Answering this question should make for a very short blog post, right? The Dominant is in charge. The End.
Not so fast!
This is a question Master has wondered about out loud more than once. It’s a philosophical pondering based on the idea that the ability to dominate is limited by the degree to which a submissive is willing to surrender, which leads to the question of whether or not the submissive is actually in charge.
my immediate reaction to this thought is horror because i do NOT want to be in charge; directly or indirectly! Most definitely not indirectly by way of some subconscious passive-aggression!
As i thought about it longer, a much more palatable truth came into focus.
Without a doubt, Master is the leader in our relationship. i look to, and rely on him for leadership. i am capable of leading but i prefer the safety and freedom of not having to; knowing Master is at the helm and i am his trusty first mate :)
A defining characteristic of his leadership style is his desire to see me flourish under his guidance. This kind of leadership has a name. It is called servant leadership and it does not diminish or shift the leader’s power. It actually enhances it.
A true leader can be trusted to do what needs to be done… even when it means doing things that are unpleasant or that they don’t feel like doing!
A common form of servant leadership
Over the years, i did many uncomfortable, unpleasant or undesirable things in service to my children’s well being. Everything from playing taxi driver on cold or rainy nights when i’d much rather stay curled up on the couch in my jammies, to enforcing difficult consequences when they tested the limits of established boundaries. i did these things because i believed they were as much a part of my parental duty as providing food and shelter.
Compromising my comfort for their best interest was an act of service but not an act of submission.
Having to be the dommy mommy was part of the job of being their parent and never felt in conflict with being submissive. i felt it was my moral obligation to create an environment where my kids felt safe, loved and guided so they could have the freedom to focus their energy on becoming the best possible version of themselves. (Hmmm, sounds familiar)
Servant leadership is about taking loving action from a position of power.
In the fantasy-novel version of D/s the Dominant gets 100% of what they want, the instant they want it. And, in that make-believe world, the submissive exists in a perpetual state of eager readiness to comply, regardless of any anguish or suffering it might cause.
Real life power exchange is just a wee bit different.
Like any healthy relationship, a healthy D/s relationship is built on honesty, trust and mutual satisfaction. The significant difference is the consensual designation of control.
In an elegant D/s dynamic, there is a symbiotic interrelation between dominant leadership that serves the relationship, and submissive surrender that serves the dominant… with no question as to who is in charge.