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Friday, July 23, 2004

responsibility 1.1

As L and I cross the threshold into a new phase of our relationship -- relating to each other as dominant and submissive, rather than as lovers who happen to be a top and a bottom -- I've been thinking a good deal about responsbilities.  Specifically, the responsbilities of which I must remain ever cognizant as her Dominant.

My initial thought for this entry was to make a try at enumerating what I saw as a Dom's duties to a submissive in general.  Certain things immediately came to mind: to be consistent, to be stable, to exercise self-control, to be emotionally mature, to be nuturing, to be trustworthy, etc. I smiled as I realized such a mere list of attributes would somewhat resemble the "Boy Souts Law" that I learned in my youth (a scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent). No, just a listing would not do.  And to attempt a discussion of even a few of these would be beyond the scope of a single blog article.

I decided instead to focus on one thing for now.  I'm not even sure what to call this one thing, so I'll circumlocute and hope that I can convey my meaning.  And obviously, what I'll say here is nothing more than my humble opinion at this point in my life, and is probably worth exactly what you're paying for it.

A dominant must be willing and able to cope with resistance from a submissive.  Even the most profoundly submissive partner will be resistant in some fashion at some times.  For one who is only beginning to discover and embrace her submissive nature, resistance is likely to be a fairly common thing, and it's seldom as simple as her not wanting to do some particular thing.

She's venturing into uncharted, often frightening territory.  She's feeling vulnerable in a way possibly never experienced before. She may easily find herself questioning the wisdom of surrendering this level of control to someone who may seem, suddenly at times, like a stranger.  She may feel guilty because she senses she's "back-sliding."  Some word or act of her dominant may inadvertently touch painful suppressed memories from another time and launch an emotional reaction entirely unrelated and out of proportion to what's actually happening in realtime.

Resistance is not something that can be overcome by sheer force of will, on the part of either party.  For the submissive it requires a commitment to the relationship itself, faith that the ultimate rewards of this struggle will outweigh the hard times, trust that her dominant will only always ever do what he truly believes is best for her, and confidence in his level of knowledge and empathy. 

For the dominant it requires an inexhausible supply of patience, an acceptance of the fact that these things are going to happen, and an unflagging willingness to help her work through them. This is where the qualities of self-control and emotional maturity are invaluable. A dominant cannot afford the luxury of becoming frustrated and/or angry with a resistant submissive to the point where he withdraws (physically or emotionally) or lashes back. He must remain in control of himself particularly during these times, and must remain focussed on her needs rather than reacting reflexively.  A true dominant is capable of accepting a double measure of responsibility in exchange for every bit of control he desires to exercise within his submissive's life. 

Making a D/s relationship work IS work, for both parties, but the rewards for both can be SO worth the effort.

posted by John | 12:30 PM [permalink]


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