Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Equality, Respect...and hello!

Hello, out there in Blogland. I'm coming off a somewhat lengthy break here, and I've missed you. But the break was good. It was refreshing. As September came, I began to ease back into a more disciplined routine here, with my personal writing projects, school, my daily schedule, exercise, housework. There were some moments of overwhelm there, but I'm happy to say things are running smoothly. Jason told me last night how proud he is of me, and of course, that made me grin like the Cheshire cat. I spent a great deal of time preparing for the fall, and now that it's here, I feel eager to welcome it in. 

It's always difficult for me to decide how to get back into blogging when I've taken a break. What should I say first? What is it that I'd like to share? 

The longer we've been at this, the more I feel I understand...about what my needs are, and Jason's, about why what we do works so well for us, what his expectations are for me and where he wants to take us. But the longer we've been at this, I also feel like, at times, we've only just hit the tip of the iceberg. The d/s waters run deep. Physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs interweave in one, big, beautiful journey, but yet at the same time, there are moments when it doesn't make sense at all, and it all seems muddled and confused. 

It's for this reason, I like to think things through, write them out. So I journal. But the longer we go, the more personal our dynamic becomes. It's only natural. My needs and Jason's are not necessarily the same as another couple's. Our goals aren't necessarily the same. So at times, I feel at a loss with what to share. 

So after some thought, I decided to write a bit about something that, in recent months especially, readers have asked me about. They are the points, I think, that are perhaps the least understood about the d/s dynamic, no matter what the level of expectations are in that one dynamic.

Equality

Respect

I've been giving this more thought lately, as Jason and I have been enjoying watching the new episodes of “Outlander.” For those unfamiliar with the series, it's a new show based on a series of romance novels written by Diana Gabaldon. The premise is that a young English woman from 1945 is transported back in time to eighteenth century Scotland. It's historical fiction at its best, and really, so well done. So what is it about this series that has me thinking about d/s? 

In eighteenth century Scotland, women were viewed as property. Men were in charge. The end.

We recently watched an episode in which the lead woman takes off and scares the men she's with, and when she's found, one of the men drags her out of the house by her arm and lectures her within an inch of her life. It's somewhat shocking. You, um, don't really see things like that happen in the present day. And supposedly, based on the series (which I've not read), there comes a time when this woman is strapped by her husband for endangering the lives of others. It's expected that a husband would discipline his wife back then. It's just what they did. In fact, in the first episode, this woman lets loose a volley of swears, and one of the men mutters, “Yer husband should tan yer hide fer that.”

(Ahem, Jason paused it at this point, rewound it, made me listen to it again and said, “Did you hear that?” Yep. Guess who gets her “hide tanned” for swearing?)

There are times when women in the d/s community speak wistfully about the past. They say they wish things were like they used to be, when men were men, and women were women, and it wasn't taboo for a man to take his wife over his knee. They say that women knew their place then, and men knew how to lead and women knew how to follow. 

Honestly, I truly do not agree. 

Why? 

Although, yes, Jason being in authority over me is absolutely how I prefer things, our dynamic is based on mutual respect. 

Our dynamic is consensual. 

And I have no desire whatsoever to undermine the blood, sweat, and tears our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers poured out to obtain our rights as women. Women used to be viewed as inferior. The fact that we are now, by all intents and purposes, viewed as equals, is absolutely of paramount importance.

But wait...we who choose a d/s dynamic...are we truly equals?

This is how I view things. 

We are absolutely of equal worth. 

My rights, opinions, hopes and desires, my self worth...are every bit as valid as Jason's. Yes, he's my Dom. Yes, I'm his submissive. 

It's come out in some of my posts recently just how much control I allow Jason to have over me. My last post struck a nerve, I think, for that reason. It was the first post in a very long time that generated slanderous commentary Jason asked me to delete. And perhaps it was a good indicator that I need to show more discretion in what I share. After all, as I've said earlier, our dynamic is very personal. 

So suffice it to say, I allow him to lead me in every possible way. He has a great deal of control over my life. 

And let's just say, I wouldn't change what we have for anything. Not for anything. I absolutely love it.

So how can I balance that, then? How can I say that I believe Jason and I are equals, yet he disciplines me? Certainly, I don't discipline him. The reasons I don't are many and varied, so I will sum it up by saying, that truly does not work for us. 

