How to even start this…
It’s disconcerting that when I deliberately tried to write about scenes without D/s, twice now I’ve gotten responses that basically amount to “Actually, that is D/s.” And by “disconcerting,” I mean it feels like I can’t write anything vaguely kinky without being conscripted.
Even knowing there was no direct malice involved, it does feel a lot like being gaslit, when I’m literally saying “I don’t want That,” and I get told, “So what you’re telling me is you want That.”
Or rather, that’s how I experience the exchange. Whatever. Maybe I bristle easily, when it comes to this subject. This post isn’t an accusation, really, just to be clear. It’s an expression of bemused frustration.
So far, I’ve gotten very mixed and (mostly) unsatisfying answers as to what exactly a dom is, so I won’t speak to that, but without trying to define what D/s “is,” I can still talk about what I’ve regularly seen D/s presented & represented as.
Discrepancies exacerbated. The weak made weaker. The strong made stronger. Subs referring to themselves as “i” in lowercase and doms expecting automatic reverence. A sub telling me they don’t understand the concept of a sub arguing with their dom — of a sub having a will that isn’t their dom’s will. Endless treatise on “D/s requires trust, so trust your partner!” that implicitly treats “trust” as a step to enact once D/s is begun rather than a prerequisite to it in the first place. A fetishization of eternal curling in and crumbling out and shrinking lesser and lesser in autonomy, and a fetishization of entitlement and boundary-pushing and prevailing over resistance. Competition with a predetermined winner. One-sided access to vulnerability. Interactions and relationships where one party’s will always prevails. A “superior” lording over a “possession.” Lopsided constrained/excessive permission. Weight of input disallowed. A person who dominates, and a person who submits.
I don’t want to hear about “no, that’s not all D/s, that’s bad D/s” or “no, that’s not real D/s, that’s something else.” That’s great, cool, alright, and also beside the point. I’m marking that out, authentic or otherwise, as the thing I want to head in the opposite direction of. And you know what? An awful lot of people doing That Thing are calling it D/s and presenting that as the totality of what it is, so if you have a problem with that, take it up with them.
If you want to persuade me that my understanding of D/s is too narrow, I guess you could do that too, but if you’re going to call something D/s even if it doesn’t involve anybody “dominating” anybody, in any performative or psychological sense… That’s throwing the doors open pretty dang wide. Honestly, saying something like “I don’t care where we go for dinner, you decide” is more overt D/s than four out of the five ideas I put in that post. The odd one out is literally wrestling practice. And if you seriously count that, then I assume you must have overlooked where the emphasis was.
Mmph. Man, I hate… thinking I was being clear, and being shown otherwise.
Is it some kind of– gravitational field, or something, on par with a black hole? You mention bonding and intimacy and deliberate messing with power dynamics and automatically that brings it within range, crossing the event horizon, and no matter what material it’s made of or where it came from or how much it weighs it gets dragged down inward and collapsed into a homogenized linear notion of power “exchange”*.
*Don’t really see the point in describing it as a shift from balanced to unbalanced when really, most of the time, it’s more of a shift from unbalanced to… unbalanced in a more graphic format. That’s not a conversion, that’s an Instagram filter.
You know what, though? Maybe I wouldn’t be so bristly about D/s if it were genuinely treated as more… optional. Maybe I wouldn’t mind it so much if it weren’t for how the culture, in some gestalt broad-pattern sense, has acted entitled to my participation.