Is Submission A Sign Of Weakness?
Is submission a sign of weakness? Many are fooled into thinking so. I’m talking about submission in sexual or power exchange terms; submission as part of BDSM.
What Is Submission?
Submission as part of BDSM means consenting to obey the desires/demands another person, whether that’s in a bedroom/sexual setting, as part of a Top/bottom scene or in a 24/7 BDSM lifestyle.
Dominance and submission are the central tenets of BDSM; quite literally. It stands for Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission, and Sadism and Masochism.
The exact features of the Dominance and submission in any kinky relationship is unique to that relationship. It’s impossible to say exactly what ‘the rules’ are; the only core rule is 100% consent from all parties at all times.
That said, some of the rules given by Dominants to their submissives are quite popular. These include: a submissive sacrificing their right to self-pleasure/orgasm at will (orgasm control/chastity), wearing certain types of clothing, performing certain tasks whether domestic (eg. household chores) or sexual (eg. oral sex on demand).
How Could Submission Seem A Weakness?
Without knowing much about BDSM or the people involved in it, it might look like submission is a sign of weakness in the submissive party. After all, the adornments, body language and obedience aspects all combine to give a very ‘submissive’ demeanour.
A symbol of submission, a collar, might be worn. Maybe a leash is clipped to it sometimes. This all has connotations of ownership, slavery – someone being in control of another, asserting their dominance over them.
Perhaps the submissive wears little clothing, another sign pointing towards being humbled in the eyes of onlookers. Not that people are necessarily in the same room; but facets of BDSM have escaped the shadows and come into the pop culture spotlight (thanks in part to Fifty Shades of Grey). It seems more people than ever before have an opinion on what exactly happens in ‘real BDSM’ and what ‘real BDSMers’ actually do.
Unfortunately, one pervasive myth about BDSM is that submission is a sign of weakness.
Do People Really Believe Submission Is A Sign Of Weakness?
The myth that submission is a sign of weakness is definitely on the rampage. It’s not simply that I’ve seen submissive-oriented friends being accosted by & given orders by strangers (online and in real life) by those who think themselves Dominant. I’ve experienced it myself.
There’s a big trigger for those types of guys* to approach me with some arrogant ‘Dominant’ demand. It’s usually after I’ve published a sexy piece of erotica here at the blog, about my sex life with my partner, and the link is pushed to my social media. The messages start rolling in.
Messages I’ve Received
“Hi, I am a online master who is looking for a online fuck toy who isn’t afraid of showing who she truly is . If you are interested. Plz respond with “I am interested Master.”
“i will offer a dozen roses u will be my slave”
“Hi i want u to make a sploshin vidoe“
“I will advertise u on [sex work website] and u will work in Dublin city so we could have sex“
“hi do you like bdsm? I am looking for online slave”
There are many more, over many years. It’s made me feel quite ill looking back through them, so I stopped after a couple of minutes. The fact is, many men out there think that if a woman reveals a submissive element, he somehow has the right to demand things from her – sexual things, usually.
They obviously believe that submission is a sign of weakness, that a submissive woman will just do as they’re told, by anyone. They don’t understand the balance between submissive and Dominant, the respect. The consent. The reasons why power exchange Dominance and submission I so enjoyable for all concerned.
Instead, submission is often treated as though it’s a case of one person being disrespectfully demanding and the other person being a cowed doormat**.
Strength In Submission – And My Admiration
A conversation that has happened at least once in every D/s relationship I’ve had, where I’m the Dominant, is how much respect I have for the submissive. And for other people who are submissive. Personally, I only enjoy submission in a strictly sexual environment – and only with my partner. But those who submit to serve and obey another (subject to limits/ ongoing consent of course)? I fail to see how anyone could view it as weakness.
By comparison, it feels easy*** when you’re the one making the rules. When you’re the one making demands and having them fulfilled in the manner you choose. To not know what your Dominant/owner may request of you, from you… but knowing that you’ve agreed to serve them (again, within limits)? Scary. Unknown. It makes me balk and at the same time, be filled with admiration for those who can, who want to.
Being Strong In Other Ways, Too
I think it’s important to point out that the act of submission itself isn’t the only thing I see as strength here. It takes courage to acknowledge that you’re submissive in nature – whether a lifestyle submissive in the BDSM scene or in a purely romantic/sexual setting.
Then there’s the strength required to deal with unwanted attention from those who do continue to view submission as a weakness, and treat you with utter disregard, disrespect and pretty contemptuous arrogance. This might not be in the public eye at BDSM events – they have a low tolerance towards that sort of thing, in my experience –but on web forums, social media, private messages? The small taste of it in response to my erotic writings has been enough to open my eyes to what it must be like living as a submissive.
It’s not OK for people to view submission as a weakness, and submissives shouldn’t have to put up with being seen as weak. From where I’m standing, submission – consenting to obey and serve another for mutual enjoyment – is nothing but a manifestation of deep-rooted strength.
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* Yeah, it’s always been cishet men in my experience. Definitely not saying that other genders can’t be arseholes, I’m just communicating what’s happened to me. Enough women have been dicks to me in other ways; don’t worry about that.
** Of course some people have a fetish for demanding Top vs cowed doormat roleplay. These roles have been negotiated, talked about and agreed to by the D/s people involved. The activities and behaviours are then not only consented to but actively welcomed – with limits and safewords agreed.
It’s not only those outside the scene who can look at a specific D/s relationship and form completely incorrect assumptions.
*** Not a general statement of ‘Dominance is easy’; rather that in comparison to being submissive, for ME, the Dominance flows easier.