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Are We The Same?
A Look at Male Submissives
And a Few Other Things


There hasn't been too much said about our brothers, the male submissives, and I think it's time to take a closer look at what their world is like in comparison to our own submissive sisterhood.  It might help answer a few questions for all of us.  Are we the same?  Do they have different motives?  What makes them tick?  Why do they do what they do?  Those questions sound pretty familiar to most of us.  They're much like the ones that our friends, family and society ask about us.

A Disclaimer

Before I get started I think it's no more than fair to make a couple of things very clear from the beginning.

1) This entire thing is MY opinion and not based on any great scientific or psychological study done by a major academic institution.
2) I am not a male and never intend to be one but I've known a few.
3) I am a submissive who has a very strong sense of what the word means so that might qualify me for at least half of this dissertation.
4) I have several dear friends who are male submissives.  (yeah, I know. Everyone starts out with that line.)
5) I've taken on this subject because I care.  Pure and simple.

Little Boys and Little Girls

I don't think we need to belabor the fact that little boys and little girls are different.  From the moment they tie those little pink or blue ribbons on our wrists the day we're born, society expects us to fulfill certain roles.  Little boys are supposed to be tough, independent and aggressive.  They're the leaders of tomorrow, the future star quarterbacks, the defenders of our rights and heads of our households.  Little girls are supposed to be soft, gentle-natured and stand back while their heroes defend their honor.  They're the future homemakers, the starry-eyed cheerleaders, the hands that rock the cradle and women who someday will burst into tears when "Stand by Your Man" plays on the jukebox.  Don't we wish it were that simple?

The majority of those cute little pink and blue bundles will follow the well-traveled  path to become pretty much what our society and upbringing have determined to be proper young men and women.  Another generation of Ward and June Cleavers will arrive at the "Normal Adult" train station and jump off to secure a mortgage for the little vine covered cottage and start the next batch of pink and blue bundles.  Everyone will cheer as they depart for the bank and few will notice the 10-15% of travelers who stayed on the train.

The Road Less Traveled

When Robert Frost penned the poem "The Road Not Taken", he surely must have known that there were those few brave souls who would one day make the decision not to get off the train with the others.   Who are these 10-15% who remained in their seats?  I guess I'd have to say that they're the crowd that makes up the various alternative lifestyle groups.  This includes gays, lesbians, transsexuals, bisexuals, and kinkysexuals, for the lack of a better term.  Don't laugh yet.  If you're in the BDSM or D/s group you qualify for the kinkysexual category.  Oh, we're going to lose a few others along the way--the perverts, criminals and mentally deranged, but keep in mind that some of those got off with Ward and June too.  No doubt the bank will be robbed, someone will swipe June's panties off the clothesline and the family dog will be molested by at least one of their vine-covered neighbors.

So what about the rest of us?   Look around the passenger car and you'll see we all look pretty normal. In fact, you probably won't be able to tell who's what.  Only a few might stand out from the crowd, such as those colorful characters in leather bunch with their hankies and chains dangling bravely from their vest pockets.  (You just gotta love 'em.)  The rest of us blend in with the mainstream and seldom attract any attention from our Cleaver counterparts.

The fact is, no one really knows much about us except for the others in our respective groups.  It's only when we begin to socialize that our "alternative" life is discovered by anyone but our chosen partners.  So wouldn't you think that others who share similar "kinks" would be a little tolerant of the next guy's twist?  Sadly, I have to say this isn't so.  Some of the worst discrimination of all goes on within our own circles and it's about time we all recheck our own value system.

Dear Hearts and Gentle People

Among the 10-15% is a group of individuals collectively known as "submissives."  There are both pink and blue ribbons tied neatly around those wrists--and a few have leather bracelets--but we all have one thing in common: We're submissive.  Either by nature or choice, we've willingly surrendered some or most of our personal power to one or more of another group who stayed on the train: The Dominants.  No matter if we're male, female, gay, straight or bi, we share a common bond that bridges the other individual differences.

