So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

08 December, 2007

Power Play

This is me trying to articulate some of what I was flailing at in my comment posted to Dev in this post titled 'Conversation with Friends'; if it's unclear due to context-lack, looking over there may be a help. Dunno.

Dev was talking with a non-d/sy friend about why she doesn't use her dominant position to enforce particular changes in Joscelin (her sub)'s life. And found most of the suggestions for things she could do notably non-sexy. maymay (of Maybe Maimed But Never Harmed) commented that he was surprised how often it is that people seem to dissociate d/s from sexuality.

(And I wonder, on a tangent, if that relates to the whole stereotype game of "Men think women are turned on by the dishes being clean, when it's more 'if the dishes are clean already I may have brainpower to think about sex'.")

And, y'know, back in the early stages of the formalising the d/s thing with my liege, I commented that I suspected a lot of the prurient kink-phobes would be disappointed at how much carpentry was in my d/s, compared to the levels of kinky sex. I do a lot of small service tasks, none of which are even remotely erotic, many of which don't even have the little touch of personal attention that comes of making him his tea when I know I'll be seeing him soon.

The only service I really get off on as it were is sexual. But I'm not a bedroom sub, where he's concern; we have an extensive ongoing power-charged relationship that extends out into all of the not terribly sexy service stuff I do like cleaning the wax off his ritual table (yesterday) or folding paper towels for cleaning up stain with (way back when). And all of that stuff matters to the kink, which is sexual, even if it's not in any way a matter of turning me on at the time -- not even in the transactional "If I do this task well I get laid" sense.

The thing is that the service in the mundane sense, all of the small things that I try to deal with, the responsiveness to suggestion and direction and all, all of it makes it clear that the interaction is whole. That it's not -- as he put it rather more bluntly than I was anticipating last night when we were trying to deal with a major issue in the structural stuff -- "just a game for when we fuck". The shapes of the thing are broader than the bedroom, and because of that the depth of the response from the d/s sexual play runs that much deeper, that much stronger, because it has all the weight of the engagement on that level in non-sexual circumstances. The whole of that energy of living can get behind it, not just the parts that are directed at sexplay.

Tangential to that central thought about why I do service stuff when I don't necessarily kink specifically for that sort of service, I had another response to that post that only came up while I was thinking about it and away from the computer. That being, using one's domly goodness to get someone to "get life together" may, well, be counterproductive.

And the thing I'm looking at is the thing that I was ranting about when I wrote Against Empowerment a few days ago -- if getting life together depends on the application of control, punishment, or whatever relevant bit of dominance is being applied, then in the absence of the active working, it's not gonna stay together. It's not power, it's just empowerment, bestowed by that outside force, contingent on its presence.

Which isn't to say that a dom can't be a positive force for the arrangement of someone's life. Trinity has written about that in various places, as a for example, how she enjoys being a positive shaping force. My liege consistently encourages me to face issues I'm avoiding, among many other things (that one's on my mind due to current events). But he doesn't take the burden of determine what has to be done onto himself, doesn't enforce discipline on it: there's the reminder of the issue, the support for dealing with it, and all that, but I have to develop and apply the power to do it myself. Otherwise, I'm not the one who's got my life in order -- he's got my life in order, and I'm dependent.

And it's not one-sided; I also am consistently prodding him to develop and apply capacity within himself, all kinds of things that don't depend on me though I helped them grow.


Anonymous said...

This makes complete sense to me, and I think the way you feel is very similar to how Joscelin feels.

I don't ask him to do many small tasks for me - we don't really have time to pull that off. (During our time together, I'd rather be fooling around or talking than have him folding laundry or the like, though I have had him do those things sometimes.)

My general criterion for whether I might have him do something for me is that it (a) serves me directly, and (b) won't harm him. Having him get a job or finish his thesis, etc., does not serve me directly enough. (It's also a limit for him, as he pointed out. I had kind of forgotten that.)

Trinity said...

"(And I wonder, on a tangent, if that relates to the whole stereotype game of "Men think women are turned on by the dishes being clean, when it's more 'if the dishes are clean already I may have brainpower to think about sex'.")"

Oh I hate that stereotype game so much. I'm not doing this dominance thing because it's cool to make sure everything is in order and *then* feel like having sex. I'm doing this dominance thing in part -- not in whole but in large part, thanks -- because I like sexual control.

This I think is part of the reason I was leery of service subs for a while. Because many of them would really really stress the not-sex bits, submission is real if it's the dishes, and I'd just be sitting there thinking "Oh, guess I'm a HNG and not a Twoo Dominant because I'd rather fuck, honestly, and can run the dishwasher myself if it means I do so sooner, honestly."

Once I stopped hanging around the sorts who made This Can't Be Sex And Dom People With Strong Libidos are Just Mere Tops people, I came to really get it -- and like things like the dishes being done from service motives. But there are a lot of people who do have a weird distrust of dominant people's sexual desire, because there are so many horny pseudo Lord and Master people that they're used to thinking they'll get hurt.

Gah. Moronic people, stop pissing on my love live. :)

Daisy said...

OMG, maybe someday I will be evolved enough to talk about this stuff, but not now. You kids blow my mind! :P

In short, interesting discussion and thank you for having it!