A Dominant by Any Other Name

My husband and I are new to the practice of power exchange.  The energy of it is thrilling, but it strange, and maybe even dangerous.  We feel as if we’ve grabbed hold of a tiger by the tail, and we’re not sure how to tame it.

But others have gone before us, there is much advice to be found online, and thank goodness for that.  The volume is comforting; as long as we are following a well-worn path, we cannot possibly be that weird.  In fact, more the opposite, we are discovering a not-so-secret tribe where people are much happier than your ordinary, predictable all-things-equal couple.

I discover an entire genre of literature on BDSM.  I order books.  I subscribe to fetlife.  I study websites with names like dominantsoul.com, I print out pages for him to read.  He is across town, at work in his cubicle, stealing time to do the same.  We become familiar with a new vocabulary, and concepts such as safewords, subspace, sub training, and sub triggers.  I am not crazy about some of this language, it gives me the vague feeling I am being drawn into a cult.  But it also seems vitally important that we understand these concepts, and use the right words, in order to gain entrance into this intriguing world.

We find that submissives, or subs, usually call their dominants, or doms, by some symbolic honorific, “Sir” being the most common.  I cannot imagine calling my warm, enveloping Michael such a cool, remote word. “Master” is also much used, often in a slave relationship, but I do not see myself as a slave.  Pleasure concubine, okay.  But not slave.

I run across a few sites where the sub calls her dom by the title of “Daddy,” and this seems a much warmer word, and fits with the stepfather fantasy with which we began our foray into spanking and my surrender.  But the word also seems to apply to a specific category of BDSM, in which the sexual satisfaction is derived from the sub acting like a young girl, playing with dolls and toys, a girl wants her Daddy Dom to color with her and feed her treats.  That idea did nothing for me at all.  Maybe I would just have to be a sub who called my dom by his actual name.

We stumble upon numerous online stores devoted to BDSM gear.  I am not tempted.  Most of the implements of torture look too severe, and I care nothing for the outfits of leather and latex.  Maybe because so much of it looks biker-ish, or maybe because I have never cared about fashion or clothes in any sense.  Michael doesn’t seem particularly motivated by the costuming of it all either.  Even in our vanilla life, I did not think to wear sexy lingerie, and he did not think to ask for it.

But we do find many images of bondage that catch our attention.  I feel a spark of excitement especially if the woman looks spread open, unable to close her legs.  There’s something about the symbolic openness of it.  For me, it’s about the position she’s in; for Michael, it’s about the rope. He thinks the elaborate ties look like art.  Now I’m tempted.  I order rope from a BDSM site, then order books on rope bondage from Amazon.

Call Me Daddy

But that evening, we decide we don’t want to wait for the rope to arrive.  We decide to make the half-hour drive to the adult toy store and buy some rope for him to try out on me.  In the car on the way there, I ask Michael what he thinks I should call him.  Does he feel like a Sir?  Like a Master?

“Or,” I say with a small laugh, “Do you feel like a Daddy?”

He doesn’t laugh in return but seems to give it serious consideration.  “I don’t know. Would you want a Daddy?”

My heart squeezes a little at this, and I feel how hot my face is as I tell him the truth, that I have fantasized about a Daddy figure doing wicked things to me over and over throughout my life.  That I have craved the feeling of being taken care of and protected and sexually “instructed” and soothed and nurtured.

Then I admit to him something I hadn’t even consciously taken much note of myself – that I have, in fact, had many fantasies of calling him Daddy.

“It seems to be a powerful idea for me,” I add.

“Then,” he says, “You should call me Daddy.”

My heart starts beating hard, and I open my mouth to try to say it, but I cannot make myself say the word, I cannot.  Instead, I seem to be crying, and I don’t know why.  Part of it is relief, but part of it is also the terrible feeling of being exposed in my most strange and secret longing.

He reaches for my hand, squeezes it.  “Never mind.  You don’t have to call me that.”

“No, no, I want to, I do,” I say.  I wanted to be able to call him some name that symbolized his dominance anyway.  “I just can’t say it yet.”

“Well,” he says, “then whenever you’re ready.”

