On Wanting to Be Submissive

The deeper I immerse myself in the writings of psychologist, Otto Rank, the greater an affinity I develop for both the thinker and the man. Although, to be sure, the most interesting portrait of the doctor I’ve found comes not from his own writings, but from the diary of Anaïs Nin, with whom he had both a therapeutic and an intimate relationship. If Rank were alive today, I would want to meet him. I would probably ask him to be my mentor. And, I would have no shortage of questions for him regarding the creative power of will, the value of constructing a lush inner world, and using creativity to overcome denial and guilt. Indeed, I’ve spent the greater part of the last 24 hours poring over Truth and Reality, a book whose arrival via Amazon I had been anticipating for days. While I haven’t quite finished it, I have, I believe, gained sufficient insight to apply some of his ideas to the current project of fashioning my own femininity (itself an enormous exercise of creative will). Particularly, to grapple with a facet of the feminine experience I have been struggling to frame a discussion around for a few weeks now: the desire that many women have to be submissive.

When I first published On the Art of Femininity, I was uncertain how the section titled, “Make Me Want…” (which culminates in the declaration, “Make me want to be submissive.”) would be received. I was surprised not only by the number of comments I received on that segment of the post, but also on the many voices that passionately and volubly echoed that sentiment. Yes! Make me want to be submissive! I have, in fact, been making notes sporadically over the last two weeks on what it means to want to be submissive, hoping to arrive at an “aha” moment of meaning and cohesion. It was Truth and Reality that gave me that framework. Indeed, while most of my previous posts on femininity and female eroticism represent a creative recasting, or reformulation, of an emotional state or experience, I find that my interest in on wanting to be submissive is not about submission itself. It is, rather, about alchemizing the desire. It is the wanting that is most in need of a facelift.

Here are some thoughts on wanting to be submissive:

The power is in the wanting.

As I consider what it means to me to want to be submissive, I feel as though I am in the process of elevating what I have historically viewed as one of the lowliest parts of myself. As in On Feeling Like a Woman, On Feeling Pretty, and On Wanting to Be Wanted, my aim is to dignify those aspects of my experience that I have, for as long as I can remember, been taught to view as childlike, banal, even disempowering. As if, to grow more vibrantly and powerfully within myself, I must become something other than myself. To distort my inner world to conform to external demands. How many of us, if we are to be entirely honest with ourselves, can verbalize desires, like “I need to feel pretty”—or attempt to articulate them with pride—without feeling the teensiest twinge of guilt or embarrassment?

For me, to suggest that I have an innate desire to be submissive is to say that I take pleasure in being made to want to submit. Don’t ever make me submissive. Make me want to be submissive. It is a decision. It is the intentional yielding of power that is so intensely gratifying, so wonderfully sexy. So distinctly feminine and seductive. It is a kind of lust.

Indeed, a girlfriend recently remarked to me, during a rather interesting conversation about male body types, that she prefers men of a certain build because she needs to feel like she’s “being overpowered.” I know exactly what she means. It is the feeling of being taken. Or, pleasurably over-taken. And a craving for the moments that create that kind of longing. For those of us who are in tune with the pervasive sensitivity of our bodies, the nuanced aspects of our sensuality, and the building of sexual pleasure, to submit can be a conscious choice to be gratified. To awaken. To open oneself to the fullness of mutual satisfaction. We sometimes forget that. To be receptive can be a decisive action.

abstract white erotic lingerie

To submit is a gesture of intimacy.

Outside the realm of the sexual, I find that wanting to be submissive goes hand-in-hand with feeling like a woman. It is part of a relationship dynamic that feels, to me, natural, fulfilling, and intimate. After a day’s work, there is nothing that makes me feel more content, or more like myself, than going home to quietly be. To be soft, tender, creative, and very much like a woman, preferably to a man who makes me happy to give myself over to him for a time. It is in those moments that I want a man to take the reigns, that I desire to be overpowered, subsumed, and can experience the serenity—not of being dependent or subservient—but of being complimented.

Wanting to give oneself is an attitude.

