For The Love of a Submissive
NSFW - Over 18 Only Please
Dominants are not great because of their technique but because of their passion, honor and integrity.
Submissives are not great because of their obedience but because of their love, trust and devotion.
Welcome! Here I share my views of loving and sensual Dominance and submission and other forms of power exchange. I am a 40-something male who relishes the mental, sensual, emotional and sexual aspects of D/s relationships. To me, D/s is first and foremost about the mind once a mental and emotional D/s bond is established, the body has no choice but to follow. Feel free to look around, share your thoughts and feelings with me, and generally engage in a dialogue on the topic.
Frequently Asked Questions About D/s Relationships and BDSM
More About This Site and its Author
The Reading Room - A place where you can find links to the fictional D/s stories and non-fiction posts by the blog's author.
The Reference Room - Sources of good information (books and links) for those interested in exploring D/s and BDSM
"For the Love of a Sub Photo Gallery" - A companion photo blog that contains D/s images not seen on this site. New photos added continuously.
Originally, the "For The Love of a Submissive" blog was designed to tell a fictional story of Domination and submission and the first 480 posts make up that story. The blog progressed chronologically from the start of the relationship to the conclusion of the story and as such is best read from the beginning. You can find the story and navigate to the various "chapters" directly using the links contained in The Reading Room.
“i have not found an easy road, i have not seen a true path or single destination”
Cat wrote these words a while ago as part of a personal ‘declaration’. It is something I discussed with her shortly after we met. Sometimes it seems a very long time ago. But I chose to quote these words here, because they carry a deeper and more general truth.
When we embark on a journey into D/s, our early explorations, we generally have no idea where we are going. It is a leap into the dark, there may be obstacles to overcome, many confusing and different directions to explore.
But it is the nature of man to seek objectives, and on this journey too, many people soon start looking for a destination. Especially once they learn how other people live, see examples of how it might be. And soon they face the all too common human desire to define themselves by ‘society’s’ standards, to let ‘society’ know what they are. And the ultimate desire to ‘succeed’ in the eyes of others.
And suddenly we might see people as if competing to be the most submissive, or the most Dominant, describing how far they will go, how much pain they can dispense or take. People feeling like failures because they cannot ‘take it’, or don’t like to dispense it. People wanting to call themselves slaves and Master as if it is the ultimate prize. And the 24/7 TPE relationship described as the ultimate achievement, the only true goal to strive for. People looking for a gold medal to win.
But there isn’t one.
I argue time and again that we should bear in mind that D/s is not for everyone. This is even more true for these kind of 24/7 relationships. Let’s not kid ourselves, you cannot become what you are not naturally destined to be and be happy in the long run. And there is nothing wrong with that. If your submission does not extend beyond the bedroom, or if as a Dom you have no desire to rule on your sub’s underwear every day, that doesn’t make your relationship less valuable. If between you, you have no desire to progress to a 24/7 TPE type of dynamic, that does not make what you do any less valid or beautiful. It makes it different. Just like every human being is different, just like every relationship is different, vanilla or D/s.
We should bear in mind that we each carry our own past, background, experiences and outlook on life with us. These dictate our desires and wishes and how we ultimately experience our journey. How could that possibly be the same for everyone? Should we want it to be? Why would we expect everyone to enjoy the same things in D/s, share the same kinks, when we cannot even agree on the best flavour of ice cream.
And since these relationships should be based always on truth, honesty, openness, why not start by being true to ourselves and honest about our journey. ‘Faking it’ is not only pointless, it is also potentially dangerous.
This is not a race with a single finish line. This is not a single path heading in a single direction. And if we are too busy trying for the finish line we may lose sight of the adventure we are in the middle of. We may forget to enjoy the unique experience we are creating for ourselves, while striving to emulate another person’s journey or live up to some imagined expectations.
As for the 24/7 TPE, or M/s kind of relationship… it should be based on deeply felt need, not on a need to compete or misguided sense of achievement. It should based on natural progression and dynamics, not on a desire to outdo others or achieve some mythical goal.
These relationships that some see as the ultimate goal are in the end nothing more than one possible path on a journey, and a journey that is completely different for each and everyone of us.
If we are lucky we find a companion on our journey who finds their happiness on the same path. And if we are truly lucky we succeed in enjoying every single step and stumble on our journey without looking for the finish line. Much like life itself, this journey is best enjoyed while we travel, not when we reach the end.
words: M. / Her Liege
photograph: Stuck in customs
Love, Trust and Devotion
My Muse. Remarkable isn’t she? Perfect in my eyes and yet somehow better with each passing day. I gaze upon this picture and wander through the memories it evokes and cannot help but marvel that I should have ever been so fortunate to be graced by such a beautiful, intelligent, sensual, powerful yet submissive woman. She is my equal opposite. Different in so many, many ways, yet compatible. The perfect fiercely determined submissive foil to my gentle guiding Dominance.
In our own way, we drive each other. Hard. To be better, stronger, more successful, more sensual, more loving, more complete. As I drive her to be more submissive, she drives me to be more Dominant. We work each other hard because we want it all we want everything the other has to offer and more. And along the way, we realize that indeed we are capable today of being so very much more than we were yesterday and that tomorrow we will be better still. We draw out strengths and abilities in each other we did not know we possessed.
But we do not just drive one another. We drive ourselves. We work hard for each other to be the best we can possibly be for the benefit of the other. Despite time and distance, day and night we are there for one another giving, being present, caring. We support each other, not just as D/s partners but in life with all the challenges, victories and disappointments that the journey of life brings to any person. We are there for one another. Always. In all ways.
So what does this have to do with D/s or BDSM? Absolutely everything. I was recently asked to describe my view of the essence of a D/s relationship in five words or less. The answer was easy love, trust and devotion.
Look at the picture above and think about this for a moment. What would entice a beautiful, independent and intelligent woman to travel across a continent, strip off her clothes, don a leather collar and cuffs, and obediently and patiently present herself to be admired, taken, and used in the basest of manners all in response to a softly uttered command? Who does such a thing? And why?
The answer lies in the bond carefully and lovingly cultivated and nurtured between Dominant and submissive. This is not the product of a curious whim or sexual impulse, a hastily ill-conceived run at adventure or intrigue. This is the product of a year of emotional investment in a firmly rooted relationship. A bond forged of a gradually deepening love for another person, a willingness stemming from methodically and unwaveringly earned trust, and an utter devotion born of a powerful combination of that love and trust. This didn’t just happen. It has been earned. It has not always been easy but it has always been worth it.
My Muse and I began our relationship like many here on Tumblr as an online interaction. But unlike many, we did not jump immediately at one another as potential Dominant and submissive but rather as two people who were exploring a common interest. We talked about everything. Months passed before the notion of interacting as Dominant and submissive with one another even came up. The relationship predated the D/s. The love, trust and devotion began early, grew slowly, and have matured as our friendship, and ultimately relationship as Dominant and submissive deepened. Today we are utterly devoted to one another in a way neither of us has ever experienced before. There is little we would not do for one another, and indeed those very few things are contained on a short list of hard limits.
We love one another deeply. We trust one another implicitly. And as a result, we are utterly devoted to each other as people and as Master and Muse. She is Mine. And I am just as equally hers.
But that still doesn’t answer the question posed earlier, why would we act in this manner? Why travel so far, kneel so low, be collared and give oneself so completely to another? When asked, my Muse responds it is because she feels because when we are together in the special way that we are, she feels. Everything. I make her feel, absolutely everything. And what allows me to do that, and allows her to be open and accepting of it, is the depth of love we have for each other, the absolute and unwavering trust we feel in each other’s hands, and the gratitude and sense of utter devotion we have for the presence of the other in our lives. Together we are whole and we are able to be the selves we have always wanted to be…not the ones we usually are. How can anyone be anything but profoundly grateful for the opportunity to feel so complete and comfortable with one’s self and another?
Whether it is cuddling or flogging, denying orgasms or making our love, the depth, power and gratification of our D/s bond stems from love, trust and utter devotion to one another. I highly recommend it.
Caption and Image © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Just as true today as when it was written more than a year and a half ago.
When those of us who play with BDSM or are engaged in a D/s relationship partake in a scene it is not uncommon to feel utterly immersed in one another in a way unlike other forms of human interaction. So singularly focused are we on one another as Dominant and submissive that the outside world seems to fade into a distant memory or disappear altogether. Indeed this is what we strive for. In our total immersion in sensation and each other our minds are freed and uncluttered for a time. In our bond and bondage we feel comforted and secure. It is a unique experience, difficult to describe to the uninitiated.
Yet when the scene is over, the intense feelings and sensations cease and the ropes and bonds are removed, ironically our freedom becomes a prison of its own. We can feel empty and suddenly alone. No longer the focus of intense attention and interaction with our partner we feel a sense of loss that brings with it a malaise and despondency a sense of feeling utterly lost. This is where aftercare becomes so important.
Much attention and emphasis is given to the need for a Dominant to provide the nurturing aftercare necessary to successfully carry a submissive through this tender and vulnerable time. But it may surprise many to know that Dominants suffer similar feelings of despondency and loss as well as a result of the cessation of their own endorphin high or the stress of a scene. Most often Dominants are left to “deal with it” themselves and “be the strong one.” But rest assured, the emotional intensity of a BDSM scene leaves a hangover of its own on nearly every Dominant just as it does for submissives.
There is no doubt that Dominants have a deep responsibility to nurture and care for their submissives through the post-scene period and beyond. But in reality, the Dominant also needs the care of a submissive as well, though perhaps in less obvious ways. The dependency between a Dom and sub does not end with the scene. It lives on in their mutual need for one another in aftercare and the relationship beyond.
It is important to remember this: when the ropes come off, so does the armor that protects our inner selves. Both Dom and sub feel suddenly vulnerable and perhaps even a little lost. Each needs to be aware of the other’s needs and vulnerabilities in this crucial time.
But it goes further. When Dominant and submissive are separated by great distance the sense of loss and disorientation can be even greater when they are forced to part. When Dom and sub in long distance relationships come to together face-to-face, their experiences can be overwhelming to the senses and, under the pressure of limited time, can be necessarily intense. Time spent together is often a peak experience where every minute passes in a high state of alertness and attention. So focussed are the two on one another that again the world around them fades into the distance and outright disappears. But when that time is over and both have to return to their respective homes and lives, reality of everyday life and the world around them comes crashing in. The normalcy and even boredom of everyday life pales in comparison to the intensity lived only hours or days before in the company of their submissive or Dominant. It is as though the ropes have come off all over again, only this time there is no one there to provide aftercare or to share in the common experience at all. Indeed, those around us in our respective home lives may exacerbate the problem because they do not know or understand what we are going through.
It is in these times that submissive and Dominant can feel most lost. Loneliness, despondency, depression and boredom, combines with frustration and irritation at those around them who are not willing or able to provide the care and comfort that is needed. It is a lost and lonely feeling to go home after days or weeks in the 24/7 intensity of the D/s relationship only to be greeted with the pressures and tedium of everyday life. Suddenly the things and people in our lives do not seem so important any more. Like coming down off a high, we crave to return to the drug of our submissive or Dominant. We want more. We need more. More. Without it we are lost.
This is to some degree the dark side of living the intensity of a D/s relationship. Within that relationship colors seem brighter, feelings seem stronger, our sense of security and comfort more absolute. We feel, perhaps more than any other time, whole and complete as people, as though some hole that has always been within us has been filled. But when we go back to our everyday lives that hole opens back up again and we feel lost we wander around listlessly looking for something to fill it again. We long for our partner who does that so well and so completely for us.
What I am describing are the very feelings I experience in the aftermath of time spent together with my Muse. Indeed, I believe they mirror the feelings she experiences as well. Our time together is always a series of peak moments one after another. Our hearts are full when we are together and our minds awash in the feelings, sensations, experiences, and just plain warmth and comfort of one another’s presence. Take that away and we are lost for a time. We go home and stumble around through life feeling empty and alone even when surrounded by friends, coworkers and family. And each time we are together that recovery period grows deeper, longer and more difficult to climb out of.
Is this bad? No, not necessarily. But it is not pleasant either. In this vulnerable time we need more than ever to be there for one another. To maintain our contact and reassure one another that even though we are not in each other’s physical presence, we are very much emotionally present. Distance does not mean being alone. Lonely perhaps, but never alone. The days and weeks following our time together requires another form of aftercare altogether. It is a time of vulnerability and even sadness. We both require that aftercare equally from one another. Reassurance. Presence. Acknowledging our feelings and confronting them together. It may not change the outcome, but it certainly helps to navigate the feelings.
Aftercare and the need for it takes on many forms. We tend to think of it solely as something that should be consciously undertaken in the minutes, hours and days after a particularly intense BDSM scene. But rest assured that aftercare is just as critical at other times in the course of a D/s relationship and should be approached with the same seriousness, awareness, and intent as one would apply post-scene.
As Dominant and submissive, we are deeply attracted to and reliant upon one another in many different ways even when, and perhaps especially when, we are apart. We owe it to each other never to allow the other to feel lost or alone.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Dominants are not gods (in case you haven’t been convinced yet)
A friend asked me recently to write a few thoughts about what it means to be a Dominant man. I will start by affirming that a Dominant of any stripe is not a “god”. We are men. It’s important to emphasize that both for those men who call themselves Dominant and think the title confers godlike status, and for submissive women looking for something more than human. I have had occasion to meet several submissive women whom I think are looking for a “god”: something or someone so all powerful that all their worries are abolished forever- or at least for a month. I can assure you not even God in a bed and breakfast has pulled that kind of magic off. The best of Dominants may bring peace of mind to a submissive for a period of time, but only that. Life is capricious and there are pimples and cancers and burnt casseroles and bills and fucking good times and nightmares. Dom’s are not capable of managing all of that perfectly or by themselves and are a bit deluded if they try. Even Dominant men have to face the harsh cold morning water of life. Even the studliest (new word, Dominants can create new words – look it up) … even the studliest of us experience shrinkage in certain temperatures. Still, in the darkness of life, when all seems scary, it is the Dom that makes sure that the hall light is left on to create hope in night. It is the Dom who stands outside her door to keep watch against her inner demons.
Dominants are not gods: we are mortal – but we are leaders. We are men of courage and character and perseverance. We are those who in a time of moral ambiguity and cowardice still manage to take a stand, commit to being gentleman, and have a code of integrity. We look out for the poor and weak and young, and we do not tolerate injustice. We are humble students but also powerful teachers. We give our lives to protect the women we love. We are capable of the most unforgettable romance you could imagine, but we also fart at the absolute worst moments. We can eat pineapple for a week and still taste like asparagus when she finally decides to swallow. We can take a woman to the heights of ecstasy on Friday night, and wonder why our marathon dicks Saturday suddenly became sprinters on Sunday. Our tongues, ladies, do eventually tire. We are the best of men, often with more power than the average Joe, but we are, after all just men. Men who own their mistakes, accept their responsibility, and constantly strive to improve – but men. To think more of ourselves is to lack integrity. To expect a man to be a god is to expect too much. A Dominant with a proper sense of confidence and strength can also be humble, make a mistake, and laugh at himself. A submissive gives a holy gift if she can laugh along with him and not at him. D/s is a deep, intense journey, but it is after all a journey between a woman and a man. And that, done well, is enough. Love well, play safe. D/sOM
(cc. words D/sOM, gratitude to unknown photographer)
Amen to all of that. Well said. ~ For The Love of a Submissive
The bond between Dominant and submissive creates a sense of loyalty and devotion that can overshadow everything else in life if we are not careful. It is not uncommon for both Dominants and submissives to display an attachment and devotion that can border on neediness. This connection is often precisely what we seek, but no relationship between any two people is an island, even a rock solid D/s one. Every one of us who comes into a D/s or M/s relationship brings with us a lifetime of connections to the vanilla world and these connections are vital, important and should be maintained and cultivated.
The problem arises for us in D/s when competing pressures and demands from the vanilla world creep in and cause seemingly conflicting priorities. Here a clear set of guiding principles between Dominant and submissive is crucial to the health and well being of the relationship and the individuals within it. A set of priorities should be established and communicated early on before conflicts arise so that all know how to behave and what to do if and when life pressures intrude.
As much as we as Dominants and submissives want to immerse ourselves in one another and our bond, there are times when that should or must take a back seat to other life priorities. The difficulty is that the intense sense of devotion, structure and desire to please on the part of a submissive, or the dedication, control and desire to protect on the part of a Dominant can leave the partners feeling torn between what they want to do and what they should do. Both will feel they are abandoning or letting their D/s partner down if they have to pull away and attend to other life matters.
It is important in my view to establish clear guidelines for priorities in our D/s and particularly M/s relationships that we can fall back on and live by in times of conflict or stress. I for one have always held that my D/s relationship falls within the following priorities in order or importance:
** Immediate Family
** Spirituality/Health/Personal Welfare
** D/s Relationship
** Everything Else
The order of these priorities can certainly be debated and changed to suit individuals and their relationships but it lays out an important set of principles and gives guidance to fall back on when the chips are down. In my opinion, care for one’s children or addressing a family emergency must always take precedence over the priorities of D/s interaction or associated tasks. So too does the personal emotional, spiritual and physical health of either partner. Yet in the absence of this explicit understanding between Dominant and submissive, stressful life circumstances can become crushing weights when one or the other feels torn between their D/s and vanilla allegiances, duties and desires.
The primary role of a Dominant is to lead, and part of that leadership is to establish a sense of order and structure for a submissive (and themselves) and consistently live by it. A cornerstone of that sense of order is a clear and understandable set of priorities. A submissive should never be left adrift not knowing what to do, when to do it, or how. Establishing these overarching life priorities and living by them is key to the health of the D/s relationship. And it is most important that the Dominant be consistent in their application and not send mixed signals. Telling a submissive that family and job are higher priorities then making them feel guilty for having lived by those priorities will leave the submissive feeling intuitively confused and conflicted. This is not acceptable.
I strongly urge anyone involved in or contemplating a D/s or M/s relationship to address this matter of life priorities and how, when, and in what order they should be attended to. Put it in writing. Include it in your protocol manual. You do have one don’t you? If not, you should. Make sure that your D/s relationship, the depth of its bond, and the strength that a submissive seeks and relies upon in their Dominant is supportive of these priorities and not additive to the stress, conflict and sense of torn allegiances already inherent in external life events.
Support one another selflessly in and out of your power exchange roles. Doing so will serve to strengthen the D/s bond still further.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Online D/s Relationships - A Personal View
Some of the most common questions I receive surround online relationships between “Dominants” and “submissives,” whether they work, and how to go about having one. Before I launch into this I should preface my comments with the knowledge that I am personally in a long-distance D/s relationship that began with online interaction, grew into a real-life relationship, but that due to time and distance is sustained in-part by online interaction. So if at times I sound critical of online D/s relationships please realize that it is viewed through the lens of someone who is in one and is quite content with it. First lets examine what you can and cannot do and accomplish with online interaction.
The advantage of online interaction between a potential Dominant and submissive is that the anonymity afforded by the electronic medium allows people to open up and expose a side that might not otherwise come out in person. People seem to feel more comfortable allowing themselves to be vulnerable than they otherwise might in the perceived distance and safety of online communication. Somehow digital communication does not feel as real or as threatening as trying to approach topics of sexuality and social taboos such as Dominance and submission in person. People feel less judged.
