Posts tagged ‘Dominance and submission’

Wants and Needs

It has been a while since writing.  For that I apologize.  Holidays, health and births have taken my attention.  But here are some thoughts.

It was often told to me that it is the Dominant’s responsibility to satisfy the Needs of their submissives, but it is their choice as to whether or not they satisfy their submissive’s wants.

To me that seemed a relatively simple, understandable and reasonable statement.  If I am taking some level of responsibility for the well being of this person, much like a parent has responsibility for their child, it is understandable that I would be responsible for their needs, but just because my little girl wants a pony, that does not necessarily mean she will be getting a pony.

But even in Daddy/little girl relationships, understanding the statement is not easily translated into a practical application thereof.  H0pefully we are dealing with adults here, adults who may have had many years experience in deciding exactly what their needs and wants might be.  But deciding the difference between our needs and wants is profoundly different from responsibly deciding what is a need and what is a want in someone else.

The situation complicates because in most cases we are not dealing with simple subjects.  We are not dealing with things but with aspects of our relationship.  Does she want the excitement of being bound to your bed each night or does she need it as a representation of being held within your sphere.  In one case, it is a hot kick which is fun and you can do it or not, and in the other it is a symbol of your surrounding her with your protection and you had best NOT forget about it.

Let us look at the following example:  The two of you have talked extensively about the mutual desire to broaden your sexual relationship, go for a triad for example.  She may a great desire and vast experience with bi-sexuality, for instance, and truly enjoy girl/boy/girl porn.  She thinks that doing that would be so HOT!  You may feel that adding a third to your family would be a delight.

But then comes the day when the two of you invite some hot and horny woman into your bedroom.  Your partner, with whom you have worked for years so she can feel as open and vulnerable to you as possible, look at you as her guide and director, her adviser and teacher, the one who who she allows within this vulnerability to take her to really incredible heights of sexual passion by all those lovely things that You do to HER.  Now she is watching you do all these lovely things to this other woman who shows incredible appreciation for the passion you are lifting in her and you are sincerely loving that appreciation that previously you got only from your partner, and your partner sees that and suddenly things are not going as wonderfully as you both had anticipated.  This is immediately complicated by her knowing she agreed to this, and it is, after all, obviously pleasurable to you.

Or possibly she has wanted to experience two men all her life, and you find another Dominant and you both Top her and you find her responding to His Dominance as she does to yours, and eagerly following His directions or responding to His sadistic thrills as she does to yours.  Suddenly you do not seem as special in your partner’s eyes.  Your appreciation is just not quite as great.  That disillusionment, in either case, can drag on and effect your relationship for quite a long time.

What is a Dominant, a Master to do?  That is a very difficult question and one I have been struggling with for quite a while.  Let me say now that I do not have an answer.  But I have some thoughts.

Something I dearly wish to avoid are disastrous mistakes.  We are dealing, after all, with deeply personal levels of behavior that are often glossed over in relationships.  Most people don’t do what we do and a disastrous mistake can result in the end of a relationship, particularly in times when people jump into fantasy behavior without thinking about the practical and realistic results.

So my first thought is, Take Your Time.  There is no rush here.  Talking about it is fine, describe it, suggest different scenarios.  Suggest different outcomes, even unpleasant ones.  Talk about how the two of you would handle them.

Then Listen.  You will hear the sincere joy or the concern.  There will always be hints.  Be aware of long pauses with questions such as, “Is that what you want?”  Is she just asking, or is she expressing a deep concern.  Then be honest with yourself?  Is it what you want?  Is it important enough to examine the basis of your relationship, because that is what is required?  May be, may not be.  That is up to you.  But make an honest decision.  If you discover that there is an area of fragility, then it is up to you to decide if your relationship is strong enough to test it or whether or not this activity should be postponed.

Observe.  Does she come back to a subject the next day?  Does she seem unsettled?  As a scheduled event approach is she quieter or are there disagreements over unrelated subjects that usually do not happen?  Does she do her service with less joy?

