Part 3: Control

Central to the D/s dynamic, as well as the leather, BDSM, and kink communities at large, is the idea of control. To varying degrees and in a variety of ways, s-types (and even non-s-types with an active fantasy life) are emotionally and/or sexually aroused by the idea of another person having control of them. Similarly, D-types (and non-D-types with an active fantasy life, you get it by now). I’d like to talk a bit about control: the different types of control and how they work.

What’s Your Purpose Statement?

Before we can talk about control as a practice in an informed way, we first need to understand control as a concept. And in order to understand control, it is necessary to understand our purpose for seeking out the control dynamic. That’s why the first question we need to ask ourselves is “What do I want to get out of this?”

While understanding our motivation is important, it’s not critical to know the answer to the question “Why do I want this?” before setting out to explore the idea of control. For many, it’s in the act of exploring the control dynamic itself that they find their why.

What’s On the Table?

For those new to power play, it’s important to start by making a conscious decision about what you are putting on the control table.

  • Is this a purely sexual/physical scenario, or is there an emotional aspect?
  • Is this solely a recreational pursuit or something you might want to explore in an ongoing way at some point?
  • Are you seeking to give (or take) control to avoid facing and dealing with your own trauma?

With the answers to these questions, you are in a better position to make an informed decision about how to proceed. The next thing I recommend is to spend some time answering the question “What are my boundaries?”. I believe that our boundaries should be decided before we come to the table for active discussions about any sort of play within the power exchange realm.

  • What do I need to feel safe to explore this?
  • What are my fixed boundaries?
    Fixed boundaries are those that are immovable and non-negotiable
  • What are my negotiable boundaries?
    Negotiable boundaries are those that may be discussed based on mood, timing, chemistry, and other variables

Negotiating Control

When it comes time to negotiating control, we come to the conversation with a clear idea of what we want and what we are willing to compromise on. This is where knowing the difference between our fixed and negotiable boundaries is the most important, because negotiating control is where the framework for the scene (or relationship) begins. Maybe you want to be controlled but you have personal trauma relating to physical restraint. Maybe you aren’t comfortable with verbal degradation, or maybe that’s what really does it for you. This is the time for all these nuances to be discussion and negotiated.

Real power exchange doesn’t happen until we complete the energy circuit, so don’t settle for less than you need and never be afraid to walk away from the negotiations if you don’t feel as though your needs are being considered. Prioritizing your needs is not only valid, it’s crucial.

Continue to Part 4: Control Continued

The Series: