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  1. #1
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    Default Alt. Relationships-The Dom/Sub

    The other night, one of my friends confided that she was having difficulty with her current relationship because she was used to more alternative relationships. I asked what she meant by alternative relationships, and she said, dominant/submissive. Her boyfriend, an ISTP, is apparently too passive and very non-dominant. She's an ENFP and prefers to be the submissive. She said it makes her happier to be told what to do and either be rewarded or punished for her actions. She was striving for nonsexual examples and told me, "Such as cleaning my apartment. I'd rather be told to clean my apartment, and depending on whether or not I did a good job, be rewarded or punished." She said she just doesn't feel as satisfied doing even tasks like cleaning unless being told and having some sort of external appraisal or other.

    She also enlightened me that the dominant/submissive relationship isn't always a sexual one.

    I asked if she had talked with her boyfriend on the matter. She said she had, and that he had been making attempts to be more dominant... but that he doesn't know what he's doing and that he really needs to talk to someone that is a dominant to understand it better.

    I found this really interesting. My only real thoughts on dominant/submissive were masochist and sadist, and sexual, and etc. Apparently, I was completely ignorant.

    I suppose I'm curious about the topic a bit more... say the mindset and why the need to be appraised or punished is there... and why the need to be told what to do? (If you're the submissive that is.)

    What's the mindset of the dominant? What do they get out of it?

    And also, is this more prolific amongst NF types?
    I ask, as while this topic progressed, I noticed somewhat of the dom/sub trend amongst NF friends I knew, though never directly stated as such. Plus, I have a close INFJ friend who actually is very very into the masochist/sadist sexual thing. However, my ENFP female friend informed me that the INFJ friend is a switcher... switches off between the dom. and the sub. This shows in his personality, which I had always described as sort of split. He's bisexual, and tends to either come off very masculine (and talks about guns, video games, etc.) or very feminine (and talks about makeup, shoes, other boys, etc.), depending on the day or the company.
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  2. #2
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Outside of the bedroom, this has no place for me. In the bedroom, it's mere roleplaying.. it ends the moment sex does. (Theoretically.) I can't speak for other NF types, but I am pretty much the opposite of this girl. I neither desire to be told what to do, or to tell others what to do.. but I prefer the latter over the former. In any case.. dominance can be exerted in many ways besides the shallow examples mentioned.. if it were as simple as him ordering her around, I'm sure he'll get used to that after a while, but I'm thinking (based only on the text provided) that he finds the idea of treating her as less than on par to him as a bit degenerative.. and may be repulsed by it.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member guesswho's Avatar
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    Well that's kinky, of course she won't admit it's a sexual thing...but of course it is a sexual thing....I wouldn't be surprised if one of her parents had that attitude towards her, and she needs that for attraction, to relive that thing...

    And even the submission example she gave you "cleaning her apartment", may not be random at all, it may be what her parents told her to do once.

  4. #4
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    Outside of the bedroom, this has no place for me. In the bedroom, it's mere roleplaying.. it ends the moment sex does. (Theoretically.) I can't speak for other NF types, but I am pretty much the opposite of this girl. I neither desire to be told what to do, or to tell others what to do.. but I prefer the latter over the former. In any case.. dominance can be exerted in many ways besides the shallow examples mentioned.. if it were as simple as him ordering her around, I'm sure he'll get used to that after a while, but I'm thinking (based only on the text provided) that he finds the idea of treating her as less than on par to him as a bit degenerative.. and may be repulsed by it.
    He was actually supportive in that he was trying to understand it, according to her.

    A couple of my other friends involved in the conversation seemed supportive as well, and agreed that it is often misunderstood as being only a sexual thing. Which is the reason I felt ignorant, I supposed.

    To guesswho--I asked if this was comparable to parent/child relationship and she said yes. However, she said it's nothing like master/slave.
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    I only know flawed people who are still worth loving."
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  5. #5
    Senior Member guesswho's Avatar
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    Nope not master slave....just the little things.

  6. #6
    Senior Member FakePlasticAlice's Avatar
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    Hmm..i'm finding it hard not to take this in a sexual meaning...i don't think dominant/submissive is the most effective way to describe what it is that she wants. What i'm gathering is that she want a "man of the house" type relationship? Am i correct in assuming this? Does she have "daddy issues" by any chance? (no offense intended)

    In non-sexual terms i don't really understand the punishing and rewarding aspect.

    I am similar to your INFJ friend. I'm very into the dominant/submissive sexual play (as a preference, but not a necessity). I prefer a submissive role, sexually, but i will take on the dominant one as well. As for my interactions with people in everyday life, i vary from submissive to dominant depending on the situation. I can be very take charge and "tough" (as a friend once told me). However, i can also be the mousy one in the corner that doesn't make a peep.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    I've never heard her elaborate about her family. I've heard her talk about her ex husband and past relationships, and they've all fit that protocol. I know one of her ex's had the tendency to push her around a lot, and treated her sort of badly. However, she seems a bit devastated about the ending of it.

