Bottoms Up: Sad, Solo, Submissive

I recently wrote in my journal, I’m single now, and I’m lonely and wish I was dating more, and I’m also absolutely 10000% not interested in being touched at all. But at the same time I crave submitting. I’m a mess.

I’m a hot mess. I’m fine being without a partner, even though I find being partnered can be really fulfilling, especially as a submissive. I love being able to come home, switch out of badass-bitch mode and really lean into another person.

But sometimes life gets in the way and suddenly I’m single and doing a million new things all at once and trying to navigate a new city and new responsibilities and in the back of my mind there’s always this constant nagging reminder — I’m lonely.

And I think about how much I love dating, because it lets me be vulnerable in a kinky/sexual way, but I ask myself, when will I have the time? The only way I’ll have time to date is if perfect dominant studs place themselves in my path, which, surprisingly, doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. And then there’s the fact that kinky relationships, just like vanilla ones, are work. I love the work, I do, but I literally can’t imagine adding anything else to my plate.

At this point, it’s not even that I need time to heal from the breakup — the breakup was easy. L and I sat down and realized had all of a sudden begun to think about our futures in very different ways. It was like ripping off a bandaid — it hurt, but the pain was over quickly. So was the healing.

But did I really heal? Am I lying to myself? Probably. I can definitely see lying to myself as a possible coping mechanism. If I’m honest, I felt useless after this breakup. Logically, I get it: We’d grown apart, we wanted different things — there were all the usual reasons a couple might break up, but after a while it’s hard not to think, Will I ever be a good enough submissive? Why don’t people stay?

The answer, of course, is yes, I will be and already am a good enough submissive. It’s hard to tell myself that and believe it, though, when I’ve just spent a significant amount of my time dedicating myself to one person and their needs and wants. Where do I go from here? I don’t want to date, but I also don’t want to wallow. Right now, I just want to feel like I have my groove back.

I feel like I’m spiraling out of control, because I don’t have anyone to lean on in the ways that I would lean on a partner. I feel like I want to be fucked into submission, to get the fog out of my head and see clearly again. But I also want to clean my house, check my email, grade pop quizzes, get ahead on reading, have business lunches, and on and on forever.

This awful sexual-life tension makes it difficult to think about anything for a long period of time. It makes it even harder to go through the motions. I guess this is depression showing itself again, and I know what I’ve got to do to get through it, but instead I just want to focus on nothing.

Later on in that same journal entry, I wrote, you know, you’ve got to be your own daddy. Most of the time, that means that I take myself in hand and I follow a strict schedule, and hopefully, through sheer will, I get my head back on straight. But I don’t want to be my own daddy. I don’t have time! And I don’t want to feel like this — like I don’t know what I want or what I’m worth anymore. But I have to feel like this. For now. It doesn’t make the fact that my heart and brain are trying to do sixteen different things all at once any easier.

Sometimes, I’m able to think through my catalog of healthy coping mechanisms and use my resources and beat depression. But sometimes, all of a sudden, I’m alone and busy and I think, if I never stop moving, I will never hurt again. It’s a lie, but a helpful one. For now. It’s not a perfect coping method because I’m not a perfect human yet. I’m not always taking care of myself in the “right” way, but I always try and for me, moving is better than being stagnant.

I will get through this. A girl smiled at me the other day, and I smiled back. I didn’t think about whether or not I was too busy or good enough or my breakup. I just smiled. I am settling into myself again. Things will normalize eventually; it’s okay if it takes more than a day.

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Ari is a 20-something artist and educator. They are a mom to two cats, they love domesticity, ritual, and porch time. They have studied, loved, and learned in CT, Greensboro, NC, and ATX.

Ari has written 330 articles for us.


  1. Ohhh I felt this. The whole wanting to stay single, and not wanting to be touched, yet still wanting to be submissive thing. If only an emotionally unavailable asexual stud would wander into my life…!

  2. Ohhhhhhh wow. So much love. You’re awesome and I can’t wait to hear down the road one day about how amazingly okay you are. <3

  3. Dear Alaina, I am a submissive as well. I believe being submissive comes from our search for self value on the emotional level. I know for me, I excelled in education so that I could get the praise ( love?) from my parents, and regard of others. This has been a characteristic part of my life. My self esteem, emotionally, came from the praise or feelings for me, of others. But self esteem needs to be realized by ourself internally to be freeing.

    I have learned to take time during the day and sit quietly and blank out thoughts and relax, put off worries, enjoy good thoughts of myself. Essentially, self acknowledgement of my good, and valuable accomplishments.

    With all your accomplishments in life, I think you will find that your brain will tell your heart that you are a good, and loving, valuable person. Like all of us feel about you!

  4. This was a powerful read, Alaina. I’ve never actually been single. I was always so insecure I’d be willing to subject myself to whatever relationship was available just to feel safe and better about myself.

    Interestingly enough, I didn’t start submitting until I realized I was a powerful, intelligent, capable survivor and that there were lots of reasons someone would love me.

  5. Ya know how people always say it’s good to masturbate in order to know yourself and bring your most informed sexual self to the table? I think the same thing goes for solitude/being single. If you know yourself and your needs & wants, you’re more prepared to build a kickass kinky relationship with another human. It all starts with self-knowledge and the ability to care for yourself, I think.

  6. Thank you so much for this. Being a single sub who’s just gone through a breakup and is still very sad about it, and is also super busy, this resonated so much with me. Thank you for buoying me up with your strength.

  7. Ooooo, this entire article resonated with me. Also a single sub, six months out from my most recent breakup & still feeling the loneliness vibes to the max.

    I really felt this: “This awful sexual-life tension makes it difficult to think about anything for a long period of time. It makes it even harder to go through the motions. I guess this is depression showing itself again, and I know what I’ve got to do to get through it, but instead I just want to focus on nothing.”

    I’ve been very much in this stage for about a month now, but I think I’m slowly getting past it. Thank you for writing this, Alaina. It came at the perfect time.

  8. it’s a bit of a combo, but if you’re asking me if i’m recently single and too busy but yearning to mingle the answer is yes

  9. I feel this on a deep level. I recently ended a long (5 year) relationship and for four years of it I was the submissive to a really great Dom. It’s hard for me to think about kink without remembering I am now a solo submissive. Your article has given me something special, the belief that I can bring single AND a submissive versus only being a submissive when I have a partner.

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