The Distance from the Pedestal

‘You’re not like other dommes’ is something I have heard many times, a sentiment which usually has been prompted by my having a completely normal, polite conversation with a prospective submissive.

This is not surprising really, given the pervasive and ‘classic’ image is that of the strict, crop-wielding, leather-clad dominatrix. She is beautiful, perfectly composed, organised, and with her demands and steely will in perfect clarity. By the very nature of the pedestal she stands on, she’s cooly distant, tantalisingly out of the submissive’s reach, only to be worshipped and revered. Unfortunately, or perhaps very fortunately, she exists at best only momentarily.

This, however, isn’t a widely acknowledged fact, even by subs who have been in ‘the scene’ for quite some time. There has been some debate as to why this is – blame has been placed on pro-dommes and their marketing. As ‘wardens of fantasy’, they precisely embody the above image, because their appearance in their clients’ lives is momentary. For a few hours at most, they can really embody a client’s fantasy. But, as Lindeman’s book rather perfectly shows, to achieve this takes extensive preparation and staging, which is just not possible when this is your life, rather than a fantasy you visit for a few hours.

Personally, I have the utmost respect for (legitimate) pro-dommes. It is not an easy business, and they face discrimination even within the kink community (2).  Placing blame on them and their marketing is unfair. Male fantasy tends towards idealising women (3), in any context, and as any business, pro-dommes merely use what is appealing to provide a service which is in demand. And let’s be honest – it really isn’t diffcult for a novice submissive to have a rummage online, and get an idea of what lifestyle dommes are looking for. 

Quite unfortunately, that fantasy image is frequently all that many submissives have as a sole reference point. This, from what I have seen, tends to lead them to try to only say things they think a domme would want to hear. I receive countless messages filled with the same, essentially meaningless sentiments about ‘worship’, ‘devotion’, ‘service’, which are almost formulaic.

Not only does this entirely obscure their personality, and invariably hurts their chances of a domme taking an interest, but hurts their chances of successfully developing a dynamic, as it means they are not looking for what they should be; an actual connection.  This would be the extent of my comments on the subject, were in not for the fact I keep hearing ‘you’re not like other dommes’ precisely from the type of sub I refer to above. That comment is usually followed by one (or all) of a now familiar criticisms of these ‘other dommes’ – namely, that they’re distant, brusque, cold.

Given the height of the pedestal we’re put on, it’s no wonder we get a little cold. 

After being pushed up onto that pedestal, bombarded with platitudes and hollow, formulaic messages, all under the weight of that rather significant expectation that we behave like the perfect goddesses we supposedly are, it’s no wonder we lose our patience and good will.  I don’t think I can sum it up any better than furcissy in this post:

All of the Dommes I have helped in the past year are passionate and intelligent people with an abundance of compassion and empathy and the desire for a deep romantic connection with a sub that will lead to a serious long-term relationship.  Many of them began this journey with hearts wide open and bright hopes of finding that special partner that together, would create a life filled with love, joy, and kink.Unfortunately this search is rarely easy.  The process has many bumps and hiccups along the way.  Each disappointment leads to a mounting sense of frustration.  It usually only takes a couple of months for the excited optimism to fade and be replaced by jaded skepticism.  Watching this process is rather painful.  While it’s not quite like watching a child open a Christmas present only to find the box contains socks, it is more like seeing a child who has come to accept that every box from now on will contain socks.  The magic is gone.

Now, maybe the reason I still retain a good portion of my patience is because I am still young, or because I am a patient person, or because I just like socks. I don’t actually know.

I like to think it’s because I try to give people a fair chance, and not judge right off the bat, given their apparent blandness might just come from anxiety, inexperience, or just not knowing how to approach me. I have found some particular gems that way, and I hope this is an attitude I can hold onto.

But I will say this the submissives I refer to above; you can’t put dommes on a pedestal, and then complain we are distant.  If you want warmth and conversation, approach as you would a person. Not your fantasy goddess. 

References

  1. Lindemann, D.J. “Dominatrix: Gender, Eroticism, and Control in the Dungeon”, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London, (2012).Master Bear, “Leather Bear Tails: The Invisible Woman: In Defense of Pro Dommes”, [Accessed 15th December 2018].
  2. Bader, M. “Male Sexuality: Why Women Don’t Understand it — and Men Don’t Either”, Rowan&Littlefield Publishing, (2009).
Miss Rosa

Miss Rosa

I'm a lifestyle domme - D/s is my ‘normal’. It's an integral part of who and how I am. This blog contains BDSM advice, memories, rants, rambles, and answers to the questions which rock up in my inbox over and over. If you have any thoughts, do leave a comment!

