D-type and s-type Fluid

So you may or may not have heard the term “gender fluid”.  This refers to a person who may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders (male and female), but may feel more male some days, and more female other days.

This concept came up in one of my classes in a different way.  We were discussing one student who knew she identified as an s-type, however, wasn’t really sure which “subcategory” she fit into. Slave, submissive, babygirl, pet, little, bottom, property, etc.  I could relate to what she meant.  I identify (personally) as an s-type – normally I will say submissive, yet I am sometimes more in the headspace of a babygirl or perhaps a pet.  There are plenty of times I identify as a bottom – especially when I am doing a demo or acting as a practice bottom.  I also fall under the category of “service Top” when teaching or doing an educational scene, however, I don’t consider myself a Dominant at all.  For me the slave identifier has not been something I have identified with yet.  I have several close friends that have told me they think I am “slave wired”, yet I continue to put up some resistance there.  (Perhaps an issue for me to work through or perhaps just a matter of partnership)  In any case, I can’t rule out many of the s-type subcategories because I may feel a combo of them or feel like I identify more like one or another from one day to the next or one moment to the next.

So during this class I named this “s-type fluid” or “s-fluid”.

I realized that this same concept probably applies to D-types as well.  Maybe someone knows that they identify as Dominant, however, they occasionally act as a Top or are in the headspace of a “Daddy Dom” or “Mommy Dom” based on their partner or mood.  I would imagine that identifying as a Master is something a Dominant would either feel like all the time or perhaps grow into with a partner.  In any case, I think you can be “D-type Fluid” or “D-fluid” just like an s-type.

 

This concept doesn’t mean you are confused in any way – just like someone who identifies as gender fluid isn’t confused.  It may just mean that you can flow from one subcategory to another based on headspace, partner, mood, or any other reason.  By the way, this is different from identifying as a switch.  A switch may be fluid in terms of being able to bottom or Top (or go between Dom and sub), however, s-type fluid and D-type fluid has nothing to do with switching.  It means you identify as either a D-type or an s-type all the time, but that the subcategories of these identifiers can change.

 

So maybe if you, like me, know which side of the slash you are on, however, feel differently at different times – or if you are still exploring and seeing which subcategory “fits” you best – perhaps this idea of fluidity as applied to D/s identity is the best descriptor for you!

(Perhaps Fetlife needs to add this to their list of identifier options!)  J

 

What is a Switch?

 

When someone tells you they identify as a Dominant or Master, submissive or slave – you have a pretty good idea what that means.  But how about when someone tells you they’re a switch?  Well, it means you need to ask more questions.

I often compare somebody that identifies as a switch to someone who identifies as bisexual.  Now, before you get all upset, I understand that sexual orientation and D/s dynamic identifiers have nothing to do with one another.  That is not what I compare.  Here is what I mean: both identities lay upon a spectrum and there are some similar stereotypes that both groups deal with.

On one hand you can have someone like me when I first started in the scene – I personally identified as an s-type, however, I had the skills to top and did enjoy it on occasion with a handful of people.  So, technically, I could say I was a switch because I could Top and bottom for play.  However, for me, I had no interest in being anyone’s Dominant or being involved in a D/s dynamic with me as the D-type.  I couldn’t say it would never happen because I knew better, it just wasn’t something I was interested in at the time.  On the other hand you will find people (like me currently) that feel equally Dominant and submissive and may have a partner (or partners) that they switch with – or are in a poly situation where they have one (or more) partner(s) they submit to and another (or others) they are a Dominant to.  Some people may flow from one to another – go through phases if you will.  Some times in their life they feel the need for more submission and at other times feel the need to express more of their Dominant side.  Still others may lean more toward one side or another but it’s closer to a 60/40 than someone else who is closer to 80/20 (or so).

The point is that there is a very diverse spectrum when it comes to being a switch.  Everyone is different and you just need to ask what it means to them.

