I’m over the whole concept of the infallible dom. The whole strong man stereotype who is always right and never messes up and is suave every moment of every day. Men who demand that sort of esteem are a little absurd, and a culture that perpetuates that role is harmful to both these people and the people that love them.
Bottom line: I love that he trips. I love that she smirks. And I love that he is sometimes that domineering presence and sometimes, yeah, he’s a guy who hasn’t quite gotten the hang of a punching bag just yet.
So let’s talk about this. A few things have been rattling around in my head ever since Ivy posted her (perceptive and valuable) take.
- Dominance and submission are, to my mind, deeply valuable as ways of being understood.
- You can only understand a human by understanding a human.
- Asking someone to understand you is asking them to see your flaws as well as your gifts. This is scary, and carries risks.
- So dominance and submission are expressions of vulnerability by everyone involved.
“The sub has unstated power over the scene” isn’t exactly groundbreaking kink theory, but it has implications like these that maybe don’t get examined as much. When you top you can get hurt or exhausted, emotionally or physically. You can be pressured into doing things you wouldn’t normally consider, just like a sub. I’ve topped in consensual nonconsent scenes that left me shaking and kind of fucked up afterwards, and I’m fortunate that I had a (submissive!) partner who was really good with aftercare for me. When I asked her to understand me, in a moment when I was fallible, she said yes.
So as fun as it is to write and fantasize about implacable, aloof or flawless Dom-monsters, it’s a little silly–and counterproductive–to try to bring that into real life. Inhabit the character when it suits and leave it behind when it doesn’t. Being vulnerable with the right person is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life, as I think many subs would agree. Opening up your own humility and humanity in a dominant role will pay you back over and over, and I think seeing more representation of that experience would be a really good thing.