In 1992, Bruce Keith (and five or six of his colleagues) published was has become a staple of political science education: The Myth of the Independent Voter. What they found is that, while a lot of people say they are independent, they really aren't. They are partisan voters who are not actively part of the party apparatus. A secondary finding was that these "independents" tend to be very low-information voters (meaning they don't know much about what the election is about).
To talk about the myth of the “submissive man,” I think we have the observed relationship. Not many men openly identify this way, but there are (probably) a ton of them out there. They are low-information submissives who vote the party line, so to speak, but they don't know what the election is about. Interpreted: They follow their wife/girlfriend/whatever's lead, but they don’t walk around saying, “I’m submissive and sexy!” Heck, they probably aren't even aware of BDSM as a lifestyle (other than a quick jerk on a porn site), so they can't very well say they are something they aren't even aware exists.
At its heart, submission is simply allowing one’s partner to lead. It is being able to follow and accept directions/orders. There is no organization on earth that can function without nearly every single member agreeing to submit – there can only be one man or woman at the top of the hierarchy. In some groups, like the military, the hierarchy is formalized down to the last detail. In others, it is more informal. But every group is made up primarily of those who submit; who follow; who obey.
Submission is to put someone else’s desires before one’s own. It is saying, “I want to do this. But I know that doing this will make Her happy, so I will choose to do that.” Every relationship in the world enjoys this dynamic to some degree. To claim that it isn’t is to say that a relationship can have one party who says, in effect, “I don’t care what that other person wants. I’m going to do what I enjoy.”
What sets D/s lifestyles apart is the degree to which one person follows. Mistress Delila and I have decided that we will be happiest when I can be my authentic submissive self and follow Her direction as near to all the time as is possible. I find this incredibly fulfilling. Because we are both able to do this from a place of authenticity, we have found that the relationship we have built is bigger than the individual parts of it.
I feel that I have to assure everyone that this is not an abusive relationship. I can consistently push Her needs to the top of my agenda because I know that She will not let my needs go unmet entirely. I will receive what I need from Her, and She enjoys my happiness enough to make sure I find plenty of pleasure in serving Her. This is not, “I have no needs because I exist only to serve Her.” This is, “I choose to ignore my needs in favor of Hers, because I know I am safe and loved and I will not be made to do without.”
I know there are plenty of guys out there who let the woman in their life watch the checkbook and bank balance. There are plenty of guys who let the woman in their life dress them. There are plenty of guys out there who are more comfortable with the woman in their life initiating sex than doing it on their own. There are plenty of guys who let the woman in their life dictate their diet, their exercise regimen, and pretty nearly every other facet of their life. You probably live on the same block as one. Here’s a hint – they’re the happy one (okay – not always).
The problem is that these men don’t think of what they are doing as being “submissive” because our culture tells us that submission is wrong and what they are doing simply can’t be wrong because it keeps them in a happy relationship. Well, it’s time to change that paradigm. It’s time that the myth of the submissive man became the reality of the submissive man. Men should not feel like they have to choose between being “a real man” and living their authentic sexual identity. I don’t think all men are natural submissive or that women are naturally superior – quite the opposite. But I do think that the healthy and natural submissiveness of the less-fairer sex should be just as welcomed and appreciated as any other aspect of masculinity.
I’m not a myth, and if my submissiveness threatens some pinhead’s sense of masculinity; then they need to get over it. Because I’m not giving up my happily-ever-after.