Mistress Matisse:Long time reader of your Stranger column. Love your work.
I know it is weird for me to be asking this sort of very personal question, but quite honestly I don't know who better to ask on the planet than you. The anonymity helps too. If this is a faux pas of some sort, then I apologize in advance! And I also apologize in advance for going on and on about myself.
Basically, I'm a submissive guy. Now that isn't very interesting or unusual, I know. It's more in the emotional, relationship sense and less in the bedroom sense, if there's any difference between the two (is there? you probably know better than me).
I simply don't want it to be about what *I* want.I want to be able to give myself up completely to a woman who expects it and even demands it, and serve her yet still retain my dignity and my basic equality as a human being. If that makes any sense. But I don't know what to do about it.
Well, I can tell you some things right off the bat. Stop putting yourself down, and stop apologizing so much. Some guys think dominant women find that attractive. We don’t. It feels like you’re manipulating us for an inappropriate amount of reassurance.
What you’re describing, when you say you want to, “retain my dignity and my basic equality as a human being” – well, darlin’, that’s what every submissive wants. I have met a few people who claimed they wanted to have their dignity and their basic humanity stripped away from them, but a) that’s rare and b) I don't think it’s an emotionally healthy goal.
So aside from them, every submissive says “I don’t want it to be about what I want.” Of course you don’t. That would defeat the purpose.
But in another sense, you do, because you want to feel the way you want to feel. Thus is the challenge for the top in consensual, erotic, dominant/submissive relationships.
So yes, in that arena, you’re quite normal. What puzzles me is the remark about being submissive in the relationship but not in the bedroom? That’s the opposite of what I often hear, which is that someone wants to be sexually submissive but operate as an equal in the rest of the relationship. So I think what you’re saying is that you want a bossy controlling woman to have more-or-less vanilla sex with? That’s perfectly okay – bossy women need love too - let’s just get that clear.
The letter continues:
For one thing, no woman I've ever dated has ever been emotionally dominant. Perhaps it's because I live in the
Midwest, (city deleted), but they generally want the man to "be a man" and take charge. Which is fine... I can fake dominance with the best of them. But that leaves me unfulfilled and the relationships never last that long.
If you want a dominant woman, you gotta go where the ducks are instead of just hoping one falls into your lap. (Or perhaps more appropriately, onto your face.) The area of the country has nothing to do with it, sweetheart, especially since you named a pretty large city. It’s not like you’re in
. And really, since the internet came around, you can find kinky people wherever you are. I’ve been to your town, so I happen to know that there are kink resources there. Here’s what you need to do to access them. Cowflop, Arkansas
So I should turn to a pro, right?
Okay, this is where the conclusion-leaping really gets going. No, you should definitely not turn to a pro. Far from it. A pro domme is not a substitute for a partner, especially when what you want is to be submissive in an “emotional, relationship sense.” I’m fond of all my boys, but I am not a replacement for a girlfriend or a wife.
I apologize if I say the wrong thing, since this is your turf, but it seems like with a pro, the man is paying the dominatrix and telling her what to do. Therefore, she is serving him. No matter how much they roleplay, there is no escaping the reality of that central transaction. If I give you five hundred bucks and order you to boss me around, then you're just following my orders. Again, I'm not trying to impugn what you do but at least for me personally, it kind of defeats the purpose. So it seems like in any emotional relationship with a female, I always have to be boss.
My dear boy, you are very far from the first person to try and float this line of thinking to me. Actually, you can even subtract the money aspect from it completely, and most every kinky person will tell you they’ve heard this one before. The "dominance is an illusion because the bottom is really in control" is an old, old argument.
But you’re wrong. True, BDSM spins on consent. The bottom can withdraw consent at any time, and the dominant must stop, or else what’s happening becomes abuse or assault. That’s true in a scene, or in the relationship as a whole. You can never permanently give up your right to withdraw consent. So yes, the submissive always has that power.
When people come to me initially, I do indeed have them give me some ideas about what they think they’d like to explore. I do that in part because it gives me pleasure to make people analyze and vocalize their intimate fantasy. They often blush and stammer, it's quite charming.
And hearing people answer my questions is part of how I feel their consent to what I’m about to do. Saying the words aloud has a power, it's a little like casting a spell. Anyone can just haul off and hit someone, or bark orders at them. There's no art in that, no magic - that's just being a bully. A good dominant creates another world for herself and her submissive. And makes them want to inhabit it.
Don't believe me? You try going to a pro domme and “ordering” her to boss you around. Go ahead. Just try. Tell her she has to “follow your orders”, and that you’re the boss, because you’re paying her. You’ll be on the sidewalk, pal. That’s not how this works. That’s not how it works with any good dominant, no matter what incentive you offer them to play with you. Thus, I can infer that you haven't ever had a really good dominant/submissive experience.
However, the point is moot, because by your persistent use of the phrase “emotional relationship”, you make it clear that you need a lover, not a pro domme. But what this bit sounds like to me is someone talking themselves into believing that they can’t win, so they are excused from having to try. It’s defeatist.
On to the next paragraph:
Also, you admit that in your own relationship, you are submissive to your primary boyfriend. (I think I remember something about you being a starship and he's the Death Star.) So that got me thinking. If even you, a card-carrying dominant female in a blue state, can only truly love a man if he is dominant over you, that means I should probably just grow up, be a man and take charge, right?
Whoa, whoa, whoa – what? Where on earth did you get the notion that I can “only truly love a man if he is dominant”? Roman would be extremely surprised to hear that, given that I love him and we don’t have a D/s relationship of any kind. You’re totally wrong here, and what I’m seeing you do, again, is take a small piece of information – that I sometimes bottom – and twist it until it fits into your defeatist mind-set.
Isn't my little desire to be "owned" (not literally, but you know what I mean) just plain selfish of me... childishly demanding from the woman what she considers to be the best part of being a woman in a relationship with a man?
Once again, defeatist, and also I’m feeling that “reassure me, mistress, reassure me,” tug at my sleeve. It’s not that wanting reassurance is inherently bad, but you’re asking for it in a passive-aggressive way. Since you’re a long-time reader of my writing, you know perfectly well that I support D/s relationships, and you know I’m not going to tell you that it’s selfish of you to want to be a slave. So why approach me like this? If you can’t be honest even in an email to a BDSM person who you will never meet face-to-face, how can you ever hope to get what you want with a real person? It has to start somewhere.
I’ve addressed the “how do I find a partner” question endlessly both here and in the Stranger column, so I’m not going to get into that here. But it’s not just about getting in the same room with a kinky woman – you have to be emotionally ready as well. Your anxiety about who you are is inhibiting your ability to just accept yourself. Your view of kink, and women, and what kinky women want, is all very one-dimensional and rigid. That’s not how healthy human sexuality works, and if you don’t learn flexibility, even if you find a dominant women, your D/s relationships will fail. If you keep putting yourself down for being submissive, and telling yourself that what you want doesn’t exist anyway, over time you’ll harden into a classic Mr. Defensive, and that’s not a person you want to be.
Thank you for your time in reading that long email, and again love your work. Have a great day.
Well, we’ll see if you still think I’m so great after this dose of tough-love. But as I said in my private reply to you, I think there are a lot of people in the world who might benefit from some of it as well. What you want is out there, but it’s going to take some work to get it. Good luck to you in that journey.