Friday, February 22, 2008

Who is the Submissive Man?

Even with a short survey, we have collected a very rich data set. We have a modest respondent base of just over two hundred participants, but the quality of the sample is high. You should not compare this sample to an online poll, as it is nothing like that. I have controlled the sample carefully. We have a great deal of heterogeneity across most of the demographic data (with one notable exception), and analysis of very basic data quality metrics within demographic segments is predictable and in line with what you would expect from a much larger sample. For example, income goes up predictably as age increases, income and age indices align with regional expectations, etc. We know that statistics teaches us that a small sample is generally as reliable as a large sample, but it is always good to see it play out in the data.


The one exception to the heterogeneity in our data set was around the category of ethnic background. We had a sample that was 98% white. I made every effort to recruit African American, Hispanic and Asian respondents (and then planned on stratifying the sample afterwards so my recruiting did not impact the aggregate results), but my efforts were ineffective. In the end we had one African American respondent, one Hispanic respondent and two Asian respondents. I know from my social sciences background that it is often difficult to collect responses from African Americans and even more difficult from Hispanics, but I certainly did not expect this. As a result of this, I went into the BDSM personals site, and I analyzed the first one hundred submissive males on the site as a proxy for the population. It was not a perfect proxy, but the results were interesting.

In the Collarme sample of American submissive men (excluding gay men), we saw the following:

1% Hispanic
2% African American
2% Mixed
95% Caucasian

So my conclusion is that my lack of ethnic responses was not a function of sampling or recruiting problems, it was a genuine reflection of the population of submissive men. Submissive men are overwhelming white. This is ultimately nothing more than descriptive. Because ethnicity has both a genetic and cultural component, it says very little about the question of what makes a man submissive that we will deal with comprehensively in a later release of the data.


The Collarme data also was important to me to evaluate and report state by state information. Because I did some active recruiting to assure regional representation, I wanted to have another data source to give me a somewhat more reliable read of geographic dispersement of American submissive men. Here I also went through another interesting exercise using yet another data source. I used the MaxFisch directory of dominant women to gauge where professional dominants are most abundant, counting how many links to pro-dommes there were listed for each state. I then married both this count and the Collarme count of submissive men with US population data to create an index of where submissive men and professional dominants are under or over-developed relative to the population. (Note that the Collarme sample was collected from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EST, so we can assume some time zone bias to the data.)

Let me take you through an example state to help interpret the following data:

Click Here to View Figure 1: Submissive and Pro-dommes Totals by State

Florida represents 6.0% of the US population, but 8.2% of the submissive men in my Collarme sample. Index 8.2% to the expected 6.0% and you get 137. Any state over 100 is overdeveloped, and any state under 100 is underdeveloped. Florida also represents 9% of the pro-domme listings on MaxFisch, and they are overdeveloped there as well.

As far as interpreting this data, be cautious. While I’m sure, for example, that the politician and lobbyist community in Washington D.C. are known to support a vibrant pro-domme community, I suspect that the capital's pro-domme development index of nearly 1500 is more a function of the fact that D.C. is a place where white submissive men go to work, either as commuters or business travelers, but seldom live (most people that work in D.C. commute from neighboring Virginia or Maryland.) This more than anything explains their inordinately high index. Similarly, Florida and Nevada are huge convention states, and much of the pro-domme customer base undoubtedly comes from business travelers indulging their submission when out of town.

However, I also think the data has much to tell us about regional differences. The unusually high indices for submissive men in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire, would seem to indicate that there is something about New England that tends to create a disproportionate number of submissive men. Also, the combined Midwest to Western, nominally conservative states of Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Utah together represent 7.2% percent of the population, but had zero submissive men in my Collarme sample and only a handful of pro-dommes between them.


Moving beyond geography and ethnicity and into age, I have put together the following chart utilizing the same model of comparing our sample to the US population. Here I am going back to the FSG Charter Survey data as my source for submissive men.

(Note: It has come to my attention that some of you are having difficulty reading my tables as they are appearing distorted in your browser windows. Please click here for an online spreadsheet version of the data.)

Figure 2: Age of Submissive Men

-------------------------% FSG Sample--------------- % US Population-------Index

25 and Under---------------- 5.4 ------------------------35.9 ------------------15
26 - 35 ------------------------14.7 ------------------------13.9 -----------------106
36 - 45 ------------------------26.0 ------------------------14.8 -----------------176
46 - 55 ------------------------31.9 ------------------------20.4 -----------------156
55+ ----------------------------22.1 ------------------------20.9 -----------------106

I think it has often been hypothesized that there is a sweet spot for the blossoming of submission in a man as he begins to move into middle age. This has certainly been suggested by Emily Addison on her site. Here the data proves out this hypothesis. Aging out of one’s twenties and thirties is a difficult time for many men, and the youth and physical vigor on which they have based their self-esteem begins to fade. Perhaps this suggests that they can turn to their submissive impulses to seek security. Alternatively, it might be quite the opposite. Perhaps they become more comfortable with whom they are and what they want. This new confidence in their identiy helps them to feel more open to explore submissive impulses that have always existed. The data supports both theories.

Marital Status

Our FSG sample of submissive men is less likely to never have married than the US population (and here I use white males only for the population benchmark since there were significant differences across ethnic segments). This can probably be explained away by the fact that they also tend to be older than the population overall.

