An interesting search phrase popped up recently in my WordPress blog dashboard. The search phrase is “things to say when being Dominant”. Continue reading
Archive for honesty
Day 6 of answering questions posed by Diane Owens.
Having answered the last question….is your weakness really a weakness or something that society has pegged as a weakness?
Is my social ineptitude really a weakness? Yeah, I guess it is. It interferes with me being able to effectively communicate with people because they do not always understand me. I am usually straightforward and often blunt. I generally do not mess about with trying to couch what I say in softness. Which means that sometimes people take what I say as having an intent more harsh or more critical than I actually intend. And I have noticed that some people are so used to trying to hidden meaning in the way most people talk that they cannot grasp that I simply mean what I said and nothing more. All of which interferes with me being able to communicate clearly and effectively.
I am better than I used to be.
But there is a part of me that does want to blame society a bit. I do not fully understand why being direct and honest so often is interpreted as harsh. My sibling read a book some years back about how everything people say should be couched in uplifting, healing language. I did not read the book. For one, I am verbose enough as it is when I get to talking (as readers of this blog know). For another, I really do not want to have to put layers of softness into everything I say. I speak with softness when I think it is required. But most of the time I speak plainly. No one has to guess where I stand or what I think. Ask me, and I will tell you exactly. Why this ends up being barrier to communication I do not fully know.
I do know that some people are not used to it, and they take it badly. And some people, as I said, think there is some hidden meaning to what I say. Why is that my fault? Well, part of good communication is knowing how to communicate effectively with your audience. Maybe someday I will learn the fineries of small talk and tact. But don’t hold your breath.
I am prompted to the second part (for the first part, click this link) of this series by two different blogs. First, let’s look at the kinky one.
Kink is about Honesty. In order to be honest with our partners, we must be honest with ourselves.
Along with basic honesty about what we want, we gotta be sincere about what we don’t want. This requires great thought. I’m debating and reorganizing my thoughts on this, being post-Nate. What do I want from future partners? What don’t I want?
I’ve been talking with a few dominants. Hearing what they want is helping me reorganize my thoughts. The thing is, I used to be a submissive that would look at what a Dom wants and think, “How can I make myself want that?” Now, if I’m not into something, I kinda think, “Eh. Fuck that.” So how sub am I, really?
Anyway. Point being, honesty rules.
That was found at the blog of Sadey Quinn. Now let’s look at the non-kinky one.
What makes you happy?
7) Being who I am makes me happy. I am compassionate, empathetic, kind and caring. I want to help change the world for the better and every day I seek new knowledge because there is an abundance that can be learned and I want to take in as much as I possibly can.
That was found at the blog of Diane Owens.
You are saying, that is nice and all, but what does that have to do with anything about D/s relationships? (Okay, maybe you did not say that, but play along anyway.) In the first installment of this series, I talked about being honest. The Dominant should be honest with the submissive, and the submissive should be honest with Dominant. Oh, you say, as you start to see where I am going. Yes, I say, you also need to be honest with yourself. But I also want to say that to get the most happiness out of a relationship, you should be happy with yourself.
One of my favorite quotes from Shakespeare, and one of the most misunderstood, is this:
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
That is from the play The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Demark. Many people take the “to thine ownself be true” part and think this means to do whatever you want. They are incorrect. Worse than that, they are wrong. Take the whole quote in context, and what it means is basically this: be honest with yourself and you will have integrity in your dealings with other people. When you are true to yourself—when you are honest with yourself about who you are and what you want—you will not be false to others—you will be honest and true with others.
What this requires is a certain amount of self-examination. Not of the body but of the mind and the soul. So what then, you ask, am I suppose to sit around thinking about myself? Maybe, I reply. Or maybe you have a blog. Or maybe you have a journal. However you do it, set time aside to think about who you are and what you want. Having a blog or a journal works well because then you are working through the filter of communication, which forces your mind to sort and consider as you make the words appear. But sometimes, yes you probably should take time to sit down and think about yourself. Stop watching movies and reading books and listening to music and running about doing this or that. Just stop, be alone and think. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly, and take some time to think.
When you know yourself better, being honest with yourself is easier. And when you are honest with yourself being happy with yourself is easier. And when you are happier with yourself, and honest with your Dominant or submissive, your relationship will be better.
I know in D/s circles we talk about things like sub-space and Dom-space, wherein the person reaches a sort of mental and spiritual plateau away from all distractions. It is a mental space of almost not thinking. Everything is immediate and clear and instinctual. But we do not get to stay there. What are you driving at now, you ask. I believe knowing yourself, being honest with yourself makes getting to that place easier. Right now I am reminded of a scene in the movie “The Mission.” The missionary (I think, but I have not seen it in a long time, so forgive me if I am mistaken) is climbing up a cliff or a waterfall, and he carrying a huge bag of stuff with him. A local native fellow comes along and cuts the bag away to that the missionary can more easily reach the top. (You may now insert your own missionary position joke here.) The point being, shedding the things that hold us back from sub-space or Dom-space is easier when we start with less baggage.
