No matter where you identify on the spectrum of Dominance and submissive (D/s), few people are all one or the other — even when being one or the other is part of your identity. In relationships and under the right circumstances, I’m fully a submissive. My natural inclination is to submit, yield, and do what I’m asked or told by a dominant partner. But there are times when I experience undeniable top energy, ready to dominate and control a situation or even another person.
Recognizing and reveling in that energy doesn’t make me any less submissive.
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Giving Up Control in My Relationship
As a submissive partner, I’ve carefully negotiated exactly what I want from my partner and what he wants from me. Of course, “careful negotiation” tends to fly out the window the moment life throws something at you — career changes, family drama, and illness. The process of submitting and building a solid D/s relationship is constant and ongoing. But even when we’re both feeling much more vanilla than kinky, we understand our power dynamic and who we are to each other.
Because submission is a part of my personality and not a role I take on (although not all submissives feel that way), I am always my partner’s submissive, even when I have to make decisions and when life doesn’t make it easy to submit. In those moments when tasks, protocols, and rules are no longer the focus of our D/s relationship, I’m still submitting in multiple ways.
One way I rely on most often is to ask my dominant partner to make a final decision on something — whether it’s just for myself or it has something to with our relationship or life:
“I think we should [insert first option here] but we could also [insert second option here]. What would you prefer?”
I clearly have an opinion — often very strong opinions, but ultimately, it’s his call. Even when I’m gathering information, figuring out what I want, and presenting options, our relationship structure gives him the final say. The part very few ever witness are those moments when I go toe-to-toe with him on what I believe the right answer should be. Because of the trust we’ve developed and the D/s dynamic we have, I always defer to him, even when I have strong opinions that don’t match his.
Taking Control in Other Parts of My Life
I remember a time, as many submissives may, when I just wanted someone to tell me what to do, make decisions for me, and take the burden of adulting or exerting control off my shoulders. I still have those moments in life, and have, a few times, looked at my partner and begged, “Please, just tell me what to do!” Sometimes he does, and I’m grateful for my submission and his dominance. But sometimes he can’t, and I have to figure out an answer on my own, but always with his guidance and support. But there are plenty of times when I have to be in control and, when I’m brutally honest with myself, I want to be in control.
The stereotypical submissive is often someone who’s in charge of some part of their life. Maybe they’re a CEO or department head for a company. They might be a coach, a teacher, or simply a parent looking after small children. In my case, I work for myself because I don’t want a boss. (Yes, I get the irony of that statement, but it’s true.) And if you’ve read enough BDSM erotica or watched enough porn, you know many submissives “crave” someone to take control for us.
Eh. Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. That’s why stereotypes can be problematic.
As a writer, educator, speaker, and consultant, I make my own decisions all day long and do the work that matters to me. When someone asks for my advice or help, I’m all too happy to tell them exactly what I think they should do — sometimes with extra but unintentional force behind my words. Why? Because my top energy shines in these moments. My professional life is where I want and demand control. Some of my lowest professional moments, even before I built my own business, came from feeling out of control.
Sound familiar to any D-types out there?
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Embracing Top Energy Doesn’t Make Me Less Submissive
If I wanted to top another human being or had the desire to bring this energy into relationships, I’d definitely be a switch. But I’m not. In my romantic and sexual relationships, I crave submission and yearn for my partner’s control. What I am is human with the full range of emotions, desires, and needs that entails.
To every submissive who’s ever been told, “You can’t be submissive because you like telling people what to do!” you’re not alone. For every submissive who worries that wanting to exert control or authority makes you less submissive, plenty of us feel the same way. In some cases, I want control over a task or something my Dominant has asked me to do, because I know I can do it better, more efficiently, and in a way that meets his needs best.
To be perfectly honest, sometimes I want control because it feels good to call the shots, to exert authority, and have my needs met — while meeting the needs of those I work with. How do I know this is another version of top energy? Because one of the many times I’ve asked Dominants to explain why they enjoy being in control, they’ve given me the same explanation, nearly word-for-word.
So what’s the point and why does it matter?
Wanting control in your life doesn’t make you less submissive. Enjoying the control you have doesn’t automatically make you dominant. Your identity is completely up to you, and you get to decide who and what you are. If the switch label feels right to you, use it. If you know you’re submissive in your relationships, taking control doesn’t make you any less so. And dominants, “allowing” your submissive to exert control doesn’t make you any less dominant either. We’re all much to complex and nuanced for easy labels with easy definitions.
Here Is To Living Your True Self,
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