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.
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.