How does it work?

16 Jan

Looking for topics this morning, i went to my “Drafts” and found this ~ my first piece of a post, from 2010.  i said:

Discerning Dom  wrote a fascinating post about power and control.  He explores the paradox – does the dominant actually have the power?  The submissive may give up power, but if they consent to give it up, don’t they still retain it? 

And of course they do. we still have some power, at the least, there is always a way out – even without a safe word, if you really want out you can get out.  {If you can’t, it may not be kink, it may be an abusive relationship.}

Brooke does a wonderful post on anal sex that totally captures the desire to give oneself to please someone else – Him.  She’s not a masochist, it’s not about wanting to hurt, but she’s more than willing to experience pain if it pleases Him.    In fact, she wants him to hurt her, so that she knows that she’s owned, so that he can see that she’s willing to suffer for him. 

And there’s the paradox.  If she wants him to hurt her, then is He in control, is He doing what He wants, or does the submissive have the power?

That’s where i stopped then.  At the time, it was a more pressing question for me than it is now, and it’s sandwiched in with drafts entitled “Am i a Masochist?” and “What about Pain?”

When i was in my first marriage, with M who was not a Dom, i used to have this fantasy of “giving myself” to him completely, belonging to him completely.  Not an unusual fantasy for a young submissive woman.  But in my fantasy, he could hurt me, but didn’t want to.

In real life, with him, any time i approached sharing that fantasy, he quickly wanted to hurt me in ways that were too extreme for where i was at that time.  If we’d been in the lifestyle, and he’d been a Dom, he would have recognized that it was a firm soft limit for me, and could have overcome it.

Instead, his insistence and demands would freak me out and hurt my feelings and i’d withdraw.

Back then, with no knowledge of real life kink, i would think ~ and sometimes say ~ “i want you to be able to hurt me, and to choose not to.”   Honestly though, i meant, hurt me in ways that turn me on, and choose not to harm me.  i wanted the sensual aspects, but in a safe context.

It was unrealistic, and probably completely confusing for him.  This was a man who refused to spank me because it “didn’t seem right” to him, but who raped me any time i dared say i didn’t want sex.   And this post isn’t about blaming him for not being a Dominant.  But it’s such a sharp contrast to my relationship with my Sir.

Sir will never harm me, so i can give Him the power to do whatever He wants.  Yes, even evil nipple stretchers and pussy paddles.  i know that i’m safe with Him.

But ultimately, i still have the power to retract that.  What if {God forbid} He got a brain tumor and could no longer distinguish between what was safe and what wasn’t?  i don’t think i’d be serving Him well by letting Him harm me, and i think i’d have some responsibility to protect Him from that too.

i don’t think that’s going to happen though, or anything like that.  i think Sir and i will keep growing into our dynamic, defining it as we go along.  

But what do youall think?  Who has the power?  Is it something you think about?  What about pain, what role does it play?  Please discuss.

44 Responses to “How does it work?”

  1. mindfulcowgirl January 16, 2013 at 7:25 am #

    For me, He has the power. Maybe because i am so new to this and desperately want to please Him because He is the only one who has ever given me what i so badly need. Yet it is still hard for me to trust Him sometimes because of things that others have done to me in the past, so sometimes i have said no. So maybe i do have some power? Very confusing. All of this is confusing to me. i just know i want to belong to Him more than i’ve ever wanted any man. i would love to read Brooke’s post but it is protected. i hope you have a great day.

    • night owl January 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

      Thinking out loud, here. Does our need for Him cause us to lose control? How needy do I have to be that I would cross my hard limits? I have wanted to please a man, to hang on to him so badly that I did cross some limits. So how hard were those limits, really?

      Yet the decision to cross was always mine. However much he asked, suggested, or cajoled, the decision was always mine.

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      Hi, Mindfulcowgirl,

      i’m so late answering this, you probably gave up, and will never see this. i’m so sorry.

      It is confusing sometimes – for all of us. i think the longer we’re in the lifestyle, the more we experience, and the more we talk about and process what we think and feel, the more – well, maybe not clear, but clearer maybe – it gets. At least that’s why I blog – and read other people’s blogs.

      Thanks again for reading and for commenting!!

      • mindfulcowgirl January 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

        I didn’t give up 🙂 Thank you for your response –you too, Night Owl, if you see this. I appreciate your thoughts so much. I fear i’ve messed it up, though. I think I blew it and I’m losing Him.

      • night owl January 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

        I see it and you and I have this to say (after spending 7 hours talking with fellow submissive blogger A Sexual Being):

        YOU did not blow it. If it is blown, and that remains to be seen, it is not your fault. Sometimes things just don’t work out. It kills us to not know why or what we might do to fix it, or even if it can be fixed. It just plain eats us up.