We get to the video store, and I walk in behind him, feeling rattled and exposed.  I am sure I will never be able to call him Daddy.  I am 50 years old, it would be absurd.  And I feel more than absurd as we shop for rope and bondage videos.  I cannot even look at the stuff as I follow him blindly.  He asks if I want to try some nipple clamps.  I nod vaguely.   “Which ones?”  I point to the first package I see, I don’t care, I just want to go.

Back home, he makes us drinks, while I unpack the bag.  What I don’t admit is that now that we have rope, I am scared of being tied up.  I have always panicked when any man held me too tightly or tried to hold me down to tickle me.  Why on earth did I think I would like that?

He pulls me into the bedroom, tells me to take my clothes off, and then get on the bed on all fours.  But I am now in a nervous state, not really ready yet, but okay, I am submissive now, right?  I don’t argue, I obey.  So he spanks me and fingers me, and just when he gets going and I am starting to feel excited, he stops, waits, then starts again.  It is frustrating me, it throws off the build of pleasure.  I ask what he is doing.  He says he read on the internet that a dominant should “hold back orgasms” from his submissive in order to gain greater control of her.

“Well, that’s dumb,” I say, not hiding my annoyance.

He stops, says he’s done.  He lies down on the bed and I lay my head on his chest, say I’m sorry.  He says I don’t have to apologize, he is feeling weird and out of sorts.  I admit I feel the same.  It is the first time in weeks that the ever-building sexual energy between us has sagged.

I am suddenly afraid that this D/s thing we have just begun is impossible to sustain beyond fantasy play, and could already be over.

We get dressed and go to the couch to watch the bondage movie we just bought, and it is at first entertaining, and mildly stimulating to watch the girls be tied up.  There is something about helplessness that most certainly turns me on.  But then the dominant in the movie sticks gags in the women’s mouths.  I cringe.  I do not like the sight of gags, the drool coming out of the women’s mouths, it disturbs me.  I am now very much turned off.  I shut off the video, tell him how much I hate it.  He just sits there in his funk, not saying anything.  The energy between us has worse than sagged, it’s gone entirely flat.

Wow.  It all really seems over, just like that.

I pick up the nipple clamps from where I’d left them on the coffee table.  I start swinging them around by the chain.  I say, “I wonder how these feel?”

He just shrugs, takes another sip of his drink.  I strip off my shirt, and hesitantly start putting the clamps on my own nipples.  The sensation is intense at first, but it doesn’t really hurt for long.  I lean back, feeling kinda sexy with my nipples pinched prominently between the clamps, the chain hanging between them like jewelry.  The sight seems to rouse Michael, he reaches over to start tugging my pants down.

I lie back onto the arm of the couch, allow him to pull my pants off.  He says he’s going to try something else he saw in those videos, starts slapping my bare pussy with his open palm.  It doesn’t hurt exactly, at least not much.  It feels all sting-y nice, and I like it.  Then suddenly he is up on his knees, looming over me, fingers shoving hard into me, pumping like mad, hard and pounding.  The submissive switch in me turns on, my mind goes quiet, peaceful.

I ask him if he will turn me over his knee, I crave that most submissive of poses, love my face pressed into the couch while he shoves his fingers into my pussy from behind.  And he does, oh he does, ramming slick fingers into both holes, rough and sweet, while I lie there and take it, while I open up and melt away, flesh rendered into soft yielding liquid.  I love this stuffed full feeling like I love nothing else in life, the swirling molten sensation is so deep, so urgent, it feels like the essence of life, the impulse of life, energy opening up within me, all hot and wavy radiant, I am burning like the sun.

As my orgasm rushes through me, I finally gasp out, “Yes, you’re my Daddy, you’re my Daddy, you’re my Daddy.”  It doesn’t feel absurd to say it at all.

The Submissive Stuff; Or, Searching For Signs of My Sexually Submissive Nature

Early Indications

We are a week into our D/s exploration, and now that I am believing this is going to be the way for us, that this is really who we are…  I spend a lot of time in my living room chair, gazing at the winter-bare oak trees out my front window, trying to come to grips with my new unfamiliar self.

How did I not see this coming?  Were there signs I might be inclined toward sexual submission?   I start sorting through my sexual history, and I do find a few signs, experiences that did not strike me as significant at the time.

