Pure and Simple

By on May 3, 2017.

Being submissive is not simple. Submission is not simple. To say it is in my opinion is to completely devalue it.

I am writing this in response to Jerusalem Mortimer’s two posts. One a Sinful Sunday where he used the phrase “Submission can be so simple” and then his follow-up post to that: What do you mean, ‘submission is simple’? In which he expands on what he meant by that original phrase. I will give you a moment to go and read if you have not already done so.

Right, back?

Now I can see that in the moment shown in the first post that using those words within the context of their D/s relationship works for them and I think that is the key to this and all kink/sex related topics is to remember that just because it works one way for you, does not mean it will or should work for someone else. Your kink (and how you view your kink) is not my kink but your kink is OK, is a phrase that I always try to keep in mind when writing about these subjects.

There are many female submissive bloggers out there, many of whom I read and quite a few of whom are dear close friends of mine. We all identify as submissive and in many cases lots of aspects of our submission and our D/s relationships have strong similarities with one another and yet I know full well that Kayla’s submission is not the same as mine, nor is Rebel’s or sub-bee’s. What those words mean to each of us, how they are played out in our relationships and what things we need and desire from our D-type partners (and they need from us in return) have both strong similarities and wild differences. Like so many things there is a spectrum and I believe that where ever you are on that D/s spectrum, if it works for you, is both right and true.

When I read Jerusalem’s follow-up post I understood that in much of it he was talking about the specifics of how things are between him and his girl and yet I still came away feeling like he stood by the statement that submission is simple as a universal truth to some degree or other and I don’t think that is the case. I know that is not the case for me and that makes me worry that there might be some new inexperienced submissive or even someone who has been doing it for years who reads something like that and immediately feels like they are ‘not really sub’, or ‘not a good submissive’, or ‘not doing it right’, because they don’t find it simple.

I don’t think being submissive is simple, I don’t think it is an easy thing to learn to accept that about yourself, especially in a modern world that, rightly, teaches women to be strong, independent, capable, people. Likewise I don’t think being Dom is simple either but that is a post for another time and probably another writer. Discovering that you get off on almost being the opposite of the things society values can be a real personal struggle. I know it was for me. I own my home; I have raised two children pretty much on my lonesome and now I have to ask permission to have an orgasm? You got to be kidding me right? Why would I do that, agree to that, when I could have all the orgasms I wanted when I wanted them? In some ways the answer, when you discover it, is simple; because it fucking turns me on. Yet the struggle to reconcile those two things is real, and even when you know the answer, accept and even understand it that does not mean that struggle will not, from time to time, reappear.

In Jerusalem’s post he describes just one type of submission, one that I feel is focused on obedience and compliance and that is absolutely how it works for some people but for others, like me.. Yes there are moments when that features but as a general rule my submission could be described as almost combative. Again, not all the time as that would fucking exhausting for everyone and yet I think a little bit of resistance to it all always lingers in me. I want to get on my knees and suck him off, I really do, but when he tells me to it at the very least I will pause and hold his gaze waiting for him to say it again, demand it that bit more firmly and/or sometimes even need him to reach out and grab my shoulder and dig his fingers in as he pushes me down. I need that force, I need the power, and I need him to exert his will. It looks nothing like the compliant patient submissive kneeling on the floor, head down waiting quietly for him to do as he pleases. No, it looks more like a snarling, fighting, feral animal that needs to be cornered and held down until it can find that place of calm and acceptance and that battle for me is far from simple.

” So it’s only a  limited sense in which submission is simple. If you are the submissive, and your session is going well, and the dom and sub are in synch with each other, then the submissive’s choices are indeed simple. If the dom says, “bend over the table”, or “onto your knees,” or simply, “stay there, don’t speak and don’t move”, the submissive knows what he or she has to do, and does it.

Simples! “

Maybe for you but I read that paragraph and I will admit it makes me somewhat mad (possibly an understatement) and I find myself responding with “that is not fucking simple, maybe you should try it sometime, just give up all the control and do as your told. Simples” Argghhh, not fucking simple and to dismiss any complexity or struggle or difficulty on the part of the submissive with the word ‘simples’ implying that even an idiot could understand it so why not you, well that makes me mad. It is so damn dismissive of the role of the submissive within a D/s dynamic.