        YOU are perfect. I promise. You did nothing wrong. Sh** happens. Many HUGS (and if you can get some real ones, I highly recommend them).

        Another note to self- there is ALWAYS value in loving another, even when it doesn’t work out.

        night owl

      • aisha January 25, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

        Thank you so much Night owl. i was planning to respond to this and point out that we often don’t find that “One, true Sir” the first time out, and that’s really ok, but you did it far more eloquently than i could have. All i can say is i second what you said!!

      • night owl January 25, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

        I don’t want to say “been there, done that” as it is too callous sounding. I will just say thank you and you’re welcome and I am always glad to help in some way.

        I live to serve (giggle).

      • mindfulcowgirl January 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

        Many, many thanks to you two. I have learned a lot about myself through this. I do really think it’s my fault, though. During some discipline, I got triggered to an old hurt and started hysterically crying. It really upset him. He hasn’t wanted to touch me since. 😦

      • aisha January 25, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

        O, but here’s the thing. Lots of us get triggered at times like that. Many Doms are really aware of that and wise about how to handle it. It sounds like maybe your Dom wasn’t, but that’s not you doing anything wrong. Absolutely not.

      • night owl January 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

        Someday he will learn how healing the crying can be for a sub. Ah, I remember the first time I cried with Sir S and how perfect it was (with my swollen eyes and makeup dripping and runny nose). I promise you this is not your “fault”. Perhaps he could be directed to some links of submissive posts where we own up to crying during and after play. I think we’ve all done it.

    • mindfulcowgirl January 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

      Thank you ♥ do you think there’s anything I can do to fix this? I’m so awfully sad.

      • aisha January 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

        Dear Mindfulcowgirl,

        i think ~ i think that you can’t really fix it because i’m not sure it’s broken. Even if the relationship is over ~ if you have a history of abuse and sometimes stuff triggers you, than you need a Dom who can help you through that. Have you read faerie? Let me go find a good link to one of her posts on this.

        You know, my first Dom was not my last Dom. As it turns out, that’s an excellent thing, because my Sir is perfect for me. My first Sir was good for a beginning, but He wasn’t the stopping place. If this Dom is right for you, than He’ll be back. If not, honestly, honestly, that may be for the best. Even though it’s hard to believe right now.

    • mindfulcowgirl January 25, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      Thank you ♥

  2. abby January 16, 2013 at 7:38 am #

    I have wondered…still occasionally do,,,who really has the power. I think it is a lot like saying that bondage frees does submission. For me, i think power is the wrong word…we both have power. It is more about trusting enough to let Him in, to being totally open to Him. We call it a power exchange, that is a small part of it….the bigger part to me…is a trust exchange.
    hugs abby

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

      O, i like that, abby. It is a trust exchange. Thank you. 🙂

  3. Jz January 16, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    Hmmm. You just tugged a thread loose in my tiny little brain.
    Gonna bracket this while I think…

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      Loose threads in your brain – love that image!

  4. Jz January 16, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    OK, I”m back…

    I think it’s a fallacy to say that we don’t have the power. Of course we do.
    Using it might involve a painful choice but that doesn’t mean we don’t have it… it just means we don’t want to think about that — different kettle of fish.

    I like abby’s concept of trust exchange. While we trust him, he may hold the power. (yes, yes, mutatis mutandis) For me, that’s where the line lies. I’ll cede control as long as he’s acting with my best interests at heart. Should that change, I would take it as him reneging on our agreement and act accordingly.

    I tend to see it more as me being my own court of last resort.

    (But I’m still bracketing the pain aspect, because there may be a post of my own there… ;-p )

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      Yes, i agree, He has to have my best interest at heart or it’s not going to work. We are all our own courts of last resort.

  5. tori January 16, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Ultimatley i retain the power to walk away, but more apt i think more than power is control, i have chosen to hand over control to him and in doing so i trust him to not abuse the trust i have in him, but yes should he behave in a way that makes me doubt his ability to act in a sane, rational manner then i have the power to leave. I have 2 children (from a previous relationship) and my most important priority is them, so anything that would or could have an impact on them is a big no.

    Im a masochist and he is a sadist so pain plays a large part in our dynamic, for me i ‘get off’ on enduring, and being pushed past my pain threshold, i may well not like it at the time (mostly i do) but afterwards i get a great deal of satisfaction knowing that i have endured for him, i am trusting him to keep me safe.

    We tend to subscribe to the theory of RACK rather than SSC because there are elements of s/m and kink that we engage in that perhaps is not considered safe, generally edge play and by default i suppose it may well not be considered sane either!

