Posted by: littlegirlyone | December 10, 2007

non-sexual submission, continuing

i’m so grateful for the comments i get on any entry, but occasionally, i get such a wonderful and interesting pool of responses, i don’t feel that posting a reply comment does the responders justice.

ever since i posted that entry, i’ve thought, and re-thought what i wrote, in hopes that i could come up with some definitive response. so far, i haven’t, but this is a journal that’s as much about my road to self-discovery as it is about the moments that i come to discover something new. in that spirit, i will continue to contemplate my original piece of writing, and the ideas i struggled to convey in it. i would also like to respond to some of the terrific, thought-provoking comments i received. i have edited these comments, so if you want to see them in their original context, please click here.

meg said:

i have to admit that i never thought of a desire to please everyone and a need to always feel liked as part of submission before reading this post.

indeed, i never thought of my “people-pleasing” conflict-avoiding tendencies as part of my submission, either. and perhaps they aren’t. i am totally willing to examine these issues as related to some other facet of me, and not indicators of my submission at all. i think whether you see my personality as “naturally submissive” or not really turns on how you define a submissive to begin with.

we can all agree that no one should go around “submitting” to everyone they meet. those people (if they even exist) are viewed as spineless doormats. i certainly don’t aspire to that! i suppose that my thought process followed a sort of “chicken or the egg” pattern: do i identify as submissive because i have these people-pleasing, conflict avoiding tendencies, or do the tendencies identify my submission?

and, as meg asked me later on, what says that this behavior is submissive, and not self-protective (arguably, the opposite of submission)? my answer is goes back to what defines submission: is submission about not protecting yourself? is it about compliance despite desire, or about desire to comply? there’s a whole list of words we could come up with for what submission is. it is as multi-faceted as the girl who expresses it. in some ways, i think that what becomes important, what quality we focus on, is really a matter of moment. when a submissive is asked to be vulnerable and expose herself, then self-protection would be the opposite of submission in that context. when she’s told to use her safeword, exercising self-protection is compliance, doing what’s asked, and i would be hard pressed to label that “not submissive.”

this also reminds me of the debate about whether “‘punishment” is punishment for a pain slut. is pleasing another submission for a girl who lives to please another? am i not just making myself happy by doing so? would it not be “more submissive” to have to submit to a dominant’s disappointment in me, rather than receive the positive feedback that i want? i really don’t know the answer to these questions, i posit them for intellectual inquiry and to note my own thought process.

meg continued:

i think of my submissiveness as expressed in my desire to be directed and to give up my autonomy; to live my life by the whims of another person who wants to take me on in that way. pleasing my owners is part of it, but the other side is that i’m not trying to please them because i want them to like me.

i am the last person on earth who is going to defend my psychosis with people liking me. i wouldn’t advise it to anyone. but i definitely think that my submission is motivated by those desires. this is a pure difference in motivation: one girl is motivated by someone’s dominance over her, and she pleases because it is demanded of her, when it is demanded of her. while i’m motivated by direct requests, i am additionally motivated by this internal desire to make the requester happy. so if someone said to me: i would really like it if you licked my boots, i would not only want to do it because they asked me to (or, as an act of submission); i would want to do it because they would like it if i did it (as an act of pleasing).

i think this second motivation is part of what makes me a rather suggestion-prone submissive. it’s not that i don’t have my ideas about what i like and don’t like, it’s that i’m easily converted, because of my desire to please, to liking something i didn’t think i’d like before. i can imagine a submissive doing lots of things she’s asked to do that she doesn’t really want to do, and eventually finding pleasure in doing their bidding. it’s just that i tend to sort of change my desire when a dominant tells me they like something. all of a sudden, i want to like it, too. i want to want it, and in wanting it, i want them to be pleased that i now share their desire.

TFP weighed in:

You wish to please one that is being paid to please you? That is his job. Your thinking is a bit backward in this instance.

i agree. there is no logic to my behavior. but, the sheer lack of logical motivation doesn’t account for my emotional response. perhaps i picked a poor example, or perhaps i explained myself poorly. the experience with the waiter had so much less to do with the waiter and the circumstances of drinking coffee, or the service industry than it did with my own little “aha” moment: i saw a connection between my “vanilla” personality and submission. whether it is right or wrong to make such a leap, and certainly whether it is logical, illogical, backwards or forwards, it was my moment. for me, this was a revealing moment.
i can’t tell you if my desire to be liked, even by a waiter whose (ostensible) job is to get me to like him, stemmed from submission. what i meant to convey is that my intense emotional reaction kicked my “submission” trigger. the reaction reminded me how i often feel this way when i’m in a completely different headspace, and that perhaps there was a link. i certainly didn’t mean that i felt submissive toward the waiter. i felt a desire to get his approval, but i feel that way about many of the people i interact with in a completely not-submissive way.
denise said:

I have been wondering if my need to please was about my submissiveness or my need to be loved? Can they be separate or are they one in the same? I believe that one, the former, has a strength of character and, the latter, one feels lacking.

i think denise really touches on my “chicken or the egg” inquiry. i suppose my answer is that i’m not sure if i can separate these desires personally. although i imagine a creative dominant could come up with some way to parse the two, i haven’t yet experienced it them separately. also, i find it infinitely difficult to locate the exact source of a certain feeling without extensive analysis. i’m sure i’ll be much more aware of these influences in the future now that i’ve framed this inquiry.

