I figured this one would raise a few eyebrows but I’m not doing it so you doubt your Dom/Domme. In fact, during the many years I’ve been studying psychopathy I always found the similarities quite fascinating. [insert Spock eyebrow raise]
Psychopaths actually get a bad rap from the media. When we say the word psychopath the first thing that comes to mind is… serial killer – ooo how spooky. The fact is psychopaths make up between 1 and 4 percent of the world’s population and if they were all serial killers we wouldn’t have a population problem. That means that there are many psychopaths living amongst us; 1 in 25 to be exact – ooo even spookier. And if that’s the case then couldn’t your Domme be one?
I did a show teaching women how to spot a psychopathic predatory male (you can listen below) but I got to thinking, “pump the brakes here, if anyone is more apt to run in to a psychopath it’s a submissive – male or female.” Granted there are far more psychopathic males than females; the ratio is actually 20 to 1, but that doesn’t mean those wicked women aren’t out there in BDSMLand. In order to look at who in our little community might be a psychopath we need to explore what traits psychopaths’ exhibit.
I’m going to start by dispelling a myth. There is no real difference between a psychopath and a sociopath. Dr. Robert D. Hare, whom I consider to be the godfather of the study of psychopathy, and creator of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist describes the difference in his book, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, that “the choice of term reflects the user’s views on the origins and determinants of the clinical syndrome of the contents of this book,” which is of course psychopathy. So just wtf does that mean? Well basically you have half of clinicians and sociologists that think “this is a disorder that is forged by social forces and early experiences.” Hence sociopathy. But there are those, such as Dr. Hare and I have to agree (and we all know how important that is), that “the disorder is a combination of psychological, biological and genetic factors.” Hence psychopathy. So you see it’s just a matter of point-of-view. I’ve found that the media will use one or the other depending on how much they want to sensationalize the story or project. Sociopath is a softer word than psychopath. Just so we’re clear though it’s a tomato – tomahto, issue or more succinctly the nature vs. nurture debate.
Now let’s look at what makes up a psychopath. Psychopathy is defined by Dr. Hare as a “cluster of both personality traits and socially deviant behaviors.” Yeah I know, that’s helpful. Let me explain what he’s talking about.
Many people will lump the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder in with psychopathy and the two are distinctly different. Antisocial personality disorders are what fill our prison system. They are the folks who exhibit criminal or antisocial behaviors. However you rarely find a psychopath in prison because they are capable of operating on the “shady side of the law” and stay out of prison. That’s why you hear the phrase ‘common criminal.’ They don’t have the slickness that a psychopath has. You won’t find a psychopath knocking off a liquor store but you will find him talking the store owner into a free case of booze and the owner will thank him for the pleasure. See the difference?
Now as far as individual psychopathic traits are concerned I’ll take a few from Dr. Hare’s book again that pertain to what you might find in the BDSM community.
- Egocentric and grandiose
- Having a lack of remorse or guilt
- Lack of empathy
- Shallow emotions (unexpressive)
- Deceitful and manipulative
- Impulsive with poor behavior controls
- Lack of responsibility
Hmmm, I don’t know about you but I’m seeing the basic make-up of your average Domme – to a point. I mean aren’t most of these traits what you gentlemen are looking for in your Domme? You want her to be a queen (superficial – egocentric – grandiose – unexpressive), you want her to take control of you preferably in an evil way (deceitful – manipulative – lack of remorse). I would say that if it’s a good Domme that your list ends here because we don’t want the lack of empathy, poor behavior controls, and a lack of responsibility or we start going down a much darker road. And unfortunately there are many who do exhibit these more negative behaviors.
You’ve heard me describe many things regarding sex and sexuality as being like an audio mixing board. One like this one:
If we were to push all the psychopathy slides up to the top you’d have your serial killer. But most psychopaths are sitting in the middle. And these are the guys we WANT in society. Why? These are folks such as surgeons or military special ops. I don’t want my surgeon to be upset over cutting in to me, I want him to be precise and really in to what he’s doing. I’d like to hope if I’m going in to battle with someone that they aren’t going to wimp out under questioning or torture. Obviously I’m not saying that all surgeons or special ops are psychopaths but it fucking helps.
In his book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers can Teach Us About Success, Dr. Kevin Dutton along with his psychopath best buddy Johnny, whom he grew up with, teaches us that not only are there varying degrees of psychopathy but that many of us could learn to be more psychopathic in our behavior and become more successful in life. That may sound crazy but for many of us we could use being less of a push-over and more assertive. To basically learn how to ‘not give a flying fuck’ instead of being paralyzed by fear.
So you see psychopaths aren’t all bad and actually, given the right circumstances can be extremely useful in various occupations. As for your Domme, provided she isn’t so cold that her empathy chip is missing, maybe she is a little psychopathic but isn’t that what makes her an effective Domme? What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.
(Please note that this information isn’t meant for you to diagnose yourself or anyone else with a mental disorder. Also if you think you are being manipulated in a negative way; eg. I’ve been hearing that some of these new insta-Dommes are getting in to your computers and placing child porn on them to take control of your life and your money, you need to seek legal counsel immediately.)