9 thoughts on “The Distance from the Pedestal”

  1. I notice guys are dismissive of people they don’t understand. While many feel ‘comfortable’ talking to an escort (who is not a prodomme), they feel shy and awkward with lifestyle or professional dommes. While it’s easy to blame this on the taboo against sex workers, the male patriarchy or the stilted prodomme marketing, many guys are concealing their naivete and not critical. Familiarity with women who are dominant (lifestyle or professional) can help break down the barriers.
    I liked the books you cited and will revisit them when I’m at the Uni. What was your take on the Male Sexuality book?

    1. I entirely agree that it can be easily remedied by conversation and familiarity. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a vicious cycle – male subs approach Dommes like this, which leads to them becoming increasingly brusque and curt which, in turn, further stilts conversation.

      I liked parts of Bader’s book, and the fact that it’s fairly well reasoned and supported by clinical studies. However, I don’t give much credence to the ‘all fantasises are rooted in formative childhood experiences’ theory of his. It’s a bit outdated and over simplistic, in my opinion. However, it does illustrate the point that male sexual fantasies inherently tend towards idealising women in a way which places them on that pedestal.

      Rosa x

        1. Honestly, I think the history of human kind has been one long game of ‘protect the women’, in one way or another – men are biologically wired to put women first. (I vaugely recall this study which showed that both men and women prefer the company of women, but I would have to track it down). This idealisation is natural, and the media, as ever, merely supply demand. That said, there is nothing inherently wrong with it, given that the media present idealised or over-simplified versions of literally everything. It’s just on every individual, male or female, to be aware that, whilst what they see in the media is pretty and fun to look at, it is not necessarily representative of reality.

  2. Pingback: Due Deference: ‘Masculinity’ and Approaching a Domme – Silken Claws

  3. It is good to see you writing again.

    Thank you for the kind words.

    I am happy to hear that you are able to remain patient with subs. That is a rare commodity these days and I do hope that the subs that you are patient with are appreciative of that. I have found that dominant women tend to be more patient when they have a sub they see as a primary or a life-partner. I believe that some of the frustration can get amplified when someone so badly wants to find that life-partner (or primary) and finds that the opportunities are not presenting themselves.

    I definitely agree with your recommendations here. I know one factor that can plague subs (myself included) is making the mistake of writing a first message to a Domme while in submissive mental space. This mindset often gives a stronger motivation (aka courage) but may make the messages far less interesting and personable. I believe the distance of the pedestal holds some roots here as well. This can be the difference between a message that reads like “a submissive that is also a man” writing to “a dominant that is also a woman” instead of “a man that is also a sub” writing to “a woman that is also a dominant.”

    Take care.

    1. Thank you, I really appreciate that you read it. It’s been a rough year, but I’m back into the swing of things, as it were, and I’m really enjoying writing again.

      I know what you mean about dominant women being a lot more understanding once they find a primary or life-partner submissive. I think it’s not only a question of that frustration, which builds up otherwise, but also the fact Dommes, especially inexperienced ones, aren’t prepared for the potential anxieties, insecurities, and fears a sub might have. Familiarity helps build understanding, which in turn helps build up patience.

      I think the chief issue is not subs writing from a submissive mindset, but the fact that that submissive mindset isn’t necessarily directed at the person they’re writing to – it’s targeted at the fantasy. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve received messages which were evidently written by someone in a submissive mindset, but who had not even taken the time to read my profile page.

      Rosa x

      1. Thank you, Rosa. I am sorry to hear that things have been rough but I am glad to hear that they are looking up. I had followed you last year but I keep hitting my WordPress’s reader limit for following blogs and end up having to do regular maintenance on the blogs I follow. I am glad that you are back and look forward to your posts.

        That is some very good insight about the preparation/confidence factor. I do know some newer Dommes that shy away from novice subs for those reasons.

        I also think that subs develop patience as they build experience/understanding of what a Domme is feeling.

        I agree with you about subs being targeted at the fantasy. That is the route that most subs have to go down in order to trigger their own shift from their vanilla persona to their submissive one. As writing a message to a Domme isn’t an interactive experience, they are primarily drawing from a fantasy mindspace.

        In my own case it usually takes me a couple of weeks to build up the courage to write to someone. If I make the mistake of writing from my sub mental space I will inevitably be terrified of offending someone or oversharing that I am far more likely to write a completely bland message that says nothing. Ideally, I would be able to catch myself, take a step back, and start over, remembering that it will be better received if I present myself as someone who would be interesting to know and can clearly cite what drew me to their profile.

        Unfortunately I don’t know any tricks for getting a sub to read an entire profile, although I have advised Dommes to put a code word in their profile somewhere, e.g. “If you are interested in being my sub, put banana in the subject of the message to show that you have read my profile.” While this can’t ensure people will read your profile, it does at least let you know when they have read it.

        Take care.

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