There are as many reasons people enjoy submission as there are folks who submit in sex or relationships. Our desires for power exchange in sex, intimacy, and relationships can be driven from everything from neurology to culture. Understanding the mix of influences on your desires can help guide you toward healthier, more sustainable relationships.
This post will cover the internal drives which influence our desires. The next post will look at some of the external influences. At the end of this post there is also a link to tools in the "Members" section to help you journal and find out about some of your personal influences (access if free, but requires you to sign up for the member section).
Internal Drivers of Desire
From the time we are little, we start creating narratives about who we are. These narratives are shaped by what we learn from our caregivers and family; our early friends and community; school; and media. We develop a conception of "good" and "bad" and create internal stories where we can be the "hero" or the "good guy."
What we consider "good" is shaped both by what these external influencers tell us is good and what they do. Sometimes what our major influences say is good is reflected in the behavior which is awarded. Other times there is a disconnect. When there is a disconnect, often we will try to meet what they say is good in an effort to be praised (or at least not hurt).
As we begin to explore relationships and intimacy, most of the time we will continue to strive to be a good person (however we define that). However, playing with the taboo behaviors (things you believe are "bad") can also be really sexy. Often we seek a balance between bering "good" and role playing with the "bad."
These interanl belliefs about good and bad also shape how we feel about ourselves. If we think what we do as a romantic and intimate part is good, we feel pleasant or proud about our behavior. When we believe we have been a bad partner or person, we can feel shame.
Shame is a combination of negative feelings which make us feel bad, embarassed, or regretful about our behaviors. Shame is deeply uncomfortable. It makes us wish we could change or had not done something or were somehow different than we are. This can be mobilizing (I feel bad about treating my body poorly so I will work to hydrate and take care of myself). Sometimes shame paralizes us or prompts depression.
Feelings of shame may also be utilized for sexy fun. These uncomfortable feelings, when activated in a safe space, can lead someone to feel aroused. For example, if someone feels shame around wanting to do a gender inappropriate behavior (e.g. cross dressing) we can create a safe space with a partner where they "force" us to cross dress as part of erotic play.
Unpacking Good, Bad, and Shameful Beliefs
The above just scratches the surface of understanding some of the internal influences about ourselves. I have created a few tools for readers to use to help uncover underlying beliefs. Check out the tools in the members section.