The Power Exchange Explained

by Steven Craig

There is always a relationship, between two people, and for this discussion, assume it to be a man and a woman.

There is nearly always in a relationship, a leader and a follower, a dominant and a submissive.

There is in the spectrum of all possible relationships, the set of those generally given the label of B&D, BDSM, S&M, D/s, Master/slave, Daddy/little girl, Owner/owned, Trainer/animal, Lord/chattel, etc./etc.

These are all of course deterministic on the individuals dreams, desires, fantasies, needs, wants, up-bringing, fetish, sexual expression, time, space, money, language, laws, limits, feelings, etc, etc, etc.

What is it that is fascinating to one is a complete close down by another. What is it that is needed by one is not in the least required by another. What is it that makes one submit that makes another dominate over the submitter. What is it that both can just walk away from if it is not ‘right’ for them.

There is no one answer. That elusive answer is rather unique to each of us, with some overlap of common influences which actually allow us to conduct the relationship further. If we were locked into a tiny space of thought where only that preeminent personal thought and logic defined who and what was acceptable in another in its narrowest terms, there would be precious little relationships.

Widening the scope of the human part of the relationship, and not the perceived, we find we enter the realm of needs and desires. Here is where the world starts for most. Somewhere, at some point in our lives, often at a very young age, we encounter something that changes us forever. Sometimes, it is a good experience, sometimes a bad one, but most often, no matter the conditions, we are often too young to understand or know the meaning, so we literally make it up. We assign thoughts and emotions and feelings to the occurrences as children (and sometimes as adults) that we do not understand, but still need to explain at a very personal level to ourselves.

From these occurrences, many of our phobias and loves, personality traits and dreams, desires and needs, values and self worth are flung out onto our life’s stage, to grow or fester or to question or remain unanswered. Here we find the challenges or the denials, the future paths or life to take or those we take our refusal of. Here, as children, we are exposed to our uncertain adult life's future, without the tools of the mind to correctly assist us in being ‘ 'correct'. So we wing it at first, and then we think on it, and dream about it and fantasize about it and it becomes a part of our being, overtly or hidden, intensely or just as an uncertain question, still a part of who we are.

From that uncertain nebula, we grow into who we are, and carry with us all the emotions and thoughts that were there as children, into our ever aging adult lives.

It is here, as adults, we have the opportunities to understand these characteristics of our being, or to blindly concede to either denial or lemming like acceptance. It is from this ledge, as one leaps, that either knowledge flourish’s or fails, but we still remain who we are. It is here, on the precipice, my feet dangling in the thin aire, that I write this to you.

I come back to the frank condition that BDSM in all its attributes, is a relationship. In it, both the dominant and the submissive are there for a reason, to share themselves in the mutual hope of gathering fulfillment of their needs.

In nearly all cases, the submissive wants to please, to give, to sacrifice, to endure, to commit to such a degree that she is recognized as doing something good, acceptable, desired, valued. In nearly all cases, the dominant wants to control, provide safety and protection, gives order to the chaos, and to be made happy with the dedication and sacrifice of all that the submissive has to offer him.

That is the ideal. Of course, reality is always different. Here, we find ourselves with individual needs and expectations. Here we find the uniqueness, and the compromises made to enable us to share the unique with the unique, and thus form a relationship where the one that controls and the one that is controlled, can flourish.

But why?

The answer to why one needs to be controlled is rather endless in its possibilities. Certainly, to have order in their lives, to have limits on were they place their energy, to have defined expectations and goals, but nearly always, it is to fill a basic need in all humans: security. That one feeling, being secure, and its derivatives of nurture, growth, competition, contentment, etc. are all so very valuable to people, so much so, that they are often willing to give most everything they are to have it in their lives. Some, give everything.

A submissive realizes at the minimum, that sub-conscious level, that for someone to tie her, bind her, chain her, and other wise control her, she is wanted, desired, valued, even if it is done so darkly, she is still wanted. That is a basic security. A submissive realizes that when she sees a dominant express his pleasure in her hard efforts to please him, she is filling a need to give and that alone can be all it takes to have her realize that there is significant purpose to her life. She will want more of all of it.

Where there is no one to please, and worst, when there is no one to make her feel she is controlled, with its underlying meaning of being desired and wanted, she is lost. She is miserable, unhappy, alone, encapsulated in a small emotional space of no growth, and endless fear that her life and its meaning is over. When she has it again, it is like the turning of a corner, and seeing the fresh beauty of the sunrise repeated all over again. And indeed, it is emotionally just that, the very same feeling people have to see the coming of the sun each day once more. Security. Safety. Meaning to life.

I have found, that the submissive’s I have spent my time with, are very intelligent, creative, expressive, and in that sphere of their lives, there is such chaos at times that they welcome an institution of order and control. A creative mind can conceive of doing 50 things and more at once, but the reality is that it is not possible. Such people run themselves to the brink of total exhaustion on a daily basis, and are always at risk of an emotional trauma because they have no spare energy or capacity to relax. They look for something, and at times, anything, that can take away this constantly recurring stress.

There are submissive’s that enjoy being cared for, in all aspects of their life. The complex reaction of the mind to be totally opposite of the relentless daily surge of driven energy, here ones mind does the opposite. To obey, to be told, to be directed, to be controlled in all aspects of daily life is at the minimum appealing in its simplicity, and at a more interesting extreme, thrilling and erotic. To have it all figured out (what ever that ‘all’ is), has immense appeal. TO do what you are told, to obey (we were only obeying orders), makes the mind use the capacity to work something out that was always in a stressful environment, use that capacity instead to perform and act and enjoy the process of doing. There is always the extra added bonus of a ‘'reward'’, that no matter how sophisticated we think we are, we as humans still immensely enjoy.

