It feels like forever since I last made a “real” post.
Those who have followed me over the years know that I write quite a bit about the mental spaces that exist for both the dominant and submissive roles. By and large, the theories I have developed pertaining to each of these represent the majority of people that I have encountered within the BDSM realm. There are, however, a number of individuals that do not fit standard ideas of having a submissive or dominant mental space.
I consider those without a mental space to be quite rare. It can also take a while to sort through those who are unaware of their mental spaces vs. those who do not actually have them. To this day, I can count the number of people that I have met that engage in D/s that truly do not have a mental space on one hand. Two of them are subs. Three of them are Dommes. It has taken me 13 months to have enough “data” to come to an understanding about the ways that they differ from myself (and most of the others that I know).
For the sake of clarity I will toss some terminology out there.
Dominant – noun – an individual that experiences sexual or strong emotional gratification from exerting dominance.
Submissive – noun – an individual that experiences sexual or strong emotional gratification from submission or being on the receiving end of dominant behaviors.
I define these because I want it to be absolutely clear that I treat the noun form of these terms as different from the adjective form of these terms. A lot of the misunderstandings that occur when discussing topics related to this are when people equate the two.
For those who have not read my previous writings on these topics I will also define mental space:
A mental space is an alternate persona that exists within people. It is frequently activated by triggers and when it is active, the person “becomes” this other persona and it shifts their behavior, thought process, and ways that they perceive the world. e.g. when a sub transitions from their vanilla persona to their submissive persona, they enter submissive mental space. Various types of mental spaces exist, but some common ones include little space, pet space, and dominant mental space. I should note that the way that dominant mental space affects doms tends to be a bit different than how submissive mental space affects subs, but the idea that a different personality emerges remains the same.
The phenomenon of mental spaces is the easiest to see in cases where an individuals base personality differs greatly from their “in space” personality, e.g. someone that is an alpha CEO by day and submissive at home to his wife is a prime example of this.
Something that occurs for most people within the kink lifestyle is that they have their great “awakening.” While they may have had submissive or dominant desires for years, they spent much of their life compartmentalizing those feelings, often exploring them in fantasy, but keeping them hidden or buried while trying to lead a “normal” vanilla life. When one of these individuals finally accepts those desires as a need and embraces their role, I call this their awakening. During the awakening, individuals eschew the expectations placed upon them about what they are supposed to be, and finally become who they are.
When this awakening happens later in life, it creates a fractured persona. That individual has had their whole life up until that point to establish who they are. The acceptance of their new, kinky self doesn’t erase that previously developed person. It doesn’t change the experiences of the past: you still have the ways that you are used to behaving and interacting with everyone you have known. The newly created persona is often kept separate from the rest of their life and is the persona that is associated with their mental space.
This contrasts greatly to the people I have met without mental spaces, although the subs and doms developed in slightly different ways. What the “spaceless” subs had in common with one another is that both of them had their sense of self heavily stifled within their upbringing. One was raised in an extremely strict environment where the “appropriate way to behave” was dictated to them and heavily policed. They were raised to never question, never defy, and what they were supposed to think and feel was presented to them. The self that they developed was one that always deferred to the outside to find answers, know what is right, etc.
The other spaceless sub was raised within a BDSM family and was basically told by the time that they were 10 years old that they have the demeanor of a slave and that is what they will be when they grow up. By the time they were 15 years old they had an arranged marriage planned out for when they turned 18 to another second generation BDSM individual that was being raised to be a master. For most of their life they were taught and encouraged with how to act, what would be expected of them, and the like. They never developed their own sense of self outside of the confines of those expectations.
In these two cases, neither truly had an awakening because they were only allowed to grow down a singular path. The basic demeanor that each developed was one of complete deference. I should note that neither of these subs experience submission in a sexual way.
The “spaceless” dominants I have met are all women. Their awakenings happened at a young age they often found themselves with dark fantasies about ruling as a despotic Queen or trapping/imprisoning/hurting men. This happened during their formative years and to such an extent that their desire for dominance became a primary facet of their personality. There was no fracture because there wasn’t an extended period of rejection and denial of their desires. Instead, they developed a way of compartmentalizing their dominant desires within their normal selves, just as someone might learn how to balance the ways they are expected to behave while in church vs. how they can behave when out with their friends.
For lack of a better term, I refer to dominants of this type as “early awakenings.” I find them fascinating as the way dominance integrates into their personality so often differs from people who awaken later.
After going through this post it feels more like it ended with a fizzle instead of a bang. I am going to publish it anyways as this may serve as a jumping off point for revisiting this topic at a later date. I wanted to get the idea out there but I’m struggling a bit on how to convey things. If anyone has any input on this topic it would be much appreciated.