Not Exactly Give and Take…

3 Jan

Jake’s recent post on giving and taking ~ here ~ really caught my interest.  

i had a lot of feeling about it {probably due to some past stuff that got triggered, which really, you’d think i’d be over by now, only you know how that is, apparently i’m not quite.}   

i didn’t want to think about that now, i wanted to go on to the part where i emailed my Sir to ask Him to read the article and give me His thoughts on it.


Damn it.  Apparently this is going to be one of those redemptive experiences where i have to remember what i felt back then first before i can move on.

Ok.  Here we go.

When i got married the first time, it was with the understanding that we were equals.  We both worked.  We both did housework.  We both took care of  his daughter.

Over time that changed.  At some point, i realized that he thought anything he did, other than paid employment, was above and beyond  his responsibility.    Everything else was my responsibility, and really kind of the least i could do.  

By those standards, he could never do too little, and i could never do enough.  He totally expected “extra credit” for anything he did around the house or with the kids.  My paid employment didn’t earn “credit,” even though we couldn’t have paid our bills without it, because it gave me less time to take care of him and the kids. 

And i did appreciate the things he did.  Not every little thing, but lots of things, and i was generous with praise.

Anyhow i don’t mean this to turn into a post about my first marriage, and i don’t mean to sound like a victim.  

i was telling Sir last night that i used to laugh about it; i’d say to my husband, “Yep, there’s 2 kinds of people in this world, givers and takers.  And you’re just a giver ~ you just give, give, give, and i’m just a taker ~ i just take, take, take.  That’s just how it is.”

i was totally being sarcastic.  i didn’t believe that for a minute.    

But i think that’s what i was thinking about when i read Jake’s post, so i was in a little mini-panic when i asked Sir what His thoughts were.  

Sir emailed back the following:

“First of all, I don’t see it as a taking , but rather “receiving”, such as in the giving and receiving of a gift, not the taking of a gift, or perhaps the receiving and giving of instructions, not taking of instructions. In the context of what appears to be taking, it can be seen rather as receiving the acceptance of the taking by the giving.  (The giving person accepts the taking by the other person… that acceptance is received by that other person, who is perceived as a taker)

I think the giving and receiving goes both ways in any relationship, but remember that a very wise man once said symmetry is not balance.   What determines the correct balance of giving/receiving between the individuals is a personal matter to be resolved within the back and forth of the relationship.  Passionate people do this passionately.  The D/s relationship provides a framework for the balance of giving/receiving to find its own dynamic.

The Dom is ultimately responsible for many things including safety and the overall tone of the setting, the Dom “gives” that care and acceptance of responsibility and the sub ” receives ” that and finds value in it. The sub reciprocally gives obedience and personal service, among other things, and the Dom “receives” that personal commitment and finds value in that. The giving and receiving is so integrated that it’s difficult to discern and assign those terms.  Persons of deep thought find multiple examples in every interaction.

In my mind, the Dom also mentors and provides emotional growth for the sub. While exploring personal horizons, the giving  and receiving become: sharing.

That’s my two cents…”

That relieved my mind and restored my perspective.  

i think {forgive me, Jake, if i’m wrong here} that what Jake was expressing is that being a Dom isn’t just about getting your own needs met.  It carries a real burden of responsibility.   i think that’s true no matter what your dynamic is ~ as true for  Omega and mouse as for Jake and Joy and Sir X and me.

From outside the lifestyle, it might look like the flow of “giving” is from sub to Dom, but that’s not accurate.  i think it’s a dance of giving and receiving.  

i had forgotten, before i got Sir’s response, that i wrote about giving and receiving from a vanilla perspective a while back.  i said, in part, something like this:

It’s like plugging in a light ~  the socket receives the prongs of the plug, and gives out a flow of electricity.  The prongs receive the electricity and pass it on.  Together, they create  a circuit of giving and receiving that turns on the light.

