Being submissive can be scary

When I met my boy, he was scared, as many newbies are scared.

Scared that he wouldn’t know what to do ‘as a submissive’.

Scared that this D/s thing wouldn’t be what he expected.

Scared that the reality wouldn’t live up to what was in his head, in his imagination.

Scared that he wasn’t really submissive, that he was ‘faking it’ somehow, fooling himself.

Scared that he wasn’t really a masochist, that his fantasies over all those years were false.

Scared that he would fail me, not be what I wanted.

Scared that I would lose interest because he hadn’t a clue what he was doing.

There was more fear, though, as if that wasn’t enough. There was also internally focussed fear, which was tenfold any of the above.

He was scared of finding out that the reality was everything he imagined, and more.

Scared of leaving behind nearly 40 years of thinking that he knew who he was.

Scared of losing his comfortable place in the world, as part of the ‘normal’ set.

Scared of admitting that he was not the person he had been pretending to be all of his life.

Scared of the idea of never again finding a ‘vanilla’ relationship enough.

Scared of the trouble he would have to go to in the future to find a partner.

Scared of having to completely rethink his internal image of ‘who he is’.

Scared that he could never go back.

People learn who they are over many many years, they become comfortable as they mature, they get to know and like themselves, they feel like they are walking around in the world in their own skin, and it fits them.

For some submissive men, especially those who come into their submission later in life, it can shake their foundation to change their view of themselves. The stereotypes don’t help here. Not at all. Any research they do into these feelings will bring up every horrible stereotype of submissive men that plague D/s, and who wants to be ‘that guy’?

But it’s more than that. For some, it means that they believe that they will never again be ‘normal’, will never again be able to walk around in the world and believe that they are like everyone else, they will never again be able to walk into a bar, a party, a social gathering and consider most women there potential partners. They may, in fact, go to a lot of trouble to deny, hide, change this about themselves. For some, this is no easy reconciliation.

And you know what? It doesn’t matter what you tell them, logic doesn’t play here. And for those lucky enough to breeze into their submission with nary a blip, it seems baffling that it could be such a terrifying thing. But it can be. It is scary to admit that you aren’t the person that you thought you were, that your family thinks you are, that your friends think you are, that your ex lovers and everyone who knows you thinks you are.

To anyone who is struggling with it: I get it. There isn’t really anything I can do to help, but I get that it can be fucking scary. Good for you for stepping bravely into it. I admire you for it.

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32 Comments

  1. Yes! THIS! YOU GET IT. Add “Scared I am broken.” to this list.

    It’s traumatic, redefining yourself.

    For me, I thought I had found myself, and was stepping into my personality: comfy loafer shoes, fresh out of high school.

    I quickly found out the shoes didn’t quite fit, and put on ass-kicking biker-boots instead.

    After several years I had a reckoning, another self-discovery, and went back to the loafers. I had made a terrible mistake. I was a terrible person.

    All of this was wrenching. Usually year-long emotional-turmoil, self-discovery, discarding of reams of friends and partners and forming a brand new life around the new ideals.

    Then a few years after that, submission enters my life??? I’ve already had enough change. I’m too old for this!!! I thought I knew myself! What’s this now? Some…. sociopathic behaviour?? I don’t even know!!

    I had to go to counselling to help me through this, and I’ve never seen a blog post sum this up so nicely. Bravo, Ferns! Bravo. I hope many other hopeful subs find solace in this. I know I sure could have used it, ages ago.

    1. “Yes! THIS! YOU GET IT.”

      *smile* I do! Thank you for your caps!!! I’m both happy and saddened that this post resonated with you.

      “Add “Scared I am broken.” to this list.”

      That totally should be added, yes.

      “Then a few years after that, submission enters my life??? I’ve already had enough change. I’m too old for this!!! I thought I knew myself! What’s this now? Some…. sociopathic behaviour?? I don’t even know!!”

      *nod nod* The concept of *redefining yourself* is huge, and I think it can feel so daunting for many people that they just don’t want to face it or deal with it, and I don’t blame them. It can be tough stuff. It takes courage to run at it.

      “I had to go to counselling to help me through this

      I’m so glad you found the right person to help you figure it out. I think that’s also not an easy thing: first, to seek help, and second, to find a counsellor who is kink-friendly enough *to* help.

      “I’ve never seen a blog post sum this up so nicely. Bravo, Ferns! Bravo. I hope many other hopeful subs find solace in this. I know I sure could have used it, ages ago.”

      *smile* Thank you, Andy. If I’d known you’d have found it useful, I’d have written this for you years ago!

      I do hope that anyone who is feeling something similar finds something useful in it – not least that they aren’t alone, that struggling with it isn’t uncommon.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story.

