If it ever seems like I speak out against a lot of ideas, it is probably because they often inspire me to write. I get interested in points of view that differ from mine. When a point of view differs, I want to understand it and figure out where it came from, how they got there, etc. What is fascinating is that in some instances the views are polarized but there is a singular key event, experience, or ideological difference that leads to the divide.
The view of what is romantic in D/s is an interesting one because there are so many different perspectives that have different levels of internal and external factors in play. I will be writing this with F/m terms but it can apply to M/f as well.
I have seen several different perspectives upon this from Dommes that really highlight different philosophies and focal points of the style of D/s they practice within their relationships.
One perspective is that submission is most romantic when it is done freely. The sub is selfless and motivation comes purely from the desire to please the Domme. Submission is something that is given and not something that is taken. Their devotion is pure and there are no ulterior motives. The focus here is about what he wants to do.
Another perspective is that submission is most romantic when it is about sacrifice. The sub sacrifices their freedom, free will, and independence. They give up their right to control their own pleasure. They subject themselves to the rules and expectations of the Domme. The Domme may choose to be strict or relaxed, cruel or kind, and the sub accepts her choices and follows her lead. The focus here is about what he is willing to do.
A third perspective is that submission is most romantic when it is fulfilling. In this case, domination and submission are seen as a system of mutual pleasure and fulfillment. The Domme gets what she wants and gives the sub what they want and both parties are happy. The focus here is about mutual enjoyment and having everyone’s needs met.
These are the three most common views that I have come across in D/s. What is interesting to me is that functional and happy relationships tend to have characteristics of all three. The sub wants to submit and be pleasing. The sub wants to endure and make the Domme proud. Both parties end up fulfilled and happy.
However, even knowing that it is the combination that works out the best, there is still frequently a focus that reflects the Domme’s D/s philosophy and her preferred dynamics. Occasionally people will pull to an extreme and deny the parts that do not fit with their existing philosophy. In these cases it is much more difficult to create and maintain a happy relationship, unless the sub is wired in exactly the right way that fits the philosophy.
From the submissive side, there are also some differing perspectives about what is romantic in D/s.
One perspective is that dominance is most romantic when it is encompassing. The Domme wants to possess, own, and control the sub. The sub feels like he belongs to her. The power of her dominance makes the sub compelled to submit. He feels special by being her chosen one and how tightly she wishes to hang onto him.
Another perspective is that dominance is most romantic when it is nurturing. The Domme’s guidance helps the sub develop and grow in the ways that she wants him to. Her efforts show that she cares.
A third perspective is that dominance is most romantic when she is on a pedestal. The sub sees the Domme as greater and himself as lesser. He feels lucky to be allowed to serve her, adore her, and cherish her and she has granted him this privilege.
Fourth is that dominance is most romantic when it is mutually fulfilling.
There are a lot more submissive perspectives than this and the distribution is spread more evenly across all of them. With a handful of exceptions, most happy D/s relationships draw characteristics from each. Where this may derail a bit on the submissive end is when the sub has a very intense and specialized fetish set that skews their view of romantic dominance into a narrow space.
What you will find is that “good fits” tend to happen when the romantic views of each party compliment each other in a positive way. e.g. a Domme that views romantic submission as sacrifice will do well with a sub that views romantic dominance as possession and control.
What is interesting to me is that the perspective that “submission is pure and given freely is the most romantic” doesn’t really have a complimentary D/s perspective. In most cases, when a person chooses the dominant or submissive role, they develop a sort of logic behind it. e.g. If a sub desires to be treated like dirt, they believe they should be treated like dirt or if a sub thinks a Domme’s needs are more important than his own, it is because he believes that she is more important than he is.
The only perspective I can think of that truly fits is the view of: “I love her so much that I want to obey her.”
I will admit that this is a beautiful ideal. There was a time in my life where I am absolutely certain that I could have loved in this way. The problem that I run into is that since becoming a sub, is it even possible to be pure like this ever again? I don’t think so. Submission turns me on. “I love her so much that I want to obey her and it turns me on” isn’t the same thing as it carries an ulterior motive, no matter how secondary I try to make it. I also have to wonder if I would be able to say that to someone that wasn’t a dominant. Since I know I would only be happy with a Domme, then allowing myself to love that much is contingent at least partly upon her role and the desire that I have to submit. That also steals from its purity.
I think this is why I struggle so much to accept that idea of free and selfless purity in submission. I don’t think that the vast majority of people are wired for it. When I see a dominant talk about it, the way it is presented often carries undertones that imply submission is impure and tainted if the sub has other reasons they enjoy it.
I can’t tell if it bothers me so much because it is an ideal that I know I cannot fit or if I just see it as being unreasonable to think someone has to be that way or they are in some way lesser.