Something I can work with

There is a commenter on my punishment post who had some questions regarding my stance and the tone with which I answered the question asked.

I initially agreed with the original post, was interested in the response, and saw “you’re full of shit bro.” It struck me that you were looking for people to make posts like that and then kick them in the teeth if you disagreed.
I think the original post makes a legitimate point because of the nature and unilateral imposition of the punishments in D/s relationships is hard to reconcile with “respect” for someone. The “silent treatment” or “cold shoulder” thing doesn’t feel nearly the same as getting hit, at least not to me. The “regulated” nature and certainty of punishment does seem to be an inherent feature of D/s relationships, but that seemed to be a somewhat different issue, albeit perhaps a benefit of D/s.
It also seems inherently more difficult to feel protected enough to communicate real feelings and concerns with someone who has the authority to punish you, especially if the punishment is harsh and physical. The tone in which your response was written suggested that it might be all the more difficult to do that with you, even though you said you encouraged (or even demanded) such communication. I’d be walking on eggshells.
That’s what interested me in the post. I guess that makes me a troll.

See, that makes sense.  Had that been your original comment, a) I would’ve known better where you were coming from, b) it would have invited discussion, rather than snarkiness, and c) it wouldn’t have been construed as rude and obnoxious.

Your first comment made it seem like you were just looking to start drama.  This comment is intelligent and brings up valid questions.  This, I can work with.

The difference is that I don’t have the freedom to give the silent treatment or hit someone without their consent.  I’ll use the most recent time I punished Kazander as an example (which I actually wrote about on the blog).  Twice in two days, he did not take my commands seriously, and his obedience was lax.  I was annoyed.

In a vanilla relationship, I have plenty of ways to express my annoyance.  I can get snarky, I can give the silent treatment, I can get petty, I can tell him off, etc.  And in a vanilla relationship, none of that is done with his consent.

Instead, I pointed out his mistake, told him I was annoyed, and that I wanted to adjust the behavior.  He has a safeword (that he’s technically not allowed to use during punishment, but if there’s something wrong or he doesn’t agree, he’s given the opportunity to be heard.  Should he be refused that opportunity, then the relationship becomes an abusive one, and abusive relationships are bad, regardless of whether or not D/s is thrown into the mix).

This was a minor mistake, so didn’t really require any deep discussion about what caused it.  More significant issues will prompt a discussion beforehand.

I spanked him, gave him aftercare, and life went on.  There was no need to pout for days or punish him in more conventional ways.  There was no need for him to wonder how long I’d be annoyed at him, or how long he’d need to endure the conventional punishment.

None of my subs have ever been made to feel like they can’t talk to me about anything.  Steel is the only one you can ask directly, since he’s the only one with an online presence, but you’re more than welcome to take a look at his blog. Tell me if there’s anything you find there that implies he’s afraid to talk to me about anything.  Or hell, ask him yourself.  He’s got all his contact info there.

Although do so at your own risk.  He’s not widely known for his capacity to suffer lightly those he considers fools.

People I don’t own are not my subs.  My subs have shown me their commitment time and time again, they’ve proven themselves to me, and they have seen parts of me no one else has.  I respect and admire them as subs for their devotion and commitment, and I respect and admire them as men.  I have never and likely will never punish anyone for talking to me about a problem they have.

Obviously, I don’t know the future, and if a sub were to get in my face about the problem, instead of talking civilly, I suppose it’s possible I’d punish them for their method.  But I prefer not to own the kind of person who would do that, anyway, so it’s a moot point.  All of my boys know they have the freedom to talk to me openly and express any issues they may have.  This is something they know because I’ve proven it to them.  And their opinions are truly the only ones I care about.  Someone who makes an assumption about what it would be like to be owned by me, based on one blog post, is obviously free to do that, but it’s nothing but speculation, and holds no weight with me.

And my long-time readers, who have read other Ask a Domina posts, have seen that I’m not going to bite someone’s head off for disagreeing with me.

I’m accustomed to dealing with people who try to get more information before jumping to a judgement.  You want a decent idea of who I am as a Dominant, and how I can respect a man I have the power to punish?  Read.

Or don’t.

You’re free to think whatever you want.  But (this is not meant with hostility) the opinion of a complete stranger just doesn’t matter to me.  I care about the people I own.  I owe them respect, I owe them the opportunity to talk to me without fear of punishment, and I owe them a chance to have their concerns heard, acknowledged, and understood.

Other people are not always afforded that same respect.  If I don’t own you, I have no obligation to be nice to you (and, if you read more of my posts, you’ll find that one of my favorite things to say is, “I never claimed to be a good person”).  If I don’t own you or didn’t create you, I owe you nothing.

That goes for the gentleman who asked this question.  This is the culmination of a number of increasingly frustrating conversations, both in person and via email, about “whether or not D/s relationships work.”  I owe him nothing.  He’s already shown that he’s not worthy of my respect.

And it’s a pet peeve of mine to claim that my relationships don’t work or won’t last, because they don’t conform to someone else’s views of what a relationship should be.  I think that’s intolerant and small-minded.  Different strokes, special snowflakes and all that.