But the anonymity that makes online D/s interaction perhaps more approachable is also its greatest pitfall. The distance and anonymity allows people, whatever their motivation, to be something other than their true selves. Whether it is outright lying about who and what they are or what their life circumstances might be, or just stretching the truth or fantasizing about how they might like to be, online interaction has an element of fantasy to it that can cloud what are perceived to be genuine interpersonal interactions. The obfuscation does not have to be maliciously intended to be deeply hurtful. So while online interaction allows us to be more open with others it also allows us to be something we are not, though perhaps unintentionally, and that hurts people.
Many in the D/s lifestyle look down their noses at online relationships in part because the preponderance of participants have no real experience in BDSM and in part because by their very nature, online D/s is more fantasy than reality. There is no doubt that online interaction between a Dominant and a submissive can be very mentally and emotionally stimulating and indeed the feelings they engender are very real. A person can indeed experience online some of the endorphin highs associated with romantic love and pornographic kink. I can also assure you that the pain of failed relationships or abusive behavior can feel every bit as real online as it does in person as well. People become very deeply emotionally invested in their online relationships and perhaps due to their fantasy nature they can take on an almost addictive quality. This is both the good and bad. One can have an intensely emotional relationship online but it can also be built on a mountain of falsehoods, misrepresentations, and the words of people who frankly do not even understand themselves.
In real life more than 80 percent of all interpersonal communication is non-verbal. We formulate opinions about others and what they are saying largely by things other than their words. In online interaction we remove 80 percent or more of our communication tools and rely only on what is being said without the benefit of tonal inflection, body language, eye contact, and other kinesthesics. Words can be misleading or deceiving, intentionally or otherwise, and it is words we have to rely on in online relationships. More than ever, words really matter here. So online relationships hold the potential for great pleasure and great pain depending on the intentions, honesty, ability and knowledge of the participants. It all comes down to character, but then being a Dominant or submissive is all about character.
Finally, we have to acknowledge that online interaction can only go so far. You can fantasize online with a D/s partner all you want about the scenes and BDSM play you might want to engage in but I assure you that telling someone how you would go at them with that particularly nasty 24-inch cowhide flogger has nothing in common with actually doing it…and especially receiving it! While you can achieve a certain level of submission and devotion through online interaction it is not the same as having a real live breathing person kneeling at your feet and the awesome responsibility carried with it. Trust me on this one. Many can talk about BDSM and pretend to do it online but when it comes to actually leaving the fantasy world and living it in person they find the intimidation to be too much. It is amazing how often I hear that a thriving online relationship comes to a screeching halt when a face-to-face meeting is planned. Being a Dominant or a submissive is both far more rewarding and far more difficult and challenging in real life than online. So let’s be honest, while there is a lot to be had in online D/s interaction, it is a fantasy experience compared to real life interaction, though I assure you that it can at times feel very, very real, both good and bad.
Online D/s is a bit like trying to have online sex really. You can talk about it all day long and even fantasize about it with another person, but nothing in that online communication can compare with the intimacy, vulnerability, sensation and yes even fumbling around of having actual sexual intercourse with a real person. In our online D/s fantasy, the rope is never too tight, limbs never go to sleep, skin is never unintentionally broken, pain is only imagined and not felt, the toys and devices always work, and the orgasms are perfectly timed and executed. Guess what folks? It aint that way in real life. It takes a lot of practice to be proficient in the arts and skills of BDSM and frankly it takes a fair amount of experience as partners together before things really click consistently. Reality is much more difficult and awkward than fantasy.
Okay so all of that said, there is not doubt that online D/s relationships can be a great deal of fun, can be very stimulating, intimate and rewarding, and can lead to a wonderful real life D/s partnership. I am living proof of that. I have never felt more intimately close to a person than I do with my Muse. So how does one go about finding someone who is capable and worthy of such an interaction, especially with so many wannabes, posers, narcissists, users, and even abusers out there? How does one ascertain that a so-called Dominant actually is dominant and not abusive and has some successful experience in the world of BDSM and D/s relationships? How does a Dominant determine that a submissive is indeed submissive and not someone who has been deeply damaged by life events and seeking love and acceptance in unhealthy ways? It is a minefield out there and because of the limitations of the online communication medium it is very difficult if not impossible to get it right the first time, or the second or third. Caution, patience, knowledge and self-awareness are keys to success.
So in evaluating would be or wannabe submissives and Dominants online my suggestion is that you think about how this dynamic might look in person. Approach this as though you were in a BDSM club or at a BDSM munch (non-play social gathering). Think about the types of people in the room and how they might behave and the cues you might use in evaluating one another as potential partners. It is quite similar online really, only a lot more difficult and time consuming to ferret out.
Lets look at finding potential Dominants. Clearly what a submissive is seeking is someone who is in control of and responsible for themselves and has the potential to project that same level of control and responsibility onto an other. A submissive seeks a trustworthy and respectable set of hands in which to place their submission. Someone who is both capable and firm, yet caring, has good social skills, and can empathize with and respect the power that might be handed to them.
So think about the kinds of Dominants that might be milling around the hypothetical social BDSM gathering. Would you go for the Dom who has all the most expensive leather attire complete with studs, body art and piercings who blusters around talking of their conquests and superior dominant abilities? Would you look to the Dominant who without preamble or prior relationship with a submissive begins ordering them around or touches them without permission? How about the Dominant who trundles his roller bag of toys and implements from submissive to submissive looking for a random play partner or unsuspecting newbie? Would you look to the Dominant who already has a collared submissive and seek to displace them or try to be another submissive in the harem? How about the Dominant who already has a submissive with them at the party but trolls around looking for more action? Or would you look to the Dominant who is chatting amiably with other Dominants and their submissives who perhaps looks at you and nods an acknowledgment without interrupting the conversation that they are already engaged in? Perhaps that subtle acknowledgement leads to a plain vanilla chat later in the party or perhaps a conversation at a future event?
In case you didn’t get it, the final answer is the correct one.
A submissive represents a significant investment of time, energy and mental effort on the part of a competent Dominant. They are not going to jump at the first person that comes along, are not going to act at the first encounter, and are definitely not going to respond favorably to a submissive who throws themselves at their feet. They know that such a submissive who kneels without knowing a Dominant will no doubt kneel for anyone. This is not worth having and a sure sign of a potential toxic relationship.
A competent and experienced Dominant will stand back and observe, assessing whether a submissive is worthy of the significant investment they would make. They know this is a long-term commitment and work to ensure that the chemistry, psychological and emotional makeup and desire is compatible, that there is indeed a spark, and that there is potential for the long haul. The method by which they do this will look rather vanilla in its approach. They will want to get to know a potential submissive, talk about all sorts of things having nothing to do with BDSM or D/s. They might even look like a vanilla friendship in the making long before any conversation turns to BDSM. They are sizing a submissive up and determining if there is a match. It takes time, patience, and repeated interaction. That is how a submissive and Dominant come to be D/s partners in real life. It should be the same online.
Looking at the other aforementioned Dominants at the hypothetical party, it is clear that one is a domineering and controlling narcissist, one has no consideration for social norms of the BDSM lifestyle or respect for submissives, one is just a player looking to get his rocks off, and the other displays no loyalty or respect for the submissive they already have, why would they respect another submissive? These are a few examples of the very same types of “Doms” commonly encountered online and ought to be avoided. You can tell them by their manner of communication with followers, other submissives, and how they present their public persona. To those who are experienced in BDSM the signs are obvious and perhaps a little obnoxious.
Now lets look for a moment at the submissives at that same hypothetical BDSM social gathering. As a Dominant would you be attracted to a submissive who sits in the corner unable or unwilling to talk with anyone? Would you be interested in a submissive who approaches every dominant in the room seemingly physically or emotionally throwing themselves at the feet of each one? Would you look to the submissive who goes from conversation to conversation seemingly challenging the leadership or authority of each Dominant or attempting to upstage existing collared submissives in front of their Dominants? Would you be attracted to attention seeking or wallflower behaviors? Or would you look to the submissive who chats amiably and respectfully with both Dominants and submissives, who carries on intelligent conversations on both vanilla and D/s topics, appears at ease and comfortable with themselves? Perhaps that person makes eye contact a couple of times accompanied by a slight smile before bowing their head and averting their gaze.
If you missed it this time, the latter is the correct answer again.
A competent and experienced Dominant is not looking for a dishrag, play toy, sparring partner or show piece. They are looking for a healthy, independent, capable person to develop a relationship with. They want someone whose submission is of value. They want a relationship that is unique in that person’s life they want to be the One and only One to whom that submissive would surrender. They are looking for a well-rounded and confident person who is interesting and engaging to be around. They are looking for intelligence and well-spoken interaction. They want to be impressed by the person who would kneel before them.
These are some of the hallmarks of successful interactions between would be D/s partners. The key is to forget the kink and potential play time for a while and focus on one another as people first. If someone fails to do that and jumps right to talk of kink or giving orders or promising training and collars and the like, they are suspect in my book as either a Dominant or submissive.
So how does one go about actually having an online D/s relationship? I can only share my personal experience.
The woman who eventually became my Muse approached me with a series of questions about D/s relationships to which I responded. That resulted in some additional correspondence back and forth on the topic of D/s which also strayed into some vanilla topics. The result was some ongoing messaging back and forth about life, interests, family, background, and a whole host of other non-BDSM topics. This went on for weeks and eventually became a daily correspondence. We became friends. After a month or two we eventually opened up with our identities, locations and pictures of ourselves. But at this point we were just friends who occasionally talked about fetishes and kink among all our vanilla conversations. It was a matter of months before any recognition dawned that we might actually like to pursue a D/s interaction with one another.
Once that dawning came for both of us, discussion ensued on how that might happen, how we would proceed, what that might mean. It was agreed that we would try an online Dominance and submission relationship. She physically knelt for me and asked if I would take her as my submissive to which I agreed. We began with small tasks. Things like taking pictures of herself (clothed and partially clothed initially) telling me what she sees in each that she likes most about herself and what she likes least. I would then respond with what I saw. The effort was geared toward teaching her to see herself as I see her, a beautiful and desirable woman, and for her to become more comforatable with herself and with being open and exposed emotionally and physically to me. It was an exercise in building trust.
Next we went on to sharing fantasies and fears. Eventually I had her complete a BDSM questionnaire and compared her answers to my own, openly ascertaining interests, mutual kinks and limits. Tasks were added over time including daily devotion pictures, a monthly video, learning positions and presentations, carrying out domestic tasks, etc. Often the tasks were in written form but physical tasks required verification or documentation in the form of pictures. We established a protocol of activities and behaviors governing our interaction. We corresponded daily and then hourly, then seemingly minute to minute. We became an integral part of each other’s days and nights. The tasks became more challenging over time and more sexually oriented. But underlying it all was a solid friendship and ongoing vanilla interaction that over time started to become something more. A matter of the heart.
Eventually it was determined that we needed to meet face-to-face and see if the chemistry we felt online could be translated into a real-time, real-life interaction. Our initial meeting was a success, and while it was extremely intimate it was in no way a D/s interaction. As with all things, we took our time and progressed slowly and with caution. Eventually, on future encounters with one another we began introducing more BDSM play into our intimacy and the hallmarks of a true power exchange relationship became manifest in the way we interacted, addressed one another, and went about our days. Our power exchange deepens with time, and the level of sophistication of our protocols and rituals grows with it. But everything has come slowly and methodically. We are growing together as Dominant and submissive and our bond grows ever stronger in the process.
Today my Muse wears my training collar and we are on a path of learning and training that it is hoped will lead to a permanent collar some day. But that is a long way off not weeks or months, years. We have a hybrid relationship now, partially real-time face-to-face and partially online. Time, distance and life complications conspire to keep us in these circumstances for the foreseeable future. There is no preconceived outcome and we live each day with one another with intensity, gratitude and in the belief that we are on a permanent path together. We are loyal and devoted to one another.
That in a nutshell is how I approach online D/s interactions and some of the things I look for in a potential partner. It seems that I could write endlessly about this topic and frankly these are only a few of the high points, but I hope that it illustrates some the benefits and pitfalls of online communication and relationships. I have also written about precautions that should be taken when contemplating meeting face-to-face for the first time in an essay entitled "An Unshakeable Anger and Sadness" and recommend anyone take a look at this before actually meeting that online acquaintance for the first time.
Online D/s relationships can be intimate and exciting to the degree that they are carried out by responsible and honest people. At the same time, they should not be confused with or compared to real life BDSM interaction between healthy and caring adults. There is little comparison. However, in my experience the two can be used together as a hybrid real-time/online relationship that can be deeply rewarding and profoundly intimate. It all comes down to knowledge, character, honesty, desire, and communication ability. It is not easy, and sadly there are more wannabes than true devotees of D/s to be found, but it is possible and very worthwhile when done correctly and with integrity.
Best of luck on your own D/s journey.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive
Image Credit Unknown
First Things First - A BDSM Checklist
Recently I have received a series of private messages and asks from submissives outlining circumstances in which they are uncomfortable with, or in some cases downright frightened by something their Dominant has done or asked of them. The specific circumstances are not important but in all cases they are beyond the comfort zone of the submissive and at times have lead to some most unfortunate outcomes. These misfortunes range from physical harm to emotional anguish to damage of physical property. In nearly every case there is wreckage of some kind left behind and were it not for some good fortune and providence the circumstances and outcomes could have been far worse.
Are these unfortunate, uncomfortable and sometimes tragic instances simply a matter of bad Doms behaving badly? Sometimes they most certainly are. Other times they are a matter of ignorance and miscommunication. Still others result from a mismatch between the Dominant and their desires and the submissive and their comfort zones and desires. Sometimes these instances are the product of what I would consider to be an abusive or manipulative person thinking themselves to be a Dominant paired with a hungry and craving submissive with little or no knowledge or understanding of what constitutes a healthy D/s relationship. In any event, the outcomes can be tragic and it is painful and difficult to stand by and watch objectively and without judgement.
One of the most common threads I hear in the description of these unfortunate circumstances might go as follows: “I am a submissive and am collared by my Dom. We have been together for a few months and I am deeply in love with him. But recently he did [insert uncomfortable or unsafe act] and told me to do [insert additional uncomfortable or unacceptable act] and it resulted in [insert unfortunate and unnecessary disastrous outcome]. I don’t know how to feel about this and I know that my Dom is always right and that I should be grateful for his guidance, but this just does not feel good. Should I be mad? Am I allowed to be mad? Should he take some responsibility for the outcome? How can I talk to my Dom about this? When I try he gets angry and tells me that I am to do as I am told or can find another Dom.”
Sound familiar? If it does, you should be concerned. Very. There are so many alarm bells in that short description it is difficult to know where to begin and yet I hear similar tales over and over again.
Let’s begin with the description of the relationship itself a submissive that has been with their Dom for a few months and is collared. Right away this tells me that neither the Dom nor the submissive have much experience in the BDSM lifestyle and are shooting from the hip. As I have said in my post on collars and collaring fortheloveofasub, having someone physically strap a collar around your neck does not make them a Dom and you a submissive. The process that leads to a permanent collar and the powerful relationship it embodies is a long, difficult and involved one. It takes years, not weeks or months.
Second, a Dom is not omnipotent and not always right. They have a deep responsibility to communicate openly and effectively with their submissive and listen and weigh concerns carefully. Even in a 24/7 TPE where all authority is ceded to the Master, there must be an effective means of raising issues and concerns and addressing them. “I am the Dom and you do whatever I say” is not the way this works and is a sign of a controlling and domineering person and not a competent and caring Dominant. A Dominant is granted tremendous power by a submissive but with it comes equally tremendous responsibility. You don’t get the power for nothing.
One of the first things I ask of the submissive writing me about these circumstances is whether the unacceptable action or demand on the part of their Dominant was within the scope of what had been previously agreed to under a pre-scene or BDSM questionnaire and subsequent agreement. Was the action or circumstance within the hard limits established within the relationship? Were your known boundaries exceeded or broken? The answer I almost universally receive is as shocking as it is tragic and goes something like this: “I am collared by my Dom and he is training me now. We have not gotten to the point where we have discussed hard limits or developed any agreement but I am sure we will in time.”
STOP! HOLD THE PHONE!!! CEASE AND DISIST!!!!!
You mean to tell me that you are putting your safety and life in someone else’s hands, a person who apparently has little or no experience in the BDSM lifestyle, and you have not examined or discussed your interests, desires, fears, concerns, and established hard limits? You are just blindly expecting that this “Dom” will always do the right thing as you see it and will never exceed your boundaries when none have been set? You are going to let someone do whatever they want to you (apparently out of their own self-interest) in the name of “training” and then sort it all out later? Does this even make sense?
Lets then look at what happens under the scenario above when the submissive goes back to this “Dom” and tries to communicate their concerns about what has happened. They are shut down. Worse, and perhaps possibly most tragically, their worst fear as a submissive is played upon and they are threatened with rejection and abandonment. This is not dominance, it is manipulation. And it is tragic.
There is so much wrong in this overall scenario it is difficult to cover it in a short blog entry. So I am going to focus on one thing that might help prevent some of these events from happening and might weed out some of the most ignorant or self-serving of would be Doms the BDSM Checklist.
The BDSM Checklist
Before anyone, anywhere, engages in any form of power exchange or BDSM activity, a thorough BDSM checklist should be completed by both parties and the contents openly and honestly exchanged and discussed with one another. It is only through this exercise that both the potential Dominant and submissive can understand where each other’s desires, fears, demands, and limits are. It is here where mutual kinks will emerge and more importantly where significant mismatches may become apparent between the desires and demands of one and the fears and limits of the other. From these mismatches emerge the most important of boundaries and hard limits.
For example, one serious mismatch of expectations where no limits had been discussed and the result was near tragedy involved a “Dom” who demanded that his submissive go unaccompanied to a bar, find a random male, and sleep with them. This was done as a “punishment” for some unspecified offense because “slapping your ass does not seem to be doing the job.” The submissive dutifully followed through despite the fact that she was absolutely opposed to sleeping with someone else, especially a random person entirely unknown to her and unsupervised or protected by her Dom. Predictably the outcome was not good. When she attempted to discuss the matter with her “Dom” he shut her down and took no responsibility for the outcome.
There is much that is wrong with this scenario from a safety, common sense, and responsibility standpoint. But for the purposes of this discussion I want to focus on the fact that the notion of introducing others into the D/s relationship in question, let alone random strangers, had never been discussed let alone agreed to. Indeed, there had never been an effort made to examine any likes, dislikes and limits between the Dom and submissive despite the fact that they had been together for months and engaging in obviously significant power exchange activities in the name of “training.” Folks, this kind of behavior is wrong, it is dangerous and will end in broken hearts, damaged psyches, and possibly physical harm or death.
A BDSM checklist is crucial to understanding the boundaries of the playground a Dominant and submissive intend to romp in. Without it they are quickly going to find themselves playing out in the street in the middle of traffic. They will get run over eventually. In any potential D/s relationship, once an interest between two people is established one of the very first things they need to do is complete a BDSM checklist and walk through it item-by-item, honestly and openly comparing outcomes with one another. The purpose is to come to an understanding of the things each person likes/loves, the things they have never done before, where they might like to explore more, things that should be avoided, triggers that should be considered and avoided, limits that need to be established, and practical matters like STDs, birth control, involvement of others, what will be done in public versus private, personal security and anonymity, safe words, considerations for family and childrearing necessities, and a host of other matters. These things MUST be identified, discussed and agreed to BEFORE ever exchanging the first iota of power or playing the first mild scene together.