The question is, is it more important to go forward with an event with the possibility of unsettled issues which can cause difficulty in the future, or is it better to wait, postpone the event, and for both of you to work towards transparency and trust?  Which is more important?  What exactly are Your wants and your needs?  I usually move towards waiting.

The Eroticist

Some interesting blogs on the subject by some knowledgeable people, my good friend and a very KinkyLittleGirl.  A multiblog post from the Submissive Guide, but it aims particularly at how a submissive can discern between Wants and Needs, and not from a Dominant’s point of view.  A longer post from A Submissives journey.  He does tend to tell you exactly what those needs are for all submissive women, and you should know that this site has the following policy, “This website is dedicated to the belief and practice of “Absolute Submission” and “Unconditional Surrender” within the “Ancient” and “Biblical” documented and practiced “Natural Order” of women consensually submitting to men.”  Not a philosophy with which I totally agree, but it is an interesting read.

The Triumvirate, the First Leg

I was once told that a three legged stool was the most sable, because it could never wobble.  I am not sure if the analogy will hold through this.  But it is a good place to start.

I often have deeply insightful discussions with my partner pb.  Our relationship is slowly but, and most importantly, consistently growing.  A subject that has been discussed repeatedly in the recent past has been Transparency.

A simple definition of transparency within the BDSM context is the ability to communicate everything, rational and emotional, without editing.  We are not trained to do that.  We are trained to hide, even from ourselves.  (Psychologists make quite a good living from that tendency.)  Transparency is the ability to tell your partner what is happening inside.  How do you feel, even if it may hurt to say it?  What do you want, even if you know you can’t or shouldn’t get it?  It is the ability to communicate what is inside even if it is silly, embarrassing, stupid, contradictory, self centered, jealous, and insulting.  Most importantly, even if you don’t like it.

Gandhi once said he had an allegiance to truth, not to consistency.  Humans are inherently self contradictory.  Our feelings are true, but they may be totally contradictory to what we state.  Our beliefs are true even if our feelings brings us to contradictory actions.  No matter, to be transparent we must be able to express them.

Now here is the overwhelmingly sticky element in all of this from within an authority exchange relationship.  Transparency is required from the slave or submissive to the Dominant, but not from the Dominant to the slave or submissive.  That’s a real kicker, one of those, “How come it’s OK for YOU” elements.  But there are some caveats there.  The Dominant MUST be internally transparent to the best of his or her ability.  That is he must understand himself and his reasons for his behavior.  But he or she is not required to be verbally transparent about his or her actions to those who have given them authority.

This is not a power play.  If a Dominant is attempting to bring forth an insight within his submissive, telling her how and why would, at that point, only give her tools with which to armor herself.

Those on the right side of slash in the D/s or M/s relationship MUST be transparent to the best of their ability in all communication to their partner on the left side of the slash.  Those in authority must do whatever they can to encourage and train their partners to be so.  How else can the Dominant or Master make the best decisions?

But those on the left, to do their best work, to bring out the best in their partners, are not required to expose the reasons behind their behavior to those on the right.  To do their job, to intelligently take on the responsibility of the relationship, to assist in the growth of that relationship and those within it, a Dominant or Master must often do sly and sneaky things.  If he is able, he must, at times, trick his partner into insights.  He must eloquently finagle.

However, to ACCEPT that finagling, to be able to willingly give that authority, to say, “I may not understand, but I accept” requires Trust, and that is the second leg.

The Eroticist

A Tumblr post

Yes, I know, I have promised to post more on Exxxotica, but I got hit with some additional surgery, and I am recovering, so just wait, ok?

However, in my bed of pain I ran across a tumblr that truly impressed me.  It is the first I have ever actually chosen to follow rather than just stalk.  It is obviously from a person of intelligence and and literary acumen.  Good photos and excellent texts.

On it, today, I found the following interchange, though the actual post is from a while back.  That interchange was originally on this blog.  It just pointed so squarely to so many of my issues within the BDSM community that I am FORCED (ahem, yea) to quote it.  Because I have not yet received instructions as to how to handle his links, I will some within []s.


