Interview with SEA, a BDSM Educator and Lifestyle Submissive

In order to continuously advance my knowledge and craft as a Female Dominant, I attend numerous classes and workshops at BDSM conferences across the country and the globe. Last fall, I attended DomCon 2018 in New Orleans and it was there that I met Sea, a presenter at the convention. It was during Sea's class "The PhD to Understanding Submissives" that I was for the first time genuinely impressed by an educator's keen insight into the psychology of submission. Sea possessed a natural flair for teaching, an uncanny ability to present BDSM theories and ideas in a clear and concise manner, and of course he conducted his class with light humor and a humble demeanor. A lifestyle submissive with a wealth of experiences in serving Dominant Women for many years, and a presenter/educator at conferences across the country, I simply had to poke Sea's brain by requesting a written interview with him.

To learn more about Sea, visit his Felife page here.

And so, without further ado...

1) Why do you take pleasure in assuming the submissive role in the dance of power exchange? How does it make your feel? What is it about this exchange that motivates and elevates you?

I have been drawn to submission since my earliest memories. Mainstream films and stories that had female dominance appealed to me. I would watch or read them with great interest, and replay particular scenes through my mind. I often wanted to be in the shoes of those who were under the power of those women.

Simply put, I take pleasure in submission because it makes me feel good.

Sometimes that feeling is similar to the type of gratification you get when you express love for someone. Sometimes it is similar to the feeling of peace and purpose when you devote yourself to a cause. Sometimes it is the gratification of knowing you have done a job well. Sometimes it is an arousal--a sexual arousal, or a sense of wow in the mind.

I think submission brings me different types of gratification: spiritual (to devote self, to form connections, to achieve an altered, trance-like state of mind), social (to form social bonds, to love and be loved), masochistic (to feel gratification in being subordinate to a chosen person or suffer for or at hands of someone), and more.

2) How did you evolve into your current self in the BDSM lifestyle? Namely, how did your journey began? 

I learned through adult media in adolescence that there was a name for what I liked and that there were others like me. I then began to seek out media that was focused on BDSM. Through this media I had my first contact with like-minded persons, and through this media I learned about special interest groups and resources on the internet. I discovered much to my delight through the internet that there was a munch a 5-minute drive from where I lived.

Still, I was not ready to appear in public or show up at a place where I knew no one. Around that time I came to see Halloween as a time when people could flirt with the different parts of their identity under the guise of Halloween. That sense, and learning about a fetish show on Halloween night made for my first ever public event.

Going on Halloween made the first venture easier, which made it easier to return to attend a fetish night the following week. I attended my first munch about a month later.

3) How do you define submission? Is there a baseline qualifier or does it vary drastically from one person to the next? 

There is submission that is related to personality or circumstance. And there is submission that is part of a psycho-sexual identity. I speak to the latter. At a broad level I distinguish between those who have zero interest in submission and those who have any degree of interest. On that basis I define submission as a psycho-sexual want to do that which is one or more of the following: obey, capitulate, surrender, elevate the dominant, embrace subservience.

4) What do you believe are some basic human needs and how does submission satisfy those needs? 

I think all humans have primary needs (health, survival, etc.), esteem-related needs, social needs, and spiritual needs. Submissives have submissive/masochistic needs in additional to all these needs. Sometimes these needs or expressions blend together. For example, a given brand of submission might be about devotion and masochism. Another brand of submission might be a mix of love and submission--an adoration from beneath.

So I don’t think it is so much that submission satisfies the other needs but that it affects how those needs are met. 

For example, acts of service are a love language and are not specific to submission. However, a submissive might do acts of service each as an expression of love and expression of submission. The types, degree, frequency, and expectations about whether or not there is any reciprocation of service they are willing to do might be different than if there was no contribution of submission.

As another example, humans commonly seek community. Some people find that sense of community through the BDSM community. It is not that submission itself is meeting a human need, but that the interest in submission is providing an avenue to meet human needs alongside submissive needs.

5) Do you believe that exploring submission can bring healing qualities for one's mental health if done properly, and how? Have you experienced this in your life? 