she posits that submission has strength of character, while needing to be loved does not. being a professed “love-needer” makes me want to reject such a blanket statement out of hand, but i can see what she’s (possibly) getting at: needing to be loved, needing validation from some outside source, actually, it comes off as rather pathetic. yet i could bet that most people reading my journal would be outraged if i said the same about submission. we like to talk about submission (and by “we,” i mean, we kinky people) as an act of strength.

however, leaving the pathetic label behind, doesn’t submission open the submissive up to the same sort of desire that love-needing causes in girls like me? the only real difference i can see between being a girl who wants validation, and a submissive, is that a submissive is seeking her validation from a designated source: her dominant (assuming she has one). the love-needers are possibly seeking their love from a designated source, but in my case, the source changes on a whim: last week it was a random waiter, this week it may be someone else. likely, i will seek positive reinforcement from more than one person this week; i tend to ask to be coddled quite often in my personal relationships, and have been known to ask mark, in a singsong, little girl voice: “do you love me?” repeatedly on a daily basis, just to hear that yes, of course, he does.

and finally, David commented:

While you call yourself submissive, your submission is something you consciously or unconsciously choose to share in each situation you find yourself in. Certainly it shades your being in all situations but it is something you can turn on or off just as you choose to turn on the light switch, or not, each time you enter a room.

an excellent point, and a great metaphor! i’m going to run with it. i’ll add that i have been choosing not to turn my submission switch on in 90% of my rooms. i choose to work, go to school, relate to my friends, colleagues, and family, and even to mark (except in a sexual context) without flicking my submission switch. i have grown used to interacting with almost everyone with my light off. and i think, for me, this experience was like the switch glowed for just a moment in the dark. i saw that i could choose to turn my submission on outside of the bedroom. the idea just hadn’t seriously occurred to me before.

he continued:

You seem to be totally accepting of yourself as a sextoy but surely that is not an all the time always thing either. Your reaction to submit to the pleasure of another would likely be different with some sort of assailant.
well, first off, i would love to say that i’m “fully accepting of myself as a sextoy” but that simply isn’t true. it just so happens that accepting myself as a sextoy is the area where i’ve done the most work, but it doesn’t mean i don’t struggle with it sometimes (although, i think i’m getting better.) and, yes, it would be impossible for me to function in my life as it is now, in sextoy mode. i have to go to school, and frankly, the sextoy is too dumb with her limited thinking functions. (the physical and mental differences between me as the little girl, and me as a sextoy deserves a post of its own.)
David posits an interesting hypothetical that i find unanswerable, about how a submissive reacts to unwelcome sexual dominance. i think he does a better job of delving into the stickiness of the issue of consent, will, submission, and sexual attack over here, than i could hope to do on my own at this point. but i will weigh in briefly to say that while i’ve been lucky enough to avoid any violent sexual advances, i’ve had a few experiences that have left me unsure about what exactly my reaction would be if i did find myself in that situation. it’s a dangerous confession to make, and i don’t take lightly the implication that some unwitting reader may draw about me. let me just say that i feel quite strongly that no matter how my sexual response might be hardwired to respond, i would most definitely have a terrible emotional reaction to that kind of situation. and with apologies for my vagueness, i leave it at that.

i want to close this post with another thank you to all my reader/commenters for their insights. i’m not sure that this post has shed any more light on my original musing, but for me this continues to be a helpful exercise in self-discovery, and i thank you all for the supportive, interesting feedback you’ve given me, along with the moral support. i would hate to imagine my journal without you!


Responses

  1. lg,i don’t think it is as academic a shift of you “changing” your desire when a dominant tells you that they like something. that’s almost too clinical, and doesn’t capture the real nuance of what you are doing.you are absorbing their interest and desire like it was nutrient, using it to fill your lungs with air, building muscle fibers and providing luster in your hair. that to me is more than a person who is simply finding the joy in something someone else likes in order to please them.

  2. i can totally relate to deity’s description here. :)i’m enjoying your exploration, lg. i know you have lots of things opening up on your horizon.

  3. deity,thank you. hearing a different perspective is invigorating. and a gorgeous metaphor that is, too!persephone,i am always grateful for your friendship and support.

  4. i think this second motivation is part of what makes me a rather suggestion-prone submissive. it’s not that i don’t have my ideas about what i like and don’t like, it’s that i’m easily converted, because of my desire to please, to liking something i didn’t think i’d like before. i can imagine a submissive doing lots of things she’s asked to do that she doesn’t really want to do, and eventually finding pleasure in doing their bidding. it’s just that i tend to sort of change my desire when a dominant tells me they like something. all of a sudden, i want to like it, too. i want to want it, and in wanting it, i want them to be pleased that i now share their desire.i had to quote that bit here in the comment because it so thoroughly describes how i am too. My Master has totally latched on to that tendency, and quite enjoys planting an idea of something in my mind and making me want it before He does it. There would be pleasure for Him in forcing me to submit to something i don’t want, but i think He finds greater pleasure in making me want something i don’t want.i’m loving your blog, BTW – i’ve dipped in and out from links in other people’s blogs, but didn’t have you on my regular readlist until now. Boy, have i been missing out…


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