THE STRENGTH IN OUR WEAKNESS: BDSM & THE ART OF POWER EXCHANGE

Humans are by their very nature imperfect, and from the moment we are born – unformed and in need of near-constant nurturing – we spend much of our lives trying to become better people in the face of what we consider to be our shortcomings. In essence our life is overcoming weakness.

To overcome weakness you first have to understand what it is, and it is most easily defined as anything that makes us vulnerable. It could be a character flaw, a physical limitation, an addiction – even a secret. It is something that, when revealed, opens us to criticism, rejection – or exploitation.

As a Dominant comes to know a submissive and a dynamic progresses, many things will come to light. You come to learn each other’s needs, wants, strengths, and – perhaps most importantly – their weaknesses.

A Dominant, in particular a Sadist, will seek to elicit a submissive’s weaknesses as soon as possible – while revealing few if any of their own, at least at first. Not only does this immediately give the Dominant the upper hand, it gives them an idea of the road ahead – the work that needs to be done to help nurture and mold the submissive into the best version of themselves they can be.

Just as we are all by nature imperfect, we are all by nature just as capable of improvement. As a submissive, we find improvement through the service we give our Dominant, just as our Dominant finds improvement through bringing out the best in Their submissive.

If a submissive cannot be vulnerable, or comes across as all-knowing and without flaw or weakness, then there’s little point to a long term dynamic. Submissives crave dominance because they require it. There is a driving need for fulfillment, both through the play and in our everyday lives, that can only be found through successfully completing the challenges set by their Dominant. It is in the pleasure given to the Dominant through our success that the submissive finds contentment.

Challenge is a central concept of the D/s relationship. A Dominant will challenge a submissive in ways which improve upon their existing strengths, while seeking to help their submissive overcome at least some of their weaknesses. Dominants will often do this through the exploitation of other weaknesses – desire, vice, and even the submissives own overarching need to please and seek approval all become tools through which the Dominant will exploit and unlock their submissive.

I was challenged by my Sir to write a thousand words on the pitfalls of being with a Sir who knows His boy’s weaknesses. The truth is though, the strength of a dynamic rests upon the vulnerabilities we share, and in being honest about our flaws and weaknesses. There are no pitfalls to this.

Without honesty, there can be no trust. And without trust, there can be no dynamic. 

Even strictly within a play scene, with no external dynamics, a submissive cannot serve a Dominant effectively without first divulging some weakness. At the absolute barest of minimums they would reveal relevant medical conditions, physical limitations and play limits. Any Dominant who engages in play with a submissive without first gaining this most basic of knowledge of their submissives vulnerabilities when it comes to play not only commits an act of gravest negligence, but places the submissive at a real risk of physical and mental harm.

Knowledge is power. The more a submissive opens up to their Dominant, the more power we give Them, and deeper the connection will go. That is the exchange – we submit to our Dominant in our weakness and through our service, we are made stronger. A dynamic is only limited by the trust we place in each other. A Dominant must trust Their submissive to be honest, open and willing at all times, and a submissive must trust their Dominant to provide protection, support and space free from judgement.

It is accurate that a Dominant will exploit a submissive’s weaknesses for Their own purpose, or even as entertainment. Punishment and humiliation can and likely will form a large part of a dynamic, depending on how it is structured. Your insecurities, fears, and physical sensitivities all become fair game to your Dominant – within reason, of course.

As an example, I don’t take compliments well. So, if I am in a mood and being bratty, my Sir will respond with compliments. He will tell me how clever I am, or how handsome I am. His knowing my discomfort in being given compliments has meant he can exploit that to enforce good behaviour in a way that holds purpose without causing harm. 

Working to overcome a character flaw, such as disorganisation, may be rewarded by the incremental indulgence in a desire or vice – such as a weakness for chocolate, or desire for group play. Conversely a submissive can be punished by the loss of something usually taken for granted – such as sitting on furniture, or phone time. Yes, even those things we take for granted are weaknesses, because literally anything we covet can be used to manipulate us. 

Vulnerability permeates every aspect of a D/s relationship. Even the act of taking off your clothes makes you weak. I am vulnerable every time I stand naked in front of my Sir while he is fully clothed. I – quite deliberately and even eagerly – make myself vulnerable every time I expose my ass to Him and I don’t know if He’ll slap it, lick it, fuck it, or cane it. There is a vulnerability in that uncertainty. Sure there is weakness in the spasms of my body as Sir brings me to the edge of passing out when he chokes me, but there is also strength in his embrace as he grounds me and in the trust I have for Him to bring me back safely.

There is strength in the guidance we receive when we admit our flaws. There is strength in the protocols that are designed to forge new, positive habits as we seek to become better individuals. There is strength in the punishment inflicted upon us as we learn not to break rules. There is strength in the protection that our Dominant provides as They shield us from outside harm and interference.

Our single greatest weakness is our fear of being seen as less than through the confession of our vulnerability. But to admit vulnerability is our only hope of improvement. In the context of D/s, it is only through the admission of our flaws, fears, and desires that we achieve happiness and fulfillment through our dynamic.

The forging of an unbreakable bond does not come easily. It comes from the control we give and take, the pain we inflict and endure, the trust we each place in the other which only comes from the handing over of ourselves.

I will only become stronger if I confess that I am weak and become empowered through seeking improvement. I will only come out of the dark if I trust someone else to lead me to the light. That person I trust is my Sir. It is to Him that I give my everything, and trust that He will hold all that I am with the tenderest of care.

That is the bond we choose to make. That is the bond that will not break.