tagReviews & EssaysDominant vs. Submissive

Dominant vs. Submissive


Professionally Dominant, personally submissive

The alternate titles:

The title above represents the most succinct description for this article, but there is far more to this than the title suggests. This has been posted to reviews and essays for good reason; this is not about sex per se. Neither is it about dominance/submission as a fetish, lifestyle or hobby. With that in mind, perhaps an alternate title could be, "Why are we who we are?"

As a semi-educated layperson, many people may scoff at my attempts to psychoanalyze the mindset of the general populace. Please save your scoffing. Psychoanalysis is not the goal, nor am I a "mental health professional." This is more a cathartic journey of self realization and an attempt to better understand my sense of self and my place in the "universe" by thinking aloud. In the undertaking, it is hoped that the reader may find a path to their own voyage of self discovery. Alternate title number two, "Who am I and why?"

Finally, it is hoped that the reader will feel moved by this article. Hopefully in your reading you may notice correlations in your own life. The epiphany of "I've felt the same way," or maybe even "Now my life makes more sense." Additionally, it is my hope that this article will gain it's momentum within the Literotica community and usher in an open dialogue of feedback and forum discussions that will produce commentary from those who have overcome their own issues and can provide insight as well as open communication amongst others who find a catalyst to address their own concerns. Alternate title number three, "Am I (are we) alone?"

Regardless of the above stated intent, this an honest request for feedback from a community of open-minded, intelligent, and nonjudgmental people who will hopefully offer opinions and advice based not only on what they've read, but also on their own interpretation and their own life experiences. Alternate title number four, "Where can I find help?"

Without further ado, on to the meat and potatoes.

Why are we who we are?

I recently began to consider the root cause of a person's nature with respect to a dominant or submissive temperament. I'm an innately curious person. I started researching the psychological aspects in respect to, specifically, the switch from dominant to submissive that many or most people go through multiple times a day. This seems to be something that requires more research in the professional community because I found very little online.

It can very easily be posited that within our own psyche we go through dozens of chameleon-like changes everyday to adapt to varying situations in our lives. We all alter our behavior, tailoring it to conform or stand out as a given situation dictates. For example, a blue collar worker, if he were so inclined, wouldn't go to a symphony performance in steel toe boots and work gloves, but rather clean up and dress more formally to fit in with the expectations of that environment. Conversely, a CEO for a corporation would typically dress down for a trip to a little league game or Wal-Mart. This sort of adaptability has been hardwired into our brains and feeds a need for social acceptance that was a survival trait for Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal man. This same survival trait has evolved to fit the changing landscape of human interaction and expectations for behavior that lead to success in the modern world.

Humanity has always sought to explain itself. Being that explaining humanity on the whole is largely beyond our comprehension we tend to break everything down into smaller pieces. We are constantly categorizing and classifying ourselves as rich/poor, upper class/lower class, strong/weak, etcetera. For the purposes of this essay, the classification of leader and follower will be a starting point for further discussion.

The concept of leaders and followers is frequently independent of a person's status, professionally and socio-economically, and yet is one that has no middle ground. At an early age, children are taught that they can lead or follow, but never both. This idea is reinforced through to adulthood and can often cause confusion as children become more aware of the social world around them. The ambiguity stems from the fact that a supervisor at work, for instance, is expected to be a leader, but in their psyche may be a follower instead. Alternately, a worker is expected to follow a supervisor but may find themselves in an unofficial, unspoken, and/or unexpected leadership role.

This concept of ambiguous roles as leader or follower forces us to adapt our personalities for a multitude of reasons, many of which boil down to the survival trait mentioned earlier. The supervisor who is basally a follower is expected to exhibit dominant personality traits to maintain their position within the company thereby contributing to their success and ultimately, survival. Likewise, the leader-worker must often display a more submissive persona that is at odds with their true dominant personality. This enforced psychological dichotomy is one of the main contributing factors to many peoples' dissatisfaction with their work environment and their feelings of stress and anxiety about their jobs.

Obviously this is not a one size fits all description of people, their professional lives, or the cause of their mental/emotional distress. The example above seeks, rather, to illustrate an imbalance in many peoples' lives and is the main point of this article. The point must be made that there are potentially just as many people who do not experience this conflict as they have either adapted to their situation, or may have found their niche that fits their underlying personality traits. As mentioned earlier, I'm a layman seeking to explore a specific theory about a portion of the populace, not sustain an argument regarding psychoanalysis of society.

The aforementioned dysphoria with respect to non-natural dominant expression has apparently forced many to develop coping strategies that reinforce and strengthen their submissive root personalities. Specifically, the exhibition of dominance in their professional life has caused them to be even more submissive in their personal life to make up for the stresses of being someone they're not. This excess submission may manifest itself in subtly refusing to make substantive decisions in their dealings with friends and family, but not with coworkers. For example when a group of friends suggests a movie or restaurant, the "personally submissive" will go along with whatever the group chooses rather than make a decision or offer an opinion. This excess reversion to natural character allows the submissive to cocoon themselves in a comfort zone that makes up for their discomfort during the exhibition of their "professional dominance."

