Dominants tend to be the “Alpha Male”, and that is why “Dom” is always spelled with a capital, while “sub” is always lowercase.
Holy Moly Batman! I know these quotes are designed to provoke and at the same time reflect ignorant public perception but there is loads here to work with. The question is where to start.
The sideshow here is actually very important. The idea that a dominant would be male is wound through modern fiction and societal expectations.
The majority of people who have pressed all my “I recognise you as dominant” buttons, either through kinky circles or through my professional life are female. From the lady who organised the rotas and bookings at church (whilst having a highly important job in her weekday life) to every headteacher I have ever taught under, to a string of best friends over the course of my life.
Gender is not a big determinant in my life, which is why among other things, I identify as pansexual. Converse then to my experience, I would never assert that dominants are predominantly women. Unlike women though, men do not have their assertive and positive characteristics labelled as bossy, pushy and otherwise undesirable and contrary to their gender presentation.
I wouldn’t assume that someone with a dominant weekday persona would assume any sort of sexually dominant role. Likewise, the choice of features in someone’s character that I respond to are not necessarily those all people would assume to be part of the character of someone who takes the dominant role in a sexual relationship or scene.
Like so much else in this world, it is personal choice and a case of asking rather than assuming.
I respond well to someone who recognises my skill set but is still happy to take control of a situation and give clear instruction. I wonder sometimes whether this is part of my autism, that clear communication and hierarchy provide relief from a world full of patterns and subtexts I can’t follow and allow me to feel safe and cherished. Someone has bothered to communicate with me in a way I can truly follow and understand.
This type of communication skill is not predominant in people who take their position of dominance in a situation for granted. I work with many professional people who don’t give me a good dominant vibe, despite being the Alpha dog in their own personal pack. People who have been promoted above their competence to lead. People who can only communicate with others who speak their language and pride themselves in shouter louder and longer and taking it for granted we can all comprehend what they want.
I teach. Everyday I am in position of being the alpha of my classroom. Because of my teaching situation I am stripped of many of the powers people would naturally assume to be in a teacher’s toolbox. I can’t give detentions, set punishment tasks or exclude my pupils. To get them to learn I have to earn their respect. They have to follow me down the path of learning I want to take them because they want to go. Being able to inspire from a position of negotiated power and dominance, which is what I like to experience from a dominant in my life, is something I can copy and present (I hope) in my classroom. My students (and supporting staff) need to trust my judgement. It does not make me dominant though and is completely exhausting to maintain.
It is mask I can assume. My partner is that without it being a mask or a role. They are a skilled negotiator, a team leader. A person who sees the small details that can derail a situation and can handle those simultaneous to driving the big picture.
Handy in a business sense, fantastic in keeping our family moving and amazing in our relationship.
From the outside he is nothing that would be assumed to be “Alpha”.
I sometimes wonder if our D/s relationship is partly because I like to kid myself he is not my carer. I cannot function on my own due to my autism.
Say that in a room of my friends and family and people would rush to deny it, but it is true. I would produce persuasive paperwork for a tribunal, but I wouldn’t have eaten, washed my clothes or remembered to pay the electricity bill. Or I would remember those things and then need a lie down while I melted into an incompetent professional mess.
When I lived away from my parents, I developed non sexual relationships where people stepped into the void. Friends who would ring and make sure certain things had happened. I lived with my sister. This is too stressful, too needy for a traditional friendship and over short amounts of time causes a relationship burnout.
I am truly dependent on the relationship with Mr Hunt to allow me to be a professionally useful and privately functional adult. I have a PA, but Mr Hunt has to help me direct them so they can help me.
Our relationship though is based on all the things I mentioned above. I feel respected and seen for the range of skills I do have that I can bring to our relationship. Learning to accept what I can’t do and not hate myself for it has been a long struggle. On the other hand, Mr Hunt has taken it all in his stride.
Our relationship is full time, covering every aspect of our lives. He has access to so much of my life that outsiders have sometimes commented unfavourably on our relationships. He sees my emails, my bank accounts, the contents of my phone. Technically I can see his, but I have no need to look. If he were gone, my PA would have to access to all these things. Listening to them (my PA and Mr Hunt) working together the other night to arrange a website to sell my professional services and do my accounts was a complete riot. Working together, they have supported me to develop my own business and keep that business flowing professionally. It makes me feel good that working together we can exploit the parts of me that work well to contribute to the family finances and my own professional sense of worth, whilst protecting my weak spots.
This isn’t coercive control. I can change passwords and own assets in my own name he cannot touch (just in case anyone is worried). This is loving and negotiated communal intellectual property of our relationship.
Returning to the point made in the quote about capitalisation, we have no need for it. For some people it might signify something they have in their relationship or might be a signal of something they want. In my opinion, honorifics need to be more than symbolism to have power.
When I write the initials D/s to talk about a relationship, the capitalisation is reflective of the shape of the relationship, rather than purely an honorific. When I write about real people, I would use whatever honorific we have agreed, or that feels right to me and doesn’t overstep the bounds of the relationship.
My friend with whom I have a hierarchical non sexual relationship with elements of D/s is simply known by her name, when we are friends, and by her initial if she or I want to signify a different space.
Anyone who reads my blog or tweets will know that Mr Hunt is primarily the lovely Mr Hunt in my writing, capitalised only by the convention of written English. He is not Sir or Master. Nor Daddy, which I sometimes think might be closer to the mark. He is just him. The name everyone calls him. I am just me. In the shedding of our professional labels and Mummy and Daddy, we bring what we are to each other into focus. The words are less important than the actions that follow.
We bring different but complementary things to the table domestically, professionally and sexually. Nothing would work properly if we tried to replicate the others skills or preferences. But nothing about who we are makes him the capitalisation to my lowercase.