Domination is not the default

N made a comment on this post about how they know when a dominant is able to bring out the sub in them, and asked me some really great questions about how I know when a submissive is right for me:

Can you describe what “it” is for you? Is it the openness? The willingness to give you what you want?

I have had a post brewing about something very close to this for a while now, so I thought I would drag it out into the light.

I don’t feel dominant towards everyone, in fact I don’t feel dominant towards most people. I’m a strong, confident, straight-talking woman, so how I am walking around in the world probably looks a lot like dominance, but it’s not… I mean, it’s just me and I could just as easily be me and be submissive.

In a BDSM context, my dominance is tightly tied to my sexuality, to attraction and lust, and it doesn’t come to the surface, really, unless I am triggered. I am able to play with it on occasion without that fierce desire, but it’s flirting, it’s not the real thing.

I wish wish wish, fervently and with a passion, that I could tell someone how to ‘be’ in order to trigger my dominance. That would have made me (and quite a few lovely men I have known) happy, but it doesn’t work like that. That’s like trying to tell someone how to be attractive to me… they either are, or they aren’t. I can’t tell them how to get there, I can’t nudge them along the road, I can’t ‘train’ them to be attractive to me, and in fact, I can’t even accurately describe what *is* attractive to me besides the very normal things that *everyone* says is attractive. But but but… even then, someone may have all the qualities I say that I want, and it can still be flat.

It is exactly the same on the D/s side as the vanilla… I can’t truly describe what it is that I need in a submissive – I can list a bunch of qualities, but it’s largely meaningless. I also can’t tell someone how to trigger my dominance… either they do, or they don’t.

Essentially, it’s chemistry, that indefinable ‘it’, you know… *IT***IT**.

We have to click. We have to click on a vanilla level (he makes me laugh, we have fun, he is challenging and interesting, he is sexy, all that) and then we also have to click on a D/s level (he makes me growl, he makes me hunger, he makes me want to *take* from him, he makes my fingers itch).

That’s a big call… huge… enormous. I find it so rarely that I am beside myself with joy when I do find it. Sometimes I am tempted to ‘pretend’ it’s there when I know, really, that it’s not. I have known lovely men, good men, smart men, wonderful men, but ‘it’ hasn’t been there and I have regretted it terribly because I *wanted* to feel it. I really *really* wanted it to be there, but… if it’s not, it’s not.

So, to answer the question… frustratingly, I don’t know exactly what *it* is. It is indefinable, that *it*.

But hell, I absolutely know it when I see it…

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12 Comments

  1. It almost sounds as though there is some biological component here. Like you are “hard wired” to respond to certain triggers.

    I believe that a lot of what we do, think, and feel, comes about as a natural consequence of our genetic makeup. When those certain buttons are pushed by someone, the body and mind simply react in the way they are programmed to. There is no way to fake it or make it happen. It just does.

    This is not to imply that we do not have control over our actions because, as you pointed out, there are many factors that go into building a relationship with a submissive. Yet without this certain “it”, the process doesn’t even get started.

  2. *It* is such a big word. I don't know what *it* is either but that part has to be there.

    Sometimes I don't see myself as a strong, confident woman. There are times when I seem more like someone that is just trying to find her way and making a whole bunch of mistakes…but I suppose that could be viewed as I learn a lot. We are supposed to learn from our mistakes…lol

    Sometimes I come closer to defining *it* by what *it* is Not. Through exploring and dating in bdsm I have found a few instances that *it* does not exist for me.

    Faith

  3. slap shot posts that you may be reacting to biological triggers, but I would also consider unconscious behaviors that trigger you. I know that I react more to behaviors than I do beliefs. For example, if a man gets embarrassed looking me in the eyes and acts it, it brings out the dominant in me.

  4. Slapshot: “It almost sounds as though there is some biological component here. Like you are ‘hard wired’ to respond to certain triggers.”

    Hmmm… there may be some of that, but I think it’s more unconscious ‘ways of being’ that speak to me somehow. I think you could probably reasonably argue that that *is* natural biology and programming, but I am not sure (or qualified to make a sensible counter-argument about it).

    “I believe that a lot of what we do, think, and feel, comes about as a natural consequence of our genetic makeup. When those certain buttons are pushed by someone, the body and mind simply react in the way they are programmed to. There is no way to fake it or make it happen. It just does.”

    I think I rebel against this train of thought because of the randomness of it, the implied lack of control and decision making over it… To me it implies that I could be attracted to a jerk because of biology and that doesn’t compute for me.

    “This is not to imply that we do not have control over our actions because, as you pointed out, there are many factors that go into building a relationship with a submissive.”

