A Little Note on How Tumblr Works for Those Writing to Me
To those of you who have sent me written submissions asking questions and requesting that your communications and my responses be kept private, a note on how Tumblr works.
If you send me a written “submission” I have no choice but to publish it, ignore it, or delete it. There is no reply button for submissions in the manner that there is for an “ask.” That said, the ask feature limits the number of characters so is of limited use forcing many to use the “submit” feature to get their point across.
If you send a written submission to a blog and are requesting a private response, you must either provide an email to which you can be responded to or have the “ask” feature turned on on your blog so that a brief response can be made. There are really no other choices. Otherwise your submission goes unanswered for lack of ability to reach you.
The other option is to fan mail a blog. This is only available if you have been following a blog for a period of time…usually 48 hours. Sending fan mail is by far the better means of using Tumblr’s limited interpersonal communication capability.
At any rate, I have a backlog of lengthy unanswered correspondence in my inbox all of which has been “submitted” by blogs that have their “ask” feature turned off, have not provided a contact to respond to, and whom I do not follow so I cannot message a reply. If you have not heard back from me to a submission that you requested be kept private, more than likely it is because you have given me no way to do so.
Q&A - Is There a Difference Between Submission and Love?
First, thank you for writing this blog. I’ve been picking through your essays, and they have truly helped clarify so much for me in a new D/s relationship I’m exploring. We’re making mistakes, as all people do in all situations, but we’re doing well by each other. My question is this. Is there a difference between submission and love, in the vanilla sense of the word? How would you characterize it?
Thank you for the thought provoking question. I have to admit that I needed to ponder this for a few days before bringing myself to answer. My immediate reaction was that of course there is a difference between submission and love! Then I began to think about submission in the context of my own D/s relationship and began to question the distinctions I was drawing in my mind between the two. In my relationship, submission is a very palpable manifestation of the love my Muse has for me. But is submission in and of itself a form of love? Is love always submissive? In trying to wrap my head around this question I have to confess that I went down some pretty existential paths.
When we submit to a higher power such as a god, religious icon, power of the universe, whatever you choose to call it, we are placing faith and trust in something we cannot see or touch but in our hearts can feel. Do we love this higher power, simply submit to it, or both? I think the answer is different depending on who you ask and the nature of their faith. Can we say to that higher power, “your will, not mine be done” without having love for that higher power? Is there submission out of anything other than pure love? Perhaps respect? Even Fear?
Submission is a conscious act of letting go of self and surrendering to the authority, discretion or will of another. I say that it is a conscious act (not something you will see in any dictionary) because humans are in my view naturally self-centered beings. We see the world from the vantage point of our selves and relate to that world based on our individual experiences and perceptions. We do not view the world objectively from above but rather from our self-centric vantage point. Therefor, everything we experience and all of our interrelations with the world and people around us is from the perspective of self.
To submit, truly submit, is a remarkably selfless act. It is placing one’s faith and trust completely in the hands of some higher authority in the belief that no matter what happens to self, it is for the greater good and that all will be well in a grander sense than self. That is a very difficult proposition for human beings to undertake. It is the basis of most every organized religion on the planet, of many spiritual practices, and ultimately on a human scale of D/s as I choose to live it. Not that I view myself as a god or minor deity mind you. In the D/s instance I am a very fallible human being who serves as a higher authority to another human being by her choice; my Muse.
I personally do not have a specifically religious conception of a higher power for myself, however I do believe and submit to something you might think of as a power of the universe. It doesn’t have a face or even a name that I can think of, but I accept freely that I am not the center of the universe, did not create any of this around me, and that I am far from alone here. I accept that the universe is an incomprehensibly large and expanding place within which I am but a tiny speck, on a tiny planet, in a tiny solar system, among billions of solar systems within a tiny galaxy which exists among billions of galaxies, and who knows what beyond that. My life, while rather important to me, is of little or no consequence in the grand scheme of things in my town, on this planet, let alone in the universe. Every day I submit to that power of the universe in the belief that whatever happens is out of my hands beyond that immediately within my reach and for which I am responsible for the effort, not necessarily the outcome. In other words, I do my best to have a positive influence on that which I come into contact with, but beyond that, the outcome is largely out of my hands. I submit to the belief that I am part of much larger forces at work and accept my place and fate in that.
