position than I was when I was your age. God, I love the internet.

    1. Peroxide

      I feel that while displays of agency may be indicative of dominance or latent dominance in a woman, it could just as easily be that she is a self assured submissive. “It’s the sort of thing I keep and eye open for, but wouldn’t bet on.

      I do occasionally make inoffensive jokes, remarks, quips that imply my preferences when it is appropriate, but have yet to see any result of doing so either successful or disastrous.

      I may try coming right out about it someday, but have thus far not been in a situation where that seemed like a desirable course of action.

  7. yulu

    HI! I just barely found your blog and it’s pretty awesome. I’m a dominant woman and I’ve done most of my dating in the vanilla world. It’s probably been a little easier for me, since it’s easier for women to get away with being slightly masculine than the other way around, but I’ll relate my experiences anyway.

    First off, I tend to attract and be attracted to submissive men more often than not. I’m not sure if this is because I’m generally very self-assured or I have some sixth sense for submissive men or what, but sometimes I’ll meet someone and be really attracted to someone for no discernible reason. So follow your boner?

    Secondly, I haven’t had much difficulty bringing up my sexuality, but again there isn’t as much stigma against a girl saying “I like to be in control in the sack” as there is a dude admitting he likes to submit. Still, if you state it matter-of-factly and don’t present it as a “I need this or else” it’s no worse than any other piece of personal information. People can accept a surprising amount of what you might consider to be negative qualities as long as you don’t make a big deal out of it and don’t treat it as a huge dark secret.

    Thirdly, what you’re looking for is vulnerability, not passivity. It’s present in a lot of the female-generated erotica if you look for it. Submission is, essentially, a state of being vulnerable emotionally and/or physically and the top taking advantage of it in a sexy way. I had a long think about how exactly one might carry that across in social interactions…and I admit I’m a little bit stumped. The best I could come up with, and this may seem incredibly dumb and/or insensitive, but metrosexuality. Not like full-on pretending to be gay, but to pay a lot of attention to your appearance and have really nice nails or whatever. It signals that you are different in some way, and that you take care of yourself. It might be a little cynical, but can be tremendously effective in my opinion. (Personally speaking, I love a man with nice nails…)

    Finally, don’t be weird about it. A lot (a LOT) of submissive men subsume the prevailing sexist attitudes that there’s something wrong and undesirable about them and that really messes up their ability to interact with potential partners. I haven’t read enough of your blog to know for sure, but there is definitely nothing wrong with what you want and you have to know and believe that on a deep personal level to not drive people away. Just treat people like human beings, and assume that they’ll treat you the same. It happens to me the most in openly kinky situations, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to run away from people because they get off on not being okay with themselves and they want someone to help hate them. Just like in vanilla dating, you have to like yourself first before other people will like you. So my best advice is to relax, treat women like equals, and if one likes you, THEN work on being unequal. And good luck. 🙂

    1. Peroxide

      Thank you so much for reading.

      I had a massive reply to every point in your comment, and after thirty odd minutes of formatting I hit the wrong button and lost it all.

      Essentially I agree with what you’ve said. It’s rough being an atypical man, because of the heavy stigmas of our cultures.

      Vulnerability would be a marvelous thing to experience, but passive does describe my attitude towards many things, not apathetic mind you, merely more interested in who I spend time with than what I spend time doing.

      I keep myself neat, and dress fairly well, though not half as well as I would if I could afford it, but I wouldn’t describe myself as being metro-sexual in the least. Also my nails are rubbish, but I keep them clipped and clean as well as I can.

      I pride myself on not being a creep, as much as I can since its based on perception which can be influenced by a million other things. Nonetheless I don’t go about submitting or venerating or deferring to women in the hopes that one of them will suddenly seize upon my behavior and make me her slave. I am well behaved for the most part, and not terribly open about this aspect of myself unless I have a good idea how it will be received.

      I do like myself quite a lot, and the point of this post was not so much that don’t feel sexy as that my sexual expression is framed by a culture that completely doesn’t get it. Me trying to be appealing and vulnerable is more likely to perceived as possibly gay, or simply not recognized at all than to be perceived for what it is.

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