This has been a hard post to express. I know my conclusions, but how did I get there? My issue is that the usual description of the Dominant and submissive relationship is, not only simplistic, but usually completely false. “I tell her what to do. She does it.” “She is here to please me, to serve.” “She’s a cum receptacle.”
While I express great regret that there are some relationships where these descriptors are accurate, in my observations those relationships are usually comprised of people with major issues of self respect, manipulating their partners (in both directions) in a relationship of codependency. (As an aside, I believe that competent counseling is a benefit to all people and continue it myself.)
But this is reflective of some relationships but I do not accept that it is representative of the D/s dynamic as a whole. I would not be here if I did not believe that it is possible to have a healthy, supportive, self- and other-affirming, growth oriented, deeply bonded life relationship comprising the D/s dynamic. But what IS that? I look at what attracts me, and what I have heard expressed by submissives as to what attracts them. I believe I have things of value to offer another human being. Obviously, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I did not believe that my opinions had value and that those opinions would benefit any partner I may have.
I have often suspected the reality of “the Dominant has the Power” description. I think I have said before that it is the submissive who has the power. Having the power, at his/her choice (s)he gives it to another and if (s)he is wise and self respecting (s)he knows that power can be removed again in an instant. But that description tends to be rather uncomplimentary to the Dominant. If the submissive has all the power what does the Dominant offer the relationship?
I tend to agree with the phrase first given to me by Master George at Threshold in LA, and that what we are talking about is not so much a power exchange but an exchange of authority. A submissive gives authority over negotiated aspects of their life to another, their Dominant. The Dominant then uses that authority to manipulate the submissive.
And here comes the caveat. Dominants are manipulators. That is what we do, and we do it well. Unfortunately, being good at manipulation does not necessarily involve having honorable and growth centered goals for that manipulation. I would suspect that any submissive can tell you of Dominants who have goals which have nothing to do with the care and growth of their submissive. I would suspect the reverse is also true, but that is for another post.
Some people desire manipulation. It does, after all, lesson the requirement of rational thought. But it is best to look to the goals of the manipulator first and do some solid thinking about your own. I would hope, for all of you, Dominants and submissives alike, that your goals reflect honorable character, growth and empathetic care of your partners. If that is covered, and it is a continuing struggle, then the manipulation is a beneficial tool.