You can listen to this musing here, or read it below.
When I explain that the first thing I teach a new submissive is how to serve me, many people respond in confusion, especially in the conscious kink and tantric communities that I love so much. There is such a focus on the submissive’s experience, so I’ll end with a theory on that. But first, I want to write about teaching how to be served. To enter this musing from the proper perspective, maybe glance at my writing Submission vs Surrender; it’s a short one.
The greatest promise a dominant can give their submissive is taking responsibility for their own pleasure and satisfaction. So the submissive shouldn’t have to evaluate if the dominant is happy or not. Instead, they can trust that they will be told. Of course, they can worry about it, as they might be punished through words or actions. And, sure, wanting to be good might be rewarded, but the submissive is relieved from the unclarity. So there is no need for the mindfucks and self-critique of everyday life (when one has to dominate oneself). So, for the polarity to work, the dominant must take responsibility for their satisfaction. And the sacrifice, effort, or discomfort of the submissive must be proportional to the gain of the dominant. Otherwise, it doesn’t feel meaningful. Never waste good suffering, someone wisely said. Of course, this depends on the submissive wanting to serve and being curious about the dominant’s desires, which requires trust. I have recently mused about this in trust and what do you surrender. But, I think meaningfulness is what it all comes back to, making it meaningful to submit. Together.
Learning to be served as a dominant has different components that I often build exercises around in retreats. First, one must find tranquillity in reconnecting with present feelings and desires. That is to find the most attractive thing about this particular situation and dive deeply into it. It might be the smell of hair, the warmth of skin, or the moisture of breath—simply something that you want from them. So, stop everything that you are doing and feel your attraction. This is the key to eros. Many beginners are scared to drop into their desire, and I think they might be boring because little is happening. But feeling desired and actively enjoyed by another is thrilling. And it’s unusual because people are so caught up in their doing.
Next is deciding what you want and teaching the submissive how to pleasure the dominant. It can be as simple as giving verbal appreciation, dressing in a particular way, serving tea according to a ritual, or giving a massage. And I enjoy being as specific and detailed as possible, making it an honour and achievement in getting it right. Then, once we have established a clear power dynamic in which both feel safe, I can even ask the submissive to bring me into a state of surrender. Because to feel pleasure, I need to stop my doing. Like, stop giving detailed and exact instructions; this depends on the point above, dropping into my desire.
And I think most people do this unconsciously because one must surrender to orgasm, in my experience. (It’s, of course, also possible to surrender without orgasming, but that, I hope, goes without saying). A submissive friend of mine likes to joke half-seriously that making her partner orgasm in play is her way to regain control momentarily. Only for fun, to show that she can. She is not a very submissive person outside the bedroom.
Sometimes, I like to challenge people I mentor to explore the least traditional masculine or dominant activity they can train their submissive to serve them with. Some classics are getting fucked with a strapon or given a relaxing bondage experience. So many heteronormative dominant men I meet are shit scared of anything that might test their position of power. But I believe that one should stretch their dominance to know how stable and trustable it is for everyone involved. It’s like a ritual or rite of passage. Once passed, the dominant can enjoy an anal massage without the fear of losing position or being seen as less able.
Unfortunately, I think that so many people who play the dominant role in the power dynamic miss out on so much pleasure. So when establishing a new relationship with a submissive, I must train them in pleasuring me, and if they are not interested in that, then I’m not interested in them. For someone new to BDSM, I think having a submissive give their body to practice, for example, a rope bondage pattern can count as offering pleasure. But in the long run, most dominants can be more creative and diverse in their desires, in my experience.
Finally, once a dominant can feel their own body and train their submissive in pleasing them, the final step is learning how to reject. How to say no, and clearly show when not satisfied. Because if the submissive can’t trust that the dominant will show when they are not happy, then it will be hard to relax into the submission. Rejecting someone might be scary due to the fear of being abandoned (if I complain, they will never submit to me again) or abandoning the submissive. The fear is usually the strongest before it has been experienced when the rejection theme is a huge thing. However, once the dominant can be transparent in their desire and allow themselves to be complicated, perverted and specific, then it’s no longer strange that they sometimes will reject the efforts of the submissive. Rejection, combined with teaching the submissive how to serve, gives a lot of safety in my experience. And the knowledge that; learning how to serve the dominant is a joint project.
In the beginning, I promised to get back to why the focus is so much on the submissive’s experience. BDSM is still a heteronormative practice; the most common dynamic wished for is a dominant man and a submissive woman. You can see the statistics from Swedens biggest BDSM online community here. So, of course, information on navigating being a submissive woman in a patriarchal world is greatly needed and ends up in focus. And I think, since being dominant is often greatly misunderstood, more people lean towards the submissive role in general. Or at least that is one of my theories.