This post is prompted by a tweet from Mistress Elita asking people not to confuse the terms ‘Submissive’ and ‘Masochistic’. It got me thinking….
1/2 'submissive' is not synonymous with 'masochistic'. Please stop assuming the two are inseparable.
— Elita Darling (@MistressElita) January 30, 2016
Visiting a rather well known dungeon in New York for the first time I was asked to complete a form saying what type of treatment interested me and whether, in each case, my limits were mild, medium or severe. Within five minutes of the session starting I was prostrate on the floor being commanded to lick the Mistress’s shoes while she told me how worthless I was. For me this was about as erotic as old socks. It felt unsexy, unnatural, ridiculous and demeaning. I know for many this is meat and drink but not for me. Thirty minutes later I stopped the session and was, very fairly, refunded my fee.
While the information form did allow me to define the nature and extent of my masochism at no point had it asked how submissive I was. Did the Mistress have any right to assume that, because I had chosen to session with someone identified as a Dominant, I wanted to lick her shoes and be spat on? I think not.
Dominant and Submissive, Sadist and Masochist are not absolute terms in stark black or white. Instead they are each an axis of character and personality on which we are all at different places. Together they create a chart where we each have our own spot, probably in one of the green areas.* A strongly submissive person can have a low pain tolerance and unless he/she makes this clear may have a very unpleasant session indeed. A strong masochist who doesn’t specify what he/she wants is unlikely to be satisfied with a mild spanking. On the other side, for some tops it is all about domination and power while, for others, it is about inflicting pain. For two people playing for the first time simple top/bottom or dom/sub labels are not enough. For a mutually fulfilling session the pre-session communication has in effect to define where each partner sits on this chart.
So a Switch is in the middle where the lines cross. Right?
Wrong. The lines cross at Vanilla – no kink at all.
A switch effectively has two personas, each of which has a unique position on the chart. Taking myself as an example: as a sub I am rather strongly masochistic but only weakly submissive. As a dom I am fairly mildly dominant (yes, I want her tied up but I am not going to verbally abuse her) but fairly sadistic, perhaps because I am looking for her to have the pain sensations that are such a turn-on for me. So this is my personal chart. I think that if I actually showed this to a sex worker before we had our first session the chances of a fulfilling experience would be hugely increased.
Like much of BDSM it all comes down to self awareness and good communication. Without both of these things what is left is effectively floundering around in the dark without a map. Never a good plan.
*It is perfectly possible to be in the blue areas. In a recent blog I described a session where a Mistress “Topped From The Bottom”, taking a role that was both dominant and masochistic, while I was enjoying spanking her without ever once being anything other than submissive. A bit paradoxical for some but fun. It this was your core kink and how you identified yourself then your emoji would be in one or the other blue area depending on whether you liked to top from the bottom or to be topped from the bottom. Confused. Try it, you’ll see.