Once, in my 30s, during a marriage in which battles over the frequency of my willingness to have sex were bitter and exhausting, I told my then-husband, “Just go ahead and do me, I don’t care, as long as I don’t have to pretend I’m into it.”  He took me up on it a few times, and I found not only did it not bother me to be screwed when I wasn’t in the mood, I would eventually become excited by the passive acceptance of it, and told him so.  Still, we reverted back to the “rules” of consent, and weekly fights over why I wasn’t more often in the mood.

Another time, in my 40s, during a brief period of dating, I once met a man for drinks at his hotel after he’d charmed me online.  Although he was nice, I knew immediately he was not a romantic prospect for me.  He was younger, almost boyish, with glasses and a cowlick, exactly fitting the stereotype of computer nerd.  But as I was plotting my escape, he suddenly became commanding.

“You are going to come into to my bedroom with me now,” he said.

I laughed, thinking his overconfidence ridiculous.  “Oh, you think so.”

He moved closer to me, and leaned to say in my ear, “If you don’t think about it and just do it, you might be surprised.”

Then, without waiting for me to demur, he took my hand and pulled me toward his bedroom. To my own great surprise, I did not resist.  I allowed him to pull me up the stairs and through the doorway of the bedroom.

“Now sit on the bed,” he said.  I found myself sitting, and marveling that I was doing what he said.  He knelt to take my shoes off for me.

“Now stand up and take your shirt off.”

If he had asked me to do it, I would have said no.  But something about him commanding me… well, I liked it.  And I obeyed.  Not because I felt threatened or in danger; I knew I could safely walk out if I wanted to.  But no man had ever spoken to me in such commanding way before, and it held me spellbound.

Over the next hour, I felt as if I was playing the most amazing fun game as he gave commands and I obeyed.  He didn’t demand anything too exotic, in fact, if not for his bossiness, it was a pretty standard sexual encounter.  But I was fascinated by my own response – how I felt almost hypnotized by his commands, simultaneously excited and soothed by them.  (Probably my first no-static sex.)

I left invigorated by the whole episode, and thought, well I guess I like it when a guy is assertive.  And that was it.  I did not see him again, nor did I think too deeply about it, or what my response might mean about my sexual nature.  I certainly didn’t start looking for assertive or dominating kind of men.

Role Reversal

In fact, only a short while later, a few weeks in to my next serious relationship, my new blonde, blue-eyed, wholesome-looking boyfriend confessed to me liked a woman to boss him around in bed.  He also liked to be whacked on the ass with a paddle, and would I be willing?   I was indeed willing, it seemed like yet another fun and naughty game.  And although it didn’t much excite me to whack him, it amused me to go shopping together for a paddle.  And it made me happy to satisfy his desires, made me feel like a good, open-minded lover.

At least I felt good until he started asking me to me to tie him up, hit him harder, mark and bruise him.  Then I would grit my teeth and wince as I wielded paddle and whip across his backside.

I finally told him, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.  I don’t feel comfortable hurting you.”

He told me he experienced the pain as pleasure.  When I told him I didn’t see how that could be possible, he offered to tie me up and paddle me, so I’d know how it felt.  “Not too hard, I promise.”

I was nervous, but agreed I should know what it’s like on the other side.  He loosely bound me to the bed with straps we had bought to be used on him… Then took the black strip of leather with the word “Love” stenciled-in, and whacked me on my bare ass.

Ooohhhhhhhhh.  The pain flashed only briefly, then left behind a warm pleasant tingle.  Very warm, very pleasant, very stimulating.  I said, “Can you do it harder?”

Once I knew that pleasure, I felt liberated to become an enthusiastic dominatrix.  Over the following months, we went all in on BDSM, me in a leather outfit, whirling a cat-o’-nine over my head with the best of them.  He called himself a submissive, and a painslut, and we pushed the boundaries of what he could take.  He thrilled at any mark or bruise.

I can’t say I “got off” on delivering the pain, or being the object of his worship.  But I did enjoy the intensity it gave the relationship.  It was my first experience of the heat of no boundaries sex.  I liked the sense of intimacy it created, the feeling that we were, together, boldly going where few had gone before.  I especially liked that every once in awhile we’d switch, and I’d get a rare turn face down on the bed, tied up and helpless while he did wicked things to me.  Oh, that was my favorite thing of all.

