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Control vs. Power

If ever there were an image that depicted the relationship between my Muse and I it is this one. I am drawn to it over and over again and feel compelled to write something every time I see it. In this instance it brings to mind the freedom we feel with each other from the power that we share and the control that we exchange.

In our relationship I do not take control from my Muse, I assume it. There is no force. By mutual agreement she uses her power to give me control over her to be used however I see fit within the bounds of our prearranged limits and well-understood desires, cravings and needs. We spend a lot of time communicating with one another about what it is that we need to feel fulfilled, the boundaries we hope to explore, what we hope to achieve from a scene, and where our rewards lie. We talk about our fantasies and from them gain inspiration and direction. From there it is free form; the keys are handed over to me and I am permitted to take us for a drive.

My Muse relishes the release she feels from having no control, of not being in charge for a while. Of course it is an illusion, she has all the control in the world, but she chooses not to exercise it and instead gives it to me. In scene, her submission is complete and I need not make her do anything, I simply and quietly direct. She loves to kneel, she loves to please, she desires punishment and praise in equal measure. She longs to feel my pain and my love. She gives herself to me for pleasure and pain as I desire. She seeks an attitude adjustment at times from the dominant and sometimes domineering “bitch” she can be in real life to the submissive and ever pleasing Muse she is when in service to me; but only to me and me alone. That attitude adjustment extends only between us. She gives me her control unreservedly and takes it right back again when she leaves and goes back into her real world.

But while I assume full control, contrary to much of what is talked about in “power exchange” discussions, she retains a significant measure of her power. She is not a dishrag who simply lays there waiting for the next thing to be done to her. She is an active participant whose job it is to communicate her needs and desires to me as her Dom in advance, be present and engaged in-scene helping us both achieve the illusions we seek, and to communicate through actions and reactions her desire for, and receptivity to, my dominance.

Sometimes I feel that the term “power exchange” (which I use often) is something of a misnomer. In truth, to be effective and successful BDSM partners, we both must have power in nearly equal shares, otherwise you end up with an imbalance that fails to meet the needs of one or the other partner. For example, if my Muse were to relinquish all of her power to me, she would be a dishrag in scene, overly docile and compliant, and leave me as her Dom somewhat bewildered as to her limits, desires and needs. All of the pressure would be on me to second guess what she wants and what will work to bring us to a satisfactory place together. Conversely, if she were to cling to her power and become overly directive and demanding my Muse would not be very submissive at all and would make her Dom feel somewhat emasculated and incompetent. It is a balance that must be struck by any submissive and one that needs to be well-matched to the Dom she intends to submit to. The same is true of Doms. We need to match our power with that of the submissive we intend to be involved with, too much or too little and that same imbalance will exist and we will feel that our needs are not being met or will find ourselves in conflict with our submissive.

So if it is not power that is fully exchanged in a “power exchange” what is it? I posit that it is control. My Muse retains the power at all times to stop everything, call it quits and even walk out the door should she so choose. But provided she does not exercise that power, she gives me complete control over her to do as I wish provided it is in the spirit of dominant love and the confines of our predefined limits. I have not taken any power away from her at all, but I sure do relish having complete control over her from one moment to the next.

Back to the image above for a moment. Our submissive is kneeling quite willingly, palms upraised, fingers relaxed. She is giving her control completely to her Dom and he requires only eye contact and a single finger to communicate with her and achieve his desires. She has the power to leap up and snatch her collar out of his grasp with not much effort at all but that is not what either of them want. She has the power to shatter the illusion of control at any moment either intentionally or unintentionally, but she won’t. He wants control and she wants to be controlled. Her power resides in the fact that she is meeting him step-for-step in the D/s dance and the fact that she can stop the dance at any moment. But what she has given in full measure is her control, and he equally and just as completely assumes it for a time. The bond of that exchange of control is immeasurable and very difficult to describe to anyone who has not experienced it. The deeper you go, the stronger it grows, and the more unthinkable becomes the idea of breaking it.

A power exchange is really not a matter of relinquishing all power from the sub to the Dom, indeed a submissive is a very powerful being and needs to match, move-for-move, everything the Dominant dishes out. It takes a great deal of power to relinquish control and that is in fact what my Muse relies upon any time she steps into a scene with me.

Control: she gives it and I assume it, but it takes a lot of power on both our parts to make that possible and even more to make it erotic.

Caption © For The Love of a Submissive, 2012

Image Credit Unknown

A must read.

Beautifully said! <3

~Nicole~

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