Is BDSM Just a Phase?

A dominant man’s sexuality matures and evolves with experience.

“You’ve gotta be submissive to understand, mate.”

It was the first time I’d met her, after months of emails, chatting in AOL rooms and telephone conversations. I stalked the hotel room waiting for her to arrive, then finally got the text that she was down in the bar. I remember thinking ‘fucking hell’ when I first saw her; she looked amazing, different from the photo.

Little later there is a pub, full even that early in the evening. We found a solitary free chair and being the gentleman I invited her to take it.

“No, this doesn’t feel right,” she said after a few minutes. “I should be the one standing while you have the seat.” Oh. This is not quite what I’m used to.

We’re back in the hotel room now. She’s kneeling, collared. (No Velcro was harmed in the making of that collar.) I ask—tell her—to do something. She does it. I ask something else: something worse, much worse. She does it. I put her in pain, agonies, and she takes it all. She reaches her brink and begins to fight. I just … just … interpret the signs in time.

This is my first time.

In the morning, thinking back over breakfast, tripping on the memories of what she had done for me, especially that worse thing, I ask her, “Why?”

“You’ve gotta be submissive to understand, mate.”

♦◊♦

I don’t understand, but I like. This is what I wanted, what I craved for years but didn’t know really existed. To be in charge, in control like that, to cause pain—revel in it, and have a girl happily (well, all right, maybe not totally happily but not spitting in my face either, though apparently it’d come close) take it all. To wrap my arms around her afterward, to fall asleep holding her.

Oh, and yeah, to have a girl willingly, hungrily take my cock as deep into her mouth as she can whenever I wanted without her sighing, tutting and rolling her eyes first.

Then she moved on.

♦◊♦

Another day, another girl. (I’ll be saying this a fair bit. I’m not bragging.) Another first date. She’s stunning, sexy, dressed like a classy slut, like the type of girl who would never look at me twice. We kiss: I’m amazed. She says nice things about me. We play, we fuck. I want her to be mine. Or rather I want the image of her to be mine. Because driving home the next day I feel strangely cold. I didn’t fly when we played. It was great and all, and I craved more with her, craved her, but I was kinda numb.

It was mutual. The control she wanted, the escape, the headfuck: it wasn’t there. I couldn’t provide that level of control.

That made me feel sad and inadequate. It made me feel a fraud. Like I must try harder to be something I am not.

♦◊♦

Another day, another girl. She’d dressed as a schoolgirl for me. I nearly swallow my tongue as she walks into the room in uniform, head bowed in a perfect picture of submission. I’m the evil headmaster, paternal but stern with spanks to give, for spurious reasons.

♦◊♦

Another day, another girl. She’d dressed as a schoolgirl for me. I nearly swallow my tongue as she walks into the room in uniform, head held high, and says with a voice dripping in scorn and sarcasm: “Is this turning you on, Sir? Do you like playing with girls, Sir?”

My brain slips a cog. I’m thrown but try to rally.

Later she’ll say she didn’t know how she should act.

“Don’t act,” I reply. “Just be yourself.”

♦◊♦

Another day, another girl. We’re both laughing as she tickles me, giggling and acting the fools, until I pull a domly face, tell her to desist and she stops, falls silent and kneels compliantly. She wants a punishment for what she’s done. I don’t want to punish her for making me laugh.

The next act is hollow for both of us.

Because I want to explain and reason. I want us to understand each other. Because if I want to hurt you, I will. I won’t fake a reason for a punishment. You’re a grown adult.

♦◊♦

I finish with a girl. My friend, the first girl I mentioned, is single, too, and has a masochistic itch. We go out for several beers the following weekend. We make a decision. We set limits. We break them. I break her, then we share stupid giggles and fall asleep entwined around each other.

♦◊♦

Other days, other girls. I talk for hours, hold and comfort. I support friends through relationship breaks and relationship confusions. I’m there. I feel good about that, that I can support and help them feel better about themselves, feel how I think they should.

I play hard, play soft, and when I think about it, when I really think about it as the girl cries insecure tears that she can’t give me what I crave, what I’ve had in the past with others, that soft play is as powerful—can be more powerful—as anything I’ve done with an extreme masochist.

I learn it’s the interaction between us, the click and connection, the reaction, not the severity of the cause of it.

♦◊♦

Other days, other girls. I humiliate when it suits, when it works for who we are. I learn. I micro-manage, make her fill in a spreadsheet  of her intended movements daily, send it each morning by 9AM as a condition of our relationship. When it suits, when it works for who we both are.

I make her come repeatedly. I make her abstain, when it suits, when it works for who we are.

I torture or tease, when it suits.

When it works for me.

