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!
The catalyst for this article is a discussion I had with a man who was looking for advice on creating a contract with his wife that would deepen his dependence on her, as a means to deepen his enslavement to her. His goal was to make himself entirely financially dependent on her by shifting all of their assets into her name, signing a nuptial agreement to provide him no rights in the event of a separation, arranging for direct deposit of his income into accounts in her name, and establishing a single account to which he would have access, into which she could deposit his allowance. He also sought out means to make her his health proxy as well as giving her general power of attorney over him. Effectively making him as indentured as he could be, legally. He’s located in a Scandinavian country and had to deal with the laws there, and was looking for ways to transfer the assets without tax implication for her…and seemed to find a way to do it (through a fairly convoluted sequence of divorce proceedings, prenups, and machinations that I don’t pretend to fully understand).
My point in this article is not the legality, or even the feasibility, of such agreements – whether in Scandinavia, the US, or in any country. Rather, I wanted to share some of the thoughts I had as we discussed his intentions. I was wondering if he was going through this manipulation of justice for any real impact. I wondered if things will actually change between them, despite the fact that his wife was in favor of the arrangement and even felt empowered by it. I doubted that this would be an effective change…here’s my rationale:
Police will tell you that owning a gun will not provide you any self-defense if you’re not willing to potentially kill someone. For the average caring person, the consequences of pulling the trigger while pointing the gun at another human will cause you to hesitate, which could contribute to your own death – as the bad guys won’t hesitate. For a consequence to be a motivator, you have to be willing to carry out the threat.
My concern, in the case of this gentleman and his wife, is that they have two kids together and are very much in love. He runs his own businesses, and has access to funding sources and banking institutions without her; sources of loopholes for him, should he ever need them. What are her true recourses via this agreement that will motivate his submission? Is she really going to kick the father of her two children to the street without a penny? Is she really going to declare him insane and put him away in a hospital? Is she going to destroy her family because he won’t submit?
I’ve seen couples create contracts that stipulate ownership as property (not legally enforceable) with all-sorts of unrealistic consequences – and even one that included the language from the contract in “Venus in Furs” that provided recourse to the dominant providing the right to end the life of the submissive. I’m sure they enjoyed the thrill of putting their names to the contract (and it has value for that), but even if we pretend it were legal, would this actually be an effective motivation? This is the kink-porn version of “Stop that or I’m turning this car around right now!”
Effective motivation comes via actionable consequences.
For many people, the question of actionable consequences results in implementation of “Punishments”. I have many concerns regarding the use of punishments (see my article, “Why I don’t Punish” at https://www.kinkweekly.com/article-kink-weekly/rikas-lair-dont-punish/ ).
As stated in that article, I prefer to take a no-nonsense, highly practical approach to the issue of motivating submission: “If you want to submit, submit…if you don’t, don’t.” I’d rather not have any power dynamic, than have one with someone who isn’t willing to put the effort into wanting it to improve. I don’t want to have to manipulate submissives, I want them to want to submit to the best of their ability. I’m not going to force anyone into submission. They commit willingly and fully. Then it’s their responsibility to live up to that commitment. Subs may not like my position at first, but after they’ve lived with it for a while, it becomes the only way they want to have a D/s relationship. I feel it’s because my desire for their submission is real – and not full of artificial consequences.
I’m not suggesting that every mistake a submissive makes is punishable by dissolution of the power dynamic…far from it. However, I choose to avoid the ineffective motivations of artificial consequences. The actions of remediation are real and effective: If a sub fails to deliver high-quality submission, we’re going to talk about it and together, we’re going to figure out how he can adapt his execution to improve. The onus of his improvement remains with him. The motivation for these improvements is our shared desire to make our dynamic as fulfilling as possible for both of us. As a result, the final actionable consequence of repeated inability to adapt and improve will be the unfortunate termination of the power dynamic. That’s a real consequence that’s an effective motivation. It’s one I work hard to avoid.
The outcome of the agreement the couple above have chosen remains in question. They signed their papers yesterday and, as soon as their divorce is initiated, she will own everything, outright. Will that change their dynamic? My guess is, in the short term, absolutely. But in the long term, once the thrill wears off and the reality of ineffective motivation kicks in? Time will tell, but I suspect I know the end of that story.
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”.