Musings on politics, erotica, philosophy and whatever else comes to mind
|Dominance/submission and the perception of safety in society
Christmas for me means, among other things, long nights of discussion with people who, like me, have scattered all over the world only returning “home” for Christmas at the same time. Also, most of us need those nights escaping the family festivities ;)
Anyway, most of these debates tend to centre around politics, philosophy or societal issues - many of them, predictably under a group of friends, also relate to sex. This time, related to the increased research on the radar of any academic on things BDSM, centered around the concepts of Dominance and submission; or rather its predominance in the fantasies of many women.
It might have to be said here that in the group there are some of us who play regularly, some only on occasion, some have given it a try in the past and decided it is not for them, some have never even been tempted to try it at all. Since we met in school we have changed, our opinions and life circumstances have altered but we are all enamored enough with rational debate that we have few inhibitions in the exchange of ideas, experiences (sometimes not only theoretical, it turns out) and thoughts.
So, most of us, though not all, understand the draw of Dominance/submission (D/s) in practice and/or theory. This time a new thought was introduced - the relationship between D/s fantasies and a desire for safety and security. The thought fascinated me.
Traditional political and sociological theory argued that the human’s first need is safety, security. We sacrifice almost all to preserve it and, when it is threatened, we tend to withdraw into ourselves, become more insular and conservative. See the current financial crisis and increasingly strong conservative rhetoric. It is an interesting idea to relate this need for safety to sexual fantasies.
What is the draw of D/s fantasies? Two sides to it, and though I prefer to play on one side I can, on occasion, enjoy the other. Dominance is a rush of power, control and care, the later more so than the first for me. But there is also an attraction, in the ideal situation, to be able to control a situation completely, to concentrate another being so completely on me that the world disappears, there is only us and nothing can threaten, can intrude. The side of submission is more comfortable for me and I admit freely I can see definite aspects of safety considerations.
I like doing nice things for others, I like “serving” others when I can. It is an innate desire - but I am self aware that there is another aspect. I am better at giving then receiving (there is a whole slew of emotional issues related to that which do not need to be discussed here) and it is, in part at least, due to a desire to protect myself. When it comes to sexual situations this is even more pronounced.
Women today have the expectation on them to have to be everything, and good at everything - up to a point it had been like that always and most likely feels, in a way, like it for men too. But for us, I would argue, it is more pronounced. We are supposed to be successful in our professions, pretty, a bomb in bed and still be able to handle the kids, the social connections and the household. There is not one second in life I do not know I could do better. The times I play, the times I submit in sexual matters, there is expectation on me - but it is clearly outlined and achievable. I can fulfill the expectations, and do it well, without having to wonder and worry if I am good enough. If I am not, I am told immediately. I am safe.
There is another aspect of safety - communication. Playing requires me to be absolutely honest, forces me to be, even when I normally would hide. It changes something in my relationship as well - it deepens some link between us, a link often muddled by the constant stress and pressures of life.
So there is definitely a safety consideration in D/s for me, and as it turned out for the others in the discussion as well. Most interesting would now be if the consumption of D/s related books and toys increases in times of national social, political or economic upheaval. Don’t worry, there is a sociologist hot on the trail of that question - I will let you know when he reports back ;)
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"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to think and express it."
Evelyn Beatrice Hall; Friends of Voltaire