"I like my women like I like my coffee -
Why are men such masochists?
A friend of mine has commented that a huge number of men here in the U.S. who hold high positions in government and business are actively looking for "submissive" role playing, in other words they want to be dominated, and will glady pay for the privilege. Now, we don't know if this is just the sort of man she tends to attract (she is a rather powerful and engaging personality), but they are obviously out there. At a less intensive level, the question resolves to "why do so many men want women they can't have?" Women who don't love them, and won't, women who might never even notice them.
Perhaps the source of this structure lies in the unnatural role we offer to men and call upon them to play in our society. Since most of this "offer" is deeply embedded in our culture, few realise it is even a choice, and fewer still manage to choose another role or path for themselves.
The role provided for men, which they can easily accept by simple default, is that of the power holder (at least in terms of visible power), the man in charge, the go-getter, the confident, succeeding, winning provider, the "master of his universe."
By accepting this role deep down as part of the definition of their character, their personality, they create a natural conflict, between the need to play the role accurately and consistently and whatever needs their true self would really prefer to express under some circumstances.
Their true self of course tries to find ways of meeting its needs in spite of their refusal to feel, their refusal to be "wrong," to seek help, to be soft, tender, emotional. Since it cannot be activated in everyday life, the man in his role can prevent that by will power, by avoidance, by becoming numb, it must find some other outlet.
Sexual behaviour, with its intense privacy, can be such an outlet. Whereas in a healthy person it is simply an extension of their daily life and personality, in the repressed male it must serve as a counter balance to the weight of living a dominant role in life that allows none of their tender side to show. Hence the over-compensation of submissive role playing.
In other words, the power structure they accept upsets their spiritual balance - though they don't know this, and the masochism and submissiveness is an unconscious attempt to balance their internal struggles.
Of course, this is not exactly a healthy path to self enlightenment, since all these mechanisms operating below the surface use up a lot of energy and keep the spirit trapped, unable to "feel" its place in the universe.
When a man "allows" himself to be true to his nature, conversely, not just verbally expressing "appropriate" feelings but actually feeling the emotions wrought by his experiences and responding to them with thought, expression, and learning, he starts to balance these spiritual forces in a healthy way. By actually refusing to accept the role of power and control handed him, he can truly be in control, be the master of himself, and learn to enjoy the pleasures of life and communion with the full range of experience available to him.
He will start to be able to react to life in such a way that it does not trap him but frees him, he will understand what range of activities and interactions truly bring him pleasure, and seek to increase his participation in those. The people around him in his life (at least those who are not upset at his rejection of a role they may be comfortable with) will find a greater love and appreciation for him as he does for himself.
This is not to say he won't still want to dress up in leather and a mask and get a good spanking from time to time! Nothing wrong a good bit of healthy role playing so long as it is genuine and fun, and not the release of suppressed anxiety and pressure from living an unnatural life.
Written at the insistence of a friend.
© Huw Powell