Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The hunter and the hunted

A great deal of the internal dynamics of a power exchange can resemble that which exists between the predator and the prey. The chief difference coming from the animal under chase in Nature is not one who wants to get caught and turned into the ravenous carnivore's meal. Clearly, between a Top and a bottom, someone in this transaction wants to "get caught".

In my youth, i unknowingly mimicked the game of 'cat and mouse' everyday out on the playground. Instead of playing H-O-R-S-E with the boys on the blacktop, i instead honed in on my latest crush, only to chase her around the jungle gym for the duration of our recess. Either she let me catch her, or i finally managed to do it myself, this conversation would always result in me pinning her to the ground, a potpourri of snickering and giggling, while my victim lay beneath me struggling to get away. Again, sometimes i'd let her wiggle free, or she'd actually escape on her own (i preferred the latter over the former). Still, i never connected this game to the actual task of hunting down and taking another creature's life.

I have hunted animals before. I was raised on a ranch, and i have slaughtered livestock, even those i raised with great care and attachment from their birth. I have pulled an entire evening meal's worth of fish from the ocean, watching these creatures flail the last of their life force in a bucket of sea water. I do not grimace when i watch nature films that depict the killing of an antelope by a pack of lions, nor do i feel the need to shield myself from the notion that the food on my table came at the expense of some other lifeform's demise.

Recently, in a discussion i was having with a colleague, the notion of hunting/slaying/gathering as a dominant trait came up. I had never identified those aspects of myself as related to my dominant streak (especially since it was required of everyone on the ranch to face the fact that in order to live you must commit murder). But i wonder if others feel this way. Do most folks who identify themselves as submissives turn away from the idea of taking another creature's life for the sake of their own sustenance? Are all dominant-types able to hunt and fish without any pause? Something in me rejects this notion as a true delimiter of what makes someone submissive and dominant. I'm very interested to hear what others think.


Dragonfly said...

Very interesting question.

I am inclined to say that as a submissive woman, I do not think I possess the qualities to follow through with the act of hunting or killing anything. It just isn't congruent with the majority of my personality traits.

Anonymous said...

I really don't think one thing has much to do with the other. I am very submissive, but I don't equate myself with a hunted animal. I have been fishing many, many times, yet I am not dominant in any way (even though I've been told that I harbor an inner Domme). On the other hand, since you've gotten me to contemplate it, I do feel that hunting, gathering, and "providing" are very dominant traits. They show the strength, determination and prowess of a man, and that is a very desirable thing.

Seraph said...

I'm quite dominant in a lot of areas of my life (sex included), but also, a committed vegetarian. My vegetarianism is part self control based, however: its not only an ethical decision for me, but a discipline. As a kid, I was definitely a predatory hunter-gatherer sort - I would often do my best to hunt things, and succeeded more often than not. Other people were always targets for this urge, and it often came out in play.

That doesn't stop me from being vegetarian, though. My primary issue is the industry, more than the actual act of meat-eating, though. Predation is natural, but what the meat industry practises is not predation.

Anonymous said...

Wow Diety, you've brought back such old memories of my own playground days. Not surprisingly, the opposite of yours. Today a late 30's submissive, then I used to love to "run and hide" from the boys. And I remember being pinned down and out of breath. Funny that I haven't thought of that in so long and it is such a part of who I am today.

But in response: I've always assumed it was a "female thing" that I hate the thought of killing anything. I've turned away at the kill scenes in nature shows. I even hate to kill a bug in the house and that is the only thing I could kill. I feel sorry for fish caught on a hook and could never imagine hunting. I don't have a general problem with hunting and such, but hope it is done to provide food instead of for sport, but couldn't do it myself unless I had to, to survive (or my Dom told me to).

I do think I'm more squeamish than many other women about killing, and I am extremely submissive, so maybe there is a connection.


kivas_Lord said...

I believe that as a Dominant there is a tendency to see the submissive as prey. When I started with this thought I happened upon several documents that describe the predator prey model and the many similarities that the BDSM community has in common with the predator/prey model.

Anonymous said...


I was fortunate to hear the talk Chris Abani gave to open the Brisbane Writer's Festival. He grew up in Nigeria and he talked of the fact that killing goats was critical in his village. However, when he was required to do it, a friend of his (who had done a lot of killing) knew he would have great difficulty with the task. He went down to the river and without saying a word, held the goat's head while Chris slaughtered the animal. Afterwards, as Chris sat and cried his heart out, the friend told him that if he reacted this way every time, he would die of a broken heart. Since then, Chris Abani has been imprisoned a number of times for his attempts to stand up for his beliefs. I certainly think of him as a dominant person, dominating his landscape and the page.

I don't think there is a 'one size fits all' when it comes to such matters. I know my husband spins a good line about doing away with our troublesome possums. In fact, he drives out of his way to release them into the countryside. And, he's from a farm too and has had to carve up many a sheep.

