Sunday, June 7, 2015

Femininity, Masculinity, and the D/S Lifestyle

Dear blog readers, 
My apologies for having fallen off recently, here. I've been busy with some personal projects, we had a bit of a mini-vacation, and we've had some family issues come up that required my focus. I've set three blog post goals for the rest of the month, and do plan on getting those up. Thanks for all who replied to my last post. I've really enjoyed your contributions to our discussions in the D/S realm. 

Today, I want to address a concept that's come up in many different ways, and I almost cringe in opening this one up for discussion, because it seems inevitable that this particular topic will draw the lurking naysayers out of hiding. But I've decided I'm going to carry on and continue to welcome comments. I'd just like to please urge any commenters to please, play nice.

There are some misconceptions about submissives. Many think that it is a weak person who submits to another. Why would one willingly relinquish authority? Why on earth would I do what someone else tells me to?

Women fought long and hard to be considered equals, and still today, chauvinism and prejudice exists. It surprises me, at times, when I encounter blatant prejudice against females. Some still believe that women shouldn't be in the workforce, and that a woman's place is in the home. I respect that belief, but hold to the fact that each couple needs to decide what works best for them. 

The kids and I recently read a book of historical fiction together, and one of the male characters expressed shock and surprise that the female main character was educated. My kids were amused, because they thought he was joking. I had to explain to them that no, it wasn't a joke, that during certain time periods, men, such as the main character in the book we were reading, truly thought women were intellectually inferior. Today, still, there are those who still hold this prejudice. 

Even in blogland, I've come across some opinions regarding men and women at times that surprise me. Let's just say, misogyny is alive and well. I've been a bit insulated in my perception of the way people thought, and assumed that most now believe that women are of equal worth, intellect, and capability as men. But no, not everyone believes that way. 

So first, before I get into the main point of my post here, in my own corner of blogland here, I wanted to clarify my own beliefs.

It's my personal belief that men and women are not equals in all ways. We are simply wired differently. Biologically, there are differences, and I heartily embrace my own femininity, as Jason embraces his own masculinity. How one defines femininity and masculinity will vary greatly, and I won't attempt to do that here. But to me, there is a beauty in embracing my feminine nature, and I find Jason's masculine nature highly attractive. (In fact – quick aside – he has this aftershave he wears, and when I smell it, I find myself instantly feeling, “I'm in the presence of a man.” Isn't that funny? I feel attracted to it almost instinctively. Here's a list of old-fashioned aftershaves you may find interesting. Jason uses the “Pinaud.”). But I digress. 

There are some basic attributes to being both male and female, and I think those of us who embrace the d/s lifestyle naturally become aware of our feminine and masculine natures. Hoh's will often begin requiring their submissives to wear skirts; she may find she likes painting her nails or wearing lipstick; he's suddenly taking out the garbage or motivated to cut the lawn more regularly. I throw these examples out there not because any of those things are requirements for being dominant or submissive. They're not. Certainly there are submissives that cut lawns and wear jeans. We all have individual preferences, and we all likely have ways we don't “fit the mold.” I'm simply asserting my belief that there are distinct differences between being male and female, and often, embracing a D/S lifestyle helps us understand and appreciate those differences. 

I believe there is a great deal of truth in the title of the book that has now almost become an adage, “Men are from Mars and Women are From Venus.” Men cannot mother children. Women cannot father babies. We are by our very natures different, and dare I say, created to be complementary. I find while embracing my own feminine nature, who I am as a woman dovetails beautifully with who Jason is as a man. 

That said, there have been philosophies and schools of thought that maintained that some of the defining characteristics of female and male dealt in intellect, worth, and ability. I do believe we've now proven that women are not inferior intellectually (though at times, we were less educated because we weren't given the opportunity to be schooled). So who we are as people – if we define our ability to succeed, learn, achieve goals, make advances in science, write, paint, and the list goes on – is on equal footing. Most would agree that it's a misogynistic view to maintain that women are intellectually and artistically inferior. And it's simply ignorant to maintain that women haven't contributed to society in monumental ways. We have. 

