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 my articles in KinkWeekly!
A man approached me, asking for help convincing his wife to take him on as her submissive. As they often do, he explained how she is very demanding naturally: Always wanting to be in control of the household, always “mothering” him and always telling him what he can and can’t do, etc. He said she’d be the “perfect dominant”.
He explained that they had discussed his interest in submitting to her a few times – and that they had even tried evenings and weekends, where he was her slave. They both enjoyed themselves during these sessions, but their dynamic reverted immediately after the session was over and she never seemed to initiate it on her own, afterwards.
He had tried to broach the subject, but she eluded (his word) his efforts. He tried “Stealth Submission” (submitting to her without her knowing, in hopes that she would like the service and start to demand it), but she never caught on that anything was happening.
To convince her to let him serve her, he had created a rationale list: 20 reasons why accepting him as her submissive would benefit her. Things on the list included: “Never having him disagree with her”, “Never pestering her for sexual activity and leaving initiation to her alone”, “Getting all the housework done to her satisfaction”, “Staying by her side at all times so that he’s always available”, “Staying in chastity to assure all attention stays on her”, “worshiping her”, “waking her up to oral sex every morning”, etc.
Reading through the list, it was obvious that he had absolutely no idea what his wife really wanted from him. I asked him if she had suggested ANY of the things on the list, to which he replied, “No…but it’s in her nature”. I reasoned with him that, given his natural submissive tendency, if his wife wanted him to be her slave in the manner he was presenting, after 10 years of marriage, didn’t he think he’d already be on his knees? I mean, if she really wanted him in chastity, giving her oral sex every morning, wouldn’t he already be doing it? He sat, a little at a loss for words.
Then, he presented the next most frequent argument: That he would be love to give her all the things she wants, if she would just take control of him. I asked, “So, what you’re saying is that the only way your wife can get what she really wants from you, is to make it fun for you? You would not be interested in actually serving her unless she first serves your fantasies?” That got a quiet stare.
I explained that “benefits” are in the eye of the beneficiary. If she doesn’t see something as a benefit, then it isn’t one. Period. I asked him if the things he was offering up as benefits were really things that he honestly felt SHE would consider a benefit. He admitted that he didn’t really know for sure.
The only way for a submissive to know what a given dominant feels are the true benefits of having them as a submissive, is for her to communicate them to him. If she offers up that definition of submission, then it behooves him to listen! If she doesn’t offer it up, then it’s up to him to ask. I tried to help him with techniques to get her to formulate a definition of submission to her (the Egyptian Pharaoh Exercise, for those of you who have read my writings).
He asked me what I felt the chances were that she would find doing things like “putting him in chastity and making him do housework naked except a collar” would be submission for her. I told him that I didn’t know her at all – and that he had a much better shot at answering that question than I did (and I assume he already knows the answer, BTW). I suspected the answer would be “very low”, but I also said that I wouldn’t rule anything out – and that it was possible. Then I pointed out that the upside of getting her to define what submission means to her, is that, if in fact she DOES enjoy those things, he’s going to end up doing them, anyway. I repointed him to the Task List Exercise, as a great way to help categorize and structure ideas for submission. He agreed to try it out.
What I find so interesting is how many people fall into the same trap of assumption and stereotype. I believe they want their partner to want what the stereotype tells them is desirable, and are afraid to explore their unique partner’s reality. They think it’s easier to get their partner to change than to change themselves, which is a fallacy, since change is a function of motivation – and who has the strongest motivation to make a D/s dynamic work?
The infamous Rolling Stones lyric, “You can’t always get what you want…but you find sometimes, you get what you need” is in full-force here. Long-lasting happiness comes from getting what you need, not from getting exactly what you want. In the case of submission, long-lasting submission comes from finding what you need through giving your dominant what they want. Find out what truly benefits your unique dominant – and deliver that to the best of your ability!
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
Do you think this approach applies equally well to to women wishing to serve/submit to men? How do gender differences affect receptivity towards a partner’s interest in sumitting/being dominated, from your experience? I personally find the idea of a man wishing to submit somehow different, due perhaps to think of men as more visual… the idea of a naked woman around the kitchen might have more appeal to a (hetero) man than vice-versa. Not that the idea of giving the would-be dom what THEY want doesn’t still apply, but is the “sell” easier to a man, or am I barking up the wrong tree here?
you sure know your stuff on power exchange 🙂
love your work!