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!
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a submissive online (not my submissive) and we were discussing ways that he could help his wife feel more comfortable with being dominant. As with many “vanilla” people, the imagery of what “A Dominant is” was greatly influenced by media, her husband’s prior attempts to introduce BDSM to her, and probably porn. She had no interest in becoming that imagery.
We talked about changing the imagery, from the stereotypical image to something in which he would be serving her for the person she was – without her having to change who she is.
He suggested that he define his submission by “elevating his wife to be his queen”. He would “treat her like royalty and he would be her loyal subject.” She would be in control of everything in her kingdom and he would “obey her every wish”.
He thought I’d love this suggestion and tell him what a great idea it was and how well he grasped pure submission. Only I didn’t. Rather, I started questioning him about what his wife would like, what she really needs from him, and whether the imagery of the “Queen” would fulfill her. He was confused. He couldn’t understand why treating her like a queen would not constitute excellent submission.
I needed to help him understand what does constitute excellent submission – and why excellent submission can be remarkably illusive. I decided to make the point with a more obvious analogy: Pain – and then bring it home to his situation. Here’s how it went:
Let’s say that a guy really loves to be hurt. Perhaps he’s a true masochist and really does get off on the pain of pain, not just the idea of pain. He decides to serve a particular partner by accepting pain.
We agree that, if his partner does not like inflicting pain, but his partner chooses to do it – or he coerces his partner into doing it – “for him”, that it’s not going to be considered submission to that partner…they may still have some kinky fun, but it won’t be “submission”. Submission is FOR the dominant.
But, let’s say that the partner REALLY loves to dole out pain. Perhaps the partner is a true sadist. In this situation, the man’s intent to serve this partner, and his intent to serve himself completely overlap. This is the perfect storm of sorts and is, unfortunately, kind of rare. But let’s say that’s where we are.
In this situation it will be VERY DIFFICULT to determine if his actions are truly “submission” or not, because his intent will be difficult to ascertain. Without the intent to fulfill the dominant, the sub’s actions become self-serving. In some ways, we can say, “who cares – both partners are being fully satiated by the activities”, right? Well…not really.
Even in this situation, his real intent will show itself when/if his desires and the partner’s desires begin to differ, either in intensity or composition. Pain is a broad category, so their differences will eventually show. If this guy is really submissive, he will need to adapt to conform to his partner’s preferences (assuming he can). There could be, of course, compromise…which, if BOTH partners feel serves them fully, would be submission. But, if he tries to force the partner into doing “pain” his way, it will be manipulation and he will not be acting like a submissive.
He understood. So, then we took it back to his example: The man wants to serve his wife and elevate her “to be his queen”. The same scenarios apply:
Does the wife WANT to be the queen, make all decisions, rule the kingdom and have a servant who will obey her every order? Some might, but if not, then making her his queen would certainly be for him – but would not be submission. It can’t be submission unless SHE feels it serves her.
If the wife feels served by being “the queen” and receives that from a position of dominance, then certainly, his elevating her to that position in his life would be an act of submission…just as the sadist and masochist hit the perfect storm.
However, what if the wife wants to be the queen, but defines being “the queen” differently than he does? Just like the masochist and sadist, how he adapts will determine his submissiveness. Is he going to adapt his definition to cater to her preferences as the definition of his submission – perhaps appealing to their underlying relationship level to compromise for some, or all, of the rest – or is he going to manipulate her into assuming his definition of “queendom”?
This will determine how “submissive” he is.
Excellent service is hard to do. Subs who can develop and maintain that level of focus and dedication are worth their weight in gold.
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