As a Dominant I would never consider “stepping into the ring” with a submissive for even a time-delimited play session, let alone a long-term relationship without having undertaken this exercise. It is just about the first thing I do with a submissive who has expressed interest in giving herself to me. This is not only for her protection but for my own peace of mind and ability to be effective. If I do not know what turns a submissive on, what she is curious about but too shy to try, what scares her, what life traumas might lead to an in-scene trigger, and what hard limits I need to avoid, I am stabbing blindly in the dark and hoping for the best. My chances of success as a Dominant are slim. After all, the greatest role a Dominant plays is in exploring the mind of a submissive, for it is there that her submission stems. If I have no insight whatsoever into how that mind thinks, I have no tools with which to work. I literally have both hands tied behind my back.
Every competent and respectable Dominant and Master I have met uses some form of process to examine these important facets of their submissive and share their own perspectives as well to arrive at a mutual understanding and trust as the basis of their relationship. I am not sure how a consensual and informed BDSM relationship can exist in the absence of such an undertaking.
There are many sources of good BDSM checklists both in print and online. One of the most readily accessible and comprehensive is the checklist contained in the book “Screw The Roses, Send Me The Thorns” by Phillip Miller and Molly Devon. Another is contained in the recently published book “BDSM - The Naked Truth” by Dr. Charley Ferrer. I personally use one that I have adapted and expanded based on the Screw The Roses checklist. These lists can be long or short, and many pre-scene questionnaires used in lifestyle clubs and the like are fairly brief but then it is assumed that experienced players will be involved so they tend to only cover hard limits. This is not enough for a relationship. I recommend that for less experienced devotees and those desiring to engage in a D/s relationship that the more extensive the questionnaire the better. There is no way a newcomer can possibly anticipate everything that should be considered on their own and this is where some of the more extensive checklists become invaluable in getting one to think about and contemplate things that might never have occurred to them before.
Use these checklists, think hard about the issues they raise and how you feel about them. Check your egos at the door and take the time to understand your likes and limits and those of your partner. It is important to point out that limits are not just things you won’t do, but also things you have no experience in. As a Dominant, if you have no training or experience in various risky activities, do not use you submissive as a guinea pig. Seek guidance from experienced devotees and practitioners. Investing the time, care and energy in this simple but crucial step will greatly enhance the likelihood of a successful and pleasing D/s partnership and reduce the possibility of misunderstanding, pain and hurt. And frankly, anyone claiming to be a Dom who does not feel the need to take these important steps should be viewed with some additional scrutiny and concern. If they are not willing or even aware of the need to communicate at the outset, it is unlikely they will communicate openly and fairly when the chips are down and there is pain and suffering all around. Above all, do not place your safety and life in the hands of someone who has no idea of your needs, desires and limits and does not display the care to find out.
Be careful, be diligent, communicate, set boundaries and live by them.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Thoughts on Forgiveness in D/s
Recently I wrote a post expressing some thoughts on correction fortheloveofasub and punishment and the need for Dominants to be measured and circumspect in their approach, particularly when a submissive recognizes the error of their ways and already harbors deep regret for their actions. Submissives are deeply and intrinsically motivated by a desire to please their Dominant and little else hurts more than the realization that they have failed to do so, or worse, have done something to displease or hurt. A submissive can experience deep feelings of guilt and shame for having failed (in their own eyes) their Dominant. These feelings, while being a motivator for change and prevention of future errant behavior, can become a serious matter and very destructive when guilt and shame become internalized as inadequacy, rejection, or worse, abandonment. Forgiveness is a crucial element in the completion of correction or punishment. Without forgiveness, the correction or punishment is never ending for the submissive because they are left to drown in their own feelings of inadequacy and sense of rejection. This is not acceptable.
Even in correction and punishment there must be love and devotion. Indeed, in the context of a D/s relationship both correction and punishment are acts of love in the sense that they should be geared toward the growth of a submissive and not ever be simply punitive in nature. Correction or punishment should be tied to a specific errant action or act with clear, measurable, and achievable expectations for future success. A submissive should never be set up for failure in the sense of feeling trapped by ever changing rules or impossible goals for achievement. But when a submissive does fail to meet expectations through action or omission, and correction or even punishment is warranted, the corrective action must be delivered deliberately, with purpose, clearly tied to the errant behavior, timely, and be left behind when complete. The element of leaving the event behind is forgiveness and it must be communicated timely, effectively, honestly and completely.
And even more important than expressing forgiveness is living it. Simply saying that all is forgiven then skulking around in obvious discontent or resentment on the part of a Dom is a mixed message at best, and more to the point a disingenuous act. A submissive intuitively sees through this and knows that despite any words to the contrary, they have not in fact been forgiven. This is a form of emotional torture that is patently unfair, immature, and frankly undermines the credibility of the Dominant. Forgiveness must be both expressed and lived.
One of the intriguing things about a D/s relationship, particularly one where correction and punishment are an element of the interaction, is the ability to openly and quickly address areas of tension in the relationship. Properly done, D/s affords us the opportunity to set clear boundaries and expectations and establish accountability and culpability for their exercise and successful completion. When an infraction occurs we are able to clearly agree that a line has been crossed that both knew was there all along and address the matter promptly and completely. We are able to exorcise the bad feelings that have been created through correction and/or punishment, forgive the transgression, and move on with the matter completely addressed, harboring no ill will, resentment or misunderstanding. It is over and done with. No need to be revisited again.
However, the terminating act of correction and punishment is forgiveness genuine and heartfelt forgiveness expressed with honesty and love. Without that, the ability for D/s to rapidly and mutually address errors and omissions and move on comfortably with life is indelibly undermined and a cancer begins to grow within the relationship. Resentments are born and nurtured, feelings of inadequacy and rejection take root, and fear of abandonment takes the place where love once flourished. While is may not be seen this way in the heat of the moment, it is indeed the beginning of the end of what had once been beautiful.
In addition to strength, consistency, and timeliness, a Dominant must also be loving and compassionate in addressing errant behavior on the part of a submissive. Ultimately that compassion must come in the form of immediate, complete, and honest forgiveness. Without it, a submissive is not only corrected and punished but is in fact committed to a life sentence that ultimately can lead to the demise of the trusting and devoted relationship so carefully nurtured.
Be slow to punish, timely to correct, and hasten to forgive.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image by Hazim Haidaryan Model: Valentina Zalyaeva
Thoughts on Correction
Far from being the weak doormats their detractors might label them, submissives are often feisty and willful. They tend to have strong minds of their own and have a tendency to act on them, sometimes without regard for the rules, protocols and desires of their Dominant. More often than not the infraction is a matter of self-will and self-seeking rather than a spiteful disregard for their Dominant. It is usually a case of getting wrapped up in the moment and forgetting themselves and their commitment and devotion. More often than not when a submissive deviates from the desires of their Dominant and it is pointed out, they are shocked to have made the mistake, ashamed of having let their self-will overtake their devotion, and deeply regretful for having done so.
The fact that submissives have a tendency to beat themselves up over their own mistakes should be taken into account when addressing a failing or misstep the focus being more on correction rather than punishment. That said, infractions should not be overlooked entirely either. A submissive looks to their Dominant for direction, leadership, structure, authority, as well as devotion, honor and love. While it may not always be appropriate to severely punish for an infraction when the submissive clearly recognizes the error of their ways, it is crucial that a Dominant be consistent in adherence to standards and rules and that infractions not be permitted to go by unnoticed or unaddressed in some fair and reasonable manner. Failure to do so will only serve to confuse a submissive and leave them feeling unsure of where their boundaries are. It will also serve to undermine in very subtle ways the authority and legitimacy of the power exchange.
A submissive craves being under the firm hand of a competent and consistent leader. They do not want to be permitted to run amok and do not want to serve a doormat. Though they may test the boundaries from time to time, at heart they do not want to be given the room to “top from the bottom” by being permitted to bend the rules or break them without notice or consequence. At the same time they desire to serve a Master who is consistent, fair, and reasonable. From that comes respect.
All too often, Dominants feel the need to operate with a heavy hand as though respect and devotion can come from fear and blind obedience. They do not. A prudent and competent Dominant will be consistent in the application of their rules and the expectation that they be followed, but will be circumspect in how they deal with infractions. Willful disregard of protocols, rules, and desires must necessarily be met with swift and solid response. Inadvertent infractions or regrettable lapses of judgement should also be addressed just as swiftly but the response should be measured with an eye toward pointing out the regrettable error and establishing that it is neither acceptable nor should be repeated. It is a reminder and a warning of sorts, a correction of errant ways, not retribution or punishment. However, should the inadvertent actions continue, a sign that there may either be a lack of clarity over the rules or lack of respect for their adherence, clearly either the rules need to be clarified or punishment may be warranted.
The bottom line is that a Dominant should be firm and consistent but not cruel and impulsive. Punishing out of anger or frustration is neither productive or conducive to building respect or future obedience. When a submissive is already aware of the error of their ways and regretful of their actions, a measured and restrained response by a Dominant speaks louder than a harsh abrasive one. Sometimes it’s what is not said and what is not done that speaks louder and garners greater respect. The best leaders are not only firm and consistent but also compassionate.
Address errors, disobedience and other matters of concern swiftly and relevantly but always exercise the sort of self-control that is expected from a Dominant who is masterful of themselves and those around them. Doing so will not only gain further respect and deeper devotion from a submissive, it will also serve as a stronger reminder against future infractions and a deeper incentive for a submissive to want to please their Master and never fail them.
Be firm, be consistent, be compassionate. Devotion and obedience will surely follow.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image © Ken Marcus
Reclaiming my words lifted from the closing paragraph of one of my posts about "Dominance, Submission and Freedom" and reposted on an image as “author unknown.” Frustrating to say the least.
Dinner for Two
We sit face-to-face, gazing eye-to-eye in the upscale restaurant surrounded by opulence and overtaken by the scents of fine wine and gourmet cuisine. The illumination is low highlighting your curving features and the straightness of your hair. The day has been full of romance and passion, intimacy and sensuality. Our time together is all too brief and infrequent, but this has been the very day we had hoped for, worth every agonizing minute of wait and anticipation. And now here we are, capping it off with a wonderful meal, in perfect surroundings, our hearts full and minds swirling. But we both know this is not the end. It is merely a transition from the glow of sunlit romance to deeply shadowed debauchery in the darkness of night.
But for now there you are, radiant in your new dress, the color exceptional and the cut accentuating your finest physical attributes. The heels you thought seemed odd in their shape complimenting the ensemble, displaying your shapely legs to perfection. You have never been dressed more beautifully in your life and yet you have never felt more naked beneath my gaze.
You are all too aware that the night is just beginning and of the direction it is likely to take. We have been here before, you and I. You know the meaning of that look in my eye, the upward tick at the corners of my mouth, the deepening hushed tones of my voice. The day passed in loving companionship but with heated anticipation you now await that darker companion who emerges with the night. Indeed He made his presence felt before ever leaving the hotel room. His reminder most evident as you shift in your seat, the ever-present Swarovsky crystal plug a lone sentinel standing watch over your submission, reminding you of your place between us, a simultaneous warning and welcome.
With the first glass of wine and the appetizers behind us, it began. You knew it was coming. It had to. It always does. And yet you’re never certain quite how, quite when, quite what. The change in tone. The shift from amiable conversation to firm direction. It seemed such an innocent thing to do, asking where the ladies room might be. But the response from your Sir is anything but innocent. The pointed finger, the offhand mention that while you are there you might consider removing your lacy panties and bring them back to the table.
You shift in your seat, mulling the politely veiled direction just received and all of its its implications, terrified that removing the panties will result in an obvious and embarrassing dampness to your dress. Sure that the crystal plug, the thought of your own nudity, and anticipation of the night ahead will leave you slick and wet. Indeed you are convinced this is already the case even with the panties on. You dread the walk through the crowded restaurant having been stared at by the lecherous older male clientele since first arriving. But now, with what you are sure will be an obvious wetness in an obvious place, you are mortified.
And yet that is what we do. That is who we are. We challenge and accept. We rise above fears and insecurities in our quest for absolute release and perfect union as Dominant and submissive. Your hesitation is nearly imperceptible but there. Just long enough for an arched eyebrow from your Sir to press you into action. Silently and purposefully you fold the linen napkin and rise, making your way toward the ladies room with a poise and purpose you surely do not feel.
Returning to the table you retake your seat, blushing and grinning sheepishly but mischievously. “Give them to me,” I command and you hold your tightly clenched fist across the table, the delicate lacy thong balled up in your tiny hand so no one might see. I hold out my hand, palm up, fingers straight. You place the white lace ball on my hand hoping I will promptly clench my fist, covering the evidence as you pull your hand away, but I do not. Instead, with our eyes locked, my arm extended across the table, I slowly unravel the covert lacy ball with my thumb revealing its true shape and form to the rapt attention of the lecherous onlookers. You stare into my gaze wide-eyed, afraid to break eye contact, as though by boring a place to hide deep within my eyes you will somehow make the emerging panties in my hand disappear. Your cheeks flush, your lips tremble. The emotions that wash over your face simultaneously say “please stop” and “oh God, this is so hot.” Slowly, without breaking eye contact, I gradually close my fingers around the soft wisp of material, retract my arm and place the warm moist lace into the breast pocket of my dinner jacket. You avert your gaze, swallowing hard, looking down at your hands clenched tightly together in your lap.
The beautiful mauve dress still adorns your stunning body but now you feel more naked than if you wore not a stitch, sure that you are not alone in the realization. The two women you encountered in the ladies room sitting across from us know. The old men at the table beside us know. The waitress who passed as I spread your panties across my hand knows. And above all your Sir knows. Every one around you is surely looking through that dress as though it were not even there. Judging you. Shaming you. Desiring you. Commanding you. All eyes are on you. Or so it seems.
But in fact as you sit there in your discomfort no one is paying the least bit of attention. No one has. It is just your mind playing tricks on you. But then that is precisely what I desire and what you crave. It is part of my pleasure and my reward that you should twist and turn yourself without my so much as laying a hand on you. And yet that is the very thing that you keep coming back for. It is the thrill you seek amid the kind love and affection we have for one another.
But not everyone is ignoring you. Indeed, I have not taken my eyes off you from the moment you sat down. I am gazing past that dress to the familiar yet oh so desirable body beneath. My body. The one that brings me so much pleasure and joy, softness and warmth. The one that writhes and moans, whimpers and sighs, coos and cries at my touch. And it is tonight now mine for the taking. You have given it to me. You have given you to me. When I want. Where I want. How I want. And at the moment, nothing stands in my way but a short hem line.
It is that very recognition and desperate aching anticipation that does you in. Not the crystal plug, not the touch of my hand on your knee beneath the table, not the cool air wafting between your hot thighs. No. It is the all consuming awareness that you are completely covered and yet have never been so simultaneously exposed. It is the realization that your Sir will be taking advantage of this all evening long in the most public and private of ways. Sitting, standing, walking, dancing. The knowledge that He will reach for you, claim you, tease you, perhaps even please you, before ultimately taking you does you in. As the thoughts of lust and trepidation flood your heated mind another hot flood of its own begins and you know there will be no escape from the crowded restaurant unnoticed.
He has done it to you again. He always does. You don’t know how and you don’t know why but he gets to you every time like no one else can. Without saying a word. Without touching a thing. Just a thought. A look. A knowing glance. And the anticipation begins anew. A tingle. An ache. A throb. Warm. Wet. Surrendered.
The main course is served.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image - Dinner Engagement by China Hamilton
Submissive Traits - Service
Submissives often possess a deep desire and capacity to serve. They crave direction and structure, not of a mindless sort, but rather of the kind that promotes service to their Dominant that supports being pleasing. A Dominant’s rules, protocols and rewards should be designed to enable and encourage this desire to serve, thus providing fulfillment for all involved. But it is important to understand that the desire to serve the One chosen by a submissive does not imply that they are naturally service oriented in their rest of their lives. There is often a stark contrast between the submissive’s relationship with their Dominant versus that which they have with the rest of the world. It is part of what makes the D/s bond so unique and so special that a submissive will serve their Dominant in ways they would never consider doing with or for anyone else.
In my experience submissives can at times be dominant and even domineering in their vanilla lives, including in the home and workplace. It is not uncommon for these would be submissives to be extremely controlling of their environments and the people in them as a standard practice across their lives. Sometimes this can be a reaction to people around them who are not in control of themselves, people who bring with them only chaos and instability. The response by a submissive can be a deeply rooted drive to fill that void by feeling compelled to bring some level of order and control to their lives. They themselves become controlling.
But constantly striving to be in charge and in control is exhausting over a protracted period and can leave a person feeling weary and unfulfilled. Believing you have to be in command at all times leaves no room for surrender, being cared for, pampered, the center of attention, or just able to let go. This is where D/s can be so deeply appealing. It is the one place where a submissive can shed the mantle and burdens of control and just let go for a time. By making their Dominant the center of their attention and focus, the submissive in turn becomes the center of attention for a change. They feel valued, appreciated, needed. Without wanting or meaning to sound sexist, my personal experience is that for some submissive women D/s is the one place they feel truly able to fulfill their most feminine needs and desires.
Service often plays a significant role in making this shift from control of every day life to complete submission. For a time, a submissive is no longer giving orders to everyone around them but instead is falling into their Dominant, surrendering themselves to a higher power of sorts, letting go of self and the control of others and their circumstances. They are simply “being.” Being themselves. Being feminine. Being beauty and sex. Being devotion. Being obedient. Being of service. Being pleasing. Being the epitome of love. Just being.
For a time the noise goes away, the committee between the ears quiets down, the chaos stops. For a little while all of the energy that goes into corralling the chaotic wild herd around them becomes transformed and singularly focussed on their Dominant, who is themselves anything but chaotic. Their Dominant displays control and mastery in their own life and has no need to be controlled or mastered by the submissive leaving room only for service and devotion.
The interrelationship between Dominant and submissive is complex and rarely the same from one couple to another. The motivations are often different and the manifestations of D/s highly variable. But regardless of the reasons or how they are played out, there are some common threads in these relationships and service is one of them. A submissive need not be a “service oriented submissive” (implying domestic service) to have a high degree of desire to serve. Service takes on many forms and does not have to involve doing dishes and cleaning bathrooms. It also does not have to be explicitly sexualized either, though it often is. Service can be as simple as being attentive, caring, and obedient to a Dominant. It can be signs of affection such as a head on the lap, stroking of fingers, washing a back in the shower, or a shoulder massage. Or it may not involve physical contact at all. A daily picture or note, email or video, or simply being present and attentive. If it pleases a Dominant it is service and can be deeply rewarding to the submissive’s innate drive to be pleasing.
One of the many paradoxes of D/s is the fact that what seems to the outside world like actions and deeds stemming from coercion or even oppression by a Dominant are actually a manifestation of a submissive’s own deeply rooted desire to serve. Service provided by a submissive in a healthy D/s relationship is not demanded but rather enabled by a Dominant. It is not taken from a submissive but rather is given freely and eagerly. None of this makes sense to the outside observer or the uninitiated but it is very real. A solid and healthy D/s relationship brings things out of us that we would never consider under any other circumstances, and not only makes us willing but downright eager to do them.
Service is an outward manifestation of the devotion and desire to please and be pleasing experienced by a submissive in a loving and committed D/s relationship. It is a hallmark of submissive behavior that should be nurtured and respected by a Dominant but never abused, taken advantage of, or taken for granted. A significant reward of service for a submissive is knowing that they are pleasing their Dominant and that their efforts are appreciated on a very deep visceral and emotional level and are treated with the respect and value they deserve. A Dominant’s genuine appreciation breeds an ever greater desire to serve and be of service, please and be pleasing. It is a Dominant’s responsibility to foster an environment that both enables and encourages the fulfillment of this need to serve on the part of a submissive. It is the very essence of Dominance.