I tell you all of this to point out that I experience submission without any particular love. It is acceptance, not really love. Now someone else might experience that completely differently and have a deeply loving relationship with their higher power. Still others submit to a higher power out of fear. Is there love in fear? Some would argue that fear is an absence of love.
So back to your original question, is there a difference between submission and love in the vanilla sense? Like submission, love in its purest forms is also a selfless act. The dictionary reduces the word to mean an intense affection or attraction, yet that does not even begin to embody the idea of love in the selfless sense. I may be intensely attracted to someone but would I selflessly give my life for them? Not always. There is something more than attraction and affection in pure love. There is a giving of self, an intense empathy, a melding of spirits and souls. In love there is a sense that I not only know and am attracted to but also feel a part of. For me, love for someone else is when they become an extension of self. Not a matter of living through someone else but rather when they become a part of self, as integral to my being as my own beating heart. At least that is how it feels. But is this a conscious act of selflessness? Do we have control over who we love and do not love? Personally, I have found that I do not.
I can love someone and not submit to them. I love my child, but I do not submit to him. On the other hand, I would give my life for him, perhaps the ultimate submission. I dearly love my Muse but I do not submit to her, though I respect her immensely and treat her with deep care and affection. She is an extension of who I am, there is no doubt of that. When she is unhappy I do my best to accommodate her out of love, which some might say is a form of submission, and yet on a practical level I do not submit to her. Complicated, yes?
So the short answer to your question is that I see definite distinctions between love and submission in both the vanilla and D/s sense of the word. I know submissives who submit to Doms with whom they are not in loving relationships at all. The need to submit and feel submissive on the part of a sub can be a deep internal longing not necessarily reliant upon a primary or even secondary loving relationship. Again, it comes down to a conscious act, a decision to submit to another. But that is not necessarily love. And there can be love without submission. That same submissive who bows to a near stranger Dominant might also have a deeply loving relationship with another, or even a vanilla partner.
So as I alluded to earlier, perhaps it comes down to conscious intent. I cannot make myself love another but I can make a decision to submit to them. I can choose who and what I will submit to, but in my experience I have not been able to choose whom I love. Love has just happened with or without me wanting to go along for the ride.
Now that said, my personal brand of Dominance and submission relies heavily on developing a deeply loving, respectful, trusting, and enduring relationship. Therefor, love and submission are deeply intertwined for me. One is a manifestation of the other. In submission there is love, and in love there is submission; even to some degree by the Dominant who is also a deeply giving part of the relationship, though it may not appear to be so on the surface. My Dominance is an act of love that I cannot simply exert upon or give to just anyone. My Muse does not submit to anyone else and her submission is a profoundly deep manifestation of the love she has for me. For us, submission and love are deeply interwoven and perhaps even confused a little at times. However, I think I can argue that they are not the same thing at all, we just choose to make Dominance and submission a part of our otherwise loving relationship. But that is a choice. I would love my Muse even if she were not my submissive.
So no, after all of that I do not believe that love and submission are synonymous, but they sure work beautifully together.
“I am learning much from her words and most of all that it is possible to live so beautifully as this.” - referring to something Cat wrote.
And another: “Does it really exist? These connections you speak of?”
And: “Your words and hers give me hope that this really exists.”
I have encountered a similar sentiment a few times here, expressing apparent surprise that people actually live ‘this thing’ in the way Cat described it, in the way I try to describe it. In the way we lived it.
No, not everything you read is fantasy, though I concede that Tumblr might make you wish otherwise at times. And yes, there is certainly a lot of fantasy and wishful thinking around. Making the distinction can at times be difficult, especially for someone new to the ‘lifestyle’.
Yet there are normal people out there who actually live ‘so beautifully as this’. The realities, of course, are not always as glossy as the pretty pictures on Tumblr might suggest. Rather more mundane even, as Cat also pointed out so eloquently. And at times a lot messier too.
On Tumblr and elsewhere on the internet, D/s is at times treated as cheap entertainment. Quotes from E.L. James, 9/12 weeks and John Norman’s Gor novels on the same page in an apparent belief that they are somehow related. D/s reduced to fictional soundbites and cliches. One might almost think that emulating the dreaded inner goddess is somehow the same as being kajira. And one could easily believe that being Dom or Master, slave or submissive is nothing more than putting on boots or fancy lingerie for the evening and learning a few lines, or beating the hell out of someone until they beg for mercy and beyond.