Now I would like to address the stereotype that seems to get placed on switches that reminds me of the one placed on those that identify as bisexual.  It’s the stereotype that a switch is confused about their identity, going through a phase, or just doesn’t want to commit one way or the other.  While these things, of course, can be true for some people – it is not true for most.

Being a switch is just as much who they are as someone who knows they are a D-type or an s-type.  I am not confused about what I like.  That doesn’t mean it may not change.  When I discovered this community I swore I was totally an s-type and would never be able to Top.  Eventually I started exploring it because, well, why not?  I believe this lifestyle is perfect for self-exploration and growth!  So I explored the “Top side” of play.  I had always gone to classes to learn how to use implements, etc. to enhance my play as a bottom and learn about it for safety reasons.  So once I started to Top I already had some skill.  I found I tend to prefer Topping s-type women.  I can Top men, however, I usually do that from more of a “service Top” position.  It’s not what curls my toes.  I don’t know what will develop down the line.  None of us really know what the future holds.  Does that exploration and growth mean I was just “going through a phase”?  Absolutely not.  I still feel my submission pulled from male Dom energy and believe I always will.  It’s simply a matter of how my Top side has grown and with whom.

We all have our own story and our own journey.  This space allows us to explore and reach in directions we never thought possible.  Know thyself and then get to know others.  Especially those darn switches!  🙂

 

 

 

First, what do I mean by “s-type”? For those that don’t know I refer to anyone that identifies as a slave, submissive, bottom, pet, property, or babygirl/boy (etc) as an s-type.  It’s just an easier way to refer to this group without listing every specific identifier.

What does it mean to identify as an s-type?  Why would someone desire, or even crave, to yield their control or power to another human being?  This isn’t an easy question to answer, as there are many answers out there depending on who you ask.  Some reasons may include a desire to surrender control, power, or decision making, wanting someone else to provide structure or discipline, feeling a sense of safety and caretaking, and being of service to someone else.

The paths that get an individual to this place – this want for surrender – will also vary from person to person.  Not all paths or reasons are healthy.  Many are quite healthy.  There are complex layers that turn us toward certain partners in life, vanilla or kinky.  It may be that one didn’t receive the care and discipline he/she required as a child and therefore finds it in a D/s dynamic.  It could be simply that the rest of their life demands authority (high powered job, parenting, etc) and the ability to release that control with a trusted partner is like going to a spa after a long hard day.  These are only two possible examples of why someone may be drawn toward submission.  Not everyone understands this draw however.

 

“It’s 2015 – you don’t need to bow down to a man!”

“Seriously man – are you that pussy whipped?”

“Slave? How can you let him/her call you that?  You’re a grown adult!”

“You mean to tell me you do whatever he/she tells you to do?!  Hell no!”

“It sounds like you are just being used and taken advantage of.”

 

As an s-type we hear so many things from friends and loved ones who just don’t understand or who view our situation from a skewed perspective.  Female s-types get lip from the “feminists” about how many years were spent fighting for equality, only for us to throw it all away by stripping our power willingly.  However, we need to keep in mind that true feminists would argue that we should have equal freedoms to CHOOSE our behaviors and our lifestyle.  Therefore, choosing to consensually yield power, control, etc is, in fact, a huge leap from the days that it was NOT our choice.  Everything in our life comes down to the decisions we make.  Even in circumstances where we hold no power or control, we still choose how to respond. The movie ‘Life is Beautiful’ comes to mind.  (If you haven’t seen it you should!)  The point is, we all have the right to decide how we live our life.  If we choose to turn over power to someone we trust and respect then that choice should be honored.  Male s-types usually catch flack for different reasons.  They hear messages like submission isn’t manly.  They get called pussies or wimps.  Which is kind of hilarious when you think about the fact that many of them could take a much heavier beat down than their “domly” friends.  (Although they enjoy it, so maybe not a fair comparison. lol)  Again, how is it less manly to CHOOSE how they live their life?  To consent to behaviors, dynamics and protocols that make them happy and enrich their life and their relationships?

