Reader Letter: Communicating Your Needs To Your Sub

This reader has another common femdom problem- dealing with getting the head space right when your frame of reference is decidedly focused on partner pleasing. Add that age old bugbear of personal anxiety about your attractiveess, and you have a thorny problem worth examining.

readerletterHi Miss Pearl,
I just wanted to say I love your site. You have really given me perspective and help to evaluate how I want my relationship to be, not how others think it should be. I do need some advice though!
I have been with my boyfriend for almost 3 years.¬† He has been in one previous D/s relationship that ended badly, and has not been in one since. I have recently discovered, especially since being with him, I enjoy being more dominant. The problem is, I have never been in a D/s relationship, and I feel like he is more experienced than me. He also seems reluctant to try things with me, and is convinced I want to be dominant just for him. He also has a hard time telling me anything that he likes, he only says it is about a “headspace” for him. From the things he says, I think he needs a nurturing/loving domme. I also think he has some shame about the things he likes it bed, and usually leaves it up to me to try new things. I find he does open up more the kinkier the things we try.
The problem is I feel like I have hit a wall. I know what I want, and I have all these fantasies, but when it comes to trying them I get anxiety. I end up stopping what I want to try and we just have vanilla sex.

I feel like I am lacking the confidence (I am a bit chubby, and have some body issues) to take the reigns, and combined with my anxiety it’s holding me back. What do I do? How do I get over this anxiety? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
M

Dear M:

Some of your problems are things that you can work on with your partner, some is his stuff to deal with, and some of it are things you need to work on to help yourself heal. I’m going to start with you, because it’s easier to work on yourself than change others.

First, you:

You deserve to take care of yourself emotionally and feel good.

It sucks not to love your body. That part has to come from inside. As much as I can try to point you in the right direction, you will probably find a good therapist can better give you the tools to help build a self image that helps you recognize how beautiful you actually are. I’m going to come out and say that you can be morbidly obese and be captivating.

Look, you’re probably like most of the people living in the top and middle bits of North America. That means, by clinical terms, a little “overweight”. No biggie. Your ancestors for the last thousand years busted themselves to make that possible for you. Only a minority of heterosexual men are specifically wired to their preferences enough to find this anything close to a draw back. If it makes you unhappy or causes you health problems, by all means discuss it with a doctor, but don’t let your body ever stop you from being a femdom.

Some of the most beautiful women in history have had your general configurations- we immortalize them in art. Still other women are erroneously remembered for a beauty they never official had- Cleopatra, for example, was written in her era as not being particularly physically compelling. Her charm was in being an educated, confident polymath and her power was in her self assurance. The aftermath is that we remember her as pretty because guess what- power is beauty more so than the other way around. Getting back off the tangent, take the time to surround yourself with role models who look like you, to remind yourself that a soft body is not a bad body.

The other thing I noticed is that your question is laced with things you think he needs. I feel like his needs are overshadowing yours in your decision making process and this may be causing part of his impression that you are just doing this for him. Maybe he’s a black hole who takes without giving any input, but I don’t see you talking about your specific fetishes and desires, just his lack out output.
One of the hardest, most vulnerable things about femdom is it asks women to be selfish after a lifetime of being told our strength and power in in how we understand and control the needs of others. Being dominant often means putting ourselves out there- we have to deal with the expectation we should be assertive, mean, but even more frighteningly, suddenly we don’t just have needs but also wants and whims.
He’s not getting that your main want right now is reassurance you are desired. But, you are also leaving yourself out of your own sex life when you only look for what he wants.

Now, him:

With your partner, there are some things he needs to stop. One of them is the “you are just doing this for meeeee”. He probably thinks he’s helping, but it’s is seriously undermining since he’s essentially telling you that your sexuality doesn’t exist. Since you already have problems with self abrogation, this is creating a negative feedback loop, you are looking to get your dominance appreciated and he is trying to spare you doing him a favour. He needs to start pushing himself out there and surrendering his needs, just as much as you do.

As a part of that, he needs to understand that sexuality is a back and forth. It is not one person’s job to bring the entertainment for the night and react and he can’t use his submission as permission to be a lump on a bump. That being said, a lot of people being communicative really challenging, and his base state may be what he’s presenting. Only going by your description, he may just count himself lucky he gets sex on whatever terms you decide it happens.

I hope that helps you have something to talk about together. Wildcard and I use a weekly brunch at a cafe (my treat) as a nice space out of the house where we can discuss these things and that check in time outside the bedroom is very important to us.

Now, BOTH:

Right, so now you’re prepared to talk about it together, I recognize it’s still a little daunting to get your sub to open up. Now before you get out the hammer and chisel, there are a few tools you can use as conversational aides.

First of all, avoid accusations. It always goes one of two ways. Either the conversation gets derailed by mea culpas and you reassuring him, or if he’s a defensive soul, it gets fighty. Acknowledge the problem is a mutual challenge that you need his help with. Neither of you are going to get anywhere until you both put your kink¬†cards on the table.

To do that, there’s a wealth of resources like mojo upgrade or fetish checklists that you can share with each other. You may even find this makes things easier as sometimes face to face conversations can be overwhelming for even the best of us. Communicating your needs shouldn’t be a bridge too far- between the pair of you, there’s bound to be some material to work with. However, it has to come from both of you.

Sincerely,
Miss Pearl

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