    I suppose s/m is a way that ‘power’, control can be physically demonstrated, breath play for example, perhaps the ultimate demonstration knowing that he has my breath in his hands, and he can choose to take it away at a whim..and for me putting this trust in his hands.

    Interesting subject.

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

      Yes, SCC is what i learned from Sir D, and of course Ms. Constance subscribes to that school of thought.

      i like the distinction you make between power and control – you’re right, there is a difference. You say:

      “I suppose s/m is a way that ‘power’, control can be physically demonstrated,”

      and i think you’re really on target – it allows us to makes some very abstract incepts very concrete and tangible. Yeah.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

  6. SirQsMLB January 16, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Lots to think about here isn’t there. Um…Power exchange I believe certainly happens but not completely. While Sir is certainly powerful enough physically to do whatever he wants, he requires my exchange for him to be willing to take it and play with it. He is NOT willing to do me harm. He is NOT willing to fight me for my power. He will be a caretaker of it, while I am bound and gagged and blindfolded…but he does just that…he takes care of my power. He doesn’t break my trust, he doesn’t foster ill will, he doesn’t hurt me in any way that I don’t wish to endure, he won’t harm me.

    I think, ultimately we all possess our own power. We can walk away, we can call the police, we can say no, we can push past someones boundaries, we can hurt a relationship, we can cause harm to others. We make choices.

    For TTWD to STAY SAFE, SANE AND CONSENSUAL, we must use our powers for good and not evil (mind you my evil may be different than yours…it’s having the trust that mine is the same as Sir’s that is important).

    Thanks for the post and for the wonderful conversation…I love the comments and enjoy making my brain work 🙂


    • Wordwytch January 16, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

      Spot on Fiona!

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

      “…he takes care of my power”

      Yeah. That’s key. Thanks.

  7. Sir J January 16, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    I often use a river as a metaphor for life I find it a useful way to explain staggeringly difficult concepts to is simple ways. For me power is much like the water, experts say that there is no more or less water on the planet today then there was 10 million years ago. It is all the same water going through it’s many cycles and being used over and over again. We dam it, bottle it, we build lakes and rivers, we can freeze it and boil it away. Yet water will always continue to flow and seek it’s own level. The same water over and over.

    I believe it is the same with power. Power just is, it flows and seeks a balance and it does it regardless or perhaps in spite of us. With the TTWD dynamic we create ways to funnel and control the power, overtly it is the Dom who exercises it but power like water is not that easily contained in the long run. In the end perhaps it is power that controls us and not the other way around.

    • sirqsmlb January 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      It’s kind of like conservation of energy, none is lost and non is gained, though it may transfer or change forms.

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

      Thank you, Sir J, i read this, and thought what a perfect metaphor this was.

      Really, thanks for sharing this here.

  8. ancilla_ksst January 16, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    I trust my Master completely not to hurt me more than I can take. It is also a very important part of our relationship that I’m his for good. There is no leaving. It may be mental, physical, financial, but I’m dependent, can not leave, and this makes me secure. I need this. I’m owned, I’m his, and that is all.

    As far as who has the power, he does. I can ask to be hurt, I can ask for sex, or beg, but it is always up to him how much to give me. If I say “please don’t stop” he is perfectly willing and does stop if he is done. If I don’t want sex (and that is a true rarity), well, that is up to him, he gets what he wants.

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

      Hi, ancilla,

      Your relationship with your Master always reminds me a bit of mouse and Omega, at least in some ways. And i think it would be rude of me to say, no, you could leave him if you had to – but really, you could. If it makes you feel secure to give him that power, that’s all good. But it still exists. Like Sir J says, like water.


  9. Anna May January 16, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Something Sir said to me that did not click till we broke up, he said “Who does truly hold the power?” and I ” Well you do Sir” his response “Think about it” and I did…

    Here is what I came up with.

    A good Dom would listen to his submissive take into account her likes and dislikes, with out that would one truly submit with such grace and acceptance…would a Dom really want to take with out giving his submissive what she wants, what she needs. Is that not what makes the dynamic so deliciously seductive.

    A good submissive, takes into account her Doms likes and dislikes, She follows his direction, she does what is necessary to please him. But most of all she puts trust in him. She knows he has her best interest in mind.

    So who does truly hold the power… I feel both. I also feel that the Dom/sub relationship is more equal then a vanilla. There is a give and take, with clearly defined boundaries. Each know what their role is in the relationship. Each role has value, the yin to yang it is a balance that equals out all in the end.

    There is a saying I found on another blog… that seemed to sum it up for me,

    “I stand behind you because i trust you to lead the way”

    “I lead the way because you always have my back”

    I think that speaks volumes to what the dynamic means and who truly holds the power.

