Dear Mistress Matisse,
I'm a female BDSM newbie trying to figure out the whole dating thing. How does a submissive woman work to please, while remaining mysterious so that the dominant guy in question realizes he's interested? It seems when I'm not attracted to someone, it's read as playing hard-to-get, and he pursues me. But when I try to be pleasing and available to a dominant I am attracted to, he loses interest. Not that I've ever gone by "The Rules" but I need a "Rules for Kinky Chicks" because it seems the man-woman dating dynamics are still present in the kink world.
I hated all of those "Rules" books. The authors urged women to play mind games and affect very artificial behavior, and I wasn't stunned when one of them wound up divorced by the guy she claimed to have "caught" by using her rules. Guess once she was married and couldn't play hard-to-get anymore things didn't work out so well.
But while flat-out dishonesty isn't a good dating strategy, I do think that one must employ some cunning in the attraction and early-courtship phase of any relationship, even kinky ones. True, kinky people often dispense with some of the sillier deliberately ambiguous courtship signals, and the BDSM community admires women who are gutsy and strong. Given that, you might think that any kinky woman who's attracted to any kinky man could just march right up and tell him exactly how she feels, and that he'd be just fine with that.
You'd be wrong. Sure, BDSM is a sexually alternative practice, but a lot of classic male-female dating dynamics are still very much present in the BDSM population, regardless of whether you're dominant or submissive. (Perhaps not every single guy, every time. If, for example, your dream guy lives in a yurt on a polyamorous commune, he's probably not a guy who's going to be really tuned into the who-calls-who-first game. For one thing, he doesn't have a phone.)
If you're dealing with a man who's fairly traditional in terms of job, home, and non-BDSM habits, you can bet he did not instantly shed years of societal conditioning when he picked up his first pair of handcuffs. If you want to have a conventional, romantic-love-based relationship that leads to commitment/marriage with such a man, then some feminine wiles are called for.
So that "working to please" thing? Stop that. I don't know exactly what you're doing, but as you have observed, it's not having the effect you want it to. People value things more if it takes some effort to achieve them, so no matter how submissive you feel, dropping to your knees at the mere sight of the one you lust for is a bad strategy. So are things like offering to fetch him a drink, polish his boots, or cook him a meal. Once you're in a relationship with your partner/Master, you can do all these things and more to please him, and you'll both enjoy it. But do not knock yourself out for a guy who hasn't even realized he's interested. At this stage of the game, it's just as much about him working to please you as vice versa—and more so when you consider that in general, there are more men seeking kinky partners than women.
Rather, you should employ the same tactics that you'd use in attracting a non-kinky man. Smile and be friendly, present yourself in your best light, and be yourself. But this idea of working to make a guy understand that you're available to him? Oh, no, no, no. My dear, this is a world in which men routinely hit on avowed lesbians because "she just hasn't met the right man yet." Mvost men err on the side of assuming that a woman is available rather than not. If he's attracted to you, he will make it his business to find out your status, and that status should not be "putting my life on hold until you notice me." One thing that all those rules-oriented, "play hard-to-get" girls had right is this: Someone who seems happy and busy with her/his own life is more attractive than someone who comes across like a remora looking for a hull to attach itself to. n
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