Joy likes to feel used by me. She likes to feel as though she has no option but to do as I instruct her regardless of her own preferences. She likes to feel as though her purpose for existence is to give herself to me and let me make use of her as I choose. She likes, in a sense, to feel diminished. It excites her to feel this way, and when I take my pleasure in her without consideration of her own pleasure, it satisfies her in a way that even an orgasm cannot. I believe that this desire to feel small and overpowered and less lies at the root of her submission. I also believe that she is not alone in this—other submissives have this same desire. Perhaps this is why a measure of humiliation can be profoundly arousing to many subs.
On the other hand, Joy wants to feel cherished, to feel valued, to feel protected. She wants to feel as though she is the most dear jewel in the collection, the prize I hold above all others, the good girl that makes me happier than anything else could. Feeling this way buoys her self-worth and sense of attractiveness. The sense of being prized helps her to feel secure. Of course, this desire to be valued exists within all people everywhere—who doesn’t like to feel cherished? It’s a human need, I believe. However, I call it out because I want to be clear that it exists within Joy just as it exists within everyone else.
So, on the one hand, she desires to feel devalued, while on the other, she desires to feel treasured. Obviously these two goals are in rather violent contradiction! In this particular case, however, they don’t seem to conflict directly, as they appear to be separated in time. In other words, Joy feels both these desires, but as near as I can tell, she doesn’t feel them at the same time.
Generally the first desire, the desire to feel used and devalued, exists in a state of sexual arousal. It’s hard to say, really, whether it is a consequence of Joy’s becoming aroused, or whether it fuels her arousal itself. Regardless, this state seems to be most common when she wants sex and/or is in the midst of a sexual activity. It does not always manifest when she’s turned on, but it does so frequently, and often quite powerfully. Any form of submission has within it at least a hint of diminishment. And though it must be handled with care, because it’s easy with Joy to go too far in this direction, a bit of more explicit humiliation can prove quite helpful in ratcheting up the excitement level during an adventure.
The second desire, however–the desire to be cherished–manifests far more frequently. In one sense it is present at all times, whether Joy and I are together or she is alone. That’s no surprise—again, I think everyone wants to feel special. However, there are sometimes in particular when Joy needs to feel this way. Often this is true immediately post-sex, when she wants to be held and cuddled. It is generally especially true after a dose of the humiliation mentioned above. In that case, Joy must feel that her self-sacrifice is appropriately appreciated, and that I recognize what she has done in submission.
You would think that recognizing this would be easy, but instead it is quite difficult. When Joy is done with her need to feel diminished, she is done with it. Anything that brings up what she has done or calls it to mind triggers a sense of shame and self-disgust. At these times, even phrases like “good girl”, normally well-received, often prove to be depth charges to her self esteem, exploding far below the surface and doing unrevealed damage that may come floating up later. So it’s impossible for me to say, “I liked very much that you did such-and-such,” when such-and-such brings shame to mind. The only solution that I’ve found to try to satisfy her need to feel appreciated so far is to hold her close and tell her I love her. That is always a good thing, but it’s not as effective as I’d like.
I bring all this up because this seems to underlay some of the problems that Joy and I have been working our way through. I believe I have done an insufficient job of feeding her need to feel cherished for the sexual submission she offers. This is an extremely touchy subject for the two of us to talk about, due to Joy’s sense of shame and the temper it triggers. In fact, Joy will vigorously deny that she has any desire to be humiliated in the slightest! However, I have plainly seen the evidence in her body’s response and her own reaction during times of sexual arousal, and I know that the desire exists. And in reading between the lines, I believe that at least one root cause for our rocky last few weeks has been Joy’s perception that the reward for her deeper submission has been lacking.
The best thought I have for how to address this, given the constraints that I face, is to save the praise for when it will be best received. When Joy is aroused, her desire for feeling diminished increases, and it overpowers both her desire to feel cherished and her sense of pride. One time she might be receptive to hearing praise for her submissive actions would be at the beginning of the next adventure. However, that’s not ideal—the best time to give praise is in close proximity to the action that triggered it. Therefore, perhaps my best approach going forward is to give immediate praise, right after Joy does something she might later feel is demeaning. While she is still mid-adventure and fully aroused, she should be much more open to hearing these words of affirmation.
I will think more on this—I must take care not to ruin the flow of the adventure by stopping for hugs and “good girls” mid-stream. But perhaps there’s some promise in this approach. It’s an idea to play with, anyway.