Friday, December 3, 2010

Psychology and a Submissive Female

Today I had either my final or second to last session with my current counselor.  While I don't deny that she has been helpful to an extent, I think I will best serve myself by switching shrinks when classes resume in January.  The reason? Her obvious disapproval with my lifestyle choices.  If I wanted to feel withdrawal and anger from someone I chose to confide in, I have several female relatives who would fit the bill.  (Not only do I plan to switch counselors, but I'd rather switch to a male one -- I'm rather more at ease around men in general.)

I give you this introduction because I've been thinking (off and on) for the last few months about submission and psychology.  This close to exams, my thoughts are in a bit of a jumble, so I'll give you some bulleted points instead :-)

* While bondage and the like in the bedroom still has a definite stigma to it, it is becoming a bit more mainstream in the media/daily life.  I've talked in general terms with several different people who had no real thoughts on it one way or the other and certainly weren't horrified by it.  If I had changed the conversation to talk about submission in relationships in general, I can guarantee some of those people would have flipped their lid. 

* I remember the author of the blog Persephone in Love (she's made her blog private a few months back) writing about BDSM as self therapy.  I believe she said something about how we each have our certain issues and how we deal with them can be either helpful or harmful.  I think the example she used was a couple who had control issues expressed through money issues, which led to fights, secrecy, and generally unhealthy behavior, but it was... socially acceptable unhealthy behavior.  She then talked about having those same control issues but dealing with them through D/s in order to turn them into pleasurable experiences which didn't allow the psychological bullshit to negatively impact daily life.  I wish I had a copy of the essay she wrote on the topic. 

* I can't find hardly anything in the academic psychological sphere about D/s (or DD, or any other "unbalanced power sort of" relationships.  What I've found is negative in view and I think is more predisposed to talking about submissive males (I don't have a problem with this but I'm more interested in learning about sexual and traditional gender roles where the female is the submissive one and the male is the dominant one).  Does anyone else have any resources to point me to?  I believe my aunt told me that all of "this stuff" is still classified under Abnormal Psychology. 

*  From an evolutionary standpoint, traditional gender roles make sense to me.  Men and women typically (but not always, of course) have different skill sets which lend to the idea of women being the "weaker sex".  However, I also think that women are quite powerful.  (I love reveling in my womanhood, personally... and when I take the time to do so I personally feel more powerful *shrug*) In fact, just as I often think it takes a strong man to let himself cry when necessary and appropriate, I think it takes a strong woman to willingly submit to another but not subdue her own sense of self and worth. 

* As well, I also think that whether you are a man or a woman, for you to know yourself and allow yourself to fully experience your own desires and needs signifies a certain kind of strength.  I mean, as long as your desires aren't doing bad things to children or anything like that.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that allowing yourself to fully live, with all of what that means within and without of the sexual arena is a good thing.  (Although I certainly have fantasies that I would never act on...  I also have those that I do which aid me in knowing myself, healing, and giving me pleasure.)

Just a few thoughts that have been jumbling through my head recently.  I'm sure I have more, but this is quite enough for now :-)  I'd love to have a conversation going in the comments about all of this!

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Blogger Patrick Smith said...

I'm also really disappointed in the lack and bias in scholarly research. There's also a strong prejudice against dominant men/submissive women... Tv Tropes even has a page referencing it:

I was writing earlier and came up with this. I hope you'll forgive me a mild tangent, but it seems some how relevant:

The essence of S&M lies in the tension of opposites. The pull between an unacceptable fantasy and a deeply contraditory reality. For example:

A sub has a desire to be the victim. Powerless, taken against her will, forced into degrading circumstances. No psychologically healthy woman would want to be a victim in reality (although some women with truama will seek out abusive partners without knowing why), yet the desire still exists. Unacceptable, dangerous, toxic... and yet there it is.

A dom has a desire to be a villain; to hurt and degrade and control women. Again, no healthy man would give such a desire free reign, but there are plenty of examples of damaged men who do.

A sub also has her light side: she wants to loved, cared for, to be open and vulnerable with a man she trusts and loves. The dom wants to protect his partner and pleasure her. These are the impluses found in any relationship, socially acceptable and celebrated.

So, in S&M, the sub gives in to her desire to be a victim while still feeling cared for. The dom indulges his desire to be a villain while still pleasing his partner. The light side and the dark side are fullfilled at the same time, even though they seem in every sense to be utterly at odds.

It is *because* they are in such obvious conflict ("I want you to hurt and comfort me.") that S&M is so damn powerful. It's holding fire and ice in one hand, good and evil in a perfect dance. That's why it shakes the earth.

June 6, 2012 at 1:55 AM  
Blogger Patrick Smith said...

Incidentally, I'm glad you made this blog. I'd love to hear more about your views on gender roles. And, of course, soap box about mine.

June 6, 2012 at 2:05 AM  
Blogger Ida Virgin said...

Hey Patrick! I don't know if you're still around... (I haven't updated this blog in a loooong time and it took months to approve your comments - eek! Sorry about that!) but if you are, I've moved. I'll be posting an announcement soon!

August 30, 2012 at 11:52 PM  

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