You commonly in hear in kink that BDSM can be therapeutic but is not a replacement for therapy. I think something that brings joy, peace, or an escape from life’s demands can have a positive benefit on any person. BDSM has potential to deliver that benefit.

I have often turned to submission or masturbation for stress relief during periods of high stress.

The community I found while trying to find like-minded people and partners has had a positive affect on my mental health. And my interest in submission has also helped me grow in different ways that have a positive affect on my mental health. For example, the diversity you find in the BDSM community has inspired me or led to collaborations for creative pursuits. As another example, I was a very studious engineering student who was better at dealing with math than people. I particularly struggled with interacting with women. The scarcity of women in my college classes gave me little opportunity to get better. Getting involved with kink gave me access to a social circle where I began to find more opportunities to meet and interact with women

So I think submission (or my interest in BDSM) serves a beneficial purpose for me that others outside of BDSM could also claim based on their community and activities.

6) You have written about service subs in the writing section of your Fetlife page. Will you please elaborate on what exactly is a "service sub", and how does that contrast in comparison to other forms of submission?

I define service as energy expended to bring comfort, convenience, or delight to another.

There are submissives who have no interest in service. Impact play is not for everyone. Service is not for everyone. 

There are subs who are partnered and for them acts of service (e.g. cleaning the kitchen) is not about BDSM but about what must be done to keep up with life. 

A service sub is a submissive for whom service is a deliberate or key part of their submission. Service is one type of BDSM activity or interest. I think intention is what defines service submission--when someone sees and intends their service to be a gesture of submission.

You see different reasons or motivations to provide service even within service subs who fit this definition.

7) You defined the act of humiliation within the context of human social dynamics as A) to reduce someone & B) to cause emotional distress. How does this differ when it is consciously explored in BDSM? Why do you suppose humiliation is such a powerful source of arousal? 

In everyday life people generally avoid being reduced or feeling emotional distress. Some people in BDSM enthusiastically embrace being reduced or feeling emotional distress.

I think humiliation is powerful because the sense of submission from being reduced is powerful. And feeling emotional distress draws its power from emotional masochism and vulnerability . These states are more raw and nearer to reality than some other forms of BDSM. And I think both of these states are fueled by masochism: gratification from emotional distress (the same way some people get gratification from physical pain), and gratification from a reduced status. That gratification may be sexual arousal, a sense of calm or bliss, or some other altered, gratifying headspace.

8) What is the source of the submissive's power when he/she is interacting with a Dominant? 

The ability to choose or say no are sources of power available to all people within and outside BDSM. These sources of power are available to submissives also.

9) You wrote that you like to assume a hint of playful (or serious?) "supplicatory air" when meeting a potential Dominant. Will you please elaborate on this behavior and its ritualistic meaning? 

The degree of seriousness or playfulness rely on the tone that organically arises when meeting a potential dominant.

One type of submission that appeals to me has a sense of deference, and confers an elevated status to the dominant. The supplicatory air partially feeds this type of dynamic.

Also, the supplicatory air can draw upon and create a greater D/s reality. What I mean is that when one person seeks the attention of another then there is potential for a supplicatory feeling or behavior. I do feel this sense when I am trying to earn the attention of a potential dominant.

Also, if it is a dynamic that creates a hierarchy of rank and standing then this supplicatory air lends a more authentic feeling to it. If you act as complete peers and then go into D/s roles then it can feel like a pretense or roleplay. However, if there is some difference in rank or standing that exists at all times then behaving as if you have different ranks feels more authentic and real. 

10) What is it about a woman (or man) that inspires submission in you?

My interest in submission is inspired by women only. The inspiration ultimately comes from attraction that is a sum of physical, mental, and social traits. I am attracted to confidence and competence (physical, mental, and social). There is a chemistry that matters aside from the attractions. And a believability is also relevant.

To elaborate on the believability, I mentioned how one person who is interested in the attention of another has potential to act in a supplicatory way (whether consciously or subconsciously). To the extent a dominant acts in this way (or other ways that create a sense of one person being submissive to another in everyday life), I think it can lessen the believability of their dominance toward that person.

Thank you, Sea.