A strong body image supports self-confidence. Identity resides in the skin, as much as in the mind, if we think we look good, we feel good and vice versa. There are two different ideologies behind submission that are particularly of interest here: those who submit out of a lack of confidence and desire to be controlled, and those who do so because they already have a powerful sense of self that they enjoy giving up. The two are strongly related and at any point during submission their will be aspects of both of these.
Narcissism is a personality disorder of self-obsession. It is characterised by supreme confidence often deriving from a belief that the sufferer has a flaw or flaws that they must disguise using a powerful front which they use to manipulate others. These feelings of strength and wretchedness form part of the psychological aspect of submission. I'm not suggesting for an instant that to be a submissive is to be a clinical narcissist, but the theory offers an interesting angle from which to view the conflicting ways in which the self-confident skin is constructed.
The submissive who looks to external sources for validation seeks satisfaction and identity in others. To have no self, to have no personality, to be punished, to be erased - these all signify that which the submissive already believes, that they have no inherent value beyond that which another gives to them. They are keenly aware of the narcissistic flaw, and cover it with the act of submission, behaving in a way that they believe fits what they are, and there is a pleasure in being proven right. There is also a pleasure in being told what to do, to no longer have to make any decisions or value judgements and to exist without thinking, which removes them from the problem of having no self-worth because they no longer have to rely on themselves. Their skin is given to them, and it changes depending on who is doing the giving, as a result they can end up with many skins, some of which might be conflicting.
A lot of these concepts are also at play within the self-confident submissive, however the root cause of the pleasure is different. Here, there is a keen awareness of the worth of what is given up, and also a thrill in letting go of oneself which is only possible if you concede that self has any value. The confident submissive is, in reality, more submissive than their counterpart. Whereas one needs to take their identity from someone else through the act of submission, the other actually submits their will to that of another. In simple terms: you can't give up what isn't there. In this case, the self-confident skin is already present, but in giving it over both physically and mentally, the submissive feels tested and challenged (and possibly changed) but eventually returned to themselves. This act of returning is represented by the end of a scene, where the control is handed back to the submissive and they then take charge of their skin once more. For the confident submissive this is a return to the norm, and they rest high on both the pleasure they have had and the pleasure in being themselves once more. For the other this is also a return to the norm but there is extreme regret in being "back to normal" and again lacking in self-worth.
Giving up the skin is a powerplay in a very obvious sense, regardless of which attitude is expressed and in reality, there should always be a balance of both ways of thinking. To be totally reliant on one's own judgement without taking into account any outside influence is as dangerous as to allow yourself to flux according to the opinions of others without any central point of judgement. The self-confident skin is something, like many aspects of identity, that is created, it does not spring into existence like pegasus from the blood of medusa: it is crafted like folded steel and can be the work of many hands.
5 weeks ago