I'm drawn to submission but it's also triggering. What can I do?

Thank you so much for reaching out and sharing your struggles. Being open and vulnerable about what is causing us anguish, along with our history of trauma, is no small feat, and the trust you gave in sharing this is something I do not take lightly. Your letter offered a number of really important pieces of information that I would like to give additional insights to but know that this is just one opinion and not a substitute for therapy or other ongoing professional support.

I appreciate how you have identified your desires - you like submission but are struggling with moving from enjoying it in theory to being able to have a positive experience in real life. Knowing what we desire and being able to communicate that is such a big thing that many people never fully achieve so give yourself lots of credit for that major step.

It is important to note that it is extremely common to like things in theory but not in application. Some of the most commonly reported sexual fantasies are also things that folks report they would never want to do in real life. This doesn’t mean they don’t desire them or that they aren’t truly kinky but that for a myriad of reasons keeping those fantasies in the mental versus physical realm is ideal. If you only ever engage in the cerebral, you have many options for enjoyment. Writing fantasies, listening to audio stories, and even making art about your desires can all fulfill that hunger.

If you really do want to take your fantasies into the physical, I would connect with a sex therapist who is certified by the American Associate of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. They can help you process your past experiences with trauma and find sexual experiences that feel good mentally and physically. I would also check out the book "The Survivor’s Guide to Sex" by Staci Haines. It has some wonderful somatic exercises you can explore to be more present in your body and identify where your body is storing trauma.

Lastly, I would encourage you to look into aspects of submission that do not include physical discomfort or humiliation. Submission can come in many forms, and sensual submission is a great avenue for those who desire to experience surrender without the other discussed components. Submitting to a Dom/Domme who selects your clothes for the day, decides when you can masturbate, or demands that you eat your veggies and go to therapy are all wonderful aspects of sensual submission. While some people might see this as a lesser form of being a sub, I see it as just as valid. In fact, it can be even more challenging as it asks us to really work through power dynamics and incorporate our kinks into aspects of our well-being. Remember to continually check in with any dominant you work with and address if you feel hesitation for anything proposed. Consent is always the bedrock of any relationship, and our kinky ancestors made sure we prioritized that in D/s dynamics.

I hope that these suggestions guide you on your steps to feeling fully satisfied as a sexual being. The journey may not be fast or always easy, but it is worth it.

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