Disclaimer: There are no hidden motives to this blog post. I am not making any commission, gains or profit for promoting this series or the author. I was recommended this book by a friend and this is my own review and take-away from it.
Friends, I have a confession to make. You see, while you might think of me as being a perfect submissive, I’m actually not. Well, not according to the media, anyway.
In many movies, the submissive is always slim, meek, busty, compliant and obedient, if they’re female. If they’re male, they’re usually good-looking, toned, waxed chest and well endowed. Of course, this creates a perception of what is and is not a perfect submissive, and indeed, many aspiring Dominants go in search of one of these two types, only to realise that they seldom exist.
Many people in the BDSM lifestyle are not your Christian Grey or Anastasia Steele. Many are middle-aged, balding, a few extra pounds of lovin’, some may be loud and seemingly obnoxious, and some submissives are definitely far from meek and complacent.
And then there is those like me, a strong-willed, broken-bodied, disabled submissive. The horror!
I was born with borderline arrested hydrocephalus, mild spina bifida and mild scoliosis. Later on in life, I also developed Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. There’s nothing I can do, chopping my arm off is likely to lead to Phantom Limb Pain- just trust me.
I have first-hand experience of the pain and anguish caused by being dismissed as a submissive, purely for my disabled body, purely because my curves are in the wrong places and I don’t look so good in a corset. I have had Dominants reject me because I’m prone to panic attacks and need a little bit of support and patience from time to time. That happens, deal with it.
But here is the clincher.
By refusing me, they have refused the potential to have and to own a great submissive. They have passed up the opportunity to have a submissive who is intelligent, witty, caring, kind, hard-working and up for pretty much anything. They saw the weak parts and they ran, they didn’t see all the joy, wonderful writings, clean home and fresh fruit cakes that I could bring.
I’m now married to and owned by a truly wonderful man Nobody, not even my own mother, could make me feel loved and accepted in the way that he does. He takes all of my quirks and needs and he embraces them, wholly. If I need him not to put a cuff on my wrist because it really hurts today, that’s fine, he won’t do that. If I need him to cuddle me and talk to me because I just had a really big, bad, scary panic attack, that’s fine, he’ll do that, too. When you stop for a moment to care for your submissive’s needs, that’s what a REAL Dominant does.
Now, conversely to this, my dear friend Bill is sort of the flip side of this coin. Bill is (mostly) Dominant and requires dialysis several times per week, he also has a partner and submissive who suffers with Multiple Sclerosis. Bill and I have quite an intricate friendship, a mash-up of care, desire and support for one another, coupled with the knowledge that neither of our partners would be willing to let anything further happen. A.. what do the kids call it, a “flirtationship”?
Bill introduced me to Kneeling In Spirit owing to the fact that I am a disabled submissive and that I quite often struggle to meet the ideals of BDSM. There is another book in the range, Hell On Wheels: Disabled Dominants, also by Raven Kaldera, which looks at Disabled Dominants and ways in which a submissive can accommodate a disabled Dominant’s needs.
I have been fortunate enough to also interact with more than one of these fine individuals. Bill is one, of course, who almost cares for me as one of his own, but also another Dominant whom I met who had a severe spinal injury following a motorcycle accident. That a Dominant could get someone to flog themselves purely from a look alone was quite something.
Disabled Dominants and disabled submissives are not something that you should disregard or fear. Disability can happen to any person for any reason and at any time. How would your able-bodied self feel if you walked out tomorrow, got hit by a truck and got left for dust? Not too great, I’d imagine. Rather than looking at these people as the flawed members of society, look at us as people with a lot to offer under the right circumstances. All humans have needs, but disabled people are so damn valuable that we have special needs. That’s the way I like to think about it.
My only criticism of the book is that it is written by a queer Dominant and using examples from people largely in the LGBTQ community. I have absolutely nothing against the LGBTQ community, it’s just that straight people can be kinky and disabled, too, and we need to be represented. Kink is not synonymous with being LGBTQ+, and that’s an important and easy mistake to make. Plenty of heterosexual people and couples enjoy BDSM play.
If you’ve got this far, you’re probably wondering how you can care for a disabled Dominant or submissive? Here’s a handful of pointers, from someone in the know:
- Consider their needs – if they require a white stick, make sure that the floor is clear so that they can find their way around. If they can get overstimulated (ASD) , consider dialing back the music or sensations to a more comfortable level, or finding activities that your submissive finds bearable.
- Educate yourself – Find out about their disabilities, what they are, what they mean and any treatments they might take or precautions that they might need. Avoid strobe lights around epileptic people and be aware of drowsiness from some medications, for example.
- Consider their personal needs – Does that cuff need to be a bit looser, or not on at all? Can they not kneel, but perhaps, stand or sit with their head bowed? Can they not use a flogger in a wheelchair, but perhaps use a paddle, crop or cane instead? Be adaptable and creative.
- Incorporate needs into activities – Could you incorporate a blood sugar check into some S&M play? Maybe a walking frame or a wheelchair has some interesting bondage points that would hold your submissive in a humiliating position? Sometimes, all you need is a spot of creativity.
- Find activities that they can do – For Dominants with disabled submissives, find things that your submissive can do for you. Wheelchair users can sit at a table and sort paperwork or iron at a lowered ironing board, and someone who is deaf can still manage the dishes and hoovering!
- Focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses – Does your Dominant have a prosthetic leg and a cracking sense of humour? Cherish that in them. Maybe your submissive has a 0.3 second attention span but she looks absolutely stunning tied up in rope? Whatever it is, embrace it, and work with it. My Sir has me write plenty, because he loves what I write when I do.
- Check in regularly – This really applied to individuals with mental health disorders. Check in regularly with how your Dominant or submissive is feeling. Do they feel really down on themselves and like a complete failure? Are they having thoughts about harming themselves and are less likely to safe word because of it? Make sure you understand what’s going on inside.
- Wear what you feel good in – Like I said earlier, I can’t wear corsets without looking all twisty-bendy, and that’s fine, because there is no rule that says “if you don’t wear a corset, you’re not a real submissive”. When I was a Domme, I used to need to wear low, wedge heels. Why? I also have cerebral ataxia – my balance is shit! Whatever makes you feel sexy, desirable and glamorous to your partner- wear it!
- Get support – Sadly, I’m not the only one with needs in my relationship. My husband suffers with depression and anxiety and sometimes he really doesn’t believe in himself. When that happens, sometimes even I need help knowing how to help him. Reach out to others through online forums and support groups, see if there are kinkters on Fetlife with your partner’s disability, and see if you can learn ways to support them and to manage it. Nothing is impossible, you just need to change the way you look at it.
Stay safe and have fun!
Hugs and kinky cuddles,