Masculine Submission

No greater love has a man than to live his life for the one he loves

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

I’m submissive because of my mother’s what….?

That pinnacle of psychological asshattery intelligensia blames my mother’s uterus for me being submissive. Don’t believe me?

But here’s the intriguing part. In humans, the hormonal vagaries of prenatal development appear to cause a substantial portion of men to be born with active submissive circuitry. These men find sexual submission as arousing—or, quite often, far more arousing—than sexual dominance.

So…I’m submissive because my mother had some bad pussy chemistry going on?

I understand the article is nearly a year old, but I think it’s worth a comment, because, quite frankly, I find it offensive. It is basically claiming there is something biologically wrong with me because of some undisclosed chemical event in my mother’s uterus. And it isn’t just submissive men who are aberrations, but Dominant Women, as well (also, Dommes are now officially rare – psuedo-science proves it):

So if your boyfriend is wired to prefer sexual submission, then role-playing “The Rape of the Sabine Women” probably won’t solve your arousal problems… not unless you’re one of the even smaller portion of women born with active dominance circuitry—and your boyfriend plays the Sabine.

I will be the first to say that I do not think I have a choice in being submissive. It’s the way I am. I can pretend to be otherwise, but it is just a show. But can something as complex as my submissiveness be traced back to a simple series of chemical events? It doesn’t seem likely to me. Human behavior is much to complex to be reduced to that level.

It is more likely that the best that such chemical reaction – if it exists – would do is create some sort of predisposition. But just like arguments about genetic causes of behavior, something still has to happen to cause that predisposition to be expressed.

And how would this explain switches – people who dominate sometimes and submit others? How does it begin to account for the wide variety of submissive behaviors? Is a masculine type submissive like myself the victim of just a little bit of bad pussy juice while a sissy sub had a whole heaping helping of it? And why is it that most male submissives have no problem being non-submissive outside of their primary relationship?

Even the short list in the article is idiocy:

Such submission-wired men are fans of the equally popular, inventive, and varied genres of male submissive erotica, such as femdom porn, transformation fiction, golden showers, CBT (penis and testicle torture), and CFNM (clothed female naked men).

You know, there are submissive guys who are into none of that. Some of them are into just a little of it. Some take the whole raft of choices. Or maybe there are a multitude of chemical interactions en utero that cause each of these…that seems…unlikely.

What other sexual preferences are caused by uterine chemicals? Redheads vs. blondes? Big breasts vs. small? Dark skin vs. light? Blowjobs vs anal?

How would this chemical accident account for something like eating creampies? As far as I know, that’s not a typical feminine and therefore submissive behavior. Yet a lot of male submissives enjoy it.

Here’s a clue to how badly this whole article is biased – way down in the footnote:

In mammals, sexual dominance and submission refer to very specific physical actions (such as lordosis and intromission) controlled by circuits in the subcortex.

Okay – as the article explains “lordosis” is when a female rat arches her back to display her vagina and “intromission” is basically the male rat mounting her to copulate. But…do rats know of other sexual positions? Do rats 69? Do they do it missionary or rearing up on their back legs? As far as I know, they do not.

So what we have here is a researcher reading a female getting ready for sex as inherently submissive and a male readying for sex as inherently dominant. You know, if we consider an erection to be dominating and vaginal wetness to be submissive; then we get an even higher correlation to the whole “male is inherently dominant” thing, don’t we? But that doesn’t mean it’s so.

In fact, Norwegian rats (the kind we are talking about here) mating behavior is dependent on density. No word on whether or not that is due to some uterine chemical imbalance (seems unlikely). Yeah, female rats always exhibit lordosis and male rats exhibit intromission…but given that it is a fact of reproductive biology, can we expect anything different? If not; then can we accurately label one behavior dominant and the other submissive? I think not.

This is a big reason why I have this blog in the first place – the existence of male sexual submissiveness is treated like some sort of freak-show. We are caricatured and despised on all sides. Even the medical and psychological communities are loath to embrace us as models of a happy and healthy lifestyle. Even within the BDSM “community” we often feel like second-class citizens.

Until that stops, I’ll always have something to write about.

Unexpected beauty

This…has become surprisingly hard for me to talk about.

When Ferns announced that She was putting together some mysterious art project involving submissive men, I retweeted her announcement, just to encourage guys to participate. It was a pleasant surprise when She asked if I would send a pic, as well. After discussing it with Mistress Delila, I sent the one She requested, plus one more. That, I figured, was the end of that.

Except it wasn’t. When Ferns announced the project was completed and ready for viewing, I quickly clicked over to Her blog to see it. Then I sat there with butterflies gnawing through my belly while it loaded. When my pics finally floated by, the sense of relief was nearly overwhelming. But as interesting as that was, there was more to it than that. Unexpectedly, I found myself on the verge of tears.

The thing is – I never saw myself as being beautiful until I saw how Mistress Delila loved me because of my submissiveness. I didn’t think I was hideous or anything, but for forty-one years I just didn’t see anything special when I looked into the mirror. It took three and a half decades to understand that I am submissive, and several more years before I looked into a woman’s eyes and saw…

I saw a lifetime of not quite fitting in fade away into memory. It took me more than thirty-five years to realize that I am submissive, and six more before I found a relationship in which that submissiveness could be fully expressed. It was like I had been holding my breath my entire life and I finally broke through to the surface. It was like I had just been released from solitary confinement – a sentence served entirely within the confines of my own body.