♦◊♦

I learn ‘submissives’ are very often a deception. That so many try to be what they think they should be, not what they are. Submission is a movable feast: there are no ironclad rules. Be strong, take what you want and need but never try and fit a role. If you bend and try and fit it will only lead to unhappiness.

I learn not to trust ‘Dominants’ as a class. That so many try to reduce and make their girl feel worthless instead of making her fly. Because if she’s worthless then the meagre scraps of attention he gives her when he feels like it will be enough. Enough to keep her hanging on. Enough for her not to realise he barely scrapes into the dictionary definition of a man, let alone a dom.

I learn some girls say ‘Yes’ because they struggle to say ‘No’. And I realise, it’s not a ‘yes’ to me, domly stud-muffin that I am, it’s a yes because they just cannot say ‘no,’ that the internal conflict damages. I realise some “”Don’t know how she should act.”

I learn some girls will play, and then hate me for it. Because they are playing a role, taking things because we all know a submissive should, there’s a good girl.

♦◊♦

I grow out of it.

I grow out of BDSM.

I get tired of reading, tired of the cool kids who are doing all those cool things, tired of all those D/s, O/P ideals.

♦◊♦

Then I realise what growing is. It’s learning, becoming happy with yourself and your place in the world. It’s accepting who you are—who and what you are in all your submissive, masochistic, Dominant toppy sadistic fluffy wonderfulness.

I realise you don’t grow out of it—you grow into it. You live it.

You leave behind that which you don’t need; you refine, distill. You accept yourself, and learn to only accept those who fit you.

And when you do, Oh! It is so wonderful.

 

Read more: Human First, Dom Second

Image credit: Piano Piano!/Flickr

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About Jay Shaw

I’m a 41 year old man, and I’m not quite sure how that happened as I still feel like I look at the world with 16 year-old eyes. Happily cynical eyes.

When asked at school what I wanted to do with my life I replied with a shrug that I “wanted to draw”, so I consider myself rather lucky in that I’ve spent my entire career in drawing offices, surrounded by equally grumpy and childishly cynical men.

After the rather-later-than-usual revelation that women actually liked me I enjoyed the many benefits and pitfalls of single life before stumbling on the most perfect woman; we fit together and compliment each other more than I ever imagined possible. We are married with a teenage son, a toddler daughter and a clock that doesn't seem to have as many hours in the day as it used to.

Comments

  1. I know that BDSM is very trendy these days but, wow, it seems so completely unappealing to me. interesting article

  2. Great piece that reminds me of many conversations myself and the Domly one have had about this very topic, he wrote something similar, and since this is more a “mens space” I think its best to probably link to it,

    http://itsjustahobby.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/leaving-a-club-i-never-really-joined/

  3. Every woman can be submissive if she wants to.
    Every man cannot be dominant

    • Every internet piece on BDSM attracts people who think they can make sweeping statements of foolishness, Dom or sub has nothing to do with gender.

      • I’m just saying that very few men can be dominant

        • Really? “Very few men can be dominant”? Seeing as BDSM is not everyone’s cup of tea, so not everyone is into it or can do it, why gender that statement? As a dom female, I’m confused why you see this as a male characteristic.

          • I was referring to ability. Very few men have the ability and qualities to be dominant,
            For men, having the desire and willingness to be dominant isnt enough.

            But for women, a willingness to be submissive is enough. There are no abilities and qualities a woman requires to be submissive..just willingness and desire.

            An evidence of this is that plenty of men who desire to be dominant are clueless how to find a submissive female. There is an over supply of doms. Just go to fet-life and make a profile stating ‘sub female looking for dom’

            Note: Im only talking about male dom & female sub context.

            • I am so angry at the fact you think being submissive is so goddamn easy that any woman can do it . You clearly think calling yourself something and being able to do it are the same thing…So I am now declaring myself US president, I demand Airforce 1 be dispatched immediately .

            • How does the oversupply of doms show that not all men can be doms if they want? Try making a profile as a female dom- most of my friends are beating men of with sticks (with pleasure) there are soooo many sub men for every dom woman! It seems like there is an oversupply on both sides of the coin, for whatever reason, so that doesn’t support anything that you are putting out there.

              And being a sub isn’t just sitting back and taking it. There are lots of abilities and qualities required for sub women and sub men(I know, because I definitely don’t have any of them, and could never ever be a sub female).

            • I would also take issue with the very idea there is an over supply of Dom/mes. There may be lots of men who think putting Sir in there user name makes them a Dom, but I know how hard it is to find a good one. Subs outnumber them hugely, and the situation for sub men is even more skewed, most sub men I know despair of finding a Domme.

            • Jenna & Jemima

              Try not being so blinded by the female perspective

              Its much more difficult to find a willing BDSM partner if youre male.
              For a male sub, its difficult to find a Domme. For a male Dom, its difficult to find a female sub.

