Competitive Submission, or: A Journey Through Labels

For those just joining now, I’m celebrating #KinkMonth by writing posts inspired by Kayla Lords’ 30 Days of D/s project.

Day 3 is about labels. Today’s post is quite vulnerable and also heavily based on a stream of consciousness I splurged onto Fetlife last year. Kayla & John ask:

Beyond the basic title of Dominant or submissive, are there other titles you prefer or are interested in exploring? Are there any that turn you off or don’t seem like a good fit for you?

Some titles for Dominants may be Master, Sir, Daddy, Mistress, Lady, etc. Titles for submissives can be pet, babygirl, little one, boy, girl, etc.

On Fetlife, you have to pick a “role” to list on your profile. There’s the usual Dominant, submissive, Master, Mistress, slave. Then there’s the slightly more specific babygirl/babyboy, Daddy, Mommy, pet, Primal. And then there’s the nondescript and vague Kinkster, Unsure, Evolving.

I’ve flip-flopped between labels over the years. For a very long time, I considered myself the most subby of the submissives. Topping was just not something I could ever see myself doing. So I listed my role as submissive.

Then, at twenty, I found myself pinning a willing submissive man to a bed and fucking him, telling him that he was Mine. And I liked it. Gradually, I explored my Dominant energy and realised I could get off on that rush of power, on reducing someone to a puddle of lust with just my hands and voice. I changed my label to Switch.

Then I realised that being young, hot and listed as a Switch brought out the worst of all kinds of men on Fetlife. The Doms were convinced their Domly dick was all I would ever need to shove myself firmly back into the box labelled “submissive”. The submissives wanted to crawl at my feet and serve me (for the value of “serve” which means “have me fulfill their every sexual fantasy”). I couldn’t be arsed with it. I switched to the vague Kinkster. Something about that nondescript label – possibly along with aging out of the coveted “18-24” age bracket – hugely diminished the number of unsolicited gunk in my inbox. But it didn’t feel like me.

In the midst of my relationship with my ex-Master, I switched (heh) back to submissive. I filled my profile with variations on, “I AM OWNED, LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE”. It worked, sort of, but it still only described a fraction of the rich and complex tapestry of the Amy.

Me and Mr CK occasionally switch with each other. This has been the case since the beginning, and will most continue to be the case for as long as our lives run in parallel. We both enjoy both sides of the slash (him more “D,” me more “). So I changed my role once again to Switch, and that was that.

And then… well. There’s no way to make myself look good here. I got competitive. Jealous. Scared.

My partner started dating someone, you see, who we’ll call The Doctor. She listed herself as 100% submissive. (Having been on the receiving end of her hand spanking my ass, I respectfully disagree with that label, but people have the right to self-identify.) It was this, more than the sex or the romance or anything else, that freaked me the fuck out. My headweasels took over and convinced me absolutely, in the space of a couple of weeks, that:

One: Identifying as a submissive, instead of a Switch, made this person inherently better at submitting than me purely on the basis that they never swapped roles.

Two: Therefore, my partner would prefer playing with her to playing with me.

Three: Therefore, my partner would use all his kinky/sexy/Dominant energy on her, leaving none left for me, start taking her to all our favourite kinky events instead of me, and collar her as his 24/7 submissive despite emphatically telling me he doesn’t want that dynamic with anybody.

Four: Therefore, my relationship would be over if I couldn’t show him beyond all doubt that I was at least as good a submissive, if not better, than this other person.

The thing is, this was all in my head. Neither of them did anything to indicate to me that there was any validity to these fears whatsoever. In desperation, not knowing what else to do to fight the battle against my own mind, I changed my status back to submissive. It took a very long and tearful conversation with my partner, in which all my fears fell out of my mouth and into his lap, for me to articulate what was really going on and say “I’m scared as fuck that you’ll leave me for someone else who’s more submissive than I am.”

That was when I learned that my Switchyness, and the Switching dynamic we share, is a feature, not a bug. It’s one of the things he loves about me. It was also when I began to internalise that:

One: Submission is not a contest.

Two: Being a Switch doesn’t make my submission, when I give it, less real or authentic or beautiful.

There’s a stigma against Switches in a lot of the kink world. Much like bisexuals, we’re told that we’re greedy, that we’re confused. That we need to get off the fence and make up our damn minds.

