The Submissive Ache: Wanting and Waiting

Naked collared young man, head bowed, facing away
Image: Dark Heart by Thom Lane, cover by Anne Cain.

There’s an ache in your chest that hits sometimes when you’re a sub without a dom. I mean a real, physical ache.

You want to grovel, you want to be cared for, you want to be done to.

It hurts like hell. This has been heartbreakingly documented by Unspeakable Axe, who truly deserves his happy ending. And also by the following talented authors:

Later, though, I lay awake in the dark and listened to him as he slept: the slow measured breaths of a man at ease with himself and his world. I wanted to press close into the weight of him, the warmth of him, that strong and supple and determined body that so matched his strong and supple and determined mind. I wanted to, but I didn’t dare. If he was a light sleeper, if I roused him, he might be angry. The first duty of a house slave, always, is to please the guests of the house; if a guest complains about a slave – a boy, say, who woke him up by being restless or stupid or needy in the night, forgetting his place and his duty – Mistress’s first reaction, always, is to reach for the whip.

So instead – slowly, slowly! – I rolled away from him, and curled up by myself on the bed’s edge. Hugged my knees to my chest and stared into the dark, still entirely conscious of his presence at my back, everything I wanted and nothing I could have.

Every house slave I’ve ever talked to – ever whispered with through a long night, mostly, because we don’t have time or licence to talk much in the day – no matter how well trained we are or how long we’ve worn the collar and the house tag, every single one of us has felt this way from time to time: suddenly and unbearably lonely, yearning for some other kind of life and helpless of course to change the one we have.

Yes. Thom Lane is writing about a world with slavery, not consensual BDSM, but he knows.

And he also manages to describe the very similar feeling you get once you do find your dom. Wanting so badly, and yet it’s unthinkable to demand their attention.

Here’s a different take on it from fan fiction. James Bond thinks he’s investigating a human trafficking ring, and has instructed his new purchase to call him Richard.

“You startled me,” [Bond] said in a low, apologetic voice. “Are you hurt?”

[Q] shook his head, still breathing hard, and shifted as though about to lift a hand. He caught himself, and instead of reaching for Bond, he put his hands behind his back. “No, Richard,” he said, bowing his head.

It was heartbreaking – not just the deferential treatment, but the aborted hand movement itself.

And Bond doesn’t get it (yet). Yes, it’s heartbreaking, but I think BDSM should be so beautiful that it hurts. When the trust is there, it’s a wonderful ache. You know exactly who you’re suffering for, even if your dom doesn’t know. And it feels right.

But I have learned to my chagrin that I am not a low-maintenance sub, so I like it when the dom notices. In this next story we hear from a feminist journalist visiting a BDSM club undercover.

On her first visit, she’d studiously tried not to be a voyeur, then reasoned she’d be more noticeable if she wasn’t looking. Plus, she was a journalist. She wasn’t supposed to flinch from gathering data. But even on this, her third visit, it was difficult to look at the guy sitting two stools down from her. While he was talking to another man, a completely naked woman knelt on the floor next to him, wearing a dog collar and leash, for God’s sake. The physical details were appalling enough, but it was the woman’s body language and expression Celeste couldn’t stomach. Her fingers were touching his ankle, something he’d permitted, and occasionally the woman would press her mouth against his calf in reverence, a pleading, yearning need. If she got too carried away with it, he would reprimand her with the light touch of a crop he carried, but sometimes he would reach down, feather his fingers through her hair, indulging the affection.

Sometimes it’s nice to be taken for granted. But being reprimanded is even better – provided someone else is enjoying it!

P.S. You’re probably wondering if these characters get a happily ever after. Two of them do – and I’m not saying which ones. But all three will give you a fun ride.

Deepest apologies to the loyal readers who clicked on this post before it was ready and got an error message! Image: Dark Heart by Thom Lane, cover by Anne Cain.

3 thoughts on “The Submissive Ache: Wanting and Waiting”

  1. he managed to describe the very similar feeling you get once you do find your dom. Wanting so badly, and yet it’s unthinkable to demand their attention.

    Unthinkable to demand attention, perhaps. But it’s not at all unthinkable to elicit or encourage attention. :) From my very limited experience, you submissive types have your sneaky ways of getting what you want. (and thank goodness for that!).

    1. LOL! You know us all too well. But that’s what’s going on in our heads, anyway. :p

      You are reminding me of Guy Baldwin. Somewhere in his book, Ties That Bind, he says that both partners are communicating and driving the scene, it’s just that the top’s communication is mostly verbal and the bottom’s mostly non-verbal. It sounds so simple-minded, but I think it’s one of those unspoken assumptions that Explain So Much when things go wrong.

What do you think?