    I suppose in the way you speak of dom/sub, I can be the same way... and I believe many can relate... but it's not a preference. I prefer to be with people I feel mutually equal and comfortable. This extends to relationships as well.
    "I don't know a perfect person.
    I only know flawed people who are still worth loving."
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  8. #8
    Klingon Warrior Princess Patches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyAnnaJoan View Post
    She also enlightened me that the dominant/submissive relationship isn't always a sexual one.
    Generally this is referred to as a "TPE" or "Total Power Exchange" relationship. It denotes that it's a 24/7 thing, and not just a bedroom thing. Control over all aspects of the submissive's life.

    I'm a submissive, and my Dominant of 6 years is an ENTJ. We've always practiced D/s as a 24/7 thing, with him having the final say/control over all aspects of my life. In a lifestyle relationship, when a Dominant is very serious about ownership of a submissive, he/she is said to be "collared". Most people in the scene consider collaring a slave/submissive to be the lifestyle equivalent of putting an engagement ring on his/her finger.

    I suppose I'm curious about the topic a bit more... say the mindset and why the need to be appraised or punished is there... and why the need to be told what to do?
    Theres a lot to it.

    One of the important things to note is, for most submissives.... This is just how we are. I can't change it anymore than I can change the color of my eyes. It's a natural role we fall into. The problem with a general question like this is... Everyone's reasons are different. Everyone gets satisfaction out of different things. I'm a service-oriented submissive. I get satisfaction out of making him happy. I like making him aware that he is the most important person in the world to me. I get satisfaction about being able to express how loyal I am to him. And I like the level of trust that is required in a D/s relationship. I feel pride when I obey him and make him happy. There is also a level of comfort/security to it.

    Honestly, it's a lot of the same things that you can use to describe what people get out of a 'vanilla' relationship: Trust, comfort, loyalty, security. It's just expressed in a different way.
    “Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside
    them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.” -Neil Gaiman

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  9. #9
    Senior Member IndyGhost's Avatar
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    I can sort of understand that with the ISTJ, as they are the "doers" or "followers" or whatever you want to call them.

    However, when my friend spoke on the topic, she said it wasn't owner/pet relationship, as this demeans the person to less than a person, but an object. So at that moment I automatically thought of these collared wearing people I'd seen at DragonCon. (Nerd convention).

    But yes, this sounds exactly like the TPE relationship you described. She had considered finding satisfaction in the dom/sub realm outside of her boyfriend that would remain completely non-sexual. But I do wonder if she was just holding back some of her real thoughts.
    "I don't know a perfect person.
    I only know flawed people who are still worth loving."
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  10. #10
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    The dom/sub thing fascinates me because I see it everywhere. Some personal observations:
    • Men and women, men and men, and women and women are almost always in a dom/sub relationship. It may not be so obvious if you're used to thinking of dominant as super-dominant and authoritarian and submissive as someone acting like a little child (like your friend), but it's pretty obvious when you look for subtle factors like who controls the topic, who interrupts/dismisses whom, body language and (eye) gaze aversion, and the exchange rate of compliments/negs. Sometimes relationships flip and sometimes partners are equal, but I see dom/sub dynamics everywhere. They're a byproduct of aggression/fear, which is also everywhere.
    • Dom/sub in sex is interesting because of the way people exaggerate the their roles and polarize from one another. I can't really tell if it's genuine or not. If it isn't, it's just people playing roles. If it's genuine, I suppose it makes sense if you accept the premise that women enjoy being with dominant males (not a crazy claim if you look at the rest of the animal kingdom) and men enjoy the sex that comes with that affiliation. The sexual dom/sub relationship could be seen as indulging in that impulse.
    • Your friend's relationship is doomed if she's trying to urge her man to be dominant. It's like a chinese finger trap. If he obeys her, he's being submissive.
    • Dominance is a function of power, and power is a function of one's ability to control another's pain and pleasure. On a crude level, dominant is achieved through size, anger, and willingness to fight (physical harm), but with the complexity of relationships and language, power is a function of money, friends, intelligence, access to lawyers and politicians and cronies, and the willingness to use it all to reward or punish.
    • Finally, dominance and submission is subjective, not objective. It's dependent on the way a person assesses how much control the other has over their pain and pleasure. If I perceive you as having little control, even if you have lots of control, I'll act dominant towards you. The same goes for you. So, you can actually end up with dom/dom relationships and sub/sub relationships (each perceiving the other as a threat). Your friend is in a sub/sub relationship. Dom/dom relationships usually end in conflict and fighting until someone submits. I talked about this idea with a zoo curator I was studying with and she dug it. It makes sense when you look at dominance hierarchies since they're rarely linear.

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