Yes it is frustrating at times, because I care deeply about a ‘lifestyle’ I’ve been exploring and living for more than 25 years, and for those who explore it seriously. And I care that misconceptions and caricatures are perpetuated ad infinitum, feeding the kind of prejudice and idiocy some of us have been fighting for decades.
And yes 50 shades of kinky fuckery has caused damage. While bad fiction about D/s is nothing new, the popularity of these ‘novels’ has caused numerous people to get hurt, and others to step up proclaiming the new ‘truth’, straight from the fictional lips of a psychopath and an inner goddess. Instead of learning what it’s really about and enjoying the true beauty of D/s. People getting hurt. Not very fictional at all.
Truly living D/s is not a life of trite cliches or fuck-me heels and airbrushed asses. Or for that matter, 24-hour whippings. Or a list of rules. Or a man ordering a stranger around because she calls herself a submissive.
It’s infotainment, and people expecting this to work in the real world will be sorely disappointed. Not in the least by the amount of hard work and careful building of long-term trust it takes to experience D/s in all its glory.
Yes, in the physical world, there are Doms and subs and Masters and slaves living and breathing ‘this thing’. Real people, consenting adults living their lives in a D/s dynamic, yes 24/7, yes as Master and slave.
In the physical world, these are connections forged over months, sometimes years, not in a few pages of rules over a glass of wine. And to the outsider, many of these connections might look just like non-D/s relationships. The reality is, for most people, far removed from the fiction of a Dom and his 24/7 ‘dungeon’, or a whip-yielding slave Master buying his chain-gang chattel in the auction house. Or the millionaire in his penthouse dishing out ‘punishments’ with questionable consent at best.
And lest we forget, in the real world D/s is not a game. For some people a bit of back and forth role play online is a bit of fun, for another it may be a devastating first experience, taken entirely seriously and causing real, devastating hurt.
In the physical world, these relationships are hard work, but we don’t see it much. Because most of it happens behind closed doors. Maybe we don’t hear of the good news and the beautiful, lifelong bonds so much because these people are quietly, happily living their lives. And perhaps hiding their own reality, because of prejudice and misconceptions.
Yes there are real people out there who live D/s, and who know from experience that it *can* be ‘as beautiful as this’. I personally hope that those who come looking have a chance at finding and living the beauty of D/s.
How Does A Submissive Ask for Something from Their Dominant?
Hello! I hope you’re having a nice evening. I saw your post about misbehaving to get spankings and I completely agree, I think D/s relationships are about trust and not about manipulating people into what you want, topping from the bottom isn’t acceptable. I just wanted to ask, if a sub feels they need a spanking, what is an appropriate way to ask/ communicate that desire to their Dominant, but in a submissive/ respectful way?
There are indeed times when a submissive feels that they need the attention of their Dominant and this can take many forms including among other things a spanking, cuddling, kneeling, sexual gratification or just plain attentive reassurance. Sometimes a submissive feels that they have gone off the rails and need to be centered by their Dom. Whatever the case, submissives have needs and a positive and loving D/s relationship should have a means or protocol built into it for open communication by the submissive with their Dominant. There are different ways to accomplish this, even differing ways for various circumstances.
I believe that any D/s relationship from play-partners to 24/7 TPE and everything in between should have a means for taking a time out and discussing matters of concern or addressing unmet needs. This is the ultimate pause where we step out of the power exchange for a time and discuss our difficulties or needs as equals. This would be reserved primarily for pressing needs or systemic issues in the relationship that need to be addressed. A less obtrusive and more commonly used approach would be simply to ask to speak or make a request. Something alone the lines of, “If it pleases you Sir, your (substitute whatever title you use) is feeling (insert mood) and I could use (insert need or request).” The specific syntax is not all the important as long as it is respectful and requesting in nature rather than demanding. The form of language and method of interaction used is between a submissive and their Dominant and entirely unique to the couple. The Dominant may or may not meet the request or may substitute a differing course of action. But no matter, the need has been expressed and heard.
I personally am leery of Dominants who present themselves as so omnipotent that they do not permit open communication from their submissive. Even the most ardent adherents to 24/7 M/s TPE have some method for communicating needs; desires maybe not so much. But the bottom line is that partners in D/s and M/s relationships need to take the time and make the effort to establish a communication protocol along with hard limits, safe words and other protocols and expectations. Being able to communicate needs and make course corrections is vital to the long-term health and survival of any relationship.