Anonymous asked:

Been reading ur blog. U need to stop calling urself a dom. All this lovey crap makes real doms sick. A sub is not for respecting and loving. A sub is for using and thats what they like. Its fine that u love ur girl, just dont call urself a dom. Real doms show dominance, use there sub and leave her laying like the cunt slut she is. Bein all sweet, and all that does is give her power over u, which makes u not a dom.

Original post answered:

Hi there, Anon. I almost didn’t even dignify this with a response, but I think you’ve actually given me a good opportunity to say something that new Doms need to know, so kudos to you.

First and foremost, let’s establish something right here and now: You don’t get to tell me what I am, and you are damn sure not the leading authority on what does and does not constitute a Dominant. For the record, I didn’t wake up one day and decide to be a Dom. I never even thought of myself that way until I met [My pet] 10 years ago. I always had the characteristics of a Dom, sure, but I didn’t ever put that title on myself. That title was given to me by my submissive. SHE is the one who wanted to call me Master, and Sir, and sometimes Daddy. I never told her to do these things. But of course, you probably think I am making my point for you and that if I were a REAL Domly Dom, I would’ve demanded those things.

And that’s where you have a fundamental issue understanding the meaning of the title. So let me help you with that.

A Dom does not demand respect. He conducts himself in such a way as to be worthy of respect.

A Dom does not bark commands. His presence is such that he can seduce and command with nothing more than a glance.

A Dom does not raise his voice. He is the kind of man who gets what he wants without needing to.

A Dom is not a braggart. He is possessed of a calm, quiet confidence that is evident in his demeanor, the way he walks, the tone of his voice, and all other aspects of him.

A Dom understands balance. He knows that while a firm hand and discipline are critical in this type of relationship, knowing when to be gentle and understanding is every bit as important.

A Dom is a gentleman first and foremost. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a fancy man who values the finer things in life, but he does understand manners and protocol. He opens the car door for her. He orders for her if she is having trouble deciding. He treats strangers with courtesy and respect.

A Dom is a protector. He makes sure that his submissive feels safe and protected at all times. This means so much more than just telling her you will protect her. A Dom shows her. He keeps a hand on her shoulder or on her waist in crowds so she doesn’t get nervous. He sleeps on the side of the bed closest to the door so that he is always between his submissive and an intruder. He walks on the side of the sidewalk closest to the street so that an errant vehicle will hit him before his submissive. If anything or anyone should threaten his submissive, he must be prepared to fight for her with the ferocity of an alpha wolf.

A Dom earns her submission. It is not a thing to be demanded, expected, or assumed. And he continues to earn it, each and every day.

A Dom values her submission. Fully submitting your will and trusting your body and well-being to someone takes a kind of strength most can’t imagine, and a dom never loses sight of that.

A Dom understands that being a dominant is 10% privilege and 90% responsibility. He is literally taking her life into his hands. He is accepting the most sacred and important thing she has to give. He is taking her burdens and bearing them as his own, always, every day.

A Dom is consistent. He understands that he can’t just be her protector, lover, confidant, master, etc. when he feels like it. There will be days when a dom is tired. There will be days when he is stressed. There will be days when he is broken. On those days, it is more important than ever for a Dom to show his submissive that he is still everything she needs him to be.

So what does it mean, then, to be a Dom? I get the feeling that you, anon, would say that it’s all about making her kneel, having your way with her, shouting orders and using her. Helpful hint: Any jackass can buy himself a whip and bark commands. That’s not a Dom. Don’t get me wrong, I do absolutely have my way with [my pet]. I love it when she kneels. I love the kinky, rough, mind-blowing sex we have. I love to dominate her in the bedroom. But for every moment of that, there are a hundred moments of holding her, of talking to her, laughing with her, gaming with her. There are a hundred moments of making her feel safe when she is afraid, giving her confidence when she is unsure, comforting her when she feels troubled. Those are all things that a Dominant does too.

