I’m no insta-sub. My submission isn’t the kind you just add water to and then serve. It needs to be tended over a hot stove one degree of warmth at a time–with one ounce of love, two of respect, and four of trust. Still, my sense of duty is inherent, so in my last relationship, I feigned submission before the warmth drew out something true. It was a dire mistake that took two years to recover from. I was utterly battered, and I became so ashamed of myself that I struggled to speak to my own friends.
Slow submission has inbuilt safety mechanisms. It arrives naturally like the tide, drawn by lunar force. It submits because it’s drawn to, because it’s adored, because it’s impossible to respond any other way. It doesn’t prostrate itself until it feels safe, and that’s how a sub survives in a community crawling with predators.
Many a dominant has accused me of being a fake sub. If I put the word “submissive” on my profile, I must submit on their terms: immediately, blindly, and stupidly. If I don’t, I’m a fraud, they say, but maybe that opinion points to a deficiency in their dominance rather than my submission.
Power exchange is not a pack of two-minute noodles. It’s made of all the best ingredients. To create a D/s dynamic, you must shred the herbs with your bare hands and treat the stock with all the patience it needs to draw out the flavours just right. An enth of dominance earns an enth of submission. An enth of submission, in turn, earns dominance. The two play off each other one sliver of deference at a time. In the end, both roles emerge because they are earned and nurtured.
A dominant who doesn’t see the need for all that care is a dominant who doesn’t value submission. And a dominant like that will treat their sub like a cheap thing they can throw against walls and trample underfoot.
A dominant like that can’t earn submission, so he has no choice but to demand it. A story like that can only end in one way, and it’s the sub in the equation who suffers the consequences.
Power exchange is too refined to rush. It’s not a one-size-fits-all dynamic, so you must start from scratch with every partner, shredding the cilantro this coarsely, drying the saffron just so, drawing out the scents at a slow, slow simmer. It’s beautiful work, and its results are even more exquisite.