who pursue erotic or non-conformant lifestyles are not perverse.
They simply share a view of the structure and conduct of interpersonal
and/or sexual relationships contradictory to the mainstream ideology.
few days ago I overheard one submissive lady say to another, "I
really don't think that they (Dominants) understand the power
they have over us." What caught my attention was that she
used the words understand and power because whenever the exchange
of power topic arises the discussion always turns on the word
control. And, when power is mentioned itís always in dominant
context. Seldom does anyone hear of the power of submission. We
seem to be forgetting the essential fact that the exchange of
power between the dominant and submissive is the heart that pumps
the life-blood through all of BDSM. Without it, our activities
become nothing more than parlor games and contact sports.
the past decade multitudes of newcomers have entered the BDSM
arena with genuine dominant and submissive desires. But, they
have no real comprehension of what that means. They have the D/s
relationship confused with the activities of BDSM. They say that
theyíre looking for a relationship and then bounce from one play
partner to another like theyíre trying on shoes to see if they
fit. But, without at least a working knowledge and understanding
of the exchange of power involved, the relationship is doomed
to failure because the exchange of power IS the D/s relationship.
Irrespective of any personal persuasion or activity, the power
exchange is as essential to the Dominant/submissive relationship
as math is to mathematics.
power exchange occurs when opposite but compatible and attracting
forces come together. Thereís a very good reason why opposites
attract each other in nature. While each is a constant force in
itís own right, neither can manifest their true power unless exposed
to interact and feed from the other to create the greater power
for which they were destined. The left cannot be the left unless
there is a right for it to be left of and visa versa. Only by
exchanging their respective powers to be left and right can they
achieve their destiny - the relationship of left and right. In
BDSM context the opposites are domination and submission and their
destiny is to find each other and feed a D/s relationship by exchanging
a great deal of misinformation and confusion as to what the Lifestyle
power exchange actually is. The most popular misconception is
that itís the power to control. In D/s, control is an integral
part of the relationship, but the power to control is not the
exchange of power. Itís only a by-product resulting from the power
exchange itself and this confuses many people because that control
is what they can see. The actual power exchange is not something
that can be seen with the naked eye. It occurs when a submissive
submits to dominance concurrent with dominance being generated
to that submission. While the two forces always exist separately,
they are undeveloped until conjoined. The dominance cannot manifest
itís potential without submission and submission cannot manifest
itís potential without dominance. They are inter-dependent; drawing
their power from each other. Only by interacting one simultaneous
with the other does the transition (power exchange) occur and
bring the Dominant/submissive relationship to life. A dominant
and submissive couple must barter their respective powers to conjunctively
create it. Like heads and tails, the opposite sides of the coin
have some value, but must be joined to make "cents."
Only by interacting with each other can they achieve their actual
proceeding, I must caution the novice that there is great danger
in playing at BDSM power exchange relationships without a full
and complete understanding of why we do it. This applies to both
sides in the power relationship. The submissive must understand
that the power they possess is the ability to create dominance.
The Dominant must understand their power to create submission
and be prepared for the responsibility of the control that comes
with it. Also, they both must be prepared for the pitfalls inherent
within this type of relationship. The power exchange relationship
contains two powerful forces that feed off of each other and that
can be a very delicate balance at times. If it becomes unbalanced,
circuits can overload and fuses can blow! Constant no-fault communication
is essential. The power exchange is not a game that can be played
at only a part of the time! It requires serious commitment and
full time attention. Above all, it requires two people who understand
what they do and why theyíre doing it!
understanding begins with the language we use and defining this
Lifestyle is as simple as opening any dictionary. Just because
they are used in BDSM context does not alter or limit those definitions
nor may they be selectively interpreted to fit ones prejudicial
point of view, either. For example, the mainstream perceives that,
when used in our lifestyle, words like dominance, submission,
power, and control relate only to degradation and abuse. But,
that isnít true where consent is present. There are many aspects
to power and the utilization of it is determined by the spirit
behind why and how it is acquired.
