This is a guest post by fuzzyP.
I’ve put this question off long enough. It’s one of those questions that can cause a person to take a long, uncomfortable look at oneself, and I don’t know too many people who like doing that. My answer may not be quite what you expect.
Men are strong, right? We’re supposed to be the strong counterpart to the “fairer sex”, aren’t we? We’re the hunters, the breadwinners, fierce competitors, leaders. We take charge, demand respect, control our environment, adapt and overcome. (Can’t you just smell the testosterone? Boo-yeah!)
OK, so it’s a cliché. Perhaps it’s an out-dated concept of what it is to be a man, best left in the pre-Korean conflict era. Nonetheless, most clichés, even the unflattering ones, contain some semblance of truth. So why would a man choose to willingly submit? Where is the strength in prostrating oneself, accepting another’s dominance, being either literally or figuratively leashed?
I’ve seen this question asked on various forums, and it seems that there is always a slew of responses from Dominas that go something like this: “My submissive is the strongest man I know. You have to be strong to be a submissive.” While I certainly appreciate your vote of confidence, Ma’am, you’re making a generalization based on your “n of 1”. My guess is that all the Dominants who feel otherwise don’t bother to post, “My submissive is a sniveling worm and generally resembles a doormat in all things.” (Unless that sort of verbal abuse is part of their dynamic, but that’s another story.) But let’s face it - both types surely exist, along with everything in between.
What is meant by “weakness”? It’s fair to say that we’re not discussing physical prowess, although that might be a small component of an over-arching concept. Could it have something to do with fear? “A man without fear is a fool”. I’m not sure where I heard it, but that sentiment is expressed enough times that there must be some truth to it, so no, I don’t think that having rational, appropriate fear is a sign of weakness. But what we do in the face of that fear may be integral to this discussion, don’t you think?
Is voluntarily giving up control a form of weakness? Although some not familiar with “what it is that we do” might answer this in the affirmative, those in the know understand that it’s actually a pretty ballsy move. And I don’t think it matters whether we’re discussing male or female submissives – to allow another human being to have that level of control over you takes a certain intestinal fortitude. (Equally so, to be the one who accepts that responsibility requires just as much in the guts department.) A certain amount of bravado is required to expose oneself to the physical and emotional rigors of being a submissive. We (figuratively, I hope) place our heart and soul on the floor, and in essence say, “The choice is yours: pick these up and care for them, or crush them beneath your foot.” If that doesn’t take cojones, I don’t know what does.
There’s a knee-jerk reaction to say, “You have to be strong to be a submissive – you can’t be weak to do it,” for the very reasons I describe above. Well, between you, me and the doorknob, I don’t always feel very strong. Sure, I’m usually a get-your-hands-dirty, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of guy. But I don’t know anyone who can be like that all the time. Equally so, a person who exists in a state of weakness all the time would never be able to properly function in society, let alone in a D/s relationship. It’s just not realistic.
Everyone has those weak moments. I know I feel weak (or inadequate, or whatever term you want to use) when I fail to live up to expectations, or when I’m faced with a situation that I can’t fix. Sometimes, despite my best efforts, my needs rear their ugly heads, and I wind up feeling selfish for asking that She tend to them when I “should” be tending to her. “But fuzzy, but fuzzy,” I hear you saying, “we’re all human and have foibles and needs, make mistakes and sometimes fall short – these things make us human, not weak.” You are correct of course – but does knowing this stop you from feeling otherwise? If a great many conversations in the chat room are any indicator, we all know that feeling often overrides knowing.
We are often reminded (rightly so) that our Dominants are people first, and Dominants second – that there is a whole person there that encompasses more than BDSM. Similarly, I am not a strong person, or a weak person, but rather just a person – who has both weak and strong moments. While I don’t think that the mere act of submission makes us weak, I do think we all have strength and weakness within us in differing proportions. I’m not referring to the sorts of weaknesses that we strive to overcome in order to be a better person (like being lazy or sloppy), I’m thinking more along the lines of what is meant by the phrase “weak-willed”.
I’ll be among the first to stand up and say, “Sometimes I just want to be weak.” Or more to the point, I want to take a break from being strong. Instead of leading, I want to be led. I don’t want to have to always worry about consequences and ramifications – sometimes I just like to feel secure in following the rules and instructions that have been issued to me. Less thinking, more obeying. It’s so relaxing when the only thing I have to anticipate and plan for is when She’ll want her next cup of coffee.
Don’t misunderstand me, it’s obviously not always like that – an unthinking doormat automaton would make for a rather high-maintenance submissive that not too many Dominants would be willing to put up with for very long. But those times when you embrace the weakness (at least as I define weakness) can be marvelous – enjoy them while you can, because it won’t be long before the demands of the relationship (or life in general) require that we eat our spinach and get back to being strong again.
So, if what I said before is correct – about the act of submission is one that requires strength – we are left with the ironic state of committing an act of strength to achieve (albeit briefly) the ability to be weak. Chew on that one…and let me know what you think.
fuzzyP a relative newcomer to active participation in the D/s lifestyle, and has been in service since January 2010. Like most things he does, he’s really thrown myself into it, including a great deal of reading and research that predates his entry into the lifestyle. fuzzyP doesn’t claim to be an expert on anything, and it is his goal to stimulate some thought, discussion or debate. You can contact fuzzyP through the Submissive Guide Community or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org