Friday, February 02, 2007


On Dominance

I think sex, and all that surrounds it, amplifies our natures with regard to dominance. Sex puts it all on the table, so to speak. There is no element of money, or tomorrow, or children, or work - it's just us without our clothes on. Literally and figuratively.

But sex isn't the be all and end all. It's the relationship that matters. It's about trust and honesty, and giving and receiving. Some of us are good at one and bad at the other. Some of us are good at planning, some not. All that comes into play. Literally and figuratively.

When I look back over my marriage (36 years and counting) I see patterns of dominance and submission in so many things we did well, and things we did not so well at all. For most of that time I lacked the insight to see what emotions and needs were active. Consequently I often responded poorly, even when the clues to the right response were right there to be seen, I just didn't know how to look.

It's not like there is a connection between who we are when we are pursuing external goals and who we are when are addressing our deepest needs. For example, you might think that men would be most likely to be dominant in a D/s relationship, but what I have read is that there are far more submissive men than there are dominant women. These men might have responsible jobs with a great deal of authority and autonomy, but in their heart of hearts, they want someone else to be responsible for things. Sometimes it's role playing, sometimes it's a life style choice.

This engaged interplay of roles requiring trust and honesty - that is what it means to have a good marriage. Interesting, isn't it, that in the dark corners of American life, some people have a firm hold on what it means to BE in a relationship. The fact that their life style is often highly sexualized doesn't diminish the value of their insights.

It's so easy to turn away from insight. We accept what is when what is possible could be so much more satisfying, but we lack the courage, or perhaps the interest, to let go, to reach out and see who we are, and who our partners are.


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