By nature, most submissives have a strong desire to belong.  It's evidenced in the ease with which they refer to each other as brother or sister, even when they're barely acquainted.  Open affection and genuine friendship are very common in the submissive circles but there is also a great deal of rivalry and discrimination.  This is most visible in the submissive vs. masochist wars and is one of the reasons that I have continuing doubts about the nature of the macho sub.


What do we picture when we hear the word "submissive?"  I'd bet that most of you have envisioned a fragile female, kneeling with bowed head, probably scantily dressed and pleading to be tied up or spanked.  (For those of you who did not immediately conjure up that image you get an A+ for this section.)  It might be a shock for some people to see the wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes that submissive come in.  Submission is not about body conformation, physical strength, color, occupation,  sexual preference or gender.

What??  Did she just say gender?   Yes, I sure did.  About half of the submissive population is male.  And it's against this group that I see the worst stereotyping take place.  It seems that the first thing that comes to mind when the adjective "male" is slapped in front of the noun "submissive" is a picture of a wimpy, middle-aged man, wearing a cockring and argyle socks who is busily groveling at the boot-clad feet of a pro-domme with a cat-o-nine tails. (If you didn't see this image you just moved to the Dean's list.)   Without a doubt, the male submissive is the most maligned member of the BDSM or D/s community.  Worst of all, it's his own kind that casts the worst dispersions on his character.

The Male Submissive Stereotypes

There are many reasons that the male submissive is misunderstood and often the butt of so much negative stereotyping. (Please excuse the pun.)  Number one on this list of reasons would have to be attributed to the "players" in our lifestyle.  Far too many horny kinksters are masquerading as male subs.  On any given night at the local scene club you will find the majority of men touting themselves as submissives are anything but submissive.   They're there for one thing--self-gratification--and are about as interested in entering into a power exchange as my Aunt Fanny's tomcat.  There is no true desire to please anyone but themselves and get their sexual kink straightened out before going down to the corner bar to guzzle a few beers and then go home to their  "old lady"  who would probably be all too happy to take a whip to his sorry butt for being out late again.

Another reason stems from society's expectations of all babies who were born with blue spoons in their mouths.  A male, by typical standards, is expected to be the one in control.  It's not easy for most people to accept the fact that the man sitting next to them at the board meeting likes to be dominated by a woman when he leaves the office each night.  His vanilla male counterparts see this as a weakness in his character and a perversion that is totally against all they hold as sacred.  This attitude is the twin sister to homophobia and is one of the most common reasons that male submissives often shove their true nature in the closet behind that pile of wrinkled shirts and dirty socks.

I suppose there are as many reasons to persecute male submissives as there are for fostering ill feelings against gays.  The more insecure a man is about his sexuality, the more likely he is to protest against any deviation from  his own definition of "normal."  Women also have some similar prejudices.  They often feel a male who shows a submissive streak is likely to be too weak to provide the support they require in the typical relationship.  The majority of these attitudes are based on a real lack of knowledge when it comes to the male sub.  Perhaps we can dispel a few of the myths by getting a more accurate picture of the submissive male.

The True Submissive Male

In appearance, the male submissive looks like any other male you might select at random.  He's not any more likely to be slight of build or physically less developed than any other man.  In my experience, the majority of male subs are average in looks, physique and came from all ages and occupations.  The sub with whom I trained was a very well developed young man who never lacked for female attention.  He was intelligent, as most male subs are, and very motivated in his career choice.  He was athletically inclined, played most sports in school and was an honor student in college.  So much for the image of an effeminate older man in a polyester suit.

