active surrender

August 11, 2007  |  miscellany

I spent much of yesterday going over the Sugarbutch Star entires (again & again, some of them) and I am still just overwhelmed, in awe, in amazement at how revealing, detailed, and fucken hot they are. I’m humbled and surprised at how much perfect strangers would share and reveal and ask for and exchange.Years ago, around 1998, I met a girl through the anonymous journal I was keeping, and she used to photocopy parts of her journal and mail them to me when she found our writings matched up – she felt like what I was revealing was so intimate that she wanted to reciprocate.

And I think this contest opened up that exchange for many of the folks who read this place. I put a lot of personal, emotional, complex details about my life up here, not just the sex but the emotions, my psyche, my very makeup, which is partly why readers do feel safe and comfortable revealing things to me. You all know more about me than most of my friends, you have an understanding of how my mind and inner world works in ways that nearly no one in my “real world” life does.

But. Even still. I am a little shocked and definitely humbled. Thank you, for all you’ve revealed. Thank you for trusting me with your stories. Thank you for writing them.

Many of the stories I received are from very submissive girls, wanting to be taken in various ways, and I am continually surprised at how much some people (women especially) want to play with the line between submission and degredation. I can play with it, I have and probably will again – but it makes me nervous, and cautious. I worry about the emotional and psychological effects, especially on impressionable young women. Maybe this is my feminist-hippie background coming through, believing that every person is valuable, good, whole, worthy.

It got me thinking, though, about submission. I think there is a big difference between submission/surrender and degredation. I think there are ways – hundreds of ways – to be submissive, to surrender in a scene, without fundamentally losing your own value.

I was taught, by the D/s BDSM community that raised my kinkster self, that the bottom is always the one in real control. That the top may be inflicting the pain or sensation, may be the one holding the knife or the flogger or the end of the rope, but the bottom is who is dictating the next move, the depth of the cut, the strength of the paddle, the moment of release.

Honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I wouldn’t want to top someone I didn’t think was on equal grounds, I wouldn’t want to top someone who couldn’t hold their own up against me in just about every way. I need active bottoming, active submission, active surrender.

If you want to know more about this stuff, I suggest reading The Topping Book and The Bottoming Book. Go to the Body Electric workshop Power, Surrender & Intimacy.

I guess I’m trying to encourage lots of examination here. I want to know the whys behind the degredation, the whys behind the unworthiness. When I witness it, on other sex blogs or in erotica or writings or submissions or comments or lovers or friends or porn or anywhere, I feel skeptical, and sad. Sex and BDSM and D/s and power and surrender can be tools to discover and rebuild and enhance and create a better self, a stronger self, a more open and loving and conscious self. But they can also follow unhealthy, dangerous old pre-determined pathways.

Don’t get me wrong, please – there were lots of submissive/bottom submissions to the Sugarbutch Star contest and most of them seemed fucken solid. Just a few in particular felt dangerously degrading, perhaps only because I didn’t have the backstory, didn’t have the context. But it made me wonder all the same. Made me want to cradle and protect, to hold and comfort, before I would bust out my cock and paddle and fist and fuck into the night.

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3 Comments


  1. Crazy that you wrote this. I just had a discussion with a feminist friend the other night about her sexual desires around rape scenarios, power/control, ect. Since then I've really been thinking about how D/s, BDSM, and sex work blend with my feminist politics. I was thinking about writing an entry about on the topic, maybe I will now to explore those thoughts further.

  2. As a girl trying to come to terms with her own submissive tendencies, this is something I've read a lot about (usually on sexblogs, but in literature as well…Story of O, etc.), and it never ceases to disturb me. I recognize my submission as having very deep roots in my spirituality, and my desire to submit to a lover or teacher is a reflection of my seemingly-ungratified desire to submit to Deity. As such, I could never accept the idea that my submission meas that I am unworthy or less than a whole person – God'dess, I am certain, loves and treasures me, and there's no reason any human lover should do any less. I understand the desire to lose, for a time, one's Self in the overwhelming love and control of anOther, to serve and give as an act of devotion, but when it crosses into degradation and a lessening of value, that I can't do.

  3. For me, these sorts of scenes (nonconsensual, humiliation, degradation) are a way to own experiences that shaped who I am in a positive and consensual light.

    For about a year after I was raped, my partner and I would play with very violent, cohersive, and degrading scenes about 3 or 4 times a month. Gradually, I didn't want it as often and now it is a very occasional thing indeed. But part of me still responds to that violence and force with a nonconsensual veneer.

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