After over two years of reading, listening and discussing with others the various themes and nomenclature associated with the current BDSM/DD/D/s world and adding that to our previous BDSM/kink experience, it seems it’s a language we’ve known forever. However, in trying to frame the topic of this post, it occurred to me, “Power Exchange” is a relatively new term to us. As with any practice and it’s associated language, time and cultural pressures bring change and the BDSM/kink world is no different. The evolution of the past few years, accelerated by communication technologies and mainstreaming of BDSM related fiction, has brought forward new concepts and terminology …
We existed for 20 yrs in our own BDSM bedroom bubble … using knowledge gained from fiction and what little non fiction literature was available in the mid nineties … a time that was pre blogs & bloggers, pre Google or other search engines, early in the time of message boards and other, now seemingly archaic, forms of online communication, most of which we knew nothing about, nor participated in.
Our form of BDSM encompassed all of the components as we knew them or as they were described in the literature we had* … Bondage, Dominance, Discipline and Sadomasochism. What we didn’t do was extract or apply specific meaning to D/s as it is known today … and a quick present day look at the glossaries of said older literature, there is no specific mention of the combined term of ‘D/s’ nor of the associated term ‘Power Exchange’ (other than one entry which describes Erotic Power Exchange as “a somewhat genteel term for SM” … lol!). All of which means, these two terms are relatively new descriptors … only coming to light for us in the last couple of years as we’ve evolved and adapted to a 7×24 version of our previous dynamic.
When trying to put words around what Power Exchange means to us, I remembered a post I wrote just over a year ago, in which I talked about a couple of epiphanies I’d had about our evolving D/s dynamic … some still relevant thoughts from that post are …
obedience is not necessarily submission … if you are a singer and someone directs you to ‘sing a song’, you could do it off key, in a soft voice that is barely heard, facing away from your audience and all of that action could be seen as obeying the directive OR you could put your whole heart and voice into your song, sharing it fully with your audience, and as you can well imagine, the results will be very different. Submission comes from within. Obedience is an externally driven response.
the more submissive the submissive is, the more dominant the Dominant will become … which then in turn feeds dominance back to the submissive. A description that resonates with me, is D/s a partner dance and when the dancers complement each other, gliding across the floor as one, the chemistry between them is evident. If I look closely at our previous BDSM experience, I can see my then self as a passive submissive, expecting Frank to ‘do his dominance thing’ to me as the submissive recipient. I now see that the submissive must be an active participant in the dance and not one that is being dragged or pushed around the dance floor. As a result I am trying very hard to approach our new dynamic with what I am calling my ‘submissive heart’, looking for opportunities to demonstrate my submissiveness to and for Frank. He has noticed my efforts and I in turn have noted an increase in his dominance.
These thoughts still stand today as a valid description of what Power Exchange means to us. Although we’ve hit a few ebbs along with the flows as we’ve moved through the past year, with my submissive heart sometimes disappearing in the wind, when it works well, it does feel like we’re dancing … him leading, me following – with both of us staying aware of, and in tune with the nuances of each other’s moves on the D/s dance floor.
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*our mid nineties introduction to BDSM: Screw the Roses Bring Me The Thorns (1995 – Philip Miller & Molly Devon) SM 101 – A Realistic Introduction (1998 – John Wiseman) A Loving Dominant (2000 – John Warren) … earlier and later versions available