First, what do I mean by “s-type”? For those that don’t know I refer to anyone that identifies as a slave, submissive, bottom, pet, property, or babygirl/boy (etc) as an s-type. It’s just an easier way to refer to this group without listing every specific identifier.
What does it mean to identify as an s-type? Why would someone desire, or even crave, to yield their control or power to another human being? This isn’t an easy question to answer, as there are many answers out there depending on who you ask. Some reasons may include a desire to surrender control, power, or decision making, wanting someone else to provide structure or discipline, feeling a sense of safety and caretaking, and being of service to someone else.
The paths that get an individual to this place – this want for surrender – will also vary from person to person. Not all paths or reasons are healthy. Many are quite healthy. There are complex layers that turn us toward certain partners in life, vanilla or kinky. It may be that one didn’t receive the care and discipline he/she required as a child and therefore finds it in a D/s dynamic. It could be simply that the rest of their life demands authority (high powered job, parenting, etc) and the ability to release that control with a trusted partner is like going to a spa after a long hard day. These are only two possible examples of why someone may be drawn toward submission. Not everyone understands this draw however.
“It’s 2015 – you don’t need to bow down to a man!”
“Seriously man – are you that pussy whipped?”
“Slave? How can you let him/her call you that? You’re a grown adult!”
“You mean to tell me you do whatever he/she tells you to do?! Hell no!”
“It sounds like you are just being used and taken advantage of.”
As an s-type we hear so many things from friends and loved ones who just don’t understand or who view our situation from a skewed perspective. Female s-types get lip from the “feminists” about how many years were spent fighting for equality, only for us to throw it all away by stripping our power willingly. However, we need to keep in mind that true feminists would argue that we should have equal freedoms to CHOOSE our behaviors and our lifestyle. Therefore, choosing to consensually yield power, control, etc is, in fact, a huge leap from the days that it was NOT our choice. Everything in our life comes down to the decisions we make. Even in circumstances where we hold no power or control, we still choose how to respond. The movie ‘Life is Beautiful’ comes to mind. (If you haven’t seen it you should!) The point is, we all have the right to decide how we live our life. If we choose to turn over power to someone we trust and respect then that choice should be honored. Male s-types usually catch flack for different reasons. They hear messages like submission isn’t manly. They get called pussies or wimps. Which is kind of hilarious when you think about the fact that many of them could take a much heavier beat down than their “domly” friends. (Although they enjoy it, so maybe not a fair comparison. lol) Again, how is it less manly to CHOOSE how they live their life? To consent to behaviors, dynamics and protocols that make them happy and enrich their life and their relationships?
To every male or female s-type that finds comfort and satisfaction in their submission, how is it any different than the person who finds this in a bottle of beer, a favorite sport, or the traditional vanilla relationship dynamic? Human beings seek safety, comfort, love, affection, and happiness. It isn’t for anyone to judge how you do that so long as nobody is getting hurt (in a bad way!). So take pride in your s-type identity! Slave, submissive, pet, boy/girl, property, bottom, little. Embrace who you are because it’s OK to be an s-type!
Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening.
Maes Dries says
I’m a submissive man and would like to be the property of a Mistress for to serve and to do a lot of things for her but until now all the Mistresses i knowned were only interested of to win a lot of money and more money as possible if i don’t want she leaves me.
Great article. Thank you for looking at both genders in it. I tend to tense up because so often the assumption is for female s-types only. Your descriptions of the different “poop” that men and women get was also important.
Subs have to be courageous, because over the decades, a lot of people don’t realize that being a sub doesn’t mean subbing to everyone. It means negotiating until one finds someone trustable, and deepening that relationship and trust by communication and course-corrections, which are really tiny or limited renegotiations. And being trustable; us tops/D- or M-types are vulnerable, too!
If it was just a little easier. If I could just stand up and start anew. I know my struggles are not new and that those before figured it out and went on. I personally can’t even figure out what I am. I think i am This and then I think I’m not. I lean towards that then I find myself disgusted with myself. I told myself today that it’s so fucking stupid to wear women’s shoes. Then I’m at a shoe store trying them on. Then buying a pair. I just don’t fucking know. I don’t.
Something in you, maybe from your past, is telling you it’s not okay. Sometimes doing what is not okay becomes freedom, but after whatever climax or other ending, the old tapes in our heads get loud and condemning.
If you enjoy it, then maybe a goal would be finding out where the condemning thoughts come from, and dealing with them.
Btw, supposedly the part of the brain involved with genitals is right next to the part to do with feet. At least, this was the reason given in a scholarly article about why supposedly half of humans have foot or shoe or stocking fetishes.
If you want to get laid on a cruise ship, buy her shoes at the next stop. This was found to be nearly always successful. Whether wearing or giving, you are in very good company.
