therapy things

My therapist, Jillian, has long advised me to keep my sessions with her private and to refrain from writing my counseling experiences on my blog. Even though much of my blog is confessional and explicit, I have followed her advice, and I do not post the specific threads of my therapy with her. The following is simply a top-level reference to a few things from our sessions, and I have permission from her to mention them this one time…

Jillian is lifestyle-friendly — in fact, participates in the lifestyle herself. She sees the lifestyle as necessary and healthy, and her work is generally not remedial but maintenance — not about “fixing trauma” but rather about keeping one balanced.

Jillian can address trauma if it’s there, but she doesn’t believe, as some do, that submissiveness must be caused by something dark and devastating earlier in life. Recently she pointed me to a research article that summarized a study showing submission and dominance are not necessarily linked to trauma but seem to be intrinsic orientations in people.

For those of us who are submissive or dominant in the lifestyle, this is sort of “yeah, duh,” but it’s nice that research seems to support what we intuitively know.

The one thing in my childhood that became a level of significance in adulthood is my relationship with my father, who passed away many years ago. I won’t go into it. but I’ll just mention that my relationship with him was complex and difficult and has an influence over me today. Yet it was not abusive nor ever rose to a level of trauma.

Jillian makes the point that my relationship with my father continues with me even though he died so long ago. So, it’s important for me to find reconciliation with him even now. This has been part of my therapy work, and I won’t go into the details of that, but I’ll just say this: My father was never the cause of anything I am today. I am what I am apart from him. It’s important that I don’t believe I am broken in what I am. I need to celebrate my being a sexual submissive. Although my father has influenced me, obviously, he is not the explanation of me.

Likewise, it’s important I don’t ascribe some sort of blame to him for my nature. I can’t have it both ways: I can’t celebrate what I am at the same time as blaming him for what I am. And that’s what I had been doing for a while…

There’s a phrase Jillian has been using of me that I find of interest: sexual submissive. I think it fits me pretty well.

The term recognizes that there are many whose submissiveness does not have a sexual component — and then some, like me, for whom it does. There are service submissives and sexual submissives, and maybe others too. The terms denote the primary aspect of a person’s submissive nature.

While I feel my submissiveness is sometimes nurtured by simple obedience and service, I am more deeply fulfilled when I am dominated sexually. The term rings true.

It’s important to recognize this is not necessarily always about acts of sex but often about sexuality more generally. I have long thought that my submissiveness was part of my sexual orientation, and this term “sexual submissive” points to that possibility. As a submissive, I am fulfilled by “being treated sexually” — objectified and sexualized — as much as being used for actual sex.

One takeaway:

Much as I am fully given to being a sexual submissive, I also resist it on some level. I know that’s because of my moralistic upbringing, which still echoes in me from time to time.

My nature is to be submissive and sexually poly, as I am dominated to be. Yet a part of my mind judges me for that.

That moralistic upbringing is embodied by the memory of my father.

So you see why this is complex.

11 thoughts on “therapy things

  1. This is very interesting Shae, thank you for sharing. The study closely reflects my own perspective and experiences on kinky identities, though I can’t decide whether I fit more within the majority who are simply wired this way, or the 9% who introduced it to games, given I was always initiating cops and robbers in my youth. I have written my own piece on the topic here, if you’re interested:

    I also hadn’t considered different types of submission before, though when I look at it, it does makes sense. Personally, I think I’m a service/sexual submissive, but I don’t accept control in things like what I wear, what I eat and, for the most part, how I behave. I try to be visually pleasing and ladylike anyway, but that is within the confines of what is expected of me, rather than what orders have been imposed on me by my husband.

    I’ve got plans in the next week or two to get something done for International Fetish Day, which falls on 19th January this year. I’ve been meaning to “come out” for some years, unfortunately each time, my pans have just evaded me. I’m hoping that this year, some forward planning can change that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thank you, Helen, for the link to your post. beautifully said, vulnerable and reflective… I think your journey reflects the reality that many of us have desires and feelings of a certain kind that don’t seem to be in “normal” public discourse. And your point is well taken, that LGBTQ interests have been more mainstreamed and accepted than D/s and BDSM interests. Although that is changing these days…

      I was taken by your response to a comment on that same blog post. You said: “What I mean by that is that I don’t believe sexuality is just one thing, that you can be bi or straight and not kinky or whatever, you can be anything of all of the groups, and only you get to decide how that looks.” You talked about sexuality bubbles being like clusters of orientations. I really think that’s true. I’ve often thought of my submissiveness as a kind of sexual orientation. I identify as bi, and yet I’m really “submissive/bi” in my sexual attractions. well said…

      I cannot imagine what you went through with your parents being questioned about their BDSM interests and not being fit to raise kids. Yet I can, kind of: I am always amazed at how many movies and TV shows use BDSM practices and interests as a back story for serial killers and villains and really bad people, always depicted in dark shadowy places. Would be nice if we saw depictions of the deeper intimacy that being sub and dom in a relationship can bring, akin to what you and your husband have

      Anyway, as always, my best to you, helen, especially in coming out on the 19th!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Shae, I’ve been meaning to reply to you all week. Unfortunately with my recent break-up from my other partner, my head hasn’t been in the right place.

