Feb 082010
 

I need approval.

Someone patting me on the head and giving me that “Good Girl.” Can melt away the thickest glacier of self-loathing and dissolve the greasiest oil-slick of self-imposed reflexive hatred. I clearly recall, with fondness, having resentment, anger, self-pity, even rage, wiped away by my dominant telling me how good job I was doing, how proud they were of me.

It doesn’t take much, really.

I recently realized that I set myself up for fail by blaming myself for having needs. Oh yeah, when I first became involved in the BDSM community I was carefully groomed to prepare to shed ego, desire, personal needs and, ultimately, to find my complete fulfillment in service to another.

I believed that the only way to be truly in service (in the Highest form of service, of course, because who wants to be less than the BEST….?) The HIGHEST form of service was to become the Empty Vessel, into which the dominant or owner may pour their will, creating with you a perfect and beautiful servant. An agent of their whims and desires and needs.

That was, of course, what I wanted. To be the purest awesomest, the best.

But I have, since then, discovered a few problems with this ideal.Thing is, I’m not empty. I have stuff in there. Things I need to keep in there so that I may feel OK about myself. I have talents in there that I need to share with the world. Opinions. Good ideas. REALLY GOOD ideas. Things to say, shit to do.

And it became clear to me that this is not, to say the least,  “desirable” to the “Empty Vessel” people.

OK, well, I need to find other people!

But now what? Where are the people who see a vessel that’s pretty fucking full and say “Yeah, that’s the one for me”? The thought of having to handle, without sloshing, that full vessel is a bit of a pain in the ass. The newer, more impressionable partner is far, far easier to handle…the one you can make in your own image. To your own specifications. The one who doesn’t know about or expect  accountability is far more likely to let you get away with shit. Tabula rasa, choose-your-own-adventure.

This ideal of craving for emptiness triggered for me a series of thoughts about what it is, exactly, that makes some women submissive, and not others. Nature, nurture, something that got bent back in the day? A desire for a structure so blatant and rigid that we can’t but run into it at every turn with a resounding thud? Past issues being played and replayed?

I had a conversation with a friend this weekend about submissive women in the BDSM / Kink / Leather community. We talked about the Dirty Open Secret: that so many in this demographic are survivors of abuse. In our opinions, and according to our experience, it seemed that a disproportionate number of these women were abuse survivors. I have no statistics to back this up. But I can say this: until I became involved in the BDSM community, I never met people who were surprised I had not been abused. Is there corroboration? It easy to say “Well, these are abused women re-creating their abuse.”  But are these abuse survivors using BDSM to take back their power? Or to re-create their abuse in a “safer” environment?”

I know this is troublesome. And it is fucking weird to me that I am not par for the course in that I don’t have a history of abuse. My Mom spanked me once, and I totally earned it. My Dad did force me to play the soprano sax and drums and I hated that, but I think children have been shoehorned into music lessons since the first motherfucker stretched a skin over a log, hit it with a stick, discovered that was a cool thing to do and immediately herded the sprogs around for log beating lessons.

I do not really enjoy doing the pop psych 101 thing that we’re just all acting out negatively on our need to redress abuses, that submissives are simply re-enacting issues from the past in a “safer” context. I truly believe it is more complex, individual, nuanced, personal, and ultimately, ( I need to believe) healthier than that.

I still wonder, though, if that need for approval, that desire to endure pain to prove our strength to ourselves and others is, in whole or part, due to that very simple craving for approval coupled with a desire for the intense emotional and physical sensations that BDSM can provide.

When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene?

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  46 Responses to “Half Full.”

  1. Its funny, the few memories I retain of said abuse were no where in my head when I made the decision to begin exploring my fantasies in the BDSM realm. One might say that means Im in denial and its only a matter of time before those demons come out, which is dangerous play to engage in.

    As I sit here and try and link my BDSM cravings with the abuse I endured, nothing seems to stick. Nothing seems to cry out to me and say “you are a broken doll who needs fixin.”

    As for the empty vessel side of this post….Im not sure if that can ever fully be true. If you think about it, each of us as a full vessel is what helps dommes and subs find who they want to explore play with. If we were all empty vessels, what would make someone want to top you more than the next sub over?

    Hmm…interesting idea.

    • I know I can say that I do believe that there are plenty of folks who were NOT abused and are perverts. And, as you state, there are plenty of folks living with that history who do not have any evidence that the abuse pushed them to BDSM!

      I think it is lots of stuff that makes us who we are. And I also think that dismissing the idea that it does inform some folk’s choices (as some people do) isn’t quite on the mark either.

      I to think we are full vessels…but I also know that there is a school of thought that the emptying part of what sublimation of will is all about. That’s hat sticks for me a bit.

  2. Well you know my abuse history is pretty horrific. And you know I found a man who is very ok with me being all full of Stuff. It’s possible.

    And it’s ok that you want the Good Girl. I don’t know many people who don’t.

    • Your situation does give me hope that not everyone’s a selfish exploitative douchenozzle.

      It is funny In a totally unfunny way) How I can still smack myself on the nose with adjectives like “weak” “foolish” and “lame” when I face the face that I fucking have needs, dammit. Trying to move past certain programming that reinforced bad emotional habits is a slower process than I’d like.

      Once I REALIZE that is what I am doing I want to be able to lobotomize my emotions.

  3. I have also given much thought to the childhood abuse dynamic and it’s role in shaping BDSM players, but from a different perspective. I am a Dominant Male Sadist who suffered horrific sexual abuse from toddler to preteen. I have wondered if my Sadistic play is just a different form of passing on the abuse. However for myself I have come to the conclusion that it is less relevant how I got to this place than how I conduct myself now that I am here.

