A thoughtful post for a warm Friday afternoon, something that has been brewing for a while: a commentary on the words we use to describe submission and dominance and how it reflects on the way the people who enjoy those activities are perceived and treated.
There is a lot of paired language used: up and down, big and small, strong and weak. This can have a negative knock-on effect, especially for the submissive, in which they are viewed as always being the lesser of the two pairs, regardless of where they are or what they are doing - as if it were "natural" for them to always be small, weak and down. That can lead us to the dangerous path of viewing dominants as superior because they are dominants, or submissives as inferior because they are submissive - ignoring the fact that they may not be, or may not want to be, in role or on form at that point. It also ignores the vast array of types of play that people might engage in, the sorts of relationships they might form and how the power might be arranged. Finally, it can create trouble by making us assume that one person is always like that, which rather problematises the switch.
In reality, the pairs function as equal elements in the see-saw dynamic that is power-exchange. A dominant by themselves is not necessarily strong, but only by contrast, and indeed only by the exact amount of strength that the submissive has offered up. Think of it like as non-zero-sum, if you want to get mathematical about it.
I was on a date with a beautiful woman, and we were talking about dom space and sub space. I offered up my theory of dom space as a vector, an arrow, a bullet fired from a gun. A precision energy and focus which is directed towards the space created by the submissive. We also talked about BDSM play as a whole as being a space, in which two - or more - people might move. The idea of a sandbox, created by the negotiation process. Inside it are all the things that have been consented to, that might happen. But then there are the edges, the thoughts, feelings and activities that make eyes flare open wide, breath run quick and cold sweats break out. The uncertain things, the difficult things, the "I'm not sure I want to things."
Because we are how we are, and because we love a good reaction, these are the places that as a dominant you feel drawn to. As if magnetised. You feel the urge to prod and to poke at them, the sadist searching for the raw flesh, the bruise, the sensitive areas. The sandbox is not fixed, it becomes a bubble. Fragile but also delightful, transient and slightly other-worldly. The dominant game becomes one of expanding the bubble without popping it, of allowing a steady increase of this thing, or the other.
And finally, there is the metaphor of space itself. That ever-expanding blackness. The universe full of stars and fast moving comets. As play partners we hold each others hand and explore together, learning more and more about our bodies, our selves, as we go.