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Posted June 11, Reviewed by Lybi Ma. This series of posts on human sexual desire has uncovered many intriguing ironies and paradoxes. But perhaps the most fascinating and beguiling among them are the apparent contradictions that exist in the realm of sexual roles: namely dominant, submissive, or both. The best place to start this discussion is by pointing out that all of us, along with several other mammal species, appear to possess subcortical circuits for sexual dominance as well as submission.
One example that we can probably relate to pertains to female dogs, who sometimes mount other females or legs of humans. And even though most individuals prefer a single sexual stance, still each role seems to offer its own gratifications.
Feeling out of control is intimately related to anxiety. What is it about being submissive that can make it thrilling as opposed to threatening? What needs to be stressed is that because such a one-down sexual role is more or less selected, there can be a certain measure of control embedded in the subordinate role. But even without such supplementation, many women prefer taking on the typical male role of seducer. Yet the practice is actually more cooperative and mutually gratifying than the term might imply.
So the sub need never fear being irretrievably forced outside his comfort zone. It takes training and experience to become a good dom—usually by serving as a sub for an established dom. In non -BDSM, specifically gay porn, the case that could be made for the sub or bottomhaving more control in the relationship seems, if anything, even more persuasive. In earlier posts here and hereI discussed the fact that women generally prefer taking the submissive role in relationships. This is why they typically choose alpha males, who by definition are perpetually dominant. Yet even here ambiguities and paradoxes abound, interpersonal roles can subtly get reversed.
Obviously, however much an alpha he may be, his obsessive desire for her ends up putting her in control of the relationship. In fact, her passivity, reserve, and submissiveness can be seen as revealing a certain sexual cunning. How can these classically feminine qualities not be seen as ultimately giving her an advantage—a means of finally gaining the relational upper hand? And this pretty much characterizes the sum and substance of romance fiction. It also brings in the gloriously romantic element that earlier had been missing from the story, when the hero could only perceive the heroine as a sex object.
Or, it might more accurately be claimed, each of them now has control but in different ways. Her Magic Hoo Hoo has, after all, both tamed and conquered him; at last, he may become the strong, steady, safe and protective mate of the heroine's dreams.
Seltzer, Ph. Ogas, O. A billion wicked thoughts: What the world's largest experiment reveals about human desire. Wendell, Sarah, and Candy Tan. Leon F. He holds doctorates in English and Psychology. His posts have received over 46 million views. Worry is driven by mood, not logic. Anxiety holds your deepest yearnings.
And you can subdue it for good. Three experts turn everything you know about anxiety inside out. Seltzer Ph. Evolution of the Self. Dominant or Submissive? Paradox of Power in Sexual Relations In sex, which role—active or passive—would you think offers more control? Key points All humans appear to possess subcortical circuits for sexual dominance as well as submission.
Many alpha males in socially dominant positions experience relief in identifying with a submissive role. References Ogas, O. About the Author. Read Next.
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