There are expectations of behavior in every relationship.  And there are consequences for not meeting those expectations in every relationship.  The difference in my relationships is that those expectations are much clearer to both parties, and the punishment is much more clear-cut.

But everyone’s different.  Kazander, for example, cannot handle being ignored.  It’s a hard limit for him.  He would much rather be hit than ignored.  All three would prefer a direct punishment to manipulative and petty games that have run so rampant in the vanilla relationships I have either been in or been close to.

Not everyone would agree with that.

But yes, the regulated nature of punishment is the same issue.  Go back to the most recent time I punished Kazander, and let’s think of a vanilla equivalent.

Let’s say, instead of not shutting up when I told him to shut up, he ran his mouth to me in public.  Not many people are okay with their SO calling them out in public.  And then, the next day, instead of ignoring my request to put his cage on, he ignored a request to help me out around the house, or refused to do something he’d promised to do.

In a vanilla relationship, I’d be irritated and annoyed.  And just based on my personality, I would probably tell him off.  It would cause an argument, we’d probably go to bed angry at each other, etc.  Other people may get petty or manipulative or give the cold shoulder.

You absolutely cannot convince me that’s a better way to handle problems within a relationship.  Maybe it works better for you, but for me it’s inefficient, inconsistent, arbitrary, and just causes more problems.

Regulated punishment is none of those things.

There’s no guesswork involved.  There’s no question of how long a punishment will last, like there often is in vanilla relationships.  There’s a distinct beginning and end.  It’s not arbitrary.  It’s consistent.  Everyone is and remains on the same page.

And should I overstep my bounds, by not letting them talk to me, or by punishing them without reason, or by causing them harm, then again, it’s no longer a D/s relationship, but an abusive one.

They’ve given themselves to me, trusting that I’ll protect what they’ve given me.  They’ve opened themselves up and allowed themselves to be vulnerable with me, trusting that I won’t abuse that trust.

The minute I abuse those gifts, I stop being their Dominant and become their abuser.  And all three are strong men.  They’re not going to suffer an abusive relationship.

They cannot punish me, no.  But they can leave the relationship if their needs aren’t being met and their voices aren’t being heard.  It’s on me to make sure they’re given that opportunity.  If I don’t, then I’ve failed as a Dominant.

11 thoughts on “Something I can work with

  1. I reiterate what I said in response to the original post. 💕😊

    I find your ability to communicate remarkable, Ma’am. It must be comforting, validating and fearsome to encounter in a relationship with you.

    You have some lucky boys.

  2. dave94015 says:

    Reblogged this on dave94015 and commented:
    How disagreements in a relationship differ in a vanilla one and a #bdsm one

  3. probslost says:

    Well Jen,

    I think I’m going to start making slightly trolly posts if it means we get even more postings from you! X

    – cheeky and probably lost

  4. James says:

    My initial response was as it was because I didn’t like the idea of a public blog that seemed to invite third party posting and then treat the poster uncivilly and with hostility. So, I was angered by that, dropped what I wanted to say (which I subsequently posted and which is reposted above) for fear that I would just elicit a similar response, and focused on the apparent inconsistency between the treatment of the poster and your statements regarding your treatment of your submissives.

    You clearly resolved the apparent inconsistency: “Other people are not always afforded that same respect. If I don’t own you, I have no obligation to be nice to you (and, if you read more of my posts, you’ll find that one of my favorite things to say is, “I never claimed to be a good person”). If I don’t own you or didn’t create you, I owe you nothing.”

    I definitely get that now.

    I was not aware that was the case when I decided to read the blog, and nothing on it led me to believe that was the case. It was linked to one that I read regularly, so I didn’t get that’s how this one operates.

    Now, I do.

    • Domina Jen says:

      I can understand that, and am glad it’s cleared up. I do recommend, in the future, reading more than just one post before making snap judgments. There is plenty on the blog making it quite clear what my stance is. All it takes is the desire to read and learn.

      But again, there’s no obligation to do that. So if you decide to stick around, welcome. And if you decide not to come back, then I wish you well.

  5. James says:

    Regarding this statement: “There’s no guesswork involved. There’s no question of how long a punishment will last, like there often is in vanilla relationships. There’s a distinct beginning and end. It’s not arbitrary. It’s consistent. Everyone is and remains on the same page.”

    That does not seem to be an inherent feature of D/s relationships. It may be the result of an agreement reached up front between the parties, but there does not seem to be anything inherent in the nature of allowing one party to dominate and punish the other that would necessarily result in that sort of certainty and finality. One could still hold a grudge and continue to punish the submissive. Also, with respect to whether its arbitrary, again that is not inherent. I’ve known dommes who punish because they “feel like it” or situations where there are not specifically assigned penalties for whatever misconduct occurs, in which case, the actual punishment could be arbitrary and variable for a given “offense.”

    I don’t punish my wife, and she has never punished me. Sure, we’ve hurt each other’s feelings or reached a situation where we had to compromise and neither one of us got all of what we wanted. Equality is inherently less efficient than dominance. Dictatorships are the most efficient government structures there are. Democracies are far more inefficient.

