A submissives journey




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Chapter 2
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Chapter 3
Subbie's Couch


Chapter 4
The Dom's Lounge

Chapter 5

 The Library




Chapter 6



Chapter 7

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Chapter 8
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Chapter 9

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Chapter 10
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Chapter 12
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Chapter 13
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The illusion of control



I posed a question in chat recently regarding a collared  submissive's right to say "no" to Master/Mistress.  As I

 suspected, it elicited a spirited discussion and a variety of

 opinions.  I too have an opinion, and while it is no more valid

 than A/anyone E/else's, I thought it had the makings of a good



 Control of a submissive is an illusion.  There, I said it.  I'll take a  few minutes and let many of Y/you regain Y/your composure.   That long enough?  Ok, I'll explain.


 It seems that most people have a good grasp on the many  specifics regarding Dominant submissive (D/s) philosophy.  Most are aware of safe,  sane and consensual.  Most are aware of a submissive's rights.   Most are generally aware of the expectations attached to the  role of Dominant and submissive in a relationship.  In short,  most see the trees.  But how do these disparate notions make  themselves into a forest, especially when many of the concepts may appear to be contradictory?


 For purposes of this article I wish to dispense with refusals  surrounding limits and safety.  Those are situations in which  submissives are universally expected to express their free will  to say "no" in order to protect themselves.  However, there are  other times in which a submissive may say "no" to a  Dominant's request, when their safety or limits are not at issue.


 In answer to My question in the chat room, many said that the  submissive could not say "no" to areas of his/her life that had  been given in submission to Master/Mistress.  Still, they  recognized that a submissive has free will, and submission  must be given freely.  Many said that a Dominant should "force"  Their wishes upon a submissive.  Yet they recognized that  force was tantamount to abuse, for it would no longer be  consensual.  Some pointed out that submissives should  properly identify the areas of their lives in which submission  was offered.  But as humans, there are times in which  submissives will change their minds.  They have the right and  free will to do so.  Most thought that some sort of punishment  would be in order.  But punishment that is forced upon an unwilling submissive is also abuse.


 How then, do W/we reconcile these contradictory elements of a  Dominant submissive relationship?  W/who has the control?  How can a  submissive have free will, and yet be made to comply with the wishes of their Dominant?  How can a Dominant "impose"  Their will upon an unwilling submissive, without being abusive?


 First and foremost, let's recognize what the origin of that  "control" is.  It is the “power exchange”.  It is the free will of the submissive.  A submissive willingly accepts control, or there is no control at all.  That submission is, as W/we A/all know, earned by virtue of love, respect, honesty, and all of the elements of a relationship that are necessary for one to offer such a glorious gift to One that has demonstrated Their worthiness.  Those elements will of course differ from individual to individual, but the important concept is that they must be present before a submissive can or will offer their submission.


 But submission is not a light switch.  It is not all or nothing.  It is not on or off.  There are an infinite number of gradients in between.  And a submissive may be at any one of those infinite points on any given day, and prone to change.  So in order to  help conceptualize what submission is, consider it to be similar  to a dimmer switch, rather than an on/off switch.  The light is  turned on gradually, or off gradually.  The submission may vary  from day to day.  What was agreeable yesterday, may not be  agreeable today.  What was offered in submission today, may  be more or less than what is offered tomorrow.  The trick, then,  is to help him/her to want to submit consistently.


  As that level of submission brightens or dims, so does the  "control" of the Dominant.  The Dominant has only the control  that is given by the submissive at that moment.  No more, no  less.  Attempt to take more and You have a fight on Your  hands.  Along with the resulting anger, frustration and  resentment.  Accept only what is offered You as a Dominant,  and You are not fulfilling Your obligations to guide and achieve personal or lifestyle growth.


 Gosh, what's a poor Dominant to do?


 Several people involved in the conversation recognized that  there may be a good reason for a submissive to say "no".  But  what seems like a good reason to a submissive, may not seem  so great to a Dominant.  They did suggest discussing the  underlying reasons for saying "no", and I wholeheartedly agree.  I would strongly suggest finding some time to sit down and discuss things in a level, dispassionate manner.  Perhaps  Y/you might find one of the following situations apply:


  • There are times when submissives test limits of acceptable behavior, or self determination.  It is up to the Dominant to apply those limits consistently.

  • Moods change from day to day.  W/we get up on the right side or the wrong side of the bed sometimes.  That can’t be helped.  What can be helped is how W/we respond to O/others around U/us, even if W/we’re not feeling all that great.

  • The submissive may have issues that he/she would like to discuss, but can’t decide how to start the conversation.  Sometimes an argument serves the purpose of being a catalyst. Submission is rather like the ocean, with tides that come and go in an eternal ebb and flow.  It may simply indicate that the cycle is reaching “low tide” again.  That’s not a reason for this to be acceptable behavior, but a recognition that Dominants are charged with helping submissives with the kind of personal and lifestyle growth that enhances submission, bringing the tide back in.