This sort of reversion may help to explain the apparent surge in dom/sub subject matter in pornography and erotica and it's increasingly more common mention in popular media. It can be readily argued that those whose professionally dominant personas creep into their personal lives need to go beyond subtly submissive interpersonal relationships as a coping strategy and seek a more extreme release from the responsibilities of dominance. By allowing someone else to take charge of an aspect of their lives, as would a pro domme or master, they can allow themselves a certain freedom from the discomfort of the unnatural traits they've adopted for corporate success and survival.

In a more intense form of release, some men may seek out dom/sub relationships based on feminization and sissification. The reasons for this particular scenario are rather simple when considered with an eye to traditional perceptions of male and female roles. In generations past, women were frequently viewed as "the weaker sex" and were expected to be submissive to their husbands and other male members of society. Although the general perception has changed greatly in the last 100 years, that old fashioned notion still clings in the minds of many men. Taking on a temporary guise as a woman may be a way for some men to savor their freedom from the responsibilities imposed on them by the same old fashioned notions of a man's place in society and interactions with others that still remain. (I'm aware of gender dysphoria and sympathize, but it isn't germane to this subject.) In many cases the mental and emotional release bought about by these dom/sub relationships can quickly be associated with a sexual release as well.

As a caution, the above examples represent rather extreme ways for naturally submissive people to handle the stresses of their imposed behavior. Similar, but less intense dom/sub behavior can be exhibited in normally healthy romantic relationships. The degree to which this behavior is demonstrated often depends on the intensity of the submissive's stress and discomfort as well as their partner's willingness to be involved in practices that have yet to gain wide acceptance as anything other than deviant. In these instances, open honest communication between the partners is crucial to a satisfying, loving, and healthy relationship.

Who am I and why?

I am a metalworker at a small company that specializes in fiberglass repair. By virtue of my job title and management's perception, I'm just a worker, nothing more. However, through some unspoken belief amongst my coworkers, and even my supervisor I am expected to make decisions and take a greater share of responsibility than would be the norm. This imposed leadership role requires me to display dominance in a predominantly male work environment. Unfortunately, I've come to the conclusion that my natural personality leans toward submission. I would often prefer to allow others to make decisions related to my work. In order to remain successful at my job it's necessary that I act dominant which translates into work related stress.

I suppose that this latent submissive trait is the result of an upbringing in a strict military, catholic household. It was expected that I would meet the responsibilities given to me and learn to be a leader. Success was the Holy Grail and failure was rarely acceptable. Don't get me wrong, I love my family, but this is my best guess for why I've arrived at this point in my life.

As mentioned previously in this article, it would be instinctive to leave work and revert to a more submissive role. In my case however, my wife is also a natural submissive, even more so than I. When I get home I still contend with expectations that I take charge in the household. As a result, I rarely have the release that someone in a similar situation coming home to a more dominant partner would benefit from. Therein lies my dilemma. More on this subject later.

Am I (are we) alone?

Quite obviously, I am not alone in this situation. As I mentioned, my wife is also naturally submissive. As a school teacher, her job requires that she be a dominant force in the classroom, and as a result of her expertise, she is also expected to take a leadership and/or mentoring role amongst her peers. Of course she comes home with a need to revert to submission which she usually does.

Given the deductive reason and analysis previously in this essay, it seems very likely that the above scenario is exceedingly common in the modern world. The idea that opposites attract, at least in relationships may be wrong more often than right. There exists a strong possibility that naturally submissive people tend to gravitate toward each other based on their need to find a dominant force in their lives. The problem that arises in these unions is that the attraction is based on a false display of dominance. Likely the person's true nature doesn't surface until months or years later in the relationship, if at all, and creates a disharmony in that bond. This may be a root cause of the surge in divorce rates in the last generation or so.

Where can I find help?

In my own marriage, my wife and I have experimented over the years with D/s fetishes, bondage, role reversal, and even feminization. For my own purposes, these scenarios were precisely the release I had been seeking; the freedom, while being occasionally dominated, from responsibility and decision making. Unfortunately, my wife's submissive personality was at odds with her occasional role in the bedroom. She recently explained that she really had never had any interest in taking a dominant role in our intimate life. In some instances, she found it repulsive. As a result, and has been common in our marriage, I'm expected to take charge in bed. In my opinion this one-sidedness has begun to adversely affect our love for each other and has certainly put a damper on our sex life.

She has suggested that I find a pro domme to act out what she perceives as fantasies; I don't think she recognizes what the underlying symptoms are. Taking this outside of the marriage is not something that I would want to do. I'm a very private person and would be even more uncomfortable with some one else knowing how I would prefer to "cope."

And now, dear reader, I place my faith in you. Being the type of community that Literotica is, surely some of you have some ideas or insight. Should I talk to her about this? And if so, how? Should I accept her suggestion of a professional and run with it? Or am I completely off base in my conclusions and should seek counseling?

Your comments, suggestions, and advice would be quite welcome in this regard.

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