              Women on both sides – Dommes & subs – tend to be very particular and selective about partners.

              Jemima, you mention “‘putting Sir in the user name doesnt make a man a Dom”. That is exactly what I meant when I said, that for a man, willingness and desire to be dominant isnt enough. He needs to have abilities, skill and experience. He needs to possess certain traits regarding appearance, personality and even lifestyle.

              There are great Doms and then there are mediocre ones. As a woman, only count the former. But you do count every female who has put sub in her username when you claim “Subs outnumber Doms hugely” !

              However, for a woman, putting ‘Sub’ in their username is enough to make them sub, because willingness and desire is enough. There will be plenty of Dom’s willing to take her in their supervision and train them. Female subs dont require experience. Unfortunately, for an inexperienced male Dom, it is extremely difficult to gain experience since every female sub wants an experienced, skilled and able Dom. They even say “You cannot just become a Dom, youre born as one”

              I apologize if I offended you with my views.

            • That is how its supposed to be. A female sub is giving a valuable gift to someone. A man has to be worthy of deserving it. She has to be more selective. It is an honor for a man to be offered that gift.
              A good Dom can have several subs. But a sub usually prefers one Dom. Which might further explain why there is an oversupply of doms.

  4. I think whether a woman chooses to be submissive or not, often depends upon who the man is, rather than her own nature. Women set very different sexual boundaries with different men.

    If a man is very handsome, physically imposing, has a great physique, is socially significant and powerful, many women who normally cringe at the thought of submitting, might be ok with it. This is exactly the reason why ’50 shades of gray’ has become so popular among women. Its not the BDSM that appeals to them in the novel, but the fact that they are in control of and being sexually used by an extremely attractive and powerful man.

  5. I’d like to add that many women who get wet reading the 50 shades novel, wont even consider, letting the men in their real lives dominate them, because they simply dont measure up to the character.

    • And I would lke to add Grey is not a Dominant but an abuser, FSOG has nothing to do with BDSM, was an insult to those who practice consensual BDSM and is a book about domestic abuse. That this makes some women wet is about the patriarchal misogynistic culture we live in, nothing more.

      • Thats why I said its not the so called BDSM in the novel that appealed to women. Its the character that the women are drawn to. I just find it funny when people portray it as a guide for men to be dominant in the bedroom or something.

        I’d assume even for consensual submission, most women would require a particular kind of a man that most men wont measure up to.

    • Nailed it.

      But, hey, the truth is ugly sometimes.

  6. This is why I will never understand or like BDSM. Controlling someone to the point of them being your slave. Wanting to be a slave goes beyond wanting to please someone. Revelling in causing someone pain and for someone to enjoy being physically hurt to the point of danger. To me it is intolerable

    • As a full time pet (my Owner does not like the use of the word “slave,”) I must disagree. I wish I had the time to get into this today, hopefully tomorrow, but there is an order that some people need in their life, and the lifestyle can provide that for some. Full disclosure we don’t do “play,” but regarding your comment about the point of danger: if it’s dangerous, it’s being done very wrong, the main thing to remember is Safe Sane and Consensual.

      • You’re a person. You should not be owned by someone, everyone’s bodies and lives are their own. Even consenting to ‘belong’ to someone makes no sense even if you have chosen to. Nobody is an object to be owned

        • Very well, here’s the full story. (This situation is not to be taken as a common motivator, everyone will have their own reasons, but this is why I find your criticism of my relationship, frankly quite hurtful)

          I was in a relationship where every decision I made was attacked for two years. There was no pretence of a M/p dynamic, just straight abuse. After I finally got out, for years afterwards I was psychologically crippled and routinely self-injured. I met a woman who showed interest in me (something I was assured could never happen if I left my abuser) and we started talking, and eventually, dating. She raised the topic and I shut it down with much the same attitude you have. It was a knee jerk reaction to having been viciously dominated without my consent. However she had proven herself trustworthy and I was willing to learn more, and after about a month of dialogue and deliberation our relationship entered a different phase with the explicit understanding that I could back out at any time, she would never raise a hand to me, would respect my input in any decision made, etc.

          I am horrible with managing money and making decisions, and these are things she assists me with; I run purchases past her and she will look into it. To better help me with this, she has made a serious effort to learn the ins and outs of electronic music gear, something she knew literally nothing about beforehand, and which I use on a daily basis.

          I am in the relationship because I made a choice. You seem to want to rob me of the ability to decide for myself. Ironic, no?

