Who’s Afraid Of The Big, Bad Submissive?

She waits at a cozy cafe and folds her napkin nervously as the minutes’ turn. He’s not stuck in traffic. He isn’t going to show.

They had been texting for six weeks. They discussed her every desire and limit, and they seemed a perfect fit. Then, he ghosted her two weeks before their scheduled meeting.

He had become a master at flirting with her. Sending her nasty messages during her work meetings so that she was forced to suppress her blushing. As soon as she discussed scheduling a face to face meeting, his calendar was booked, and he suggested another exchange of naughty photographs.


Men are afraid.

With the upsurge in interest of the BDSM community, many men have felt for the first time that their deepest desires are within reach. But with that reach comes a broader responsibility to a partner. BDSM takes partners down a path to smashing norms and courting danger. All partners must explore with an open mind and restraint. These two elements work at odds with one another in many men. That internal antagonism breeds fear.

The culture doesn’t give men many choices when it comes to roles in life. We herald the leader of the pack and diminish the “underlings” that got him there. Regardless as to their authentic desires, many men may pursue roles in BDSM that they are inherently ill-suited to. “Dominant,” “Master,” and “Primal” are all roles women have come to approach with a certain measure of skepticism. There is a good reason for this. While many men can have dominant traits, there are actually very few kings of the kink jungle. We have culturally made dominance the most appealing role. Many men may find themselves with fewer prospects unless they declare themselves dominant. In this, we are still very much beasts. While procreation is no longer the sole reason to have sex, many women still want the leader of the pack, the king, or the conqueror. It goes back to a primal instinct that we want our offspring able and robust to survive the harshness of this world. If a man cannot offer that from his parent’s basement apartment; he’s apt to fake it to fulfill his emotional needs. When push comes to shove, rather than reveal he is more keyboard warrior than blood, sweat, and tears warrior; he disappears before his secret is uncovered.

We all know the vision. Corporate executive by day, and by night, he dons the black leather hood of a submissive and crawls on all fours to the kiss of his Domme’s whip. We can process the dichotomy. We can understand how a powerful man needs to be brought to his knees. It balances him and allows him to shoulder the tremendous burdens that power entails.

When we picture the female submissive, she is more apt to be compliant, soft, and feminine. Women with extroverted and commanding personalities are assumed to be Dommes. However, their inner desires beckon them to their knees.  Submissive women are more likely to also be in the hot seat in the boardroom or the leader of the corporate pack. Male or female, submission offers balance to a hectic life filled with lists and decision making. The hulking appeal of submission is the letting go of choice and the surprises that come along with that surrender.

This may mean her commanding personality needs a man with enough emotional strength to command over her. Culturally, we define men’s success with his affluence and power. A dominant man may fear that if his wealth and power do not surpass hers, he is not genuinely dominant over her. He may also be grappling with the social norms that say the man must be the primary breadwinner. These norms are not outdone quickly in anyone. If you’ve spent over thirty years with specific messages, it takes an effort to unwind and rework the information. That work requires awareness. Usually, the biggest obstacle to recognition is fear.

The rules keep changing and with that change comes confusion and chaos. To push the conversation forward, chaos is often necessary. The shaking up of what was once acceptable is how we as a society move forward.

Consent is one of those changing conversations. Consent has become a minefield in BDSM. The definitions and acceptability of concepts like “implied consent” and “no limits” have changed. Some women have even weaponized consent and feel entirely justified in revoking consent after the fact. This leads men to believe that any scene that pushes boundaries or may have had some missteps can be conflated into sexual assault. This confusion has led to great fear. One relationship gone wrong. One misinterpretation at a play party. Or one step into territory not previously discussed can destroy a Top’s reputation forever. It’s a justifiable fear. Given today’s hostile climate around consent, there will be men that rather stay behind a screen or a phone instead of risking their reputations.

The old adage, “It’s not you, it’s me.” rings true here. Men have as many reasons to be afraid of exploring their desires as women do. Communication and transparency are the best ways to help men overcome these fears. Women must continue to set the stage for open dialogue and make space for a man’s vulnerability. That’s not an easy thing to do. We often equate vulnerability with weakness, and that misinterpretation is leading both men and women down a briar filled path. The underbrush needs to be cut away and tossed aside. A principal source of strength is found thru the awareness of our fears and our ability to challenge them. In our relationships, we must create mirrors for our partners to view. Our ability to stand in our own trepidation creates the comforting environment needed for a man to persist in theirs. Once we acknowledge and confront these dark places, light begins to peek thru. Once we shine a light on the monster under the bed, we can enjoy ourselves so much more in the bed.

About the Author

LaBellePutain discovered her love of writing and her submissive side during a tumultuous divorce in 2011. From 2011 to 2015, she honed her skills as a writer and explored her sexuality and love of BDSM. Her adventures as a sex-positive single mother have also been featured in Scary Mommy and several personal blogs.

You can find her adventures in divorce and dating at http://cynthiaprose.blogspot.com/

Her musings as she finds and fixes her middle-aged shit can be found at https://medium.com/@CJBleau

The really smutty stuff can be found on Fetlife at https://fetlife.com/users/1076417

Her memoir chronicling her evolutionary 40’s, Good Girl Bad, is set to be released in early 2019. If she can ever get her act together…


  1. Christmas bunny says:

    This is very thought provoking. I always love your work!

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