Monday, 22 June 2009

age and experience

I sometimes wonder when I see female subs advertising themselves on contact sites who are still only eighteen or nineteen yet describe "several years" of "experience" on the "scene". Perhaps it is because I was much, much older before I felt mature enough and experienced enough to dip my toes so very tentatively into this area of life.

Can one know one is a sub at that age? Perhaps as with gender assignment or hetero/gay/bi sexuality some do know their true nature at that age ... but there is something about it that worries me a little. These are such complex areas of emotions and relationships where many very mature subs and Doms still struggle to understand their own feelings and nature. Perhaps it is a gift to be so very clear at such a young age.

Perhaps I am being overprotective of young women who truly know their own mind and nature.

But look at it the other way round. Would you be happy to submit to an eighteen year old Dom?

I suggest perhaps not ... but does not a sub also need experience and maturity as much as a Dom?


David said...

I certainly don't have any answers, but perhaps a couple of thoughts.

Maybe the reason us very mature subs and Doms struggle is because we discovered our nature well into our lives, when we thought we had been otherwise?

Age is not maturity, but certainly there is value in "time in grade" and becoming comfortable in your own skin. Some reach this realization early on.

There is a qualitative difference between taking control of another at 18, and giving over control at 18.

Most certainly young people should be as protected as possible, no argument there.

Anonymous said...

i knew i was a submissive as a teenager but, i didnt know exactly what that all meant. i started reading about it and learning. i did experiment lightly with D/s when i was 18 or 19 and i always had very Dominant boyfriends. But it wasn't until about 21 that i really can say i started purposefully engaging in BDSM or D/s relationships or activities. i think one can know parts and pieces of herself at a young age. And now with society helping girls (and boys) grow up so quickly... i can see how they would be experiencing this early. i just dont personally think its the smartest thing one can do. i found a boy who was 18, submissive, virgin...looking for a Mistress to be his first. It broke my heart. i was truly worried for how his first experience would be searching on one of those sites.

selkie said...

I would think that many would simply be into the whole sexuality of it - I find the kids are far more open these days about seeking alternate experiences and are more comfortable with their kinks.

Having said that, I actually agree that there is a certain naievity in declaring yourself at 19 with "several years" experience ...

cutesypah said...

It has ALWAYS concerned me that those in their late teens see themselves as "experienced" in BDSM & D/s. I've met self-proclaimed Dominants who at 30, claim to have 15 years of experience because at 15, they used to hand-cuff their girl friends when they had sex. Trust me, they were NOT experienced, although they certainly had the ego to become a real player and wanna-be. *smirk*

Yet, I know that at age 17, I knew I liked kinky sex, and always wanted to be controlled, and dominated during sex. I didn't use the word "dominated," but the domination was that for which I was longing and searching.

However, I think it's quite important to understand that at such a young age, a boy or girl's "trust meter" isn't fully developed. Simply put, teens just don't understand what "forever" means, nor do they truly understand how easily one can be emotionally and/or mentally used and abused.

A number of studies tell us that teens aren't really "young adults." Their brains are not completely and fully developed until 20-21, and even then, the life experience simply isn't there to support the experience.

This is why 25 year olds think they've suddenly become old, yet at 35, realize how "stupid" we were at 15 through 25, and wonder how we managed not to get ourselves killed. At 45 we realize how little we knew at 35, and wonder how we managed to raise kids without screwing them up too badly.

And, I've been told, at 55, we suddenly realize that only today matters, and all that is important is that we allow ourselves to enjoy the moment, and give ourselves every opportunity to experience life every day.

And, I've received some very wise words from a 63 year old female friend who's lived and taught on 3 continents, went back to law school when she was 30, graduated valedictorian while raising 3 children on her own, has suffered through two separate breast mastectomies when the cancer reappeared in the other breast 10 years later, who has Hep-C from a botched blood transfusion received in the 1990s, and has yet another rare form of blood cancer, who survived an extremely abusive spouse, only to have her adult children choose their abusive father over her. She reminds me, when I'm fretting over my children being hurt, or suffering life's hard knocks, that kids, or anyone for that matter, don't learn anything unless it's learned the hard way. She says, as much as we'd like to tell them the way, show them right from wrong, and hold their hand, unless you learn something the hard way, you don't learn shit. You might experience, but you don't "learn" from it.

Perhaps that speaks for itself. We are all convinced, no matter what our age, that our experience is true, and complete, and accurate, and we KNOW what we know. Caveat Emptor.

And, as a parent, make damn sure our kids aren't out there on the sites "trolling" if they don't know what monsters are out there in the dark, ready to eat tasty little children, such as themselves.

My .02 worth. YMMV.

Anonymous said...

