I'm labeling this as volume one because I'm sure that, as I think more about this, I'll have more to say, things to add or things I've changed my mind on. But this is what I have for now.
First of all, let me say that I currently consider myself a switch, and a novice as both a Domme and a submissive, in the realm of BDSM. I have a decent, and growing, amount of theoretical knowledge and I'm cautiously attempting to get real life experience, though, as I'm not involved in any BDSM communities, real world or online, I'm not always sure I'm doing it right.
I've always been interested in BDSM. I think it kinda started when I was a kid, sneaking peeks at the USA cable network show Silk Stalkings, when no one was in the room. I can't really separate when I started being curious about sex from when I started being curious about homosexuality and when I started being curious about BDSM. My earliest sex games as a kid included kidnapping and force scenarios.
Like most things in my life, because I was taught from an early age to be independent, self-reliant, and assertive, I ended up on the dominant end of things. Another part of probably has to do with the fact that a a female being dominant over a male is somewhat fetishized in mainstream vanilla culture, thus making it a more acceptable fantasy for a hetrosexual couple to explore without feeling like perverts. Or it could just have been that I was with someone who was lazy and, when I wanted to explore other sexual things, he was more than happy to just get tied up and have me do things to him.
Then again, I guess that was better than my next partner, who made me feel like a pervert for what I wanted. By that time, I knew that I wanted to explore being sexually submissive and masochistic. I was finally connecting the fantasies that I'd always gotten off to, in which I was sexually submissive and/or masochistic, to actual sexual acts that I wanted to pursue and explore. But expressing that to my partner didn't go over very well. For various reasons, he equated a person wanting to be submissive and/or masochistic with someone just wanting to be hurt, randomly, without controls or purpose, by someone who must just be a mean, brutal, hateful person. It wasn't until that relationship ended and I stumbled upon a situation in which a friend of mine, who turned out to be sexually submissive as well, and I took turns being submissive, so that we would be able to explore anything at all, that I figured out that isn't what the actual experience of BDSM is at all. Or at least this isn't how it should be. I found that, when I took my turn being the dominant partner, I actually cared more for my friend, desired to protect and shield him more than I had before. But more on that later.
So, by the time I had these experiences with my friend, which started around January 2007, I firmly identified as a submissive and a masochist. What that meant to me was that I obtained sexual (and emotional) fulfillment from serving another, from being in bondage, from pain. I had ideas about things that I would like to try, but had very little experience. Thus, doing almost anything was pushing my limits, but I enjoyed this. As for why I enjoyed this, I have a couple hypothesis, but I'm not sure if any of them are right. I think a large part of it is that, in my daily life, I am, and am expected to be, assertive and in control, so I enjoy giving up that control to someone else. Obviously though, I only give up control to people I trust and in situations that I trust. So it's a controlled lack of control, like a horror movie or a rollercoaster. As someone who has been in sexual situations where what happened truly was out of my control and knowing the trauma of that, I definately draw a distinction between the two experiences, but, as I've heard Dr. Drew say on Loveline, there can be something pleasurable drawn from re-experiencing at least a part of that trauma in a situation that is in one's control. Whatever the reason, it felt natural to be sexually submissive and masochistic and I spent time exploring that in various ways, including educating myself as well as attempting to get real life experience.
Being Dominant, however, did not come naturally to me. But I have come around to it. My early forays into dominance were just vanilla play, nothing more. While I was being submissive and attempting to explore that, I came across a great many men who were submissive and/or wanted to be submissive. As I developed a friendship last fall with a male submissive, who had even less experience than I did and was a bit younger than me, I wanted him to both experience being submissive, as I had had the pleasure of doing recently, and to be protected from himself, to have an outlet for his submissive desires that I could trust. So I started to dominate him. At first, it was just play, as it still is to a certain extent, but I began to get a taste for it. I enjoyed the sense of control I had, the work and imagination that it took to be dominant, the pleasure that he got from completing a task or just from his continued submission. But it was still work and, despite my enjoyment, I still saw it as doing a favor for him, rather than a partnership. Also, this particular relationship occurred long-distance, through instant messenger and cell phone text messages. As of this day, I still have not had the pleasure of meeting this person, psuedonym Chimera, face to face, or of "playing" with this person face to face.
But soon, things would reach a new and different level. I started a very serious relationship with someone, only to find out, after I was too far in to easily extract myself, that he also felt himself to be more naturally submissive, though, also like me, had ended up being the dominant partner, especially sexually, in all previous relationships. But because of how I felt about this person, known on my blog as Boy Toy (BT for short), I opened myself up to attempting to be dominant to him. Because of what he wanted and his personality, his submission tended to be of the 24/7 variety. Unlike my reasons for wanting to be submissive, most of his reason for being submissive were rooted in a desire to please another person, to be of use to someone else in a way that would show his reverance for them. While we had limited sexual experiences in which he got to be submissive, all our time together, especially at the end, was rooted in him serving me, catering to my desires. I tried never to take this lightly and to always show my appreciation for what he was doing. Especially when we were with other people, I attempted to both show my gratitude for what he did, while also not letting it be known that it was anything other than just him being a very chivalrous and caring partner. I hope that I was sucessful in these efforts, but I suppose you would have to ask others. By the end of our time together, though, we were also getting to a place where I did not have to tell BT what to do, where he anticipated my needs and desires and fulfilled them, where he found ways to serve me that I hadn't asked for but that did please me.
But, in the spirit of "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone", I didn't realize how much I enjoyed the service and submission rendered by BT or Chimera until I was not getting them. While I still have an ongoing relationship with Chimera, my time and energy are currently more limited and I am not able to have the same level of interaction with him that I had previously. As for BT, the situation has changed and his submission now lays with another. Even if that weren't the case, however, he would not physically be serving me, which is something that I do sorely miss. But it is my realization that I miss this that leads me to identify as switch. While submission comes naturally to me and I still feel like I would like to be submissive in my primary relationship, I also know that I enjoy the power and responsibility that come with being a Dominant, though in both cases I tend to cater to what my partner likes. I do not dominate Chimera in the same ways that I dominated BT because they have different desires and needs, but the same can be said for how I am submissive. I know that this flexibility is not the case for everyone. Many people, whether Dominant or submissive, have very specific things that they must have, so it's usually best for kinksters to find someone specifically compatible to them, or at least someone who's repetoire includes their kink.
What I've found most interesting in my explorations in BDSM is how different people come to their roles, what they see those roles as, and what they get out of those roles, though I don't think that it even occured to me that there was a difference until I had very satisfying but wholly different experiences with two different male Doms. The one Dom obtained his pleasure from allowing himself to let go. He had a very animalistic, feral side of himself that he rarely let out, but that the very carnal, instictual act of sex easily brought out it him. When he did inflict pain on me, it was incidental to the rough, feral nature of our sexual experiences. The other Dom was much more about exerting control, making elaborate plans and executing them, pushing the limits of the other person, and didn't mind using tools, having something between him and his "victim". While the first Dom enjoyed the sense of release that being Dominant gave him, the latter Dom enjoyed the sense of control.
[meant to come back to this but never did. will publish as is anyway]