“Alpha male”

Quite honestly, the phrase makes me cringe.  Most of the people I’ve met who were described by others or themselves as “alpha males” were egotistical, self-important ass cannons.  Whether it’s in vanilla life or the bdsm world, they’re usually the chest-beating apes who try to be the center of attention.  They often come across to me as being desperate for the approval of others.

This concept is particularly interesting as it applies to submissive men.  “Alpha sub” is another phrase tossed around on occasion.  It generally implies that this is someone who is a leader outside of the relationship, but still chooses to kneel to his dom.  Someone who is capable of handling whatever needs dealt with.  But “alpha sub” can also imply that this is someone who isn’t comfortable identifying as submissive; they often haven’t come to terms with their submission or feel that some aspects of submission are beneath them.  They don’t want to identify with “those guys” because they’re special snowflakes.

I presume that this whole alpha phenomenon stems at least partially stems from our socialization as males.  Girls are generally brought up to socialize and interact with each other; boys are brought up to compete with each other.  Everything becomes a competition.  Some men never outgrow this fierce competitive compulsion, and they feel driven to try to nonconsensually dominate every other man they come across.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are the self-proclaimed worthless men.  The doormats, the spineless, the jellyfish.  But why are both extremes of this spectrum so heavily populated?  Shouldn’t it be more of a bell curve, with the most people in between the two extremes?  Why is there such a glut of people on both ends and a seeming dearth of people who are essentially more moderate?

I don’t consider myself an alpha, beta, delta, omega, or any other letter of the Greek alphabet.  I don’t feel the need to constantly draw attention to myself or be the loudest voice in the room. I’m also not a doormat.  Both in and out of the relationship, I do what needs done.  I’m self-sufficient and self-motivated; there’s no need to hold my hand through life’s daily functions.  This has nothing to do with being alpha and everything to do with being a functional adult.  It doesn’t make me better than anyone else; it means I’m human.  I seriously doubt anyone (regardless of gender) who lacks most of these qualities would make a good submissive, vanilla partner, or single person.  These are qualities you need to have in order to live daily life as an adult.  It doesn’t make you an Alpha Hat; it makes you a responsible person.

This Makes Me Grrr.

Last night, T and I played at a party.  We typically get a small crowd watching us since we play hard.  When they saw us bringing our toy cases in, they enthusiastically filed right in the room and sat along the walls.

After the party, I was left with the same feelings I usually have after playing publicly.  I felt frustrated that I wasn’t able to get into the scene as much as when we play privately.  While it was still an intense, fun scene that I very much enjoyed, it never has the same vibe as when we play privately.  And I don’t think this is something either of us can fix.

It’s not a self-conscious thing.  I’m confident with my body, and for years now I’ve been comfortable baring my underbelly on this level (emotionally speaking) in front of my friends and/or random party people.  While I don’t consider myself an exhibitionist (though I do enjoy the compliments afterward) I’m not shy about public play either.

The mindset is different, as are the sensations.  I have a harder time getting into the headspace I usually attain when we play privately.  Sometimes it feels like I’m simply tolerating what she’s dishing out when we play in public.  The pain seems harsher, less erotic.  I can even get a little irritable during a public scene.  It also feels like I can’t take as much pain in public; it’s probably a 25% reduction on average.  There are physical signs as well- For example, I usually get hard during ball-kicking in private, but rarely in public.

This frustrates the fuck out of me.  And there’s a lot of fuck in me to begin with.

I can’t figure this out.  I see no reason why I shouldn’t be able to get into it just as much in public as in private, and no reason why it should physically feel different just because a few sets of eyes are on us.  With public play, I still experience the catharsis that I get from private play, and I thoroughly enjoy the way she smiles and shows her approval immediately after the scene is over.  That makes me happy, especially when it was something difficult that I just made it through.

I know these feelings aren’t sub-drop.  I’ve experienced that plenty of times before, and this isn’t it.  This frustration even happens during the scene and extends to afterward, while drop happens after the scene is over.  Also, this is not an overarching/all-encompassing feeling like drop is.  This frustration is one feeling of many that I experience throughout the night, fading in and out, interspersed with other feelings.  I’m still capable of being social and having a good time; with drop, I tend to be more antisocial and just want some time to myself.

Whatever is going on with public play, it irritates me.  I get a little angry with myself at times, even though I know I’m doing everything I can to make it work.  I’m just not sure what to do other than keep trying.



Play Denial?

I took part in a discussion online recently that made my brain start running on its hamster wheel.

Someone had asked whether being denied an activity/fetish/interest you enjoy can be just as arousing as the activity itself.  She gave the example of foot fetish; if the sub has a foot fetish, does keeping her feet hidden away in boots or shoes (and not doing any kind of foot play) cause arousal or a stronger desire for this type of play?  Though really this question applies to any activity at all.

For some people, this does cause stronger desire, though I don’t understand it.  I suppose some people want even more what they can’t have.  It’s akin to a dog sitting on the kitchen floor, staring at the cabinet where the dog food is stored.

Personally, the opposite is true for me.  Actually doing the particular activity is far more powerful and arousing than being denied it.  This is true for every bdsm interest I have.  I see being denied something like that as a punishment (if we had a punishment/reward dynamic rather than actual communication.)  I can also see being denied an activity we enjoy as a wasted opportunity.

Let’s go back to the foot fetish example.  If she gets home from work or being out somewhere all night, her feet will be sweaty and warm- prime time for foot worship.  If she pulls her boots and socks off and then continues on with more mundane activities, that’s not a turn-on from being denied; it’s an opportunity lost.  The woman who posted this was wondering if that kind of thing would be arousing instead, to be denied what you want so badly.  It just doesn’t work that way with me.

The only exception I see to this is orgasm control.  Being denied orgasm does make me far more aroused.  But I doubt we could really consider orgasm to be a fetish, so I’m not even sure that counts in this discussion.

Talking about an activity is one step above this.  It’s more enthralling than simply not doing something, but it doesn’t come close to actually doing it.  Talking about a certain scenario can get both people worked up in anticipation as long as it’s not overdone to the point of crying wolf.  Much like fear play, both people have to believe that it’s a credible threat; this is usually accomplished by carrying out the things talked about.  Again, it comes back to doing, which is why we’re all here.

Obviously couples don’t play every single time they see each other.  That doesn’t mean they can’t have little scenelets now and then.  It’s like the bdsm equivalent of a quick kiss-  just a choke, or a few quick ball kicks, or a few minutes of foot worship, or face-spitting, etc. before moving back to real life can be a powerful way to rev up the sexy as well as quickly reinforce the d/s.  Denying various activities, at least with me, has the exact opposite effect.