One would think my enthusiasm for my turn on the bottom would have been an unmistakable signal to me that I was more naturally suited to submission.  But I didn’t hear that signal.  I was too busy trying to figure out how to be a dominant, how to cultivate that mindset.

Yet, try as I might, my desire to play the role of dominant began to drain away.  I no longer enjoyed the dynamic.  I blamed him, told him he was always “topping from the bottom,” trying to get me to give him what he wanted, instead of allowing me to do what I wanted (even though I had no idea what that might be).  I blamed the dynamic of D/s itself, declaring that it was built on an illusion.  Obviously, the submissive was the one with the real power.  After all, the only reason I was playing dominatrix was to satisfy his desire for pain (ironically, because I was a closet submissive who felt I had no choice).  I was giving him what his fetish demanded, rather than following any desire of my own.

When the BDSM aspect of the relationship went away, the intensity that held us together went away, and it was not long before the whole relationship teetered on collapse.  It was upsetting and confusing for both of us, as we had once felt protected by the intensity between us, which we interpreted as love.  I lost all desire for sex, and became hostile toward any suggestion that we try BDSM activities again. I felt a resentment toward him all out of proportion to our small problems, and finally ended the relationship.  He felt bitter.  I didn’t blame him, as I had no explanation that made sense to myself, let alone to him.

Now, a decade later, after marrying Michael and stumbling on the glorious discovery of my own submissive self, it seems clear to me that I resented my painslut boyfriend because he took the role better suited to me.  In order to be dominant, one must be strongly aligned with masculine energy, and it was always an effort to pull that out of myself in the bedroom.  But yielding feminine energy, ah, that is effortless to me.  There was no way I could continue in that relationship and be my true self.

I don’t know how I stayed oblivious to what these brief experiences were pointing me toward.  Or how I failed to grasp what my sexual fantasies were telling me for most of my life.  It was Freud who declared that each person has a ‘central masturbation fantasy,’ and suggested this fantasy can reveal one’s deepest traits and desires.  One fantasy has always played in my head while I bring myself to orgasm, from the time I was a teenager:  I am helpless (often voluntarily so), usually splayed open, not allowed to move, while sexual things are being done to me.  The setting might change – I am a volunteer in a medical lab where doctors test me for sexual response, or an inmate in a jail subject to the whims of the guards, or a priestess being serviced in a fertility ritual, or a teenage girl being “taught” about sex by her stepfather.  But always, always, I am still, passive, yielding, accepting.  And incredibly aroused.

Who knows how Freud might interpret this fantasy, or what a psychologist might say this reveals about my psyche.  And who knows why I didn’t understand this perpetual fantasy as a sign that I might respond well to sexual submission, or why those few brief forays into surrender didn’t catch my attention.  But now that I have found myself on this path to sexual bliss, I can look back and see a pattern, glowing neon bright.  I have always felt this longing to be dominated by my lover.  And I feel giddy with what might come next.

The First Time I Told My Husband My Fantasy About Sexual Submission

We had been married five days the first time my husband spanked me.   I don’t know what it was about the marriage license that made me feel safe – or emboldened – enough to tell him about my longtime fantasy about being turned over a man’s knee and spanked.  But in the open space of peace that followed our legal union, on our first Friday night together as a married couple, I sat with him on the couch in our den, a glass of whiskey cold in my hand and warm in my face, and said, “Maybe we should try role-playing.”

Michael, my husband, nodded seriously. “Maybe we should.”

Now this is a guy who, at the time I met him, I described to my sister as, “white bread and buttoned-up.”  As in, he wore boxy, dry-cleaned shirts buttoned up tight to the neck, with a white undershirt underneath.  As in, he parted his hair on the side and combed it down, like a kid from the Eisenhower era on Picture Day.  This is a guy who worked in the same corporate job for 30 years and had stayed faithful to his first wife, (who, like an Eisenhower wife, did not work), for nearly as long, despite only being offered missionary position on the sexual menu.  He called sex “making love,” never fucking; he called body parts by their proper clinical name, “penis” and “breasts.”

I think it would be fair to say that at his first scent of me, his buttons popped open.  Our first time alone in a room, he loomed assertively over me on the couch with a smoldering gaze and said, “I have to have you.”  Or something to that effect.  Then he proceeded to expertly take me.  I’d  never been taken that in such a confident, masculine way before. The experience was so moving, I cried.