        You are definitely right about the changes. I see more and more people wearing collars as a fashion accessory these days, so much so that to wear one for any other purpose wouldn’t seem strange. I don’t personally wear a collar, but that’s only because I don’t like anything tight-fitting around my throat, rather than what other people might think.

        Thank you, I definitely think it’s possible, I think if I was to define me truly, I’m probably bisexual switch (I tend to be more submissive with men, but more Dominant and with other women) agender (I was a tomboy from as young as I can remember) sapiosexual demisexual, but then where does the list end? That’s the problem. Labels to define ourselves can ne great, but where do we stop and say “I’m just me”?

        You’re absolutely right, it would. I know that I was emotionally (and perhaps physically) abused as a child, and yet I can also say with my hand on my heart that I can recall times from my childhood that were like the feeling that I get in a scene now, and they were not like them. The feeling that I get is more like when I used to play Power Rangers or cops and robbers. It’s play when you think about it, and we’re free to stop it at any time we want to. Unlike back then though, there’s no bell for when lunch hour is over and to be honest, we just don’t want to end our play time!

        Thank you for your wishes, Shae. I’m still no closer to getting something written and the pressure is on now. I need to get my something purple for the day, too!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As a therapist myself, I find it curious that you received permission to be able to post about this particular thread of ideas. Even when seeing a kink-friendly or lifestyle therapist, this is a bit unusual. In any case, I loved your self-reflection here, shae. It seems that you are resolving this issue surrounding your relationship with your father. I liked what you had to say about our relationships with the people in our lives continuing, even after they are gone. Our memories are fluid, changing with us over the years as we experience growth and change in circumstance. I really admire how self-reflective you are here ❤

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    1. nora, thanks… yeah, I probably said more than Jillian would have wished me to, I’ll hear about it in my next session. 😓 I just felt that I so often avoid mentioning my father on my blog and, without going into the deeper stuff, I just needed to mention that he’s a part of my journey… Re “relationships continuing after people are gone” is Jillian’s concept and has meant a lot to me… thanks, nora, for your words of encouragement, as always. we all work through stuff…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. shae…my concern isn’t that you are sharing your journey (in this case, about your father) with your readers…it is that your therapist has any say in that whatsoever. I apologize if I am stepping on toes here, but she shouldn’t be monitoring your blog. You shouldn’t feel the need to run anything past her regarding what you choose to write about. Anyhow, again… I am sorry if I am stepping on toes. Just my two cents. Now, if Amanda should choose to censor what you write (as your Domme) that’s a whole other matter. But a therapist should definitely not be telling you what to do.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. nora, you’re not stepping on toes at all… I welcome your concern… I have left the wrong impression, I’m afraid. Jillian does not read or monitor my blog. I sometimes tell her about what I write, and in some cases print out a particular post. I do this because sometimes I happen to express something on my blog rather well, and I want to capture my specific words. J doesn’t ask for this, I volunteer it… I once came to her (a couple years ago) suggesting (foolishly) that I somehow capture my sessions with her and use them for blog posts. She said pretty emphatically that I shouldn’t do that. She said my times talking with her needed to be private, that I should have spaces that the world doesn’t have to know about… As to the mention of my father, I told her I kind of wanted to do that, and she simply cautioned me against going into our counseling conversations. So, I sort of thought I might share the printout of that post with her next time… So that’s the fuller picture… No, she’s not telling me what I should do or write…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This makes much more sense to me! Thank you for clarifying, shae. I now have a much clearer idea of what is happening here. I really appreciate you explaining that further. It sounded like your therapist was really operating out of bounds. I am glad to know that this is not the case. Sorry to be so nosy 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have enjoyed this post and am glad Jillian offered it. My own explorations have had the help of several therapists, and I am sure I would not have been able to process as much without their assistance.

    The bit that struck me most was the elegant distinction you made between sexual submission as an act as opposed to a way of being.

    Recent studies are positing that kinky is a sexual orientation just as being gay/bi/straight is. That certainly fits for me.

    I would fall into the service submissive box more than any other. But I find acts of service intensely arousing and erotic.

    And I absolutely agree that submission or dominance is not born of trauma—it can be, but that hasn’t been what I’ve seen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your thoughts on this (I always value your ideas)… I’m especially interested in those “recent studies” — as I’ve long felt, based on my own personal journey that my submissiveness was part of my sexual orientation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Shae…there is actually quite a bit on the topic…and as a massive consumer of therapists, I am getting the skinny on the sexuality world from the professional community too…

        This article in Slate magazine is a good overview.

        This article in Psychology Today is also a good one:

        This is a pretty good Reddit thread on the same topic, though not as scholarly…

        And I reflected on this topic and the points raised in these articles on my own blog here:

        Let me know what you think. I would have to say that this really resonates with me, and explains an awful lot…including my fear of being dominated by men, because I know how easily I will respond…

        Liked by 1 person

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