Switches are something I know next to nothing about, but after reading JeffMach’s articulate post on FetLife I feel I little better informed on how they work and some of the nonsense they have to deal with.
Switches Can’t Be Dominant
…or so I have been told every. single. time I have submitted or bottomed in public.
Admittedly, that’s not terribly frequent. For one thing, I have much more to offer as a dominant than as a submissive – but for another, it’s just not worth the challenge of deciding whether or not to defend my identity. I mean, to be honest, the sort of people who say “You’re not really dominant” aren’t usually people I’m going to respect in the first place. But letting the assertion go unanswered is pretty damn frustrating.
Do you know that there are times when, if I say that phrase above – “more to offer as a dominant than as a submissive” – there are people who’ve replied, “Good! That means you’re too dominant to really submit!”
Too dominant to submit? What? When did my submission subtract something from my dominance? When did I start having a finite amount of either one? These are personal qualities, attributes, and skills. You don’t magically need to chop a piece off of one if you want to have more of the other.
It’s absolutely true, of course, that time spent practicing (or doing) one thing means you potentially have less time for another thing. But by that measurement, my guitar playing makes me a worse dominant – why am I busy playing guitar instead of practicing how to hit somebody with a club? (And the answer is: Because, while kink is at the core of my life, it’s not the only thing in my life.) Besides, submitting pretty much always teaches me more about dominance, and vice-versa. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I’ve absolutely found that the more I see things from one side of the whip, the more I get a visceral feel for the other.
There are certainly individuals who’ve said, “You’re my dominant; it’s uncomfortable for me to watch you submit to another person”. And that’s fair; for one thing, hierarchies get confusing – “I’m submissive to you, you’re submissive to him; does that mean I should be submissive to him? Because I don’t want to submit to him.” But that’s a very different situation- that’s personal preference on the part of individuals, that’s “I find it harder to submit to you after I’ve seen you at someone else’s feet”. It’s not “You are not really dominant because you kneel”.
Most often, the people who say the whole “not dominant if you switch” thing are folks who describe themselves as “Alphas” or “Alpha dominants” or “natural dominants” (though this certainly isn’t true of all people who describe themselves that way.) The basic concept they espouse seems to be, “Dominance is aggression; submission is meekness. You can’t have both.”
Dominance is not aggression. Submission is not meekness. Those are attributes commonly found within those roles or within some expressions of those roles. But they’re not inherent in, or integral to, those roles.
In my eyes, to be a good dominant, you need to have strength, courage, perception, independence, will, communication, and a desire to create something incredible with your partner. To be submissive, you need to have strength, courage, perception, independence, will, communication, and a desire to create something incredible with your partner. That is to say, the qualities are the same.
I’m going to start switching a bit more often. I haven’t done it for many years. But now I run events. And I thin that if I can’t challenge assumptions in my own dungeon, then I can’t do it anywhere.
Frankly? I’m a bit scared. I’m a bit nervous. But I have been those things as a dominant just as often as I have been those things as a submissive. I relish those things. I learn from them. I want more.
Switches can’t be dominant? If that’s your belief, then I know that this person who switches won’t be dominant with you. But then, why would I want to be?