In response to my post on sharing fantasies, TVH commented:
"To what extent does a woman respect a submissive man? Most women want a strong man and are even more turned on it seems by a bad-boy type than by the nurturing type they'd prefer as a husband. Dommes appear to gain great pleasure from making a man submit and worship them, but do they respect that submissive in a way that they could have meaningful relationship? Is there a balance? In this context a man expressing the fantasy of being dominated runs a risk. Can anyone, perhaps Lady Julia, give some perspectives?"
I've heard many discussions about this very topic, TVH. There's so much involved in the dynamic of what makes us attracted to someone. What was our father figure like (if indeed we had a father figure)? What was our mother like? What were our early relationships like? How much credence do we consciously and subconsciously give to the media construct of a "real man"?
My own father is a strong man. Too strong at times, but that's another story :) He was always the rock doing what needed to be done because that's what a man did for his family. It was a rare occasion that I saw any of the softer emotions. When I was younger, I looked for the strong stoic type, but I discovered the difficult way that a relationship with this sort of man simply would not work for me.
I realized for me there must be a balance and I think the same is true for many women. My submissive is a strong man professionally, physically, and emotionally. He's someone I know I can count on if I need his strength. There are times, however, when he needs my strength and he isn't hesitant to let me know. He has his anxieties and insecurities just like everyone else but my respect for him doesn't diminish because of this. In fact, I respect him more because he isn't afraid to let me see the real him. If we were together on a full time basis, I don't know if we would both continue to work but if we were to decide it was best for us that he remain home and tend to the domestic responsibilities, I would have no issue with that and it would not alter my respect for him one tiny bit either.
As for the power exchange things we do, I'm always aware that he's choosing to do the things he does. I can't literally make
him do anything. At any time he can stand, turn, and walk away. To me, it takes great strength to surrender control knowing that you always have the option of ending anything that is happening with a mere word. Sure it's easy if you want to do the things being asked, but he's done some things I know he would definitely have preferred not to do. He did them because *I* wanted him to.
Do I respect him? Absolutely. I respect him not only because he has the strength to submit but because he respects himself. He has expectations for our relationship and for the manner in which I will treat him. He may submit, but he is not a doormat. He may allow his limits to be stretched, but he will not allow me to break him down. He isn't "grateful" because I have "deigned" to dominate him, he realizes I chose to do so because of the sort of man he is. He's not a bad boy. Bad boys do nothing for me. I treat him well and I expect to be treated that way in return. I like it when he is nurturing and caring. He cooks, he cleans, he discusses his ideas freely and he'll even discuss his feelings with a bit of probing ;)
I'm not sure TVH that I really answered your question or even shed any light on it at all, but I'm certainly open to others sharing their views and experiences.