Submissive Needs vs. Submissive Wants
Author: Polly PeachumFiled in: submission, needs, wants
Polly wrote the following message on a mailing list she once belonged to, in response to another submissive's message. All information that might identify this woman or her situation has been removed.
Someone said that when she tries to talk to her dominant and tell him what she needs, he seems to listen for a while, and things are good, but after a while he forgets and stops giving her what she needs.
I wonder if it would help if she could try to describe some of the things she asks him for and also say why she thinks she needs these things (as opposed to merely wants them).
For me, distinguishing between my needs and my wants is pretty important when it comes to feeling under my dominant's control. If I want something and Jon refuses to give it to me, I might think he is a cruddy dom (or even not a dominant at all) if I believe my want to be a strong submissive need. But actually, all he does when he refuses my want is to exercise his right as my dominant to do whatever he damn well pleases. If, however, something I really needed from him were not to be provided, that would be a very different story: I'd have to conclude that he isn't a good dominant or perhaps not the dominant for me, or perhaps not even a dominant at all.
Here are some examples of things I call "wants." I have, in the past, confused some of these with "needs."
- I want to play frequently, much more frequently than he chooses to.
- I want him to do new things to me or more elaborate things to me than he already does.
- I want him to do all those active things he is incapable of doing because of his physical disability.
- I want him to do the same things to me--and with the same intensity--as he did during our first week together, when I was in "submissive boot camp" and was being given a strong orientation. Sometimes I think that I just want to feel as intensely as I once did when I was new and exploring things.
- I want him to act like one of those dominants in the fiction books: tie me up and chain me in a dark, cramped cell overnight; have me kneel at his feet every second of the day unless he has something else for me to do; whip me constantly, so I'm always bruised or welted; make me walk around naked or half-naked at all times; you know, all the usual fantasy crap. And I want him to do this every single day, not just on special occasions!
- I want him to be meaner to me, more strict, more stern, more rigid, more demanding and not be so nice whenever I ask him for something. I want him to refuse me, arbitrarily, or just for fun.
- I want him to give me away to be played with by other dominants whom I find sexually attractive and safe.
- I want never to freak out or yell at him, never get upset, never get resistant, never feel like a bad submissive.
- I want not to have to play that stupid card game that he likes so much virtually every stupid night of the year before we go to bed!
- I want him always to know, instantly, the right thing to say to calm me down and bring me back to my submissive self when I am upset.
I'm not going to go into why some of these wants are rather childish on my part (we'll save that for another message), but the point is that whether he satisfies these superficial desires on my part or not has little or nothing to do with his ability to dominate me. And it's the latter, his ability to dominate me, that I need. The rest of these things, much as I'd like some of them, I could be perfectly happy with living without, if I had to, for the rest of my life.
So what are some of my needs?
- I need to feel completely safe with him and to be able to trust him with anything I might bring up or that might happen. I need to be able to trust his stability and know that he won't freak out, no matter what I throw at him.
- I need to feel actually controlled and owned and overpowered by someone who enjoys controlling another person and is not doing it simply to please me.
- I need to know that when we have kinky sex he is truly sadistic and gets sexual enjoyment from doing what he does to me. It would crush me if I thought he were doing it just to "get me off."
- I need to know I cannot get away or escape from him, even if I wanted to. (Believe it or not, for someone who is strongly submissive, this is part of her "safety" need).
- I need to feel obedient to him, and I need to know that he's in charge and making all the major decisions (not because I can't--making large decisions is easy and even fun for me--but because if I were to make them, I would feel like the one in control of the relationship, a feeling that I hate).
- I need to know that I cannot bully him or push him or manipulate him or talk him into into doing whatever I want, into being some sort of perfect RoboDom.
- I need to know he can solve any serious problems that come up between us.
OK, that's enough needs. The primary way I distinguish between needs and wants is to ask myself, if I don't have this thing, will I be miserable, confused, hurt, frustrated, or unfulfilled permanently? Will I want to go out and seek someone else who does have it? If I can honestly answer these questions with a strong "Yes," I'm dealing with a need.
It can be quite hard at times for a submissive to ask her dominant for what she wants because she may feel (incorrectly, I believe) that to ask for these things is unsubmissive or too aggressive or demanding, or that it means that she controls the relationship. If your dominant actually controls the relationship, he knows very well how to say "No" when he wants to. And if he doesn't control the relationship, well, that's something you probably need to know before you travel any farther with him down what may be an emotional and sexual dead end. I think that a way you can begin to figure out whether you are being too demanding is to classify the various things that you want from your dominant into wants and needs. If mostly wants are not being met, maybe you need to rethink what the priorities are in a D&S relationship: is it so important that you always get your way, or rather, should it be the other way around? If it is mostly needs that are not being met, you might be with the wrong person, as such needs have to be met naturally and spontaneously by a dominant, not just as a favor to you, or because he is frightened of losing you, if both you and he are to be happy. If someone is actually dominant, he can usually meet the sorts of submissive needs I've listed above.
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