Dom/Sub imbalance on MUSHes


  • Coder

    Soresu managed to remind me about something I've been thinking about in the past.

    @Soresu said:

    To Clarify, On the Star Wars game I play - You can do what ever you want sex wise behind closed doors. No big deal. But we're not shangrila.. So wanting to do ads for slaves, sex workers, etc - is something not allowed.

    Sometimes I see people put up adds for submissives/slaves in various games but I've never quite understood why they've felt the need to. I don't know if it's my MUSH experience that's very unusual, but I feel like I'm running into a lot more players who are into playing submissive roles then I do players who are willing/able to be dominant. I do feel it must be a reasonably common trend however because I don't think RP harems would be anywhere near as common as they are otherwise.

    For instance on @Soresus game I've already found three players who like playing submissive, not because I've made any advertisements for that kind of thing but merely because I like pressing peoples psychological buttons and they like getting theirs pushed.

    So I'm curious, what are your experiences like?



  • I find that I run into more submissive than dominant people too.


  • Pitcrew

    Honestly, I feel like there are more reactive players than proactive ones in general, and "dominant" personalities often are expected to be the proactive one, so that makes sense.



  • I've seen a reasonably close balance, though I think @Groth is dead on about dominant personalities advertising more, and stumbling over the submissive sort more often.

    The post variance is somewhat self-explanatory when you give it a moment's thought, but only if you're taking a slightly more detached view and including the way these personality traits tend to express themselves in a less sexual context. (As no matter how much TS there is in the hobby, a lot of players are still somewhat private about these things, obviously.)

    I think it is a little more balanced than people give it credit for, but that's because switches are also a thing, and how any given switch is perceived often comes down to whatever crazy conversational chemistry is going on.


  • Pitcrew

    I don't think dominant/submissive is the dynamic in most harem situations.

    Of course I also don't think the people that label themselves "dominant" or "submissive" in a mush situation tend to behave that way either.

    So I dunno. I don't think there's a huge imbalance, usually. Where it seems to be a problem is when there's not enough people for the folks that want to pair off to pair off with, but that's the issue more so than what people are labeled as (and also why I think harems tend to be horrible--because most of the people that find themselves in that situation really don't want it. There are exceptions, though.)



  • I have no idea if there's an imbalance or not. I can't say I've noticed or thought about it before, and I don't really go around thinking of people as either dominant or submissive. Isn't it as much about situations as inclination? I might be wrong, I don't know. Now that I'm actively looking back to see if there is any imbalance, I just can't come up with an answer, which in itself suggests any conclusion is unlikely to be too definitive.


  • Coder

    I don't think most people on MU*'s actually know what a healthy D/s relationship is. They think Fifty Shades of Grey is something other than creepyfuckstalker abuse because that's what they think D/s is supposed to be like.

    As for why more people might proclaim to be sub more than dom, it's because people are lazy and they can't be assed to come up with stuff themselves, and they don't understand that it's the sub who truly controls how far things go and instead just want masturbatory RP.

    Which is fine I guess, not my cup of tea, but as long as they're not actually hurting anyone...



  • @Lithium said:

    I am not certain I agree with that. In my opinion D/S is dependant on the people involved. What you or I might consider D/S might not be the same as what, say, @Groth considers D/S.



  • @Lithium said:

    As for why more people might proclaim to be sub more than dom, it's because people are lazy and they can't be assed to come up with stuff themselves, and they don't understand that it's the sub who truly controls how far things go and instead just want masturbatory RP.

    Pretty much this; there's a lot of claiming the label without understanding that it means something other than they assume it to mean in some cases, and this is super prevalent on Shang (as one might expect). This sort is the type that generally has their mind completely blown when they find out about the more high-powered-in-normal-life submissives seeking a safe outlet to not have to be that 24/7. :/ Though, as a result, I wouldn't really consider this type actually submissive -- they're just lazy and looking for a more enticing term that might lure in play partners. I don't call this type submissive, I call them passive.

    @mietze Re: Harems, I don't see them as either inherently dom/sub, either. People sling that label around a lot to any character with multiple sex partners, so it could be directed at some random flaky free-love hippie type who has a dozen friends-with-benefits that they don't exert any control over whatsoever as easily as it could for the character that has a stable of devoted-to-them-only love slaves scampering around in their skivvies all the time. People tend to see a list of names and jump to a whole lot of conclusions.


  • Pitcrew

    I suppose I am guilty of the same; when I mention harem I'm speaking of a formation of a bunch of people primarily centered on a single individual. Sometimes without their knowledge, most of the time with large helpings of "well, I just feel sorry for person a, b, and c, it's really you that I am interested in". And by no means is it always a guy with a bunch of gals, though I think it tends to be that on WoD and other majority female places--I have seen it reversed there and on male dominated places (like SR in the olden days).


  • Politics

    @Groth said:

    Sometimes I see people put up adds for submissives/slaves in various games but I've never quite understood why they've felt the need to.

    They don't need to; they want to. I try not to mistake an honest submissive for someone that just wants attention.

    I'm mostly surprise how few such advertisements crop up on the WoD games I play on.


  • Pitcrew

    @Ganymede

    I think because putting up an ad even for someone looking to play a ghoul will get you some pretty vile responses from would be regnants as well as a lot of derision in general. I cannot imagine what would happen if one were to make plain that they were also seeking D/s TS.


  • Politics

    @mietze said:

    I think because putting up an ad even for someone looking to play a ghoul will get you some pretty vile responses from would be regnants as well as a lot of derision in general.