I love my submissive more than I love oxygen. I love my submissive with a fire that can never be extinguished. I value her and respect her in every way. I treat her like a queen and fuck her like a slave. These things don’t make me weak. They don’t make me less of a Dominant. These things make me stronger than you can possibly imagine. There is nothing quite so formidable as a Dominant who has found the perfect submissive to fuel his fire. Never will you see anyone love so strongly or fight so fiercely.

Bottom line, Anon, is this: you sound like a boy playing at being a man. You decided one day that you were sick of women having willpower and a voice of their own, so you decided to call yourself a dominant and seek out some weak-willed submissive who wouldn’t talk back to you or stick up for herself. You are not a dom. You are a jackass with a whip. Classic case of toodomforyou.


I could not have said it better myself, though I am sure I will continue to try.

The Eroticist

 

The submissive’s choice

First I should apologize for my extended absence.  I am an artist by trade, if you can actually use those terms together, and have just finished three shows, one quite major.  Immediately following that, I was lucky enough to have some surgery from which I am still recovering.  All is going well.  But these things did occupy my time.  Glad to be back.

In my reading of letters and questions from submissives I often hear questions such as “Is it OK for a Dom to share his sub with others even if she doesn’t want to?”  Or perhaps, “Does a submissive or slave have to give over her finances to her Dom or Master?”  I would hope your answer to either of these questions would be “It depends on the relationship you negotiated.”

I sincerely have a vast respect for anyone who chooses the submissive or slave lifestyle.  I believe it can be a fulfilling and empowering position which can promote great growth.  But I question any who enters into it from a submissive or slave headspace.  Yea, I know, that sounds somewhat contradictory.  If you feel yourself to be a submissive or have a slave heart, how can you drop all of that when looking into the actual relationship you desire.

My reply is, how can you enter into a submissive or slave relationship by giving up your choices and needs to someone you do not yet know or trust?  You are entering into a relationship which may require vastly differing forms of behavior for you.  You may be told you can not use the furniture or wear clothing in your house.  You may be told you must perform sexual acts that are extremely unusual to you.  You may be told you must give up your career or family or friends.  You may be required to undergo body modifications from the simple to the extreme.  You may be treated in the most extremely disrespectful of ways.  Or you may not.  Do you know?

The question is, before you to commit to these changes in your life, do you know what they will be and have you considered if they are changes that you want?  My feeling is that you can not make these decisions in a headspace where you have already given over your personal power to the other.  You have to make these decisions as a calm, self respecting, competent, strong willed and independent person who has done extensive introspection, education and self examination.  This is negotiation, after all and you should enter into negotiations knowing what you want out of them, knowing where you are willing to compromise, and, most importantly, knowing what the possibilities are.

I often say, the best question is, “What do you mean by that?”  Consider the statement, “I like a bit of humiliation play.”  What, then, is humiliation to you?  What is humiliation to the other?  And what is, “a bit”?  If a form of behavior or play is unfamiliar to you, do not use it in negotiations until you understand it, and understand how the other is using it?

Understand your own needs and limits.  If a limit is not mentioned, does that mean it is open and acceptable to cross, or does it mean that when it does come up, it should be negotiated before being crossed?  Future negotiations are part of negotiations.

Are you willing to give up all rights to renegotiation or will there be times when open and honest feedback is requested by your Dom or Master?  Will that feedback be respected?  The one command may be “to obey”.  Does that mean you have no right to question or perhaps inform?  Are you always to do exactly and only what you are told, or are you able to add to your service from your own creativity?  Questions, Questions, Questions.  Until you negotiate and understand and agree to the elements of your relationship, you have the right, responsibility, and indeed obligation to come to the negotiating table as a self confident equal, with equal rights and equal value.  If you can not do that, learn how before you negotiate.

Please understand, there is nothing wrong with the most extreme forms of imbalanced relationships.  If you have competently negotiated a relationship where your body is modified to be a caricature of a person, and you sleep in a box in your own feces, to be brought out only to be sexually abused by multiple people (that is sort of an extreme of what I DON’T want in a partner) and you have negotiated, understood and chosen that position from a confident communicated position, bless you, and dive right in.  It is your choice.  But if you don’t ask, if you don’t communicate, if you do not demand the kind of relationship you want, desire and need, do not be surprised by what you get.