(Note: It has come to my attention that some of you are having difficulty reading my tables as they are appearing distorted in your browser windows. Please click here for an online spreadsheet version of the data.)

Figure 3: Marital Status of Submissive Men

-----------------------------% FSG Sample----------- % US Population ----------Index

Single Never Married ------------21.6 -----------------------27.5 -----------------79
Currently Married ---------------57.8 -----------------------60.9 -----------------95
Divorced ----------------------------21.1 -----------------------11.7 -----------------180

However, the divorce rate is strikingly higher for submissive men. I may be overstepping, but I can only assume that this is because they could never achieve the sort of emotional intimacy that they sought in a strictly non-femdom relationship.


Our submissive respondents differ dramatically from the US white, male population in regard to their income. (Note: I again made the comparison against white male Americans as opposed to all male Americans.) The below chart makes it abundantly clear that submissive men are much more financially successful than their non-submissive counterparts.

(Note: It has come to my attention that some of you are having difficulty reading my tables as they are appearing distorted in your browser windows. Please click here for an online spreadsheet version of the data.)

Figure 4: Annual (Individual) Income of Submissive Men

----------------------% FSG Sample --------------% US Population ------------Index

Under $25k ----------------6.4 --------------------------43.5 --------------------15
$25 - 40k ------------------13.7 -------------------------18.9 --------------------73
$41 - 60k ------------------19.6 -------------------------16.4 --------------------119
$61 - 80k ------------------16.8 -------------------------10.1 --------------------167
$81 - 100k -----------------11.8 -------------------------3.1 ---------------------383
$100 - 140k ---------------16.7 ---------------------------4.7 ---------------------357
$150k + --------------------15.7 --------------------------3.3 ---------------------472

It is impossible to know if there is a cause and effect relationship at work. However, even if we could prove that a cause and effect relationship existed, it would still be equally impossible to know which variable represents the cause and which represents the effect. It is very much a chicken or the egg question. Do men turn to submission, as some hypothesize, because the pressures of financial success leads them to it as an escape from their responsibilities? Or, is there something about the submissive man’s desire to please others that makes him financially successful. We hope to explore this question in later analysis, but for now it remains unanswered.

It is also worthwhile, and perhaps relevant to the question above, to note how these men make their livings. Twenty-two percent own their own businesses while sixty-eight percent work for others. (Six percent are retired, one percent is unemployed and one percent keep house while the wife works). A whopping forty percent have employees for which they are the direct supervisor. I do not have benchmark against which to compare that, but I suspect that it is inordinately high compared to the population overall. Furthermore, forty-one percent consider there job “high-powered” and fully fifty-five percent consider their job high stress. This data will be incredibly useful when considering the root causes of the submissive impulse in later releases of our results.

Concluding Comments

For now, we have provided a glimpse into who the submissive man is in America. Please know that this only represents the beginning of our results and analysis, and that the bulk of this project remains in front of us. Please keep checking for updates.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Update and Status of Charter Survey

Thanks to all who have taken the time to fill out the charter survey. We are more than half way through with our data collection, and my initial reviews of the data have already proved fascinating. I am hopeful that we can start posting some very basic data as early as late March or early April. However, I expect to continue analyzing data and posting results for many months following the initial post.

Some of you have written to ask questions about how many survey responses we plan to collect, and how many we truly need to get a good read on the community. Please understand that sampling is a combination of science and art, and I am taking great pains to get a reliable sample for the charter study. Let me just take a minute to explain some of the thinking behind my sampling methodology and goals.

If you have ever taken an introductory statistics class, you may recall that a truly random sample can yield very reliable results with as few as thirty respondents. Unfortunately, random samples are almost impossible to achieve in the social sciences. Add in the fact that our subject matter is of a deeply personal and highly confidential nature, and sampling becomes even more challenging. Furthermore, I do not just intend to post the aggregate results of the study. In other words, I plan on running crosstabs and segmenting respondents into groups based on their answers so I can then report the statistics from just these groups. To do this I need a quality sample not only in terms of numbers, but also in terms of inclusiveness of key groups.

With my sampling methodology I am purposely seeking out groups of respondents that represent a mix of, initially, geographic and demographic groups. I then compare these different groups to the broader sample to determine if these groups have a tendancy to respond differently to the survey than do other groups. If they do, I go back and assure that I have an adequate number of respondents for each group, and balance or "stratify" the sample so that they are adequately represented relative to appropriate mix in the population. Also, if I find that key geographic or demographic categories are under-represented, I can go back and recruit respondents from these categories. In the end, I expect that the sample will include submissive men from every state and every major ethnic/demographic category, with enough respondents in each to at least assure a confidential and directionally accurate sample

I also do this on other key variables that come from the data itself. For example, because I am posting for survey respondents on Around Her Finger, I want to make sure that those who heard about my survey on that site, if they are significantly different than the total sample, are not over-represented in the results. I am doing the same thing with other sites where either I have mentioned the study, or others have mentioned the study on my behalf.

All this takes a great deal of work, and I believe this effort will make my results unique and far more valuable than the "poll and post" approach to survey research that dominates the web today.

Thank you again for your participation and patience while I work through the results.