You think in that moment it is easy?

Yes the submissive knows what he or she has to do but doing it is another thing altogether, it involves letting go of an integral part of your human nature, your drive for independence that is vital for survival, the inner voice that is saying, “What the fuck are you doing bitch, get up of your knees and tell him to go suck his own fucking dick.” To silence that voice because you know that the truth is you want to be down here on your knees is not simple, well and here is the really important part. It is not simple for me!

I just don’t ever think it is simple. Despite what I have written above there are plenty of times when I do what I am told to do, no push back, no fight, just calm compliance and yet for me, it’s not simple. To say it is, feels blasé, somehow it devalues it for me because it is complex and sometimes difficult but there in lays its beauty. Yes there are moments of simplicity, moments of absolute clarity and peace, moments of ease, when I am floating on a high of pain and orgasms and all the fight and struggle and resistance is gone, banished from me by his dominance and my submission finding their place together but even then, even in that perfect blissful moment, it is not simple because if it were then anyone could do it with/to me and that is most definitely not the case.

I don’t want to give the impression that being submissive is some sort of magical power or that it is so complex that you are only doing it right if you make it so. My whole point to writing this piece is to say that what Jerusalem wrote might well be true for him and his girl but is not true for me and what is true for me may well not be true for you and all those different opinions are valid because they are the truth for us. D/s or being Dominant or Submissive is not some mystical powers that are reserved for those who have joined the right club and said the right thing, it doesn’t have to be complicated for it to be real and nor does it have to be simple but it does require commitment, communication, thought, learning, growing, evolving and understanding for it to be GOOD. The dance between us is the result of lots of learning and the steps to the dance constantly change as the beat of our desires guide us. It is complex and often hard. So anyone who tells me it is simple to just give yourself over to being told what to do and doing it might not actually have any idea just how fucking hard it is to pull down your knickers and calmly bend over the table knowing what is coming next and that saying it is simple sounds very dismissive of the level of self-awareness and strength required in the act submission and for that matter the complexity of a D/s relationship.

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Molly Moore - Author, Blogger, Photographer, Speaker, Director of Operations @Eroticon
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  1. Wow. This is really interesting. I think your point about making it clear that everyone’s experiences are different is really important, or perhaps the “ymmv” acronym works here.
    I have a friend who is more slave-oriented on the /s spectrum and for her, submission generally is that simple. But like you, I have that “go on, make me” aspect, and I need a certain level of physical control. Once I’ve got that, I *can* get to a compliant place where everything is suddenly simple and I don’t have to think, but it’s hard for me to get there. I need to know that my options have been limited and part of that is experiencing physical domination, not just the mental control.

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  2. I think you’ve hit the nail firmly on the head. Like most things in life, one size rarely fits all. For what it’s worth, from my own point of view I’d never want it to be simple anyway. Total compliance does little for me and also tends to make me lazy and complacent. I like the slightly combative side of things and the idea that I (indeed both) have got to work at things. I really hope it never becomes ‘simple’!

  3. Your anger and frustration come through loud and clear in this post, and I absolutely respect your perspective. I don’t want to cause you undue disgruntlement, so I’m going to preface my comment with this: I do not disagree with you. I am not arguing a point or trying to make you change your mind. I’m just sharing how I think, in the spirit of “maybe somebody out there will ‘get’ this r at least find it helpful.” Do (or don’t) with it as you please.

    .

    I understand the various takes presented on this topic, and I get where you are coming from.

    I already commented on Michael’s post re: simple, so I’m repeating myself a bit, but there is often a linguistic misconstrual that leads people to believe “simple” equates to “easy” when in fact, IT DOES NOT.

    Think, for example, of people who “live simply”: Amish, Quakers, and modern minimalists make that list, as do vagabonds-by-choice, East Indian farmers, and Inuit peoples. But “simple” in each of those contexts means something completely different from one group to another, and none of those meanings equates to “easy.” Refusing to use modern machinery is simple, yes. But Amish life is not easy. Keeping the grocery list to the 25 basic items you can afford every month makes food shopping simple. But not having access to variety because of financial constrictions? That is NOT easy.