The relationship between Dominant and submissive truly changes everything about us in the most remarkable and unpredictable ways. We often find ourselves surprised by what we suddenly desire and will do for one another. No one else draws this out of us like our D/s partner.
Be passionate, be appreciative, be receptive, praise openly and honestly, and a submissive will be of service to their Dominant in ways neither ever imagined possible.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Dominant Traits - Affection
Tracing fingertips, a tender kiss, a contented sigh. Is this the act of a Dominant? Absolutely. Affection and care is a hallmark of Dominance every bit as much as bondage, spanking, challenges and commands. Dominance and submission is not simply authority and compliance, command and obedience. It is a bond of mutual respect and adoration. Affection is a fundamental element of a D/s relationship and indeed, when combined with trust, is the bedrock on which the darker pleasures and interactions are built.
There seems to be a pervasive misunderstanding that to be Dominant one must appear overtly authoritarian, gruff, emotionally impenetrable, and fortress like. Nothing could be further from the truth. The respect and trust that must necessarily be earned in order for a submissive to bare and surrender their heart, mind, body and soul comes from a combination of emotional accessibility on the part of a Dominant, combined with a level of power, balance, and control.
To be worthy of submission, a Dominant must be successful in their own rite. This does not mean having a high net worth or achieving financial success. What I am referring to is a level of success and mastery of their own lives such as they are. Rich or poor, highly educated or street wise, professional or laborer, for a Dominant to be considered a Master they must have some mastery of their own circumstances. Whether it is at work, in volunteerism, at home or a hobby, there should be mastery of some sort having shown the dedication and integrity necessary to be very good at something. They must also have control over their own lives and how they care for themselves and those around them. But this is only part of the equation.
A potential Dominant may be successful in their own rite and worthy of respect for the way in which they conduct their lives, but still not be worthy of submission. For a submissive to desire giving themselves to another, they must not only sense dominance and mastery but also emotional accessibility and security. They need to feel not only desired but also loved, cared for, and protected. It is the combination of power and control, mastery and achievement, love and affection, acceptance and desire, trust and security, that allows a submissive to open themselves fully to their Dominant and fall into them completely. To be a truly effective Dominant, one must successfully strike the balance between all of these traits. Lose that balance and there will be tension in the D/s bond.
My Muse and I baffle people who encounter us. We don’t add up. They cannot figure us out and their heads seem to hurt when they try. It is actually amusing to watch. When we are out in public there are no overt signs that we share a relationship as Dominant and submissive but yet there is something in our interaction with one another that people cannot quite put their finger on. The first thing they notice of course is our age difference, followed by the obvious fact that we are not a couple who live together, and yet we are intimately affectionate with one another. We touch and make a lot of eye contact, we laugh easily and tease one another. Yet there is an underlying dynamic between us of respect and dominance, authority and deference that doesn’t quite compute to those who do not recognize or identify with the underlying D/s foundation. So while our relationship is noticeably different and the vanilla folk we encounter cannot quite put their finger on it, one thing that is often remarked upon is that we seem to be very happy. And we are.
The thing that stands out to others as a hallmark of our interaction is the very obvious and overt level of care and affection we have for one another and openly display. And for good reason, it is the underpinning of our relationship. The fact that we share this deeply intimate emotional bond that manifests itself overtly as affection is in large part the very foundation that allows us to go behind closed doors and act out the darker arts of our bond bondage, service, challenge, and kink. It is the Yin and the Yang that is us. We cannot have one without the other in proper balance. Fire and water, darkness and light.
So is affection a hallmark of successful and competent Dominants? I absolutely argue that it is and cannot fathom achieving the sort of bond that allows me to express my darker dominant side without it.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
D/s Monogamy - Love and BDSM
Recently I was asked by a follower about the nature of D/s relationships as it relates to monogamy between a Dominant and submissive and whether people in such relationships often fall in love with one another. I’ve sat on this question for a while because, while I know what it means to me to be in a monogamous loving D/s relationship, my personal experience and preferences are not necessarily representative of the community of BDSM adherents. I needed to think about my response.
In the world of BDSM as I know it there is great variation in the nature of relationships and the motivations of its practitioners. Different people are attracted to the art of BDSM and the nature of the relationships it can spawn for very different reasons. For some, it is purely a fetish or kink, something to be included in their sexual lives regardless of the partner. Others are attracted to the openness of sexuality and communication enjoyed by the BDSM community. Still others, like me, see it as a means of augmenting a loving relationship or even forming the basis of such a relationship. Another group finds spiritual fulfillment in BDSM through the exploration of sensation, feeling, or inner self. Others seek a place in a pack as it were, fulfilling their needs and desires to fit in a hierarchy of Dominants and submissives a highly structured sense of belonging. And there are many, many others. Any member of these groups may seek monogamous relationships, open relationships, polyamory, or just have a desire to scene with others of similar tastes with no particular strings attached. Others may just want to share in the fantasy while staying in the closet as it were, as is so often the case in the online realm. The world of BDSM-based relationships is as variable as any other form of human interaction they depend on the people involved, their motivations and desires.
I am an emotionally driven person whereas others may be more intellectually or sexually driven. I seek close emotional ties with my partner and identify with monogamy as a core tenet of the devotion and service I associate with being either a Dominant or submissive. Therefor I tend toward a loving, caring, committed and monogamous relationship. I choose not to engage with others in a scene, and do not share what is Mine. I am possessive as a Dominant though hopefully in healthy and non-destructive ways. My Muse is Mine! But in that same vein, I am every bit as much hers. In terms of our D/s relationship we are monogamous and exclusive. That is how we choose to be. It is neither right or wrong. It is just what is right for us.
As for love in D/s, I believe this is very complicated. It is clear to me that there are many abuses in so-called D/s relationships both online and in person that argue for an absence of love or even common human decency. But more often than not, those abuses seem to be at the hands of people who are not truly educated or invested in the BDSM community. I think of them as wanna-be’s, posers, or worse, predators. I have seen a lot of damage done, mostly emotional and psychological, but even some physical. This presents a fearful environment to many newcomers and displays a lack of love or even kindness. Frankly, it is abuse. That said, there are many knowledgeable, capable, and qualified people who very legitimately partake and participate in the BDSM community who do not choose to enter into devoted “romantic” relationships. A visit to any munch or BDSM social gathering or club will make that very clear. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Still, the notion of being truly Dominant or submissive toward another is indeed a deep display of humility which could be argued is a profoundly loving action. One can act out of deep love, reverence, even devotion without romance. So then perhaps we fall short in the English language in our ability to describe the various facets of love. One can have a humble, loving and devoted relationship with a god or higher power and not be “in love” with that entity or being in the romantic sense. I think too, many Dominants and submissive can have deeply reverent relationships with one another and not be romantically attached in any way. It is clear to most people that submission is a supreme act of humility but did you know that Dominance is every bit as much a humble act despite all its appearances to the contrary? A Dominant, while clearly enjoying being the center of a submissive’s universe for a time, also and just as equally makes the submissive the center of theirs. Done properly, Dominance (and submission) is not about self it is about a sole focus on another. That takes humility. That takes a love of another romantic or otherwise.
My Muse and I both invest our hearts into our relationship every bit as much or more as we invest our minds and bodies. We are not simply in a loving D/s relationship, we love one another deeply on all levels. We have often discussed at some length the notion of BDSM or D/s without a loving romantic attachment and both of us reach the same conclusion for ourselves why bother? That is not a judgement of anyone else or their desires or beliefs, it is simply who we are as people. We love and are in love. We are solely devoted to one another and it is that devotion that feeds the love and desire. And it is the love and desire that feeds the devotion. My Muse takes the view that she could only have one “master” and perhaps could never bring herself to have another in the future. Similarly, I do not believe myself capable of being the best possible Dominant I can be if my time, mental, and emotional effort were to be spread around. I am not that good, nor will I ever be. It is not how my heart and mind are wired. The power of D/s to me in the strength of the bond between Dominant and submissive. For me, diluting that bond would dilute the experience, so I choose monogamy and a deeply loving relationship with my D/s partner.
So to the original question of whether there is D/s monogamy and do Dominants and submissives fall in love. Yes there is monogamy but there does not have to be and often isn’t. Yes there is love but there does not have to be a romantic attachment, though there often is. D/s can be anything you want it to be. There are no set rules or boundaries other than whatever it is you define between you and your partner(s) being safe, sane, consensual and risk aware.
Above all, whatever you choose, be good to one another.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2014
Image Credit Unknown
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.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image © Marcus J. Ranum
I do so love having her on display. There is nothing more simultaneously thrilling and comforting as to have my Muse presented before me in all her beauty and submission. I love her posture and patience, her anticipation and arousal, the curves of her body and straightness of her hair. I love the pinks and creams of her skin, the browns and highlights of her eyes, the taught ropey muscles and the soft rounded curves.
There is something utterly sublime in having a strong and willful woman so willingly present herself in this way. Exposed and vulnerable, both physically and emotionally. She bares her heart, ego, and emotional security as she bares her body. It is a sign of not only utter devotion but also absolute trust. Trust that in being so exposed she will not only be physically safe but also emotionally cradled and cared for. Her willingness and devotion displayed in this way say more than any combination of verbal endearments and small acts of kindness combined.
In presentation she says not only I love you, but I trust you, I care for you, and I give myself to you completely and without reservation. I am yours. And nothing can warm my heart, bring butterflies to my stomach, or a throb to my loins like that.
Presentation. It is so much more than just a pose.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Many submissives struggle and strain with their own surrender. They pull at the chains and tug at the bonds. They perceive submission as an obstacle to be overcome, a battle to be won, a right of passage. But I assure you that when a would-be submissive meets the right Dominant for them, there is no struggle, there is no trial. In the arms and under the hand of their One, submission comes as naturally as breathing. One does not think about trusting the air before each breath. The right Dominant will not only have your trust, they will be your breath. Relax, breathe, and fall into them.
~ For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Submissive Traits - Leadership
Recently my Muse sent me the Joey Hill quote in the post pictured above, and in addition to meaning a great deal to me during a time of personal and professional stress, it set me to thinking more globally about the ways in which a submissive at times serves their Master through artful and subtle leadership. Once again it pointed out to me how a submissive is not a dish rag, simply accepting direction and command, but rather a partner who expresses love and devotion through service, and yes, at times even leadership.
Tumblr is littered with references to the Anais Nin quote that begins, "I do not want to be the leader. I refuse to be the leader. I want to live darkly and richly in my femaleness. I want a man lying over me, always over me. His will, his pleasure, his desire, his life, his work, his sexuality the touchstone, the command, my pivot." This may indeed be a commonly held feeling of many submissives, but to believe that one can have a successful D/s relationship as a submissive while abdicating all responsibility for taking the lead at times is an illusion.
You see, contrary to popular myth, a Dominant is not some infallible and omnipotent being. A Dominant is human and subject to human stresses, pressures, emotions, and needs. Sometimes that seeming rock of a Dom succumbs to the pressures of life, work, relationships, family, or loss, and suddenly does not seem so dominant. A Dominant can lose their way every bit as much as can a submissive. And like Puff the Magic Dragon, many Dominants, when confronted with overwhelming pressures or loss, will slip into their cave of self-imposed exile and retreat from the world. They often do not express themselves and the weight that they bear. That is part of what makes them seem so Dominant. Yet to the intimate D/s submissive partner, this self-imposed isolation by a Dominant can feel like rejection. When the Dominant withdraws, the submissive can themselves feel lost.
With that in mind, read the Joey Hill quote again. "If my Master is lost, I’ll find him. I’ll lead him back to himself, because to serve does not always mean to follow." Pretty brilliant stuff I say. When a Master is not feeling so terribly masterful, when a Dominant is not feeling so terribly in control of their world, it is indeed the hour of glory for a submissive partner to truly shine in their devotion. Under these circumstances, leading a Master back to themselves is not an exercise in brattiness or challenging them to be Dominant, or to take action of some sort. No. This is the moment when a submissive can lead their Dominant back to himself by being their most devoted and submissive self. It is leadership through service. Not badgering or shaming the Dominant about poor performance, that only makes matters worse. The submissive leads their Dominant back to their dominance by giving them what they seem to have momentarily lost in life control. Through loving devotion and service, the submissive gives their Dominant what they have lost, and in so doing slowly breathes life back into their own Master. This is not leadership in the overt traditional sense of command and control, or even leadership by example. This is leadership through service and devotion.
When I was a child we never had pets in the household because my family tended to travel a lot and could not care for them. So I walked a neighbor’s dog on a regular basis to put a little change in my pocket and frankly to fill a void. Over time I developed a bond with this dog and I will never forget the intervention that dog once made on me during a time of extreme emotional distress in my life. One day while walking the dog I remember sitting on some steps in the neighborhood and crying my eyes out where I thought no one would see me. All the while I did this, that dog just sat there devotedly before me gazing up intently and unwaveringly with his big brown eyes. Then slowly but surely, sitting at my knees, he laid his head on my lap and did not move until my outpouring of sadness subsided. This otherwise active and rambunctious dog sat there in utter devotion with his head motionless on my lap for more than half an hour. He comforted me through devotion, patience and service. He submissively gave me full control over him until I was able to stand up and lead again. He gave me unconditional love.
My Muse is not my pet. We do not have that dynamic to our relationship. But like the dog from my childhood, my Muse gives me what I need most, even in times of stress or distress. Through her utter devotion, tireless service, and unwavering love, she sometimes quietly and subtly takes the reigns for both of us. But she doesn’t use that control to lead us anywhere or make us do anything. She takes the reigns, holds them tenderly for a time, then lovingly hands them back to me. And in that act of handing me control of her, she bring some modicum of control back to my life and thus my sense of Dominance and her place of comfort.
Ultimately, by leadership through service a submissive leads their Master back to being their most authentic self, as my Muse has for me from the day we met. That is why she is a Muse. My Muse.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2014
Image Credit Unknown
Original Tumblr Post by me-allofme me-allofme
Thoughts on Protocol - “The Invisible Leash”
I consider myself to be a relatively low protocol Dominant, though with the passage of time and a growing maturity in my D/s relationship, that is gradually changing. There is a lot of debate and even more misunderstanding surrounding what protocol is and how it can be applied in an M/s or D/s relationship. Having said that, there is no one “right” way to implement protocol in a kink relationship but there are definitely some wrong ones. First lets have a look at protocol as I am referring to it so that we have a common understanding from which to build. In doing so, am going to refer to both Masters and slaves and Dominants and submissive in this essay not because they are interchangeable terms (they are not) but because this discussion applies equally to both forms of relationship.
Protocol is a general guide to communication or interaction. It is not intended to be a task or specific procedure, but is rather a guide, a tenet, a principle. In the interpersonal sense, it is a roadmap for how people are to interrelate with one another. More specifically, in the D/s or M/s sense it is a code of behavior that sets expectations and guidelines for interaction between Master and slave, Dominant and submissive and their surroundings.
So why is this important?
Slaves and submissives universally share two common fears as it relates to their role in an M/s or D/s relationship a fear of failure and a fear of rejection. The strongest desire of a slave is to please the Master. If a submissive does not understand the expectations of their Dominant they will feel lost at sea, tossed about endlessly by the fickle fates of wind and waves. They are set up for failure because they do not know how to please and thus how to succeed. They also then gain a growing fear that they are displeasing their Dominant and thus feel susceptible to being rejected. Neither of these fears must be allowed to take root in a D/s or M/s relationship or it will be irreversibly undermined.
Protocols are much more than a simple way for a submissive to know what their Dominant wants. They are not just a list of tasks with specific procedures for adequate completion. They are a framework to live within, a set of boundaries. They are often actions or phrases that reaffirm each person’s role in the relationship. They are designed to set forth how a D/s couple will interact with one another, in scene, in public, at home, in the community. They are designed to set a mood, teach a specific behavior, achieve a specific goal, or simply because they please the Master to have it that way.
To be most effective, protocols should be in the form of a written protocol manual. At a recent Master/salve convention a survey was conducted of owners and slaves to determine the importance and prevalence of written protocols. Of the slaves that were surveyed, 100% of them said it would be extremely helpful or crucial to their success to have a written set of protocols. Of the Masters who were surveyed, only 25% actually provided such a written manual. This shows a substantial disparity between the needs of a submissive and the direction their Dominants are providing.
Developing a well thought out protocol manual takes significant effort and thought on the part of a Dominant but it can also be a combined product of the Dominant and submissive. Even in a Master/salve relationship this is an area where collaboration and suggestions from the slave should be weighed carefully and considered by the Master for inclusion. Naturally, the final decision rests with the Master, but no one knows the slave better than the slave, and they can provide valuable insight and make important suggestions that should be given a fair audience and hearing.
This inclusion of the slave in the development of a protocol manual and the specific protocols it contains also plays an important role in what I distinguish as a difference between “compliance” and “obedience.” When a submissive is simply handed a collection of rules, regulations, procedures, tasks, and the like, they may do their best to blindly comply with the specifics out of a sense of duty to their Dominant but may not be fully invested in the goals behind them and indeed may not see any rhyme or reason to the list at all. When a slave understands the “why” or goal of having something done a particular way or under specific circumstances they become not only intellectually cognizant of the requirement but also emotionally invested in the outcome. No longer simply complying, there is an alignment of both heart and mind in complete obedience. There is a pride not only in the successful adherence to protocols but also in the beliefs that went into them.
By maintaining protocols, the Master and slave share a connection and with each and every instance of a protocol being adhered to or acted upon a reaffirmation of the dynamic between them takes place. Both the Dom and slave are reminded of their role and place in the power exchange relationship. By providing guidance to a submissive, there is no question how they should behave in any circumstance or surrounding because the decision has already been made by the Dominant. There is clarity in the wishes of the Dom and clear metrics for success on the part of the submissive. But even more importantly, by having clear guidelines to follow, the slave feels the guidance and control of the Master without the Master having to be present or verbally dictate the slave’s every move. This is why Master Tallen refers to protocols as “The Invisible Leash.”
Just like a leash, protocols bind owner and slave together in an ever-present connection and bond. But protocols also serve to create separation. Like the leash, a protocol is a continual reminder that the slave is separated from the Master and other superiors, thus reaffirming the slave’s position in life. An example of such a protocol might be that when in public a slave must walk a half step behind and to the right of their Master, or the common protocol of a prohibition on the use of furniture in private or at BDSM community functions by a slave. It reinforces that Masters and slaves are at opposite ends of the power exchange yet in the obedience to a protocol, the bond between the two is reaffirmed.
In developing protocols I recommend that D/s couples keep them at the level of being basic guidelines for behavior and not a list of specific chores or duties. Think of protocols as guides to how a Dominant wants their submissive to interact and behave in various environments and circumstances. A good way to break this down is to have protocols for being in private, in public, at a BDSM community event, at work, with children or other immediate family. These are social settings where one pattern of behavior or another might not be appropriate. Think about speech patterns, how a Dom should be approached and addressed, what overt and covert signs of the relationship should be displayed, acceptable posture and positions for certain behaviors, level of formality, etc. Protocols for all of these surroundings should have common goals and objectives but may differentiate how they are addressed or carried out depending on circumstance and surrounding company. Even in a 24/7 TPE relationship, there are times when elements of the relationship are not appropriate or acceptable to be displayed. Working all of this out in advance and committing it to a written protocol manual removes the uncertainty and discomfort that can lead to dreaded fears of failure or rejection on the part of a submissive.