I saw that I am beautiful.

I don’t mean that in a haughty, “look at me now!” kind of way. I simply mean that it had never occurred to me that ANYONE would find pleasure in simply looking at me, even after I’d been married twice. I’ve never had a hard body or the chiseled features that makes women’s hearts (or lower parts) throb at first glance, and I never will. But seeing the glimmer in Mistress’ eyes showed me that I don’t need them.

I feel like I’m dancing around the subject, and I really don’t know how to describe it better. Either you’ve felt beautiful because of the what you see in someone else’s eyes, or you don’t, I guess. If you have; then I’m sure you understand what that feels like. If not; then I hope you do feel it – and soon.

But I think there is a difference in what a woman experiences when she feels beautiful and what a man experiences. Men are not, as a rule, told they are beautiful. They are handsome or good-looking or…whatever. But not beautiful. We generally do not achieve that pinnacle of human desire that “beautiful” denotes. On the other hand, because we are told over and over again (through gender roles) that we CANNOT be beautiful, we don’t feel like we are missing out on it…until it happens.

The opening of the floodgates of possibility are one reason why I wept in Mistress’s arms. And those floodgates re-opened when Ferns posted Her artwork. It’s one thing for someone who loves me intensely to find me beautiful. It is quite another for someone who I only know through internet banter to include me in a project She has promoted as celebrating beauty. It’s like I was pulled out of the crowd and stuck in line with the Ms. America finalists. (Yeah, I know I picked out the pics and sent them to Her and knew about the project…but part of me still suspected that I’d not make the cut, so to speak.)

I also understand that part of what makes this so emotional is the baggage from my childhood abuse and neglect. Those long years of trying to be invisible still mark me. I understand that those messages were – and are – logically and emotionally wrong. I think it is a sign that I’m in the last stages of healing that allows me to receive the kind of adoration in Mistress Delila’s eyes…and also the admiration in Ferns’ eyes (if I can read that into the project).

I also know that part of what I feel is the loss of isolation. Submissive men are too often told (through gender roles) that they cannot openly display who they truly are. When it slips out, we are often subjected to derision and the bondage of gender roles is forced back upon us so that our authentic selves are damaged and left limping in solitude. This is why I started the Submissive Men group on Fetlife several years ago: Because I needed to know that I was not the only one like this. The relief of belonging to that group has done multitudes of good in helping me understand and accept myself. Ferns, whether She knew it at the time or not, struck a blow against that sense of isolation and solitude.

So this little project has moved me to these words, and beyond them to a place where words simply cannot exist. It’s a place of pure emotion and belonging. It’s a place of home and of being owned and adored. For that, I have to thank Mistress Delila for the photos that showed me Her gaze…and for letting me share them.

And, Ferns…to simply say “Thanks” seems trite and shallow and insufficient. But there is no other word that can convey the depth of what it means to me. So I will close with this simple word:


A rather masculine closet, nonetheless, is a closet

I decided to write this because of this post written by Emily Manuel (and tweeted by Charlie Glickman). That post is about Anderson Cooper coming out as a gay man and the responses from non-gay people. Ultimately, it’s about identity and having to decide if one should be in a closet or not.

I have to start by admitting that I really didn’t see it as very meaningful. I don’t feel either way about Mr. Cooper and I think that people should be free to speak about their sexuality if they choose and not to speak about it if they choose. In short, they should be in control of how much they disclose because…well, because it’s THEIR life. I forgot, just for a bit, that no one lives their life according to their own set of rules. We each have to deal with the society in which we survive, and that means identity minorities have to deal with what it means to be a minority.

For example:

Even now, Americans like Mister Cooper still live in a country where there is no national anti-discrimination bill for such things as employment and housing. There are still parts of the country where it is completely legal to sack someone for being GLBT, or to refuse them housing, where parents lose custody of their children after coming out. Even in areas where there are local anti-discrimination laws, these are often still ineffective – it’s easy enough for a bigot to discriminate without being caught.

That part hits home. A while back, it was suggested that all I needed to do to find the right Dominant Woman was to start attending “munches.” When I pointed out that this was tantamount to publicly outing myself, I was ridiculed and my sincerity was doubted. For some people, being able to live openly and authentically as a D/s couple is simply not a big deal. They do it and they have either decided that the consequences don’t matter, or they found that there were no consequences. For some of us, those consequences are potentially profound enough that we are, essentially, obeying a societal gag-order.

Forgive me for not having my source at hand to quote directly, but a gay rights activist once said that no gay man lives in a closet that he has built. It was built for him by all of the people around him, and then they shoved him into it and took away the key. The same holds true for many submissive men and Dominant women – more, I believe, than for Dominant Male/Submissive Woman pairings (ummmmm – Fifty Shades of Fluff?).

I don’t want to throw my sexuality in the faces of those around me. I’m really pretty private about it. But I don’t want to feel like I have to keep it hidden, either. I don’t want to wonder if my career could be threatened by how I live in a consensual, loving, and supportive relationship.

Anderson Cooper is helping me because he’s challenging the sexual identity stereotypes that run rampant through our culture. He’s openly gay without being effeminate or threatening or consumed with crusading for gay rights. In a way, he’s a quiet revolutionary simply because he is in a position to be open about his identity and not let it interfere with his professional life. We need more people like that.

I need more people like that.

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