I hope you have been enjoying Rika’s Lair, my monthly column dedicated to thoughts and experiences regarding power dynamics in Service-Oriented D/s relationships. Look up “Ms. Rika” in the search box for links to all of my articles in KinkWeekly!
I was, as I often do, reading some posts in Fetlife this morning. As I read through the posts, I noticed the recurring notion that submissives “sacrifice” things: Their freedom, their desires, their dignity. The common belief is that submissives “give up” parts of themselves in order to serve the dominant. That, in order to serve the dominant, they need to deprive themselves (or be deprived) of something they want. To further the stereotypes: They are often either manipulated into this sacrifice, or want to sacrifice to a dominant who will gladly make them do so.
I got around to thinking about my submissives. I’ve never thought about them sacrificing for me…this is what THEY want to do. I came to the realization that while they give a lot, they don’t actually GIVE UP anything.
I sat down and discussed this with my husband (who is my slave). His answer was telling:
“If I think about the way dominance and submission are depicted in videos, then it’s pretty clear that the submissives are ‘put upon’ to do what the dominant wants. They are usually ‘forced’ to do so, actually. They are often acting against their will and acting like they ‘have’ to do things that they don’t, or wouldn’t, want to do. If that’s the case, then yes, they’re sacrificing…they’re sacrificing their own wills and their own desires in favor of the dominant’s. But I don’t feel that way about my submission to you. I’m not sacrificing any of myself…I’m not forced to serve you. I CHOOSE to serve you. I WANT to serve you. In serving you, in doing what you want and placing those desires in front of my own, I am getting exactly what I want. In fact, if I were not able to serve you, I’d be sacrificing – because I would have to give up my ultimate enjoyment.”
His answer got me thinking: Why does submission need to be a negative thing? Why do we think the submissive is “oppressed”? My husband is certainly not oppressed.
So this brings up the obvious paradox: If a man wishes to ‘sacrifice’…and is given the opportunity to do so…is he really sacrificing? Isn’t this really what’s at the root of submission? There is a reason that submissives submit: It’s not because they HAVE to…that’s capitulation and acquiescence…it’s because they CHOOSE to. Submission is a conscious dedication to the dominant. Submissives WANT to submit.
This paradox is as old as time, but how it conflicts with reality seems to underlie a lot of fantasy activities. The fantasy is to sacrifice…but to be allowed to sacrifice is not a sacrifice. Submissives want to feel they have sacrificed…many want to be forced to sacrifice – and yet, the very nature of free will and consent take that away. The reality is, SSC (Safe, Sane, and Consensual), keeps the fantasy a fantasy! If you crossed the line and actually forced a submissive to sacrifice, it would be considered abuse.
So submissives who want that fantasy need to artificially manufacture the illusion of sacrifice. They crave manipulation, they want to be forced to capitulate. Many want to be put in chastity devices to sacrifice sexual freedom, or want to live in bondage and desolate servitude…or sign contracts (even if they have no legal meaning). They invent terms like TPE (Total Power Exchange) and CNC (Consensual Non-Consent) to obfuscate consensual sacrifice and make it look as though there is no free will – when, in fact, you can’t actually give up free will (because there will always be legal recourse to get it back).
But submission is given a bum-wrap for this imagery. The fantasy is what people see – and what the general public associates with power dynamics. The fantasy of sacrifice and oppression is what applies pressure on spouses and partners who want to be served, but don’t want to oppress. It’s what some submissives point to when defining what dominance “has to be.”
It’s what I’ve been combatting with my methodology for more than a dozen years.
In reality, submission is not sacrifice. Submission, for my husband and many others, is fulfillment. Submission is their freedom. They are not ‘giving up’ anything at all…they are ‘obtaining’ fulfillment of their desires. You can play games and enact fantasies, but ultimately, the actual submission is voluntary – the devotion of submission is fulfilling and enlivening.
Ms. Rika is a lifestyle dominant, educator, and author; living in the suburbs of NYC with her husband/slave. She has written several popular books on her approach to adding Dominant-Centric, Service-Oriented D/s to relationships. You can find her books (in both print and eBook formats) at Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/msrika), or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iStore, Books-A Million, Kobo.com, or anywhere books are sold. Search for “Ms. Rika”. Write to me at Ms_Rika@hotmail.com