Until you give up responsibility in an educated and committed way, the responsibility for what you get is yours.

The Eroticist

Why do we do what we do?

I got a post from one of my favorite bloggers today, Charlie Glickman.  It explores the reasons people have some of the more extreme physical interactions within their relationships that they do, certainly that we do in BDSM relationships.  He mentions many of the most common reasons, but there are some important ones that I wished to emphasize.

Certainly there are differences in personal taste and physiology.  Different people react to stimulation in different ways.  Things feel different to different people.  Particularly significant is that physical stimulation will feel different to the same people at different times and when they are in different states.  As Charlie says, sensation can feel vastly different when you are highly arroused than when you are just returning from the office.  Also many women go through vast changes in their reactions at different periods of their cycle.

Fear is another major factor.  People can get far more enjoyment from a fearful situation within a context of a negotiated and trusting relationship than an unwanted sexual encounter with a stranger.  As Charlie says, there can be a large “difference between riding on a roller coaster and being in car going downhill without brakes.”

Within a trusted BDSM relationship it also can be emotionally releasing to work through previously traumatic events in a context of loving care, support and competent guidance.  (Though I must add the caveat that while therapeutic moments can happen within a BDSM relationship, it is a risky endeavor and should be done only with kink friendly professional assistance.)

I definitely agree with Charlie that it can add to ones enjoyment when one feels they are “breaking the rules.”  I might say that “breaking rules” is a large attractor in the BDSM lifestyle.  We often pride ourselves in the thought that we structure our relationship outside of the norm.  It is also true, that attempting extreme behaviors just because it breaks the rules may be a way of discovering new enjoyments, but also may trigger a partner in ways you do not expect.

Charlie posted, “some people seek extreme experiences because they need a lot of sensation to overcome a tendency to check out or dissociate.”  While editorially that paragraph may have parts missing, I did want to comment.  In my time in the BDSM lifestyle, I have met people who receive pain in unique but personally helpful ways.  Two examples are using pain to stop the internal dialog.  We all tend to talk to ourselves in a dialog that confirms our view of the world and ourselves, sometimes quite negatively.  SadoMasochistic interactions can assist in slowing or quieting that dialog down, giving rest to the mind and allowing it to accept different viewpoints.

The other example is the use of pain to quiet pain.  I have met and interacted with two people who suffer strongly from fibromyalgia.  In our interactions we spoke at length about how the careful and negotiated pain from a Sadist would move their sensations away from and relieve their fibromyalgic pain for sometimes days at a time.  That was the reason they came to the BDSM world.

Lastly, I want to confirm Charlie’s final comments.  On the need for aftercare, it is often thought, particularly by people unfamiliar with SadoMasochistic play, that aftercare is primarily for the benefit of the person receiving the extreme sensation and that they are the ones most likely to fall into an emotional downturn or depression after extreme sensation.  That is often not the case.  Personally it is important to me, as the sadist, to received confirmation from my play partner that what I have done to them was understood as also for them, that they enjoyed it, that they wanted it.  Otherwise I am just a violent old man, hurting those I care about.  That is my aftercare.

Lastly, on “people who think that not wanting to do all that ‘wild, crazy stuff’ makes them or their partners boring in bed”.  Particularly in a BDSM relationship, it is vastly important to understand that the only people who should be concerned with the kind of behavior in which you engage in your relationship, are the people in that relationship.  Certainly it is important to check in with your partner as to whether or not they are satisfied or want to experiment, but if you are happy, and they are happy, why change what isn’t broken?  The only judgement you should accept are you and your partners’s.

Sex and sensation is an overwhelmingly powerful element in our lives.  An element that should be far more openly discussed within our relationships and within our society than it commonly is.  I am continually  pleased by blogs such as Charlie’s, and recommend his to all.

