"Last night I visited a client who gave me a pair of her very old and smelly Converse, that she wants cleaned by tomorrow. I paid for a pizza she ordered and she let me take home the leftovers. I had them for dinner tonight."
Ian, who's in his late twenties, doesn't actually clean shoes for a living. He's an engineer, who spends his free time collecting other people's rubbish. He advertises on Craigslist for bin contents like worn tights and used tissues, as well as toenail clippings and chewed up food. He also likes the sort of, "particularly dirty and well-used items, which are banned from eBay."
Asked what he does with the goods, Ian says, "one girl liked knowing I slept in her dirty bedding for a week — she asked for daily updates. Some sadistic types like to watch me eat their dirty items, and others want to watch me masturbate with the item — or while I'm smelling it." He adds that he only touches himself if he's told to, and sees the exchange as a power trip. He explains, "I would class myself as submissive — I enjoy other people taking control."
Ian's idiosyncrasies may be unusual, but as a submissive — or sub — he's certainly not alone. A kink site defines a submissive as one who, "consensually gives up control either for a specified period, or all the time but with limits." This can take various forms. Simon, who dreams of being trampled by a woman riding a horse says he'd also like to be kicked in the balls: "I saw a video of it online while browsing Xtube and thought it looked interesting!"
But it's not just about the pain. Simon says, "it's more the idea that I'm just a thing, to use, discard, and forget." He adds that he also likes to clean women's homes and eat food they've trodden on, or kept inside their shoes. He explains, "it's nice to think there are women out there who care so little about me that they're willing to do this, out of either sheer cruelty, or simple curiosity and a genuine lack of care for my wellbeing."
Writing for Psychology Today, Dr. Leon Seltzer describes the sub/dom dynamic as an "agreed-upon power exchange" explaining that "the gift" of control can be taken back at any point. He says, "although the sub willingly forfeits his power to the dom, he doesn't really abandon it either. Typically, the sub has at his disposal a "safe word" that when put into play will instantly compel the dom to freeze in his aggressive tracks."
Ricki cleans other people's houses while he is naked and they are clothed. His experience of this power dynamic reflects Dr. Seltzer's description. Ricki says, "I'm there to be submissive, like a houseboy, or hired help. I'm beneath them for the time I'm there, but deep within, I am assertive and I wouldn't put up with anything that would make me feel unsafe."
Explaining the attraction of taking on the submissive role, Seltzer says it's a "psychological (rather than sexual) relief that many alpha males in socially dominant positions experience in identifying with the submissive role (think bankers, CEOs, even university deans). Fantasising themselves as "liberated" from all the responsibilities that go with functioning in dominant professional roles offers them a respite from always having to be in control." Seltzer describes this as an "alpha holiday."
These "alpha holidays" aren’t always physical. Charlie likes to be dominated financially. He says, "from a young age, I enjoyed buying things for girls, especially if they ordered me to do it." Charlie takes home around £3,000 a month, and estimates that he's spent £12,000 on financial dominatrixes, also known as findoms. After enjoying a "normal" relationship where a woman rinsed him for his money, Charlie has had two findom mistresses. He met his first on Fetlife, the social network site for the BDSM, fetish and kinky community, spending £3,000 on her in eight months. He met his second findom on Tinder and spent £9,000 on her in six months. He says, "she put on her profile that she was a dominatrix with an interest in findom." In addition to the financial domination, this led to, "a lot of whipping and me cleaning her place."
Since moving to London, Charlie is now looking for someone new to fill the vacancy. "She doesn't have to wear anything special," he says, "but my findom mistresses have been quite a bit shorter than me. I guess I like the height difference — knowing someone so small is in charge of me." Charlie is also ready to take it a step further. He says, "I'm looking for a woman to have full control of my finances. So my salary would be paid to them, and they would pay my rent and give me an allowance for food etc. but they'd keep the rest." He adds that he'd like someone who's, "willing to keep me in chastity, who'll stop me from having sex or masturbating for as long as they want. Someone who's a little cruel I suppose. I just want to give up all control."