I agree wholly with Rank’s argument that we shape our external reality by altering our inner world. I like to think that as I write these words, they are helping me to construct a reality in which I am free to be open, to be at ease, and to submit to life as unfettered as possible (to the degree that is possible for each one of us). I ask myself if, in dignifying this desire to yield, to give myself over to a power greater than me, I am also shaping a broader, more harmonious attitude toward other aspects of my reality. I also wonder if I am not creating greater accord within myself—if I am not giving myself permission to be more myself—as I give voice to a feeling that might otherwise remain trivialized and tucked away.

I sometimes think this project of mine is helping me to evolve. To create a firm center. I find that exercising the power to create my own reality—to be at once, actor, observer, and creator—feels right. I know no other way to measure the success of an experiment such as this one. If only by the absence of discord. I know that none of the visions of femininity, womanhood, and female sexuality that the world has offered to me are in sync with what lies within me. That inner sense is, perhaps, too strong. It threatens me if I refuse to honor it. And in order to feel freer and more peaceful, I must fashion myself for myself, mold my own reality, and live by its rules. The moment I realized that I am fully capable of that kind of creativity, certain limits began disappearing. I must now make others disappear. It is necessary that my life move to rhythms of my own invention.

20 responses to “On Wanting to Be Submissive”

  1. Excellent insight on a wonderful topic!!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    It is only a strong woman that can want to be submissive, is it not?
    Also, its so important to be at peace with your inner self and want to give someone else the precious gift that is you and your time.
    Its so refreshing to hear someone want to evolve to become their truest inner self.
    As a sidenote, Rank is fascinating, is he not?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for the thoughtful comment. I, too, believe that it takes a strong woman to want to be submissive, if that is what feels natural to her. I think most of us do not understand these feelings (the “feminine experience”) enough to give them the validity and the respect they deserve. For me, it is a kind of personal crusade—to understand and harness the power that resides in that part of myself. That, I believe, is how women become strongest. And how femininity garners the respect it deserves.

      Yes, Rank is awesome. I will be starting Art and Artist early next week. I look forward to it. His insights feel like those of a kindred spirit, as do Nin’s. It’s great to meet someone who feels similarly about his work. Thank you again for reading! 😊


  2. Upon further thought, i have realized that when two souls are able to become so open and intertwined with each other, they both feel complete.
    Then a man can feel confident in the womens love and acceptance to not feel threatened when she blossoms into the women who she desires to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A strong woman helps make a strong man. I agree. We lift one another up, and I think it can be especially difficult to be a good partner without strength of will—and without the ability to let go and be ourselves as freely and deeply as possible with another person.


  3. Just read your blog, really interesting. I believe that it is essential to be empowered, our wonderful differences make us stimulating… AND TO NOT CONFORM. As time goes from year to year, we change our ideas, relative to our changes in environment. It is therefore – the lack of others definition of ‘women empowerment’, that is so independently written about. Not realising that actually – ‘women empowerment’ is when:
    WE SEPERATELY….SEPERATLY… INDEPENDENTLY- chooses to be submissive, active, separated, powerful or just ———–BE WHATEVER ,,,DO WHATEVER, and not worry too much about what anyone else thinks, but embrace life with self pride. Love reading your blog it is very interesting…. Livinia R x Independently happy and feeling good about 2018

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the thoughtful feedback! You are so right that empowering ourselves is an individual undertaking. I think it has to be in order to be successful. To be confident in and comfortable with ourselves, we first have to know who we are.


  4. “It is the intentional yielding of power that is so intensely gratifying, so wonderfully sexy. So distinctly feminine and seductive. It is a kind of lust.” I was really moved by this line and see deep truth in it. I wholeheartedly agree that the wanting is the point of emphasis. I’ve had many conversations like the one you had with your friend about body types, and the same comment has come up. Feeling free to let go creates, to me, such heightened feelings of sexiness.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you are very wise to realize that wanting is the key. If we must be submissive we are slaves. If we need to be submissive we are obsessive. Wanting is a freedom we should all grant to ourselves. Very interesting subject and post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Linda. “Wanting is a freedom we should all grant to ourselves.” Very well said. Our wants can add a great deal of depth and vibrancy to our realities, regardless of what connotations those desires may have to others. Thank you for the comment!


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