Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What do I want?

MistressLaura's Boy describes what happened when Mistress Laura wanted him to get through an activity of hers that he wasn't comfortable with. Read about it in Dealing with jealousy femdom style.

After reading that, I was laying awake at night with the question that so often bedevils me: What do I want? What am I asking for? What do I want to try.

The process of figuring that out has been (psychologically) much complicated by reading Ms. Rika's site - it's very well written, but disturbing, or actually discouraging, in ways I couldn't figure out. I finally came to look at it like this: her writing is a very needed tonic to the "do me" school of sub-wannabes, who think that "submission" is about getting their partners to be their fantasy of the whip-wielding leather-clad Dominatrix. On the other hand, I think her writing comes close to a dominant's fantasy of the same kind of thing: following her advice, the submissive will become darn-near the perfect helpmate and service person. But, (to turn her question on it's head), what's in it for the submissive?

She alludes to the fact that she enjoys doing "domly" things to her submissives sometimes. It's the thing I've always found unsatisfying about her site: there not enough of her there, nor any of her husband and stable of submissives - I forget, one live-in and a couple of part-times or something... There's not enough of anyone there to get a sense of what their relationships are like and why this works for them. Why aren't they all highly paid personal assistants to powerful people, if they like serving so much?

Clearly they're getting something back (psychically) from the relationship. Clearly, as Ms. Rika says, there's a relationship there. I'd love to know what it is, only because, having said, "Your relationship is not going to look like this fantasy," it would be encouraging to read, "My relationships look like this; this is one model that's working for me and my submissives."

Many thanks to StrongNSubmissive for pointing out that all relationships are quid-pro-quo. It certainly was the thing that I found difficult and challenging about Ms. Rika's site.

This digression about Ms. Rika happens because, after reading her stuff, the question "What do I want" isn't even relevant. I think it's taken me this long (and about four attempts at this post) to figure that out.

So, returning from our digression, I came up with two answers to "What Do I Want?" One keys off of MistressLaura's Boy's experience. The most succinct way I can sum up that post is that "she took him." And, for whatever reason, I want to "be taken" that way. I suppose I could (and probably will) try to figure out why that is. And, more productively, what that means. But the experience he describes, of being with someone who is so secure in her relationship with him, and he so willing to go where he's uncomfortable when demanded to by her, results in his being "taken" there. Psychologically, I find that as irresistible as a moth does a flame.

The other thought occurred to me on the way home tonight: "How do you tell someone you want to make them the center of your life?" Because that's what I think I want to do with my beloved. I want to be comfortable enough in our relationship that I can make her the center of my life without demanding that kind of detailed attention from her - without being her being "the mommy" and "responsible" for me. I clearly still find that dynamic a dangerous shoal.

I realized this when I realized the ridiculous number of things I do - trying to get exercise, learn an instrument, be on a couple of community boards, and be active in our church (and just so you get the right idea, it's a big part of our lives and it's a hyper-liberal church). Would I give some of them up if it meant that I could focus more time and energy on her and the things she wants? You bet.

Would I do that if we didn't have some quid pro quo in place about what was happening and why? No way. Not because I'm selfish (well, maybe - I supposed that's best left for others to judge) but because those things feed me, and if I'm going to give them up, I need to be fed other ways. And I thing being in a committed submissive relationship is a way to do that.

What I want back in that quid pro quo is an acknowledgement of what I'm doing, and and acknowledgement that it's important to my beloved that I be aware of what I'm doing. It's all those little rituals that some submissive husbands describe, and which have meaning because those in the relationship give them meaning.

For example, WhateverSheSays points out that he "forgot" to make the morning coffee and that this little incident became a moment whose dynamic I suspect they will return to until they figure out their mutual expectations about it. I make two double-lattes every morning (or very close to every morning) here in our house. It's not a submissive act - we like good strong coffee. When I used to leave in the wee hours for a long commute to work, I'd leave hers on the counter and she has said it was like a little lovely reminder from me. But she expected it only out of habit, and its absence would be seen as WhateverSheSays' wife saw his lapse with the coffee: as the intrusion of other events on to life, and a reasoned decision on his part (too tired) to make the coffee. Whereas his expectation/hope/fantasy was that she would make her convenience/expectation of service more important than his judgement about the balance of other events in his life.

In other words, I'll venture to say that WhateverSheSays, and certain I (at this point in my thinking) are saying


...before my convenience, before my "being tired," and in fact, before everything except my best judgement about what is good for us, our relationship, and our family. That I've agreed to subordinate "what I want" for "what she wants," "what is convenient for her" in return for her agreeing to expect that, acknowledge that, remind me of that, and make me acknowledge that.

Phew. I don't think that's exactly right. But this is my fifth try at this, so up it goes and maybe it will break the log jam and help things get clearer.

On another note, I'm sorry about the demise of Candace's "Woman Rules Roost" blog. I don't know if it was an experiment of hers that failed or whether she got hacked, but which ever, it seems to be gone. Any info appreciated.


saratoga said...

Actually, although you perhaps don't realize it, Rika and Candace share something important.

They are both people about whom you know virtually nothing, in whom you've invested a fair amount of authority and credibility.

You have begun, or more, to let them shape your impressions of what your personal non-male-dominated relationship could, should, or may be like. But you haven't actually been able to verify that either of them are who they say they are, do what they say they do, etc.

Interesting piece, though. It's given me the idea for a subsequent post.

To be a bit more focused, Jamie, I think you attribute all sorts of "musts" to other couples' relationships, when, in reality, yours will be a function of both your partner's appetites, and your joint dynamic.

Several of the things about which you write are so different in a totally-functioning relationship, than in someone's reportage of a partial-involvement as one of a supposed stable of male submissives.

One of my online Domina friends is quite clear in contradicting your "she comes first" concept. V feels, from long experience, that if a Domina is totally self-centered, and does, always, "come first," she'll be sub-less in a very short time. Real males have real needs. Ones worth dominating typically have complicated, interesting lives, which have certain non-negotiable demands. And such a male, therefore, has needs, too. If these are totally subordinated to the female, then, in time, he's becomed warped, and less attractive.

But first, I'm going to write about what some friends and I think 'really' happened re: candy's blog. Just a fun hypothesis, but, again, along the lines of my comment here.

Polyfetishist said...

The other person has always - at least in intent - come first in my relationships. Without kink or fetish. I won't say that always made for happy love affairs. (I've never been married.)

Indeed the D/s aspect within my current romance has probably caused us to talk more about the mutuality of our needs more. In the D/s portion of our relationship my focus on her is refracted through the feeling that she is controlling me. Given that I can end it at any time it has to be accepted as "theater" on one level. But no less satisfying for that because of the depth of feeling we each bring to our respective roles.

I looked at Ms. Rika's site over a year ago but didn't find it sympathetic. Will have to try to revist sometime soon.

Her said...

What Richard points out is so very true--putting someone else first can lead to very bad situations, most common being "co-dependency", which is a buzz word but can have lasting negative effects on any relationship.

This is another topic I would like to post about myself, but a lot of my training of pet has revolved around him learning to recognize his own needs and articulate them--less so my needs, which are fairly easy to deduce.

It isn't, in our life (and this is just us) "she comes first" but "what can I do to make her life easier today". That serves us both well.