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 got a note this morning from a dominant friend of mine, sharing the frustrations she, and many dominant women, have when taking on new subs. Her question was whether subs should have to prove themselves to be worthy of being allowed to submit, or be put in a position of submission and then prove their ability within the role.
From my days in management (outside of D/s dynamics), I can tell you that, most of the time, people prove their ability to do a higher-level job before they’re assigned to it. It is a much less frequent practice to give someone a “chance to succeed” at a position. It’s done…but not nearly as often. This is usually because positions are often coveted and highly competitive and there’s no need to take the risk associated with having the wrong person in a position of responsibility.
If I take the analogy back to D/s dynamics, the reasons for qualifying an individual before allowing them to submit to you, boil down to the risks associated with them not being able to perform as expected. What are the risks associated with taking a chance on a submissive?
The risks boil down to the amount of work that will end up on the dominant. The downside puts the dominant to the task of identifying flaws in the sub’s efforts, determining how to communicate and correct them, and then following up to make sure the corrections are made. Even worse, they may find themselves needing to “motivate” the submissive…to create the energy to get them to serve. They can easily then lose confidence that the submissive will perform other tasks to the level of performance that’s acceptable and need to make constant judgements regarding whether to trust a submissive with a particular task, or not.
As those of you who have read my books and other posts and essays know, I’m a firm believer that having a submissive makes my life EASIER. If having a submissive makes my life more complicated, gives me less time to do what I want to do, or forces me to do things I don’t want to do, then something is very wrong.
My friend brought up the point that often submissives want to be given the position and then be ‘trained’. The whole “Training” thing is something I’m particularly against. I don’t train my submissives, but I do educate them. I want them to understand my preferences and expectations and to internalize them, so that they become their own. When they act, they act in concert with fulfilling those expectations.
A quick web lookup on the differences between training and educating highlights this well:
Training refers to an act of inculcating specific skills in a person. Education is all about gaining theoretical knowledge in the classroom or any institution. Training is a way to develop specific skills, whereas education is a typical system of learning.
I am all for communicating to a submissive and teaching them general terms of how to be my submissive, but I’m not interested training them like an animal. The skills they need to serve me, they either come to the table with – or are able to develop based on their understanding of the objective and their ability to learn.
So, no…I’m not going to pick a submissive and try to train them to serve me. They’re going to have opportunity to prove they’re a good learner and have the ability to apply general principles to develop specific skills.
Does a prospective submissive possess the intelligence, empathy, awareness, self-awareness, dedication, and energy needed to be good at it? That seems to me to be an awful lot to expect to just blossom in front of you. Sure, it’s possible – but are you willing to put up with the effort required to discover it can’t?
For me, I would rather get to know a prospective submissive before allowing them to submit to me. During that time, I’m assessing a lot about their personality, their real interests, their ability to be dominant-centric, and their intelligence. I’m qualifying them to be a submissive, not based on any particular skill, but rather based on the qualities that make learning happen. Are they going to be a good student? Are they driven by a passion to serve? Are they going to be able to exhibit the self-control to maintain their dedication – without burdening me with the need to force, or enforce, it?
Therefore, from my viewpoint, you don’t get to submit and then prove you can do it. You also don’t prove you can submit – you exhibit your natural abilities to learn and adapt and you exhibit your internal desire to serve. You show me why, in particular, you want to serve ME – and not just any woman. Then, I can feel comfortable with the discussion that leads to your submission.
I would love to hear your opinions!