relates to: Ability, capacity, efficacy, efficiency, energy, force,
might, potency, puissance, strength. One who is Powerful is defined
as able, cogent, commanding, controlling, effective, effectual,
efficacious, efficient, forceful, influential, mighty, potent,
puissant, robust, strong, mighty, vigorous. Control is: To exercise
a directing, restraining, or governing influence over.
power is arbitrarily taken or control is coerced through intimidation,
fear, or by force - that is abuse! But, if the control results
from a consensual exchange of powers and is then managed in a
spirit of benefit for both parties - there is no abuse. The character
and the quality of any control will be determined by the spirit
within which it was conceived. I.e., why they do it!
outsider "sees" only the visuals: The blatantly intimidating
and, to them, shocking visuals. "How can they do that? Who
would get on their knees to another person without being forced?
Why would they want to be humiliated like that? Don't they have
any self-respect? It must be a case of low self-esteem! (And in
S&M context) How could anyone in their right mind administer
or subject themselves to that kind of abuse?"The answer is
are compelled by an inborn need to experience and express our
commitment, our trust, and our feelings to each other far beyond
that of other couples. This need is propelled by an unquenchable
thirst for adventure and the exploration of sexual eroticism.
Weíre a classic study in Hedonics; attempting to derive all the
pleasures of life. We seek the outer limits of ourselves. In our
relationship nothing is withheld! We pursue the total expression
of the essence of ourselves within our own individuality and morality
and without regard of any societal conventions or the restrictive
religious sacraments of others.
this is complex in the perceived reality of the outsider:
because Dominance and submission and the S&M practices feel
different than they look. What walks like a duck and talks like
a duck is not always the ugly duck. What you see is not always
what you get. The submissive does not feel degraded by serving
and pleasing the Master/Mistress. The paradox is that the submissive
does not become less through the submission - they become more!
They complete themselves by connecting with the other half of
their predestined equation - the Dominant; then, together, they
fulfill their mutual needs through psychodrama. And, what appears
to be painful may, in reality, be erotically sensual. Pleasure
is often the reward of pain.
most significant reason the power exchange relationship is misunderstood
involves equating power with rights. In the power exchange lifestyle
they aren't synonymous. When the submissive grants the Dominant
the power to control the relationship they donít give up their
fundamental rights. Instead, they entrust them to the Dominantís
care. When they turn over the responsibility for their well being
they have every right to expect that all of their needs will be
met in order of priority, within reason and the confines of their
environment, and to the best of the controlling partyís ability.
This includes emotional and psychological needs as well as the
the term "slave" misleads and, frankly, I donít like
it because actual slavery by definition doesn't really exist in
the power exchange Lifestyle. Actual slavery is nonconsensual
and, therefore, abusive. Power exchange slavery is consensual
non-consent and that is what is so difficult for outsiders and
beginners to understand. The submissive consents to being controlled
but they do not abdicate the inalienable rights to which everyone
is entitled by default. The right to life - liberty Ė happiness
- security - safety Ė and all other parts of the equitable human
condition. They have the right not to be abused; the right to
their feelings and thoughts. And yes, they have the right to make
the choice whether to give up or retain any, all, or only certain
rights. Submission is in no way an abdication of the basic human
entitlements. Entering a power exchange relationship does not
obliterate them. The submissive/slave only turns over to the Dominant
the responsibility of administering, protecting, and caring for
their rights -- they do not give them up!
good example is parental right. Absent the condition of child
abuse, no one may interfere with the natural/legal parents authority
and control or interject themselves in any manner without the
parent's permission. In the D/s or M/s relationship where children
are present, the parent decides what the child is or is not exposed
to, how the relationship is conducted in their presence, and how
things are explained when the need arises - and it will. In relationships
where both parties are the natural parents, each has equal right
and responsibility regardless of their status within the relationship.
example: I have a very Dominant male friend in a long term M/s
relationship. He doesn't smoke and is somewhat allergic to it.
She smokes. He does not have the right to make her stop, however,
he does have the right to prevent her from exposing him to it.
That is fair and equitable. She never smokes in the house or in
his presence in public. Their respect of each otherís fundamental
rights is not negated because they are Master/slave.
decision to give up all power to control their rights is the most
serious decision one can ever make! However, in the power exchange,
no slave should ever relinquish the right to retake their liberty.
