The following was written by one of my prior students of Amour Partagé and it hit on such excellent points that I wanted to share it.
“It’s one thing to know that you like being spanked or tied up, but how do you know that you’re a submissive? How do you know that you want to live D/s as a lifestyle? How has your background shaped your perceptions of what D/s is, and your perception of yourself as a submissive?
Like many students new to AP, my previous experience was confined exclusively to playing with BDSM in the bedroom. I’d been interested in D/s as a lifestyle for the better part of a decade, but conversations with the partners I’d had gave me the impression that living it full-time would require giving up my self-respect and the respect of my partner. That didn’t sit right with my concept of myself, or for that matter with my concept of D/s; but without having the vocabulary and knowledge to communicate what it was about that thought that bothered me, and without knowing what other approaches were available, I set that part of me aside.
One of the first challenges I faced in AP training was to understand how my background in unhealthy approaches to D/s affected how I processed my current experience. It wasn’t enough to lie out my past experiences and say, none of this is what I think being a submissive really is. In order to make sure that I had a healthy and grounded approach to my training, I had to define submissiveness for myself. I had to determine why I’m a submissive, why I wanted to train in AP, and why I wanted to live as a submissive 24/7.
When did you first define yourself as a submissive? What feelings do you associate with being submissive? What actions? Why do you want to live submission as a lifestyle? Do you feel you would you lose anything by keeping D/s exclusive to the bedroom? What traits about yourself do you feel are submissive? That you feel are not submissive?
For me, I knew that completely apart from the kink aspects of a D/s relationship, certain actions made me feel more complete as a person and as a partner in a relationship: servitude, care, hospitality, deference, humility, feeding these characteristics met a need. And I had to acknowledge that in previous D/s relationships, these needs had not been met. For one reason or another I’d felt the need to hold back. The, trust, respect and open communication required for a healthy D/s relationship wasn’t 100% present. In order to fully submit to a Dominant, I needed to know that they also respected and trusted me both as a person and in the context of a D/s relationship; that they would listen to my thoughts, concerns and desires; that they would make every effort to learn how to read my head, my heart, and my body.
I also realized that I’d been holding myself back because of the subconscious belief that embracing my submissive self fully would turn me into a shrinking violet, unable to be assertive when I needed to be, restrained from voicing my beliefs and prevented from expressing the inner strength I’d worked years to cultivate. A number of life experiences came together to create those beliefs, but I had to acknowledge that it was completely within my power to choose a different approach. I was drawn to AP because the philosophy ran counter to those beliefs. I could submit fully to one person without submitting to the world as a whole, while still cultivating the positive aspects of my submissive self in the rest of my life. I could choose a holistic approach that allowed me to live as a submissive wholeheartedly.”