A few months ago I wrote about equality and respect, and I explained my position that although Jason and I are not equals in authority, it's not because of our worth but because of our both agreeing to a distinct power exchange in our relationship. I relinquish authority to Jason. He willingly leads me. Thus, consent is the linchpin to our arrangement. 

So I have two main points I've explained thus far. Men and women are qualitatively different in our natures, yet equals in worth, intellect, and ability. 

How does that play out in the d/s world? Why would a strong, educated, independent woman submit to her husband? Why would I consent to be disciplined by him? I maintain that it is my very femininity, and Jason's masculinity, that makes a consensual d/s dynamic so very effective for us. 

Recently, I read this post about “ten traits men need to handle strong women. It resonated strongly with me and I saw so much of Jason in that article. When I was done, I said to Jason, “Do you believe that I'm strong and independent?” Without batting an eyelash he said, “Absolutely.” And I wondered to myself, how can we submissives be both strong and independent, yet submissive?  

I believe the answer is because submission takes great strength. 

Submission requires honesty, and at times, that honesty is mortifying. To humble oneself and admit to wrongdoing is something that many full-grown adults fail to do on a regular basis. Yet it's necessary for a submissive. 

Maintaining self-composure and grace is often necessary when one submits. It's usually not acceptable to raise one's voice, lose one's temper, or give way to snarky or rude comments. It takes great strength to maintain composure and act with grace. 

I've mentioned before that submitting to discipline, laying myself over his knee, is something I find so difficult to do that sometimes I pace the floor before I can muster up the courage. Sometimes I rail within myself at the thought of having to confess to him. Sometimes submitting dredges up feelings that I find difficult to deal with. 

It takes fortitude to relinquish control. It means we sometimes need to deny what we want, if we are to embrace the leadership of another. 

Submissives serve. We kneel. We prepare meals. We say, “Yes, sir.” We quell the desire to talk back, to commandeer a situation, or control things. We go to bed when we're told to. We force honesty when being honest hurts. We obey, even when we want to say no. 

But it is because submission is intrinsically woven into the nature of being feminine that it works so very well for those of us who desire it. And it is because dominance is intrinsically woven into the nature of being masculine that it works so very well for those who embrace it. 

And that, I believe, is why many of us find that a lifestyle of dominance and submission is so utterly fulfilling. I am able to maintain my strength as a woman – indeed, my very submission takes greater strength than I ever though possible – but I'm also free to be who I was created to be. Loved. Protected. Cared for. Cherished. And it is by embracing my inner submissive that I'm truly able to grow into who I've always wanted to be. 

What do you say, readers? Do you agree that it takes great strength to submit? Do you believe that d/s works for many of us because of our feminine and masculine natures? Have you, too, found that embracing d/s has fulfilled a part of who you've longed to be?

17 comments:

  1. Even though we practice d/s simply on a "playful" basis, my wife is NATURALLY submissive, being a PLEASER!!! I ADORE her and "worship" her for this characteristic!! We don't practice DD because she is the "perfect" one, NOT me. lolzzz!

    I REALLY enjoyed this essay!!

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    1. I am naturally submissive and a pleaser as well, so how come I still end up tossed over his knee???!!! Just teasing! So glad you and your wife are happy with your playful dynamic. There's a little something for everyone! Thanks for the comment!

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  2. I don't believe in " dominance." I associate it with sternness, force, overpowering and a habit of giving orders and not asking politely.
    As for the talk about femininity = submission, I am not sure. I've never looked into it.
    I wouldn't be surprised if all humans were created to submit / be submissive - to obey God, without questioning Him, regardless of the difficulty or how obedience might differ from.our own wishes or whims, to shun alcohol and fornication and immodest dress and all other sins, to obey our rulers and to obey our parents and grandparents , never disrespecting them or defying them so long as they request nothing of us that goes against God's commands, and, for women, obeying our husbands. I am Muslim, and the word "Islam," I've read, means submission. For all human beings, throwing pride away and submitting brings peace, but most of us choose to run toward our own desires and to Hell.
    But I don't know enough about scientific things to say whether women in particular were made to be submissive by nature.

