Vir Cotto's BDSM Blog

No more gifts

"Submission is a gift" is something I read very often here on fetlife (especially in the DD/lg community groups). It's a trope, and while it may be comforting to some, I find myself increasingly bothered by it.

That's because it implies that the act of submission has greater value than the act of dominance, and in doing so ignores the hard work that I and others put into themselves in order to fulfill their role.

To make this more concrete, let me explicitly say: "For every hour of play I engage in, I probably have many hours training or practice."

This is most evident in rope play, which is something I enjoy but struggle at. I've spent hours going to classes, going to rope shares, watching videos, and tying myself again and again.

In hypnosis, I spend the time going to classes, reading and studying. For after a class by @headcrash about mythic storytelling and hypnosis, I decided to take a 13 hour course on comparative mythology, so that I could improve my storytelling.

With flogging, I took a class, watched others, and practiced flogging my favorite chair so that my flogging would be at a place where I'd feel I'd be able to not only flog safely, but that the result would be exactly what I'd want for my partner.

Honing my top skills takes time and effort. Honing my relationship skills is similarly time intensive- reading books not only on BDSM, but also books on relationships, time management and team management and other skills around helping people under them be their most effective and most happy.

I spend a great of time doing this, but I don't consider my dominance a gift. A gift is something given without expectation of something in return, and in my case, what I expect in return is trust, compliance[1] and understanding. I would expect this of someone, whether it be for a single scene, or from a relationship partner.

A submissive is not giving their submission as a gift either, they're explicitly looking for someone that is trustworthy at the very least, as well as a host of other adjectives.

Both dominance and submission should be given freely, but neither are gifts.[2]

The sooner we come to this understanding, the happier everyone will be.

[1] Including compliance in terms of using safewords and other communication. [2] For my friends who do this professionally, "given freely" here means emotionally- in your context one might interpret this as being paid without difficulty.