    Thank you once again for a thought provoking piece.
    .-= Saynine´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…This Isn’t Play. . . BDSM and Rape =-.
    .-= Saynine´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…This Isn’t Play. . . BDSM and Rape =-.

    • Yep…the present is what we really had best be living in if we are going to keep our shit even remotely together. I think that dwelling on and conjuring up the past can be sometimes a risky move: it is very critical that we NOT pull demons from the past to manifest just because we thing we nee dot “work it out.” Some thing are better left to lie quietly.

      Thank you for your insight :-)

      xoxo

      Mo
      .-= mollena´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…“Play” vs. Play. =-.

  4. I used to wonder why I was submissive. There was no abuse that I remember. Eventually I stopped asking why and simply accepted who I am. It doesn’t matter why. I Yam what I yam and That’s what I yam,,,said a very famous sailor. Yes my GODDESS has left a can of spinach on my bookshelf as a reminder of what is expected of me and I rise to the occasion.
    .-= john´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Half Naked Thursday or… =-.
    .-= john´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Half Naked Thursday or… =-.

  5. I love this post.

    I’m more of a switch than a sub, but I completely get that need for approval; I’m right there with you. It’s in all aspects of my life, really; positive feedback at work makes me happier than just about anything, and I’ll go above and beyond for a supervisor that will give it to me.

    I have a need to be wanted, desired, and appreciated in my romantic/bdsm/sex life. If I don’t get that, I get a little depressed/crazy. When a top called me ‘tasty treat’ once, I wriggled like a happy puppy! I had a bottom tell me he felt more submissive to me during a normal IM conversation than he did in a room with two pro dommes. Again, happy puppy wriggle. ;)

    I get this. And I love that you wrote it so beautifully. :)
    .-= Panthera Pardus´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…OUCH! =-.
    .-= Panthera Pardus´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…OUCH! =-.

    • Him there!!

      Thank you for getting it…and for the validation of that approval hunger. I know some need it more than others, ans we all have different ways of gathering that approval…and yeah. Depressed / crazy is about where I am on the getting approval scale these days. It sucks ass, with teeny sharp needly teeth.

      Peace

      ~Mo
      .-= mollena´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…“Play” vs. Play. =-.

  6. I wonder how much is that there are disproportionately more abuse survivors in the kinky community; and how much is that people in the kinky community are more likely to be open about those experiences. Personally, I’d guess that the apparently high frequency is at least a combination of the two factors.

  7. *it is that

  8. Like many in this lifestyle, I was abused in different ways as a child, but most, not all of my abuse was neglect at the hands of both of my parents. I was never sexually abused by them but did experience sexual abuse, my others, late in my teens. I know that this is one of the driving forces behind my sexual desires but that does not change anything..I still have those desires. After many decades of dealing with this, living this and analyzing and being analyzed, I conclude this about MY experiences (I make no statement for anyone else)…I don’t give a flying fuck or fig anymore as to why….I just AM. And like you, I believe a totally empty vessel is not good. I think it is nearly worthless. We all contain things that are good that we each bring “to the table”…even things that a good Dom can use…so no, being completely empty and devoid of substance is not the way to go. Hugs always, ThePinkPoppet.
    .-= thepinkpoppet´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…Are You Watching Me? (part 2) =-.

  9. I don’t know *why* and I never thought I would, but I feel the same. I guess until “R” I never felt submissive. Perhaps I won’t after him. Who knows. But I do know that his praise, his compliments, they were few and far between. When they came, they meant a *lot*. It was my never-ending quest then, to get that “Good Girl” from him.

    As the last line there said….I know I endured anything his dirty mind thought up, just in hopes of getting the praise. I would have swallowed his cum, taken his cock in my ass, and so many many more things that never appealed to me until I knew how hot he found them and how badly I wanted to please him.
    .-= Dangerous Lilly´s most recent blog moment of Zen on the net was…When the Brain Doesn’t Match the Body =-.

  10. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  11. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  12. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  13. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  14. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  15. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  16. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  17. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  18. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  19. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  20. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  21. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  22. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  23. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  24. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  25. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  26. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  27. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  28. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  29. […] without consent” seems to stand in stark contrast to a very common form of play, “Rape Play”.Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I […]

  30. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  31. Mollena, first of all I love the “kinky in more than one way” line, lol. When I was a kid they used to say, “Spare the rod, spoil a kid.” My mother was a firm believer and consequently I received at least one spanking a day all during my childhood.

    But I never once felt abused by my mother. Maybe I was just stupid but I believed my mother when she said it was for my own good and I love her very much for trying to teach me.

    Nevertheless I think it may have set the groundwork for my desire for pain. If I’m aroused and feel pain it immediately translates into pleasurable excitement generally. I’m really not so much of a submissive as a masochist or, call it what it is, a pain freak.

  32. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the ìGood girlÖI knew you could take that for me.î that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  33. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  34. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  35. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  36. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  37. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  38. I was raped by my father many times as a child, as well as by my first boy friend when my father had finally stopped. I am now extremely submissive and feel like to be truly loved I must give sex non-stop. It never occurred to me that my experiences might have caused me to feel this way so avidly, but knowing this does nothing for quenching that desire and those feelings. I am not sure if they will ever go away, but at least I may know why I am how I am. Thanks for this post!!!

  39. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the ‘Good girl… I knew you could take that for me.’ that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  40. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the “Good girl…I knew you could take that for me.” that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

  41. […] Half-Full – When I get my ass beaten, is it as much for the sensation as it is for the ‘Good girl… I knew you could take that for me.’ that I want so badly at the close of the scene? […]

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