On sub identity and being a little?

by Luna

I read something very interesting just now! (Yes it’s a long read and parts of it is a little purple prose-ish, but I encourage you to read all of it anyway, especially the analysis in the end)

A lot of times when you ask a sub to describe their sub identity, they’re probably going to describe a variety of sexual aspects and roles. Master’s slut. Master’s slave. Master’s this or Master’s that. It is often also tied to a very specific sort of play. Master’s pincushion. Master’s baby girl.  Master’s pet. I don’t think subs stop to think about themselves very often once they’re owned – it’s a common flaw to give up a little too much of yourself and start identifying as one thing or the other in reflection to your owner. At least that’s what it was like for me. I identify very strongly as property, as an accomplice of a sorts, as His pincushion and cutting board and sub – occasionally too strongly, as I seemingly feel lost and upset when He’s not available. This isn’t a good thing (although it makes for a lot of intensity during sessions when He does have time for me, as the relief of being reunited with my Owner furthers the whole flow of endorphins very strongly). I’m guessing it’s slightly unethical to not address the issue once it surfaces. He didn’t sign up for play that would make His sub so dependent on Him (and I couldn’t possibly have anticipated it) – on the other hand, we both agreed that it is a 24/7 commitment and configuration.

I want to start opening this up by stating that I know for a fact that I am not in any way opposed to age play or incest play (I’m very opposed to the YKINOK-mentality [Your Kink Is Not OK] as I’m for anything that people enjoy in a consensual and risk-aware way within the limits of what can be considered safe) but I am 100% sure it is not my cup of tea. Age play is in fact a massive turn off for me, and I’ve had to unfollow great bdsm-related tumblr pages because of the frequency of age play-related content (disturbs my flow!).

However, Harper’s text on DD/bg-dynamics struck a chord in me (for more reading, go here or here) and there was a bunch of things that very efficiently spelled out things that felt familiar to me from the way I relate to my submission.

Example 1: Brattiness. My fetlife profile lists elevating brattiness to an art form as a fetish. I enjoy playful brattiness and behaviour modification to no end. I love everything about it – I love the empowering feeling of fighting back and challenging my Top to see if He is worth my submission, I love it when I lose and am shown back to my place with finesse and skill. I think that is one of my favourite aspects in Master’s topping. He is extremely fucking competent at physical presence and causing pain but also at mindfucks of various kind. I would have a hard time playing with a novice top because I would find it hard to follow a command that wasn’t delivered with complete sincerity and authority. That’s not to say I consider Him infallible or that mistakes are an automatic turn off for me – au contraire, we’re all human and I quite like it that way, thank you. I love it when I’m shamed for misbehaving, even better if semi-publicly (in a safe space) and I love it when I think Master is almost crossing a line (such as doing it in front of a bunch of friends) and I can’t decide if I’m embarrassed or turned on, but what I know is that I’m grateful He’s correcting me to match the behaviour He expects from me. It doesn’t have anything to with age play, but the age difference of a couple of years is somehow a little significant to me even if I’m a strong believer in ‘age is just a number’. I always think of myself as younger when I think of the two of us, even if three years is nothing when you’re of this age. This would also make sense of the fact that heavy sessions always end in crying and sobbing inconsolably, and being upset always ends in acting out.

From excerpt 1:  I’ve known others that act out in various ways, either as brats, or even a little blustery, because they weren’t ready to bring out their littles.

Example 2: Femininity. This doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the phenomenon at hand, but my submission is so very clearly characterized by a femininity that completely eludes me in everyday life. To some extent it’s a contrast thing. I enjoy the fact that He’s this masculine man because I get to be the femme boy – but it’s more than that, because I’m a femme boy outside of this context as well. It almost goes as far as saying I might even be a feminine girl at times during sessions. And instead of feeling threatening or scary, it is wonderful! It’s like drag, only involving loads more trans*sensitivity and sexual gratification! I’m very fascinated by forced feminization play, at the same time as I’m confused about what terminology I would prefer in general. As I said, I’m trans* and I recently started my HRT. I have very mild to no genital dysphoria and have always assumed one could talk about my genitals with whatever terminology one wishes (I don’t consider pussy to be gendering, although lady parts or anything equally stupid would be off the menu, of course). However, having recently been referred to with terminology more typically used for the genitals of people identifying clearly as men, I was shocked to realize how absolutely wonderful and liberating it felt (not to mention how much of a turn on it was ^^”). Gender doesn’t have to be a set thing and so I don’t see why the gender of submission would have to be a set thing either, but the femininity aspect and playing with the traditional heteronormative masculine top/feminine bottom roles as queer people feels fascinating.

Example 3: The emotional aspects of BDSM. I’ll start with excerpts:

Even the girls who know they are littles can struggle. They carry massive amounts of emotions around with them. Strong emotions. Like whirlwinds in tutus. It’s not at all surprising they would clamp down on those emotions, or act out, because how else are they supposed to deal with them?

Think about it: if she has these cyclones of overwhelming feelings lashing around inside her, what does she do with them? How does she cope?

For someone who is not a little, just saying “suck it up” to one who is, is not a tenable solution. Yes, some littles do suck it up, but rarely successfully. Oh, don’t get me wrong; they manage, coping with their lives and challenges, but actual happiness eludes them. […]

For a little, emotional highs are higher, lows are very low. Euphoria (very common) is stronger, and upsets cut far more deeply (also very common). […]

Think of a bucket filled to overflowing, then think of more liquid going into that bucket. She doesn’t have another bucket; she can’t keep up with the overflowing. And the more she tries to keep up, the sadder and more frenzied she feels.

