Perils (and Pleasures) of Dating a Switch

Perils of dating a switch Wildcard is a switch

Switches get a bad rap in the BDSM scene, possibly for the same reason that some people (idiots) don’t know what to do with bisexuals. They get all the same myths and assumptions (switches need to be poly, switches MUST switch and can never be happy with a 100% dom or sub, etc…). I even had people explicitly tell me that Wildcard wouldn’t be able to make me as happy as a pure sub.

The open-ish bit in our relationship makes whether or not switches *need* to be poly a moot point. There are no shortage of cute little things wanting spankings to keep Wildcard happily satiated if switching was some sort of dual meter that needed to be filled. But it doesn’t really work that way because D/s orientations seldom fit into neat boxes to begin with.

Take any group of doms and there will be such a broad expression of how they do what they do and what lifts their luggage, that dominant is just a vague starting point. For example Ferns abhors brats, while Dee would like a sub who can second guess her with panache. Me, I’m a sadomasochist. “Aha!” a fool in the audience pipes up. “Clearly you just need a guy to show you how to submit properly, like all so called lady doms!” Well, no, sit down fool, and I’ll explain.

I’ve said this before. I like my violent bedroom romps, but I can’t sub properly. It rustles my jimmies. Its not been for lack of trying, but the closest I ever got was power-behind-the-throne style scenarios.

Nonetheless I seem to have a history of dating switch-y men. That is to say that for me, I prefer fighty, fiesty, etc… I like a dynamic that’s all high drama plotting and scheming- although in my day to day life I like cozy and simple, my erotic imagination demands flirting sword fights. That’s one of the things that first attracted me to my Gentleman, other than his good looks and well wound charm. So we romp and play in all sorts of ways.

On the other hand, Wildcard also expresses his switching on the binary. He can be all masterful domly dom; or he can be helpless and whimpering and craving being told what to do. Its all the same to him, really. For him, it’s therefore been an occasional challenge to deal with the fact that I can signal all quivery and whimpery, but my brain just doesn’t go to happy sub land. some of this fits into the psychological dominance thing- I like controlling guys with dom urges with seemingly vulnerable behaviours. I already told you about what I did to the Swede- finding it more erotic to “force” him to explore his dominance than trod the well traveled ground of his submission.

The peril, though, is not that the switch or the dom is not enough in the relationship, its that dominance is a really vulnerable state, and with Wildcard the biggest challenge has been unhorsing him mid-ride, knocking him into the metaphorical mud. Its a challenge for him to work with the fact that I don’t bend in the way a sub is supposed to. You know, you apply the right sot of pressure and it melts into yum.

Early on in our relationship, Wildcard discovered my ability to remove myself from the moment and take control again. This is not a dominance pissing contest about which one of us is more inherently dominant, its more the reality that I don’t think I’m inherently capable of releasing control anymore than I’m capable of finding fridges erotic. So one night, he was playing with my body, trying to get a rise out of me, and met the clamp of my control – laughter, carefully planned to bounce the pain of the game away from myself and stand, indomitable.

You can mark a change in his behaviour from that point on- I think its were he became aware for serious about the dom thing with me. For him beating a girl is a means to creating a reaction in her that he wants, and I don’t think he’d really cottoned onto the idea of using his needs for my own sake or even that the door that he thought led one place just connected him through to the same stairs as the other route we took. For me, whatever I’m doing, its about Me. He already noted that when he met me, I was refreshingly different in my reactions. On the other hand, his dominance is a real thing.

I’m not entirely sure how he thinks about my imperfect switching. For a while he would make jokes about it “no, collar YOU! heeheehee…” I sometimes feel that he half gets it- he understands not wanting to to be not dominant, but not so much my dogged instance that switch doesn’t feel right as a label. In any case its something that I think he internalizes as “Pearl’s odd but important limits” in the same category of not putting a wet finger in my ear- he doesn’t need to understand it to respect it.

But as far as the urges I can’t fill, that’s just part of the way the game is structured- we’ve both discovered that there’s things I like (eg face slapping) that feel very wrong for him. I don’t feel that his switching in any way is different than a sub partner that doesn’t want to do whatever their limits are or has fetishes you don’t share.

I guess the biggest “peril” is not the odd consensual spank, but rather working with his dominance in such a way as I can hijack it to get my kicks, without devaluing it to him. Nonetheless, dating a switch is still the best way to get the sort of behaviors I want to hijack in the first place, and that part is the pleasure part.

FAbQ: What Is a Dominant or Submissive and How Do I Know What I Am?