They must remember that their submission belongs to them and not
the Master/Mistress. The reason for this is so that they have
the power to protect themselves from an arbitrary and abusive
condition should the need arise. We, in the Lifestyle, absolutely
understand that power corrupts and that, because of the explosive
dynamics involved, any power exchange relationship can get out
a power exchange relationship consensual non-consent is only granting
the power to control. It is not giving up rights. Understanding
this difference is imperative because thatís the line that separates
the power exchange from degradation and abuse.
psychology, the sexuality, and the activities we pursue to fill
our needs are incomprehensible to mainstream folks because the
driving need that compels us does not exist for them. [Or, perhaps
theyíre unwilling to admit that it does.] The sight of what we
do will be offensive to those who cannot or will not experience
what it is that we are feeling. No one could possibly understand
the depth or meaning of our lifestyle unless they became involved
on an authentic level. But, for those who can make that "spiritual"
connection, the difference and the contrast of other relationships
becomes dramatically evident; embarking them on a journey from
which there is no turning back.
we arenít nearly as unique as they (or we) would like to think,
either. ALL interpersonal relationships contain some degree of
power being exchanged. The only real difference between the BDSM
and mainstream power exchange is the goals for the relationship
and the activities pursued to achieve them. Our unique and sometimes
outrageous activities are the tools that enable us to achieve
our unique and outrageous goals. They enable us to effectively
demonstrate our total commitment to each other and thereby experience
an inner satisfaction of communicating the actual depth of our
feelings and devotion. But, these activities carry great responsibilities
and require a much higher degree of trust than other relationships.
Therefore, we must have an emphatic spirit for understanding what
we do and why we do it.
initial stages of BDSM relationships are no different from any
other relationship. The attracted parties endeavor to find out
as much about each other as they can through conversation and
spending time together. This is the discovery phase of any relationship
where couples learn each other's perfunctory likes, dislikes,
limits, and goals. At this point the mainstream couple can choose
to jump right into emotional involvement and/or sex. If it doesn't
work out, the damage is recoverable and the parties can return
to their lives more or less as they were before, perhaps a little
the supercharged dynamics of the BDSM relationships require that,
at this same point, we proceed much more carefully. Not only is
there the risk of severe physical injury, there are, also, deep-rooted
psychological ramifications and extreme emotional fallout resulting
from failed BDSM relationships that may leave permanent scars
and unrecoverable damage. The power relationship reaches the very
root of the soul and the extremities of emotions. It has a better
than average potential for deadly consequences.
any physical and emotional interaction begins it is imperative
that BDSM couples proceed slowly and have open honest in-depth
discussions of their most intimate needs and desires. Very often
there is a trade off of wants through negotiation. A mutual understanding
of each other's needs must be reached and consensually agreed
to. The motivating spirit behind their desire and their goals
for the relationship must coincide. Only then should physical
and sexual activities be tested in order to discover if the two
are, indeed, a compatible match. If so, trust begins to develop
and the exchange of power can begin.
this is, also, when the relationship problems can begin because
the power exchange relationship is misunderstood by so many that
have come to this Lifestyle via the internet in the past decade
or so. Due to the abundance of on line misinformation and their
haste to get to the BDSM playground, too many have missed the
simple basic understanding of the spiritual underpinnings of domination
and submission in the power exchange.
they realize it or not, they have carried over enough of the nurtured
mainstream view to perceive the Total Power Exchange as abusive!
We hear them deride those who wish to surrender themselves in
a Master/slave relationship as "doormats" and they see
"The dominant is in control" as "The dominant is
controlling." But, simply because one wishes to allow another
to have unbridled control of the relationship does not mean that
they are helpless abused doormats and "in control" and
"controlling" are two entirely different things. Thatís
the difference between domination and domineering and it is peremptory
that we all understand this difference.
To rule arrogantly or insolently; tyrannize; bully.
IS abuse! Either physical, mental, psychological, emotional, or
(e) all of the above, abuse! Although many have consented to such
relationships by remaining in them, that consent is acquired by
deceit and manipulation and then coerced through fear, child custody,
financial dependence, or other factors perceived inescapable.
