I’ve been struggling with ideas on what to write about lately. Earlier today I realized that I had unearthed some pretty consistent themes while writing my Discussion Group posts. While attempting to write something coherent I lost my train of thought and fizzled out. I still find some of this to be interesting so I am going to hit publish instead of deleting it.
The first noticeable theme is that practitioners of F/m often have extremely polarizing views on how they view/treat/perform their dynamic.
The second theme is that the F/m community as a whole fails to develop accessible terminology to classify and differentiate perspectives and philosophies.
Something interesting about these two themes is that they are fairly intertwined and the lack of terminology often leads to views becoming polarized. This also contrasts so greatly compared to the M/f community.
If you do research and happen to stumble across a work that attempts to classify different submissive types, you will likely find that it was authored by someone in the M/f community. You may also find that there’s a whole crap-load of sub types out there that people attempt to label themselves as, with each term giving some form of differentiation from other types: masochist, pain slut, slave, pet, primal, rope bunny, little, middle, princess, slut, housewife, warrior submissive, degradee, parallel sub, bottom, etc.
While some may find this annoying, having terms is helpful to people because it gives them something they can identify with. I will admit, at times I find it annoying when I feel like someone is trying too hard to be a special little snowflake and says, “I’m a sexy, switchy princess who can be a bratty top or a bottom with a primal streak.” At the same time, I do have to give them kudos for knowing themselves and what they want and being able to articulate it.
In M/f you will also find dominants that give themselves terms in order to differentiate themselves: sadist, gentledom, daddydom, disciplinarian, etc.
I know there are people who hate labels for the sake of hating labels and reading these paragraphs probably make them groan. If you can get beyond the semantics game you can see that something entirely functional is going on underneath it. Basically, people are doing one or more of these three things:
- They are doing their best to attract potentially compatible partners.
- They are trying to make it easier to find friends who share a similar philosophy that they will feel comfortable with.
- They are trying to make it as easy as possible for someone else to understand them.
By contrast, I will take a look at F/m.
What do you call a dominant woman that is looking for non-romantic casual BDSM play partners? A dominant woman.
What do you call a dominant woman that is looking for a romantic monogamous life-partner to live with in an FLR or TPE-like environment? A dominant woman.
What do you call a dominant woman that falls somewhere in between those at any point along the spectrum? A dominant woman.
There’s pretty much one umbrella term that is used. While there are variants, such as Dom, Domme, Domina, Mistress, etc. each of these are blanket terms. It becomes even more convoluted when you find that most professionals also use… the same terms (with the exception of dominatrix being the lone-variant that implies pro-only).
At the fringes of the community you may find some specialized terminology when it comes to specific fetishes: Mommy Domme. Findom. Key Holder. Hotwife. In some cases you may find that sadists will specifically label themselves as sadists, but this is not always the case.
In F/m, there really aren’t very many terms we use to differentiate dominants in a way that gives us any idea of their philosophies and preferences.
It works similarly for subs. While there is almost always a male sub version of the sub types that people write out for female subs, many of these fall by the wayside unless the type is seen as widely desirable. For the less desirable male sub types, the only way they will get to experience their desires is if they are lucky enough to find one of the excruciatingly rare dominant women that are into that or… they will have to pay a pro for it.
What I will outline next is meant to be as honest of an assessment I can give of this situation. It isn’t fair nor do I condone it, but it is how I believe subs in F/m are frequently perceived by dominant women (and frequently by taken subs).
I believe one of the main reasons that sub labels fall by the wayside has to do with the experiences that dominant women have while interacting with submissive men. In a lot of ways, it seems like there are parallel types of classification at work. Yes, subs are judged and labeled and not in a way that is anything similar to M/f.
Classification #1: Judgment
- A single sub that should be taken.
- A single sub that should be single.
- A taken sub. (These subs are generally given the benefit of the doubt and assumed they should be taken).
Classification #2: sub-type
Just as the umbrella of “dominant woman” generically labels the bulk of the demographic, “submissive man” is a similar type of umbrella term. Service-oriented subs are usually pretty good about advertising themselves as such. Fetishists may or may not have a specific label, but they are pretty straight forward about what they want. Overall, there aren’t enough applicable terms to say much about submissive men. If I had to choose a most common desires for single submissive men they tend to be along the lines of one of these:
- “I’m new and want to experience things, be trained, etc.”
- “I want to be mostly or completely controlled with some kinky activities splashed in.”
I suppose the word “lamb” is used to describe the first case, but that also doesn’t say anything about what they think they like. I don’t think there is a name for the second case. Both fly under the umbrella of “submissive man.”
Also, it’s quite common for dominant women to advertise they are looking for a submissive man and lay out the parameters of what they want from the relationship, but rarely do they use specific terminology (e.g. service-oriented) to define what they want.
Overall, this seems rather broken to me, especially when you consider the drastically differing preferences of dominant women.
Some live to wield control. Some want to have control but never/rarely want to have to exercise it.
Some want to mix D/s and love. Some want to keep BDSM completely formal or casual.
Some want a man that they can psychologically crush and stifle. Some want a man that they respect and will treat as a (nearly) equal partner.
Some want a man that will become completely dependent upon them for validation. Some want a man that needs no external validation at all.
Some want subs that are completely self-motivated. Some want to provide continuous motivation for their subs.
Some want to have a lifestyle full of kink. Some want to have no kink at all and simply maintain power exchange.
I could go on and on with examples of different desires, but I think that is enough to illustrate that what people want can be very different. It makes me wonder why we don’t have words for these things. I feel like that would make things a lot easier if people had easier ways of expressing what they are and what they are looking for in a word or two.
I think in some ways this explains the “movements” of people that remove themselves from the community as a whole and classify themselves as something entirely different. I have to wonder if this would play out differently if we had the words.