That’s an iceberg’s tip of her flood of emotions. And these emotions don’t stop. She can’t fight them. She can barely deal with them some days. Like I said, some littles repress and compartmentalize, while others have strong emotional episodes. I.e., explosions. These are stopgaps at best.

So what’s the solution?

A Daddy.

Sound familiar? Dom needs sub; sub needs Dom. And if you think that one has a powerful pull, you ain’t seen nothing till you’ve run across a little in a spin who needs her Daddy.

I identify so strongly with every single thing of that text, except for the word choices in the last paragraphs: I don’t want to call anyone Daddy, but would rather say this sub needs their Owner. Play for me seems to have opened up emotional locks of a caliber that I never expected and I’m almost sorry I couldn’t describe them beforehand to my Master, because I’m scared shitless He’ll find this unattractive and distasteful and dump my sorry ass when He finally realizes the depth of the space He’s (unknowingly) dug out for Himself in me.

Example 4: I’m known to react with spontaneous displays of affection and happiness. Sometimes I react to spanking with giggling. When I get excited (which I get very easily) I can’t help but squeal and jump into His lap. I thought it was an emotional thing related to my mental health and my getting better, but thinking back, these random displays of SQUEEE and getting so excited I can’t even fucking handle it (to the point where I’d go hyper and almost into mania for a whole month)  started pretty much exactly when we started playing together regularly.

To sum it up: I wonder if one can identify with certain aspects of it, or if DD/bg is always a package deal? I don’t identify with any of those words and I don’t want any of them in my relationship (Daddy, baby girl/baby boy) but I’m extremely extremely attached to the word Owner and sub/ownee and doesn’t that sort of fill the same function? I don’t identify with any aspect of age play described in the scenes I linked – not the obvious things, such as diapers or age regression or the terminology that comes with it, but also not with having my hair done up in pony tails or playing with crayons. However, I love my place on the floor and I love being petted and cuddled and taken care of. I’m at my happiest at His feet with a hand absent-mindedly ruffling my hair, demonstrating that ownership even when there’s no tension to the situation. Is little a synonym for ownee?

I also wonder what this means. I’m of the notion that none of this rings any bells in Master’s topping style per se, and in all honesty I am now extremely afraid. This finally puts word to my fear that I’ve tried to express a million times when I’ve said I don’t think Master knows what He signed up for and that I keep expecting that knife in my back and why it’s so frustrating that I still can’t trust in it when He keeps saying I’m not going anywhere. I am scared out of my fucking mind right now that this is going to be a conversation opener that will lead to Master saying He can’t give me what I need.

From text 2:

Her world rights itself […] when he comes through the door and she hears those two words:

Daddy’s home.

Ring a bell? I quote myself from a couple of days back: “I didn’t, however, realize how strong the feeling was until I’d gotten home and He walked through the door. He smells familiar and He’s mine, my Owner and my Master, and I just give in to my clouded head and sink down to my knees in front of Him and just stay there, burying my head in His lap for a while and He softly laughs and says “yes, Master is here” […].

A final excerpt from the second text I linked before I’ll leave this thought to ripen a bit:

I’ve heard subs ask: What’s in it for the Dom? Basically, what I hear them saying is, “I’m such a mess. Why would he want to take on that kind of project?”

She can’t yet know what she doesn’t know. The feelings of warmth that steal over her after she attaches are of peace and calmness. Right now, prior to attaching, she is scattered, emotionally speaking. She is unguided. She is directionless. Emotionally speaking. […]

Things like very regular daily routines—many subs crave structure—are a big one. Making sure the day is so busy, so she can’t allow time for those pesky emotions to break loose, is another.

A third is denying she even has the Craving (yes, capital “C”) in the first place. After all, before she feels the attachment, the very concept sounds ludicrous, even a little insane. What girl in her right mind would give herself over so completely to another person?

And yet…

And yet she feels the pull of something. Something that just won’t leave her mind. She can bury the feeling with work, family, life, but it never goes away. It’s always there, in the back, scratching at her. What she needs depends on what kind of submissive she is (a topic for another article), and her itch will be a little different from those of other unawakened subs. But it’s there, and will be triggered from time to time.

If she encounters a real Dom—not an asshole pretending to be one—those feelings shoot to the fore as if catapulted there. Even simply reading or looking at the type of erotica that secretly appeals to her can activate it. Then the itch grows to full-blown Craving, and she will quite possibly begin to explore. But it takes finding the Dom appropriate for her to bring her fully open.

Don’t misunderstand: many good Doms along the way will play their part, and she will learn more about herself with each one. But it takes that One, built just for her, that pulls her the last bit of the way to true attachment.

I posed the question: What’s in it for the Dom?

For the Dom, there is the very tangible fact that he has found his other half. Yes, it sounds like the cliché from countless novels, but it also happens to be true. A Dom is just as in need of an attached sub, as she is of him. It is always a two-way thing.

He wants—and needs—a sub to mold, to guide, to train to whatever level the two of them desire to explore. And dare I say, to love.

I want to stress that all this is one Dom’s opinion. My experience with the BDSM community is that the only thing any two kinksters can agree on, is that the third one is wrong. That’s fine; that’s debate and discussion, and that’s one way we learn. Go ahead: disagree. But the immutables are: attachment exists. It happens. They both need it to be fully happy.

Otherwise, it’s just brain-camouflage masquerading as sex.