Yesterday, we received a comment from a reader. Usually, if needed, one of us responds to the comment and we move on. But this time I found this particular comment disturbing. This person was responding to Mrs. Lion’s post where she discussed her decision to tease me the day after some unscheduled anal play. Mrs. Lion mentioned that we had a deal where she would provide some stimulation every other day. My lioness wondered if the deal applied the day after that unscheduled play. Here’s what the writer said:
What I find confounding here is this deal that was made. theoretically Mrs. lion can change the terms of the deal at any time if she’s truly in charge and Mr. lion is not topping from the bottom. why is it so difficult for Mrs. Lion to merely announce what she would like to do in terms of playtime. it seems she is overly concerned with pleasing the submissive which makes me wonder who’s really in charge here.
This comment is troublesome because it reveals a very Internet view of power exchange. In the fictional world of Internet BDSM, “subs” are totally at the mercy of “doms” who can arbitrarily choose to do or not do anything at any time. In this fantasy world, there is no dialogue between the “dom” and “sub”, just blind obedience.
The commenter implies that my relationship with Mrs. Lion isn’t really a power exchange because my dear wife and keyholder chooses to take my feelings into account when she decides what to do. Since she doesn’t just make arbitrary decisions, the implication is that she can’t be a real “dom”. Or, perhaps, I am topping from the bottom.
It’s stuff like this that prevents people from even starting to enjoy power exchange. In the real world, tops and bottoms negotiate. They discuss limits and preferences. Good tops always listen carefully and try to take into account what the bottom likes and wants. BDSM is a game played by two.
So where is the power exchange, our comment seems to ask. The answer is much more subtle than the Internet fantasy. First, Mrs. Lion has the absolute last word. If it is my scheduled tease day and she decides to skip it, she will. Do I have a right to ask about it? Yes, of course I do. We are in a relationship that is much more than power exchange. Do I have a right to object, beg, and whine? I can, but at my own peril. Such behavior has resulted in reactions that were very unpleasant.
More subtly, Internet D&S never gets here, Mrs. Lion is using my feedback to better learn how to top me. On the Internet, “subs” always have to adapt to whatever the “top” wants. In the real world, the top wants the bottom to both enjoy and be trained by her actions. A good top, like Mrs. Lion, wants to train her bottom to want, even crave, her control. She wants to make him happy within the limits she defines. I learn obedience through a combination of reward and punishment. I learn to handle the frustration of teasing and then waiting days for orgasm through smart training that makes the teasing fun for me.
The point is that being a keyholder, top, “dom”, or whatever isn’t a simple decision to order some poor soul around. It is a delicate application of reward and punishment that molds the bottom into the image she desires. As Mrs. Lion said in her response,
“It’s my brand of being in charge. I’m still learning how to flex my muscle. However, Lion is well aware of who rules the den.”