When I was new to D/s I often made two mistakes. One, I treated submissives like they were all submissive to me, and two, I assumed that if someone identified as submissive it meant they must enjoy humiliation and degradation. Let the name calling and humiliation begin! Of course, over time I've learnt that both of these assumptions were incorrect. I now understand that if someone hasn't submitted to me or at least consented to a submissive role in a specific environment, then they should be treated just like anyone else. And of course I've also learnt that not all submissives enjoy being degraded or humiliated by their dominant, never mind by any random person who comes along.
By the way, as a female dominant I've had plenty assumed about me as well, so I'm sure this is not a specifically submissive experience.
Have you had similar experiences with assumptions, be it about dominants, submissives, or D/s practices? How did you overcome them and what have you had to check about your own assumptions and behaviours?
It was probably not assumption per se, but at the beginning I thought that as a submissive, who is supposed and who deslerately wants to serve and please her Dominant I should be almost perfect. It was killing me at times and I have made a lot of mistakes because of that.
What helped me was one sentence written by my Dominant: "I do not expect you to be perfect, but I expect you to put necessary effort...".
I still want to be the best version of myself for Him, but I accepted - at least to some extent - that I will never be perfect. Because no one is.
I assumed, when I was new, that if I just tried hard enough and was perfect enough, that abusive partners would stop being abusive and start loving me. I assumed that the abusive behavior was my fault. Patterns left over from childhood, but they lead to tolerating far too much harmful behavior, and allowing the trampling to too many boundaries.
I also, when I first started out, assumed that the flashy, show, outwardly dominant types who were always declaring their dominance were the best Dom's. I went for them I went for the really pretty ones, too.
I learned later that there is a huge difference between arrogance and actual confidence. People I had overlooked when I was 18 and clueless turned out to be the best. A dominant can have true humility (not the same as telling everyone how humble they are, lol) and be absolutely incredible, because they know who and what they are and don't feel the need to prove it. They are comfortable in their own skin, and attuned to their nature. They take the time to learn the skills needed to be good dominants.
One that is true for myself and for many people I've worked with and played with. Summarized well by a business partner:
"It goes without saying, but it goes even better when it is said".
Don't assume that people can read your mind; those who can are rare. Don't assume they will magically guess what it is that you want, what it is that you like or dislike; they will not and you'll be left disappointed.
And perhaps especially for men , please don't assume that your "signals" are clear or understood. Most men in my experience (yes, myself included even though I try really hard) suck at understanding signals. It doesn't matter whether you think the signals you give are clear or should be clear, men typically don't have a clue.
I once had an altercation with a local domme at a FetLife munch. I was chatting with friends then suddenly I was being felt up from behind by someone. As I turned around, I grabbed a hand with a twist and confronted this woman, what the **** did she think she was doing? She was heavy with compliments and apparently couldn't resist the temptation. Considering she's supposed to be very experienced, she had no respect for personal boundaries or basic common decency and etiquette. Her excuse was: "but I'm a domme, you're trans, I thought you'd like it". I was still twisting her hand. "You're an ignorant c***, now **** off and don't ever touch me again". She feebly apologized and did Foxtrot Oscar.
@Nirvanescu Well put, I completely agree and would add that you should also never assume you can read someone else's mind. It may seem like it will be sexy to give someone what you think they want before they even ask for it, and you may be 99% sure on the subtle signal you think you're picking up. But you know what's really sexy to those who wish to be treated as human beings no matter their BDSM qualification? Respect and communication!
@ Al Le Gory In my book you would have been well within your rights to literally smack her down. Not saying I advocate unnecessary violence since you handled the situation without it. Just saying... I think few would have blamed you. I believe and hope that type of assumption is decreasing every year, especially in already closed off communities like BDSM... good lord some folks' brains are so small.
@Lucia I found out later that it wasn't the first or last time she had done this sort of thing. She has isolated herself somewhat because of her non-consensual behaviour and bad attitude. It's downright disrespectful, rude and ignorant. I don't condone violence, however, I do believe in standing your ground. Politeness costs nothing, though it does require some mental effort and awareness. It was at a public non-play event - it's the same rules for everyone...there are some individuals that think they're above all of that, alas. They are in the minority. I find people in the BDSM community enlightened and decent folk. You get the occasional idiot - they tend to end up galvanising people against them. It makes the community more cohesive and revenge all the more sweeter as they commit social suicide.
@Al Le Gory You are right that common enemies bring us together. That's why although I get the intention of this forum is to address specific and common assumptions in the community for the good of all, I cant resist making the pedantic non-statement that the best thing for everyone to do is approach all strangers as human beings first and foremost and literally never assume anything ever... I feel that many in this community feel that way and our common enemies are the vocal minority that don't.
I’m still quite new to the bdsm community. In my newer days, I assumed that I had to “prove” my submissiveness and show that I was worthy of claiming the title “submissive.” I do still believe in behaving in a way that is an example to those who may follow in my footsteps, however I no longer feel it’s necessary to “prove” my worthiness to be in this lifestyle. Also, like ev, I too was attracted to the shiny, sparkly Doms. I’m so grateful to have recognised that I was doing that, because looking away for a second and allowing my eyes to adjust to everyone else that was around, has allowed me to meet some truly fantastic people.