Submission has been an intrinsic part of my sexuality for as long as I have been consciously aware of it. From the girls who pinned me down every day on the school run and sat on top of me to the statuesque “Alexandra” who informed me that she was a princess and that I should worship her when she and I were just 8 years old as she stood high on the playground railing well above me.
“Alexandra is a queen’s name you know,” she said to me as I looked up at her. I nodded in assent.
“Yes, it’s a beautiful name.”
“I’m a princess you know.”
“You look like one.”
“I am your princess,” she said.
“That makes you my subject,” she said. I found myself lost in a reverie of grammar…if I am the subject, she is the object, the meaning, the purpose of the sentence.
“Yes,” I agreed.
“You like that,” she said, “I can tell.”
“Yes,” I agreed.
“Good. That makes you a good boy. Not like the other boys. Pesky, pestering.”
“What do I do?”
“I will tell you.”
For the remainder of the school year, I found out. Mostly it was carrying her stuff. Her books, her rucksack. Getting her a drink in the canteen. Or sitting with her when she didn’t want to sit with anyone else. But I was also not to bother her. She would find me when she needed me…never the other way around.
After that year, both she and I left the school, left the country it was in, never to see or speak to each other again. But the traces of our interaction have lingered with me.
“How come you’re always tagging around with Alexandra?” one of my male classmates asked.
“She’s a Princess,” I said as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
“She’s not really a Princess, is she?” a note of hesitation creeping into his voice.
“To me, she is,” I said.
“Is that why you always do stuff for her?”
“Yeah,” I said in bliss.
“You’re weird,” he said. Yes.
What happened to my submission?
Through a combination of therapy, direct personal experience and my evolving sexuality and gender, I have come to realise a number of important things over the past year or so. All subjects of previous posts:
- I am not nor have ever been generally submissive, but rather specifically submissive—it is to one person, a person that I have feelings for;
- I was born sensitive, not touchy, but energetically sensitive, and I processed male abuse of me and observed against others as a rejection of all things masculine;
- Submission became a form of apology, from me, gifted to women I have cared for—“I am not like that, I am different, I will be different”. And I have lived that way. Never stole a kiss, always asked permission, never made unwelcomed or uninvited touch—as a delightful and enlightened dominatrix I play with has said, “there is no such thing as implied consent.”
- The way I express love is through submission. I have never felt it any other way. It is bliss, a total letting go, a desire to give myself and everything I possess and could ever possess to this person.
That last point is real and has gotten me into trouble. It is/was true of my marriage and a quite literal giving away of every asset I accumulated in our time together. Even now, with how things are playing out, I have no regrets. I could not have done it another way. No matter how angry it makes friends, family, and lawyers. The irony that she never accepted my submission doesn’t matter at all…it is and has been the way I was wired. To love means to sublimate the self. Maybe that is unhealthy. I shall explore the theme with my therapist.
So, what happened to my submission? Especially since it lies at the core of my self-identity?
Submission is something that belongs to my masculine self. But as my masculinity steps into the background and my female self takes life and shape, she has no desire or need to submit to anyone or anything. She has lived in submission inside of me for my entire life, and now that I am feeding her on daily doses of oestrogen, she has moved into my body and has begun to make it her home.
It is hard to describe just how “right” this feels. I may look still outwardly completely male, but there are subtle changes. My wife noticed. I notice. Sooner or later, others will notice. But these physical manifestations are just mere whispers compared to what is happening inside.
When I first began to think in earnest of taking hormones a few years ago (it was not the first time, only before it was about “when” and had an element of fantasy…this time it was about the practical aspects and its inevitability), the thing I wanted most was to rewire my brain. To think female. Amazingly, this has already happened. It isn’t like a light switch, but the effects are almost immediate. It is still me, so nothing changes in that sense. What does change, however, is the filter through which I receive and process the world, how I feel about things, and how I respond to the people around me. I see this in my interactions with people. Everything is and feels different.
The most important practical manifestation of that is that I allow myself to feel female. Society may have lanes we are meant to play in and ones which my male safe was conscious of—that I would be aware of changing lanes, or feeling in breach, or questioning myself in doing things. Not so anymore. Being in the female “lane” no longer requires thought—it just feels natural. Being dressed in public is completely such a thing. I may struggle to figure out what to wear, but it is no longer a question of male-gendered clothes or not…I have put my men’s clothes away, thrown them out, given them away…
Female me has nothing to apologise about
I do still see a dominatrix on a regular basis. Every dynamic is co-created. Thankfully her range is both vast and subtle. My goal from this “work” or “play” remains the same—to respond in submission to the dominant partner. Her deep confidence and openness has made for ease—she has not needed to command.
Her femininity is like a beacon. This once far-off light which I am journeying towards. I wander from the abstract, from a land of dreams, towards a reality. I look up to her for her grounded-ness, for how she embodies the feminine, for how she creates space for all women through what she does and how she does it, for how she supports the community.
I once remarked to ex-Mistress that had I been born female, I would hope for that self, that she become a dominatrix. I do believe that Sex Work can be a deeply empowering career choice, the ultimate rejection of the patriarchy, and so I find myself emotionally drawn to and supportive of those women in the community who speak out, speak up, and who stand for the rights of sex workers, who role model.
And while we play, and the bounds of play are just the same as they always have been, I am no longer in need of submission of any kind. I do not feel that I have any reason to apologize. I do not feel ashamed anymore, because I am no longer a man. And that feeling is curiously liberating. There was something about being a man that made me feel I needed to “do” something. That seems to have fallen away, and left me happy to just be, to be in the moment. Ex-mistress asked this of me, but I either didn’t understand or was incapable or just disregarded the request as impossible—it was alien. And perhaps this is not something tied to gender, and that there are men who are capable of doing/being this way. In my case, it was rewiring my gendered brain that has changed things.
The path forward
My skin is alive. I feel as if I have twice the nerve endings I had before. As a formerly sensuous male, I am going nuts as a female…the choices of fabric on my skin, the sensation of touch. Everything is so much more sensitive.
How can a man not be a bull in a china shop when it comes to touch, a lumbering oaf, when he cannot feel even himself? That is what I feel like in relation to myself. Being asked to touch with sensitivity is so much harder when you don’t know what it feels like to receive touch in that way.
And as someone who has discovered that touch is my primary love language, even when I hid from that my whole life, I feel like I am getting a double dose of pleasure as I explore—one because how I give and receive love through touch has become apparent, but also that my sensitivity to it has changed.
And what of the dominatrix?
Even if I am not submissive or submitting on the terms or in the ways in which I knew, I am drawn to the dominatrix as a form of the company I keep. I cannot be one. That recognition makes me respect them all the more. And well, friendship begins with respect.
Still, even though I am not a masochist, I remain drawn to being marked, curious about being whipped, caned, pushed across the line. What do I do with that?