Protocols are relevant for all BDSM interactions from casual time-delimited play sessions to 24/7 lifestyle relationships and everything in between. Enforcing protocols should be treated with the same level of importance and timeliness as tasks from the perspective of correction or punishment. Slaves and submissive carry a heavy burden when they realize they have displeased their Master or Dominant and will beat themselves up until it is addressed. Correction and punishment gives closure, ensures focus and should be accomplished immediately and with forgiveness.
It is common for new Dominants to confuse protocols with tasks. Indeed, most new D/s relationships tend to focus on the very thing that attracts most of us to them in the first place, kinky sexual activity. Thus, many new Dominants will embrace a series of tasks or requirements, often sexual in nature, as the means of establishing and maintaining the power exchange. This alone is enough for many scene delimited Doms and subs and can be the extent of their interaction, which is fine. However for some, after a time there can be a dawning realization that there is something deeper and more gratifying to be had within the power exchange. That there can be a recognition of a deep inner drive to be a Master or a slave motivated by something other that sex and sexuality. Deeply rooted desires to serve and be served, surrender and control can become far more gratifying than the kinky sexuality alone. Here the gratification becomes far more relationship based and the need for protocols to describe and maintain those relationships beyond simple tasks and requirements become paramount. Indeed the protocols become the framework of the power exchange itself. It comes time for something more sophisticated and well thought out.
My Muse and I have some protocols between us that describe how we interact with one another and how she is expected to behave, care for herself, speak to me, and so forth. Initially these protocols were more task oriented but with time they are becoming more goal oriented. Protocols are evolving to play an ever greater role in our relationship and will only become more pervasive and comprehensive as our relationship develops and evolves to ever deeper levels of submission and commitment.
I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in D/s to do some research on protocols and the role they play in M/s and D/s relationships. There are several good books available on the topic available through the major online book sellers. Take the time and effort to not only come up with a list of protocols but to communicate them thoroughly, explain their rationale and goals completely, and commit them to a written protocol manual that guides the behavior and interaction of both Dominant and submissive in various aspects of their lives.
You will both be richly rewarded for your efforts.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Some of the most profound moments between us occur when you surrender to me in public with no care or concern for who might notice. In these moments, in the most crowded of places, there is only you, me, and our unshakeable bond. The noise fades, the world recedes, and nothing and no one else matters. More than ever, you become the center of my universe, the sun at the center of my orbit, indelibly linked and mutually dependent. And there is you. Only you.
~ For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
It is difficult to fathom the heart of D/s until you have experienced first hand the depth and power of the bond between Dominant and submissive. What looks like one-sided command and obedience is actually, in its highest form, unbridled mutual devotion. But the strength of that bond and the depth of that devotion stems from, and is singularly dependent upon, one thing absolute trust.
~ For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
There are few things I crave more than to be kept nearby and to be of use while you work. To take some of the stress away, to make your day a little less dull, a little more pleasant. And what could do that more than the sound of my feet lightly padding across the floor, fetching your tea, whispering a word or two so as to not distract. Maybe a light brush of your arm before I slip back under your desk till you need me.
This is not a sexual activity. It’s not about orgasms or wetness, it’s not about keeping me frustrated and needy. It’s not about me at all. It’s about serving, it’s about being where you want me, being what you want, it’s about you. I won’t wonder when you’ll let me cum or when you’ll want to fuck me. In that moment, I will have and be everything I could possibly need. Whether I’m sitting in silence, casually forgotten, listening to you type, backspace, sigh, type again in the calm rhythm of a man deep in thought, or on my knees, a quiet, reverent mouth serving your cock as you discuss your latest business deal on the phone.
In those moments, I will be nothing more than a silent serving girl. A silent serving girl in unimaginable bliss.
Looking around the large and opulently appointed hotel room my Muse and I occupied I could not help being stunned by the detritus left behind remnants of an afternoon of Dominance, submission, bondage, lust, and love making. Like Hansel and Gretel, our day’s journey left a trail of bread crumbs each of which told a piece of a story that together ostensibly made up the sum of our experience.
All around the room were stepping stones of removed clothing hers neatly folded as instructed, mine discarded elsewhere in haste. There was the half open drawer where a collar had been retrieved. A tube of desensitizing cream, evidence of the the sparkling Swarovski crystal plug still in use. Lengths of soft rope dangling from the legs of an ottoman where a certain someone had been bound and splayed for appreciation and use. Accompanying the ropes trailing out from the ottoman, like the treasured possessions of a spindly octopus, lay paddles and crops, clothespins and clamps. Leading from the ottoman to the bed, signs of transition a trail of shoes, wrist and ankle cuffs, and a blindfold, thoughtfully and hastily removed in the afterglow and descent of post orgasmic revival. And then, sheets, blankets and pillows scattered hither and yon, implements and obstacles to the passionate love making that followed.
While each of these items held a memory and perhaps even a secret, what shocked me most was how cold and impersonal they were and how poorly they captured the essence of us and our time together. Sure the state of the room and everything in it hailed a message of energetic and kinky sex, but looking around objectively for the first time since we began, it was evident that something was missing. A crucial part of the real story of our time together was left untold by the trail of evidence.
The missing part was the human element. The clothes and ropes, the cuffs and collar, and the toys and implements alone told a story that I did not really connect with. They failed to tell of love, devotion, desire, and dedication. They in no way captured the depth of our bond. They were just objects serving as reminders of acts. But the acts were merely symptoms of something far greater. They were manifestations of something deeper and more important. What was missing was us. My Muse and I make up the bond of our bondage. Our hearts and minds are poured into this thing we call D/s, this bond that forges us together as one in a way never before experienced. Without two hearts and minds melded together in common desire and purpose there is no Dominance, there is no submission. There are only two bodies engaged in kinky sex play and that alone is what the room spoke of in that moment.
So why do I share this seemingly minor detail of a sordid and sultry afternoon? It is of course a metaphor. The hollowness I perceived from the remnants of our foray was the same as the feeling I so often get when looking at the all too frequent interpretation of D/s and BDSM here online. Empty. Hollow. Lacking in emotion and understanding. There is much kink and all too little devotion. There is the inanimate emphasis on pornography and a paucity of interest in what can make kinky sex so very powerful a deep bond of desire and devotion between Dominant and submissive, Master and slave.
There is certainly nothing wrong with kinky or rough sex, or pornographic depictions of such. I like it as much as the next guy. But just as pornography is a poor substitute for a living breathing partner, kinky or rough sex alone pales in comparison to a dedicated and desirous bond between Dominant and submissive manifested in sexual expression. The latter is a truly soaring experience that I wish for anyone with an interest in D/s. Its not just about the sex and the kink, it is first and foremost about the hearts and minds of two polar opposites attracted and bonded together in pursuit of a mutual goal. A Dominant and a submissive are those attractive opposites that when properly paired and mated in a loving and dedicated bond can produce pure emotional and sexual magic for one another. The sex and kink is but a small manifestation of that bond, but boy is it ever good. Unlike anything you have ever experienced. I promise.
As always, if hearts and minds are willful and desirous the bodies will follow, and life will be breathed into that trail of inanimate remnants in a way you cannot imagine until you experience it for yourself.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Just be still. Stop your perpetual motion. Calm your racing mind. There is nothing to be done, no tasks to perform, no others to care for. There is only you, in my arms, in this moment, right here, right now.
So pause here a while and remember who you are. Remember your place. Remember your purpose before me. Sink into that deep inner well of surrender and release yourself from your self. Just be.
~ For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
The Hand of a Dominant
The hand of a Dominant is an extension of their heart, mind and will. It is used to communicate with broader range and often to greater effect than mere words alone. The hand of a Dom is employed to lead and guide, caress and massage, reassure and calm, tease and please, coax and lure, tie and torment, correct and punish. More is communicated by the look and touch of a Dom than most any collection of mere words could impart.
A Dominant is often of few words, yet the most competent among us are excellent communicators without exception. They not only know how to convey a point but are also fine tuned receptors. They sense verbal and non-verbal cues in others more acutely and accurately than most. The oft portrayed image of the dispassionate and stoic Dominant, lording themselves over a submissive, commanding performance with barked orders, a sneer, and a glare is far from reality. While many Doms may not necessarily be gregarious by nature they do not simply sit idly back. They survey and absorb all that is happening around them, take it in, read people and in so doing, hone their own communication skills.
Submissives often refer to their Dominants as mind readers because of the seemingly uncanny manner with which they anticipate and react to a sub’s unspoken thoughts or moods. Sometimes it seems as though the Dom is responding to feelings a submissive has not yet even acknowledged to themselves. There is no ESP involved here. A competent Dominant is simply well attuned to the non-verbal signals a submissive is sending, even when they are doing so unconsciously.
How is this possible?
When it comes to interpersonal communication, most people think of spoken words as the primary means of exchanging information, ideas and feelings. But in fact only seven percent of actual face-to-face communication exchange occurs in the form of words themselves. Remove the words entirely and more than ninety percent of all communication still exists in the form of vocal inflection and body language known as kinesics. Kinesics include things like eye contact, facial expression, gestures, posture, touch, proximity and poise.
Most good and competent Dominants have a natural and intuitive sense of kinesics. They are highly attuned to the body language of their submissive and perhaps more importantly have learned to use kinesics to appropriately respond in kind. For example, when a submissive is expressing defiance, a gentle but firm hand to the shoulder and an unwavering gaze is often all that is required to calm and bring them to their knees. When a submissive is feeling nervous or inadequate, a gentle cupping of a cheek and a smile can bring peace and confidence. When a submissive is feeling sensually closed off, a fingertip traced slowly down the spine and a whispered, “Mine” can transform them into molten lustful lava. When a submissive is feeling playful or randy, hair firmly grasped, a hand placed to the throat, or a firm slap to the ass combined with a lecherous leer can snap them into a state of lathered submission ready for anything a Master has in mind. And of course, in extreme cases the hand of a Dominant is there as an implement of correction and even punishment.
Ultimately the hand of a Dominant is employed to guide a submissive through and beyond the internal struggles they experience with surrender. This guidance is far more subtle than many perceive. It is not about spankings and orgasms but rather about gently coaxing and luring a submissive onwards, navigating deftly past insecurities and obstacles to achieving their highest state of surrender. In so doing, a bond of love and respect is created that leaves the submissive powerless before their Dominant in adoration and desire.
So the hand of a good and competent Dominant is an extension of the loving guidance they provide to a submissive that allows them to be all they possibly can their most submissive selves but also their most authentic selves. The hand of a Dominant cradles a submissive in protection and care, places them on a pedestal, and elevates their being to its highest state.
Rare and precious are these competent and caring Dominant hands and fortunate are those few to come under them.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Dominance and Self-Control
Recently I was asked by what I interpreted to be a young, or at a minimum immature, follower where he could find women willing to be tied up, controlled and made to do whatever he wanted like those portrayed by images on my blogs. I could only ruefully shake my head and respond that if that were his sole motivation then he will not find such women. At least I pray that he doesn’t.
Dominance is indeed very much about control exerting it, exploring it, accepting it, playing with it. But above all Dominance is about exercising it. Dominance is an act not so much of exerting control over another as it is of exercising control of self.
Dominance is as much about what we don’t do as what we do and the self-control it takes to achieve that. A Dominant has the potential to seriously emotionally or physically harm a submissive or simply use the power that has been granted them in self-serving ways to the detriment of the submissive. But the competent and caring Dominant does none of those things, certainly not with intent, and achieves that through the exercise of self-control. Indeed, the trust a submissive places in the hands of their Dominant is a direct result of their belief in that Dom’s own self-control. Self-control is in point of fact the wellspring of Dominance.
When a Dominant’s self-control is coupled with empathy and a genuine desire that their submissive be their very best self, it is like a moth to the flame for a submissive. It is one thing to sound dominant, it is entirely another to actually BE Dominant. Lots of people can play at being a Dominant for a time but to truly have an enduring D/s relationship requires something that cannot be faked or played at. It requires a genuine commitment to the betterment of a submissive, enduring patience and selflessness, and above all, self-control in times of extreme desire, frustration, or challenge.
Having the self-control not to go too far in a scene is one thing. Having the self-control not to lash out in anger is another. But having the self-control to face a truculent, high-maintenance, frustrated or even aggressive submissive with calm and patience is far, far harder. Indeed, it is the self-control exhibited by the Dominant in these times of trial that often most attracts the submissive and maintains their devotion. Often the submissive is a strong person seeking someone who is even stronger. The Dominant is the mighty oak that stands against the storm of the submissive in their least submissive moments. The Dominant may bend somewhat under the force of the gale but does not break. And when the storm is over the Dominant stands straight and dependable as ever. This is what keeps the submissive coming back. This is what garners the devotion. This IS Dominance.
Any sizable Dominant can grab a fist full of a submissive’s hair and pull them to their knees in response to provocation and sometimes this is not entirely the wrong thing to do. But the self-control it takes to look a raging submissive in the eyes and calmly bring them to their knees without ever touching them? Without even saying a word? Or perhaps with a gentle touch to the shoulder in combination with a look? That is Dominance and that is pure will and self-control at work. It would be so easy to fight back, overpower, verbally spar, argue, order, etc. But control, real control, comes from the power of calm. A look, a gesture, firm words softly uttered can be so much more impactful.
And finally there is patience. Patience is yet another form of self-control. A Dominant controls their own impulsive tendencies for the benefit of their submissive and the relationship. Much of Dominance stems from not taking everything a Dominant wants when they want it, even though it might be freely given (for a time) by a submissive in their zeal to please. The fact that a Dominant has the self-discipline and self-control not to take everything they could have, not to gorge at the buffet as it were, but rather to savor and linger without gluttony attracts the submissive to give ever more. Many submissives are accustomed to having been taken from in their lives. The rarity and attraction exists in the fact that in the shadow of their Dominant’s patience and self-control they actually feel like giving. Everything. All the time. A Dominant in turn can afford to be patient because through their self-control and desire for the betterment of the submissive, in time nothing will be withheld.
So while a Dominant is indeed attempting to exercise some level of control over their submissive, in reality the power that enables that control comes first, foremost and ultimately from the Dominant’s control of self. If you want a submissive to be attracted to you and devoted to you as their Dominant for more than the fleeting intense romance period of first meeting and early days, your interest had better be not in a desire to control another but rather a desire to control yourself. Do that, and a submissive will see you for the Dominant being that you truly are and will seek you out. You will not have to look. Because ultimately the hardest person to control of all is you.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2014
Image Credit Unknown
A Master May Drive Change - But Do Not Lose Your Self
There is no question that Dom’s like to mold their submissives into the image of their desires and leave their mark, literally and figuratively. A good and competent Dom will focus their efforts on the growth of their sub, both as a submissive and a person. My major thrust with my Muse is to help her grow and meet her potential as both a woman and a submissive, but above all to be successful in life. Her success is my success. I do not spend a lot of time telling my Muse how to dress, how to speak, or engage in a lot of other behavior or personality modification. My emphasis is on her confidence, self-awareness and sensuality, and on unlocking the intellectual, spiritual and emotional potential within her. Other Doms may have a more directive approach, seeking very specific patterns of behavior and means of pleasing. Regardless, one way or another there is little doubt that Doms often seek change in their submissives and that submissives work hard to change themselves in the image of their Dom’s desire.
So how does a submissive change for a Master or Dom and not lose sight of themselves and the beautiful things that attracted a Dom to them in the first place? Is this process of change a good thing at all?
A Dominant can be many things to a submissive. They can be a teacher, leader, mentor, disciplinarian, authority figure, playmate, partner, lover and more. Indeed, the changes that occur in a submissive are not always a direct result of the Dom overtly trying to mold the sub. Sometimes, the submissive tries to shape themselves in a self-directed and self-inspired effort to be a “better” submissive or “better” slave to their Master. There is a tendency on the part of submissives to be perfectionists and they can often struggle to the point of frustration in their efforts at being “better” in various ways. My response to this is to often remind my Muse that I chose her and she chose me and that her submission and her person please me. I remind her that I will inform her in no uncertain terms if and when she is not pleasing and we will address it then. In the mean time, she need only grant me her submission and be herself. Just be.
I view my role as a Dominant first and foremost being to provide a safe environment for my Muse to express her submissiveness and to grow. Similarly, I perceive the role of my Muse as being a safe environment for me to express my Dominance and for me to be able to grow through that process. Of course it is open to interpretation what it means for anyone to “grow” but ultimately I view it as a journey toward being able to express myself fully and with confidence and in so doing explore and learn myself fully. I hope the same for my Muse.
So when a Dominant or Master is leading their submissive or slave down a path of change, how can a submissive be sure that it is a positive direction or even a path they want to be on at all?
I recommend that a submissive take time periodically to reflect on their journey. Does it feel right? Are they happy with the journey? Is there something missing? Can the missing things be achieved on their current path? If not, can they be achieved in their current relationship through communication and a change of direction, or do they need to make some decisions about a new relationship entirely?
These are tough questions. For many submissives, the journey is not just about BDSM play they are committing their hearts, souls, and bodies to serve someone. They are often in some respects subduing their own personality traits in their effort to submit to another. But, perhaps they can submit without being ‘subdued’ about it. Submissives can be vivacious, outgoing, playful and colorful, and still honor their Doms. After all, it is often those very traits that attracted the Dominant to them in the first place. A submissive need not be a mindless automaton devoid of personality to be submissive and of service.
I believe that it is also important that submissives not only reflect upon their own journey in isolation but that they share and compare their experiences with other submissives as well. It is very important to receive affirmation of one’s feelings and direction but also equally important to have an outside perspective to help ensure that one is not simply blindly going down an unhealthy or potentially damaging path. A healthy D/s relationship does not only look healthy from the myopic internal view of the partners but also to others in the lifestyle on the outside. A domineering and controlling individual might fear and resist this outside appraisal but a competent Dom will have confidence and be comfortable enough in the relationship and their methods to accept outside perspective and perhaps even implement change as a result.
A Dom can be extremely demanding during play, but in the course of daily life can choose to lead my a more gentle path. Whether firm and high protocol or taking a more mentor-like approach, ultimately a good Dom is not out to breed complete and utter dependence on the part of their submissive. That is the dubious domain of controlling and domineering partners and should be carefully scrutinized and avoided.
One of my primary goals in the growth of my Muse is that she gain ever greater independence in all facets of her life. She can be dependent on my care, emotional support and whatever wisdom I posses but in the end I desire that her growth lead her to be the strongest, most independent person she can be. Is this in direct conflict with the principles of a D/s relationship? I argue not. In fact, I think it is perhaps one of the greatest paradoxes of D/s that while my Muse may be my submissive and do everything she can to be of service to me, contrary to all outward appearances I in turn am doing everything in my power to make her a more free, independent and self-reliant person.
In my D/s world a submissive is not a toy and is not disposable. My relationships are deep and committed. Far from trying to mold my Muse into an image of what I want, my Dominance is directed at making her more of what she is capable of being. For she is capable of far greater things and far more beautiful service and devotion than my imagination could ever conjure. The more she is of her self, the more there is to give to me. We both win.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image © Dan Agar
Asserting Ownership - The Crop
My Muse has an intense love affair and unending fascination with the crop and jumping bat. Indeed the mere sight of it bring a smile to her face, a flutter to her voice, and a fire to her loins. But it is not so much what it does as what it represents that imparts the greatest effect.
With the emergence of a crop there is an instant shift in the room, something snaps into place and my Muse becomes her most submissive self. I need only hold it loosely in my hand in order to take her to another place altogether. It is symbolic of our power exchange. It is a precursor, a foreshadowing, an apéritif. For while the crop has many, many uses with its variety of textures and shapes with which to stimulate, agitate, and torture in pleasure and pain, it is above all a symbol of all that is to come. It is the red flag before the bull of the Dom, the white flag of surrender of the submissive.