At the extreme, are those that want no relationship, and in a sense, only continued emotional abuse. To not be loved, but to be used, can make a person feel small again. A child again. Where there is no personal will and no personal morals or self esteem. There is a great deal to be said for negative attention that children so enjoy. This interesting feature is carried over to adult times, and is often an explanation for being a slave or property of another, totally responsive to another, and when the needed response is not readily available, it is provoked.

The truth is often that most submissive’s look to have something ‘special’ or ‘'unique'’ to make them feel even more alive than anything in everyday life can. To live to another’s will, to respond to another’s demands, to enjoy the sensations and activity presented to them by what is perceived as force and energy of the others mind, is all too appealing for several reasons.

There is in this presented a rare opportunity to not have to be responsible. Let another take on this task.

There is the undeniable excitement of having something different, dark, mysterious, even ‘'dangerous'’ occur with you or to you, that can not be denied. TO be helpless in the face of it, to be used despite protests, is often akin to riding a roller coaster or taking a sky dive. It is totally out of ones control to prevent or stop the process once started, and thus, the mind perceives this, closes down the thinking and logic and excuse generator, and becomes open (for the moment) to sheer enjoyment of the fact of life as presented at the moment.

What does this all mean? What great human complications are occurring in the emotional and mental being that is living and breathing this experience? What does it do for you?

Perhaps you enjoy the portions of the spectrum of the submissive, the giving, the pleasing, the sacrifice, the endurance. There is the erotic and emotional tension and relief of being taken, tied, chained, gagged, blindfolded, restrained for another’s perceived attentions and pleasures. The relief of not being the one to make the decisions, or take the action. The enjoyment of being kept and held and wanted. The love of the different and the exciting and the thrilling, all that feed a mind that has a constant need for stimulation, joy, fear, happiness, sadness, hope or denial.

It is important for me to stress here, that control, is not the state of controlling or micro-managing. That the sensations that are erotic, and may be intense, are not abuse. To give ones self for that period of time, is not giving up who you are, but more so, liberating who you have always been.

After discovering these little features, it is far more complicated to understand and know the individual. Why does this person love to be tied and whipped, and the person next to her want to be emotionally controlled without a crop in sight.

Each is a unique person, and each has a need and a desire that is built by a long life of denial, of never having the opportunity to have the need expressed. To be held in ones arms, to be tied tightly, to be chained, to be wrapped tightly in leather or plastic, to be boxed or caged or otherwise contained so that the mind is put into a relaxed state from making decisions or taking responsibility. The more ‘'helpless'’ one is perceived to be, the more another must take over the responsibility of her existence, no matter the length of term. To have finances or clothing or housing or education controlled in the same scope of having that personal decision and responsibility removed as being chained or caged.

Still, in the end, no matter the intellectual masturbation performed to explain, to disclose, to define and to put some kind of understood order to all of this, it is still right down at the personal level that it makes its impact. For who can deny how intense humiliation can impact some, or exhibitionism or bondage or clothing or fetish wear can fill the need, the dark corner, the private lust that lives in each of us. Who can say that being the object instead of the person in a relationship is not more of a pleasure than any other existence. Who can say that giving it all up for an hour, a day, a month, a lifetime does not give more meaning to your life than being a nun or a doctor or a poet.

When you make the final accounting of your life up to the moment that you mark as now, it is a simple balance book of emotional and spiritual happiness that is the gage, the reference point, the holy grail of your personal existence.

Are you happy?

Do you feel Loved?

Do you know you matter?

Have you found the thrill and excitement in new things each day that you first experienced with the first kiss or hug or spanking or whipping or loosing in a wrestling match or seeing a photo that evoked a feeling, or read a story you just needed to live yourself to know the deeper meaning.

Do you know that your existence is made better being the one that gives up her olde school self and becomes the new person that was always there waiting her chance.

There are no limits on what you can be, only on what you allow yourself to become. When you reach the final day of your life, will you say that you did what was expected of you or will you say you did what you needed to do to have your own life expressed.

Once one reaches the point where there is an answer that being a part of a relationship where the exchange of personal power and life’s direction are understood, can you really touch the face of that power that gave you this life to live. From there, the gate does indeed open, to an undiscovered country that beckons you to know yourself in the new and different joy of that exchange.

There are 10,000 paths to happiness according to olde Chinese lore, and 9,996 involve domination and submission.

Pick yours.


Posted on 12/26/2007
Copyright © 2024 Steven Craig

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by A. Paige White on 12/26/07 at 07:53 PM

This is fascinating! Definitely deserves another read.

Posted by Genevieve Sturrock on 12/26/07 at 09:19 PM

this is really good and very interesting. i have been in the kind of relationship that involved being dominated and, frankly, abused...but it is important that others understand that submission does not mean being subjected to abuse. i submit to my husband's needs/wants/desires out of a deep love and respect for him and he does the same for is not a matter of force or sacrifice but of love and love is submissive.

Posted by Genevieve Sturrock on 12/26/07 at 09:36 PM

uh...let me clarify, previous relationship abusive control, current marriage a good balance of give and take.

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