In our first year together, 53-year-old Michael was like a man set free from sexual prison, game for anything.  Oh so game.  Underneath those boxy shirts I found a hard, muscular body, a Greek god kind of body, smooth, muscled, perfect.  His cock was big, continually hard, perfect.  I literally never saw it soft until months into our relationship.  (How old are you again? I’d laugh.)  We were hugely in love, hot physical love, and did it constantly, everywhere, in every position, as if we’d discovered this amazing thing called sex ourselves.  We quickly embraced toys, porn, naughty outfits, tie him up, tie me up – yes, we said, absolutely.  Tantric massage class that required him to get naked in a roomful of other naked men – sure, he said, why not?

Before our wedding, I happily and hornily played out whatever erotic scenario I thought a formerly sexually-deprived man might want, and never once felt anything was lacking.  But somehow, after our impulsive trip to Reno to tie the knot, I feel something new:  a long-hidden want, pushing up in my mind, ready to reveal itself.

But first, I describe for him where I felt this want came from.

How a Spanking Fantasy Was Born

“Okay, so one day when I was about twelve,” I begin, “I found my mother’s stash of porn magazines in her bedroom, and I was looking through them, getting pretty aroused.  Then my stepfather walked in and caught me.”

I let that sit for a beat.   “Go on,” says my husband.

“Well, I remember having this flash of thought at the time, Oh no, he’s going to spank me.  Even though I was too old, and he no longer spanked me anymore, the idea gave me a visceral jolt of heat.  And when he didn’t spank me, just sent me out of the room, I felt… disappointed.”

“Interesting,” says my husband.

“So, I’ve had this fantasy ever since, about being spanked by my stepfather.  And not just spanked.  More than that. After he spanks me, he…”  I can barely say it.   But I do.  “Then he, um, fondles me.”

I can’t believe I’ve confessed this.  Not the fantasy aspect of it exactly, it is probably benign enough to admit to enjoying the idea of being spanked and manhandled.  It is even trendy lately, with the movie version of 50 Shades of Grey about to come out the following weekend.

But to role-play a father figure molesting me, and physically act it out?  Well that feels like a different thing – politically incorrect – insulting to actual victims of molestation.  And by asking him to imagine himself as a father figure violating his stepdaughter, well that feels like pushing him to place himself in the “pervert” category.  I know by now my new husband is not at all buttoned up like I first thought, but I also know he is a highly moral person as well.

But now I have opened that door, and I keep talking.

“So if we do this role-play thing, I could pretend to be a kid watching a porn movie, and you could pretend to be my stepfather who comes home and catches me.  And you make me lay over your lap so you can pull my panties down and spank me…  Then you feel bad, and so you try to make it all better by putting your fingers inside me.”

I wait for a response, excruciating heat (is it shame?) now burning down my neck.

My husband’s face is still serious as can be.  “I could do that.”

“Really?  You really want to do that?”

Now there is a hint of smile at the corner of his mouth, a kind of ironic smirk that I find incredibly sexy.   “Yes baby,” he says.  “I really want to do that.”

Now I talk faster, letting my entire fantasy, and all its details, spill out.  “You feel bad because you realize I am just curious about sex.  So you want to satisfy my curiosity and show me how it feels to be touched ‘down there.’  You’ll do that while I lay face down on your lap with my panties down around my knees, and I’m unable to move.   And you are going to tell me I have to be still, that I can’t tell anyone, it’s going to be our secret.”

He considers this a moment.  “Now you’re turning me on.”

This seems too good to be true, that my twisted little private fantasy might also appeal to him. “You’re not just saying that?”

He takes my hand, places it over the erection pushing against his jeans.

I jump up, energized, I am giggling, breathless.   I gulp more whiskey, tell him I’m going to go change, can he please put a porn DVD in the player?  Then I will come back into the living room, and he will give me a few minutes to watch the movie, then pretend to be “Daddy” coming home and catching me.

I go in the bedroom, change into a little, black dress that no 12-year-old girl would wear, but it’s the only dress I have.  I am excited and embarrassed all at once, this is ridiculous, I know.  But we are going to do something we have never done before.