When the crop comes out it is hard to know exactly where we are going next but it is certain that we will be taking a journey. Will the edge of the soft leather keeper trace and caress? Will the flat of its face pat gently or strike with intensity? Will it flick a nipple, pat a clit or smartly spank a breast, ass or pussy? Will the shaft part lips between thighs or other lips when grasped between teeth? Will the handle penetrate here or there? Will it be felt or be tasted? Will the scent of leather be mingled with the scent of her self? Will there be pleasure or pain and in what measure and ratio?
These and many other thoughts race through the mind of my Muse at the appearance of the crop and never fail to transform the relationship from one of equals to equal opposites in a heartbeat. I need not menace, I need not threaten. Some things are simply triggers that snap us into our respective roles of Master and Muse, Dominant and submissive. The crop is one.
With a crop I often spare the rod, but never miss the moment.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Asserting Ownership - Ratio
Book V of Euclid’s Elements defines ratio as being the difference between two quantities of the same type. Of course he had things like length, weight and area in mind as he laid out his 18 mathematical definitions of ratio. I have some very different things in mind when I speak of ratio as it relates to asserting ownership of my submissive, but Euclid’s definitions are still accurate and very much in evidence.
The power exchange inherent in a D/s relationship is ultimately about the ratio of conditions between a Dominant and a submissive. We use all sorts of ratio imbalances to effect a significant exchange of power. Indeed, the study of Dominance is all about developing and maintaining a comfortable and effective ratio of many forces. Too little, and a Dom is not in a position to lead or be followed. Too much, and a submissive will feel threatened or overly-controlled and will rebel or simply retract their choice to submit. So, while Dominance and submission by their very nature are emotional and mental activities bearing little or no resemblance to mathematics, ratio is indeed a pivotal concept in the successful conduct of D/s.
The image above captures so very many elements of ratio in the D/s context as to be instantly captivating to me and broadly illustrative of a power exchange. Most obviously, the Dom is completely and very well dressed while the sub is devoid of all clothing. Right away this gives an immediate imbalance to the ratio his form and state of dress projecting power while her nudity imparts a sense of vulnerability. But there is more.
Everything about the positioning and presentation is calculated to introduce and enforce supplication and submission. On her knees and fully exposing herself, this submissive is in a highly giving state with the Dom being the full recipient. The ratio of giving to taking is very evident and extreme. On the other hand, the ratio of action to inaction is also evident in that the Dom is pleasuring and manipulating while the submissive is receiving. A finer detail is the manner in which her collar is chained, ostensibly holding her in position while the Dom is free to roam.
In every possible sense, these ratios are skewed in such a way as to effect a complete exchange of power. And yet perhaps most appealing to me in this sense is the fact that the power exchange is clearly consensual and part of a broader relationship context. Here there are no significant restraints, no floggers, whips or crops, in fact there is no sign of coercion or punishment whatsoever. The ratio of Dominance to submission is significant and yet she is giving just as willfully as he is taking and he is indeed giving back in equal measure. The ratios may be great but it is clearly by mutual design and intent.
This is where I find great appeal in the D/s dance. As partners we do things that others might think would only happen under duress or violence. Yes, we do violence to one another. We violate one another. Just as the Marquis de Sade said, “One must do violence to the object of one’s desire when it surrenders the pleasure is greater.” But in the consensual and loving D/s dance everything is backward from de Sade’s point of view. In our case, the surrender comes before the “violence”. We surrender our will first then set about playing with the ratios afterward. And sometimes those ratios can be extreme. At times we literally and figuratively play with fire. But only because we want to explore the outer limits of our power exchange by broadening the ratios still further.
D/s is all about the heart and mind, about as non-mathematical as anything could possibly be. And yet, we do so love the math of the power exchange. We like large numbers and minute equations.
Asserting ownership is all about exchanging power. Give me a good ratio and I will show you a good time.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
There is a time after the cuffs are fastened, the blindfold in place, the last knot tied, when we must practice a discipline that neither of us is particularly good at. A time when our anticipation and excitement are at their zenith, when all we want to do is devour and be devoured. This is the hardest part of all.
For it is not the things that come next that are the real challenge for us, you and I. We know what we like and what we want the pleasures and pains, the murmurs and cries. These are the reason we are here. We do not cringe at the spankings and floggings, the pinch of the pegs, the pleasing and denial. We do not shrink from fears of the unknown or concerns over harming or being harmed. No, in those places we are at our most comfortable, for we have absolute knowledge, faith and trust in each other.
The part that challenges us most, the thing we have to work the hardest at to succeed is the waiting. Calming the breath. Slowing the pulse. Giving time, time. This is the hard stuff. Being in the moment. Not anticipating. Not needing. Not preordaining. Just the two of us. Separate in body and space, merged in thought and intent.
We know where we are going. We know what we want. Now is the time to savor exactly where we are. Here. Now. Us.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Asserting Ownership - Rules
One of the recurring questions submitted to me concerns rules. It seems that many new or aspiring Doms are at a loss over what rules to establish for their submissive to follow. The fact that so many would be Doms believe that dominance is established and maintained using rules indicates to me that there may be some misunderstanding about the purpose of rules and how and why they should be applied in a D/s context.
Simply assuming the title of Dom and setting forth a series of rules and protocols for a submissive to mindlessly follow is not, in my opinion, how a D/s relationship is established or maintained. Using this approach reminds me of the manager in the workplace who feels that simply by virtue of their title and the enforcement of a collection of company policies they will be respected and unfailingly followed by their employees. I am sure we have all experienced someone like that and few if any of us felt particularly inspired to greatness by them, let alone an unfailing desire to follow them.
Being a successful Dominant is not foremost about rules, rituals and protocols but rather about knowledge, wisdom, respect, and the care and consideration we show for our submissive. These things are earned, not imposed. Most submissives do not kneel because they like to adhere to rules and regulations. Indeed, many submissives I know are rather opinionated and have a tendency to rail against authority in real life. Rules are not in and of themselves what legitimizes authority in a D/s relationship. Instead they should be a means to an end.
Before I go too much further, I should qualify myself because there are some using approaches that differ dramatically from mine who would disagree. For the record, I am a fairly low-protocol Dom and do not live D/s as a 24/7 lifestyle. That said, there is never a time when my Muse does not view me as her Dom, even when we are not actively engaged in any specifically BDSM play. It is the nature of our relationship even when we are engaged in otherwise vanilla activities. For example, in the course of our days, I do not require that she refer to me as “Sir” and yet more often than not she does. Outside of BDSM play I do not require strict obedience or that she approach me in certain ways. Yet she is always loving and shows her devotion in other sometimes subtle and sometimes very overt ways. These are not the byproduct of rules but rather the effect of leadership, respect, and a consequent strong desire to follow.
During BDSM play I certainly have protocols and rituals such as presenting and positions, certain activities such as spanking and orally pleasing me, and requirements for proper and respectful speech. There is an expectation of unflinching compliance and of referring to me as “Sir.” Even outside of BDSM play we have certain rituals, requirements and assignments that are designed to establish or modify behaviors, teach and inform, or otherwise cement the D/s nature of our relationship.
The important point is that rules are not the end they are only a means to an end. I never mindlessly institute a rule, assignment, or protocol just for the sake of having one. They are always supportive of a desired objective. Take the ritual that my Muse must send me images of herself in various states of undress every night what we refer to as her “daily devotion.” This is not a mindless exercise designed to keep me in an endless supply of titillating pictures of her. Of course I love seeing my Muse, and her beautiful form. I would never deny that. But the requirement was implemented to meet a number of objectives. First and foremost it was intended to begin a pattern or compliance and ritual. It was to establish an ongoing process of submission and to have something in place that would keep me at the forefront of her mind every night before bed. But more importantly, it was intended over time to help my Muse feel comfortable and confident with her body and in her ability to share it with me in an unlimited capacity. And it has done so. Today she is remarkably comfortable with her nudity and fully understands that the things she found most objectionable about herself are beautiful, sexy and desirable to me. The rule governing the requirement for a “daily devotion” was established to achieve an end. It was not mindless make work.
This is my philosophy with all rules and protocols associated with my D/s relationship. I do not work from some master menu of rules and randomly choose the ones that please me in the moment. The rules in our relationship are a product of who we are, where we are trying to take our relationship, behaviors we are trying to modify, or new skills we are trying to attain. I, as a Dom, am the creator and arbiter of these rules but I apply them wisely and sparingly. My Muse knows and appreciates that. Consequently, the rules and protocols that are in place are adhered to and carried out largely unfailingly. There is no need for punishment and little need for correction. My Muse is not a “bratty sub” who feels the need to challenge the system at every turn and I am not a domineering Dom who feels the need to have tight control over every possible matter in order to feel completely in control. I want to lead and she wants to follow. We both want to please. Accordingly, we actively seek to know and anticipate each other’s needs and therefor do not require a lot of complicated and burdensome structure. Admittedly, it is not that way for everyone.
In conclusion, what I want to express most is that rules in the context of a D/s relationship should be supportive of the goals you and your partner a trying to achieve. I use them sparingly and with a clear objective in mind. Having a list of rules to randomly draw from and applying them at my whim for my Muse to follow would be meaningless and likely counterproductive. I do not impose them as a matter of mindless make work or simply to feel powerful and in control. Now all of that said, do I sometimes ask for things or demand things simply because it pleases me? Absolutely! I am a Dom after all. But in general, the rules that govern our relationship have meaning to both of us as D/s partners. They effect meaningful outcomes and ultimately are there to facilitate my Muse’s already strong desire to submit.
My Muse gained the desire to kneel before me long before I exerted anything that could be overtly identified as Dominant behavior or had established the first rule, ritual or protocol. It was a respect built over time and required no conscious commanding presence or action on my part. This to me is true Dominance. I do not have to make my Muse do anything. She wants to do it all. Rules and rituals simply bring some structure, order and progress to what is already in place absolute submission.
Rules do not create the Dominant or assert ownership. Effective and competent Dominance leads to a desire by a submissive to have rules and order. She will seek what she needs. You need only anticipate and provide.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image © Christine Kessler
Asserting Ownership - Claiming
It began with a single command uttered with understated intensity leaving no ambiguity to its intent or to what it portended. There are times when formalities, niceties, protocols and tender loving preludes are appropriate. This is not one of them. Right now I want to take what has long been offered and make it mine in no uncertain terms. I am claiming my property and seek to make urgent and thorough use of it.
When you first walked into the hotel room tossing your coat carelessly over your suitcase I did not rise from my seat behind the desk, leaving you perplexed and wondering if something were wrong. This was not the loving and embracing welcome you anticipated after months of being apart from one another.
"Come," I beckoned from my seated position with just the twitch of two fingers on a slightly outstretched hand. Uncertainly you covered the short distance from the door to the desk, tentatively whispering a longing "Hi."
Leaning back in my chair I gazed languidly into your eyes, the hint of a slightly leering smile ticking up one corner of my mouth. Slowly my gaze wandered lower from your eyes to your graceful neck, to the hint of your nipples pressing against the loose fabric of your string top. Continuing on, my eyes meander down the curves of your waist as it swoops gracefully to your hips and the curve of your thighs. Like a hunter eyeing his quarry I could not help but instinctively crouch forward in my chair. And now here you stand, biting your lip, the sharp command to strip still crackling in the air.
In seconds, a full range of emotions cross your expressive face from shock and disappointment to acceptance, anticipation, desire and finally determination. Slowly, almost hesitantly you begin to disrobe, kicking your shoes off.
"Quickly now!" I bark, and you shed your clothes rapidly in response. As the last vestige of lacy covering slides down your legs and is kicked to the side you stand almost sheepishly unsure what to do with your hands and staring at the floor. "High Lesha!" I command and with only a moment of hesitation you hastily turn and face away from me, legs apart, hands behind your back, breasts thrust forward, eyes cast down in submission.
Rising from my chair I walk purposefully and slowly around you appraising my quarry, grazing your skin with a finger here and there, rearranging a stray wisp of hair from your eyes, preparing my meal and presenting it to my liking. Stopping my circling in front of you, I brush your long hair back behind your ears with the tips of my fingers of both hands, allowing them then to trail down your neck, across your chest, coming to rest on the very tips of your nipples. Slowly I trace my fingertips around your aureola to the accompaniment of your increased breathing and soft mewling moans.
Resting your nipples between thumb and forefinger little by little I increase pressure, rolling them ever so lightly as I do. As the growing sensation sends jolts coursing through your body, you cock your head to the side, biting your lip, eyes fluttering. Firmly holding you by the nipples I lift you to your toes, pulling upwards slowly but relentlessly. For a moment you teeter there on tip toes doing a little dance to retain your balance. With a final hard pinch I release your nipples from their vice-like prison and you gasp as you settle back onto your feet and regain your balance and composure.
Grasping the back of your head, fingers woven deeply into your hair, I pull your head back forcing you to look up and meet my penetrating and urgent stare. For a moment we stay that way, heaving breath mingling, eyes locked, plumbing each other’s soul through the windows of our eyes. Seeking to know the intensity of the fires within. You see the lust and purpose in my eyes and for a moment break eye contact gazing down in submissive surrender. It is the sign, subtle yet powerful, that you are prepared to be taken.
Slowly I bring the tip of my middle finger to your lips, tracing their outline, feeling their softness and the heat of your breath on my hand. Round and round my fingertip massages your lips, parting them, moistening them. Instinctively you lean into me and draw my finger into your mouth, suckling and swirling your hot moist tongue around it in a most erotic dance.
Still holding your head back by your hair and staring deeply into your eyes, I withdraw my now wet finger and reach straight for your clit. With no prelude or introduction I begin circling the throbbing firm nob and am rewarded for my efforts with a sudden intake of breath and a body-wracking shudder as your knees wobble ever so slightly. Rhythmically massaging your clit while forcing eye contact, you pant with desire and a growing urgent need.
"I missed you my Muse," I whisper hoarsely as you sway and undulate, all liquid motion in my hands.
"Oh God, I missed you so much my Sir!" you respond rocking your hips, grinding into my hand seeking ever greater stimulation.
"Then show me my Muse. Show me just how much."
Instantly you drop to your knees, freeing my erect manhood, stretching the foreskin back and forth with both hands in utter fascination and worship. Hungrily you take me in your hot wet mouth, eagerly rolling your tongue around my head, bathing me in your devotion, lust, and need. As you expertly work me into an aggressive frenzy of passion, you gaze up at me with those spectacular eyes, wordlessly conveying the depth of your submission and intensity of your desire.
To this point I have been a caged animal, pacing back and forth, eyeing its quarry, calculating the moment to strike. But as your tongue lashes and dances, lips gliding over my throbbing shaft, I can take no more my patience exhausted, my need too great. Grasping your shoulders I press you back away from me and toss you roughly back to the floor, legs splayed, arms outstretched. Without hesitation or comment I fall atop you pressing you to the floor, clutching the back of your head by your hair, pinning you down by your breast. With a single unannounced thrust to your waiting moist heat, lay claim to my prized possession, my sparkling gem, the one that completes my days and comforts my nights.
Over and over we thrust and roll, gasp and moan, panting like wild animals. Praying for release, pleading for more. Motion and heat. Friction and force. Liquid and stone. For a time the room, no the entire world, ceases to exist and there are only two souls trapped in writhing bodies desperately seeking to merge as one. Moans. Cries. Pleas. In a haze of darkness and flashing lights, we collapse into a molten heap. Spent. Well used. Merged.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Matters of the D/s Heart: A Serious and Long Overdue Conversation
In the course of my writing I recognize that at times I paint a rather idyllic and promising picture of what a D/s relationship can or should be. I hear often from followers things to the effect that, “yes, this is exactly how I feel,” or “this is the sort of the relationship I am looking for,” or “what a wonderful description of the relationship I have.” D/s relationships are relatively easy to write about, but they are a much more complicated thing to actually do and do well.
I bring this up because recently I have received a spate of correspondence from followers asking some very tough questions about carrying on D/s relationships under less than ideal circumstances. Questions arise perhaps because one or the other would be D/s partner might be otherwise attached or have family commitments they cannot or do not wish to sever. Perhaps there is a large age gap that seems unimportant in the D/s sense but appears more daunting in the light of day in the vanilla world. Perhaps there is a great geographic distance between the two. Perhaps there is a concern for outside disapproval of one sort or another. Perhaps all of the above and more. The common thread among all of the follower questions though is a concern for becoming emotionally attached to their D/s partner and a fear of being emotionally hurt if or when it does not or cannot work out.
It seems based on these many questions that there is a desire out there to have the close bond I describe between Dom and sub the great sex, the trust, the comfort, the desire, the devotion, the honor, the power exchange, and the sense of security and belonging without the emotional entanglement that could lead one to getting hurt. Read that sentence again. Does that make any sense on any level? Does anyone honestly believe that one can have the kind of relationship I describe and experience first hand with my Muse without becoming emotionally attached? In the words of my Muse, “no way in Hell!”
I am sure that there are plenty of men out there and perhaps more than a few women too who can engage in casual sexual interaction without emotional attachment. I am sure that some percentage of these folks also has a desire to play with some pretty kinky sex that might on the surface resemble BDSM. But to me, the key to a true D/s relationship lies in the emotional bond between Dominant and submissive. That is where the true power emanates from that can then be exchanged between partners. You have to have power in the first place for the power exchange to be meaningful. The bond IS the power. Anything less is just kinky sex. Or at least that is how I feel.
There is an expression in the world of twelve-step programs that goes something to the effect of, “if you want what we have, you have to do what we do.” If you want the sort of relationship that I describe that my Muse and I have, you have to be willing to do what we do. And that means being vulnerable, grateful, and hopeful, all without expectation or demand of the future. Its not an easy thing to do and it is even harder to maintain.
My Muse and I suffer all of the problems I described above and more. We have distance, professional and personal commitments, attachments, age, and differing life experiences between us. We have much conspiring to keep us apart and no clear path forward for our future. We quite literally have to live for today, hope for tomorrow, and expect nothing. It is hard and it can be heartbreaking. There is longing, there can be times of depression, and moments of jealousy. There can even be fleeting feelings of hopelessness, a sense of why commit so much emotional capital to a relationship that seems to have no clear future?
Because by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable to one another, to risk long-term heartbreak, to gamble that one or the other of us does not just throw in the towel one day, is what allows us to be so very, very, close to one another and have the loving, trusting bond of utter and complete devotion that we share. And it is that bond that makes her kneeling submission and my guiding Dominance such a rare and powerful thing. The bond is what completes us as people and fills the hole in the donut that has always seemed to be there deep inside of each of us.
For two years my Muse and I have plowed forward with our relationship without so much as a day of interruption. Against all odds and risking much, we stick to this thing because we stick to one another. We get so very much from each other and this relationship that the scales remain tipped in our favor despite the difficulties, time, distance, and emotional toll. We are profoundly grateful for each other and the bond we share. Sure it hurts from time to time but we also cannot imagine life without it. And we have hope. We opened Pandora’s Box when we went down this path together. There was no avoiding the emotional attachment that comes between devoted Dom and sub. But after opening the box and releasing all the furies, Elspeth (hope) remains nestled in the bottom. We have hope that time will sort out what we cannot see through today. Waiting and uncertainty are difficult and sometimes painful. But we maintain hope in one another.