This is intended to be a regular feature on this blog, in which I try to talk about the absolute basics. I personally won’t be able to teach you elaborate rope tricks or fancy ways to flog or how to make someone orgasm on command. The goal here is to cover the things people say they wish someone told them when they were new, and to answer the Frequently Asked beginner Questions.

This time I’m going to look at dominance, submission, how to figure out what to call yourself and most importantly, the sanity rules.

What is this, anyway?

One of the first pieces of confusion that comes up for new people is finding out how the Dom/sub thing works in real life. Sure a host of porn covers the things they might do, but it really doesn’t explain possibilities in reference to how it tends to go down with real couples and also people are generally not given a sane approximation of the limitations of a D/s (that’s Dominance/submission or Dom/sub) relationship. It also doesn’t let you figure out what to call yourself if you’ve only ever had fantasies.

First, the sanity check.

  • All submissives do not have to do what all dominants say just because Dominants are dominant.
  • Individual submissives do not have to do what their particular dominant says they should do, without prior negotiation. If you agree to a D/s relationship this is not automatic implicit consent.
  • There is no central licensing system for dominants or guild system of training. Despite desperate hopes, even tales of “Old Guard” or “Leather Families” do not replace common sense in the quality of the dominant. The dominant can be as inexperienced or more inexperienced than the sub.
  • Every D/s relationship is different. Some involve sadomasochism, some do not. Some are built on pure obedience, some involve deliberate disobedience on the part of the sub.
  • Dominance and submission are identification labels not personality types. Doms can be shy and quiet and nervous, while subs can be aggressive and outspoken and have fantastic careers.

Now, some terms:

Dominant: The dominant person is a relationship is the one who is in charge. Dom, domme, dominatrix, master, mistress are all used to refer to this sort of person. The way you become dominant is by deciding one day to call yourself that. The way you act dominant, more often than not, is to convince someone else to call you that too. However the act of the stereotypical dominant (you know the one in leather chaps or the latex corset who is whipping someone?) can also be referred to as a Top if the level of compliance/disobedience is less important than the hitty bits or rough sex. Generally dominants get a warm fuzzy feeling from control that may be sexual arousal.

Submissive: The submissive is the one being told what  to do. How accurately these commands are followed is really defined by what sort of relationship two people want to have. The submissive might like thinking of themselves as a slave, a pet, a servant, or simply the other half of a happy couple, maybe even all of the above over the course of a night. The sensations only version is a bottom. Generally submissives get a warm fuzzy feeling from someone being in charge of them. This could be arousal, feeling ‘safe’ and any number of other pleasant sensations.

Switch: Surprise! Some people are both! In some relationship people switch off on the roles with each other sometimes. In other cases, people feel dominant towards some and submissive towards others. Some switches are more there for the sensations, for example they could be equally happy being spanked or spanking. Switching isn’t even on/off and some people like ambiguous dynamics.

Okay, that’s nice but what am I?

A lot of people starting out don’t really have a clear idea of what they want to call themselves. Even your taste is porn is no help, for example it’s not uncommon for male subs to enjoy female submission as masturbatory material and many dom women find the stereotypical pro-dom shtick causes them to flee the room. If you’ve never done all this, for example you’ve never been spanked or actually had control over someone outside the safe limits of work you probably just have a vague idea some things are kinda hot.

It’s okay not to know what you are. If you’re filling out a profile, put yourself down as ‘unsure’. You have all the time you need to figure it out. Me, as a masochist I was under the impression that I’d be happiest as a sub. A friend who is entirely submissive mislabeled herself as a dom. Neither of us had the world explode on us as we worked out what we were.

Plenty of people even shift how they ID over the course of their life. However if you’re urgently trying to figure out a leaping off place with a label you can either go generic with ‘switch’ or give your fantasies a holistic look. Unlike a lot of quizzes I’m not going to think about whips and chains because if you’re not sure that’s probably just more confusing.

Are you more comfortable (in your fantasies!) being in charge or having someone else tell you what to do?

If your nurture someone are you being ‘responsible’ and taking care of things or are you ‘serving’ them with pampering?

If you like the idea of someone handling all the details of a problem or task for you is it because they are being responsive to your needs and letting you delegate or are they in charge and you feel great because you can just do as you’re told?

Your lover gives you a token to wear, like a neck charm or a bracelet or maybe a jacket  When you put it on do you feel “Mine, mine, mine! My person!” or “I am marked and connected to them!”

I phrase the questions this way because not all dominants do the ‘harsh’ thing and not all subs are into passive. You will need to decide even beyond that, what kinds of dynamics you like. This could be anything from 1950s household or full bore wicked dungeon slavery games to equals with bedroom wrestling. And it’s all okay.