I am uniquely privileged: because of my relative self-sufficiency, I am loudly, unabashedly out of the closet. This gives me a certain power; I make no bones about wielding it. Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys the ability to be wholly and publicly authentic about who they are because standing up for what you believe in can get you viciously attacked.
That’s why I continue to receive numerous personal, private, correspondence from people of all genders, backgrounds, ages, and concerns who are uncomfortable about speaking non-anonymously. These folks have already made a leap of faith merely by emailing me (emails are not anonymous), yet what they have to say is so vital, is so important, and I believe is so prevalent that not sharing these “private conversations” publicly routinely pains me. I frequently ask for permission to publish these exchanges (even though I consider anything that comes to my inbox fair game for public blogging) out of respect for the concerns of others, regardless of my personal inclination towards radical transparency.
This stockpile of personal correspondence, the things these “garden-variety,” “normal,” even “vanilla” people tell me about themselves and their lives in one-on-one conversation that they would not feel comfortable sharing more publicly is evidence of the reality that “the moral majority” is simply a misnomer. They are, in fact, merely one very vocal minority. And, what’s more, so am I—I am a different vocal minority.
Since it will always be easier to destroy, to shame, to hate, than it will be to create, to empower, and to love, my challenge is to prove to the silent majority how necessary their voices and their actions really are. Until some perceived heretic such as myself can stand up to the monster of cultural shaming, to challenge the tyranny of “common sense,” and to expose the enraging and despicable lies activist academics peddle as fact, the silent majority will remain silenced by the vocal minorities fighting to maintain the cultural, religious, and economic status-quo.
On that note, here’s one such (slightly edited) exchange that I think is eye-opening with regards to its under-reported, and perhaps unacknowledged, prevalence. Like many others, this person prefers to remain anonymous because their “views have the potential to piss just about every camp off.” (That’s rarely been on my list of reasons why not to do something, but I respect the sentiment.)
So without further ado, here’s the closest thing to a guest post I’ve published on this blog:
I can finally sit down and write you an email on some of the thoughts I’ve had while reading your posts. Let’s start with the Submissive Man in 2007:
I wanted to write about why many submissive men are just as responsible for debasing their own sexuality as the many pro- (and so obviously not-so-pro-)dommes who take delight in squashing them down while lifting them of that burdensome weight in their wallets. (“Thank you for stealing my money, Mistress, would you like another dollar?”)
There seems to be this strange notion in femdom that women are superior to men. As a fantasy, I can kink on that notion for perhaps a two minute stretch at a time (perhaps longer with a visual like something by Sardax) before I discard it at as silly (for me). I’m not a loser. I’m not a worm. I’m not a piggy. I’m not worthless. I’m not a maid. I’m not a handyman. And I’m not a wallet. These notions of male submission don’t resonate with me at all. In fact, I think my submission to a woman has a special meaning because I’m awesome; the type of submission I do when I’m submissive is not necessarily “better,” but it is different, and it is under-represented.
There are tons of internet femdoms urging me to prove how worthless I am to please them; why not femdoms urging me to prove how awesome I am to please them?
I certainly don’t want to step on other people’s fantasies, yet there comes a problem when certain fantasies can’t be distinguished from reality, and when certain fantasies marginalize others (like mine). Sexual dominance really isn’t necessarily the same thing as status superiority; just because I often want women to have the former, it doesn’t mean I believe them to hold the latter.
Like you, the other thing I have trouble relating to is paying money for “financial domination”, “tribute”, or “sessions,” at least not in typical contexts. As a student of seduction for many years, I want people to do stuff with me because they are enthusiastic about it. I want people to want me. If someone doesn’t want me enough to do something with me without any exchange of money, then they don’t want them as much as I would want them to want me.
By the cultural default, paying money implies that I am inadequate in intrinsic desirability, and that I must “sweeten the deal” financially to make up for this inadequacy. I do not accept that framing of the situation at all! If I’m not desirable enough for someone to want to be sexual with me without me having to include extrinsic incentives outside their enjoyment of the activity, then we are really not a good fit.
An important lesson I’ve learned is that a lot of the status that people give me depends on how much status I act like I have. Similarly, people seem to treat me as more desirable when I act like I’m desirable, and when I act in a way that shows that I believe that they will find me desirable.
Yet if I offer someone money for a sexual experience, I am acting as if I believe that I’m less desirable to her than she is to me; my belief in my lower desirability will then serve as evidence to her that she should also believe that I have lower desirability. By the same logic, I understand your ambivalence about pro-dommes asking you to session with them. If I received such a suggestion, I would be offended inside, because it would imply that she saw me as less desirable than I saw her, and that she considered it acceptable to rub that perception in my face and have me be thankful for a chance for an asymmetrical interaction with her. Thanks, but no thanks.
I would argue that pro-dommes (and non-pro) are also being short-changed by these exchange metaphors in their own dating lives. They (and men who approach them as potential lovers) are used to accepting a metaphor which devalues the man’s desirability. I’m currently seeing a pro-domme. She asked me out after we got talking…but I wonder what would have happened if instead I had followed one of the standard submissive scripts and asked to be her slave, pay her tribute, worship her, or session with her. There is a good chance I would have destroyed my desirability for her, and we wouldn’t now be enjoying experiences that she charges other men hundreds of dollars for in “sessions.”
Since I want people to want me, I go to great lengths to make myself attractive to people I’m seeing. Getting ready can take me several hours, and even more if I’m going out as a girl. As a student of
seduction, I enjoy using my knowledge of sexuality and psychology to create mutually-enjoyable situations. Sometimes, I view the images and interactions I create as a form of power, and sometimes I view them as a form of service; these views are not mutually-exclusive. With people I go out with, part of my effort to create an attractive image and enjoyable interaction involves avoiding and ruthlessly shutting down interpersonal dynamics that undermine my desirability or value as a person; this could be construed as a service.
Since I believe that a lot of stereotypical male submission dynamics and scripts will undermine my desirability and value in even a dommes’ eyes (including, but not limited to, forms of financial exchange), I am forced to reject them in order to maintain a mutually pleasing and sustainable interaction. For me, the best way to “serve” (to the extent that the notion of service resonates with me) is to reject the stereotypical, self-undermining notions of service that are associated with the devaluing of submissive male sexuality. I serve the relationship, and I serve the other person through my service to the relationship, even if this service involves me rejecting tempting cultural scripts, rejecting certain dynamics or tests from the other person that I judge as harmful to the long-term health of the relationship, not necessarily giving them everything they want when they want it, asserting myself, presenting strong opinions, being challenging, or saying “no” or “not yet.”
I’m really grateful for all the personal correspondence I’ve gotten and I hope it continues. I also hope that more such correspondence—in whatever form it takes—encourages people to open themselves up a bit more than they otherwise would. Although this exchange was about a topic germane to BDSM and, therefore, this blog, I’ve had similar exchanges with self-described “normal people” who held “unpopular,” “under-culture,” or just plain “perverted” views.
And you might be surprised to learn how many of them came from doctrinal socially conservative or religious backgrounds.
You guys are the silent majority. I’m a bullhorn, a loud voice, maybe a lighthouse doing my best to shine light onto an otherwise dark and rocky shore of a corrosive and repressive hegemony. But I’m not the meat of the matter, you are. What will it take for more of you to speak up and speak out?