In several of the groups that read, I often see messages from men who have desire to be submissive to their partners – generally a wife of some years. Like many who first discover a way to vent on the internet, their questions usually take the form of “How can I get my partner to…” I sympathize, of course, because I’ve been there, done that, and bought the postcards from the edge. For many of us, this is not a good place to be, emotionally speaking; I still remember all too well the frustration and heartache, the actual pain from having to keep years of fantasies and images and scenes locked up inside my head, not being able to share these with my wife, not to even have the opportunity to talk about them let alone act anything out.
When I read these messages on the various web forums, I often see other men in like circumstances trying to give helpful and supportive responses. They frequently suggest that the writer should imagine that his partner is domming him, and to keep that feeling in mind as he performs various “submissive” acts: Do the laundry, wash the dishes, clean the bathroom, get up early and make her coffee, give foot rubs and back massages without pressuring her for sex, and other similar acts of consideration are suggested. The underlying reasoning is that these are acts that a partner would enjoy anyway, and if one performs them with the mindset of being submissive, then they can fulfill their own fantasies and hopefully slowly bring their partners around to a dommish way of thinking. I’ve seen this humorously described as “stealth submission.” I’ve tried this, myself, and while we had a cleaner house I never realized that sense of fulfillment. I now understand why:
I was doing pleasurable acts while fantasizing. In another context that would be called “masturbation.”
Before any one flames me, I am not saying that there is something wrong with masturbating. I enjoy it; sometimes I’ve done it as a “quickie” way to take the sexual edge off, sometimes I’ve had long involved sessions, and sometimes I’ve done it to help fall asleep. That’s not the point I’m trying to make. But sometimes what I want is not an orgasm; sometimes I want interaction. I want to be acknowledged.
I want a partner. I want a relationship.
And that’s what was lacking for me when I’ve tried stealth submissiveness – I want some acknowledgement that my partner – my beautiful wife – knows and understands what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, I want her to actively participate, to give some thought to why I’m doing this, and – perhaps more importantly – can take some pleasure herself in knowing and understanding.
I want, I want, I want. Doesn’t sound very “submissive”, does it?
I continue to get up earlier than my wife to make the coffee. I continue to clean the bathroom and load the dishwasher and scrub the pans after I cook dinner. I rub her feet or her back or her neck, and make sure all the electronic devices are operating correctly – just as I did from the beginning of our relationship. But it’s no longer an expression of submission for me; rather, it’s an expression of consideration, a demonstration that she can count on me to be there for her.
In another context, I guess that this would be called “caring.” We’re still working on the “relationship” part.