I am 20 years old. I am inexperienced in this lifestyle, however I do know that I am submissive. I am lucky enough to be young, yet understand that I don't have nearly the experience that those older than I have. I have been sexually active for 6 years. I have always wanted, needed to be submissive. I am in such an early state of exploring all of this, but I do know who I am. I am a kinky, submissive woman who gets immense pleasure and fulfillment from making my daddy proud. I would not feel comfortable being dominated by someone my own age, Daddy is 30, because most 20 year old boys are exactly that, boys. I am smart, strong, capable, and I enjoy being owned. Maybe I won't in 10 20 or 30 years, but for now, this is who I am. Do not count us out just becuase we are young. Some of us know who we are, if that person is only who we are right now and not forever. People evolve, I don't see my innate desire for submission depleting any time soon, but it is possible I guess.
I am constantly evolving, learning, reading, being taught by daddy, but I can say, with absolute cvertainty that I am submissive by nature. Jsut because I am young, does not mean I am not mature enough to know what and who I am. I guess I am one of the lucky ones who found a good, caring, loving daddy who helps me understand that.

~*~ tiggie rose ~*~ said...

i agree with David. i really don't have the answer - other than to say this.

i liked being tied up as a little girl, when all of kids played our silly games of cops and robbers. i wanted to be the one handcuffed, taken to jail.

i was the girl who put on all the dogs collars and leashes. even got into a few of their kennels and played 'puppy' at seven years old. Or played 'doctor'. i was the six year old who pulled down her pants and asked a little boy on the playground to spank me, before someone tattled on us.

i was a good girl in school, but also the 9 year old who couldn't look away when other kids got a spanking - and was mortified when i started fantasizing that it was me. i was the girl who had secret fantasies of being kidnapped by some stranger - or even one or two aliens.

i was the girl who played with candle wax. dressed up in lacey, silk clothes.

i was the kid who did a leather shop at camp cause i really, really, really loved the smell.


Oh, i look back and see that my sexuality - at least the arousal part - was being formed wayyyyyyyyyy back in my early years.

But, i'd NO clue as to what i was. When i got into middle and high school, my kinks ashamed me. i wore baggy clothes, thought kissing was a sin. Thought if i masurbated i'd go to hell. :|

i finally found BDSM through the internet, and learned that i wasn't a weirdo. i had good friends that kept an eye on me. And, good thing - i was 17.

At 17, i realized i was submissive. i realized i was kinky. But, i would have called myself experienced just because i was trying on dog collars when i was little.

i'm 27 now and still am learning.

My Master still considers himself inexperienced. He discovered BDSM at 16. He's in his 20's now as well.

~*~ tiggie rose ~*~ said...

meant to say i WOULDN'T have called myself experienced. yeesh.

Jz said...

I could be way off but I don't think most people know themselves well enough at that young of an age to really be an "experienced" BDSM participant. They may talk the talk but do they actually walk? As Selkie says, kids today seem more open to kink. But I wonder if that isn't sometimes just an extension of the obligatory teenage flouting of convention.

For those of us who are a bit older, teenage sex was still something that our parents considered unacceptable. Any sort of sexual encounter was wild and daring. Even something we'd now deem fairly innocent allowed us to feel like we were throwing off our parent's control and asserting our independence.

Parents today seem more nonchalant about the fact that kids have sex. So it's harder to get that, "Ooo, I'm so bad and they don't know!" thrill when the only reaction you get from your folks is, "I hope you used a condom." Maybe that's where cutesy pah's handcuffing 15-year old comes into the picture. - Kink is one way to ramp up the reaction.

I don't dispute that some are given the gift of self-knowledge at an early age and I wouldn't argue with anyone who said they knew they were like this since they were young. But most of us have to struggle for a very long time to know and accept ourselves, in any aspect. So while I think you might know you have a tendency, I question if you have truly *become* much in your teen years. Most of us were still trying on our different personalities.

"Yet before we can surrender ourselves we must become ourselves. For no one can give up what he does not possess." (Thomas Merton)

Fully-realized selfhood is rare and the younger you are, the rarer it gets.
Despite what we all thought as teens... :-)

mouse said...

I kinda knew I was "submissive" or eager to please, but had no idea what that meant until I was in 20's and I was shown a book on kink.

nbs said...

Thank goodness for books and the internet!~
I had no clue that I married my first husband at age 20 because he was so darn DOM!( he left after 2 years.. thank you R)
Finally at this point in life I know exactly who and what I am.
The trick now is to find the right man~~
I won't give up the search!

Pygar said...

What a fascinating discussion!

Thank you all so very much. It also never fails to impress me how readers of this blog manage to share such different views yet still remain respectful of the viewpoint of others. So thank you again for that.

It was particularly interesting to read of how many of you did discover your nature at an early age - tiggie rose's comment is one in point. And I promise anonymous not to count you out because of your age! Forgive the caution of us oldies! And keep searching Nancy!


Chalcedony said...

stumbling upon this discussion has also been enlightening and interesting to me; it's been a joy to read. thank you, everyone!

