Some think their submission is a gift. Some submit for altruistic reasons, as though what they offer benefits their dominants and not themselves. Some submit because they want to give and feel guilty about every desire to take.
And therein lies the problem.
We don’t talk about the gift of dominance—we speak as though our dominants are receiving and we are giving. That is a lie—we are participating in power exchange, the operative word being ‘exchange’, not ‘theft’. I won’t bore you with the submission-is-earned spiel because dominance is earned, too. I want to bore you with something else instead—what my dominant gives me.
The First Gift
When I show my dominant the submissive side of myself, wrapped up in all its kinks and desires, I am taking a risk. It’s never been easy for me to make those things known because showing someone the entirety of myself takes courage. I risk being viewed as atypical. I show him the softest underbelly of my sexual nature, which means risking him shoving a figurative stake into my most sensitive parts—and not in a fun way. My dominant faces the same threat. He must risk judgement. He takes a leap of faith by being true to his nature. He might look badass with that belt in his hand, but that is one of the moments when he is at his most vulnerable. He is showing me things that no vanilla man has ever had the challenge of showing, and if I were in the same position, I would be terrified. My dominant is giving me plenty of trust and a fuckton of vulnerability. That is a gift.
The Second Gift
Altruistically submit to serve my dom? Fuck that shit. I’m submitting because I love it. I’m submitting because I love great sex, and without power exchange, my fun is cut into tiny pieces. My dominant gives me a fuckton of fun. That is a gift.
The Third Gift
My dominant doesn’t steamroll over me like a hulking mass of selfishness. He is continuously watching (with incredible skills of observation) for my consent, my pleasure, and my desires. For that reason, I find it difficult to see BDSM as dominance and submission—it seems the wrong way to express what we do. Power exchange is a far more accurate term, because when my dom constantly adjusts to my positive and negative responses, he is not dominating me as much as satisfying me (and himself, she said in parentheses). Power exchange is symbiotic, not predatory or selfish. He challenges me, but to do that, he must be aware of my boundaries and how far they can be pushed. My dominant gives me a fuckton of sensitive consideration. That is a gift.
The Fourth Gift
I’m not sure whether there is anything more intimate than power exchange. I certainly haven’t encountered anything that can compete. By being willing to confront the visceral with me, my dominant gives me a fuckton of intimacy. That is a gift.
The Fifth Gift
No vanilla man has made me prouder to be myself than my dominant has. Degradation is a *huge* kink of mine. Huge. But ‘degradation’ seems the wrong word because I feel that my dominant is not degrading me but acknowledging parts of me that have been ignored by so many others. I am more than my personality. I am capable of more than intimacy and trust. I am a sexual being. I have a body. I am a dumbass, but I’m not stupid enough to deny that tiny slice of reality. My dominant might treat me like a slut, but by doing so he does the opposite of slut-shaming. He might objectify me, but the only reason he is able to do that is because the parts of him that don’t objectify me are big and bold enough to make that safe. He might treat me in ways that are considered degrading, but the only reason he can do that is because his respect for me is so colossal. My dominant gives me a fuckton of value, appreciation, and self-confidence. That is a gift.
The Non-existent Gift
My dominant does *not* cure my many character deficits. He does *not* help me to live my life more effectively. He does *not* help me to get over my sadnesses, and he has never helped me through any trauma. The *man* behind the ‘dominant’ label does that as I do the same for him. That aspect has nothing to do with D/s. My dominant may take control of large parts of my life, but when he does, I am in control of whether or not I consent. He doesn’t make mistakes on my behalf when it comes to the way my life is lived. By consenting, I make those mistakes. His role in the relationship doesn’t make him wiser or more emotionally intelligent than I am. If I choose to follow him and there are benefits to that, it is not a gift. It is simply me living my life as I choose to and consenting to what I want to.