I received a comment on my last post that has inspired me to write another post (which made me very happy). The post that I am about to write is not meant to detract from the views shared, it is merely something that set off a chain reaction of thoughts that I will spew onto this page.
The comment separated the individual acts relating to submission and kink. e.g. bondage is kink while service is submission. I find this interesting because the idea of separation has become very common in recent years in certain circles but it was a notion that really didn’t exist until the past ~5 years or so.
When I started researching and learning about D/s in 2004, kink and submission (or kink and dominance) were seen as fairly inseparable. The community as a whole pretty much accepted that kink and D/s were intertwined and with one came the other.
Starting in around 2013 I began to notice a rise in people who associated with dynamics that intended to downplay the kinky aspects in favor of more “pure” motives. The first community that gained momentum on this front was the domestic discipline community. On numerous occasions I have encountered people that claim it isn’t sexual or about kinks and has nothing to do with sadism or masochism, but it is about authority and accountability. It feels like these claims are often made to prove how different (and usually morally superior) it is to practice this lifestyle in such a way. I don’t mean to go all negative on the DD crowd, but I have always struggled with this logic since for spanking to be consensual (which makes it non-abusive) and for people to choose to engage in such a lifestyle, there must be something they like/want/need about it.
I have no problems with people that choose to live their lives in this way. I do start to get wary when people choose to use those choices to judge others and/or use it as justification to make others feel inferior and/or to make themselves feel superior.
Since I first noticed this growing trend I began to see a similar type of thing happening in other communities as well, often creating new terms and names to differentiate themselves. In other cases, they took existing terms and arbitrarily changed the meaning to suit popular belief of the crowd adopting it (and yes, this is a pet peeve of mine). Head of Household, chastity practitioners, Taken in Hand, and FLR/WLM are some examples of other communities that seem to try to separate themselves from the kinky roots of the lifestyle.
On some levels I understand why people wish to do this. They want to a version of D/s that can be introduced to the mainstream. They want something that will shatter preconceptions and stereotypes and give a moral foundation for the lifestyle they choose to lead. In many ways I see this as an attempt to achieve feelings of normalcy.
That being said, the world is already fucked up enough. It is easier for a man to be publicly gay than submissive. In both cases that same man has to be wary that people may attempt to hurt them because of who they are. Personally I don’t think that the solution falls in making D/s seem more vanilla, I think it is in making people feel okay about being D/s and working for a more tolerant society that will accept our choices. I’m guessing at least one person will read that last sentence and think, “good luck, dude.” Will it happen easily? No. Is it possible? Yes. Look at how acceptable it has become to be kinky in the post 50 Shades era. The same thing that lifestylers want to grit their teeth about at what an awful portrayal of D/s that is, it did in fact accomplish something significant by providing a mainstream outlet that helped to slightly relax the anus of society at large.
I will also note that I have written and helped authors write a lot of material on how to “sell” the lifestyle to a vanilla partner. You talk up all of the merits that make it seem amazing and downplay anything that might make them freak out or storm off in disgust. I have sold “conversions” to vanilla friends with surprisingly good results. However, at its core, I know that I love this life because it gets me off (both physically and emotionally). I know that I am selling the least offensive and most attractive version of the product and this makes absolute sense when encountering someone who isn’t looking to buy it. However, when surrounded by a group of kink-aware, kink-friendly, and kink-embracing people, I am okay with revealing that I really just enjoy the hell out of it.
Changing gears a bit, I am going back to the idea of kink vs. submission. I will start with my own definitions.
Kink – a “not directly sexual” act or environment that leads to arousal. Basically, if it isn’t a naked body (or body part), intercourse, oral sex, stimulation by hand or toy, kissing, petting, etc. and it turns you on, it probably falls into the category of a kink.
Submission – the act of power exchange where you relinquish control/authority to another person.
When looking at it in this way, many things overlap between the two. They can be both kink and submission. There are also items that may be one or the other depending upon how the dominant feels about it.
It’s easiest to toy with some examples. If a Domme requires you to address her as Mistress, addressing her with the appropriate title becomes submission. If that act also turns you on, it is also a kink. If a Domme restrains you, allowing her to do so is submission. If it turns you on, it is also a kink. However, if you want her to restrain you or address her with a title and it turns you on but she doesn’t like that sort of thing, it is a kink and not submission.
This gives some idea of the “line” that defines them. If it turns the sub on, it is a kink. If the dominant wants it, it is submission. It can be both.
In all seriousness this also brings to light the double standard that exists towards submissives If the dominant wants it, it is dominance. If it turns the dominant on, it is dominance. No one really questions this or tries to come up with conditional statements to make some things okay and others not. I have never heard anyone ever say, “that isn’t dominance, it is a kink.” Do I think this is wrong? Not really, it is bound to happen when submissives vastly outnumber dominants and it gives the dominant the right to be as selective as they want to be.
Overall, when I give the advice for people to look at submission from more of a service standpoint, it is mostly to help them better understand what a dominant may be looking for. There are a huge number of subs that have loads and loads of kinks that the majority of dominants have no interest in. This doesn’t make it “wrong” for someone to be that way, it just means they are less likely to find a match because every “must have” kink reduces the number of potential partners. I don’t think this makes someone truly superior or inferior to another, it just makes them more likely or less likely to be noticed and chosen by a dominant.
As this is a “thoughts” post, I don’t really have a point to all of this… they are merely the thoughts that came rushing in regarding to this topic.