    *smile* …and here you address that exact concern about ‘jerk-attraction’… I am in a quandary about it. You *could* call that indefinable *it* some biological, programmed reaction, but for some reason, I just don’t like it. Not that it’s not a valid point… it could well be correct, I just don’t like the idea of it (yes, I know that's a rubbish argument, but that's all I've got)!

    Ferns

  5. “Sometimes I don't see myself as a strong, confident woman. There are times when I seem more like someone that is just trying to find her way and making a whole bunch of mistakes…”

    Oh gosh, me too! I don’t mean to imply that I wear steel breast plates and storm the world without ever a moment of doubt or insecurity (god forbid!). I have plenty of those moments (scared, insecure, nervous, idiotic!), I was really just talking about how I *generally* am and how people see me in the world.

    “Sometimes I come closer to defining *it* by what *it* is Not. Through exploring and dating in bdsm I have found a few instances that *it* does not exist for me.”

    *nod* Spot on. It might be easier to define the NOT because I see it everywhere, and often there is one concrete quality that puts someone squarely in the NOT category.

    I keep thinking about when I was looking to buy a house (strange analogy, but bear with me), and gave the real estate agent a list of exactly what I wanted. She rang me one day after I had rejected all of her suggestions, very excited. She had found *it*. I went and had a walkthrough with her, she was looking expectantly at me, half nodding, silently going ‘Perfect, right?’. And it was… every box was ticked. But… I just didn’t like it… it didn’t *feel* right and I could not for the life of me articulate the problem. I swear she was going to kill me.

    I ended up buying a house that felt right, but which had quite a few of the boxes left unticked. So, go figure…

    Ferns

  6. Anonymous: “slap shot posts that you may be reacting to biological triggers, but I would also consider unconscious behaviors that trigger you…”

    *nod nod nod* I have some of those too, absolutely… And some of them are completely ridiculous and they *must* be unconscious on his part, but I am not quite sure if I like those unconscious behaviours because I have already felt *it* and those are just reinforcing that feeling, or if they *cause* or contribute to feeling *it*.

    I *want* to say something vague like ‘demonstrable vulnerability’ – it’s absolutely a trigger for me. I can’t, though, tell you what it looks like (though shyness at meeting my eye, as you mention, may well be an example… but then so is a bold challenging look that I know is really bravado) but I know it when I see it. There is also a cyclical quality to interactions between us that must be there… I will feed him a little piece of myself and he will take it and reflect it back in exactly the right way which causes me to feed him a little more. Again, completely vague, but I know it when I see it because it is flirty and hot and lovely. Indefinable.

    Ferns

  7. “Oh gosh, me too! I don’t mean to imply that I wear steel breast plates and storm the world without ever a moment of doubt or insecurity (god forbid!). I have plenty of those moments (scared, insecure, nervous, idiotic!), I was really just talking about how I *generally* am and how people see me in the world.”

    Oh, I wasn't implying that you had a steel breast plate (brings to my mind Madonna…lol). I just wish that I felt as confident as some ppl appear. I have often wondered where they get it from.

    I was just thinking today that I've spent a great deal of my life trying to cover up what I really think and feel. Just to keep it off my face…Perhaps it has come in handy at times. I sure hope so w/ as much effort it takes…lol

    Faith

  8. Not to sound like a slut, Ma'am, but submitting rather *is* the default for me. :-) I can usually find something submit-worthy in anyone. Of course, there are some things that disqualify, and others that make me hunt a Lady down and insist that she beat me. :-)

    The most common disqualifier is hate, in one form or another.

    The things that make me really notice are intelligence, sadism, respect, and the determination to get what she wants at my expense.

    Respectfully, Étienne

  9. Faith: “I just wish that I felt as confident as some ppl appear. I have often wondered where they get it from.”

    *whisper* At least some of the time, they are pretending, just like the rest of us!

    Ferns

  10. Lord, Ferns…this is exactly it. Exactly it. What? Dunno, I can't break it down either, but exactly it.

    Happens so rarely, can't manufacture it, can't nurture it by “having coffee”, can't talk myself into it and sure as fuck can't be talked into it by the other party. When it does happen though…the “drag him back to my cave by his hair” flooding feeling, it's tres awesome.

    (oddly, I was thinking about this just this morning. Idly clicked over to your blog from Fet, and here you'd written it all out….)

  11. Camille: “Lord, Ferns…this is exactly it. Exactly it.”

    *laugh* Good, I am glad I nailed it for you!

    “When it does happen though…the “drag him back to my cave by his hair” flooding feeling, it's tres awesome.”

    Yes!! Oh. My. God. AWESOME!

    Ferns

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