January 22, 2016

Let’s Get Intimate: Submission vs. Surrender. {Adult Q&A}

Flickr/Phil Manker

Do you have questions about creating intimacy or developing mindful relationships?
Confusing questions? Awkward ones? Deep, dark scary ones?
I want them. E
mail your questions to: [email protected].

All relephant questions will be answered with loving kindness. (Yes. Every one.) Authors remain anonymous. 

No judgments, just soulful answers.


Q. I’m a 28-year-old female and a single mother to two girls. I’m mature for my age and have been in various relationships throughout my life.

I was sexually abused at six years old, and I know it impacted me in a big way. I love sex to the point that I feel very guilty. All my relationships have been based on sex and if that started to die down I’d feel they don’t care for me anymore. Yet at the same time I’d feel used if I felt that sex was all they wanted.

Recently I have discovered a darker side to my sexuality. After reading Fifty Shades of Grey and a whole lot of other erotica based on submissive behaviour, I feel that something has been awakened in me. 

I feel as though it’s something I crave and need. I’m not satisfied with the thought of a traditional sexual life anymore.  I need the man to take on a dominant role and take what he wants. I want to be hurt, and I want him to take full control to the point where I do what he wants. Is this normal? I’m worried that I’m going down a very dark path and I’m not sure that I can even find such a person. I have very deep self-esteem issues and go from zero confidence to over confidence. I also take rejection very badly. Am I doomed? Should I just give up on relationships and try and control my sexual needs?

A. You have a lot going on, here, so I’ll begin with the answer to your question: No, you are not doomed. Your sexuality is sacred—including its drive and fascinations.

And why is sex sacred? Because it is a deep-rooted, spiritual form of non-verbal communication that we share with another human being. When we make love, we connect to the very root of another human being. We feel each other’s skin, we take his body into ours as he takes ours into his (or hers, as the case might be). Sex is not only the function of procreation, it is a dance of intimacy that by its very act reminds us of our oneness with each other and Source itself.

When we hold our sexuality and its power in this view, there is no wrong in any manner in which we choose to express that celebration of union—as long as no one is getting hurt.

Here’s where you come in. Someone hurt you. When you were very young, you were taken advantage of. You were asked to peek into this great mystery way before your time. Perhaps it was intriguing, perhaps it was even physically enjoyable (pleasure is, after all, partly physiological), but it was too early for you to process the depth of what sexuality truly is. And I’ll go out on a limb here to say that whoever abused you had no idea of the sanctity of sexuality either.

The truth is you came to sex early. 

Many of us do. But your early experience of it was against your will. This explains why domination is now what you crave. Your unconscious wishes to return to that time you were helpless at the hands of a man so that it can gain control of it somehow, even by being passive.

Now, submission is a beautiful thing. I prefer to call it surrender.

But the elegance of surrender comes only when we surrender to someone we implicitly trust. A partner who would never think to do us harm. Only then can we sink into the release, and allow him or her to “take over” for a while. We can witness our beloved’s power from a place of pleasure, knowing we are safe.

This also explains why you lose interest when sex with a regular partner “dies down.” You identify as “The One Who is Desired” because at the time you were abused, that is who you were. This is the self you are trying to return to so you can help her find a new path.

Here’s the new path: Find your own sexuality.

Define it for yourself before you ever let another human being touch you. Claim your birthright as a woman to the creative forces that define the sacred sexual union. In this way, when you do finally open yourself to a partner, you will collaborate with him, not submit to him. Surrender in ecstasy? Yes! By all means. But do it with the power you have grasped for yourself.

How? Get to know your body with your own hands, your own mind, your own soul.

Celebrate the vessel of Spirit that is your body. And please, seek out counseling to help you along the way. You have great energy within you that simply needs to shift itself to a more empowered place before you can play safely on the “dark path” without being in danger of losing your sacred self. Getting therapy for your past abuse will help strengthen you as you grow toward the vibrant sexual being you truly are.

Happy loving!



8 Ways to Create Lasting Intimacy. {Adult}


Author: Rachel Astarte

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Phil Manker

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