Dominance and submission: our pleasures are our obligations

waitingLet’s say there is a woman standing beside my bed, or hers. She’s naked, with her wrists behind her back but not tied. She’s there because I told her to be. That’s simple, and it’s not simple at all.

She may call me “master”, habitually when we’re together, as though it’s my name and not a title. Sometimes she’ll call me that with fervor, if she’s dropped into a deeper submissive space. Or if she’s coming or about to come. Or if she needs my permission to come. So we’re, if not exactly “master and slave”, at least “master and a woman who has a master”.

There’s a suite of expectations that go with that, obligations and pleasures on both sides. I have to look after her a little harder than I’d be expected to if we were vanilla lovers.

I have a duty not to be impatient (except when I pretend because that might be hot), and to drop anything for her. I have to pay attention to her, not just sexually, but about things that are worrying her about her work, her family and so on. In sex I have an obligation to have an idea what’s going to happen, which she won’t usually know, and to make it happen, supplying the direction and more than my share of the energy.

I enjoy all of that. Generally our obligations to each other are also our pleasures.

Her obligations, to serve her master, to obey me, and to accept whatever I may choose for her discipline or her pleasure, are at the core of her pleasures and of her self. Submission is part of her, and she needs to bring it out with her lover, as I do for my dominance. 

We’ve both learned that her obedience is the gateway, the door that leads to our joy and loving, exhausted sleep. So that’s why she’s standing there, waiting.   

I’ve sometimes written about how things can go badly in bdsm, and about my own fuck-ups. Most of those have been due to weakness or fear on my part, or forgetting information, or sometimes just plain bad judgment. What’s usually saved me from complete disaster is that most submissives want their dominant to succeed, and will forgive most things short of insulting carelessness or malice. I’ve also written about people – well, men, in practice – who mistake bullying or violence for dominance, or use institutional power to get compliance.  

Still, it’s probably true that I think of bdsm with rose-tinted glasses. For me, having a submissive lover and partner has been the source of the best pleasure, and love, in my life, along with the sheer relief of being able to be who and what I really am.  While the absence of a submissive lover and partner has been the source of the greatest unhappiness and loneliness of my life. When I’m without a submissive I’m not really a dom, and so I’m missing not just her but also a vital part of me. 

All of us who need bdsm in our lives have stories about how we came to acknowledge this part of ourselves to ourselves and to selected other people. The woman standing by my bed, waiting, has her story too. But I’m not her ventriloquist and I’m not going to tell it for her. But she expects that good things will happen, some of them scary-good, if she will only wait. 

So do I. 

12 thoughts on “Dominance and submission: our pleasures are our obligations

  1. ‘We’ve both learned that her obedience is the gateway, the door that leads to our joy and loving, exhausted sleep. So that’s why she’s standing there, waiting.’ This expresses so well what I experience. I long for direction and the freedom to express that part of me. I know He needs to direct and control. In our us we have access to our whole selves.

    • A strange man, John C Lilly, long ago wrote a book called “The Dyadic Cyclone”, about couples.

      These moments of of waiting are the calm eye (you should forgive the word) of the cyclone. And then we move out to the turbulence beyond, and find a different kind of calm.

      Thank you for your praise!

      By the way, I liked Lilly’s cyclone metaphor, but the book itself was written during Lilly’s LSD phase. I read it during mine, which fortunately was much briefer than Lilly’s. I doubt that it’d stand up to reading now.

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