Part 4: Control Continued
Now that we’ve put the basics on the table, I’d like to dive deeper into the control dynamic itself, because my philosophy about power play and control doesn’t necessarily line up with typical erotic storylines and fantasy fodder.
First, I need to state unequivocally that one of the biggest red flags for me as a Dom is when someone with whom I have no history approaches me with such memorable statements as “I want to be your slave!” or “I have no limits! Do whatever you want to me!”. Both of these statements have happened to me multiple times over the years, and in every instance, they were the end of the conversation because offering yourself with no limits to someone you don’t know is indicative of one of two things: either you are just playing out a fantasy scenario with no intention of doing the necessary work, or you don’t love or value yourself enough to negotiate for what you need.
Just like the respect and trust that should always precede it, control is something that should be earned. If you come to the table and say “I’ll do whatever you want,” you’re not yet a strong enough negotiator to be having this conversation, and you should spend some time working on establishing and strengthening your self worth before offloading that responsibility to a Dom. Continuing without doing your own work first is dangerous to everyone involved.
Who Is Really In Control?
I was talking yesterday with the mentee who inspired me to begin this series when he said “The terrible secret is that… I’m just as service oriented as a Dom as I am as a sub”. I immediately responded by saying “Domination *is* service.”
If you are a D-type (or want to be) who sees the role as the erotic fantasy where you say and do whatever you want while you get waited on hand and foot, I’ve got some news for you: That’s not how power exchange works. That’s not control, that’s abuse. Whether the power play is a one-off scene or a long term thing, a true D-type is someone who knows themselves well enough to be able to keep themselves under control so that they can focus their attention on being responsible for the safety and enjoyment of all participants.
During the same conversation yesterday, my mentee also mentioned the word “directing”, and my brain surged. An effective Dom plays the role of Director, but to get what that means, you have to think about everything that goes into being a director. Before I take the director’s chair and focus all of my attention on what’s happening on the tiny screen in front of me, I first have to ensure that the set is appropriate, the costumes work, the lighting and sound designers have done their jobs, the script has been revised, and that the actors are on set and in the right place – physically and mentally. Only then can the scene go on, and only then can the director lean forward and stop looking at the big picture in order to draw the best out of this symphony of chaos happening right in front of them.
Domination is service, and I would caution you to proceed with caution in negotiating control with anyone who doesn’t get that.
Tipping the Scales
There’s another important distinction from the fantasy of Domination and submission, and it is one that makes performative dominants nervous. In the realm of spiritual power exchange, the scale doesn’t have to stay balanced. In fact, it can often work better when it doesn’t. It is possible for a D-type to seek to hand over negotiated control to another, even to an s-type. Wait, what?! Next you’ll tell me that a Dom can get tied up and fucked – and they’re allowed to enjoy it!
Proffering control isn’t a static once-and-done thing. It’s also not necessarily the sole domain of a submissive. Power exchange is called an exchange for a reason, and it can be exchanged in either direction at will, with informed and enthusiastic consent.
Continue to Part 5: Exploring Space