Thursday, 18 August 2016

Consent isn't magic because submission is addictive

The vulnerable position of submissives means that consent
is simply not a magic spell that makes everything moral and OK.
I got 45 lashes last night.

Xena was wielding our new fibreglass cane and it hurt.

Each stroke hurt all on its own in its own right.

I'd wanted the whipping, deserved the whipping what with racked up demerits. It also turned me on almost painfully (bringing with it the knowledge that I have no chance of an orgasm any time soon). However, by the end of it, I just wanted it to stop.

I could have spat out my gag, said the safe word (well what approximates to it; "Xena Jesus that hurts please stop!"), but I didn't.

That wasn't a conscious choice; withdrawing consent was simply unthinkable.

I don't mean unthinkable in some porno-Femdom captioning BS way with caps, as in, "Disobeying Her, My Goddess was Unthinkable."

I mean safe-wording out just wasn't part of my frame of reference. Even if I were bleeding or badly cramped, or having breathing difficulties, those could all be handled within the D/s framework. There's no practical reason for breaking role.

I am addicted to submission and I like it that way.

I am addicted because of two issues -- or are they features? -- with being a submissive, rather than a bottom, or somebody who enjoys acting on submissive fantasies.

The first issue is that I am submissive.

We already had a vanilla domination
and submission dynamic.
We already had a vanilla domination and submission dynamic. Xena has always been the designated grown-up in the relationship. (A lot of non-kinky couples are like us: one partner naturally ends up in the leadership role and the other happily and actively facilitates this.) So I would tend to want to do what Xena wants, even if it didn't suit me, especially if it didn't suit me.

Now our FLR is explicit, everything about being our lifestyle reinforces this kinkier submission.

Just repeatedly acting out a role makes it functionally real over time, and we've been doing this for over two years. Even at the beginning we weren't acting anyway. The D/s worked best when it related to real things, like real domestic service and real orgasm denial that went on for days and months.

Then there's this thing that as a submissive I like to be "forced" into things I don't like -- this is where submission shades over into masochism. So I have no real will to resist things that take me out of my comfort zone.

Worse, looking back on last night's beating turns me on. Anticipating the next one is even more exciting. The more I don't enjoy it, the more satisfying the prospect and the resulting memory, and the less will I have to resist it.

I am so glad I did not safe-word.

The second issue is that I am in a poor negotiating position. 

 ...if I burst the kinky bubble, the
kink might go away for good!

On some level I've wanted this kind of relationship for my entire life. Xena, however, came to Femdom through me. She seems to be really happy in charge, and takes pleasure in the BDSM, but I know (she thinks) she could live without it.

It follows that if I burst the kinky bubble, the kink might go away for good!

This is not blackmail on Xena's part, it's just a relationship fact. If I make her feel awkward about being dominant, she won't feel like going to that place. Withdrawing consent might come at the price of her withdrawing consent forever.

Thus I am trapped in submission by my own submissive needs... which of course is a satisfying place to be.
The more I submit, the worse I suffer, the more submissive I become, the more I need the D/s relationship, the worse my negotiating position, the more trapped I am, the more submissive I feel...
(And yes, that might read better with some "tiddly-poms".)

The upshot is, though I consent to all of this, that consent doesn't mean very much. As long as we stay within the kind of sharp-edged hard limits that are enforced by lawyers or law enforcement and repaired by therapists and hospitals, my response is always going to be "Yes, mistress," or , "If that's what you want, Xena."

Really, I'm at her mercy.
That's a hell of a lot of leeway.

Really, I'm at her mercy.

If she chose to, Xena could make me suffer well beyond what would be remotely erotic.

Last night she could have whipped me until I was weeping and I would have accepted it as my lot. The other week when we were doing deep slavery, she could have made me sleep in my cell overnight then gone to work leaving me hungry (but with water) for the day.

The effect would have been the same. I would have accepted the suffering as my lot. It would have reinforced my submission. The memory would turn me on, as would the thrill of fear in anticipation of the next time.

What if Xena wanted something more extreme?

Nobody's cutting my balls off or feeding me hormones -- and she wouldn't want to. But what about a pierced penis? Or a permanent brand? Could I say no?

I would want to say no, but I would be aware of my poor negotiating position and I would consent in order to preserve the kink. The worst of it is that that lack of power would turn me on.

I don't want to be "cuckolded by a bull".
But what about another women?
Then there's relationship stuff.

Xena enjoys my company and doesn't seem to want to call up slave mode that often. But what if work became more draining? She could reduce me to a full slave for months on end and I would be unable to resist. The bleakness, the suffering and, frankly, boredom would trap me in a state of deep submission.

No I don't want to be "cuckolded by a bull". But what about another women?

Xena isn't bi as far as I know, but what if that changed? Yes of course I like the idea of serving more than one woman, or of watching. But what if she decided she just wanted to date another woman without me present?

I'd be trapped in the same loop.

And I'd give my consent. And that would turn me on.

And if she decided to push me, I have no idea how far I would go down into the darkness.

The moral responsibility rests with
the dominant.
All this means that negotiation and communication -- those shibboleths of BDSM culture -- don't really apply. 

Xena can't meaningfully negotiate for something she wants because my submissiveness and the power imbalance work together to make me consent to anything that won't destroy one or both of us.

Where's the moral responsibility?

In D/s relationships like this -- which are not unique -- the dominant partner is the only person who can really put the brakes on.

Unfair though this is, that means that regardless of the consent given by the submissive, the moral responsibility ultimately rests with the dominant.

Sorry! The vulnerable position of submissives means that consent is simply not a magic spell that makes everything moral and OK.

The take home for submissives is not just, "Careful what you wish for!" It's also, "Careful who you give yourself to!"

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  1. I haven’t read anywhere else stating the mainstream BDSM culture doesn’t apply to some relationships. Some are not so explicitly stated but there are still hints of whatever they preach should be applied universally. Glad you offered different opinion.

    1. I think it can be MADE to fit. For example, if you regard negotiation as something nuanced that happens over time, and if you regard consent as involving some second guessing. I just don't think BDSM consent culture is a magic spell to prevent you from wandering into the dark places.

  2. A really excellent account of how your submission works, and I might point a few first time subs to this, as I think it would help them.

    1. Forewarned is forearmed!

      Of course, being subs, they'll contemplate the slippery slope and then hurl themselves down it.

  3. Thanks for this post. I really appreciated it because so often, I see bdsm folks asserting that the submissive has the responsibility to keep tabs on how they're doing and to speak up and put their foot down if things aren't going well. But clearly that doesn't always work given submissive psychology. And some dominants will actively pursue people who will have trouble speaking up for themselves, then manipulate them into a position where it will become harder and harder for them to speak up for themselves, while being held blameless by mainstream bdsm types so long as the sub technically consented!

    The person with more power has proportionally more responsibility, always. Subs should refuse to enter a relationship with any dom who doesn't see it that way, since all by itself that would be a pretty big red flag.

  4. As a counterpoint, just as consent isn't magic, dominants aren't super human. There will be things they can't see or know, so a good counterpoint would be to ensure everyone involved has friends they can talk to about their D/s life. These friends ideally will understand the dynamic but won't have the same restrictions on highlighting things which seem unhealthy or to be making either of you unhappy. Allowing for self care is part of the dominant's responsibilities.

    1. Yes. Absolutely. And actually, the corollary of "consent isn't magic" is that both parties should accept that sometimes things will go wrong.


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