I talked to a domme a few years ago about her feelings concerning her long-term relationship with her male submissive.   She said that the thing she resented most was the way other men in the D/s community viewed her submissive.  She never called him her boy or pet but chose to refer to him as her man.  She proudly told me of the incredible strength he possessed and how precious his surrender was to her .  He could easily overpower her with little effort but willingly submitted to her control out of love and devotion to her.  I was impressed with him from the first moment we met.  His intelligence and strength of character were obvious, as was his complete devotion to his Mistress.  No one could meet this man and see weakness or cowardice in any fiber of his being, yet he responded to her every word, look and gesture with impeccable submission.  She remarked, "Some say he's weak because he's submissive.  I'm here to tell you that he is more man than any dominant male I've ever known.  They have no idea the strength he has to have to be able to be what he is to me."  I've never forgotten her, her words, or him.

The Myths and the Facts

One popular myth concerning our brothers in submission is that they are closet homosexuals.  This is far from the truth.   There are many gay male subs but those who prefer June Cleaver to Ward are just as hetrosexual as their vanilla counterparts.  There is nothing different about their need for the member of the opposite sex, other than the need to be in a relationship that involves a power exchange.

Another incorrect assumption is that they are too weak or unmotivated to assume control.  Again, this is nothing near an accurate view.  Most men who have a need to submit are in positions of authority and often viewed as over-achievers.  After a day of decsion making and being in control of work related issues, they long for the freedom to surrender that control to a trusted partner who understands their need to relinquish the seat of authority.

Male submissives need to be humiliated and subjected to pain in order to be fulfilled: Another myth that's widely accepted.   While some males subs enjoy extreme humiliation and crave physical punishment, especially during their early exploration, the majority do not require it any more than female submissives.  A loving domme knows how to encourage her submissive to surrender without leaving him looking like he lost a battle with the weed-whacker.   In a discussion with my Master on this subject, He told me that many male subs may have a need to be subjected to demeaning activities in order to test the devotion of their Mistresses.  They tend to reason that if she can still care for me when I've been stripped of all my dignity, then she truly cares for me as a person.  I found this to be true of the male submissive I knew during my training.  He had a need to escape from the image of the lady's man he projected by being reduced to the lowliest of men.   It was only then that he was able to feel the depth of his surrender.

The most damaging of opinions about submissive men portrays them as sexual predators who's only motives are based on sexual gratification.  While this is very true of the wannabes and players we see prowling about in the kink bars and IRC channels, it's not true of the genuine article.  A true male submissive gains his gratification from serving and pleasing the person he's given dominance over him, just as his sisters in the lifestyle do.  His every action, word and deed are directed toward one goal: pleasing his Mistress and receiving her approval.   We need to see the difference between male submissives and male bottoms the same way we differentiate between female submissives and bottoms.  The key word in defining the two is "motivation."  What makes them do what they do:   Their needs or fulfilling the needs of the one they serve?

Summing it All Up

The life of a male submissive in our society is not an easy one.  He's subjected to discrimination in the mainstream and in the BDSM community, very often feeling alone in his struggle for balance.  While submissive traits are frequently viewed as acceptable in a female, both in the vanilla and kink realm, they are not seen as desirable traits in a male by many in either world.  Even on IRC, submissive males are shooed away like bothersome insects and seldom find a channel where they can freely contribute their thoughts and participate in the group.

Male submissives have a daily struggle to overcome the stereotypes we've stamped on them as well as having the added complication of too few dominant females to meet the needs of their numbers.  As a result, many submissive males are forced to turn to professional dommes in order to fulfill their need to serve.  Sadly, too few of these professionals have any real interest in them past their MasterCard or Visa.  Once the plastic passes verification and the funds are transferred, the submissive male's needs are of little concern.  Thank the gods for the few honest pro-dommes that sincerely care for the hearts of the men who have knelt silently at her feet.

So, brothers, I offer you my respect and admiration for the strength and loyalty you possess in your service to your Mistresses.   You are truly shining examples of what submission should be.  To you wannabes and players:  You should be ashamed of yourself for the dishonor you've brought to better men than you'll ever be.  I hope when you go home, your mother runs out from under the front step and bites you on the ankles.

Copyright© 1997 Castle Realm
All rights are reserved by the author.

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