The Eroticist

For the Love of a Submissive

This was quoted in a Tumblr gathered by my puppy bear and I found it spot on.  After a bit of looking I found the original here if you wish to follow.

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Dominant Traits – Submission is Earned Not Ordered

In my seemingly endless quest to identify and describe the essence of Dominance and submission I have often found it easier to describe what it is not versus what it is. My writing it turns out has been less an act of description and more an effort to identify boundaries, framing D/s into something coherent and tangible. So once again I am going to begin with the contrast of what Dominance is not, and in so doing hopefully allude to what it is.

The greatest misconception I see from aspiring and wannabe Doms is that Dominance is about asserting active control and giving orders to satisfy one’s own desires. There is no doubt that the carrying out of commands can be a manifestation and indeed a fringe benefit of being a Dominant, but the selfish motivation is all wrong. Hubris, hedonism and narcissism are not the bedrock on which Dominance is built. Indeed, they are the enemy and even antithesis of successful dominance.

A submissive does not initially kneel because she has been ordered to. A submissive kneels because a Dominant has entered her world who recognized her deep seated need to kneel before another and serve them completely. But she does not kneel simply because she is in the company of one claiming to be a Dominant. Rather, she does so because someone has finally proven themselves worthy of her gifts and has successfully unlocked her desire to grant them without reservation.

The Dominant does not accomplish this through orders but rather through patient questioning and attentive active listening. The Dominant does not order a submissive to her knees to serve him but rather creates an environment of trust, desire and anticipation within which the submissive falls to her knees in devoted service of her own volition. Despite the pornographic BDSM imagery of force and even brutality and humiliation between a Dominant and submissive, long before there is kink and physical power exchange there is generally a full and complete emotional exchange of power. This is not done through bludgeoning or brutality but rather through patient and loving drawing out of desire. It is coaxing not command.

When my Muse first knelt for me I did not order her to her knees, she asked permission to do so. My job as Dominant was not to command but rather to enable. She reached the decision that I was the one she wanted to kneel before on her own. I simply created the environment where she felt comfortable, safe and desirous of doing so and I have the duty to continually and unfailingly nurture that environment for as long as our relationship continues. It is work. It is hard work.

A Dominant doesn’t get to enjoy this level of devotion and service by sitting back imperiously giving orders. They do so by continually and actively investing in the betterment of the relationship and the people within it. That means not only continually working to draw out the best in a submissive, but also continually seeking to be a better and more worthy Dominant. It is an active pursuit that takes hard work and unflinching dedication.

It is true that as a Dominant I get to give orders and often benefit directly from their being carried out; it is indeed good to be in command. But while I may be in command today, I have to continually earn the position, and could lose it in a heartbeat through misdeed or neglect. It is a revokable honor. But I did not gain the status of command by giving orders. I can give orders because the position of command has been granted me by a submissive. This is a distinction that seems to be lost on many.

Menacingly snarling out orders like “On your knees slut” does not make anyone a Dominant, but being a Dominant earns the ability to give such orders. Before any of that, the respect and desire of a submissive must be earned and that is an act of drawing out, not commanding. Only after submission is truly earned and freely given can a Dominant presume to have the right and ability to give orders. And even at that, obedience is only obtained when there is will and desire to do so. It is the job of the dominant to foster that desire.

I would argue that the title of Dominant or Master is NOT something one confers upon oneself as I so often see here on Tumblr and elsewhere. It is an identity and honorific that is earned from and bestowed by a submissive. I may believe myself to have a dominant personality, but I am not a “Dominant” or “Master” until a submissive identifies me as hers and we agree to that relationship. Anything less is mere posturing and bluster.

So the bottom line is that submission is earned not ordered. Dominance is a gentle act of drawing out not commanding; indeed it is a high form of seduction versus brutality. And while Dominants have egos, the act of dominance is not an ego-driven domineering state. It is perhaps most surprisingly an act of vulnerability and love.

© For The Love of a Submissive, 2013

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The Eroticist