    Maybe. I don't generally play concepts that treat their ghouls as submissive sex toys, though.


  • Coder

    @icanbeyourmuse said:

    @Lithium said:

    I am not certain I agree with that. In my opinion D/S is dependant on the people involved. What you or I might consider D/S might not be the same as what, say, @Groth considers D/S.

    I'm more interested in character dynamics then peoples sex lives so my view on what is a D/s relationship in an RP context is very broad. To some extent it matches @Pyrephox descriptions of proactive vs reactive.

    I don't think I've even once played what @Lithium would describe as a 'healthy' D/s relationship because I find messed up dynamics more fun to play then healthy dynamics. This doesn't necessarily mean abuse but if you're playing WoD that tends to imply at least one of the characters are clinically insane.

    @mietze said:

    I think because putting up an ad even for someone looking to play a ghoul will get you some pretty vile responses from would be regnants as well as a lot of derision in general. I cannot imagine what would happen if one were to make plain that they were also seeking D/s TS.

    I've been seeking Regnants in the past, it's very hard because most people who are interested are just not going to work.



  • That would explain why my scary monster vampire's bloodshake brings all the girls to the graveyard...


  • Pitcrew

    @Lithium Most MU* play, like Fifty Shades of Grey, is a fantasy. One of the appeals of fantasy is that it doesn't have to be realistic - a story about a healthy, ordinary BDSM relationship never would have sold as many copies as Fifty Shades, because it was all about the convergence of several different common fantasy scenarios with a bit of spanking and leather sprinkled on top. Calling it abuse, as if actual people were harmed or adult female readers are incapable of distinguishing fantasy from reality, has always bugged me.

    Same with the various sexy parings or groupings running around MU*s. Very few of them are "healthy", but they're not meant to be, any more than D&D is meant to be a thoughtful and respectful portrayal of exploration and colonization.


  • Coder

    @Pyrephox said:

    @Lithium Most MU* play, like Fifty Shades of Grey, is a fantasy. One of the appeals of fantasy is that it doesn't have to be realistic - a story about a healthy, ordinary BDSM relationship never would have sold as many copies as Fifty Shades, because it was all about the convergence of several different common fantasy scenarios with a bit of spanking and leather sprinkled on top. Calling it abuse, as if actual people were harmed or adult female readers are incapable of distinguishing fantasy from reality, has always bugged me.

    Same with the various sexy parings or groupings running around MU*s. Very few of them are "healthy", but they're not meant to be, any more than D&D is meant to be a thoughtful and respectful portrayal of exploration and colonization.

    It's abuse depicted in fantasy and /empowering/ it at that. The environment depicted in the book and the movie are not healthy, and yet they glorify it. Just because it is supposed to be 'fake' doesn't mean people won't mimic it. Life imitates Art as much as the other way around (Remember those kids who got killed laying in the middle of the road like that one movie?) and when people say: Oh it is just a movie. Or, It's just fantasy it doesn't have any bearing on reality... They are just /enabling/ the spread of unhealthy behavior.

    That kind of shit starts to sound like @Sovereign and it is disgusting.

    As to the other part about playing unhealthy relationships on /purpose/...

    What is more horrific, an entirely unhealthy relationship, or the corruption and loss of a /great/ one due to the environment or actions of predation?



  • I have to know.. how is playing an 'unhealthy' D/S relation in RP any different, than, say, playing a vampire? Vampires, by their very nature are abusive.

    D/S happens in RL and vampires are not real. Basing how people act in /RP/ on what people do RL is a little odd. For every 1 person that thinks the way Christen Grey treats his women is is gospel there are plenty more who don't.

    RP, abusive or not, is all about acting out what you want in a 'safe' way. Like, I've done some pretty bad stuff to my characters for their 'master.' but I don't want nor enjoy those things in RL. I also know they are not feasible to do RL but it doesn't mean it is not fun for me in RP.



  • I used to be really into D/s RP when I was younger.

    Now that I'm older I've grown to realize that it takes way too much time and energy to maintain. Time and energy I would rather spend elsewhere.


  • Pitcrew

    @Lithium It's not empowering anything. It's a sexual fantasy. It's not realistic, it's not meant to be realistic, and it wouldn't be fun if it were realistic. It doesn't hit your buttons? That's fine. It doesn't hit my buttons either, although mostly because it's not terribly well-written and I don't find the characters all that interesting. But recognize that the millions and millions of readers are not willpowerless dupes who will, zombie-like, parrot anything that they read in fiction. Turns out, I can play D&D without having an overwhelming urge to break into people's houses, kill them, and take their stuff. Shocking, I know. But neither Harlequins nor Fifty Shades of Grey are corrupting the women of the world. Neither is all the naughty fanfiction out there, much of which makes Fifty Shades look downright utopian. People like porn. People like dirty, boundary-crossing porn not DESPITE its boundary-crossing, but BECAUSE of it. Because it's something they can't do, wouldn't do in real life, and that makes it forbidden and tantalizing. It's a basic and very, very common psychological impulse, and all the handwringing in the world won't change that.

    I find that most of that handwringing is a lot more about infantilizing women and scoring easy shots off of fairly silly stories that no one really wants to defend than it is about making a change in the world, anyway. Come back when you've gone to Super Bowl parties this weekend to tell the fans how football depicts and endorses unhealthy violent attitudes and encourages vulnerable young men into dangerous actions and predatory relationships with older men who largely plan to use them for profit then throw them away when they become too injured.

    To answer your last question - neither. They're both good stories, if you're into that sort of thing. Whichever one you're into more will probably be the one you like best. And that's okay.