      Ferns

  2. When I first considered the possibility of being submissive, it made a lot of sense to me, but I tried to dismiss the thought at first. I’ve never been interested in femdom porn, and the stereotypes of submissive men really put me off. There certainly aren’t many publicly known role models for submissive men who are just beginning to understand what they want. But the thought kept coming back, enough that I couldn’t ignore it. My desires don’t match the stereotype of a submissive man, but there was no denying that they are submissive desires.

    So I started looking into it. The big relief came when I found that many (if not most) dominant want something that looks a lot more like my ideal than femdom porn — that dominance and control can be packaged with love and affection, that praise and affirmation are just as valid in D/s as humiliation and degradation, and that many dominant women can and do feel a strong sexual desire for their partners and initiate sexual activity not as a way to dole out a reward but because they actively enjoy it.

    Since I’ve gotten over the fear of it being somehow “wrong” or even wrong for me, I’ve had mostly good experiences pursuing this side of me. The big remaining anxiety is that it does severely deplete the pool of prospective partners. And it’s a little bit frustrating that I don’t feel I can tell my vanilla friends about these things. But if and when I find what I’m looking for, I’m certain I’ll be happier than ever before.

    1. Thanks for sharing Neophyte. I’m glad your experiences have been so positive.

      “… it does severely deplete the pool of prospective partners”

      It does, and I think that can hit home pretty hard for a lot of folks once they put a toe in the water and then discover how hard it is to find a compatible partner *even though they’ve done all this work to get out there*.

      Ferns

  3. As usual, you seem to hit things right on the head.
    Yep, so much yes, about all of the insecurities.
    Especially this:

    But it’s more than that. For some, it means that they believe that they will never again be ‘normal’, will never again be able to walk around in the world and believe that they are like everyone else, they will never again be able to walk into a bar, a party, a social gathering and consider most women there potential partners. They may, in fact, go to a lot of trouble to deny, hide, change this about themselves. For some, this is no easy reconciliation.

    1. Thanks simplyjake.

      I normally say that I’m glad people can relate when something I’ve written resonates, but in this case it’s really not such a great thing really.

      Though I AM glad that you and others are saying ‘me too’ – knowing something is a shared experience is always a good thing.

      Ferns

  4. *wild applause*

    Brava, Ferns! Well said, and in a third of the words I’d have used. :)

    To anyone who is struggling with it: I get it. There isn’t really anything I can do to help, but I get that it can be fucking scary. Good for you for stepping bravely into it. I admire you for it.

    This. So much.

  5. Great post! Everything you say here is so true and I am very well acquainted with every one of those fears. I think that the older one gets, the tougher it is to overcome inertia and step outside that comfort zone.

    In spit of the fear however, discovering my submissive nature has also provided me with a sense of liberation. As someone who has never felt entirely comfortable in his own skin, I think I have finally been able to put a name to that sense of awkwardness that has always told me I’m different.

    The road to self-discovery is paved with challenges and the fears that come with them, but it’s much better than not knowing and even if some of those fears come true and my journey toward submissiveness doesn’t end in happily ever after, at least I know who I am.

    I can live with that.

    1. “I think that the older one gets, the tougher it is to overcome inertia and step outside that comfort zone.”

      I think that’s so true.

      I think in terms of *redefining yourself* can really only happen when you are older and have a very strong sense of self already. When you are younger and more malleable, you are still discovering and experimenting, so it’s part of ‘defining’ (vs ‘redefining’).

      On the other side of that peer pressure to fit in is so much stronger when you are younger.

      Different challenges at different ages.

      “In spit of the fear however, discovering my submissive nature has also provided me with a sense of liberation. As someone who has never felt entirely comfortable in his own skin, I think I have finally been able to put a name to that sense of awkwardness that has always told me I’m different.”

      That’s so wonderful!! And I do hope that’s true for most: That the outcome is worth overcoming the fears.

      Ferns

  6. For most of this post I nodded along, thinking I “get” how this could be scary but, I’ve never quite fit in as normal, I’ve always worried about finding the right partner and I’m used to reality not living up to my wild imagination. These things do not scare me.

    When I discovered this part of myself, or however you want to say it, well I guess I sorta breezed in and thought, “this fits, now to make it work.”

    Except, it is troubling that I am not quite the person my family and friends think I am. It bothers me that I cannot be comfortably forthright with many of the people I care about. It may be that I’ll never be able to have an honest conversation about my relationships, or that if I am honest about this huge part of what makes me tick I’ll lose the respect of those I hold dear. That’s scary.

    1. Your entire last paragraph is so right and I never even touched on that.

      It’s particularly an issue for those who are used to sharing a lot with those they are close to, and for those whose friends and families are particularly conservative.

      This in particular:

      “It may be that I’ll never be able to have an honest conversation about my relationships…”

      Ugh. Yes. Scary.