    So, one could say that the trade off is “smoothness and efficiency” for fairness.

    The flaw you identified in the vanilla scenario is due to lack of communication. Passive aggressive, retaliatory vanilla relationships don’t work. However, that assumes a flawed vanilla relationship, which skews the comparison. The comparison is also skewed when someone vanilla assumes that a domme is oppressive, brutal, and totalitarian and refuses to take the needs and wants or safety of subs into account.

    It’s actually kind of a difficult comparison to make because the power structure is so different, but in the end, I would think you get incrementally more efficiency in the D/s scenario, and incrementally more fairness in the vanilla scenario, with neither being at the extremes if the relationship is not dysfunctional.

    • Domina Jen says:

      Ah, you have just stumbled onto another of my pet peeves: “Dominants” who really have no fucking business being Dominants. You can read an old rant on that here. https://dominajen.com/2015/04/17/raise-the-bar-seriously/

      Yes, there are Dommes who will genuinely punish (and, for the sake of argument, I’m getting into semantics here. I’m talking actual punishment, not discipline or “funishment,” which has a very different vibe) for no reason, and will abuse the power they’ve been given. They’ll get petty, they’ll play games.

      Those are abusive assholes parading as Dominants, and I’ve seen firsthand the damage they can cause to a sub, just because of the degree to which a sub opens up.

      Those people totally disgust and repulse me. They are weak, insecure people trying to use D/s as a way to build *themselves* up, rather than their subs.

      There are literally not enough words in either of the languages I speak to accurately express my loathing for those people. They’re small. Weak. Pathetic. They should not have a position of power over anyone.

      Those are abusers. Not Dominants. And those relationships are abusive. Not D/s. They’re not “dysfunctional D/s relationships.” They’re just abusive.

      So you’re right. Fair and regulated punishment is not inherent to a relationship labeled as D/s. But it *is* inherent to an actual, healthy D/s relationship, led by someone who deserves to and is able to lead it.

      What does a healthy vanilla relationship look like? I’ve had healthy-ish vanilla relationships for a time, and I see the relationships and marriages of my vanilla friends. I see my parents’ marriage. My inlaws’ marriages.

      I’m not impressed. I am consistently stunned at the lack of communication that goes on in all of those relationships. Not to mention the lack of honesty. Nothing gets said. People don’t talk. But they’ve been together for years.

      My parents were married for 28 years before my dad died. My inlaws have been married for 40. My sister in law has been married for 8. My other SIL has been married for 15-ish. My best friend has been with her husband for 12 years. Another close friend has been married for 10.

      None of these people talk to each other. The last time I saw my parents hug (other than when someone died) was decades ago. My parents in law practically hate each other. My best friend feels sexually frustrated but is too uncomfortable to tell her husband what she wants. Both of my SILs have cheated on their husbands (one is having a full-on affair with a married man, and has been seeing him for years). My close friend is becoming more and more convinced that her husband is cheating on her.

      There are a couple relationships I can think of that don’t have these obvious problems, but still seem highly uncomfortable to me. There’s no talking.

      Of course there are successful vanilla relationships, I never once said there weren’t. And it sounds like you and your wife have a successful vanilla relationship. I congratulate you on that. But I’m convinced that you are the exception and the minority.

      I’m thinking that it may just be a difference of opinion at this point. I highly doubt there’s anything I can say at this point to change your mind, and there’s certainly nothing you can say to change mine.

      • James says:

        I don’t know that I disagree with what you have observed empirically to be the case. My only point was that what you have observed does not seem to be an inherent or necessary result of a vanilla or “equal power” arrangement on the one hand and a D/s one on the other and that if communication were perfect in both scenarios, the D/s one would probably be somewhat more efficient, and less fair, and the vanilla one would be somewhat less efficient, and more fair.

        People are lousy communicators, generally. When you decide to pursue a non-conventional lifestyle and not just default into the lifestyle everyone else chooses, there is probably a tendency to communicate a lot more just because you are both in less charted territory.

        So, my point went not so much to what you statistically may have observed, but whether it is an inherent and necessary result of the two different power structures.

        At any rate, I don’t have a vested interest in the answer or conclusion. I have strong submissive interests, but have always kept them to a role playing/fantasy scenario and only recently have spent time reading about those who actually live it. I just find the debate interesting.

      • Domina Jen says:

        I can see what you’re saying. You’re right, it’s an interesting debate, and I enjoy discussions that challenge my ideas and make me really think about them.

        And you’re also right in that’s it’s not necessary or inherent to a vanilla relationship. Truthfully, it shouldn’t exist in any relationship. People need to learn to communicate effectively.

        But they don’t, and those traits and faults exist in the vast majority of relationships. Is a healthy D/s relationship more efficient and less fair than a healthy vanilla one? Absolutely.

        But despite the lack of fairness, my boys are treated well because they deserve it and because I love them. I want to treat them well.

        And then it bears looking at what constitutes a successful relationship, and whether that definition changes when a D/s dynamic is added. It’s a fascinating subject, to be sure.

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