          • Not trying to rob you of anything. But helping someone to manage their affairs doesn’t mean you are owned. I believe that no one is a possession of others, you do belong to yourself and no one else. It’s a basic human right as far as I’m concerned. And I’m entitled to my opinion

            • HyacinthGirl says:

              In a proper BDSM relationship, that is respected. The “slave” has the power – they choose to submit, and they can choose to not submit. A proper Dom backs off and is all about caring for their sub. I’m not a sub, and I don’t go into that headspace, but it’s an incredible rush to have a sub give me so much trust and love. I’m currently sub-less, and I never went in for 24/7 lifestyle relationships, but having my sub trust me enough to let me do anything to his body, to tell me that his body was my possession made me feel amazingly loved. It wasn’t something I demanded, it was a gift, and he was free to take it back at any moment.

              I know it’s hard to understand if it’s not your particular kink, but BDSM ownership can be very freeing for subs. They know they hold all the power in the relationship, and they know that they can end the contract any time they please.

    • You mix up a lot of different things, but then BDSM is often misunderstood. A few brief clarifications.

      Not every D/s relationship involves pain, I am a masochist my Master is a sadist. So for us pain us a part of what we do, it is however perfectly possible to be Dominant and submissive without pain, I know many who are. Remember that a masochist is someone sexually aroused by pain, it does not equal sub, although I do happen to be both.

      Not every D/s relationship is about total power exchange either, and many of us find the term slave offensive to those who are enslaved across the world. TPE is very complex, and liberating, but ultimately is the pleasure of the submissive or they would not be involved.

      Your kink si not my kink pretty much cover it if you do not want to come across as judging others in a moralistic and disparaging way.

  7. Something that wasn’t touched on in this but is critical to the understanding of a true BDSM relationship is something anyone who has seen CSI (Las Vegas) will remember.

    A submissive in any true BDSM scenario is the one with all the power… Limits are set for a reason, safe words are set for a reason, boundaries are there for protection of both parties. The dominant party is simply provided with a license to do certain things in ways that the submissive has agreed to.

    As such power does not reside with the Dom/Domme but with the sub’. Anything else, like 50Shades of poorly written rubbish, is, as noted above, total an utter abuse.

    Oh and as for all this gender assignment BS… Equality is more prevalent than you could ever know… Women do not automatically submit anymore than men dominate. Speaks volumes for anyone who believes otherwise…

    • While Lady Heather is fab, for presenting a non shaming non judgmental view of D/s in a mainstream show, the idea the sub is in charge should probably go under “lies kinky folk tell nilla folk to avoid long tedious conversations” :-)

      However agree about the gender BS comment. and of course that 50 shades of shite is anything but a book about domestic abuse.

  8. I’ve never experienced S&M outside of a relationship, so this is an interesting perspective. I’ve learned things about myself, that I’ve excepted an worked through. I learned that my need to be told I’m “good” stems from feelings about my parents divorce that I never got to address, and never having a father to tell me that. I find that I crave it less often as a result, and now it’s mostly to “balance” myself. I fight, I argue, I struggle, someone ends up on top, someone gets thrown on there back, someone gets slapped, and in the end, I tend to lose, but I lose on my own. I insist that my submission be earned.

  9. P.J

    What kind of men do you generally require for dominating you?

    • Like i said, it’s strictly within the relationship. With me, it’s an expression of love. I don’t think I could ever be with a guy that “needed” to dominate. I have to feel safe, cared for, and appreciated, in all aspects of my relationships.

      What kind of men do I generally require for dominating me? the same kind I require to be with me, someone who appreciates everything I do, and never takes any of it for granted, because I do the same.

  10. wellokaythen says:

    Sure, with some people BDSM may be “just a phase,” whatever the heck that means.

    Sexuality can be fluid, and something that you really enjoyed in your 20’s may not be as enjoyable in your 50’s. That doesn’t mean you’ve “grown out of it,” just that you’ve changed. Wanting different things as you get older does not necessarily mean your desires are “maturing,” just that they’re changing. You may even return to what you liked before later in life. (I went through a period of a few years in my 20’s where oral sex just didn’t “do it” for me anymore. Thank God I grew out of that period instead of growing out of oral sex!)

    Why do so many people feel the need to pass judgment on changes in someone’s life? Does it always have to be either “maturing” or “regressing”? Maybe it’s just change.

    In reality, everything is “just a phase,” because nothing is permanent in this world. If you engage in BDSM sex for seventy years and then die, then I guess that counts as just a phase, too.

    • I can’t figure out what is wrong if it is just a “phase.” Even if we don’t look at life long changes different relationships bring different dynamics. Or different life situations bring about different feelings about what one wants.

      Sometimes I like BDSM as a lifestyle. Sometimes I’m not in the right frame of mind to participate in it. Is it not healthier for me and my potential partners to admit that? I always thought it was a better choice to make sure I’m in the right frame of mind for any sexual things I do.

      So like you I feel people change. Their interests and likes change. It doesn’t mean they matured. It doesn’t mean their interests are more grown up. It just simply means they’re different.

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