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Submission vs. Masochism

Or:Playing the same game with two sets of rules


Time for a statement.

The time has come that I must make a statement about submission, masochism and bottoming. I have always been very willing to let each person work out their own patterns in the tapestry of their relationship as defined by the terms we know as BDSM-D/s. For years the two terms, BDSM and D/s, have been lumped into one large category and submissives or acts of submission could be found in either group. For me, this was an amiable arrangement and I was quite willing to let everyone have the space to work out their own definitions of what submission was to them. The overwhelming amount of email we've received on this subject has nudged me into making a stand for the first time, at least publicly.

Balancing the equation.

Until today I have not given much credence to the fact that some time ago Lord Colm and I were politely brushed off by a member or two of the "powers that be" in the BDSM community. The reason for this? We were not considered to be a functional TPE couple, for the lack of a better definition. Now, up until this event, I thought we were pretty darned functional and had found a very workable relationship based on the D/s lifestyle. My Master's ability to meet my needs as a submissive was questioned because He did not feel He should "take" control from me but opted to encourage me to "surrender" that control willingly. Today I began to consider this statement about Him not being able to meet my needs. My needs were and are being met quite well, thankyouverymuch, but the light suddenly went on about the nature of that statement. It's so simple that it's kinda of scary that I'd overlooked this for so long. I think the person/s who made this remark substituted one small factor in their equation. Somewhere their reasoning lead to (jade's_needs)=(my_needs). It ended up looking like this: (my_needs)+(Lord Colm's methods) = an unhappy relationship---when in fact the original equation was---(jade's_needs)+(Lord Colm's methods) = a happy and fulfilling relationship.

The damage done.

How many times have we all been guilty of doing that very thing when looking at someone else's submission or relationship? I suspect we've committed the act more times than we'd like to admit. I suppose this whole issue would be harmless enough if it weren't for the novices who get caught in the backfire of our subtle, and often not so subtle, attempts to glorify our own perspectives of submission and what it means. The innocent wanders into a discussion on the issue of submission or visits a website on the subject and is bombarded with conflicting information. Here is a person who is just coming to grips with the budding feelings of submission and still very unsure of what the lifestyle requires of them and they watch the flaming that goes on in the lifestyle groups or BBS postings with increasing frustration. How many just give up and shove those long suppressed feelings back to where they'd laid for so many years, never to explore them again?

Recognizing differences and accepting them.

At a recent lecture given by John Warren, Lord Colm and I had the pleasure of meeting a very lovely lady who quickly informed us that she was not a submissive but a bottom. Bottoming is what she found pleasure in doing and found fulfillment in knowing that her bottoming brought enjoyment to the person who was topping her. I admired her wisdom and straightforwardness. So few are able to make the distinctions she'd made in herself. There was no judgemental attitudes, no contention, no scales dragged out to measure who was more of what. We accepted the differences in each other's motivations and respected the other's right to be who and what we were without labeling or flaunting our report cards.So sisters and brothers, in both groups, let's put down the weapons. This isn't a war that either can win. There's things we share and things on which we're never going to agree. In S/M there are bottoms who are truly submissive but love the higher end of the erotic pain spectrum and in D/s there are submissives who need the same thing but don't base the entirely of the relationship on the pleasure/pain scale. Both are submissive...both have found a way to make it work for them. Who has the right to judge them or their dominant/top? No one, least of all you or I or the bottom who doesn't have a clue about this whole thing. Just because a gentle soul shows up in your midst without sporting bruises or welts, don't assume they're not in a power exchange as dynamic as your own. Today she willingly handed over control of a personal issue that took just as much strength and courage as you exhibited when you submitted to the whip. And her dominant was just as proud and pleased by her as your own of you. That's all that really matters, isn't it?

Copyright©1997 by jade

All rights reserved by the author.

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