Need, good. Neediness bad. Right?
There’s a phrase which periodically does the rounds on twitter:
A sub needs to be wanted, a Dom wants to be needed.
How terribly manly: “I don’t need, I just want.” The D/s dynamic is all about the freedom to express need and have your needs recognised and fulfilled. I need. I don’t want to be needed – I don’t need to be needed in an abstract way. I need her to need me. Does that make me needy? I don’t think so, I think acknowledging that makes me honest. I think if I told her all the time I’d sound needy, so I don’t do that. But I don’t need to tell her all the time: She meets that need. I’ve told her about that need, so she knows. She doesn’t need me to tell her all the time, either. I show it in how I care for her.
In the same way, I know I’m needed. I know she needs me. She shows me she needs me in the way she depends on me, relies on me, leans on me for support and care every day, seeks my approval, my praise. She also tells me she needs me in a way I don’t tell her. But this is an expression of the asymmetry of the dynamic, part of the power exchange. It’s also part of her recognition of my need to hear it from time to time. And my need to always know her needs, and understand them better and better.
Is she ever needy? Yes. Why would anyone interpret that as bad? Neediness isn’t bad, it’s an expression of the depth of connection a sub has for her Dom and a recognition that she knows her Dom will understand and want to meet her needs.
So where does the idea that need is good and neediness bad come from?
At the risk of incurring vanilla wrath, I think it may come from the vanilla complaint “You’re so needy,” which is used by those who don’t feel a compulsion to ensure needs are met, those who would shirk their responsibility. It’s used to inhibit the expression of need for fear of being considered demanding. There’s a disturbing abusive control to it. A refusal to acknowledge that the ‘needy’ person is trying to express that their needs aren’t being met, a clear statement that their needs aren’t reasonable (but, oh, keep meeting mine).
In D/s we don’t need to engage in relationship power struggles of that nature. We recognise the power dynamic, the exchange. We recognise the impact on our demands and responsibilities. Accepting the responsibility to meet that demand is what a Dom does when he accepts a girl’s submission. Taking the demands and needs of a sub and making them his own is what a Dom does. If she’s needy, he feels a need to meet her needs. And not for any contractual reason, it’s not a chore (as the ‘you’re so needy’ accuser would feel), it’s a compulsion, a joy, a fulfilment for him. That’s a big part of what he brings to the relationship. Why would a sub offer herself to satisfy his needs if he doesn’t feel her needs as intently as she does, and isn’t driven to meet those needs with as much enthusiasm and without restriction?
The time I am needy is when I feel I’m not meeting her needs. I feel a deep urge to meet them, and if I can’t for whatever reason then yes, I get needy to do that. For her.
© Charles Rochester 2016