Concern vs infantilization

It’s great to be concerned about people, to care, to worry if you think they are doing something that’s bad for them. Of course.

But in the D/s domain, I see a lot of concern-trolling from dominants towards submissives who they don’t even know, and the underlying thought process is a patronising level of ‘poor little ones don’t know what they’re doing, they’re only subs after all, I shall gift them with my superior knowledge’, and it grinds my gears.

There’s ‘being concerned’ and there’s ‘infantilization’, and for me the line is in assessing situations for what they are vs using roles to make some determining assessment.

The former is ‘I see a legit risk in this situation and I’m not sure you’ve clocked it’.

The latter is ‘You’re only a little subbie and you can’t possibly be smart/savvy/mature enough to make your own decisions’.

It’s condescending and it’s insulting.

Even new dominants with little or no experience happily pipe up all over the place, concern-trolling at submissives as if by virtue of identifying as dominant, they suddenly Know Things.

Rather than assessing what’s actually going on, some seem to think that submissives are less capable of handling themselves than dominants, Clearly self-ascribed labels make all the difference, and self-identification as a dominant magically makes one smarter and more savvy, and enables one to see situations for what they really are while poor little subbies clearly can’t. Bless their little subbie hearts.

Dominants who do that are no longer seeing submissives as fully functional mature adults with agency, they’re seeing ‘little submissives’ and ascribing to them a whole bunch of qualities that diminish them and that’s not okay.

And yes, D/s can colour some situations, sure, but the majority of people aren’t so blinded by it that they are rendered incapable of making their own decisions.

If a dominant has a legit concern about someone’s well-being (regardless of D/s designation), absolutely they should pipe up, talk to them about it, say all the things. If a submissive/vanilla/anyone has a legit concern they should do the same.

But if you see some dominants behaving like they are the Keepers Of Special Knowledge that makes them more qualified to make decisions than a submissive ‘because dominant’, feel free to tell them to fuck all the way off.

Because that’s some infantilizing bullshit.

Caveat: Of course I’m talking about ‘random people not in a dynamic’ here. If they’re your partner/friend/playmate and it’s with consent, agreed to, and etc, you infantilize the hell out of them if that’s what you’re into. Enjoy!

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  1. Great and thoughtful post. When I see such behavior exhibited and i wonder if the dom has been told (by others, cliched sources,,) that Infantalization is “how your supposed to do it!” Sort of like female dominants “aren’t supposed to have sex with their male subs”? I also wonder if subs sometimes fantasize that and drive away reasonable dims (or vanilla partners who might otherwise find a dynamic workable.
    Again, a lovely post. Thank you.

    1. I think many are buying into some cliche role play, yes, and when you can’t tell the difference between ‘negotiated and agreed role play’ and… not, that’s problematic.

      And on the other side, there would be many submissives who would probably LOVE it, so it can be self-perpetuating fantasy behaviour that is reinforced in certain domains (espcially online play spaces). Until they hit the real world where experienced folks are all going ‘wtf is this bullshit?!’


    1. Well there’s a world of difference between ‘A Good Domme would…’ and ‘I myself always…’ The latter is about their own experience, the former is looking outwards to presume to tell others the one true way (their way, natch!).

      Also saying something like ‘A Good Domme would never slice her submissive’s head off with a chainsaw’ is fair enough, soooo there are exceptions… :P.

      Seriously, I know what you mean, and there’s always people who need to tell others that their way is the only way, the ‘right’ way, BUT in those instances, they aren’t condescending to an entire group of people based on their self identification and those of others, they’re just being run-of-the-mill ignorant jerks :).


  2. That drives me insane. And you’re right that there’s online play venues where it’s so prevelant it’s almost a culture element. Which, sure, if that’s what everyone has clearly negotiated, absolutely. Have at it.

    But if you really, truly believe that a submissive is so insecure, dim witted, or incapable of informed choice that you need to treat them like they’re four then they aren’t capable of informed consent and you shouldn’t be doing the D/s thing with them.

    Either they’re fully cognitively functional adults with the capacity to grow, learn, fail and succeed *exactly like a Dominant* or they aren’t capable of consenting to the interaction. Pick one because you don’t get both.

    1. “Pick one because you don’t get both”


      I suspect this issue is probably worse in M/f than in F/m (and it’s bad enough in the latter). I can’t be sure because I don’t hang in those spaces but I’ve seen enough hints ‘out there’ to think that’s probably right: Add ‘condescending superior domliness’ on top of ‘everyday sexism’, and I think there’s probably a mess of ‘aw hell no’ in there.


  3. Creeping through your blog as always

    “ …fully functional mature adults with agency‘

    Damn seems like a wise amazingly awesome beautiful friend who just also happens to also be a FemDomme taught me the difference in this between legit concern/agency stripping once. *Smiles*

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