Vulnerability is a huge part of what we do. Vulnerability for subs in really letting themselves go and submitting to someone else's whims but also vulnerability for Doms in exercising what the mainstream labels as misogynistic or abusive. I've had some interesting discussions with guys who've always had urges to spank their girlfriend or tie them up but found it really hard to accept because they were 'nice guys' and it wasn't really socially acceptable. Likewise as a tough and independent girl sometimes part of my head questions what I'm doing in giving someone such power over me.
Having the confidence to let myself be vulnerable is a difficult thing it contradicts almost everything that I am. We moved a lot when I was a kid so I was often 'the new girl on the block' and learned to stand up for myself or be stood on. In a rough secondary school I struggled with being bright in an environment where that was a very negative thing - when you added an interest in music, drama and sport (it wasn't the done thing to be interested in anything) I was a natural target for bullies. I took up judo and earned a reputation as a bad person to pick a fight with because I'd hit back hard and was capable of being just as foul-mouthed as anyone who wanted to have a pop at me. Amusingly I gathered a bit of a following - I remember my Mum sitting in horror as I bought home kids who spoke solely in four letter words and would pick fights on my behalf. University was fabulous but I was socially a bit out of my depth as most of the others were from much more privileged backgrounds, my Director of Studies made comments about having problems with people from 'schools like yours' and was unable to understand that I *had* to work two jobs all summer if I wanted to come back next year at all. I've made my mark by my ability to stand on my own feet and still do - I'm ten years younger than anyone else in my current job, and confidence and presence are crucial for pulling it off - sometimes I laugh at how on earth I'm doing this job.
So, letting myself be vulnerable isn't easy and takes a great deal of trust. On a subconscious level it's probably a big part of why I'm wired to be sexually submissive - something has to give somewhere. It takes time for me to feel comfortable letting myself go with people, which is why I role play a lot. In big scenes like schools I don't have to be vulnerable - Rebecca at school certainly isn't. Some people I've played with probably don't think of me as being submissive at all. The boy interest and I did something new recently and afterwards he commented that he thought I'd fight more and I explained that I didn't need to as it was his choice and I wanted to make him happy and I trust him.
Being vulnerable really comes into play when you're one on one or in small groups. Letting myself stop fighting, whimper when something hurts or purr when I'm happy is important - it's part of the intimacy of what we do. Being vulnerable is really letting my playmates in, through all the barriers to a part of me that lies deeper inside. As I've grown as a sub it's something that I can do more easily but it's still a very personal part of myself that I can only relax into with people that I really trust and feel safe around.
You don't have to go to that part of your head to enjoy play - it's just another aspect - a bit like the fear factor. If I'm socialising with friends and someone jokingly pulls me over their lap or tells me off it's not an issue. As a bit of a masochist sometimes I don't want to be vulnerable and play quite tough characters - resistance is fun and the banter that goes with it can be very sexy and make for a great scene. But the bit where the resistance falters and I crumple and yield and let myself go is special and something I can only do with people I feel totally comfortable with.