When i was married the first time, i wasn’t valued for who i was, and what i had to offer wasn’t found adequate or acceptable, no matter what i did.  That hurt me deeply.

i found ways to be ok anyhow.  But i still carry some of that anxiety that what i offer will never be quite enough ~ and don’t we all?  

Today, i feel less anxious than i did just a few days ago.  Thank you, Sir, for your wise and reassuring perspective.

And ~ this cracks me up ~ i just found a post i wrote  just about a year ago about giving.  Here it is…  laughing… from my own archives. 

18 Responses to “Not Exactly Give and Take…”

  1. Jake January 3, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    So much goodness here, aisha!

    I like the “receiving” term better than “taking”–it’s more neutral, without the negative connotations. And I think the quote about “symmetry not being balance” is right on target–your Sir is a wise man. Your own metaphor about the circuit that powers the light is excellent as well. Both giver and receiver are required to light the light.

    Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts and the thoughts of your Dom!

    • aisha January 5, 2012 at 4:49 am #


      Thank you ~ i’m so glad you liked it. And thank you for starting the discussion. That was really helpful for me.

      And it’s so nice to hear you say nice things about my Sir…. 🙂


  2. Striving for Peace January 3, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    So many thoughts on this one.

    the one that strikes me the most — is that in the vanilla relationship (which so much mirrors my relationship with my ex it’s uncanny) — both sides feels that what they give isn’t valued

    that what they receive — isn’t enough

    and in the D/s example — (ok — now I’m projecting from my own relationship) — both feel like they are receiving MORE than the other.

    which I think is lovely. — but I think it’s important to make sure we value what we GIVE as much as what we RECEIVE.

    Not that my submission is some sort of awesome fucking prize — but something that he wants from me —

    oh – -need to go blog now — MUST BLOG!


    • aisha January 5, 2012 at 4:52 am #


      Yes. Yes to everything you said ~ i think you’re right about both partners in our vanilla marriages feeling like they were getting the short end of the stick.

      Yes, it’s different in D/s, i think. The structure is different, communication is more clear, lots of things have the potential to work really differently.

      And yeah, we need to value what we give and what we receive. Yep.



  3. abby January 3, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Master make sure I understood early on…my submission is a gift, as is His Dominance…we give those to each other. I alos really like the symmetry quote, sounds like your Master is a wise man. abby

    • aisha January 5, 2012 at 5:00 am #


      That’s so nice, that your Master recognizes the gifts you bring each other… There’s been so much argument about whether or not submission is “a gift,” but clearly you are a gift to each other.

      And thanks for the kind words on Sir… smiling…


  4. vanillamom January 3, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Your Sir is brilliant.

    You should print out that quote of his and keep it where you will see it when you feel tenuous…

    Because He is so damn right!! Love love LOVE the symmetry quote too.

    Gosh do i understand where you are coming from with the first marriage story. Gods, that’s my life. *shaking head*….wondering how it got to be that way…coz it wasn’t always.

    ah well, that’s for another day. For now…i have Master and that makes symmetry in my life.

    Hugs and much love…


    • aisha January 5, 2012 at 5:05 am #


      He is all that and a bag of chips, isn’t He? happy sigh….

      Yes, i should print it out…

      As for the marriage thing, i’m telling you, i set myself free from a lot of the angst over time, even while i was still married. Let’s talk…

      And yeah, i’m glad you have your Master in your life!!!

      many hugs,


  5. Michelle January 3, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Jeff Foxworthy (of You Might Be a Redneck fame…) has a joke that I always think of when I hear about idiots, er, men like your first husband.
    It’s set up with something about men and housework and then says
    “A woman could be outside repaving the driveway, and your husband would run outside, saying, ‘Honey? Hey Honey? You don’t have to worry about that ashtray in the living room – I got it for ya.'”

    I’m glad your Sir gets it.

    • aisha January 5, 2012 at 5:06 am #


      Omg, that’s funny!! lol…. Really. That is just about the truth in some relationships.

      Smiling… i’m glad too, that he gets it.

      And thanks for commenting!!