And to the elephant in the room affairs. I have been often asked if one can just have a D/s affair while maintaining a primary vanilla relationship without emotional attachment and messiness. I suppose some people can. I cannot. There is a heavy price to be paid for such actions. There is no free lunch. Matters of the heart always creep in. Someone always suffers even when you think you have not been “caught.” The primary relationship partner suffers. The D/s partners suffer. There is guilt. There is shame. There is the pull of right and wrong. There is indecision and fear. If you decide to go down that road, you better do so with your eyes wide open. You are playing with fire and someone is going to get burned…its just a question of who and how badly. I am not here to judge anyone least of all myself. I only caution that taking that road carries with it serious and very real burdens and costs.
And then finally, what really happens if or when a D/s relationship falters or fails and one or the other of the partners cannot or will not commit in a way that satisfies the other? Breakups of any kind are never easy or fun. There is always anger, depression, blame, self-criticism, grieving, and a host of other negative emotions involved. But there is an added dynamic in the breakup of a D/s relationship that must be considered. There is a bond between Dom and sub that takes the normal interdependencies of a vanilla relationship and adds so much more. That is after all the beauty of D/s. But if and when it ends, it can feel more like death not only of the partner and the relationship but also of self. So interdependent are we on one another as Dom and sub for guidance, being needed, support, security and even self-worth, that when such a bond is severed is feels like we ourselves have died. We feel utterly lost. We lose not only our partner but a large and very deeply rooted part of ourselves. This is tough stuff and yet the very thing that we sign up for when we choose to go down the D/s path. This is why it is so very important to choose partners cautiously and wisely and tend the D/s garden carefully.
So can you have the sort of powerful D/s bond that I am privileged to personally experience and write so much about without risking vulnerability, emotional attachment, and possibly heartache or heartbreak? I say no way. But if you find the right partner who is just as committed to the success of the relationship as you are, is it worth it? You’re damn straight. I would not trade it for anything.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2014
Image Credit Unknown
The Offering - An Abstract Perspective
In this image I see freedom. I see a woman that can finally breathe and let go of the walls that have protected her for much of her life. She offers herself to One that she deeply trusts and is strong enough to master her. She surrenders all of her being and gives Him full control of every part of her body and every inch of her soul. She responds to His command without question because of the confidence that she has in Him and strength that she sees in Him. She knows with every beat of her submissive heart that serving Him, pleasing Him, caring for Him, adoring Him and worshiping Him, is what she is meant to do. This offering is reciprocal, and in exchange, He allows her to feel safe, protected, loved, valued, cared for and cherished. She is overcome with a feeling of calm, and a deep sense of belonging. Something that she never had. She is finally able to let her guard down and be the vulnerable, feminine woman that she is, the woman she always should have been, giving in to all that has consumed her for much of her life.
I’m sure that this is what many of us hope for and at times it may seem more like a dream or a fantasy than a possible reality. Still we hope that the planets align as they should, and that the universe brings us to this very moment. On our knees, where we finally belong… to finally surrender to someone/something bigger than ourselves. Such a powerful image and one that tells a story. A story of a girl, finally free from it all… finally free from what society has expected her to be and most profoundly… finally free to be herself.
"I want to please you…"
These are words I hear often from my Muse, yet to those men who are not accustomed the Dominant lifestyle or to having a genuine submissive under their hand, it can come as quite a shock. So conditioned are most men to fighting for the attention of a woman or worse, behaving in manipulative ways to get what they want, that many simply do not know how to act in the face of a submissive woman who’s greatest desire is to please the One she has chosen to kneel before.
Further, many Dominant males are “doers.” They are in the habit of taking an active role in sex play and tend to enjoy doing unto their submissive in terms of both challenge and pleasure. They are not particularly good at sitting back passively and accepting it. To some, relaxing and receiving pleasure does not feel very “dominant.”
Perhaps that is part of the attraction. Many Doms do not actively seek pleasure of their own in the traditional sense that many men do and thus many submissive woman crave above all to give it to them. Such an interesting reversal of roles on so many levels. The submissive taking on the active giving role and the Dom taking on the more passive receiving one. By not seeking, the Dom receives greater abundance. By not being wholly submissive the sub submits to an even deeper level. I do so love the paradoxes of the D/s dance.
If none of this makes any sense to you at all, perhaps you have yet to enjoy the mystery and beauty of D/s, and I wish for you the good fortune to do so. My Muse has never had much interest in pleasing a man, worshipping a cock as it were, before in her life. Yet in the context of our relationship she not only enjoys it, she craves it actively seeking it. This is so contrary to the experience of most men and women as to be largely incomprehensible to those who have not had the pleasure of a D/s relationship. Yet there is something in the bond between a Dom and a submissive that changes everything. This is one of the obvious and overt ways.
So often in the BDSM imagery we see here on the Internet it appears that a Dominant male is somehow forcing, almost violently, a submissive woman to service him with her mouth. It gives the imagery a sinister and abusive quality that is often not present in a D/s relationship. It lends to the caricature quality of the online representation of D/s. Sure I may bind my Muse hand and foot, kneeling on the ottoman, servicing me with her mouth as I spank her ass. But there is no force employed here whatsoever. Indeed, she willingly assumes her position while craning and stretching to reach out to me and take me in her mouth. Far from manipulation or coercion, this is lust, submission and an earnest desire to please, pure and simple.
In the end, even though our respective equal and opposite Dominant and submissive roles may look remarkably different on the surface, there is one thing we have completely in common. Ultimately, we desire above all else to completely and utterly please each other.
And she never fails to do so…
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image © estetic-bdsm.com
Asserting Ownership - Posing
We all have our personal hangups, submissives and Dominants alike. There is nearly always something that we see in our physical selves of which we do not approve and therefor believe that others will not accept in us either. Maybe its a tummy that we feel is not flat enough or an ass and thighs we think are too large. Perhaps it is too much body hair, breasts that we feel are too small or labia too large. Perhaps it is stretch marks, loose skin, rolls at our waistline, or any number of other aspects of our physique that do not align with the Madison Avenue view of the “perfect body.” Often these hangups hold us back from fully experiencing our openness and sexuality with another human being. Ultimately they rob us of our happiness and fulfillment.
As a Dom, I choose a woman as my submissive who has many traits that I find attractive. First and foremost she must have an intelligent, inquisitive and sexy mind that is accompanied by a quick wit and a pleasing sense of humor. Secondly she must have a beautiful and expressive face. When my Muse masturbates for my pleasure, it is not her body and wantonly exposed sex that draw my attention but rather the lust in her eyes and the needy expressions on her face that keep me riveted and turn me on the most. Lastly, having fulfilled all the aforementioned traits, I seek a woman with a body that I find sexy and appealing. That does not mean having cover girl proportions, where every piece and part fit a particular advertising executive’s specification. No, for me it is an overall effect that I seek. Often it is not size but rather how she moves that captures my attention. I do no see a collection of individual parts but rather the impression as a whole.
One of the first barriers to having an open and passionate D/s relationship is being comfortable with our own bodies and having full confidence that our partner finds us attractive, desirable and accepts us as we are. As a Dominant, I not only want to take full ownership of my submissive’s heart and mind, but also her body. To accomplish that, she needs to learn to see herself as I see her as a beautiful, sexy and desirable being.
The first step in that process is of course giving earnest compliments not hollow flattering pickup lines but rather, heartfelt sharing of how I see her and how she makes me feel. Usually this results in all manner of blushing and self deprecating responses. That is not acceptable to me. I am a Dominant and if I believe that you, as my submissive, are a most beautiful and desirable woman then I expect that you will say thank you and not contradict me by cutting yourself down or otherwise demeaning yourself. The first thing we do is eliminate negative self-talk. Rule number one.
The next step is intended to take my submissive right out of her comfort zone. To do this, I may ask her to pose for me as I take pictures of her in various states of undress. When I have a collection of pictures that I particularly like, I then assign her the task of telling me three things in each picture that she likes about herself and thinks are attractive. She is not to repeat herself. I then follow up by telling her what I see that is most attractive in her. If my submissive and I live far apart from each other as is the case with my Muse, I have her take self-portraits in various positions and states of undress and share them with me, giving descriptions for each one of what she sees as attractive and beautiful in herself. I respond in kind.
This is often very difficult for a new submissive and the acceptance and self-will it takes to overcome a fear of being vulnerable is in itself an act of devotion and service. The mere fact that she is doing something that is difficult and that at heart she really does not want to do, but does it for me, is a firm step toward her complete devotion and ultimate assertion of my ownership. Eventually, as my submissives’ comfort grows through practice and repetition, a gradual realization begins to dawn that her insecurities are safe with me and indeed groundless in my eyes. We move on to greater tasks.
Because my Muse and I are geographically separated, maintaining an atmosphere of Dominance and submission on a daily basis is both challenging and crucial to the health of our relationship. To keep her service to me at the forefront of her thoughts, and to appeal to her desire to serve and be pleasing, I require several routine tasks on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. One of these is a requirement to pose for me daily in self-portraits and share the results with me. This continually asserts my ownership of her body, gives her a daily touchstone for serving and pleasing me, and routinely reinforces just how much I desire and appreciate her body.
Every night, without fail, my Muse is required to take and send me pictures of herself in various states of undress from partially clothed to fully nude. Each morning I awake to the product of her efforts, dutifully emailed to me overnight, and it never fails to please me and start my day off on a very happy note. On the occasions when she has missed what we call her “daily devotion” it makes me very sad and she knows this. Punishment for failure to complete her task is rarely if ever required because she knows just how much it hurts my feelings to wake up and not see her daily devotion awaiting me. Knowledge that she has displeased me is far greater punishment than anything I could dole out. She is very consistent and reliable in completing her daily pictures.
When we are together in-person the act of posing for daily self-portraits goes away but is replaced by other more intimate practices. I still have her pose for me, just not with a camera in hand. There are moments that make for a perfect tableau scenes in which I just want to stop time, capture in my mind, and relish for a little while. Perhaps it is when she is standing in the shower, or leaning over the vanity toward the mirror putting on makeup. Perhaps it is when she is brushing her beautiful long hair while gazing out the window. These are moments that I just want to freeze and wander freely through. In these tableaus my submissive is indeed posing not freezing like some street corner human statue art, but just staying where she is for a time doing what she is doing. I simply want to take in the scene, drink her with my eyes, run my hands over her form, appreciate and memorize the moment. Unlike her pictures, here I can appreciate her with all my senses…not simply my eyes.
Ultimately in the world of D/s posing leads to presentation, where a submissive assumes a specified position upon command and presents herself for visual appreciation and perhaps even physical use. But before a submissive can feel truly free and comfortable to lose herself in the submission of presentation she must first be relieved of the torturous bondage of physical insecurities and self deprecation. Posing on command for a Dominant is not only an act of submission and service but also a process of learned self-acceptance. Carrying this to an extreme, sufficient confidence can eventually be gained to not only bare one’s body to a Master but also to (anonymously) expose oneself to a more public audience in the knowledge that you are beautiful, desirable and worthy in the eyes of many.
Posing: it breaks down barriers, cements submission, builds confidence, and pleases me no end.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
I Need This
In my seeming never ending quest to better understand the psyche and desires of a submissive, my Muse and I often discuss what it is that drives her to want to submit to me and me alone. This is not an exercise in ego inflation and self-flagellation but rather a genuine curiosity and deep seated craving to understand and really know this urge to submit. Because to know the true heart of a submissive is to be best armed to fulfill her desires…and consequently my own.
My Muse is no shrinking violet. She is opinionated, occasionally stubborn and takes charge of her life and those around her. She is anything but submissive in the course of her daily life. Yet something drives her to want to submit utterly and completely to me heart, mind, body and spirit. As she puts it, “Take me, I am yours. Entirely.” As I often describe, the feelings and emotions of being on the receiving end of such ardent and heart-felt desire is profoundly moving and an awesome responsibility. It is at once a fulfilling and humbling experience. But what would drive an otherwise self-sufficient, capable and assertive woman to want this? I don’t pretend to fully understand, but I make every effort to find out, and I am learning as I go.
What I find most intriguing when speaking with submissives, or those who think they want to be a submissive in a D/s relationship, is that there seems to be one unifying truth. Submission for them is not a curiosity or something to be toyed with. It is not a passing fancy or a short-term response to a titillating novel or pornographic imagery. Submission is an intense desire and yet most often not something they want to experience across the full spectrum of their lives. In fact, most often the desire is laser focussed on one person, one special dominant partner that draws out their submission and gives it flight. When asked, “Why do you want this?” the responses may sound different but most often come down to this, “I don’t want this. I need this.” My Muse describes it as a “primal need,” something that she simply has to have to feel whole and complete.
My Muse can give me all sorts of explanations why she feels that I am the only one to whom she would kneel, but that has more to do with my personal traits and the complimentary bond that has evolved and been carefully nurtured between us than about her actual reason for submission. Probing further, a laundry list of reasons that would be familiar to anyone who has made the effort to understand submission in the D/s sense emerges. “I feel loved, cared for, safe, protected, worthy, challenged, guided, needed, free of decisions, nurtured, desired. It pleases me to please and serve you. I just want to be taken…completely,” and the list goes on. All excellent reasons to want to engage in a healthy D/s relationship as a submissive. But there are other forms of human interaction and relationships that can provide any or all of these rewarding feelings. The question remains, “What drives you to want to submit?”
Inevitably at this point the conversation turns to all manner of messy intangibles like upbringing, household environment, childhood issues, abandonment, fear of rejection, etc., etc., etc. Oh this is one very deep rabbit hole. And while exploration of these influences have been very helpful in understanding what drives us as people and how we react and interact in relationships, it rarely if ever answers the fundamental question “What drives you to want to submit?”
At the end of the day, the answer is always the same, as elegant in its simplicity as it is vexing for its lack of clarity: “I don’t know, I just know to the core of my being that I need this.”
I have spent a lot of time thinking about my own motivations as a Dom, trying to understand what drives me to want to be dominant over another in a loving, intimate and sexual relationship. I ponder these things frequently and write endlessly in an effort to sort it all out. While I feel that I have come to a fairly comprehensive understanding of what I desire from a D/s relationship and how I feel it should be conducted, those are tactics not strategy. At the end of the day I know little about why I have this craving to lead in a Dominant manner. I don’t know what drives me to want to be in control without being controlling, to dominate without being domineering. I do not know what compels me to expand the boundaries of my sexual expression using BDSM as part of my artistic palette. When asked by my Muse and others, “What compels you to want to be a Dom?” my answer probably sounds rather familiar.
"I don’t know, I just know that I need this.”
In the end though, the “why” is simply not that important. We just do.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image © Rachel DesBois
"Kneel on the chair, hands against the wall," I whisper horsely in your ear as you stand half naked, back to me, staring dutifully straight ahead. My fingers play through your hair and across your shoulders as you momentarily contemplate your next move.
You step away from me to comply and in so doing feel the warmth of my breath on your neck replaced by the cool air of the room and shudder. From the cold? Anticipation? Perhaps a twinge of separation anxiety at our physical parting? Fear? No, you know there is nothing to be feared here, the trust that has been earned between us is our strongest bond and thus far proven to be unshakable. No, this is unadulterated anticipation. You have no idea what is going to come next, you never really do. But you have every confidence that whatever it might be, no matter how long or difficult the journey, there is always profit and reward from it in the end.
As you kneel on the deeply cushioned chair, knees apart as I would desire, you reach for the wall, back arched, ass out presenting yourself to me in precisely the manner you have been taught. It is these small gestures, these little moments of exacting submission that cause my heart to swell the most with pride and desire. You have taken your submission seriously and carry it forth with great devotion and sense of accomplishment. When we are in this place together, your desire to please and be pleasing knows few bounds. While I have worked very hard to earn this submissive desire from you, not a day goes by that I do not feel a profound sense of gratitude to have been chosen to lead you every bit as much as I have chosen you to serve. We are a beautifully matched set as Dominant and submissive.
"Tonight there will be no bonds my Muse beyond the emotions that bind us together no silk ties, no cuffs, no rope," I whisper, leaning over you and drawing in your scent through flared nostrils. "Tonight I want nothing but your will that beautiful, stunning, powerful will that you exercise each and every time you come to me. You will hold perfectly still my Muse, no matter what. Perfectly still. Is that clear?"
"Yes Sir," you respond in barely a whisper, shallow breath quickening.
Straightening your hair back over your shoulders, I reach for your hands now pressed firmly against the wall, and ever so slowly trail my fingertips lightly across the backs of them and down your arms. A cascade of imperceptible little shivers rolls down your arms raising the nearly invisible hairs in their wake. I am bringing you to life, waking your body, raising its tempo to match that of your already racing mind. You shiver slightly and sigh in contented anticipation. Continuing their journey, my finger tips trail beneath your arms and along the sides of your beautifully curving breasts still contained in their revealing top. You squirm slightly as they trail down your sides leaving a delicious torment of pleasure and ticklishness in their wake.
"Be still my Muse."
"Yes Sir," you respond, head leaning against an upraised arm, eyes closed, lower lip clenched between your teeth.
"You are such a lip biter my Muse. I love that about you," I whisper in your ear, trailing my hooked fingers back and forth along the top of your silky panties, lowering them ever so lightly with each pass. "Christian Grey is an idiot. Bite your lip as much as you like my Muse." From long experience I have learned that when you bite your lip, sure as the tides, you will shortly be wet and aching with anticipation.
Lower and lower I ease your panties, gliding the knuckles of my hooked fingers back and forth across the swell of your shapely ass as I do, subtly signaling where I intend to focus my attentions this night. You moan as my hands draw back and forth, closer and closer to your sex, your heat radiating against my fingers as they pass. Instinctively you arch further, pressing toward me, exposing yourself to my attentions. Another green light. Another welcome sign. A quiet begging for more.
With panties only partially removed I pull my hands away from you and step back to admire the sight before me. You are partially exposed to both my sight and my touch, yet fully available for my every whim. But I choose to leave the panties there, half on, half off. The press of the satiny material against your hips is a powerful reminder to you of your exposure, sensuality and vulnerability. I am well aware that by leaving them there, you feel more naked than if I had removed them entirely. They are a marker, a sign of the power I have over you through the submission you grant me.
Bending over, I glide my smooth hands up and down your soft creamy thighs. Up and down from knee to the wisp of the satin draped beneath your sex. Without thought you arch and press, leaning into me.
"Be still my Muse," I chide, the single stinging slap to your inner thigh racing like a lightening bolt to your already throbbing clit. "Your instructions are not to move."
"Yes Sir, I am sorry Sir," you respond gasping at the shock of the unexpected slap.
Slowly I drag my fingernails across the quivering skin of your legs from the crease of your knee higher and higher across the rounded mounds of your ass and back down the sides of your legs. Repeat. Over and over again. Expanding my reach. Covering your legs, inner thighs, ass and hips with red trail marks from my nails. Subtly marking you. Taking my ownership.
Reaching for your the back of your neck I plant my nails in your skin and slowly drag them down your back, through the valley of your arch, and across the mountains of your ass. Eight red parallel trails blazed by my fingers. Marking my territory. They will be there for hours on your tender skin…an oddly painful pleasant reminder of your ownership and use.
Reaching behind the white satin, I cup your hot sex gently in my curved hand, middle fingertip resting on your swollen hard clit. You start at the unexpected direct contact to your moist lips and struggle to be still as I rest my hand motionlessly there, cupping and cradling you. But after so much anticipation, the motionless touch is more torture than pleasure. Through halting breath, clenched eyes, bitten lip, you roll your head back and forth instinctively rocking your hips seeking some form of stimulation. But there is no relief. My hand simply rests there moving with you, no relative motion between us.