To every male or female s-type that finds comfort and satisfaction in their submission, how is it any different than the person who finds this in a bottle of beer, a favorite sport, or the traditional vanilla relationship dynamic?  Human beings seek safety, comfort, love, affection, and happiness.  It isn’t for anyone to judge how you do that so long as nobody is getting hurt (in a bad way!).  So take pride in your s-type identity!  Slave, submissive, pet, boy/girl, property, bottom, little.  Embrace who you are because it’s OK to be an s-type!

Large green fields. A huge bonfire. Adults and children playing, talking, eating, laughing. I say a few pleasantries to a few of the moms I know then focus on the needs of my children. Once they have had their fill of hot dogs, deviled eggs, and s’mores – they leave me to go play with their friends.

I sit off to the side, writing these words in my Hello Kitty notebook (which they probably assume I stole from my daughter). I wonder what the other parents are thinking of my behavior. Do they even notice me? Probably not. They’re busy reminiscing over the school year and discussing their family plans for the summer. It’s early evening so there are moms and dads here – whole family units. Every time I attend a school event I feel the same way.

Like an outsider.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One, I am in the minority of single parents. In fact I haven’t met any others in the 5 years we’ve lived here – even though I’m sure they exist. Maybe I haven’t met them because they avoid these things. In any case, that’s the less significant reason. The other is that I’m different. I doubt many of them would relate to my job, my friends, my lifestyle. There have been two other moms I became friends with and trusted enough to tell. As chances would have it they both moved away last year.

You may be wondering why I’m not as open with other school parents when I’m “out” to everyone else in my life – friends, colleagues and family. Well. No matter how kinky you are or how involved in the scene you are – you always have vanilla aspects to your life. For me, the biggest one is my kids. The last thing I want is for parents to worry about having my kids for play dates or (gasp!) sending their kids to me. They may talk, gossip, doubt, worry, etc. because they don’t understand that kink and my kids don’t mix. My children know nothing about the scene or my preferred relationship dynamics. However, ignorance and misunderstanding can often lead to fear. I don’t want my “being out” with other parents to effect them.

I’m not ashamed of who I am or how I live my life and I don’t hesitate to talk to people about my life. Yet there’s a line between it effecting me and handling it – and it effecting my kids in any negative way.

So here I sit, on the sidelines. Honestly, I’m ok with that. I have plenty of friends and acquaintances I can talk to. To everyone here I’m a single mom and psychotherapist. I’m proud of those parts of me too.

**UPDATE**

So after I wrote this and put my notebook away I decided to walk over to the food table and eat more grapes. One of the dads approached me and we started having a friendly conversation about this and that. At one point he asked me about what I do for a living. I initially gave him my stock “vanilla” answer and said I was a marriage and family therapist. I’m not sure what it was about him, but my gut told me it would be ok to at least put out the tidbit that “I also teach”. He, of course, followed up with asking me what I teach. I explained that it’s not something I usually bring up around the “school parent crowd”, however, he encouraged me.

After I told him I teach BDSM 101 classes it turned into a lively conversation – including many questions from him – and I felt no judgement. In fact, it turned out he had dated someone years before who was into the power exchange idea but he found it wasn’t for him. We continued to talk for some time and it was nice (although slightly nerve wracking) to discuss this side of my life in that setting. It was a good reminder that you never know what someone’s history holds or how open minded they may be!

**UPDATED UPDATE**

Fast forward a couple months later and I am at a birthday party for one of my son’s classmates. I end up sitting with another mom in the shade while all the kids were involved in an organized party game out in the field of the park we were at. The subject of work came up and I ended up “outing” myself to her as well. I suppose I’m on a roll! She was very cool about it, asked questions, etc. I explained that it’s not something I usually throw out there to other parents due to my concern over being judged as a parent, etc. She was very supportive and even friended me on Facebook.

Moral of the story – sometimes we make a mountain out of a mole hill. If either of these parents had made an issue of it then I would have to deal with that. But they didn’t! I will continue to operate as I have in terms of not making it something I put out there right away, however, if it comes up naturally I won’t be as afraid to let the information “out”. Pun intended.