That is abuse and has nothing to do with the power exchange lifestyle!
In the presence of the domineer the submissive will feel intimidated
to submit compelled by a fear of incurring the Domineers displeasure/wrath.
If the submissive gives into this they will lose their power -
they will not be exchanging it. They will not be submitting Ė
they will be permitting control. Without the consensual exchange
of power that control is degrading and abusive. The Domineer does
not give dominance. They only demand submission. There is no power
exchange with a Domineer.
Dominant will command respect from a submissive by their words
and actions. They will not demand it. He/she will inspire you
to WANT (that being the key) to please by your submission to his/her
will. However, they will "bend" you to their will, not
break yours. Nothing will be done by force or coercion, but by
your wish to make him/her happy and pleased. In the presence of
true dominance the submissive will feel magnetically drawn by
the Dominant's inborn need for their submission and nurtured by
the instinctive understanding of the submissive need that a true
Dominant has. As he/she feeds their submission into that they
can literally feel their own worth increase.
To exercise control over; govern.
the "BDSM" power exchange the spirit of the domination
is nurturing care. The Dominant doesn't arbitrarily "control"
the submissive's actions. Instead, they exercise control by governing
the relationship. Of course, a power exchange Dominant must first
and foremost be responsibly in control of themselves. How can
one be trusted with the responsibility of caring for another if
they don't have control of their own life?
Willing or inclined to submit; yielding; obedient; docile.
power exchange submissive does not aspire to be controlled, they
wish to give control. They want acceptance and appreciation of
their submission. They seek that one special person who, also,
has enough self-control that they can be trusted with the responsibility
of the submission they desire to give to them.
Dominant does not "take" charge by "controlling,"
as the Domineer does. Instead, they accept the responsibility
of being in charge and they nurture within the submissive their
natural desire to submit. The Power Exchange Dominant thrives
on the responsibility in these relationships and not on the buzz
words -- 'control' and 'dominate.' He/she endeavors to nurture
in the submissive a pride in their submission and the realization
of the power of the submission that they give unto their Master/Mistress's
charge rather than instilling weakness and dependence in the submissive
by over controlling them.
more power a submissive has, the more power that can be exchanged."
one can't function without a Master/Mistress, what power can they
astute observer will find that many people who serve as and find
fulfillment in submission or surrender to someone in a D/s or
M/s relationship are otherwise, by nature, dominant personalities.
Submissive does not mean weak and it doesn't mean passive. It
means having made a conscious choice to let another lead and to
help that person in every way possible.
a yielding to the power or authority of another; obedience.
is nothing compelling any sub/slave to give their obedience except
his/her own resolve to do so. They are, therefore, empowering
the dominant by their decision to submit to them. Absent submission,
there can be no domination. However, no power is exchanged unless
the Dominant accepts responsibility for the submission with a
full understanding of the type and amount of power that is given.
Control; ascendancy, i.e., The quality, fact, or state of being
fact of dominance, also, has to exist. The consent must be mutual
in order for power to be exchanged. Dominance and submission in
the Power Exchange relationship revolves around the dominant and
submissive powers of the parties involved and not in the power
of the control. That is why it is called an "exchange of
power" instead of Ďgiving up control.í This is the spirit
of giving to each otherís needs on both sides of the relationship
and goes directly to why it is done.
of institutions, there can be no such thing as a totally helpless
person. Every Lifestyle submissive has the ability, in varying
degrees, to control their own life. But, their inborn nature drives
them to relinquish that control to their natural counterpart.
