12/17/2010

When being dominated is as necessary as breathing

This morning, as my husband prepared to leave for work, I rolled over and sleepily asked him, "Could you hold me and make me safe?"

I'm not sure why, but since my parents got divorced in my early 20s I've always felt safer if a man "squished" me, holding me tight so I can't move. Loose, half-hearted hugs just make me feel anxious and nervous---not safe at all. I want a man whose strong arms can embrace and protect me.

Normally in the mornings, I don't feel that needy. He crawled into bed and smashed me against him, asking if something was wrong.

"I feel sad... no... worried," I mumbled, not really sure what name to give the emotion I was feeling. Finally I murmured, "We didn't do anything dominating or submissive last night, so I don't feel safe."

And that was it. Some people do BDSM because it's fun, or kinky, or a change of pace. Others do it 24/7, because it's in the fabric of their being and simply who they are. Me, I engage in BDSM because it makes me feel safe, like someone is interested and invested enough in me to take the time to dominate me and make me his.

"Try not to worry about it," my husband said soothingly.

Even half asleep, I knew this wasn't a simple matter of not worrying about it. There are some things you can not worry about, and there are some things you need whether or not you try to worry about them. I could easily tell the drowning man to relax and "not worry about" his lack of air, but that wouldn't stop him from dying. That's how I feel about being dominated. I need it, not a physical need like air or water, but an emotional need, feeling safe and secure in my environment.

I wonder if my "feeling safe" when a man controls me in a good, positive way is linked to my over-controlling mother or my overly passive father. Maybe both. My mother loved me, but she controlled me viciously. Still, for all that, I had no doubt I was safe with her, that she would protect me with her life and fiercly too. With her around, I was safe from other people and myself. She wouldn't let anyone but herself hurt me. The two somehow got linked in my head.

Or perhaps it's because I saw my parents get divorced, a slow, bitter process that took place during the years I was forming my views on what love and relationships were about, during my teens and early 20s. By the age of 17, when I entered a bookstore I made a beeline straight toward the Relationship Help section. I poured over marriage help books and knew more as much about research on marital problems and solutions as most of the counselors and therapists I saw.

And why did my parents get divorced? Aside from my mom controlling, my dad was too passive. He didn't engage in a relationship with my mother. He did her laundry, cooked her food, cleaned her house, and drove her kids to practice, but that was it. It didn't matter if she was angry or sad or worried---he didn't engage in whatever was happening in her life. He was passive with me, too. I knew he loved me, but I also knew I wasn't safe with him. If someone attacked me physically or emotionally, I knew I'd have to fend for myself. Most of the time this person was my mother. Aside from 1 or 2 instances where my dad intervened, I dealt with emotional abuse on my own. When my father heard about what happened, he would sigh and say that I knew how my mother was and I should be more patient and try not to make her mad. When I had nail marks down my arm, he shook his head sadly and suggested I wear long sleeves to school the next day. (In his defense, I later accused him of standing by while my brother and I were abused, and he explained that he would often talk to my mother afterward and tell her not to hit or yell at us, but... is that really enough?)

To me, men slowly became nice commodities, good for paying for dates or doing housework, but not strong. Not men. Not warriors or protectors like men are described in the Bible and in the best literature, but mere baubles. If I wanted to be protected, I would have to do it myself.

This was driven home to me a few times that did NOT involve my mother. When I was about 20, out at a restaurant with my dad, an elderly gentleman sitting next to me leered at me suggestively and made a remark about how glad he was to be seated next to me. Cringing away, I looked to my dad next to me. He didn't glare at the guy or even bat an eyelash. He shrugged and said, "I guess he's happy to have a young co-ed sitting next to him." Even in the smallest ways, my dad clearly was not going to stand up for me, much less get offended on my behalf.

Another time, I was on vacation with my dad and I was sexually assaulted by a man twice my age. Without telling my father what had happened, I explained shakily that this person had scared me with unwanted advances and whatever happened, to please make sure he wasn't around me tomorrow. My dad utterly failed. The sexual perpetrator not only joined our touring group without a word of protest from my dad, but stripped off his clothes and went swimming with us, trailed me around the streets of Greece, and then joined our lunch table. My father did not say or do anything, except when he found me, huddled under a towel and unwilling to go into the water with the man wearing just my bikini, advised me to "Not let anyone ruin the day" for me. I snapped that if he thought the day wasn't already ruined, he had no idea what had happened, and flounced into the ocean, joined by an 18-year-old girl in our tour group who had noticed the older man's strange fascination with me and whispered to me that she, at least, would stay with me that day.

After the most awkward lunch ever, our tour group plus my unwanted would-be rapist, my father blithely eating and chatting, I was horrified to see my father get up and leave me the last person at the table. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that, my father up ahead chatting with new friends, the man I was trying to avoid, who had sexually attacked me fewer than 24 hours ago in his hotel room, hung back and tried to start up a conversation with me. When I furiously relayed this to my father five minutes later, he couldn't understand why I was so upset. Did I want him to be rude to the guy?, he asked reasonably.

The answer is YES. I wanted my father to understand how small and vulnerable and disgusting I felt. I certainly didn't want him to challenge the man to a duel, but he could have quietly led me away from the tour group and claimed we were having father-daughter time. He could have discreetly taken that man aside and politely informed him that he was making his daughter uncomfortable and it might be best if he left us alone for the day. In short, he could have protected me, instead of ignoring the problem and being passive, just like he did with my mother for years.

I know I'm rambling, but I wonder if these experiences contributed to my need to feel dominated and safe. With a passive father, I learned to stand up for myself, but I still burned from the injustice of it. Where were the men the Bible described, the men of movies and books and legends, men who were strong, brave, and protective? Men who don't leave you alone to fend for yourself when you are threatened physically or emotionally.

And so, perhaps I learned to equate dominance and power with manliness. (I understand there are many Dommes and Mistresses out there... I refer only to my own personal preferences.) So when my husband told me this morning "not to worry about it," that didn't make sense to me. Of course I want to feel safe. I want to feel like my husband will protect me from myself, but also from our parents, nasty coworkers, and uncouth friends. Whether it's an unexpected attack at a grocery store or a firework that explodes accidentally, I want a Dom who will protect me. Someone brave. Someone dominating. Someone with power. Someone in control of the circumstances.

That's just as important as breathing to me.

5 comments:

Bella Paura said...

Wow, this is an amazing post. I feel like you've ripped a page from the diary of my life. I've grown up assertive and self sufficient, not because I wanted to, but because I knew if I didn't, no one else would take care of me, defend me. It's also why I crave that domination. It makes me feel safe. Wow. I can't say that enough. Wow. You've put into words the gist of why I crave D/s.

Thank you.

Kari Cowell said...

I understand this completely, and totally relate to almost all of it.

Anonymous said...

really great post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this post. Just now I understood my partners need for dominance and with a little bit of reflexion my tendency to domination. Tick, tock, my world got rocked!

Toni Wright said...

Absolutely fabulous! post! I'm new to the Lifestyle and not really active yet as I don't have a DOM. As I surf the web for D/s info, I found your site and have been reading various articles. I've been doing self reflection to understand my NEED to be dominated from Dusk Till Dawn and place it in the proper perspective. My reasons and desires aren't the same as yours and yet I do see a lot of striking similarities.
The more of your journaling I read, the more I believe I have found a good place to visit. Thank you!