Also, when we are honest with ourselves, being honest with the other person in the relationship is easier. It makes saying “I want this because…” or “that is a limit because…” easier because what we know and have thought about is easier to communicate than that about which we are unsure or afraid to consider.
Dominants, I would hope, should have no problem with this. Knowing what we want and why should be important to us already. But I can imagine some submissives out there thinking all this contemplation and self-knowledge seems like a huge burden. So slow down for a moment. Take a deep breath. You do not have to get yourself all figured out in one afternoon. In all truth, you will probably never get yourself all figured out. What I have been talking about is just a portion of the journey. As you live and experience things, particularly within a D/s relationship, you will learn things about yourself you did not know before. Knowing yourself is a gradual process. You do not have to be perfect at it. No one is. And you do not have to do this by yourself. Part of your Dominant’s job is to lead you to a better understanding of yourself. Breathe deep, submissives, and relax. You can do this.
Gosh, you say, Xajow, you are such a brilliant man. Yes, I reply, I know.
But seriously, we are all, Dominants and submissives alike, hopefully on a path of becoming better people. Taking the time to be honest with ourselves, not just about what we want but also about what we do not know, will help us get there. And this is, I think, important to the D/s relationship.
Gosh, you say, Xajow, you sure are garrulous, and we were just kidding about the brilliant part. Yeah, I say, I know.
Over at the Inquisitive Explorer blog, I found this:
This omniscient Dom doesn’t exist in reality. Yes, sometimes you might work with someone often enough and have enough chemistry that it starts to feel like the Top knows your mind, but the reality is that the dynamic desired stems from deep, honest communication. As a submissive, you have to know your limits and what things interest you, and you need to communicate that to your Top. You have to vocalize when you enjoy something and when you don’t. You need to let the person know if they can push you harder. You let them know if you’re upset. People can’t read minds; being kinky doesn’t automatically make you a mind reader.
And then there is this little gem:
Reality is just that – real – and that means it isn’t always sunny or fun, and sometimes involves dealing with people’s real insecurities, awkwardness, and problems. That said, the harder parts are what make the good parts rewarding, and reality is even better than fantasy because of the difficulty, self-growth, and journey you take with your partner(s).
I could not agree more.
In the immediately previous post I spoke of the need for communication between a Dominant and his submissive. As a follow up to that, I direct your attention to a post at the blog missysubmits(sometimes). Here is a snippit:
So the silent treatment is a good thing. To him. I am still a sub and it still f—s with me. Not to mention a human being.
Expletive edited by me for those who may not be prepared to read it.
The silent treatment, as she calls it, can be a tool of communication. Many Dominants are naturally quiet and a lack of verbal reply seems natural. But the submissive in this instance did the right thing. She communicated with her Dominant about it. The answer she got was not one that pleased her, but she has an explanation now. And in this case, as in many cases within a D/s relationship, the submissive’s understanding is not required, merely her acceptance.
The other day the issue of trust came up in comments about my post “On Being a Dominant.” So let us begin by talking about trust.
Trust is important in any relationship, but doubly so in a D/s relationship. The nature of the Dominant/submissive relationship demands this. The submissive is turning over control to someone else, the Dominant. The submissive must be able to trust the Dominant for this to work. Without trust a submissive would do this only out of fear, and that is not healthy mentally or emotionally.
I want to pause here for a moment. I can imagine a Gorean sort of person saying to this, “Yeah, so what?” To be clear, I am not talking about a true Master/slave relationship even though in some D/s relationships those titles get used. A genuine Master/slave relationship is an entirely different dynamic. I may talk about that in a future post, but I am not talking about that now.
Anyway, one of the things any Dominant must do for a healthy relationship with his submissive is to build trust. Trust is built only in part by respecting limits in sex or public situations or BDSM play. That is important, but trust is built in all the other ways the Dominant treats and interacts with the submissive. How the Dominant speaks to the sub, touches her, looks at her, treats her in public, speaks about her to others, listens to her, acknowledges her, makes her feel, and on and on. All these things build the infrastructure of trust upon which other parts of the relationship will be placed. The more struts and supports and buttresses, so to speak, that one can give that trust, the stronger that trust will be and the better the relationship will be.
That may all seem hard. It is and it isn’t. It is hard in that it is something the Dominant should be aware of and cultivating. It is not hard in that the submissive wants to trust. She needs to trust, and sometimes the littlest thing that is barely noticed if at all by the Dominant will be the thing the sub remembers as a moment which proves to her that she can trust her Dom. That is not to say a Dominant can get away with not worrying about building trust. But it does mean if you put forth the effort to build it, it will grow in ways you will not expect. This is part of the beauty and wonder of a healthy D/s relationship.