    None of those groups of people are passively accepting of whatever fate metes out, all of them have codes and protocols and expectations they are “supposed to” live up to within their micro-societies while bucking expectations on a greater societal/cultural level.

    I think D/s relationships, and the roles within those relationships, play out in much the same way.

    Kind of like the Nike slogan, Just Do It… It sounds simple. And in theory, it is. But in reality…

    No matter how simple it may be, it’s not easy.
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    • Hi Feve
      Thank you for this comment and actually to be honest I agree with what you have said here. Simple does not mean easy and it is easy (excuse the pun) to conflate the too. I think for me the word ‘simples’ is the bit I feel the most strongly about. It dismisses the complexity of what on the surface may appear to be simple but is in fact very complex. I also feel like it implies a passivity to the submissive.

      I feel like the word simple when referring in your example to the Amish and how it was used in the piece I quoted is very different. A simple lifestyle (eg Amish) has for me a very different meaning to it than saying being submissive is simple. As you say the word simple has many connotations to it and I feel that maybe I have no explained that or explained my thoughts here very well. I shall have to give that some thought

      Mollyx

  4. Hi Molly,
    I’m definitely sorry to have pissed you off. I have enormous respect for you, and boundless respect for submission.

    If we had a discussion on the mental discipline and self-discipline, the focussed intensity, the courage and the complexity involved in submission, I don’t think we’d disagree much or at all.

    I was taking about a specific relationship, and also about a specific moment in that relationship. And there are three reasons why I wrote it that way.

    1 To me as a dom, and I suspect to a hell of a lot of doms, there’s an element of theatre in domming.

    Like an actor or a stage magician, you use words in the moment of a scene where your goal is to help the submissive (as your audience) reach a particular mind-set.

    I’ve called a submissive woman a “silly girl”, in a scene, and yet it has never, ever, been true that they’re silly. (I generally check first what’s ok to say. You don’t use words that could actually hurt that person.)

    But sometimes those words – or something different – can help create the setting in which it’s easier to forget other thoughts and listen to or focus on the dom’s instruction. A submissive really knows that he or she is not silly (and they know that their dom doesn’t really think they are), and they know they don’t really have to do as their told. But words can help them submit, even when part of them know the words aren’t strictly true.

    2 I try not to “ventriloquise” when writing.

    When I started the blog, I decided that unless it’s clearly labelled as fiction, I won’t claim access to the submissive’s thoughts. I will only report responses, actions, things said by the submissive. i try to do that in a way that gives a real sense of both people, and makes it reasonably clear what the submissive thought. That includes when she was thinking I’m being an idiot, which i try to be honest about.

    But the submissive’s internal monologue is missing. I intend that as an act, or omission, of respect.

    3 In the specific example, the dom was speaking somewhat playfully.

    I wrote it so it’s not clear that the dom’s voice is me, but in this case it is, and I was playing. I know perfectly well that the act of obedience isn’t simple, psychologically or politically or at many other levels, but I’m “helpfully” pointing out that what I’m expecting is simple at a physical level.

    In a similar vein I might say, “It’s not a complicated classical dance move, it’s just bending over a table. How hard is that?” If I said that, I’d be using words to encourage letting go of the complexities. Both the submissive and the dominant know that the difficulty of submitting has nothing to do with how hard it is to bend over a table. But in the end, the submissive has to bend over the table, or the scene is over.

    The dom who says something like that is deliberately encouraging the submissive to override some of their thoughts.

    At the same time, the dom is also teasing. When I say something like that, it’s meant to be a bit humorous.

    And finally, because it is a silly thing to way, or it would be if a dom meant it literally, there’s an element of self-mockery in it. The dom is partly taking the piss out of theirself, which is one of a dom’s secret powers.

    TL:DR
    The “doing as you’re told is simple” rhetoric was an example of something one dom said to one submissive in one specific situation. I didn’t mean that it really is simple, except in a purely literal physical sense, even in that situation. It’s just what I said in the moment.

    And I certainly didn’t mean that submission is simple in any global sense. I completely agree with you: of course it isn’t.

    And I’m sorry to have annoyed someone I respect so much. Writing that isn’t clear what it’s saying is bad writing.