This results in a joining of the power of both into one greater
power that is entrusted to the more "in control" party
which works to the benefit of both. By giving to each other that
which the other needs, they complete themselves through an exchange
of power becoming mirror images of one entity that is much greater
than the separate individual parts. Each is like one-half of the
wheel. Only by joining two matching halves together can they function
are two types of Power Exchange relationships -- Dominant/submissive
and Master/slave. They share a common foundation, however, they
are, at the same time, very different. In the D/s relationship
we have labeled the consensual empowerment a "power exchange"
because both parties carry responsibility in the power and its
conduct in the relationship. In D/s the amount of power exchanged
has limits! The D/s submissive gives their consent to control
equal only to the amount of trust that has been developed. Ergo,
the power to control in a D/s relationship flows from the bottom
up. Now, this does not mean that the submissive is ultimately
in control, they are not. The Dominant is always in control within
the parameters of the relationship. It simply means that the submissive,
like the Dominant, may withdraw their consent. That, of course,
would terminate the relationship and no one is in control if there
is no relationship.
slave, on the other hand, completely submits to the Dominant and
retains no control of the relationship at all. There are no limits
other than those set by the Dominant. I.e., consensual non-consent.
A person over whose life, liberty, and property someone has absolute
To place under or yield to the authority, will, or power of another;
surrender, there is no power left to "exchange." It
has been completed. The Dominant has proven to the submissive
that they can be completely trusted to control the conduct of
the relationship. The powers of both the dominance and the submission
have achieved their maximum potential. They are, now, Master/Mistress
and slave. This is the total exchange of power.
One who has dominion, i.e., Sovereign authority; the right of
absolute possession and use; ownership.
this point, the slave exists only to serve and bring joy to the
Master/Mistress. The slave has no thoughts of self-gratification.
The slave seeks only the approval of the Master/Mistress who is
charged with the total responsibility for care of the slave.
amount of power exchanged determines the type of relationship
and herein lies the difference between D/s and M/s. In the D/s
relationship there is a constant exchange of power occurring because
the trust is still evolving. But, in the M/s relationship there
has already been a complete surrender and acceptance. This surrender
and acceptance has been labeled the Total Power Exchange and there
is a very distinct difference because the M/s relationship requires
a profound level of trust in the Master/Mistress in order to exist.
It, also, requires full time acceptance and care of the awesome
responsibility of total control by the Dominant. There can be
no such thing as a part time M/s relationship! The level of trust
is less in the D/s relationship and the responsibility is shared.
As long as any control is retained by the submissive, the relationship
is D/s and not M/s. All Power Exchange Relationships begin as
D/s and evolve to M/s only if and when enough trust has been developed
for the submissive to feel confident in total surrender and for
the Dominant to be comfortable with the total responsibility of
full time ownership.
at the point of consensual non-consent (slavery) is a time consuming
process of stages one must go through. In order for the submissive
to buy this farm they must know in their very marrow that they
can absolutely trust the Master/Mistress and that simply takes
time. In the early stages of the D/s relationship the participants
will set certain limits and safeguards until they are sure that
they want to make commitments of ownership to one another. But,
by then, there is supposed to be enough trust and intimacy and
enough power exchanged between them that a commitment of control
is possible. However, simply assigning the D/s or M/s prefix to
a relationship is not a magic fix all. Making the commitment to
control and ownership does not create a full and complete relationship
in an instant; it is only the beginning of the process of creating
it. Just like any other relationship, the power exchange requires
commitment and hard work if it is to endure.
people who make that commitment to one another and who then endeavor
to make the relationship work are those living the reality of
the power-exchange. They may or may not evolve to a total Master/slave
relationship, but that's OK. There's no requirement to do so and
no failure in not doing so. It's simply a matter of preference.
The submissive's life may be anything from that of a cloistered
house slave to that of an active and aggressive person of the
world who is, privately, totally submissive to their owner. There
are endless permutations and whatever works for them is right
power exchange is an endless journey of growth through learning
and experiences. Desires, needs, wants, and fantasies may change
often as the journey branches out along the many trails that surround
all aspects of the Lifestyle. The learning and exploration of
these trails through interaction with each other is always going
to have it's own peculiar impact on the individuals. This is why
it is imperative that open communication be maintained at all
times. Relationships grow and adjustments must be made. There
are emotions, attitudes, experiences, and difficulties that power
exchange couples have in common. There is a shared understanding
of why they do what they do and the spirit behind The Power Exchange
that binds them together. But each and every relationship is,
in the final analysis, unique unto itself and must stew in itís
own juice. What ever works for you is right for you regardless
of what anyone else thinks about it.