I first reached the first inklings that I had a submissive side when I was 17 but was aware that I wasn't completely mature, and felt confused as to whether it was sheer curiosity or a genuine pull towards being submissive. I was precocious and mature for my age, having been far ahead in school and thus being pushed into the adult world earlier, but my emotional growth wasn't done. (as long as we live, I hope that growth doesn't end.)

it wasn't until I broke a string of dissatisfying relationships that I dominated in many ways, with a relationship to someone I didn't admire or respect, that I realized that my submission was stronger than I suspected. though I disliked and resented the man I was with after a while, I realized I had stayed because he was dominant. unfortunately, he somewhat took advantage of my submissive side on an emotional level, and after realizing why I stayed, I got out before my self-esteem dropped further.

now I'm with a stable, gently guiding man with dominant tendencies, though he's a bit switch-y, and more confident in expressing my sexual submissiveness while maintaining confidence & assertiveness in my daily/professional life. and I'm still young, and still learning. but it took that *experience* for me to get a better sense of where I stood. the epiphany is different for everyone-- a sudden certainty, or a slow realization like mine-- but when you're young, I think you're just less likely to have experienced as much that's likely to bring you to that kind of epiphany, since you've simply been on the planet for a shorter period of time.

I think it's a far cry for people to say, at that age, that they're "experienced" unless they have a very rare sense of self. as other have said, we constantly go through life looking back and going "damn, I was stupid when I was young!" or at the very least, not all too self-aware. I'm likely younger than a large chunk of the blogging regulars I see, and definitely know I have a ways to go-- I'm not presumptuous enough to call myself a full-out sub when I'm still exploring my boundaries and considering doubts.

(amusing note: the word verification code in posting this comment had the word "dom" in it.)

Rosie Q said...

I can certainly say that I knew I wanted to be dominated from an early age - though I didn't have the words to express it. Similarly, most gay people I've known have said they knew they gay from a young age.

But having that awareness and being equipped to deal w/the emotional relationship that results are two different things... It very much concerns me when teens tell me they are with an older dominant.

I really wanted to join a commune when I was 17. I was hoping to go live at Twin Oaks Community as soon as I graduated high school. I wasn't interested in college, and this was my dream, so why wait?! At some point I realized, what if I felt stuck there? What if I was choosing that life to avoid fully growing up, fully taking responsibility for my life?

I think if I'd found a dom at that time in my life it would have been a bad thing for me. What I needed was to know I could stand on my own two feet. I needed to become strong and independent first.

Anonymous said...

Like so many others, early on I knew something about me was "different" from others, but I didn't have a name for it. Back them, I equated being submissive with being June Cleaver-ish, nothing to do with my sexuality. It didn't become clear to me until my mid 30's, thanks to the internet, Yahoo Chat, and my good fortune in being contacted by a Dom would teach me a great deal about myself, D/s, and masochism, along with many other things.

Now at 45, I know there is no way that I could submit to an 18 year old dom. I even have a problem with a man in his 30's wanting to dominate me. For whatever reason, I prefer a sexy, capable, well seasoned sadistic gentleman in his 50's or 60's. I may well be wrong, but I just cannot get the feeling of experience from a younger man, nor can I feel the needed degree of respect and trust for a younger dom.
But, that's just me ;)


Pygar said...

Thank you Autumn, Penny and blueeyes for your enlightening comments.

Autumn writes of a Dom who took advantage of her emotionally.I wonder if one of my concerns is of a older man taking advantage of the submissiveness of a younger woman in an inappropriately manipulative way.

Penny talks of needing to become strong and independent first and I believe that to be very true. I often say that to be a sub one needs to be very strong.

Like blueyes others have told me of being unable to submit to a younger Dom - and I was surprised to hear recently from sub friend that she had been targeted by younger men on contact sites.


Anonymous said...

Part of the reason I started blogging was to chronicle my own coming-to-awareness of being a submissive. Very short version: as soon as I learned the word "masochist," maybe age 9 or so, I knew that I was one. It took quite a while to realize that I was more of a submissive than a masochist.

And I definitely wasn't emotionally ready for sex, or romance, or BDSM, the first few times. But that's a learning curve, not some innate gain in maturity. If I hadn't had the experiences I wasn't quite ready for, I would never have been ready.

I also think, Pygar, that just as socialization usually allows men to think honestly about their sexuality earlier than women, subs usually come to terms with being subs before doms do. This may be part of why you feel like you were much older before you were "ready" have to be clear.

I don't think the age of one's lovers, or even their experience, is nearly as important as their sincerity.

Anonymous said...

I didn't really figure anything out about my SM sexuality until I was, oh, 27 or so (I'm a submissive-oriented switch), but then, I was a very repressed kid.

I do think that today, kids are exposed to things a little earlier - and of course there is always the urge when we are young to seem older and more worldly than we are. While it may be tempting to be protective of these kids, it's also important to let them find their own way, and it's entirely possible that pairing up with an older Dom - a responsible, trustworthy one - might be just the thing. Lest we forget, much of what we now know of BDSM culture grew out of gay leathersex, which has always had a strong current of older top/younger bottom.

I also was appreciating what Orlando was saying when he linked back to this post: that it's a lot easier when you're very young to come to terms with yourself as someone who enjoys pain and being controlled, than as someone who enjoys controlling and causing another pain. How "experienced" an 18 year old could be is another question, but while I certainly didn't, it is possible to know oneself at that age.

Pygar said...

Thanks Orlado and deardelilah.

I certainly agree with you Orlando on the importance of sincerity - very well put.

You both provide more evidence to add to that above that many young people really do know their nature at a young age. Perhaps as deardelilah says, it is important to let them find their own way and not to be overprotective.