      Ferns

  7. Dear Ferns, You’re a seer of submissives, truly. Easy for me, who has experienced each of these fears – some passing, some deep. Your compassion engenders the trust that makes them all fade away, and your laser perception gives the sub no place to hide either, no choice — if he is wise — but to come out with his hands up, surrendering to bliss. A still wiser submissive, having sailed beyond these reefs learns not only to trust (the trustworthy), but to listen to and attend to his domme’s corresponding fears, doubts and reservations — as human, soul-to-soul as surely as flesh-to-flesh — and let them melt away in the rising sun of passion and connection. YOu continue ot amaze, Ferns. Thank you.

    1. *smile* Thank you for your kind words.

      I do think, though, that while the trust and love of your dominant can help with the first set of fears, some of the internally focussed ones are not going to be addressed by even the best relationship (though I guess if it lasted *forever* he is not going to have to face some of them as his reality).

      And you are right that many dominants have corresponding fears, and both can certainly help each other work through them.

      Ferns

  8. Now Miss Ferns,

    It needs hardly be said that you get it – of course you do. Looked at on the basis of my own selfish interests alone: your best blog ever.

    This blog needs very, *very* wide publication. A sticky in all BDSM websites. Or something. Get to it!

  9. Well, Ferns, as a female submissive, I am ashamed to say that I have never put much (if any) thought into the male sub aspect of this. Kind of self-centered of me, I guess, but I don’t have a lot of interaction (outside of these blogs) with other D/s type folks…

    You seem to really see into the heart and soul of the male sub, which I’m sure makes you a wonderful Domme. I’m so glad that you put this post out there. I really enjoy seeing the world from someone else’s view, and this does that for me. Some of these things, of course, apply to the female sub, too….but in this world of “men should be MEN” attitudes, the submissive male really gets a bad rap. I’ll be paying more attention to this in the future, thanks to you.

    1. I don’t think that’s self-centred of you at all. I mean, I rarely consider the challenges that poly folks have because I’m not poly.

      But yes, I do think male submissives face a very particular set of issues for the very reason you state. Social stereotypes dictate that ‘real men’ should be dominant, and that’s a pervasive social attitude that colours a lot of perceptions and *self* perceptions of submissive men. It truly sucks, and I didn’t even really touch on THAT sort of impact in the post (‘people will think less of me’ etc).

      “I’ll be paying more attention to this in the future, thanks to you.”

      I’m glad, so thank *you*!

      Ferns

  10. Wonderful post. I just found You on the web, Mrs. Ferns, and I’ll keep reading Your blog. It’s a real pleasure, a source for enrichment.

    About me… I’m a Dominant Sado-Masochist, but with Dominant Women knowing Their role and able to show Their power, I’m a complete, precious submissive man, able to stand the punishments and everything my Mistress has in mind for me and always looking forward for Her complete satisfaction.

    Yes, being a slave can be scary. But it’s a feeling that makes me better, always. And my Mistress knows that.

    Thank You for sharing all this with us, Mistress.

    Pensiero Stupendo
    Rome, Italy

    1. I’m glad you found me and I’m pleased you are finding things of worth and interest here.

      Now correct me if I’m wrong, but your nickname translates to ‘stupid’, yes? You don’t seem stupid to me…

      Ferns

  11. Hello Lovely Ferns,

    I loved your list!! I identify as a newbie switch with innate Domme and submissive tendencies.

    Your list resonates with me coming out as both a Domme and as a sub – thanks

    xx

    1. Hello lovely LeggyLady!

      I’m glad you could relate, from both sides.

      I think we often underestimate how scary a lot of this can be (for both sides) for a myriad of complex reasons.

      Ferns

  12. ~lays head down comfortably~

    Yes, yes this is exactly what I was saying to you. I have to correct the above statement of another poster. You actually seem to see into the heart of the submissive, male or female. Scared of all these things and more. The above poster said “scared of being broken” yes or scared of feeling not as strong as you really are. Yes, you do get it and although you say you cannot help, you did.

    Respectfully,
    brattyboi

  13. OMG….Thank you so much for this. It is a gift.

    I can’t believe you have described so many of the mixed feelings I am currently having as a new female submissive. I just felt like packing it in with my Dom today as I was feeling so overwhelmed with emotions, and after reading this I can see that my feelings are normal and I should just give it a bit of time and yes it must be even harder for a male sub.

    Thank you again. Happy new year.

    1. I’m so glad it helped you in some way *smile*.

      The only thing I’d add to all of this is that if you have a dominant, share your fears with them and *let them help you*. Trust me, if your relationship is a keeper, they will really really want to do that. Even if they aren’t quite sure how to help, they will listen and provide a safe place for you to voice those fears, and I think that can be the start of figuring out what to do about them.

      Best of luck, and happy new year to you also.

      Ferns

  14. This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you for writing this. It’s like you understand me more than anyone I’ve known. It’s weird, but it feels good to be understood.

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