How can I say I believe we are equals, yet I allow him to control my life? I allow him to dictate what I eat, when I go to bed, how I drive, who I associate with and when, what I do with my free time, and the list goes on. 

The answer is really very simple. And it's the distinction that makes a modern-day d/s dynamic completely unique, historically speaking. 

We are equals in worth.

We are not equals in authority. 

And we are not equals in authority, because I consent to that. 

One of the reasons what we have works so well, is that Jason and I are in complete agreement over the power exchange in our relationship. When he sends me to bed, I don't feel belittled. I feel cared for, and loved. When he puts me over his knee for doing something dangerous, I know he does it because my safety is of utmost importance to him. When he disciplines me for raising my voice to him, I know he values harmony in our relationship, and our agreement that he's in authority over me must be maintained. 

A reader recently asked me about respect. She said she'd read all my posts, and she was completely baffled as to why I could possibly choose to live the way I did. She questioned Jason's respect for me, said it wasn't possible for him to discipline me yet still respect me. She said if he truly loved me, he wouldn't punish me, and she couldn't understand why I viewed his disciplining me as an act of love.

Now, I'm not going to get into the many points I disagree with in this assertion. I did my best to give an honest answer, but I think a lengthy explanation would be somewhat futile. Some people aren't going to get it. And that's okay. 

But I do want to state, while we're on the topic of equality and respect, that if I felt disrespected and unloved, I could never possibly consent to be his submissive. 

He holds me to a high standard. But he holds himself to even higher standards. 

He demands I respect him. But he has the utmost respect for me as well – for my worth as a human being, my thoughts and desires, my opinions, my interests, my needs. 

He is my Dominant because he loves me. He leads me because he cherishes me, and wants to see that I'm taken care of in every possible way. 

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. How do you feel about equality and respect within a d/s dynamic? Please understand dissenting opinions are most welcome, I only ask that no slanderous comments be posted.

26 comments:

  1. As someone who has chased the D/S life for a long time before realizing it wasn't for me, I completely understand where you are coming from. I wrestled with the dynamic myself and while i have a dominant husband in nature, when I put a label on it, he doesn't know how to respond, so we just go about our lives, and I just consciously submit to him, no labels. However, if we labeled ourselves D/S his questions come into play about equality and respect. Equality and respect exist in our marriage, however he can't help but view me as a child needing a spanking when we attempt D/S, thus making me feel like just that. I think, depending on the couple, D/S can mean a myriad of emotions and only the couple can decide if it works for them. I am an anti-feminist. I believe women belong in the home and men belong at work and we should serve our men. My husband's views aren't so harsh, which is where the dynamic doesn't work for our marriage. As always, thank you for sharing your stories as you allow me to have the courage to submit to my husband without having to label it, because as you always say, what works for one couple may not work for another :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As you, we stopped "labeling" this thing that is organic to us. After 38 years of navigating past the culture, the church and our contemporaries expectations - we found what works and blesses each of us. He leads . . .I follow. It was a struggle at first, as I am one of the women from the generation "burning their bras" and lived my young womanhood constantly confused and in emotional pain. My desire to serve my husband and family constantly mocked as weak or backward.

      I will never allow me self to be treated unequally or as a lesser being because it just isn't true. However, I have found myself - my true self - in surrendering to our natures. I need him to lead me. I need me to follow him.

      I love the simplicity that has invaded our home as a result.

      Annie B

      Delete
    2. Hello, and thank you for taking the time to reply! Anonymous, though I don't agree with your philosophy (as is likely clear from this post!) it's one I respect. I love that you and your husband find that you don't fit into a certain label or box, but you're making your way anyway, submitting and following. There are many ways we can find ways to submit, many ways they lead. I have a close friend who isn't DD at all, but whose relationship is absolutely of a DS nature. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      Delete
    3. Annie, there is such freedom in embracing a feminist approach to our rights as women, yet making the conscious choice to submit. You said "I have found myself - my true self - in surrendering to our natures. I need him to lead me. I need me to follow him. " I love this. Thanks for your reply.