Your breathing becomes more insistent, more desperate. “Please…” you murmur through clenched teeth.
"Be still my Muse," I urge softly.
For a moment you try. You become perfectly still. But it cannot last, you are holding your breath to do so. With a gasp of exhaled effort, you renew your rocking and pressing but to no avail. My hand, cupped against you simply goes along for the ride providing no satisfaction for your urgent desire.
"Please…Sir….please…" but you receive no verbal reply.
Instead you feel a stinging slap to your ass delivered by my free hand. The sudden and unexpected sensation ignites a fire across your ass and straight to your throbbingly cradled clit. You buck and press anew.
"I said be still!" I command. You freeze for a moment, perhaps in hopes that by doing so you might be rewarded. Or perhaps it is just your desire to please. The reason is of no importance to me though because I know full well it cannot last.
Still cupping your overheated sex in one hand I begin a steady slow rhythm of stinging slaps to your exposed ass. Not so hard as to make you cry out but firm enough to make an impression. Back and forth, left and right, the blows land on your reddening and quivering cheeks. While my other hand stays perfectly motionless over your now soaked lips and throbbing clit, the reaction to each stinging slap is all manner of motion carrying through from your ass to your thighs to your desperately craving sex, in its own way providing the stimulant you have so craved.
One after another the rhythmic spanking continues and as it does you rock your hips back and forth, forward and back in an ever increasing tempo of excitement, arousal, and desperation. You are rolling and undulating beneath me, all sound and motion, ass and head swaying this way and that. And all the while my hand rests against you, cradling you, as you drench my fingers in your dew. Your breath comes in shallower gasps and a sheen of perspiration breaks out across your skin.
"Oh God! Sir please don’t stop…" you moan through halting breath.
But I do. As suddenly as it began, the spanking stops. You remain there, swaying and bucking, panting with desire and need. Desperate for relief and release. Then you suddenly catch yourself, straighten and do your best to remain still knowing that this is the only path through this obstacle course.
My now soaked hand still rests against your sex, lovingly and tenderly holding you. Yet that is not at all what you want. You crave motion. Sensation. More. Much more. Endlessly more in this moment. Anything but stillness.
Resolutely and with a deep breath you straighten your head, stare ahead at the wall, stiffen your back and replant your knees. A reset. Trying anew. For it is only by following direction that you receive reward. You know this. I know this. It is the game we play.
My hand cradles you. It is our only contact. As your breathing begins to settle into a more regular pattern you begin to drift. Mesmerized. Meditative almost. A calm drifts over you and the desperation begins to leave, replaced by a glow like the warm sun on a cool Spring day. You bathe in the sensations that wash over and through you. The heat in your ass, the stinging fingernail trails down your back and up your inner thighs. You become hyper sensitive and aware of every part of your body. Your mind is empty of thought and there is nothing but sensation. Wetness. Heat. Stinging. Throbbing. You remain still and statuesque in the mutual silence and stillness. Hand to sex. Our sole connection. Still. Connected. Together yet apart. You close your eyes and bathe in the sensation.
Almost imperceptibly, my soaked finger tips begin to move…
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image © CA Co., Ltd.
If home is where the heart is then she is my home. My Muse and I often refer to “coming home,” “wanting to be home,” and “welcome home” when referring to this proximity to one another. Whether it is cuddling, laying on a lap, or simply spontaneously embracing, anywhere in one another’s arms is home. There is no other. And this is true of countless relationships the world over.
But for a Dominant and submissive engaged in a loving D/s relationship there is more. There is some inner drive that compels a submissive to kneel at the feet of her loving Master. It constitutes an all-consuming urge. Like swallows to Capistrano or Monarchs to Michoacan, a submissive is drawn to present herself to her Master seeking his protection, guidance, and acceptance, and in so doing fulfills her own destiny and needs. Far from exercising subversion or coercion, a Dominant need only welcome and embrace this desire. He does not force or command her to his feet. After all, who has to be commanded home?
And the amazing thing is that when my Muse kneels before me, lays her head on me, pleases me of her own accord in some manner or another, or just waits in quiet anticipation, I am home too. Everything in my being feels fulfilled in these moments. I need nothing else and desire nothing more. It is an indescribable sense of completion as though the display of her submission somehow fits the final piece of my puzzle into place. The picture is complete. I am whole. I am home.
I never tire of the paradoxes of the D/s dance. What so often looks like repression to those who have never had the pleasure of understanding and experiencing a loving D/s relationship is in fact the greatest form of attraction and acceptance. It is a mature and elegant expression of love. When she comes to me and I hold her head in my hands, gently stroking her cheek or hair, gazing deeply into her eyes, there can be no question of the depth of commitment, desire, and yes, even need that we are fulfilling in one another in this moment.
And all the moments that follow.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2013
Image Credit Unknown
Center of Attention
One of the appealing aspects of being a submissive is the attention that a Dom showers on their sub. It is often said that submissives require more attention and can be needier than the average person. This has been true in my experience but it is not necessarily a bad thing in the context of a D/s relationship. Indeed, it could be argued that the dependence a submissive feels on their Dom dovetails perfectly with the fact that at the heart of Dominance is a desire to be needed and looked to for support, guidance and security. In essence, the Dom needs to be needed. D/s is after all a symbiotic relationship between two people on many levels.
It has also been my observation that many submissives do not like being in the spotlight in any public sense and would rather slip into the background in a crowd rather the seek attention or adulation. Yet in private with their Dom, they are in point of fact very much in the spotlight. They are the sole focus of a Dominant’s attention, words and actions. The Dom’s world revolves around the sub for at least a time and the submissive revels in this attention and seeks still more in their efforts to serve and be pleasing. The glare of the white hot spotlight of their Dom is deeply appealing and gratifying to the submissive.
The term neediness is often used to describe a negative trait in a relationship, something that should be stamped out. And yet, in the context of a D/s relationship it is not always a bad thing at all. A Dom very much needs a submissive and a sub very much needs a Dom. Without the other, they cannot fulfill their desires or their destiny. They do not feel whole. However, if neediness is motivated by negative traits and emotions such as jealously, insecurity, or a fear of rejection, then neediness takes on a very negative connotation with consequent destructive impact on the relationship. It is always good to check your motives and guard against sabataging behaviors.
As a Dom, I like to be needed and I desire very much the attention and devotion that a submissive has to offer. I feed on that energy and return it in kind by devoting my full and undivided attention to my submissive in the form of acceptance, structure and loving control, giving her precisely what she needs in return. I can be just as needy as any submissive in my own way…it is simply expressed differently.
Where this all falls apart is when a so-called Dom enters into a D/s relationship under the belief that it is solely sexual in nature, seeking only the physical manifestations of BDSM without supporting the emotional and psychological aspects of the relationship. This is a recipe for disaster and heartbreak. A needy submissive might initially feel a sense of being accepted and supported during the sexual aspects of the relationship but will quickly find themselves beating their head and heart futilely against the proverbial cold brick wall of an emotionally distant or unavailable “Dom.” In the end, such a relationship will be frustrating and unfulfilling at best and more likely outright heartbreaking. Anyone contemplating entering a D/s relationship as a Dom needs to be aware of the emotional neediness that can be anticipated in such a relationship and be capable of and prepared to handle the awesome responsibility that goes with it. Similarly, a submissive should be just as aware of their level of neediness and ensure that the Dom they choose is both capable of and willing to support and nurture those needs.
A submissive opens their heart, mind and soul to their Dominant and hands them over in the belief that they will be controlled responsibly and treated gently and tenderly. You may have full permission to beat on a submissives’ ass but it is rightly expected that you will simultaneously hold their heart and emotions safely and tenderly.
This is the essence of D/s as I see it. It is a deeply trusting and interdependent relationship that takes extraordinary levels of care and responsibility to carry out successfully. It can be a very demanding and inwardly focussed relationship in which the Dom and sub place one another squarely in the center of each others’ universe, the center of each others’ attention. It is a lot of work and a lot of responsibility, but I would have it no other way.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2012
Image Credit Unknown
Mixing Vanilla with the D/s Spice - Opening Pandora’s Box of the Heart
(With apologies in advance for all the shop-worn analogies and literary references)
So this was supposed to be simple, right? You met online, corresponded for months, perhaps even played little long-distance D/s games until the day eventually came when you decided to close the geographic gap and meet in person. You were two of the lucky ones. That first all-too-brief meeting not only went well, it was extraordinary. You clicked in person just as you had long-distance. Remarkably, that comfort level you felt with one another online translated seamlessly to an in-person relationship. It doesn’t happen for everyone perhaps only a few. So you met again. And again. And again.
But still this was to be quiet and uncomplicated a D/s relationship to augment distant and already full and committed lives. Something to fill the holes in an otherwise rewarding but separate existence. Meeting each other’s needs. Fulfilling each other’s unfulfilled desires. A perfect match. One’s Yin to the other’s Yang. Equal and opposite sides of the same coin. You just fit. Kneeling and standing. Dominance and submission. Worship and reverence.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum. While you were busy cooking your BDSM gumbo, the scent of vanilla kept wafting up out of the pot. When was that ingredient added? Perhaps it had always been there. But with each new taste of D/s the flavor of vanilla grew stronger and stronger. Lines became blurred. The devotion to one another as Dominant and submissive took on a whole new dimension. You found yourself equally devoted to one another as people. The people the rest of the vanilla world knew. Simply put, you were falling for each other, and falling hard. What seemed so effortless and comfortable in private suddenly became complicated and uncertain. Differences and obstacles that felt so irrelevant in the sanctity of your secret D/s world showed more starkly in the harsh and sometimes judgmental glare of the rest of your vanilla lives.
Matters of the heart have intruded on an otherwise perfect and quiet D/s union. And yet they really didn’t intrude did they? You invited those feelings in and welcomed them with open arms. And now they are here and have moved in and taken up residence. Separation between your D/s relationship and all the other relationships in your life begin to evaporate. That famous paraphrased line by Beatrice Campbell comes to mind, “It doesn’t really matter what these affectionate people do, as long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses.” Only it’s not the horses you are worried about is it? No, it’s friends, family, coworkers and professional acquaintances. All the other relationships in your life that have no connection or touchstone to that other you, that undeniable D/s side of you. Only one person knows you in this way. They are the only tenuous bridge you have between your heretofore compartmentalized D/s and vanilla selves, and the walls of those compartments are fast breaking down.
Oh yes, now this is becoming very complicated indeed. All those differences that had no meaning and relevance between the two of you in the course of passions expressed and desires fulfilled now seem more evident in the judgement of others. Perhaps it is economic status, education level, gender, ethnicity or a marked difference in age. What felt so right in private feels at times awkward and uncertain when being judged by others. You feel out of place, unsure, unable to explain what you feel and why this is so important to those in your vanilla existence. They just don’t understand that you want this, that you need this, that this is actually good for you that this is actually in fact the real you.
Like Pandora’s curiosity when opening her earthen “box,” your pursuit of your desires have unleashed all manner of “evil” into the comfortable world of your vanilla relationships and they threaten all of the social norms and reference points those around you hold most dear. They may even threaten familial relations and perhaps even primary relationships. And like Pandora, you may hasten to close the lid but by now it is too late. All of the “evil” has escaped and your hearts, minds, bodies and spirits are caught up in the fast flowing current of this most vital relationship, seemingly sweeping you to your peril. This seems so impossible, like there can be no good end to it for anyone involved. You played with fire and surely you are going to be burned and likely drag others into the flames with you.
But there is a part of Pandora’s story that is often overlooked in the reference to the perils of opening her box. For after she opened the lid and all of the evil had been unleashed on the world, one thing remained nestled in the bottom Elpis, the Spirit of Hope. For where there is challenge, uncertainty, and doubt, there is also hope. Hope for a brighter future. Hope that this fork in the road might lead to a wondrous place never even imagined. Should you stay on the familiar well-worn road or veer off into the unknown and follow a path that at best seems uncertain but that offers the potential of wonder and enchantment?
When contemplating these options, Robert Frost I think gives us the answer when he says, “I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2012
Image Credit Unkown
What do you look for in a Dom? Do you really know what Domination is? Have you ever seriously asked yourself these questions and have you ever actually sat down and made a list of the things you require from a Dom in order to make the most of your submission? My guess is that you have not or if you have it was a cursory look at best. Many submissives simply allow themselves to be swept along, for better or worse, in the currents of a Dom’s river and do not give much thought to what it is they truly need to flourish in their submissiveness. The answers, while different for everyone, may surprise you and likely have little or nothing to do with the images and stories seen on the Net.
Here is a short list of traits I have heard stated by various submissives who have given this considerable thought. It is by no means all-encompassing, and each person requires something different. I am sure there are many others but this might provide food for thought as you set about contemplating this for yourself.
Who Does a submissive Need?
** Someone who is in control of their own life and whose self-control, self-discipline and personal success serve as an example to live by
** Someone who displays honesty and integrity in other aspects of their life
** Someone who, despite their dominant tendencies, displays kindness, caring and compassion for others who have nothing to offer them
** Someone who is emotionally, physically and intellectually stronger yet remains open, accessible and respectful
** Someone who has sufficient life experience, knowledge and wisdom to be a mentor and teacher
** Someone who exerts their will over, and for the benefit and well being of a submissive and the well being of the relationship
** Someone who demands nothing less than the best effort in all a submissive does
** Someone who uses a submissive as a tool and canvas to quench their darkest desires
** Someone who creates an atmosphere of safety and security
** Someone who communicates and maintains well defined boundaries regarding accepted behavior
** Someone who has the courage to be honest even when they know the reaction will be negative
** Someone who dedicates themselves to studying the craft of BDSM and makes the D/s relationship a priority in their life
** Someone who enjoys leadership and thrives on being the one in control
** Someone who will make their submissive feel valued, treasured and needed
** Someone who provides and promotes discipline
** Someone who readily communicates precisely what needs doing in order to be the best for them and satisfy all of their needs, sexually and otherwise
** Someone who relishes pushing sensual and sexual boundaries taking their submissive to new levels and greater heights of sensation and experience
** Someone who is inquisitive enough to want to understand the needs and boundaries of a submissive
** Someone who will respect boundaries and limits without question or concern for personal safety
** Someone whose interests, boundaries and limits are largely compatible with their submissive
** Someone who wants to be in a D/s relationship every bit as much as the submissive
I encourage you to ponder these points, come up with your own list of needs and compare them to your Dom or any prospective Dom you may be contemplating serving. Do they have what it takes to be a good Dom for you? Will your needs be met by this person? Are they the one who will be best able to draw out and make the most of your submission?
Take the time and make the effort to assess your needs and find someone who can best meet them and your D/s journey will be far more rewarding than it might otherwise be.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2012
Image Credit Unknown
Sub Drop and Emotions in Committed D/s Relationships
Recently a follower asked about Sub Drop and whether it was possible to experience the effects without actually entering “subspace.” This set me to thinking about the emotional aspects of Sub Drop and how it plays into committed D/s relationships.
Sub Drop is a term used to describe the state of emotional and physical depression a submissive (and sometimes a Dom) can experience after a session. From a physiological standpoint, the intense feeling of euphoria followed by deep melancholy or even depression can be traced to the flood of endorphins released into the brain by the intense stimulation of mind and body during a play session followed by a sudden and rapid drop in those endorphins. The effect can be very much like sudden withdrawal from alcohol or drug dependency and can be very debilitating in extreme instances. While much of what is written about Sub Drop focuses on the physical aspects of BDSM play recovery, the emotional aspects of Sub Drop can be even more intense and potentially long-lasting if not cared for properly.
The sense of malaise and depression stemming from withdrawal from the endorphin spike and other hormones released during play can leave a subs’ body highly imbalanced with all sorts of attendant emotional and psychological ramifications. Some describe the feeling as being relatively mild similar to PMS, a hang over, or having partied too hard the night before with feelings of physical and mental depression lasting for only hours or at most a day or so. Many describe the reaction as just wanting to sleep it off. There are, however, more extreme forms when signs of Drop can be exhibited for weeks after an intense session. These signs can include crying and uncontrollable emotional outbursts, sadness, depression and anxiety. It is not uncommon to experience guilt or doubt about a session and the nature of what was enjoyed. Importantly, Sub Drop is observed more often in long-term and committed relationships than with casual partners.
Committed relationships tend to have a level of intimacy and even dependency that is not typically present in casual BDSM partners. This intimacy can at times feel threatened by the nature of BDSM play where Dominance, submission, punishment, challenge, and the like can lead to questioning the validity of love and intimacy heretofore enjoyed between the partners. Questions along the lines of “how could he do this to me if he loves me?” are quite natural.
Another reason committed relationships can be fertile ground for Sub Drop is that the level of trust often developed between long-time partners can lead to edgier play where boundaries can be more throughly tested. No matter how strong the trust between partners, feelings of disbelief that something so perverted, kinky or dirty could be enjoyable can lead to self-doubt and guilt. These doubts then lead to fear, sadness, loneliness and questioning why anyone would want to engage in BDSM play in the first place. It doesn’t matter how consensual and desirable the actions were at the time, once the head space or subspace is over, in the postmortem of Sub Drop these questions can bring feelings of sadness, questioning, disbelief and even a feeling of betrayal by their partner. This is all very normal and something that every submissive and Dominant should be keenly aware of and prepared for.
These emotions are not limited solely to periods immediately following play. They can manifest themselves during the course of a scene and a Dom, as the responsible cognizant party, must be alert for any signs that his sub is “falling out” and be prepared to stop and immediately provide appropriate aftercare.
Aftercare is a topic of its own that I will cover in greater detail elsewhere, but one of the most important aspects of aftercare is to encourage a partner to open up and let the emotions out. Bottling up feelings and emotions is likely to only prolong any recovery period and may in fact defer any problems beyond the post-scene period and into the rest of the relationship. A Dominant partner should be immediately warm, embracing, loving, accepting, reassuring, nurturing and encouraging. He should allow the sub to recover at her own pace but keep the lines of communication open. Encourage her to talk about her feelings and reassure her that it is normal to feel this way. Above all, he should let her know how much she is valued, treasured, respected, and perhaps most importantly that she has in no way let her Dom down or displeased him in any way.
Sub Drop aftercare is the time when roles must be completely reversed. A Dom must now return all the energy his sub has so freely given to him in the form of comfort, reassurance and love. Sub Drop is a clear and present sign that the battery has been drained completely and it is the number one job of the Dominant to do everything he can to help recharge that battery to its full and powerful state, no matter how much energy or how long it takes.
Give back everything that has been taken and more. It will be given over and over again in return.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2012
Image © LordShroud
I love this moment when submission has already been granted, and control already taken. And yet there is a necessary pause. A break in the continuum of the night from our vanilla selves to the darkly sensing beings we are to become. A time to absorb and savor. Breathing in each other’s essence. Drawing upon each other’s power. A pause to marvel at the aura of beauty, sensuality and need glowing ever brighter between us. Each passing second of inaction only serving to heighten our awareness, our power, our craving. Winding the clock spring ever tighter toward its inevitable breaking point. That point where we unleash the full fury of the power that is us.
But just now, for what seems like an eternity, we revel in the mounting tension.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2012
Image Credit Unknown
See What I See
Look upon yourself and see what I see. Observe the strong and beautiful woman that I perceive as opposed to the collection of “imperfections” and differences you obsess over. See the whole, not the parts or even the sum of the parts. You are not an opportunity for change and improvement but a work of art, perfect in your own right, open to interpretation and appreciation by the beholder.
I, your Sir, am the beholder see what I see.
Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2012
Image Credit Unknown