I tend to date either Top-leaning Switches, or exclusive Tops/Doms. It’s getting much better (thanks, in part, to fabulous partners who embrace ALL of me as I am!) but on some levels I still struggle with the insecurity whispering that, as a Switch, I’m a poor second choice and a Top/Dom would always choose a 100% submissive over me and like a 100% submissive more than me. I also worry, because Mr and I hang out at a lot of fem-sub/M-Dom events, that I’ll be judged poorly or thought less of due to being a Switch.

On the flip side, sometimes I feel like a fraud for identifying as Switch because my interests are so unbalanced. It’s really hard to put a number on it and it fluctuates. At the moment my desires are probably 90% sub/bottom and 10% Dom/Top. On the occasions when I do Top, I worry that my submissive partner is just going to say, “you’re shit at this, I’m gonna go do it with a real Dom.”

So where the fuck does that leave me?

Sadly, there isn’t a role option on Fetlife for “Basically submissive at heart but still gets a huge rush from Topping once in a while because I like the feeling of power and the reactions and the knowledge that I’m giving so much pleasure.”

So… yeah.

Switch.

Remember: a label is the beginning of a conversation, not the end.

Kinky item of the day: Collars by Kabunza. I’m not affiliated with this company in any way, but I could talk them up forever because 1) Aemilia Hawk is a wonderful human being and I adore her. 2) their stuff is so beautiful it makes my heart sing. 3) their customer service is brilliant. 4) we should all support our friendly neighbourhood kinky businesses.

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you’d like to support me, please consider becoming a sexy Patron, buying me a virtual coffee, or shopping with my affiliates in the right hand sidebar.

[Kink Product Review] Rouge Garments Leather Spiral Flogger

Did I mention that sex bloggers get the best goodie bags at our events? The lovely people at Rouge Garments provided various goodies for the June Lube and A Laptop social, and mine turned out to be this fittingly red red red (seriously this thing is so red) leather flogger.

This flogger is pretty hefty. End to end it’s about 71cm, of which 51cm is the falls and 20cm the handle. (On Rouge’s site it lists the length of falls as 47cm, so mine may be a slightly over-long prototype.) Either way it’s got a lot of length to it.

My Ratings (all scores out of 5★)

Price: ★★★★
The flogger retails at The Pleasure Garden for £32, which is a very reasonable price for a real leather product.

Materials: ★★★★
It’s 100% real leather, which is my material of choice for hitty items in general. Vegans and stricter vegetarians may want to steer clear, but that’s a matter of personal choice. (I’ll hold my hands up as a hypocritical vegetarian who loves leather here.)

Appearance & Quality: ★★★
It comes in pink, purple or red, which are pretty standard colours for kink gear. I’d love to see more variety in this area in general! The design is fine though I don’t think it’s the prettiest flogger ever – my personal taste in floggers leans more towards leather falls with a wooden or metal handle, rather than all-over leather, but that’s a matter of preference.

The Rouge flogger seems fairly strong and durable, but my one gripe (and it’s a pretty major one) is with the length of the falls. They’re not cut evenly and there is a disparity of more than an inch between the longest and shortest. This does, unfortunately, make an otherwise promising product look somewhat cheap and slapdash.

Ease of Wielding: ★★★
Like all longer floggers, it takes some practice to wield effectively, but this isn’t a criticism of the product. Generally the longer the hitty thing, the harder it is to wield. It is very light for its size, though, which is a plus point. I could use it for quite a while without my arm getting tired, and I’m far from the strongest person around. Mr CK pointed out that, due to the handle not being smooth (the leather is effectively wrapped around in a spiral shape,) the ridges did start to hurt his hand after using the flogger on me for a little while.

Feel: ★★★
I adore the feel of real leather on my skin, and this flogger has a good thud/sting balance. The weight is just enough to give it a nice thud, while the thin falls follow that initial thud with a little bit of stingy bite. The uneven falls do increase the tendency for mishits to happen, though, which led to a couple of “BAD ouch” moments. Not recommended for anyone who wants pure thud or intense sting, but a passable option if you like a mix.

Overall Score: ★★★
Not the greatest flogger I’ve ever used, but passable if you’re looking for something inexpensive. It’s an affordable option for people with some flogging experience who want to try out a larger flogger, and for anyone who wants to add some real leather to their collection without spending a fortune. If you want pure beauty and craft, though, I’d skip this one and head on over to Jack’s Floggers or Kabunza instead.

Thanks to Rouge Garments for providing these products in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions are, and will always be, my own. Affiliate link to The Pleasure Garden sends a small commission my way if you buy.