Bright Ideas

Who's in Charge?
"The submissive gives up control to the Dominant
until such a time they feel it necessary to
take that control back"

Believe it or not this is one of the hardest topics to get a universal answer from and it goes beyond the obvious, “the Dom is in charge” or “the submissive has absolute control”. This article is my attempt to delve into this topic and help make some sense of it.

The short version of all this is: “The submissive gives up control to the Dominant until such a time they feel it necessary to take that control back”. This means that it is the submissive who is ultimately in control and the Dom who is in charge, until such a time as he loses that power from the submissive. Sounds simple doesn’t it? I would even bet that most of you would agree in theory that this is how the exchange of power rests. We would all be right and we would all also barely scratch the surface.

The D/s relationship is also known as a power exchange. In the purest form this power exchange is known as TPE, or Total Power Exchange, a true Master/slave relationship where the submissive partner has no say beyond choosing to wear or remove the collar (please read my article on TPE for more information and context). Even with this extreme of a D/s relationship there are stages which we progress through. Some of us make it through all the stages, some of us don’t. I would suggest that as participants in our chosen lifestyle these progressive steps are as outlined below, including where the power exchange exists (some will apply and some may not):

  • Before commitment: The control lies with the submissive.

  • At commitment: control is passed to the Dominant with limitations – i.e. “limits”.

  • Learning: as the Dominant breaks down limits, more control is given by the submissive.

  • At maturity (maturity of the relationship or TPE): total control is given to the Dominant.

  • At decline: submissive gradually takes back control.

  • At end of commitment: submissive has total control.

Notice how the power exchange ebbed and flowed in these stages? At only one point in this is the Dominant truly and completely in control of the relationship. Please note that this one point can start immediately after commitment or later in the relationship and can last for years, it all depends on the partners involved. The submissive may be without control during parts of their relationship, but the power to take back that control is always there. So as we can see, it is the Dom in charge, it is the submissive who holds ultimate control.

Does this mean that a submissive should gloat and hold that over a Dominant's head at all times? Nope. Matter of fact we have the saying “topping from below”. In my opinion it is one of the worst habits and signs of disrespect that a submissive can show a Dominant. You either trust someone to be in charge over you, or you don’t. If you don’t then don’t go bottoming under them, because the instant you try topping from below is the instant that you show you do not trust them. Does this mean there is never room for topping from below? I would suggest there is two acceptable times:
  • When casually playing with someone who is not your Dominant and is new to you and even then, respectfully.

  • When getting to know someone you are in a scene with to allow them better familiarity with what pleases you and what doesn’t.

The idea behind giving control over to a Dominant is trust and respect. You trust that the Dominant will not harm or take advantage of you, and will take care of you. Respect for the Dominant that you are willing to serve their will, rather than yours. Remember, most submissives are not giving up total control, that’s why they have “limits”. Please don’t be mistaken, limits serve a very important purpose. Everyone, including Dominants has limits. (Read Understanding Limits and Pushing Limits for more information.) Remember also, whatever control a submissive does give a Dominant, is given with trust. Trust that they won’t abuse it. It is only after constantly proving that they won’t abuse the submission, can a Dominant even begin to push a limit and gain more control.

So the end, it is the submissive who is in ultimate control, but that control is held by the Dominant in trust and respect. While they have that control it is theirs to do with as they wish. Dominants, be worthy of that control. Submissives, remember control is given not taken, and if you trust a Dominant with control, then give it to them, do not bait them with it.

Until later,

Sam aka DarkDomSG

© 2001 DarkDomSG

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