Do you find that you get a lot of guys that say they are submissive and flip their role after?
The submissive who isn’t submissive
I have encountered this problem of people who call themselves submissive, but who seem to want to direct every little aspect of play or an encounter. I’ve found that this happens with people of all genders, but since I have personally experienced it most with guys – and the question was asked specifically about guys – I will answer from an F/m perspective.
The thing that all of these men (and other people) have in common is that while they say they are a submissive, they aren’t actually submissive – they don’t want to give up any control. It is hard to dominate a person who refuses to engage in power exchange and you can’t legitimately force them to do so (well, you probably could, but that would be abuse, not BDSM).
I will be making a lot of generalizations to get my point across, please understand that these come from my 20 years of personal experience as a Domme. The behaviours in the examples aren’t always an indication of a “submission fetishist” but they’re a pretty good clue.
When I’ve encountered this issue, the man will make his approach by making what he believes to be submissive gestures. They will often approach using titles – Mistress or Goddess, both of which I dislike (although I do use Mistress for my professional domination work and find it to be a comfortable fit for that). By using titles right off the bat, before even knowing my name, it feels like they are trying to impose a dynamic on me that I don’t want.
While I’m open to playing with a wide variety of people, I am very selective about who I get involved in power exchange relationships with. I know that some are simply trying to be respectful, but by using a title without my permission, it feels like they are assuming a relationship.
The title they use also tends to indicate what sort of submissive fantasy they have. When I hear “Goddess” I know that his fantasy will usually involve worship, which translates to face sitting or foot fetish activities. With “Mistress” I know I’m about to hear how much he needs to be punished – often with a light spanking then a blowjob.
You’re Not Really Dominant
I’ve often been told that I’m not really dominant when I try to negotiate a scene, ask what my potential play partner is interested in, or simply when I don’t start making demands after “hello”. Gods forbid that I do something undomly like ask for consent!
This is a manipulative tactic (and it works the other way too, with “you’re not really a submissive…”) that shows the person has a strict idea of how a dominant should behave and anyone else is doing it wrong. They’re trying to get their way by undermining a person’s chosen identity in the hopes that they will get what they want – to be “dominated” exactly the way they want.
All “I Want”, No “I Offer”
While everyone, submissive or otherwise, has needs and wants in a relationship, the submissive who isn’t really submissive often has a long list of the things that they want or expect from a partner and very little about what they offer. If they do list what they bring to a potential relationship, it’s often their body and ability to take all the sexy “punishment” you want to dish out (as long as you do it exactly the way they want).
Both parties should be honest about what they want out of a relationship or encounter, but they should also keep in mind what they bring to the table that the other might appreciate. BDSM interactions aren’t that much different than vanilla ones, and most vanilla people aren’t interested in a completely selfish partner – same goes for most kinksters!
A well respected Domme coined the term “submission fetishist” many years ago. She uses it to describe the type of person we are talking about here. While they may sometimes be called “do-me subs” and be accused of “topping from the bottom”, I don’t like those terms because they imply a moral judgement. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “true” when we start applying value judgements to certain behaviours.
A submission fetishist is someone who fantasizes about bottoming – or even submission – during play, but doesn’t actually want to give up any real power. He wants to feel like he’s out of control while still having total control. He may want to be ‘forced’ into certain activities. Of course, he will also have very strict ideas about how things must proceed.
He will know exactly what the Domme should look like, what she should wear and what she should say. He knows what she will do to him, in what order and for how long. Any deviation from this and she isn’t a ‘real’ or ‘true’ Domme. Often, his ideas will sound exactly like the latest F/m porn.
The most important thing is that many submission fetishists don’t seem to actually care about the Domme’s enjoyment or pleasure. She should get total gratification by fulfilling all of his fantasies, regardless of what she likes or wants. The Domme in these scenarios is often interchangeable – she becomes the life support system for a whip.
These types – submission fetishists – are also the ones who get what they want and then disappear until the next time they’re horny.
Bottom vs submissive
Now, there is nothing wrong with subs who have needs and wants – that’s normal. It’s when he expects it to be all about his needs and wants, without regard to the Dominant, that things become a problem. A submissive (or any decent play/sexual partner) cares about the Domme’s pleasure, wants and needs. When either partner – the Dominant or submissive – doesn’t care about the other, there is something wrong with the scenario.
The submission fetishist needs to recognize that he is not submissive. He is a bottom with fantasies of submission. If he is able to do this, his search for a partner will go much more smoothly. Of course, bottoms usually care about mutual pleasure in a relationship or encounter, but they do so as an equal, without power exchange dynamics.
By being able to express what he wants and needs, potential partners can make an informed decision about what they’re getting into. For a person who places a high priority on power exchange, a relationship with a submission fetishist won’t be fulfilling. For someone who is more of a Top or Service Top, they can have lots of fun with a bottom, since their focus is more towards play and not power exchange.
Bedroom only submissive
Some subs aren’t the 24/7 variety, and that’s ok. They are different from the submission fetishist. For the duration of the scene, they are submissive. They enjoy following orders/pleasing the Dominant. After the scene, they revert to being equal. This is the preferred relationship style for many people in the BDSM community. Not everyone wants 24/7 power exchange.
Some people view bedroom only dynamics as play dynamics only – without power exchange. Many people do prefer to do it this way. Some enjoy the dominant/submissive roles as role play, not reality. Again, there is nothing wrong with this, as long as you are clear about your wants and expectations and your partner consents. The best part of kink is doing it your way!
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