Daniel likes to be overpowered by female wrestlers. He says his fascination started when he was seven or eight, watching 80s TV show World in Action. He says, "a woman was wrestling with a man and beat him. A light went on inside me." Female wrestler Pussy Willow wrestles men like Daniel for a living. She says, "a lot of them are into being submissive and come into that through wrestling, because it's a way of getting what they want without admitting they like getting beaten up by girls. I've seen a lot of men come into wrestling who are searching for more than just a wrestle — they want the submissive side of things."
She adds, "I like to help them explore their sexuality, open their minds and help them accept it. I find it satisfying to say, "oh you like this, I reckon you’d also really like this, let's try it!" So someone who likes being pinned down and held with my body, might also like to be tied up from the ceiling and for me to sit on him in a swing."
Pippa the Ripper, who runs north London wrestling studio The Submission Room says that her predominantly male clientele generally tend to be submissive. She echoes Pussy Willow and Daniel when she says, "they're into a woman overpowering them physically."
Some men prefer to be overpowered by other men. The world of Puppy Play in which one person assumes the role of the dog, and another person takes on the role of the dog’s handler, tends to be male dominated. Tom AKA Spot, who's a former Mr. Puppy UK, split with fiancé Rachel due to his predilection for dressing as a puppy. Tom/Spot is now with Colin, "my current owner/handler. We are now very close friends and housemates (and sometimes more)."
Tom/Spot describes Pup Play as, "a means to escape from life.” Alexander, who's also a pup, says this: "Puppy play is one of countless different "scenes" in the world of kink. Scenes usually involve a certain power dynamic — a dominant role and a submissive role." He adds, "When I meet a "handler" — someone who prefers the dominant side of the scene — I bark, wag my "tail," and (if he'll let me) bury my face in his crotch." Alexander says that this leads to great sex, "because the puppy headspace is automatically submissive to handlers." He explains, "It's one thing to be pounded by a great top. It's another thing to be pounded by a great top who, after playing fetch and wrestling on the floor, grabs your collar and says "good boy" as he bends you over, doggy-style. (You can’t respond because you’re wearing a muzzle.)"
For London based Pup Play events with names like "Wagging Tails, Wet Noses" take a look at Puppy Pride. And if that doesn’t get your tail wagging, here are some other places to be submissive in London:
- Foot Fetish Party: "I like to kiss feet and serve woman — I'm quite submissive" says founder Leo.
- Foot Worship Party invites participants to, "worship soft female soles, pink toes and sweet buttery foot bottoms from the hottest girls in the hottest foot fetish party in the world!" They add, "you will have at least 30 models per foot worship party to chose [sic] from to live out your foot fetish party fantasies."
- London Foot Party: "We host amazing foot fetish parties in London where men play with the feet of beautiful women" says the site.
- Hoxton Dungeon Suite offers a "whipping bench" and, "a wide array of restraints, medical and corporal punishment toys," as well as, "toilet boxes."
- The Serpent Rooms: "Welcome to the friendliest dungeon in London!" it says, describing itself as a "Multi roomed dungeon for rental in North London."
- Blue Door Dungeon: Calling itself "Islington's kinky secret" this includes a "Puppy Play Area — Puppy Cage, Puppy Hood, Puppy Tail, Muzzle, Collars, Leads."
- Toppers has resident "House Dominants" and says activities include spanking, foot worship, caning, flogging, spit roast, slave training, rope, needle play, watersports, and whipping.
- Club Sanctum promises "a wonderful mix of House Dominants" and a welcome all titles, "whether Dom/Domme, submissive, slave, top/bottom, kinkster, fetishist or self proclaimed pervert!"
- Club DVS describes itself as "London's most inclusive BDSM/Fetish event!" and promises Dungeon Monitors and dedicated House Dominants.
- Torture Garden "the world’s largest Fetish / Body Art Club" says the site.
- Club Subversion is "dedicated to the pursuit of kinky pleasure in all its forms."
- Club Antichrist boasts a "fully equipped dungeon."
- Fetlife: The social network for the BDSM, Fetish and Kinky community.
- London Fetish Week: Taking place each year in July.
- London Fetish Weekend: 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of the event.
- The Walnut Walk: One member describes this as, “a very small community of CFNM enthusiasts” – ie. those who enjoy the power dynamic of Clothed Female Naked Male.
Samantha Rea can be found tweeting here.