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    1. I think one can be an authority and still obey God; I also do not believe sternness and force are synonymous with dominance. That said, I appreciate your different perspective and your willingness to converse with others of different opinions. Thank you!

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  3. From anonymous: (emailed the comment because blogger wouldn't post it):

    Yes to all of those things.

    And yet the mystery continues, because there is more or less dominance and submission in both men and women. He continuum varies greatly.

    In the physical realm, men and women both have in them by design the hormones of both sexes. The ratios between them vary, however, in men and women, and there are variations between individuals with the same sex.

    So, while in general women are more submissive and less dominant, and find themselves loving and embracing their femininity while reveling in their husbands masculinity, women still have dominance within them and can access that as an energy or a skill ass needed depending on the situation. Sometimes they need to use dominance because it is more helpful in a given situation, even if it's a stretch for them, taking them out of their natural strengths, so that it requires more effort to act in dominance and do it well for all involved.

    The opposite is also true for men.

    What I wonder sometimes is whether the range of normal or good, created by God and not an anomaly resulting from some sort of defect, has some naturally very submissive men and very dominant women.

    Yes, the naturally very dominant woman usually chooses an even more dominant man instinctively to submit to. Couples often match up instinctively according to dominance and submissive levels such that there is not a major mismatch.

    But -- and I'm just thinking out loud -- is it good for a naturally very submissive man to partner with a strongly dominant woman to have a tensile led relationship? Is that, theologically speaking, a good thing, within the range of normal? Or is it, as so many would say, a violation of his masculinity and her femininity to choose to function that way in their primary relationship?

    (I'm deliberately leaving out same sex relationships altogether.)

    Questions like these always bring me back to that intense mystery of what exactly is masculinity and femininity, and whether or not each is defined by having a traditional ratio of dominance and submission within themselves, at least in relation to their long term partner/spouse.

    All that said, most definitely, for me as a very strong (in many ways), independent, intelligent woman (qualifying for the 999 society), I find it is my husband's masculine dominance that turns me on so, and makes me deeply happy and fulfilled in my femininity. The more I have embraced submission and encouraged his dominance, the more my husband's dominance and masculinity have flourished (along with my femininity). He's discovering strengths and depths of dominance that he did not really know he had in an experiential sense. It's transforming him and inspiring in himself more of a sense of leadership that others have always intuitively sensed was there in him. Cont.

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    1. Rest of comment:

      And yet, I can and often must still access dominance skills in other arenas, and it is good that I do, given the situations. I have enjoyed learning, however, how to exercise true, ultimately directive leadership, by using much more "feminine" skills of coaching and influence that empowers the one I am leading. I only get directive when I absolutely must.

      And I find myself longing for a world in which it is safe for women to act from our more submissive nature in relation to others, and not just our husbands. All still by choice and not by force, submitting only to those who can be trusted, who have earned it, in contexts like church or work or school, etc.

      And I don't mean just "following instructions", which we must do in many contexts to get the results we are wanting. I mean following real leadership with real submission.

      It takes great strength to choose to submit to a other. Thank God we have the choice today to whom we will and won't submit, and that such strides have been made (in spite of residual prejudice) in the independence of women. Because, in one very important sense, the only real submission is the one that is chosen even though she could have chosen otherwise. Circumstances or culture did not force it. (This does not deny the turn that submission is a matter of the heart, and that true submission can be freely chosen even in circumstances where any other outward choice is highly impracticable or impossible. Likewise we can be spiritually free no matter how bound our body is by someone who means us harm).

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    2. These are some excellent points, and I agree with the points you've made! What is "masculine" and "feminine" truly is a mystery, and one that we may never fully get to the bottom of. I also agree that there are way in which perhaps I, though submissive to Jason, am "dominant" in other areas.

