In the BDSM spectrum, Domination and submission fuel thoughts of stiletto’s, collars and chastity devices. If the S/M is about pain, the D/s is about power.
D/s is when one person is aroused, on the cusp of orgasm and the other whispers in their ear, “you better not cum until I give you permission” … and they don’t. It’s the forfeit of power that makes this D/s. But power doesn’t only exist in the bedroom and D/s doesn’t need to either.
Service and power are already intertwined within our culture’s concepts of sex. It’s the pool boy and the rich woman or the boss and the secretary. But it’s probably not the barking orders, shouted half-hazardly, into an intercom that makes this a hot dynamic for either party. Likewise, if you tell your partner, “Do the laundry,” sure, you’ll get the laundry done, but folded t-shirts by themselves aren’t much of a turn-on.
So what makes a D/s dynamic more fun than just hiring a maid service?
A lot of power play uses protocols—sets of rules, set down by the dominant, for governing your interactions. They can be anything—not making eye contact, asking permission to get into bed, or turning around three times and jumping on one foot every time you meet. When the submissive asks permission to get into the car or sits on the floor, they are displaying and ritualizing the surrender of their power.
Pleasing The Dominant
A phrase like, “I’d like you to…,” can actually carry more power than a direct order in the context of D/s. It moves the emphasis of the task from getting the laundry done to pleasing the dominant. It’s a subtle distinction, but if the submissive is doing work because they were ordered to do it, then the dominant has the power to get a task done, but they don’t actually have power over the submissive.
When the submissive is doing the dishes for the pleasure of the dominant, then the task isn’t done until the dominant sees the clean dishes and expresses their pleasure. It’s the submissive’s willingness to obey that begins the power exchange, but it’s the dominant’s expression of pleasure that completes it.
Interacting with the Power Exchange
Another way to feel the power exchange is to give the submissive unnecessary add-ons to their everyday tasks, like cleaning with a butt plug up their ass or requiring them to text what kinds of bread are available at the store so the dominant can choose the appropriate brand. These interactions reinforce that the only aspect about completing the task that matters is that it’s completed for the pleasure and/or amusement of the dominant.
It can become a way of life or it can just be about spicing things up every third week of every month that begins with J or maybe you trade roles week to week. However you do it, building an actual power dynamic within your relationship can bring a bit of adventure into the ordinary. It can certainly lead to great sex, but along the way it can also get your taxes done, keep your toilet clean and make decisions about where to eat dinner a lot easier.