The action of providing direction is beneficial to the power exchange relationship in a number of ways. Primarily, it clarifies the position of both parties and is a source of pleasure and energy for the power exchange relationship. The person on the ‘control’ side of the power exchange relationship provides direction to the other participants in the relationship. The person being controlled and directed feels safe and secure in response. Master and slave, Dominant and submissive run on different fuel. However, I’ve talked to a number of dominants that struggle with this from time to time. There are probably any number of reasons for this – but the one that I see quite often manifests in this fashion; “Being in control and providing direction is a wonderful experience for me. It is because I love/care for/appreciate you so much, that occasionally I will reward you by sharing this power with you. This will take the form of A.allowing you autonomy to make your own decisions or B. I may even begin training you – my slave/submissive to begin exercising dominance on your own!! If you do a good job, eventually I may allow you to (gasp) have a submissive or slave of your very own!!! Wont that be GRAND?!
NO. No it will not be grand at all. Comparing this situation to the plot of a sci-fi movie, this would be where Our Hero slips on a banana peel and accidently drops the glowing test tube of toxins into the town’s water supply. When we as Dominants decide to share our joy of control with those that have exchanged their power with us, disaster often ensues for the relationship, but not immediately. Its easy to mistake the fact that one’s submissive or slave takes to wielding power like a duck takes to water as clear indication from the universe that said submissive was ‘meant’ to be dominant all along. The actual reasons for this kinky metamorphosis may be quite different, and not as mystical in nature. Submissives in similar situations gravitating toward dominance at your direction is connected to why you, Kind Sir/Madam selected them in the first place, namely their tendency to have strong desires to PLEASE their DOMINANT. They are after all EXCELLENT at taking direction, even if the directions are toward an area of the map where they themselves would not ordinarily venture. Also one cant ignore the fact that we are all possessed of a near infinite variability and potential. It is most unfortunate when Masters discover too late that the harmony they enjoyed as M/s begins to dissipate pretty rapidly in a M/m environment.
There are of course a thousand thousand variations on this theme – what about switches? what about those that encourage the above scenario by design instead of by accident? There will of course always be those individual circumstances that dont fit what I’ve described exactly or relationships that are apparently thriving in an environment I would personally consider inhospitable for my power exchange relationship.
Lets get back to the point. If it is my desire that my slave accomplish a particular goal or outcome, the scenario I illustrated above demonstrates the necessity of that DIRECTION, without it there typically will be little movement toward the desired outcome. Of course Im being overly simplistic here – it is always a possibility that the slave can intuit my general intent and motivate him or herself towards the achievement of the best possible outcome. ASK then DECIDE highlighted the fact that having a discussion is not synonymous with making a decision. It then follows that once the decision is made it must be communicated to be effective. More specifically, after I’ve decided what should be done, it is essential to the health of our relationship to provide closure by giving a directive as to what will be done next.
A directive can cover any time period in the future, “this afternoon, I want you to call her back and tell her we will be there on Thursday as agreed” be attached to other conditions “go to the store and if they have the hubbards on sale, purchase that – otherwise purchase brand X.” ..and also be communicative for yourself as well as your charge. “For the next month, we are both going to get up and do our meditations first before we begin our work day” Note that I said it can cover any time period in the future – I know a fair amount of Masters who are fond of giving directives that can only really be accomplished in the PAST. “You should have known to check with me FIRST before doing that!” Not only is a directive to do something in the past impossible, this behaviour doesnt improve the relationship and often leads to confusion and unhappy, demotivated slaves and submissives.
Also, communicating preferences without directives can temporarily put the slave in a very uncomfortable position. ‘I love the taste of fresh lemonade!’ – Master exclaims. (the slave tries to figure out ‘is that for always? or for right now? should I put lemons on the shopping list? does Master want to be surprised by fresh lemonade? should we always have fresh lemonade in the house from now on?’)ad infinitum. The submissive or slave can really spin their mental wheels trying to ‘cover all the bases’ in an attempt to be pleasing. You can make things run a lot smoother by remembering to follow preferences with a directive ‘when you go shopping, buy lemons – and always make sure we have fresh lemonade on hand’
‘Should statements’ can often masquerade as free floating, anxiety producing pseudo directives- Master looks around the room “we should paint in here”. (slave thinks…when? what color? do it yourself or hire someone?) Master says “You know what? we should eat out more often!” (should slave get dressed? tonight? this weekend? or is this just increased frequency in comparison to how often we normally go out? ) The point of these examples is not to encourage Masters to dramatically restructure the way they talk, but to raise awareness and mindfulness concerning an area that many of us take for granted – that we are communicating effectively. The words of the Master tend to fall from lofty heights onto the ears of the slave and arrive with both velocity and impact. The slave or submissive is always listening for the ‘go do’ associated with a clear directive. Even if they get it ‘right’ by intuition, similarity to a previous directive or accident – if they proceed to act without a clear directive the result is less than satisfactory for both dominant and submissive, and actually is an energy drain on the relationship. It sounds deceptively simple, but most of the time when there is a general ‘blah’ feeling or a significant loss of enthusiasm in the power exchange dynamic it is due to neglect in this important area.
I receive pleasure from exercising control and dominance over my slave – it energizes me. My namaste by comparison receives pleasure from her response to my excercizing control and dominance in her direction, which energizes her. The feedback loop of her responses of submission and surrender is also delicious to me, which becomes an additional motivating factor toward more dominance and control, and so it goes. Mindfulness in communication can yield amazing dividends in the form of increased peacefulness and harmony in the power exchange dynamic.
Do the Work: This week, pay attention to how often you are presented with information and what you do with it after you’ve received it. Do you tend to internalize it and keep it in your own head without communicating your wishes? Do you delay communicating a directive because you expect your submissive to ‘intuit’ what your directive would be? Are you concerned about being ‘wrong’ or communicating an ill advised directive? How many ‘preferences’ have you stated that have unintentionally become ‘law’ in your world? Is a stated preference synonymous with a directive in your relationship? Ask your submissive to list how many ‘rules’ you have that are really preferences in disguise. Commit yourself to deciding what you want done and providing clear direction whenever you are presented with new information.