Fetishist vs. Submissive : Muddy Thinking?

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This captures distinctions and nuances that aren't reduced to simple black and white judgements:

In my thinking, "fetishist" is a broader term than "submissive" in the sense that a submissive has fetishized certain specific things -- servitude, giving up of power in a relationship, humiliation. A submissive is still a fetishist, ultimately, just one with a particular focus.

So one way I interpret your comment is that you feel there are significant numbers of ostensibly submissive guys who have not in fact fetishized these sorts of abstractions that comprise submission; but are instead more into fetishizing objects, or particularly the objectification of their partner as a fetish-object. If this is the sense you intend, then I largely agree.


It's a difficult distinction because there is, in fact, a gradation (rather than a distinction) as to what people have as their "core fetish" (if there is such a thing). Jon Jacobs solves this problem by saying that a true submissive has by definition fetishized total powerlessness at a very deep level. But I'm not sure how useful such a narrow definition is -- it tends to lead to a correspondingly narrow paradigm as to what should constitute d/s practice.

Adding to the definitional problem is a certain cultural effect. I believe society as a whole tends towards objectifying female sexuality, more so than male sexuality. When this tendency is interposed with a female dominant / male submissive dynamic, often the result is a powerful objectification of the female dominant -- creating a strong image of a fetish-object top, which is both sought after by the submissive partner, and used by the dominant partner to control the submissive's responses.

While there is of course nothing wrong with this, there _can_ be a conflict of interest between being the dominant partner in a d/s exchange, and being highly objectified. I believe (again, just my current opinion) that female dominants find themselves grappling with this potential conflict, more so than male dominants. (I also believe this effect is partly responsible above-mentioned "bad image" that fetishists, particularly male-submissive-fetishists, sometimes end up with.)

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