Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Role Reversal in D/s

I've been thinking lately about role reversal, and why there are so many female subs (at least in erotic romance, lol) and male Doms. Is it because it's expected that the woman will be the submissive one? Do women have more interest in submitting? Do men feel like if they submit they'll be less of a man?

All of the above, to a certain extent, I think.

Women, traditionally, have been the submissive sex, the ones with less power, certainly with less strength. Despite the strides women have made in equality over the past hundred years or so, I think many still consider them the lesser sex. They're still paid less, they still hold less upper management positions, and they're still the ones who do the majority of the housework (in most households) even if they hold down a full-time job.

Are women more interested in submitting? Maybe. After all, they say one of the things that might make a woman want to submit is wanting to give up control, because many women are in charge of home and family and it's nice to give control away for a change.

And then we have men. Ah yes, men. We love them, don't we? But it's a fact many men have fragile egos, and that might stand in the way of them submitting to a woman. They think people will consider them weak, or a pussy, or whatever bad adjective you'd like to add here. A lot of the guys who feel this way probably don't understand the sub actually has all the power in a D/s relationship. Nothing can be done to a sub (or shouldn't be done) without their consent.

So what do you think? Why are there so many more female subs?

-- Cassandra

For more information about me or my books, check out


  1. That's a very good question. As a submissive myself, I know that giving up even a bit of control--I can't give up too much because I am still the more knowledgeable partner--is very satisfying. Is it because I'm a woman? Perhaps. But men who submit aren't any weaker for doing so. I find it empowering accepting what I need and I think, whether a man Dominates, submits, or both, he is strong because he's not ashamed of his needs. The same goes for a woman.

    It's still hard in today's society to go beyond prescribed norms, but I love that it is getting easier. And I can't wait to see where we all go from here!

    Great post, sweetie!

  2. Great question! I think anyone investigating the male submissive role will soon realize that in fact the opposite is true: it is only the fundamentally secure, strong man who can allow himself to submit to a woman. I think as a man, if you have real insecurities about actually being weak, it wouldn't turn you on to submit. A man who understands his insecurities are only superficial can then play with them - or have them played with - and have them become a source of extreme arousal.

    A subject I find endlessly fascinating! Thanks for the post!

  3. For me, I feel like as a woman, not only do I work, I make sure the house has food, is clean, everyone gets everywhere on time, etc. I would love a time where I didn't have to think and make the decisions, which is why submission sounds appealing to me.

  4. For centuries, millennia, women were chattel, property. It's only been in very recent history that women have been considered individuals, free to live on our own, to work, to get an education, even to vote and own property. But it runs deep in many women's psyches that this is how it is. How often do you see someone post that she wanted to do something but "hubby" wouldn't let her? In vanilla forums. I, of course, want to scream and shake her until her teeth rattle, but at the same time, I know that her mother and grandmothers...and greatgrandmothers have programmed her thusly, and her father and grandfathers have supported them. It works both ways. When my younger son was a toddler, his grandmother wanted to give him trucks to play with, not stuffed animals. How many times have you heard "Boys don't cry, man up!" It's going to take quite a few more generations to overcome conditioning at this level -- and it now looks like it will also require removal of some politicians who seem determined to turn back to those times when it was unquestioned that women would not earn as much as men, and they would produce many, many children then spend what life they had tending to the children and the man who accepted responsibility. The man who is just as limited by the assigned role as the woman, neither of them free to be who and what they are.

  5. A great topic Cassandra and one that will be debated till the end of time. IMHO, it begins in our DNA - male and female. Genetics will always play a role in whether a person is submissive or dominate. It is up to that person to decide if he or she wants to act upon those traits. I find being submissive to my Hubs a very powerful experience.

  6. Great post, Cassandra, and what a thought provoking question.

    I agree there appears to be a greater number of female subs in romance novels, but I don't know that's what I experience in real life. When I go out to parties run by people in the kink community I haven't noticed a huge difference in female vs male subs. Maybe it's becasue I live in a community with a large Gay and Lesbian population and that social dynamic evens the numbers out, I'm not sure.

    Prior to writing, when I worked in the real world I always ended up in positions of authority, roles where I had to be an advocate for others, lobby government departments for social change etc. I found the role hard and always enjoyed coming home to the safe haven of being a submissive. I met a male politician at a play party once who said a similar thing to me about his role in work vs home life.

    For me, being a sub is just who I am and who I've always been. It's contrary to my upbringing, work life and the attitudes of most of my friends. I don't know that being a sub, male or female, is based on anything other than being true to yourself and who you are.

  7. For me personally, I can’t comment beyond that submission appeals to me while being the dominant one never would. I’ve never really thought of it in terms of traditional gender roles (though I will admit to being a very feminine sort!). It’s just the way I’m wired.
    One example of a male sub I always think of is former Formula One boss Max Mosely, whose reputation and career were pretty much destroyed when he was secretly photographed at a BDSM party. One of the richest, most powerful men in the world, and he was very much the sub in the party situation.