      The beauty of it is that we don't have to choose to submit to just anyone and everyone. There's a fine balance of submitting to the power of the one we love, who holds in his hand the ability to protect and lead. It is perhaps the personal and distinct nature of that power exchange that makes it so special.

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  4. I believe your post is very well written. You touch upon many valid points on how a d/s relationship brings out the the best in our "God given roles". I can't wait to read the replies this post receives.

    In response to one of the questions that you opened up to your readers, 'have you, too, found that embracing d/s has fulfilled a part of who you've longed to be?', I feel quite strongly that yes, I feel an overwhelming fulfillment living this lifestyle. I know we all have "our story" and that each one is quite unique.

    I am a single mom of two children who divorced 2.5 years ago. In that marriage we were both always competing for the "top" spot. He didn't have an ounce of dominance nor did I have a ounce of submission.

    We fought to our breaking point. There was no trust in our marriage, and to be honest, I only loved the fact that he gave me my children. It was a horrid existence, which all came to a crashing halt... One that I feel it only pushed me to find the lifestyle that I know I was meant for...

    I think that is why I wanted "different". I knew that, although I am successful outside of the home, I didn't want to have the number one spot AT home. I am a Christian and I do believe that God has a master plan for us all.

    I believe by fulfilling my role as submissive to my Loving Sir (of almost one year), not only am I happier but my children are happier. Traits that I use at home, I have found are helping me be even MORE successful in the workforce...

    I have never thought of being submissive as having "great strength". I do believe that I have been called to fulfill my God given role, in which it totally comes naturally to me. Being submissive to my dominant gives me an overwhelming calm sensation. I crave that calmness and he loves its outcome.

    We didn't enter or relationship with this being the number one goal, however, we both had pasts... We talked and talked and talked about what we didn't like and how we wanted more harmony. I approached him with this lifestyle and we have never looked back!

    I have recently wondered if this lifestyle could have "saved" my marriage. But I feel that we were never meant to be. We got married too young and for all the wrong reasons. Life has a funny way of leading one to where we belong...

    I am finally happy. I feel complete. I know that this is the path that I belong on. I fully understand that it doesn't work for everyone, and that's ok. Im not here to judge.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my reply. Your posts have been a huge resource for me!!! I am very grateful you have shared your journey with the world.

    -Angela

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    1. Angela, thank you so much for your thoughtful reply, and for sharing your story.

      I love that you've discovered part of who you really are by embracing your inner submissive. I, too, can relate to that. I am strong, and independent, but I love that Jason can take me on, tame me, take care of me, and help me to become who I really am.

      Congratulations on finding happiness and allowing yourself to become complete. I can relate so much to that. I never knew a part of me was missing until I found it. I wish you the best as you continue your journey.

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  5. Hi there J Girl,
    I think you have covered this topic quite good. I agree with every word. My husband and I always makes this comment when people have something to say about us. Some of our friends have mentioned that I am a lot more submissive than the average wife of today. They do not know about our lifestyle at all. Then we always say, he is the CEO and I am the manager of our household. I always say we are different for a reason, we must embrace our differences and make it work for us.
    Blessings,
    Joli

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    1. Hi, Joli, thank you for your thoughtful reply.

      I like that -- he is the CEO and you are the manager! It is about a balance of power and authority, and in now way does it mitiage our own self-worth. Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

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  6. I think you are correct when you say that it takes a lot of strength of mind to be submissive. I don't think you can work on all areas at once - you just have to take one or two and work on them and then progress. I also think there is a world of difference between a man being dominant and domineering. The latter can be extremely dangerous.

    I think it is true that submission feeds dominance. But wouldn't you agree that everything in a D/S relationship needs to be consensual? I choose to work hard at submitting to my husband, but he works hard to love and cherish me in return. I asked him to spank me - and he does so with love.

    I think I have always had an element of submissiveness in me - I have always loved to please him and make him happy and comfortable. It is in my nature. But since we started TTWD, he has grown into his HOH role and I feel that I truly matter to him and feel nurtured in all ways.