As to one of your comments, may I tell a joke, told to me by a dominant man, that suggests that he may have thought of women as prey?

'A young man tried to hit on a woman when her older companion was away from the table. When the young man left the table too, the older companion approached the young man and engaged him in conversation.

After exchanging pleasantries with him he said to the young man,

"By the way, I am a taxidermist and I am stuffing that bird tonight myself."


Anonymous said...

It's so interesting this came up this time a year, just as we butchered our remaining cows and since right now is the annual deer hunting season.

I would say there's no connection for me - I am definitely a bottom - in any case, that's the only role I wish to play in the bedroom. At the same time, I am a great proponent of growing and hunting your own food, especially meat. I have also fished before, and am actually known for loving taking part in poultry and deer butchering. Though I like to bottom, I have no trouble doing those things, and actually enjoy them very much.

Having said that, I do think that deer hunters are hot in their blaze orange with their guns and pick-up trucks, and the idea of my husband hunting turns me on very much. But for him too the topping aspect is not connected with being a hunter.

However, he did say that he borrowed some skills he developed by working with horses and cattle (as a cowboy) to step into the dominant role.

Aurumgirl said...

All of this makes me wonder most about the nature of words, and the way we all tend to see one reality of their definitions and overlook other realities which are equally present. They actually fail us, in that they don't overtly bring to mind what our exchanges actually mean.

What does it mean to be submissive? I am truly amused when someone concludes that submission is like being the prey in the dynamic of hunter and hunted. I also wonder who's dominating whom in any top/bottom relationship. The qualities are so fluid in the roles it's almost ludicrous to call a top "dominant" and a bottom "submissive", as both words embody their supposed opposite.

All they really do, for me, is evoke that constant exchange of fluid power which is held and shared equally between the willing participants in a scene, contrary to surface appearances (and willing is the operative word there). After all, if my pointed, "submissive" behaviour causes you to crush on me, and chase me around the school yard until you've got me pinned, haven't I put out the bait to catch you?

Deity said...

i suspect that the personality traits that do not permit you to hunt or kill anything are not immediately related to the traits that allow you to identify yourself as submissive.

i definitely do not see bottoms as hunted animals for the pure fact that they do not fear for their lives in the exchange with their Top.

No the meat "industry" does not practice predation anymore than the auto "industry" does. However, the idea of taking another organism's life does provide an interesting exploration of the hierarchy that naturally operates in the food chain.

Do you remember immediately liking the idea or did you struggle genuinely to get free only to find later that the episode left its mark on you?

i'd be interested to hear more about the similarities the BDSM community has to the predator/prey model.

thank you for the joke. especially valid this time of year for Americans.

i would share in your husband's decision to spare any lifeform rather than eradicate it. unless i'm going to then profit from the life that once coursed through its body, i will do all that i can to kindly move it along to other hollows.

i'm glad you chimed in. i had wanted to hear from someone who had submissive traits who also hunted without any pause. as it was the case on our ranch, you had no choice to be squeamish, and in fact we had one couple of ranch hands who were definitely engaged in a Top and bottom dichotomy. i saw the bottom half slaughter as many turkeys as his Top.

thank you for your wonderful addition to these comments. i do not consider myself my girl's dominant nor do i consider her my submissive. they are terms that define aspects of our personality and ontology.

i can definitely attest to a lack of control that seeing my girl in some sort of garb or bondage drives me to. there, she is fully "in control" while also being controlled, so the line, as you say yourself, is very fluid.

as for the playground games, i wouldn't say they exhibited any submissive traits to incur my interest. in fact, most times, the girl in my chase would be one who would be seen by everyone as most certainly NOT submissive.

Hostile in Ohio said...

Very interesting question.

I can say that my husband (the Dom in our relationship) does not like to hunt or fish. He does not like the taking of life when you can feed yourself in other ways.

He "was" (they never really stop, do they?) a Marine, and while he would have little (if ANY) trouble ever taking a life in defense of himself or those he cares for, he doesn't feel the need to kill animals for meat, unless there is no other way to feed himself or those he cares for.

I am almost certain that I could not take a life (though if someone threatened our children, it is entirely possible that I would try).

Anonymous said...

Hi Deity.

In response, I remember playing a game called "run, catch, kiss" with a group of boys and girls when I was about 12 years old. The boys would chase us, tackle us and try to kiss us. Of course, the boy chasing me wasn't necessarily one I liked, and I did try to run in earnest and try to break away once caught. I liked the thrill of the chase even if I didn't want to get caught, although I liked getting caught even if I didn't like the boy. I've always had "rape fantasies" and liked the thought of being over-powered and forced to do things I wouldn't otherwise do. A couple of years ago I found a blog by a submissive woman and I identified with her and recognized that need in myself. I love the mental control my Dom has over me, much different from my old rape fantasies.

In my case, I think my extreme submissiveness may be a way to overcome my strict Catholic upbringing and guilt associated with sex. I don't question why anymore, I love it to much.