526. Thoughts on Switches and the Submissive Male

A comment on my last post led to an exchange where I feel like I uncovered something relatively important.  I will try to keep this as neat and clean as possible.

I’ve written a lot in the past about the struggles of the submissive male with self-acceptance and society’s bias against them, even in the face of an ever-expanding mainstream acceptance of BDSM as a whole.  While the social relevance of Fifty Shades has fallen off quite a bit, it pretty much allowed millions of people to embrace the M/f side of the spectrum without feeling ashamed or deviant.  On the other side, most of society has also embraced the idea of the strong woman both in reality and idealized in fiction.  By comparison, the idea of the submissive male has lagged sadly behind, with no one really championing this cause and very few people portraying it as a positive or attractive thing to be.

In the past year I have encountered more switches than I had in my previous 16 years in  the lifestyle.  While I am aware that I do not share a similar view of BDSM as many of them do, as I meet them, I am finding that most of them are very open-minded and are less likely to be judgmental about someone’s role or their kinks.  In a lot of ways this is entirely refreshing.  If you’ve ever been stuck mingling within groups or around individuals that look down upon male subs as being “not real men” and see female dominants as women who “haven’t met the right male dominant yet,” it’s extremely refreshing.

What I am finding is that within the groups that are the most open and accepting, there are often a lot of switches (frequently ones that are poly, queer/gay/bi-sexual, trans, or non-binary).  If I had to summarize the philosophy that many of them have, it’s something like this:  Whatever you are is okay.  Whatever you like is okay.  Whatever you need is okay.  Be true to yourself and don’t stifle who you are.

If there is ever going to be a future where the male submissive is accepted, I believe this is where it will come from.  I can imagine a future, say 30 or 40 years down the line, where people enter a local BDSM group to find several generations worth of people who entered into a scene where this philosophy was the norm.  Honestly, I have to believe that this is probably the most likely outcome with ever having submissive men being accepted in the mainstream.  Even if society as a whole manages to outgrow toxic masculinity, it still doesn’t clear the hurdle of pushing forward the idea of the submissive male as something good and positive.

I find this interesting to think about.

8 thoughts on “526. Thoughts on Switches and the Submissive Male

  1. I think the philosophy is pretty accurate. I’ve been in the M/f dynamic for most of my experience in the lifestyle. Something for me has always been just a bit off. It wasn’t until pet and I took our dynamic head on that things just clicked. He can attest to what I’ve said from the very beginning. I’ve always encouraged him to explore to figure out who he is and what he wants. If in the end it turns out to not be with me that is ok. It will hurt but he has been stifled so much of his life that he needs to discover himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was surprised by the amount of switches out there when I entered the community a year ago. It seems switches outnumber subs and Doms. Where I’m located anyway.

    And yes I noticed the same philosophy with the younger generation. Acceptance for who are. Just do you kind of mentality. It’s something us “older folk” can learn from I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, SG. For us it varies group by group. One of the groups in particular, it seems the switches outnumbered those who went with a D or s. That group also happens to have the youngest average age as well as the most diversity along with a very open-minded and accepting vibe.

      While I agree that ideal could be used by others, I think I am most glad that the next generation that enters will be more comfortable than I was.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe it’s being born & raised in the SF bay area, but that “Be true to yourself and don’t stifle who you are” thing is something I’ve heard my whole life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think a lot of it has to do with being in the SF bay area. I’ve always felt that California in general was 20-50 years ahead of the rest of the country in regards to its social ideals with the bay area generally being at the forefront of it. I live in a fairly progressive area but even 20 years ago the philosophy was: “Appearances matter. What a stranger thinks of you is more important than what you feel inside.” I know there are still a lot of places where being true to yourself is one of the most difficult things a person can do.


  4. Oh, I don’t mean to imply there was a lot of sincerity in that message as I’ve heard it the last 50 years, just that it’s a drum-beat, here, and, since that includes Holywood, everywhere, in the media.
    And it hasn’t made a big difference, unless what you want to be true too matches some accepted narrative.
    I mean, my brother being true to himself meant becoming a born-again Cristian, and that does not go over well, here – he has to cautiously say that he’s ‘spiritual’ and his church ‘non-denominational.’

    Anyway, another sentence fragment jumped out at me:
    “the idea of the submissive male has … very few people portraying it as a positive or attractive thing to be.”
    For the last 10 years or so I’ve been keeping an eye out for any positive portrayal of an openly submissive male (not just the alpha who blows off steam getting spanked by a demure pro when he feels like it) in the mainstream, or even indie fringe, of the media.
    The closest was a minor character in 6ft Under, but that quickly went south.

    So I’m very curious about the very few, because that’s more than none….?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As for positive portrayals of submissive men, it sort of happens but not so much when kink gets involved. I can think of a handful of occasions where there are characters in a service-oriented role where they end up being portrayed as the ones that have the deep inner strength, patience, goodness, and loyalty to the ones they are in service to. These characters are often in service to others who are painted as… less than good people.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think that this makes much of a dent, which is why I feel that acceptance will more likely come from submissive men being seen as “not bad” rather than holding my breath waiting for them to be painted as “good.”

      While it isn’t American, I have found that the “strong supportive types” are frequently found in Japanese historical fiction.

      Take care.


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