Power Exchange

Author: Raven Shadowborne © March 26, 1999

 The roles of dominant and submissive create what we call a power exchange. Many insist that it is the submissive giving a dominant a "gift" of their submission. I do not agree with that theory and this article is to explain why. 

Along the "gift" line of thought, by giving a gift, the sole responsibility for the sucess of the relationship rests on the dominant's shoulders, which is just not true. As well, it means that a submissive only gives submission without any expectation of return. A gift is something given without strings attached, and without expectation of any kind of return. Both of these are indeed false.

The word exchange means that one person gives something to someone else and receives something in return. In my opinion, this applies to the exchange between dominant and submissive.

A submissive gives control over themselves to the dominant, expecting to recieve use of that control in return. If a submissive does not submit, there is no dominance in return. If a dominant does not use the power given him/her, then the submission will end. It takes both, doing their part, to create the power exchange.

In a D/s relationship, one can not fully exist without the other. A perscon can still be a dominant or a submissive outside a relationship. But without the active participation of their counter part, there is no submitting or dominating.

When a power exchange is in motion, one may not notice that it is indeed an exchange. It can appear to be all one sided. People seem to forget that if both people were not fulfilling their "role" in the relationship, it would end. That the dominant actually dominates, and the submissive actually submits, is an unspoken expectation of the relationship. Often, this goes unseen until something occurs that stops the exchange from working as easily. Possibly the dominant withdraws because of stress at work, or the sub has a physical illness which prevents much of the physical submission. The exchange is no longer physically seen, and each participant begins to wonder where it went and crave it's return. One would not crave the return of the exchange, if it was indeed a no strings attached gift given from one person to another. 

One balances the other in a D/s relationship. If one gives more than the other, it can negatively afect the relationship. Causing one to feel they work harder than the other, building resentment and eroding the relationship. Keeping a power exchange alive is both participants responsibility, not just one or the other. It is, like any other relationship, something which requires work and energy from both people to make it work.



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