I Finally Get Spanked 

I go into the dim living room, sit on the couch, and wait, impatient.  I am not even slightly interested in the bad porn playing on the DVD.  I hear him come in.  Michael gasps in mock outrage, “What are you doing!”

I have never seen him try be an actor before, and he looks so earnest and serious.  I try to sound earnest, as well.  “Oh no, I just turned on the TV and this was on, I swear!”

Then he stands there as if not sure what to do next, and how can I take all this seriously?  I bust out laughing.  I think he will laugh with me, but he doesn’t.  “What?  Did I say something wrong?”

I wave a hand.  “Sorry, sorry, no, I can’t help it.  I’ll get it.  Go back and start again.”

He goes back out of the room, and this time, when he catches me watching porn, I give a more worthy performance.  “I didn’t put it on, it came on by itself, I swear, Daddy!”

He tells me I’ve been bad, he is going to turn me over his knee.  He sits on the couch, pats his lap.  I try to fake being sad, but I am can barely keep the laughter at bay as I drape myself over his lap, ass in the air.  He drags my skirt up, pulls my panties down, and I am hit with the feeling of true vulnerability beneath the silliness of it all.

Oh, this isn’t what I thought it would feel like.  I’d expected it to be hot and exciting, not embarrassing.  Then he spanks me while I fake cry, and well, that is kind of fun and different.  I do like the slight sting and the warmth it leaves behind, and I wish he’d have done it harder.  I feel both stimulated and disappointed, it doesn’t seem like he really has it in him to be a mean Daddy at all.

I lie there across his lap, waiting for the next part, the good part.  Even if this isn’t as exciting as I’d imagined, I am still entertained by our efforts.  He starts saying his lines – “You were just curious, weren’t you.  How’d you like it if I showed you how it feels to get excited?”

Well, I didn’t expect/want him to ask me, but I say, “Yes, please, Daddy.”

He starts stroking my bare behind.  Then again asks me, “If it’s all right with you, I’m going to pull your pants down now.”

Now I am irritated.  He’s not supposed to ask permission.  That spoils the fantasy of enjoying a forbidden touching.  I have the urge to complain, but here he is doing his best to deliver my fantasy, so I bite my tongue.

He lubes up two fingers and I feel him probing between my legs, I feel them push into my hole.  But it feels awkward, I am not really excited.  It is like being probed by a doctor.  He asks me if I like it, I don’t want to be asked, but I quickly say yes.   I lay there while he finishes playing the part, trying to focus on the porn still playing on the TV, trying to muster up some excitement, but secretly waiting for it to be over.  I am glad for the moment I can sit up and pull my panties back up.  That wasn’t hot at all.  I took that huge risk in revealing that secret fantasy for not a lot of reward.  Well, that’s not true, there is the reward of revealing something intimate about myself to the man I love and being accepted for it.  It is also a bonding thing to take a risk together, try something new.  There is also the burst of gratitude I feel that he has tried to grant me my fantasy.  What a generous man.

We have sex there on the couch, and it is sweet and I love him, and afterward we sit together to finish our drink, and we laugh at how hard it was to do that and not laugh.

“Although,” I say, “If there is ever a next time, I’d rather you spank me harder.  And not ask permission to put your fingers in me.  That sort of undermines the whole point.  I’m supposed to be helpless to prevent it.”

He nods, ahhhhh.  This is a revelatory thought for a man who prides himself on never being anything other than respectful of women.  “Okay, I’ll know for next time.”

But I don’t really expect there will be a next time.  The role-play was awkward, and lacking the excitement I’d expected.  That often seems to the way of indulging a fantasy, it never measures up to reality.  But isn’t that the whole point of fantasy?  To keep our desires safe and pure from messy, uncooperative reality?

I did, however, have a glimpse of what it felt like to be over Michael’s knee.  And I’d had some fun with it.  It just was not what I’d call a “hot.”

What I did not know then is that the problem was not in indulging the fantasy, but in the role-play aspect.  I didn’t want to just want to pretend to be under the control of my wicked too-loving Step-Daddy.  I wanted to be truly, in reality, under his sexual control. Of course, this didn’t occur to me that evening.  I would have been shocked at the very idea.

But now that the seed was planted, it was going to burst from the ground – very, very soon…