      Delete
  2. Today is my 1st year anniversary with d&l. I was so excited to see your post! I look forward to them and checked daily to see if you've come back. So it was like an anniversary gift when I saw your post today. I agree with everything you wrote today. And I understand completely. I cant elaborate on my thoughts right now because there's not enough time. I just want you to know how much I love your blog and I'm happy that you're back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy anniversary! I apologize for my delayed response. I meant to respond much earlier, so my well wishes are belated. What a sweet comment, that you enjoy with my post as an anniversary gift. I hope with the upcoming months to blog a bit more; comments like yours inspire me to make the time for blogging a higher priority. Thank you.

      Delete
  3. Dear JG, Thank you. You write exactly what I feel. I love my D/s dynamic within my relationship. And, I am absolutely an equal and veryx highly respected.
    Thea

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm so glad to see you two back and sharing.

    What you've said here about equality and respect makes SO much sense, I don't even know where to start. But one thing that kept ringing true over and over as I read it -- and from reading other posts on your blog -- is the sense of giving. Yes, it might be trite or cliche to visualize the yin and yang of a D/s relationship, but sometimes a cliche just ... works.

    What I mean by this is that both the Dom and sub GIVE to one another.

    She gives him the power over her.
    She gives him the room and the space to be a man to her, to exercise those ancient urges and needs modern society has long suppressed or labeled as some sort of deviance.
    She gives him the responsibility and the immense pleasure of protecting, guiding, disciplining, and loving her.
    She gives him free rein to realize, be at peace with, and enjoy his own suppressed fantasies, free from judgment or reproach.
    Most of all, she gives of herself, wholly, freely, and joyfully.

    He gives her the love and caring and discipline and structure she’s always craved.
    He gives her the encouragement to be a woman, to be feminine, to live life on HER terms, the terms that feel right to her … even if her terms are the strong, loving chains of her husband’s will.
    He gives her the protection, the acceptance, and the support to allow her to realize and live out her darkest, most deep-seated fantasies.
    He gives her the space to explore -- and be -- who she really is, not what society says she should be.
    Most of all, he gives of himself wholly, freely, and joyfully.

    Giving is that virtuous circle that powers and strengthens a loving D/s bond.

    (PS -- Please don’t let those who simply can’t compute what D/s practitioners are keep you from sharing. Your openness, honesty, joy and positivity mean more than you’ll ever know:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trent, what a thoughtful and thought-provoking response. I wanted to say thank you, as I've appreciated the comments you've made recently.

      I completely agree with you about the mutual self-giving that is involved in a D/S dynamic. I have referred to it in the past as a symbiotic relationship...the mutual self-giving somehow lends itself to a completion unlike any other. And you've explained it so well, what each gleans from their respective roles. This is so beautifully explained and detailed. May I quote you in a future blog post?

      As far as what others say...honestly, I mostly shrug them off, as I'm just thoroughly confident that what Jason and I have here works. But still, part of me does feel at times that maybe I should give up blogging altogether. I hardly have time to communicate with those I LIKE to communicate, much less spend time defending myself to those who don't understand. So thank you for your encouragement. I'm going to keep on keeping on. ;)

      Delete
  5. "We are equals in worth. We are not equals in authority. And we are not equals in authority, because I consent to that." Yes! I love this! As someone who has been immersed in the online spanking world and solely the DD realm for most of that time this is a conversation that comes up frequently. I feel that I can enjoy my choice to live this way with my husband so much because at the root of it all it is my choice...our choice. That is what feminism did for me...it gave me a choice. I choose a power exchange dynamic in Domestic Discipline. I value that choice to the very depths of my soul, but I know that this would not be everyone's choice. And I know that not everyone is cut out to live this lifestyle in a way that is healthy. So, while I hope that as time goes on more and more are open to what may be considered old fashioned by some as a choice that should be honored for those that choose it I would never want my choice to be forced on someone who would be much happier and healthier making a different choice. Let's celebrate our diversity wholeheartedly! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "So, while I hope that as time goes on more and more are open to what may be considered old fashioned by some as a choice that should be honored for those that choose it I would never want my choice to be forced on someone who would be much happier and healthier making a different choice"

      Yes, I completely agree!! This is the beauty of making this dynamic your own; you can choose what works best for your particular relationship. If choosing to be disciplined and submit, and relinquishing authority is what brings you peace, then so be it. It is that way for me, clearly, but others wouldn't want that, and I would never want to imply that this is the way *everyone* should live. The freedom to choose the power dynamic in a relationship is a choice that was hard-won, and for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you for your reply!

