From the Submissive Guide Newsletter 5/28/16

This is a guest post by  Mistress Steel. It was part of her Steel's Chamber Scrolls which is now defunct. Shared with Permission.

Dear Mistress,

. . . One in particular that often bothers me, the impact of the Internet on the lifestyle or the type of people who suddenly "found themselves " at the ripe age of 40 . I wonder why a persons sexual makeup only came out now ? How could you not know you were different growing up ?


Over the past several years I have become more and more interested in answering this particular question. There are several surface answers which appear valid yet fail to address what I feel inside to be the fuller truth. It can be shown that the advent of the Internet has reverberated as a 'burst' or explosion of interest in the S/m community although this is most often vocalized under the auspices of Domination and submission rather than BDSM. I do not see this 'burst' of interest as limited to exploration of S/m but see evidence that this 'burst' has occurred across many fields of study and interest, so to that extent this appears to fall within the normal range of experience as information simply became more readily available to people (at large) as the Information Super Highway opened up. Some people speculate that the Internet has served to 'create' this interest and that as fast as it arrived it will dissipate. This concept is based on the idea that the 'need' for knowledge and information will become glutted, finally sating the individual wherein they will revert to their 'normal' framework and begin to distance themselves from the 'playground'. This does appear to be a reasonable concept as many of the people who initially were 'captivated' by the mystery of BDSM have since pulled back to live their lives in almost the same manner as they did prior to exploring BDSM. This also appears to be consistent with the exploration of other curiosities made accessible or cyber interactive via this media. The most visible of these would be the explosion in UFO, alternative and conspiracy materials and websites. However, since each of these is a different arena I have hesitated to sweep all into the same box and label it 'Internet Phenomenon'.

Taken separately D/s, S/m, BDSM deal with interpersonal relationships on the most intimate levels. Unlike an interest in a particular 'idea' such as the existence of aliens, involvement in S/m includes interaction involving the activities in a persons real life existence, thereby taking this 'interest' out of the little white box safety of the Internet or outside of a mental debate and places it inside the intimate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual relationships of the individual.

So, although there are similarities, these are not sufficient to explain what is happening.

At the moment I am in the process of collecting historical data on 'emergence' based on those people who 'found themselves' prior to the existence of the Internet as a factor. Based purely on my limited personal experience I have noted the existence of people younger than 35-40 (including myself and my late husband) within the community before that point, however, in my personal recollection I still remember a predominance of 'mid-life' people who were a statistically higher number in comparison to youthful 'active' and senior 'active'. This on the surface would appear to 'echo' the current phenomenon regardless of the intervention of the Internet.

Recently I received part of the UNICEF survey related to birth control world-wide. This study appears to have been oriented primarily at women with some surprising findings. Those women given a 'freedom' to partake of birth control appear to have elected to do so, with the birth rate falling (not really surprising to me) This reduction in child-birth or dependency if coupled to an opportunity for the woman to further her potential independent earnings (such as through education) reflected a choice by the woman to limit reproduction to a single child or two children. In addition these women elected to have a child later in life when their independent finances were more established. Further it was noted that given this expansion of choices that a majority of the women selected one mate to have children with. Then moved to select a different mate during mid-life (to share interests with) and further to select a third mate to (age with). These separations of 'childbearing age', 'mid-life age' and 'old-age' were surprising given the pre-existence of 'norm' being a single mate throughout a woman's life, this being offered historically as the 'preferred woman's choice'. The survey further explored how the number of children produced appeared to alter or destroy this choice process. If more than two children were created then the woman was much more likely to stay with originator mate. If 4 or more children were created then the likelihood of remaining with the 'originator mate' increased to 97%. (Please refer to UNICEF for the actual statistical numbers).

Although the material I reviewed did not contain the same type of survey of men I have since reading that material inquired of men who I know who are mid-life to old-age and asked them of their feelings on this 'pattern'. Most of the men I spoke with appeared to feel a 'kinship' to the three mate lifetime concept, versus the 'single mate norm'. As I do not have any statistical data on this I cannot offer this as anything more than initial or anecdotal.

To some extent I believe that 'child-bearing years' contain a type of setting in the mind that compels the individual into a pattern of 'conformity to standard', which may be a control tool (control of reproduction - control the population). This inhibition or setting appears to become inactive when the individual exits prime child bearing years. As this inhibition fades the individual appears to reclaim interests which existed prior to 'child bearing' and return to explorations that had lain relatively dormant during those years. Some might choose to believe that this is a natural outgrown of 'maturing' but I do not believe that this is entirely so, in my experience if a person who has reached this point 'becomes' 'child bearing active' again then they will 'revert' to the same blockaded position, or seek to perform to community standard once more (or at least to some degree). Those who 'emerge' prior to the full growth of their children tend to express deep conflicting feelings or the sense of being torn between 'standard' and this further 'need' to seek out their personal 'truth'. It is of interest that many people feel their 'young life' to have been incomplete in many crucial ways. The choice to live in a state of feeling unfulfilled appears to me to be unnatural or imposed. Many people seek to escape this state as soon as possible, however they often merely change partners and continue the same difficulties during that 'youthful' period of years.

Mid-life is that point where the individual completes their duty toward childbearing often becoming the first opportunity to be 'without' primary responsibilities. In addition as a more seasoned adult the individual is more able to 'know' or be direct in what they want at that point, they become 'able' to articulate what they want and need. Many people want to reclaim their ability to play! They may also become less vulnerable to criticism, or community censure as their 'self' is now firmly established.

Written by F.R.R. Mallory - also known as Mistress Steel. This article may be excerpted from  Extreme Space, The Domination and Submission Handbook, Safe, Sane and Consensual, Dangerous Choices or other books by F.R.R. Mallory and shared here with her permission. Please click on the book title for information on how you can order a copy of these books and others by F.R.R. Mallory.