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“Relinquishing Control and Gaining Power”

August 6, 2009

Lissy wrote a really enlightening follow-up to my post on Power and Control. Despite having gone and made this tediously long point that the fulcrum of my sexuality is about the exchange of control, not power, I still felt like there was some kind of imbalance. And it was to find balance that I shucked the power=hierarchy-and-only-one-person-has-it paradigm in the first place. I was saying that I thought both dominant and submissive partners have power (ability), and that I desired submissive partners to give me their control (power to exercise), which felt slightly odd even after I wrote it. Lissy to the rescue.

I desire to hand control over for the purposes of gaining greater personal power, which I do not define as control over others, but as control over myself. Further, I want my partner to also be personally empowered by our dynamic, in that I seek through the exercise of control in a D/S dynamic a result greater than the sum of its parts with returns going equally to the parties involved. Which is what I think is implied by Dw3t-Hthr’s suggested terminology of ‘power synergy’.


Following the thinking that both parties bring power to a D/S dynamic, it then occurred to me that both parties also exercise control. Of course its easy to see that the dominant member of the equation exercises control, but the submissive also exercises control- self control. Not to say that dominant’s don’t also exercise self-control but in terms of the creation of a D/S dynamic I’m thinking the self control a submissive exercises over themselves is just as important as the external control that they allow a dominant to apply to them. Though conversely it could be seen that submissive’s exercise external control over dominants by way of limits and safe-words which requires them to exercise self control…


[T]his also, to my mind, allows for a conception of submission as active, freeing it from another of the commonly made patriarchal associations that of passivity. Which is certainly much more in line with the way I experience submission.

When I submit I feel powerful and if I’m not feeling powerful I find it difficult to submit… I’ve spent some time thinking about this and I think it comes down to most of the time when I’m feeling powerless its because I’m feeling… not in control… when I’m not in control of myself I can’t submit. Controlling myself in order to submit to Master’s… suggestions, orders and dictates… is not a passive activity, it requires what in my dynamic is termed ‘mindfulness’

‘Tis lovely, and you can read the rest here.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2009 1:32 am

    Your expression of the exchange of control being the fulcrum was an ‘aha’ moment for I who had been searching for a way to express… what it is that happens for me during D/S… I have found the… language of power exchange, dominance and submission doesn’t gel for me as an explanation for… what actually happens… the terms are… diluted by patriarchal associations, stereotypes, and ‘doin’ it better than you’ kinky types…

  2. ranat permalink*
    August 10, 2009 5:20 pm

    I was feeling a lot of the same things, but probably more abstractly since I’ve only been at this for the past year.

    But like I said, I’m really glad you wrote that post!

  3. August 10, 2009 11:03 pm

    I’ve only really been thinking about this for about a year and a half myself… for many years I was in a relationship where I had kinky sex but… I didn’t identify as a kinkster and certainly not as submissive… when that relationship broke down and I realised that kink was something I actually needed in a relationship I began exploring… and was really put off by some of the stereotypes especially about submission and submissives… but then I remembered that I’ve never accepted anybody else’s word on anything until I’ve done enough research and thinking to satisfy myself… and I’m never satisfied with my thinking… so task of a lifetime ahead!

    There are people (dominant and submissive) who kink on the subs are lower than low pond scum, I… don’t. I’m not pond scum. I’m a human being… oooh I feel a post coming on thoughts are getting much too jangled….


  1. Well, naturally « Bean

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