Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What being a switch means to me

This has been edited to include things learned from the comments.

The reason I'm a switch is because of what submission/domination mean to me in the context of a Christian marriage; most of it applies in other LTR contexts. But who knows what it means to others?

The submissive is giving their dignity, their trust, a measure of control over their body; they are accepting some humiliation and pain. They are saying "I will accept pain, I will abase myself, because I want to give you pleasure." My form of submission also pretty much always includes an element where the submissive is getting sexually excited with much less that the dominant has to offer; foot play is the major example of this for me. The submissive is saying "You are so wonderful, so beautiful, that only this little bit of what you have is enough for me". The submissive is expressing compliments and love through self-sacrifice; and that it is happy self-sacrifice is one of the greatest compliments. When I am the submissive, I feel good about giving, and thus about pain; I feel proud of humiliation. I enjoy it a lot within a marriage, but I would not enjoy it with someone I didn't love the way I would something simple and non-submissive.

The dominant has a much more psychologically passive role in my little world, even if it's more physically and mentally active. The dominant is receiving the compliments and the love and the trust. The dominant must dominate to allow the submissive expression. If the dominant is too hesitant, too mild, the submissive's feelings are not fully expressed. If the dominant goes too far, the trust is betrayed.

Missing from my analysis is any idea of why the pain and humiliation of the submissive is a good thing to me as a dominant. Certainly in an ordinary context it's bad. I'm all about giving her backrubs or my coat if it's cold. Why do I want it in a sexy context? I don't know.

In a Christian marriage the participants give rights over their bodies to each other; both the husband to the wife and the wife to the husband is specified in the Bible, not just one way. D/S play is the way I like to see that expressed; it's the fun way.

I figure domination and submission must mean very different things for people who are not switches, and likely in lots of cases for other switches too. What do they mean to you?


  1. They are saying "I will accept pain, I will abase myself, because I want to give you pleasure."

    And in doing so they get pleasure. Right? For me the pain itself is a turn on. There is no self-sacrifice in there, just being forcefully made to submit, being pushed through pain. It sound so sacral, I'm more down to earth. My pleasure is important to me... maybe even most important. It just comes from an unlikely source.

  2. But pain and humiliation do not bring pleasure in and of themselves to you either, correct? In each of our cases there is something special about the situation that causes us to feel pleasure in them. I know it's different for you, it must be different for everyone who's not a switch and I bet it's different for a lot of other switches too. But there has to be something that makes our brains interpret the pain and humiliation pleasurably. You've already explored that on your own blog, of course.

    I'm going to edit this to make that part clearer.

  3. But there has to be something that makes our brains interpret the pain and humiliation pleasurably

    Well, pain releases happy chemicals in the brain. Maybe for some people it releases more happy chemicals than usual. I wonder if anyone's ever done a scientific study on this?

    Of course there can be (and usually is) a psychological element behind the enjoyment of pain - but I'm sure everyone already knows this. Most non-kinky people assume that subs are all unhealthy and fucked in the head to like what they like. Whereas I've rarely, if ever, heard someone point out the simple fact that pain brings endorphins and endorphins make you I'm pointing it out.

  4. Whereas I've rarely, if ever, heard someone point out the simple fact that pain brings endorphins and endorphins make you I'm pointing it out.

    Yes. That's right. Sometimes that's all there is... So let's get dancing.

  5. Mmm, this doesn't explain it for me. If it were that simple, the source of the pain wouldn't matter. A household accident would be just as good as a lover's spank. And it's certainly not.

  6. Lots of things one likes are improved by the addition of sex. Why not pain? :)

  7. That reminds me of a different phenomenon. Some kinds of pain, that don't make me unfit for sex, are totally mitigated by sex. When I've got an injury a handjob is way better than Percocet. (Sigh.) But that pain is still not fun. A lover's spank is actually fun.

  8. old comment is old, but your description says you don't mind old comments, so let me try to explain my point of view.

    your perspective on being a switch was so suprisingly different from mine, I wondered for a bit how to approach this, so get ready for long rambly nothings. ^ ^

    Basically, I -do- sub for the pain and the humiliation (and a lot of other things too, but let's focus on those). When I'm being spanked it's pain and humiliation of the situation that's turning me on, and as selfish as it's sounds, it's about me. It's about how I'm feeling.

    And I think it's a good thing my mind is on me when I sub, because when I'm getting beat up and scratched, it's ultimately up to me how far it should go, and that, I think, should be based on my feelings and needs and wants primarily, not theirs. (Not exclusively of course, but...arg, I instantly feeling so selfish and guilty when I think about my wants/feelings in these terms.)

