I had a recent Fetlife experience that had me scratching my head and going, “Huh, that’s fuckity.”
This is par for the course on Fet, as you may know. Lots of disturbing strangeness going on in that topsy-turvy realm. But the source of my concern wasn’t the usual entitled dom or a kink I find squicky. It was the words of one of my fellow subby ladies.
She was apparently rather annoyed by the crass and clueless messages women on Fet tend to receive on a regular basis, and frustrated not to have connected with the type of dominant man she was seeking as a partner. Exasperated, she wrote a post containing tips and advice for how doms can do better when reaching out to subs. Be interesting and respectful, she told them. Take the time to read profiles before sending messages. Don’t contact a complete stranger with dick pics or a slew of degrading language. Ask questions to find out about who they are as individuals rather than treating them as objects for the taking. Be sincere in your intentions and practice good manners, she said. “This site is not a meat market, gents.”
“Get it, girl. Tell ‘em,” I thought, nodding and sipping my tea as I read. I clicked the ‘love’ button and headed to her profile to learn more about her badass vibe. What I found there was the opposite of what I’d been expecting.
She was, she explained in her ‘About Me’ section, a ‘male supremacist’ who believed men to be inherently more capable, intelligent, and valuable than women. Submission was not a gift, in her eyes. In fact, she found that idea laughable and disrespectful to our male overlords. ‘Females’ existed to submit and serve men without complaint, whether they wished to or not. Our feelings and opinions on this matter were entirely irrelevant, according to her, because women were born to be slaves.
Nearly spit out my tea. Felt like I’d been transported back to the Dark Ages. “Honey, nooooo…”
Please picture my confusion. “Is this really the same person?” Here was a submissive admonishing disrespectful 'doms', angry and hurt by the degrading treatment she kept receiving, advertising in her profile that the thoughts and feelings of people like her are not to be taken seriously.
The desire to please is instinctual for subs and indeed, service can be a beautiful thing. I can relate, as well, to fantasies surrounding the sentiment she describes. The problem, obviously, is that most people who call themselves doms don't have the empathy, skills, emotional maturity, or real desire to be so wholly in charge of anyone, whether sexually or otherwise. I find this to be especially true in our watered-down Tinder era of instant-gratification dating. There's quite a lot of manipulative lip service and bullshit out there.
If your fantasies involve sexism and the like, I can absolutely understand the thrill that comes with imagining ravishment, being overpowered, or giving up all control. But in the real world where safety is key, we must teach people how to treat us by accurately communicating what we will or won’t tolerate. To tell the internet that you and all those like you are inherently inferior and undeserving of basic respect is tantamount to strolling downtown with a sign on your back that says KICK ME! (Or worse. Y’know, it’s up to you. Whatever’s clever.)
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for submissives to downplay their own needs or act like they don’t have any in the first place. “Do whatever you want to me,” is a common declaration from the mouths of those still green to the scene. I sometimes see posts by young, shy, unfailingly nice subbies who are over the moon because a dom they just met online (a.k.a. a total stranger) is ‘considering’ them, as if they were participating in an audition of some kind rather than looking to build a partnership centered around power exchange. Doms are absolutely entitled to whatever standards they hold, but we are as well. It's a two-way street that shouldn't have to involve desperate attempts to impress anyone.
It took me a long time to learn to love myself and honor my needs. BDSM provided invaluable, albeit painful experiences in this regard. After a handful of hurtful interactions, I became more comfortable expressing my feelings and boundaries, along with the message that my respect is earned and not to be taken for granted by those I permit to pull my hair or swat my booty in the bedroom.
I suspect that deep down, though their fantasies may lead them to believe otherwise, most healthy submissives want this level of consideration in their relationships. The desire to submit is not a plea for abuse. It stems, at its core, from a yearning for mutual pleasure and connection.
So I say to any of my fellow subbies who may struggle with self-esteem: know your worth and own it without fear that you'll be missing out something. Your dignity is priceless and your standards exist to protect you. You have as much right as anyone to communicate your wants and needs, and to walk away from assholes who behave without regard for others. To ignore your own desire to be cherished and respected will leave you open to attention from predators. You don’t want to give such people control over your body and mind, as they’re likely to lie, manipulate, and treat you as disposable the moment you turn around and say, “Hang on a minute. I deserve better.”
Never devalue what we offer our partners. Loving, genuine, caring kinky subs don’t grow on trees, you know. How many people out there find sincere joy in going over a knee and having their buns spanked until they’re sizzling with that gorgeous pink glow? How many will look up at a deserving dom with wide, reverent eyes and offer up access to the deepest parts of their soul? How many, throughout the course of a dom’s life, will give them the opportunity to explore the depths of their most taboo desires? Not nearly as many as you might imagine.
No dom should assume access to your vulnerability without paying heed to your humanity. People value consensual submission precisely because it’s special, in high demand, requires courage, and is only sustainable through good communication and high levels of personal strength.
Do the work of loving yourself. If happiness is what you seek, there’s no other path to get there and no one can walk it for you. Take your time as you evaluate potential partners, honor your true boundaries and desires, and expect anyone you allow to redden your rear to make the effort of demonstrating they’re also worthy of YOU—not just initially, but consistently. Don’t be afraid to be assertive. Pure, hard-earned, unshakable confidence isn’t just the sexiest substance out there, it’s also potent bug repellent for the annoying flies who will buzz through your life seeking to take advantage of your kindness. What an absolute waste of time they are. There’s nothing intelligent, capable, or valuable about their little game. Shoo!
Much love, sweet subbies. You deserve it.