    • Hi Jamie

      I will admit your words annoyed me but there are no hard feelings from me on this. I am not pissed off with you, far from it. I am fairly sure you are right and that at the core of things we basically agree, as I said in my post we all share similarities in our D/s and yet also often fundamental difference hence why I think it is also important to write around a frame work of ‘this is true for me/us’ as opposed to, ‘this is how it is for all’. I think your comment here definitely expands on your post is a much clearer way and definitely explains how things feel simple in that moment and/or how those words can work in the moment. Although I did make Michael laugh because I said to him that I think if he ever used those words on me my likely response would be to rear up and say, oh you think this simple do you…. and therein lays the issues that that phrase works for you and your girl but I can’t see it working for me, I think it would irritate me not make me want to submit and so are back to…’this is true for me/us’ as opposed to ‘this is a universal truth for all’

      I totally see that you are not saying submission is simple but what I am saying now is that if he used those words on me they would light a fire of non submission in my belly rather than opposite.

      Mollyx

  5. There is so much in this post that I want to – and will – return to. Like you have said, there are similarities between our D/s relationships but there are also significant differences. For instance, where you can physically fight Michael, I cannot do the same with Master T. That doesn’t say that I always just do what he says. Oh no, sometimes I fight him, but just not physically. And sometimes he says “it’s so simple if you just do what I say”. When he says that, I know exactly what he means, as the word ‘simple’ totally fits the moment. Yes, then submitting is simple, but not always easy. Just last night I was not 100% in the mood, but Master T brought me from trying to fight him to simply submitting to his will. And I was glad I did. It wasn’t easy, as at times I wanted him to stop, but in the end I was happy he continued and told me that I have no say. I don’t know what exactly I want to say. Like I said, there’s a lot in here I want to return to… when my head is not as full as it is now.

    Rebel xox
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  6. I’ve struggled with my own submission for years and because my partner is not dominant by nature that can make it harder for me to express my wants and needs. He will Top me and often does, but again because that’s not his nature it is hard on both of us. To me neither submission, nor domination are easy things. I hope though, to find that it gets easier with time, even if it never becomes simple. Wonderful post with a lot to think about.
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  7. I have been told many times that I am not “truly submissive,” and it is a notion that irks me to no end. What is true for you may not be true for me, or anyone else. We are all so individual in our make up, in our experiences and what motivates us. Like you, I need that power and strength from my partner. I need to know that he has it in him to force me to do the things I want to do yet still battle with. There is a reason NO is not a good safe word, if you use safe words, because I often say no. And I don’t say it to be bratty or defiant. I don’t say it out of disrespect or because I will not do what is asked of me. I say it because I need to, because I struggle almost every damn day with the notion that I am a strong independent woman who needs to be treated as if she exists simply for his pleasure. I say no because when I do I know I will get the response that I need to feel safe in my submission, if that makes sense.

    Stella
    Xxx

  8. Thank you for this post. I’ve been MIA from a multitude of things, kink included, for a while now, for various reasons. But one of them is that I’m wrestling harder than I ever had with my identity as a submissive.
    When I was a teen and discovered sex, and kink, it felt 100% natural to me to be submissive, I didn’t really question it because it was just who I was and what I liked. I was never a completely compliant sub, but I gradually began beating myself up more & more for not being a ‘true submissive.’
    Anyway, long story short, my body knows I am, or want to be, submissive, but my brain is railing against it on every level.
    It helps so much to hear that “your submission is not my submission, but your submission is ok.” I believe that to be true, and it is absolutely what I would say to anyone else, but I have a tendency to believe that, while everyone else is entitled to do what works for them, I must do what works for them too, not what works for me!
    So, rambly comment aside, thank you for making me feel less like a failure as a sub, and also for being so vocal about doing D/s in a way that works for you.

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  9. I had to sit on this because I was quite mad too and just not in the right place to respond rationally.

    I find submission difficult, firstly I wrestle with myself and even when I think I’m about there with those thoughts I refuse to give my submission freely. For me, my submission has to be taken.
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  10. For me, submission is not simple. I’m more of a smart ass masochist, and some people see it as being bratty. My wife tells me she doesn’t ‘do’ brats if anyone is curious about that. There is no simple way of giving my submission to her and sometimes it’s a struggle in my head, not physically.
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