    Oh, but when I top. Topping is all about pleasing the other person for me, for getting them off and giving them a fantastic time, and finding that balance between pushing them too hard or too little. I know for a lot of people there's usually a strong sadistic element here, and while it's true that my partner's pain and humiliation is part of what gets me hot, it's definitely not the major part. (I was actually very suprised the first time I topped that it wasn't more of a sadism thing for me -- different strokes.)

    When I get off to topping, it's me getting off to them getting off, more or less. Often involves a lot of teasing, and while it's things I do, it's all about them and how they react.

    I should confess that I'm a bit closer to subbing than topping. It's what I did exclusively for the, er "early phases" of my kinkiness and even though lovelovelove topping, subbing is less work. :P

    Another thing is that I have a very quirky relationship with pain. I can see you're a bit sceptical about the idea of actually enjoying the pain part, but no, really. And it's not even always sexual with me. I find scratching(both hard and light) down my body reallyreally relaxing in some contexts (sometimes I do it to myself), as well as light biting and teeth-tracing-down-body things.

    In fact, one of the most intense times I've had with someone is when a (now ex) boyfriend who was topping me made me beg and talk dirty for spankings other painful things. It took quite a long time to let myself get that vulnerable with someone, but it was worth it, and moreover, it was about pain.

    Also interesting to mention, thease are my ideas about topping/subbing with a guy, but as a bisexual female, topping/subbing with girls is a very different experience for me, now that I think about it. But that's another boring long comment, so I leave you here. :P

  9. Anonymous, thanks for your comment! It's nice to know someone reads some of this old stuff. I've actually heard from a couple of tops how they focus on giving while domming, whereas I focus on it especially while subbing. But if I had a more communicative partner, I'd be more into topping and giving. Just a little while ago a friend was telling me she finds electricity erotic while subbing, and then went into a long explanation of a rig she'd seen at a fetish event; I fantasized a bit about constructing a rig for her (I'm a tech guy) and using it on her, despite the fact I've never wanted to do anything similar before. The difference is I'd be doing it for her benefit. (BTW, I try not to allow myself to fantasize about my friends in general but the situation made it temporarily impossible not to.)

    If you feel like explaining how the experience differs with girls I'd be fascinated.

  10. Note: Now that I reread and trying to edit this down, I apologize profusely for writing a goddamn essay. >.< forgive me plese.

    D'you mind me asking what sort of tech you work in?

    I am primarily attraced to women, with some room for flexibility. At the same time, I'm very kinky, and my kink knows no gender, so I figure this more or less evens out into bisexuality, depending on the day. This is probably why I tend to have more vanilla sex with women, and almost exclusively kinky sex with men.

    That being said, the difference in being topped by a woman is intense. This is where the femenist bit of my self cringes in guilt and frets about the implications of what I feel. When I'm being topped by a guy, there's a bit of myself that's aware that this is the way it's supposed to be, conventionally.

    When I'm with a women, socially we start on equal ground. The knowledge that she's not doing this because it's her place to be on top, or she thinks she should be...The idea that she hasn't been raised with any preconceptions thrown at her about How It's Supposed To Go lets me know she's doing this 100% because it's what she wants and that is veryvery hot. The domination and agressiveness is all her, and it adds a bit of an edge for me.

    I know this is a really unfair way to think about it, and I worry, but it's hardly anything I can control. It isn't a defining measure of the insensity of the sex (I can have a mediocre experence with a women and an intense one with a man) but it does indicate a baseline of excitement.

    With me topping a woman is just a bit easier, more low-pressure, I know more about what I'm working with.

    In both cases my give-take dynamics are the same as they are with men.

    Sometimes I think sex with women is more emotionally intense for me, and it makes me wonder if I should redefine as "mostly lesbian but also a gender indiscriminate kinky slut".

    At the same time, I've had a lovely relationship with a man. Did it feel the same as a relationship with a woman? No, it developed in a markedly different way emotionally, but I came to love him nonetheless.

    I feel like if I try to define myself too specifically I'll pass up chances to build relationships like that. That if I try to build my preferences and kink around How It Should Be floorplans I'll pass up opportunites to build spherical living spaces with a person I wouldn't expect to make a home with in the first place.

    Maybe I wouldn't be allowed to called my sphere-house love or A Proper Relationship, but I'm not willing to use that as grounds to deny myself the experience (no matter if it's a success or a disaster).

    Or maybe I'm just talking BS and am very bad at metaphors, most days I can't tell. ^ ^ Again I'm sorry for the length, and I thank you for giving me an excuse to articulate my ideas.

  11. Thank you for explaining it, Anonymous! There's nothing wrong with the length, it's how much you needed to express your ideas.

    There are lots of things one can't control about sex. Some of them are socially created and perhaps indicate something unfair in society, but if one just pretends it's not there it's unfair to one's partner because it will come out eventually.

    I'm a contract computer programmer, I've written software for a lot of different industries.