    That is my thought on it, and is why i find the dynamic so intriguing.

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

      Hi, Anna May,

      Thank you so much for commenting, and i apologize to you to that i’ve been so tardy in responding….

      i agree, the yin and yang of it is so much more real – to me – than seeing it as a one-way street. i’ve seen the saying you quote – and agree, that’s beautiful, and has a lot to say about our dynamic

      Thank you so much for commenting, please come back any time!!

  10. ytysreloaded January 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    I think my answer will be a long one. Like I said in my recent post, where I talk about power play. As a submissive we give control away. But gain some in return. The control to say no, stop, I’ve had enough, sweaters … (or whatever your safe word is) we gain that control. Emotionally we give a lot of control to our Dominant partner. I believe that is the beginning of being able to properly give ourselves physically, i and then spiritually.

    When we properly trust them to rake care of us, it evens the playing field. Control of the situation is theirs, control over everything else is ours. Even you are asked to hand it all over to them in scene, its your choice.

    I think I’ve gotten sidetracked 🙂

    But maybe it will makes sense anyway.

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

      Hey, Andi,

      Yes, that did totally make sense, and i’m sorry it took me so long to respond. It is that trade-off, our power for their taking care with us and not abusing it. And we chose whether or not to give the power.

      i don’t think you got sidetracked at all.


  11. jade January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    good question….but i will have to take it over to my blog because i can’t think it through in a short version.

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 6:51 pm #

      And you did a fabulous job with it over there!

  12. Wordwytch January 16, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    It’s a balance. We hold the power of the relationship. We have the hard and soft limits, and we are the ones that submit, and relinquish power to Doms. Doms hold the power of how our submission plays out. Whether it is pain or control. I see it as a very Yin-Yang balance. For deep inside each is a bit of the other. Especially in those relationships where submission is given to help balance out a top heavy ‘mundane’ side of life.

    As Fiona said, we have to be Safe, Sane and Consensual. It’s a two sided dynamic.

    Pain… Good thing we are talking about this today, as by Monday, I may not have a brain. 🙂
    In my way of thinking, Doms have the control of how much pain there is within the hard or soft boundaries we set. They will take us that step beyond when needed for growth, release, catharsis, etc. Personally, it’s for that release, that bit of spice, and for the heat it brings.

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

      Hi Wordwytch,

      i think you’ve really hit on it here – that Yin-Yang balance of it all. Yes.

      And yes on the pain part, they do control that. i think i have not been with a sadist, and that’s probably good for me, but for others, lots of pain works…

      i love how well your relationship works for you and Wolf, love hearing about it

      • Wordwytch January 25, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

        Wolf is very controlled. Probably a good thing. 🙂 I don’t need/want a lot of pain, but he gives me what I need. 🙂

        I’m glad our relationship works too. I’m so glad he is home!

      • night owl January 26, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

        Home! How wonderful! Hugs for you both!

  13. night owl January 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    First, my heart aches for you and your ex M. I, too, was in a similar dynamic and gave in rather than suffer the abuse that came about when I refused. It was a hard realization for me that I wanted the pain but didn’t trust him enough to be the wielder of it.

    I love this topic – love, love, love. Sir S and I talked about it often. I think the submissive (in a healthy, informed D/s relationship) always holds the power and gives it over as a gift to her Dominant. I think we are able to suspend our disbelief somewhat, pretend that we have no control, but it is always our decision to surrender.

    I have more to write but want to think about it and read other comments.

    • alice January 17, 2013 at 2:53 am #

      I tend to think of the ideal dynamic between myself and a Dom as not so much a transfer of power as a ceding of control – something like the relationship between two people on a tandem. I want him to decide where we’re going and how fast, to keep us safe and provide the force to drive us forward. I don’t need to worry about where we’re going or what’s coming up ahead and can stop pedaling if it’s not working. But, at the end of the day, he definitely needs my input if we’re going to get up those hills.

      • night owl January 17, 2013 at 3:15 am #

        I love this whole tandem bicycle analogy! When I would visit my dad in the summers, he would always pick one day to rent a tandem bike and take me riding. I loved it.

      • aisha January 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm #


        Yes. That’s a great analogy. i really like that – a tandem bicycle.

        And thank you for sharing your thoughts here -i really appreciate it, and am sorry it took me so long to respond!

    • aisha January 25, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

      Hi Night owl,

      Thank you for those kind words. Yeah, it’s a difficult situation. i learned to give in too, but there’s a price with that, isn’t there?

      It’s a fun topic. You’ll generate all kinds of consternation in some circles if you start talking about the “gift of submission” (not just you, anyone) but i think giving power is a gift. i think.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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