Alexis had an interesting post (“Stopping“) the other day that I’ve been considering since. He is answering this allegation that I made about him:
Where Alexis bugs me, and reading his blog you’ll see this over and over, is in the assumption that you can’t with integrity stop at some point short of [the complete acquisition of power].
The short answer is: yes, he does feel this way. An excerpt:
I have to think that the will to stop oneself “short” in the lifestyle is somehow similar to that feeling [of choosing not to jump off of a ledge]. A sense that one will lose one’s own character, or perhaps decency. That there are things—even things that we want desperately—that we must NOT want. Which must be resisted, even when the desire is so great that our hands shake from the adrenaline flushing our bodies. For different people those have to be different things.
No one can be the definitive voice on what those things are allowed to be. Yes, I have argued passionately that some things much be embraced for the sake of integrity; for the complete experience of being a dominant, or a submissive. That is because I have often found that the “fear” is based less on self-preservation than it is based on the preservation of someone’s else’s perception of what we should or should not be. Such as, “I can’t do it because I wouldn’t be able to look my mother in the eye ever again.”
Stop short? Yes, if you’re preserving your life. But if you’re merely preserving your prejudices, or some perceived self-respect, you need to examine that very closely…
So I wanted to answer the unasked question, why do Jos and I have limits? Why don’t I push to acquire total power over him?
Sometimes we fantasize mutually about a situation like this: we live in a villa in a warm climate. He wears a locked collar and shackles (and nothing else) at all times. There are bolts everywhere. He has no purpose other than to serve me. The shackles and bolts are so that I can chain him anywhere, anytime, with minimal effort.
It might not be practical to make our lives over to resemble that fantasy, but we could come closer to it than we do now, for sure. Why not?
First, I guess, and leaving aside the question of whether that scenario is really desirable for the moment, is that we also have other priorities. Dominating Jos is not the biggest priority of my life. He too has priorities, like his school and career, that he doesn’t choose to subvert to my pleasure. I respect that; I want to date a full, competent human adult.
If I got to make all of Jos’s decisions (or whichever ones I chose to), it would put a huge responsibility on me. The control itself is appealing, but the responsibility is not. And then I’d be constantly dealing with resistance from him on the choices that I’d made for him. I’d also feel less respect for him, inevitably. None of that appeals to me. (The idea of not being fully respected also holds no appeal for Jos, as far as I’ve been able to determine. Alexis, by contrast, seems to kink for being viewed with some contempt.)
What about safewords? I’ve written before about why we use them, but I have to admit, I am drawn to the idea of not using them. Things that are actual safety concerns (“Mistress, I can’t feel my hand”) could be handled without safewords. Almost anything can be communicated without safewords. Their essential function (the one without which they are meaningless) is to allow Jos to withdraw consent.
A relationship in which Jos couldn’t withdraw consent except by breaking up (or physically escaping, in a scene) would be much harder for me to navigate than our current relationship. I’m not actually all that tough. I like the assurance of mutuality. I like for Jos to have a clean way out so that things do not get really ugly.
And of course I am discussing all of this from my own perspective, but Jos has his own. He gets to decide whether to have safewords or not – I can’t remove his right to have only consensual activities. (I could issue an ultimatum – I won’t be your mistress if you don’t do it my way – but ultimately my only recourse is to leave the relationship, which I’m not interested in doing.)
This idea nauseates Alexis:
The argument that I “give” myself to my Mistress suggests, to me, that I am granting her a boon, that I am somehow this great beneficiary to her and that she should be humbly grateful at this tremendous thing I’m giving her. I know that there are thousands of dominants out there who would argue that this is exactly how it makes them feel. They are so tremendously pleased that this lovely boy has graciously consented to his submission, that they are filled with warmth and happiness to see him on his knees in front of them.
But I do feel exactly that way. It works with my kink and it works with Joscelin’s kink, and I see no reason to fight or change it. I also know that, the more confidently and competently I dominate him, the more he is able to submit to me. The d/s aspect of our relationship doesn’t exceed what we can handle this way. And watching it unfold is simply…lovely and breathtaking.
If I have a completely different view of things in 10 years, I won’t be too surprised, but I’ll also know that I got there honestly through my own processes and experiences.