    All of this does not mean I am not a strong, independent woman. I am.

    But it means that he is the captain of his ship, and I am his first officer. In that way, we work in harmony. But it doesn't mean either of us are perfect. We are a good team.

    Thank you for such an interesting post.

    Hugs
    Ami

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    1. Yes, I think it would be an exercise in futility to try to change everything at once. It does work much better when one step is taken at a time.

      I also agree that dominance isn't synonymous with domineering. A "dominant" is motivated to exercise authority in love; domineering behavior is meant to control for the sake of control or power, with no concern for those under authority.

      Do I agree that everything in a d/s relationship needs to be consensual? If by that you mean that I need to agree with everything Jason sais or does? No, I do not. Submitting to Jason means that I submit to him because I trust him and love him, not because I always agree with him. Frankly, there are times when I simply do not agree, but because he is an honest, upstanding man whose values align with mine, I grant him the authority to make the final decision. Yes, his final decisions are always what he feels is in my best interest, but no, they are not always what I agee with. That said, I have consented to allow him to be the final authority in our relationship, so our overall dynamic is always consensual.

      I have always been submissive to Jason, but I don't have a submissive nature in general with others. So in that, our dynamic is unique.

      I like that -- captain and officer. Similar to the CEO and manager above.

      Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Haven't stopped by in ages. This post made me smile. I didn't always see my dominant side nor my husband's submissive. It's been quite enlightening to find we have both qualities. Granted where our relationship is concerned I'm more submissive. I believe being the strong, independent/dominant woman I am, I need his dominance to ground me. In those moments when I'm longing, yet struggling so much to submit or surrender to life. Be it God, Allah, the universe....it's a very spiritual thing that is in deed imho within each and every one of us. Different degrees/levels we've chosen to tap into it based on our personal needs. It's not always easy this way. We have to be willing to submit to the other when something comes up that they are more passionate about. We have to say "this is their strong suit", and let them lead so to avoid a pissing match. They still happen on occasion. The harder part is when we're both longing for that calm surrender. It's harder to submit to a supreme being, than to your human spouse or dominant partner imo. But with practice, embracing both sides is making me a better rounded person. I do find I feel much more feminine these days in addition to more confidant in my dominance, a greater focus and mindfulness in my submission and much more accountable for my own self discipline. Which as a spanko is perfect because I much more prefer the fun and sexy wink wink. Great post sweets. Miss ya lady.

    <3 H

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    1. Hey lady, I love this perspective! I hoped my post wouldn't come across as narrow-minded, and I'm glad it seems it didn't to you! Not everyone has a m/f dom/sub dynamic, and I can completely respect that. I like that you two have found what works for you, and it makes sense what you say about different "strong suits." There are areas where Jason defers to me, because he simply does not know about that particular field I'm more knowledgeable in. So from that angle, I can relate.

      And yeah, for sure, let's aim for the fun and sexy! LOL

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  8. I wonder to what degree femininity is intrinsically submissive.

    I was born in Russia. Where I come from, women are under a lot of societal pressure to be feminine, men are under equally high pressure to be masculine. All these skirts and high heels on ice, for miles every day..

    Where I come from, those tiny feminine women rule. Completely and totally. Not in a Western feminist way though; in a very gentle, loving way, with a barely perceptible flick of an eyebrow.

    A heavyweight boxing champion comes home and he is a sheep in his wife's hands, in his mother-in-law's hands, etc. Even if he is the sole breadwinner, he comes home and gives all his money to his wife, all 100% of it. Except when it comes to his car. It's understood that a man gets to buy himself a nice car. Everything else is his woman's domain. The woman has incredible say in his career, his circle of friends, etc.

    I am a sub, and being submissive does make me more feminine, but I've seen plenty of incredibly hot feminine dominance growing up, over men who could bend skillets with bare hands and were total chest-thumping Alphas when around other males. I bet it's just as hard-wired into us.


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    1. You do make a good point that culture and tradition affect our perception or inclination toward masculinity or femininity.

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