      Delete
  6. Great post. It has given me much to think about. On a side note though, that us why we live Jamie so much. He respects Claure and treats her as his equal in a time that men did not. BUT he is still very much the dominant one in the relationship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brooke, I completely agree. Jamie truly does exemplify what so many of us crave...a naturally dominant nature, but one that doesn't steam roll or belittle who Claire is. He is very much the leader, but his dominance comes from a place of courage and the willingness to take care of her...and that's just hot lol.

      Delete
  7. Exactly. Choice makes all the difference. This is what makes ALL the difference between the practice in this community by those who choose it and the practice elsewhere where women are defined in such a way as to remove that choice.

    Even God gives us the choice to submit to Him or not. In His case it is always in our best interest and according to our created design to do so, and we are held accountable for the choice we make in that we get to choose forever whether or not to be in relationship with Him -- but He still gives us the choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you. And when given the choice...to submit, serve, obey...it becomes a choice to be self-giving, and thus loving.

      Delete
  8. I agree with this post 100%. I am so thankful that we live in a time where we have the right to choose our husbands' leadership. Though I suspect many couples would benefit from some form of purposeful D/s or dd, it simply wouldn't work for others, and that's okay. It's really a bummer that many times, what started as feminism evolves into "man-bashing" which is where I suppose some peoples' view of feminism is skewed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River Wild, I agree with you. l dislike mostly anything that comes from a place of disrespect (whether it be man-bashing, judging how others live their lives, etc.), and I think if we want to be respected, we need to give that respect others, whether they are another submissive, our dominant partners, etc. I do hear you on how others may benefit...it seems, in many ways, the natural balancing of roles, but I don't think it's necessarily the d/s but perhaps the lack of a power struggle that makes this work so well and, as Trent elaborated on so beautifully above, the mutual self-giving.

      Delete
  9. I think that something a Dom friend said to me of the genders about 12 years ago still holds good,

    "Men and women are equal in worth as human beings, but different in natural abilities, qualities and skills".

    Unfortunately because these days we are taught that equality is everything, those inherent natural gender characteristics, which, because they are entirely different, aren't measurable against each other in terms of superiority and inferiority, are no longer respected and valued in their own right.

    Of course it should probably also be said that there are exceptions to every rule and, in a minority of cases, skills and qualities that we associate more with males may be prevalent in females and vice versa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that is an excellent point. I think in our quest for equality, we've forgotten that we are different creatures, with different abilities, qualities and skills, as you say, and the beauty of d/s is that we have the freedom to embrace those differences.

      Delete
  10. Fantastic post. I agree - it is within the context of an equal and respectful relationship that this can be done. Without those two ingredients, it would be a different beast all together. (Just found your blog through a friend - Hi, Tonysdoll! - and I am looking forward to back-reading the archives!

    ReplyDelete
  11. First, I began dd over a year ago with my boyfriend. Without your blog I don't know that it would have lasted. It feels like every time I have a rough patch (usually needing to be submissive) you have impeccable timing and post something wise and spot on! I feel like I just connect with you! So thank you for the time and energy you put into this blog. I know that you ultimately have to do what is best for you but I really hope you don't stop blogging any time soon!!!!!!

    Secondly, I am very disappointed that someone has sent negative comments your way. Shame on them. Your relationship isn't for them to understand. If they don't understand or don't want to even try then move along. The blog is WONDERFUL for those of us who relate to it. I hope you don't take those negative comments personally!

    Thanks again,
    k

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, K, I am SO pleased to get your post. Congratulations on having made it this far (the first year can be so rocky!) and it pleases me immensely that my posts have helped you! I plan on blogging for some time still, though sadly I've had very little time for it lately. My hope is to commit to at LEAST a post every other week and eventually work back up to weekly blogging.

      Although I try hard not to take negative comments personally, I sometimes find it challenging to get back to blogging when I've received a negative comment. What I find most challenging is when someone criticizes Jason, as what he does for me is so deeply satisfying in so many ways, I am eternally grateful. So thank you for your encouragement. Posters like you give me the desire to keep on keeping on. Thank you.

      Delete

Thanks for stopping by! We'd love to hear from you.

Dissenting comments are welcome but please, be polite. Any rude or slanderous comments will not be published.