I’ll have what she’s having
I like to order for my girl when we are out for dinner. This is not a new part of our dynamic, but it is one I am still developing. I started by recording her allergies and basic dislikes. That was enough to make sure I was not going to poison her or try to feed her something she would flatly refuse to eat, but it wouldn’t let me do much more than that. It wasn’t enough, I didn’t want to just know what not to feed her, I wanted to be able to confidently make a choice that she would enjoy.
My objective was two fold; to continue taking more control in our relationship by expanding the breadth of our D/s, and to make her feel like I knew everything about her. I want her to know that I can pick the one item she would have chosen from an entire menu without checking with her. I want her to feel that I know her that well, that intimately.
So how do I achieve this, it is simple really; I ask! Whenever we eat a new cuisine I let her order, I may even ask her to point out what she does and doesn’t like on the menu. The second and third time I will order, but still I will look to her for affirmation, encouraging her to explain any issue to me. This lets me learn each and every time until I can stop looking to her for confirmation, and she knows she only needs to tell me if their is a problem with what I have selected.
Now this is a very mild example, but it does matter. If I cannot trust myself to learn something simple, then what about when it comes to knowing her more extreme limits or desires?
With great power comes great responsibility
It takes a while to learn you bottoms dinner preferences, and even more to read their mind. The more control you want to have in your relationship the harder you have to work at it. Each from of control carries with it a range of responsibilities and new sets of information to learn. The information we have and our gentle escalation is a buffer against major mistakes.
It is arrogant in the extreme to think that you know everything, and you are dooming yourself from the start if you assume that your partner will fit into a preconceived box. Just because something has worked with ever other sub you have played with it does not mean it will this time. It behooves us to open ourselves to the possibility that what has worked before shall not work this time. If we stop learning then we consigning ourselves to eventual, complacent failure. This applies to so many aspects of being a good top. Always be learning, always be practicing.
While I hope none of us would contemplate using medical staples without having learnt how to use them, in the same way why would we try to take control of our partners clothing without learning the nuances of what that means? Their work dress code, what outfit is too hot for summer, too cold for winter, etc..?
It can be easier to identify and develop these skills which we class as hard skills; using sharps, cracking a whip, swinging a flogger, but there are soft skills which are essential in the mental aspects of kink. We risk getting to caught up in the acts of kink, and forget the thinking of kink.
There are numerous events where you can pick up hard skills from some excellent teachers, but when it comes to the specific soft skills of your partner then they are our best teacher, even if they don’t know it, and as their unknown students we must be twice as attentive. What we can be taught are the questions we need to ask, but only our partner can give us the answers we need.
Mistakes makes us, they don’t break us
Good tops don’t just burst forth fully formed and all knowing. I have learnt huge amounts from those incredibly supportive bottoms that I have messed up the most with. Mistakes will happen, we can regret that fact, but should never ignore it, nor think ourselves immune from them. We should be upfront, and always willing to apologize for mistakes.
I believe that a real apology leaves us with a burden to do everything within our power to make sure the same mistake is never repeated. If we only say sorry and don’t follow through with actual improvement then it is a feeble apology.
It is okay to make a mistake, it is not okay to constantly repeat the same mistakes. If we go back to the example of my ordering for my girl at a restaurant for a moment. If I make a mistake and order something she really hates she will tell me, that is okay. If I order it for the second time, or even a third time it is clear I am not paying attention, I am not learning. A sorry does not always make everything better, actively working to make things better can.
Be kind to yourself though. As a top we can sometimes place too much of a burden on ourselves to be perfect. We should never pretend we are perfect, not to ourselves and not to our partners. Everyone involved in a scene should know that we are all humans, and that there is a risk involved in playing. Take responsibility where it is due, but do not become crippled by indecision, keep learning, keep moving forward.
Step by step
Each escalation in our transfer of power has to be built on a solid foundation. The importance of knowing her better than she knows herself really matters when I am asking her to strip naked while blindfolded in a club. That is when the months and years of built up trust pays off.
In every relationship there is a period of time in which we are learning each other. All the normal things of relationship, which side of the bed they sleep on, how they take their tea, and then there are the kink things, do they switch, do they prefer rope or leather, etc…
Each new aspect of D/s should be approached as a new relationship, with all the excitement, and trepidation that entails. You don’t learn everything about a relationship on the first day, and you won’t get everything right on the first try, but remember; as long as you are learning you are not failing.
About the Author
Will Hunt has been involved in the UK kink scene for the last 10 years; running clubs, teaching workshops, performing and generally encouraging naughty behavior wherever possible.