Don’t worry about what you are. Just be you. If you top and bottom, you can be a switch, at leadt until you find a better title or more clarity.
As a straight male switch. This article is important. In my dom role. I am considered “the man” and most people know me in my dom role. Once they find out I am a switch though I am treated as/ or looked down upon as less of dom. You’re treated as though by willingly giving up your power at one point, you are powerless at all other times. Dom and sub work together to create the experience. You are still in control (by consent) but give over yourself. People need to understand that giving up of yourself can take more strength than most total dims can muster.
Honestly I think “true feminists would argue that we should have equal freedoms to CHOOSE our behaviors and our lifestyle” is pretty poor analysis. To me, feminism is about criticising and deconstructing patriarchal systems. These include behaviours and lifestyles endorsed by Patriarchy. Do not mistake this, however, for a blanket condemnation of D/s. In fact, to me, the most positive thing about the kink community is that good BDSM comes with criticisms of the systems emulated thereby.
Super resonates with me and very clear, I totally agree w/ his concepts!
samnotsowise – there is a round-table discussion group regarding racial diversity in the scene – not sure where you are located – but here is a link to their next mtg: https://fetlife.com/events/362431 Hope this helps! 🙂
I liked this article, but I wish race and disability had been talked about as sources of stigma when identifying as an s-type. Do you have any recommendations for more information on these?
I loved this article. I am a sub I do switch occasionally. I am glad to read this it gave me more info. I am very new to this and very shy so this will be interesting as I learn more about the lifestyle.
I loved the article and also very new to the lifestyle and trying to figure out want box do i check off…your article enlightened me as I am finding out that I don’t have to check off a box, or label myself to fit into some category. I find it fascinating and a relief to know that I can give up my so called illusion of power from time to time…and let go. Freedom
Do you have any articals/advice for transexual subs. I am new to my sub side, and had a very masculine childhood. This artical rang so many bells from my past, i was getting those phazes in high school, here in the uk. And with a far worse level of homophobia too.
I wish there was a way to share this at random. I’ve gone through this several times, i think partly because i refuse to hide. Lol. I have managed explaining my impression of the reasons for domming and have explained not only my thoughts on why i submit but also what i get from it, but i think you worded it much better.
Steve Schnobrich says
Thank you! for a very good article on submission. I am a male submissive and I enjoy being submissive. I do not find many Dominant woman with an interest in an older gentleman type submissive. I do not have a lot of money to give too. It appears to me that most require this aspect of tribute. I am still learning after 4 years in the lifestyle. I am currently in consideration for domestic service to a beautiful Ebony Goddess. I am looking forward to more training as a submissive domestic and bdsm bottom as I am a masochist. The only area lacking for me at this time is the experience as a sexual submissive partner..
I struggle with understanding where the “S-type” fits in the traumas I’ve suffered through both physical & sexusl abuse. Part of me wants to explore, but is VERY anxiou . I’m concerned about triggers. Any info/insight on exploring that side if myself safely?
Hi Tori. It’s important to explore at your own pace, and not feel like you need to be pressured into doing anything you don’t want to. Start by going to some beginner / BDSM 101 classes (e.g. in LA, Jenn Masri teaches the BDSM 101 class series every Monday evening at Sanctuary). Then go to some munches and meet some fellow kinky people in a casual setting, talk about what you like and find out about what other people are into. If you decide to play, vet play partners in advance, make sure they play safely and respect limits and safe words. Make sure to negotiate with them separately and in advance of play, discuss exactly what you like and anything you don’t want to try (limits), be sure to talk about triggers and health issues. In these discussions, you will hopefully get a sense of assurance that your play partner knows what they are doing, and is safe and responsible. You should probably play at a public play party the first few times while you are getting to know the play partner.
We have a whole lot of articles on here with more detailed advice for people new to the scene. You can find them here: https://www.kinkweekly.com/tag/newbies/
Other than that, have fun and enjoy meeting and talking with like-minded people – you’ll most likely find it quite liberating and exhilarating, even before you get to the play part!
enjoyed reading this
Mark Anthony says
Very good article. What time are the classes at the Sanctuary? Also, do you every give classes at the Threshold?
The classes are every Monday at 8pm. You can RSVP here: https://fetlife.com/events/367334
Currently, I don’t think she offers classes at Threshold very often.
Thanks anniebear for catching this question for me! Teaching at Threshold would be a sporadic thing so I will advertise that if it happens. However, the Sanctuary series is ongoing, every Monday and you can start with any class! 🙂 Hope you can make it Mark Anthony!
Good article Jenn!
Thanks so much Persefonie! Keep checking back for more every Monday! 🙂
So proud to see you in print and pursuing your passions. Love you!
Thanks dad for all your support and love!!