That led to her asking these questions:
To my readers who identify as submissive or switch men, how did/do you deal with fear and self-acceptance?
How can I help men I encounter to begin that journey of self-acceptance and overcome their fears?
I commented over there, but it was already really long and I had more to say, so I’m bringing it over here.
I don’t have any answers (of course I don’t!), but I will say that I think a big part of this is generational. That is, it’s less that it takes men until they are 40+ to figure out who they are, and more that *the generation of men who are now 40+* didn’t have a cultural or social environment in which it was okay to explore alternatives from the traditional gender roles and norms.
Younger men are growing up in a more flexible and open culture where they have some freedom to explore their sexuality, and that makes for a much easier and natural road to ‘oh, right, so THIS is who I am’ much earlier. Obviously that’s not true for everyone everywhere, but as a generalisation, there’s a lot more acceptance of alternatives to the traditional ‘way it is’ now.
Men who are now 40+ never had that, so when they finally feel free to step out of the box (after their divorce and their kids are grown up and any number of vanilla failures), they struggle like hell to undo all those years of conditioning. 40+ years of being IN the ‘man’ box makes for a hard road because anything outside of it is part of the ‘not man’ box and they’ve been hammered with the belief that that’s not okay. Ugh.
My experience: some men who have submissive leanings and who struggle with what that means (or what they THINK it means) will simply never get to the point where they accept that about themselves.
I recently talked about emotional fearlessness, and it fits here.
My last was a 40-ish total newbie and he was terrified of admitting that he was not the person he had been to himself (and to girlfriends and friends and family) all of his life. Because it’s terrifying. I went there with him because I knew he had the emotional courage to overcome that fear. I could create that safe space for him, but HE had to be the one to jump, and I think that for some (many? most?) who have that fear, that’s a step they just can’t take.
If I’m a dominant woman on the other side of that struggle, it manifests as flakiness, unreliability, alternate hot and cold feelings, rejection, then neediness, a whole mess of ‘aw hell no!’
If I see fear plus emotional courage, I’ll still go there. If I see fear plus fear, I’m done. I haven’t the patience to deal with it because I know exactly what it’s going to look like and it’s a fast road to aggravation and heartbreak and while I can sympathise with that struggle, I don’t have the appetite to bite off that chunk of ugly.