  • Some submissives use confrontation as a form of self-punishment.  Perhaps there is underlying guilt for some other transgression that diligent questioning will reveal.

  • There may be a lack of motivation.  At times submissives need help in realizing the progress they’ve made, or be reminded of their personal and lifestyle goals. There are submissives that occasionally enjoy the confrontation, and resultant “punishment” or discipline.


Of course, understanding the underlying reasons for saying  “no” is easier than determining how to respond.  There are no hard and fast rules to refer to in “The Dominant Handbook”.  Frankly, being a Master/Mistress is more of an art form than  science.


 If it were a simple matter of imposing some punishment for the  refusal, there probably wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.  Simply put, if a submissive refuses a request, it’s highly likely  that they would refuse punishment for the refusal as well.  And I caution You Dominants here, if You press the issue forcefully, You run the risk of completely losing the respect and submission of Your one.


 Here, I believe, is need for a critical distinction in the role of a  Dominant.  The distinction between “commanding” and “guiding”.


 If W/we are to consider submissives as no more than robotic  Stepford wives & husbands, then commanding would be both  effective and efficient.  But they’re not.  submissives are complex human beings.  Command as some sort of despot and  You’re likely to find a rebellion on Your hands as the submissive exercises his/her free will to resist a stifling and demeaning relationship.  To be sure, there are some  relationships that will not survive frequent problems like this, nor should they.  But let’s assume it’s a good, healthy  relationship that deserves the effort to solve the problem.


 Again I ask, what’s a poor Dominant to do?


 First, don’t get angry.  Remain composed and in control of  Yourself and Your emotions.  Self-control, appearing to be in  control, is the first step to being in control.


 Next, determine when would be the best time to discuss the  matter.  It may be tempting to do so immediately, but that may  not be effective.  The time and place of that discussion will have  a direct bearing on how much information is shared with You,  and therefore on how successful it will be.  Remember, while  You may be in control of Your emotions, Your submissive may not be.


 I also try to remember that any “punishment” or discipline is  supposed to be a learning experience.  If We approach Our role  of Master/Mistress as a guide, We can see that the best learning  experience is to allow Our submissives to make mistakes.   That’s human nature.  W/we are A/all given copious amounts of  advice, and still W/we do as W/we please, make the same  mistakes as O/others made before U/us, and then learn from  them.  W/we learn because O/our mistakes have consequences  and W/we have to live with those consequences.  Sometimes  We just have to let them err on their own.  Saying “no” amongst  them.


 So, My advice to Dominants in this situation is to let Your submissive learn from the consequences of his/her actions.  Find what the natural result of those actions are, and that will be the “punishment” or discipline.  For purpose of example, I’ll share a quick story here.  I had a submissive that desired to stay late at a party W/we attended.  When I desired to go, she said “no”.  I didn’t get angry.  I didn’t rant or rave.  I could see that her mind was made up, and so, W/we stayed.  When W/we returned home and she desired to play, but W/we had no time for play.  That time had been spent at the party.  The natural consequence of her spending extra time at the party was that there was less time to do something else.  And so, the lesson is learned.


 This kind of lesson is not a confrontation.  It is just the natural course of things given the decision the submissive has made.  It is not a test of wills, and won’t engender animosity or resentment.  True, it may be frustrating to the submissive.  But the frustration is that he/she failed to consider the consequences of their decision, frustration with their own decision and not Yours.  It is a very effective learning tool.  The submissive learns that You as Dominant have the “big picture” in mind, You have their best interest in mind, and Your requests are proven to be worthy of his/her submission to them.


 And let’s recall that many submissives can be very self-critical. If You don’t give them the fight they seek, if You keep Your composure and maintain control of Yourself, You may find that guilt gets the better of them.  And while You may naturally ask if this is proper, submissives “punishing” themselves, keep in mind that You are making that decision.  And as such, the punishment or discipline is Yours.


 Reassure Your submissive that it’s ok to make mistakes.  That it’s ok to be human.  Reassure him/her that they are still loved,  that Y/your relationship is undamaged.  Demonstrate that love  with hugs and kisses.  Remind them that as Master/Mistress, it is Your obligation to offer guidance, to promote personal and  lifestyle growth, and to make it the kind of guidance that is  willingly accepted because it is good and right for him/her.   Remind them that You are only fulfilling Your obligations within  the lifestyle role of Master/Mistress, and to him/her personally.


 I’ve found that the offer of guidance, the maintenance of  self-control, the reassurance that it’s ok to make mistakes and be human, and the reminder of the obligations of Your role as  Master/Mistress has a far greater impact than the threat of force.  After all, it always boils down to a submissive’s free will and choice.  Ask Yourself, which kind of Master/Mistress would  You want to submit to?


Copyright 2001

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Copyright © 2002 - 2017 [A submissives journey]. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 29, 2017