Your submissive will notice when you, the Dominant, do the things you intend to do for and/or to her. Understand that she will also sometimes notice when something you do helps her in a way that perhaps you did not intend. She will notice when the words you say to her reflect that you listen to her and that she is important to you. She will notice when you use a word that resonates with her even if you did not consciously choose it for that reason. She will notice your idle stroking of her hair or her breasts or her arm or her leg or whatever, and that will comfort her even if you are not consciously thinking about it. These things will also build trust because they will tell the submissive that the Dominant cares.
When the submissive believes and/or feels that she is safe with the Dominant, then she will trust. Again, this is and is not hard. And for the same reasons. The Dominant should be consciously cultivating a sense of safety for the submissive. At the same time, the submissive needs to feel safe in her submission. This is part of her drive to submit. She wants and needs to feel that safety. She needs to give someone that much trust. She needs to submit. So if the Dominant is doing his job, the trust and sense of safety will grow.
That said, the Dominant needs to be able to trust the submissive. The submissive needs to let her Dominant know that he can trust her to be obedient, to communicate with him, to behave herself in a manner that reflects well on him, and to appreciate his efforts to learn about her care for her. Because this is not a true Master/slave relationship, this is a voluntary relationship. Either party can end it. This is something that both Dominant and submissive can do. But a Dominant needs to believe he is not wasting him time.
If, for example, a submissive woman tells a Dominant man, “I want to submit to you and be trained by you,” but constantly she is disobedient and only shows an interest in sexual submission when what the Dominant wants is someone who submits in more ways, then the submissive has violated the trust the Dominant placed in her. This may seem minor to some, but this is important.
The point I am trying to make here is that trust goes both ways. The submissive needs to be able to trust the Dominant, and the Dominant needs to be able to trust the submissive.
When the submissive learns the Dominant likes a certain thing, and learns to do it without being told, this builds trust with the Dominant. And I do not mean sexually, although it can be applied that way. Suppose the submissive sees that the Dominant always gets a beer or a glass of water after work. The Dominant may not ask the her to do anything about that, but if the sub begins to make sure that the beer or the water, or whatever little thing, is prepared for him without him having to tell her, that builds trust. And just as trust is cultivated when Dominant proves that he listens to the submissive, so to trust is cultivated when then submissive proves she listens to the Dominant.
And as the infrastructure of trust is mutually created, Dominant and submissive will be able to build a healthy relationship together.
One of the best, if not the best, tools for building trust is communication. Both Dominant and submissive have to, have to, have to communicate with one another. Humans are not (thank God) telepathic. So no, submissive, the Dominant does not always know what is bothering you, and so yes, submissive, you need to tell him. And no, Dominant, the submissive does not always know what you want her to do, and so yes, you do need to talk to her. Never assume the other person knows everything. There is no place, in my opinion, in a D/s relationship for the “if you don’t know what is wrong I’m not going to tell you” bit. From either the Dominant or the submissive.
I know sometimes that saying certain things can seem difficult. But that is not an excuse. Trust and understanding and learning in a relationship requires communication. If the submissive feels she cannot speak of something because she is afraid of disappointing her Dom, the Dom needs to get the submissive to a place where she feels safe enough to say what she needs to say. If the Dominant feels he should not have to say a thing, he needs to get over that and say what needs to be said. When something is bothering the Dominant or the submissive, the only way it will be addressed is if the Dom and sub talk about it.
Which leads me to one more point I want to make. (I know this is a long post. I am almost done.) Honesty is important to building trust.
Submissives, do not lie to your Dominant. If something bothers you, say so. If a certain thing is a limit for you, then say so. If something makes you uncomfortable and you do not know why, say so. If you hold things back from your Dominant, if you lie deliberately or by omission, you are damaging the trust the relationship needs and very possibly setting yourself up for some real harm. Be honest always. When in doubt, speak up. Trust me on this one, however disappointed you might think your Dominant will be by what you say, he will be far more disappointed if you do not tell him something he needs to know.
Dominants, I know sometimes you may play head-games with your submissive, but do not keep things to yourself that your submissive needs to know. If there is something you want her to do and she is not doing it, do not let annoyance fester into resentment. Talk to your sub. If there is something she keeps doing wrong, do not just punish her for it all the time, find out why she keeps getting it wrong. If you are angry about something at work or some other event not directly related to your relationship with the sub, make sure the sub knows that. Do not assume your submissive always understands your moods. Talk to your sub. Be honest. Your sub wants to help you. Maybe that means leaving you alone for a while. Let her know that and the reasons why. If you constantly cause doubt in your submissive’s mind, it will eventually eat away at her ability to trust you and to serve you. Within herself, your sub has a need to trust you and serve you. Let her.
While there is no scientific study on this, as best as I can determine more stupid things happen in relationships due to a lack of clear and honest communication than for any other reason.
Whew. Hopefully this all makes sense to you, O reader. Whether it does or does not, feel free to ask me questions. I enjoy getting questions.