Masculine Submission

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

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.

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11 thoughts on “I’m submissive because of my mother’s what….?

  1. Peroxide on said:

    I’m no academic, but aren’t Psychology Today and A Billion Wicked Thoughts both frequently criticized for being less that scientifically rigorous in their assertions?

    I agree that anyone claiming to have an easy answer to why we are the way we are is probably full of it (and definitely selling something.)

    But I didn’t feel like the article was so much pointing to males submission as a freaky side-show as an atypical disposition with a possible biological link.

    I’m usually torn on articles like this between being happy that my sexuality is being acknowledged and possibly introduced to people who will go on to embrace it, and ticked that it’s being handled badly.

    So I feel your pain, but I’m also hoping that maybe there is a woman out there reading this for the first time and thinking she might want to have a boyfriend playing the sabine someday.

    • I never heard of “Wicked Thoughts,” but I know Psychology Today has nearly zero academic cred (all references towards that end should be taken sarcastically). But this hits so close to home that I felt I just had to call them out on it.

      • Peroxide on said:

        A Billion Wicked Thoughts is the book that article was pulled from, basically it’s a pop-psych study of sexuality with a lot of the data gathered from porn searches and the like.

  2. *Freud turns towards the camera* (I always think he’s in the room from the intros to the old Masterpiece Theater, when John Houseman introduced them)


    If someone’s blaming your mom for something, you can be pretty sure they think something’s seriously wrong with you. In general, the evidence produced for such claims is flimsy and a cover for various forms of bigotry.

  3. lipstickandligature on said:

    Reading this article, I’m absolutely stunned. It’s trash backed up by hammy science. I’m no academic, but I’m pretty sure that humans have a far greater selection of social/psychological/biological variables than one species of rat. It doesn’t account for people who are switches and once again, equates sexual submission in men with weakness, as some strange biological hiccup. As you say, using the sexual behaviour of rats to back up the idea that a)women are sexually submissive and men are dominant and b) Men penetrate therefore the only “right” display of dominance is penetration doesn’t prove anything about human power dynamics in sex.

    This article seems to blame submission in men for the sexual problems of women. To me, this stinks of sexism. (After all, if a man can’t sexually satisfy a woman then he’s probably broken, or worse submissive. Oh noes!) No mention at all of the fact that women could be suffering from sexual dysfunction themselves or, because of our culture’s messed up ideas about female sexuality, simply not know what turns them on or what sexual pleasure is supposed to feel like because they’ve been told not to. Or that, perhaps, there are women who are actually aroused by sexual submissiveness in men. (But, you know, if there *are* then their brains are probably just wired funny too.)

    Ugh. There is so much wrong with this. That even in the “scientific community” (and in reference to Psychology Today, I use that term loosely) there are so many lies being perpetuated as scientific fact is dangerous because it classifies us as being “funny in the head” when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The implications of this being accepted as a scientific “truth” are embarrassingly, frighteningly awful.

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  6. John Bridge on said:

    In writing about a submissive male, I began to explore why he’s submissive and went to a casual search and found this–it’s given me pause to go forward, except on personal experience.

    • I’d like to hear more, John.

      • Someofallthings on said:

        Hi – not sure if this discussion is still at all active, but I had to comment. As a former neuroendocrinologist researcher, I think this is based on solid science (albeit over simplified) and I think most of you are misunderstanding it. There are studies going back decades that show that the hormones a fetus is exposed to during development play a key role in determining the sexual circuitry in the brain. (ie testosterone from the testes during development has permanent effects on how the brain and thus behavior develop). There is also evidence that genetics – separate from what’s going on during development – also play a key role in determining how sexual behavior (preference) develops. None of this should really surprise anyone – just about everything about us has a biological component – why would this be different? None of this says that experience doesn’t also have an impact – it isn’t nature vs nature – it’s nature AND nurture. I’m not sure why anyone reacts to this as some kind of criticism or negative. Also – none of this is about a “uterine chemical imbalance” – not sure where that came from. As over simplified as that article was – it basically says most men are programmed to be more dominant and most women are programmed to be more submissive (biologically) but some women and men end up different (biologically). And then it gets more complicated by the choices we want to make as a society and as individuals.
        I have been submissive since long before puberty. My earliest submissive fantasy memories go back to at least 5 years old – maybe even earlier. No question in my mind that I am wired that way. It clearly is different than most men and that puts me at odds with a lot of societal expectations. Maybe there are genuine evolutionary advantages to having some men and women wired differently – or maybe like so many other genetic characteristics, there are constant variations that occur randomly.
        But really there is nothing about this that suggests we’re freaks or less than. Not sure why the original post took that from the article. We’re atypical. We have characteristics that are less common. Pretty much undeniable. But science (good science) doesn’t make value judgments. It is absolutely true that in the past the medical profession HAS identified many variations as pathology – but that has changed drastically. Mainstream medicine is much more enlightened these days (perfect – no. Better- yes)
        As far as I’m concerned, we submissive guys are just one piece of an endless variety found in all biological organisms. Works for me.

  7. Dr. internet anonymous on said:

    Utter bullshit. I am a medical person doing his masters, and this article that it points to makes want to throw up. There is NO data there. What study? It is just assertion and speculations. What chemical to be specific? That article is a agendized preposition of a person. Unless I see real data on this, with statistical tests with clear terms; well..that is not science. Sexuality is LOT more complex, besides the switches are real. It is just a theory of that author. Counts as shit.

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