  6. Faerie January 3, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    See you and your Sir did shed light on it and expressed it far more eloquently than I could.

    • aisha January 5, 2012 at 5:07 am #


      Grinning… thank you!


  7. Mystress January 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    I totally agree about the terms ‘giving and receiving’.. and also the unity of sharing.
    That does feel much more of what my relationship with Paladin is like. We both give and receive, and we do share in many things together. We have a flow that is between us that moves back and forth, and most often, together. Be it sexual or mundane, we both work to keep the other as happy as we can. We try to be sure that the other is in the best space possible. I am the Mystress, and as such, I set the rules, and I also feel the protectiveness of taking excellent care of my pleasure slave and protector. There are times when he may not agree with my decisions, but that’s rare. Usually it is when he wants to give pleasure, and I know he needs sleep. *grins*
    Thanks for a great post..
    Safe paths to all,

    • aisha January 5, 2012 at 5:13 am #


      Thank you for reading, and for taking the time to comment!

      i’m glad our perspective seemed to fit your own experience. It sound like you and your slave have a wonderful relationship and are very happy together. He’s lucky to have a wise and caring Mistress.

      Thanks again for commenting!


  8. greengirl January 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    This one is hard for me to think about – and really – it shouldn’t be. I do feel like my husband gives more than i do – it is too easy for me to list the things he now is “responsible” for. And it’s too easy for me to discount the things i contribute – because they are more abstract, because i want to do those things, because i feel i would do them anyhow, just because i’m me. But that’s me and my hang-up.

    Your way of looking at it is much better. I know in my head that, abstract or concrete, we each get what we need, and we each are afforded the opportunity to give what we need, which – for us – is the piece of the puzzle that was missing previously.

    Thanks for exploring this topic.

    • aisha January 5, 2012 at 5:17 am #


      You are pretty good at writing off your own contribution, aren’t you? But i think our culture teaches us to do that pretty well ~ to minimize our own worth. i don’t know why thinking about it wouldn’t be hard. There are all kinds of feelings hiding there, i bet….

      i’m glad you two have found the missing puzzle pieces ~ that’s what counts.

      Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful comment!


  9. mouse January 3, 2012 at 11:18 pm #


    Read this earlier in the day, tried to comment then, but wordpress or iPad were not getting along.

    In all the giving/recieving talk the one part that’s missing is depletion. It occures to mouse, the biggest problem is that one person gives and the other takes (or receives), it’s exhausting to live that way. No one can do it for very long without breaking down or feeling resentment toward the other.

    If relationships are like a power grid, there needs to be the free flow of current to all parts of the grid. It’s the same in power exchange relationship…maybe moreso than vanilla ones. Let’s face it, D/s burns way hotter. Honest communication is key, just as not trying to keep score. By keeping score, mouse means, if mouse does x for Omega, he will do x in return. It’s just not always like that. Together we don’t worry so much about who gives or receives….we concern ourselves far more with feeling, depleted by those actions. Because that’s what really gums up the power exchange or the grid.

    In regard to your past experiences, Omega often uses the example of carrying around a backpack filled with rocks…these accumulate over the course of your life. The trick is to learn which ones to keep and which ones to let go of all while remembering that sand (caused from those rocks banging together) weighs just as much.

    Hushing now 🙂

    • aisha January 5, 2012 at 5:26 am #

      Dear Mouse,

      You are so right about the depletion factor. It does work like that, and it is exhausting.

      It sounds like you and Omega have a good balance of giving and receiving ~ that you feed each other ~ and that’s so important. You’re right, it’s not like a math equation ~ there can be balance without symmetry! Yes.

      Omega is very wise with his analogy of the backpack and the rocks. The thing i’ve discovered about unpacking that backpack is that even when you think you’ve done all the work, you can be walking along and suddenly realize that a rock you thought was gone has either come back or never quite left. Then you gotta do the work again…

      i really appreciate you sharing your thoughts, Mouse. You have a lot to offer.


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