Vulnerable and honest communication is risky, but risk comes with great rewards. As a Domme I ensure that my submissive and I both embody open communication. That way we can win everything from each other.
My power over my dearheart stems from effective communication, which led us to total surrender as the basis of our Femdom relationship. He took a risk opening himself up fully to me the first night we met, and in return we've been rewarded with a relationship to last several years (and counting).
Communication is About Vulnerability
To communicate effectively you need to be open and transparent. Which means you need to be willing to be breathtakingly vulnerable.
If you communicate well, you're offering to place your self-truths into the hands of someone else. You will never know what they will do with it – though you might have guesses whether they'll be receptive or not.
Such vulnerability is difficult to do as it takes courage. You have to be willing to face scorn, derision, laughter, tears, yelling, awkward silence, or any other reaction. Of course you also hope for affirmation, validation, reassurance, or other positive interactions.
But you can never be certain about how someone else will react until they've gone and done it.
You also cannot force someone to react a certain way. There's no healthy way to manipulate someone else's feelings and thoughts on a subject until they agree with what you want. That's why communication is all about risk.
Communication Also Takes Integrity
After you lay yourself bare, there always is the risk that things go against your hopes. This is through no fault of your own.
In fact that is a good thing – better to discover these fundamental incompatibilities early on, rather than labouring on for a time before finally breaking apart. Or worse still, trying to change yourself or other people.
People will always be a variegated lot. Sometimes you just won't be able to make common ground. Trying to compromise your own integrity to change to suit them is the wrong approach – like contorting yourself to fit into impossible boxes.
Integrity is about honesty, strong principles, and boundaries. Communication requires speaking your honest thoughts, following your words up with actions, and not shifting your stance to suit other people's whims. It follows that good communication relies on integrity.
My Femdom Relationship is Built on Total Surrender
Perhaps it's because of my role as a Domme, but it always seemed natural that my dearheart approached me cautiously and vulnerably. He made his interest known, opened himself up with verbosely honest communication, and took things slow as he waited for me to accept his whole self or reject him.
Later on in our relationship he shared an influential book with me that coalesced my understanding of his mentality. The book was about a matriarchal society with heavily gendered power dynamics. Men lived to serve, but were not necessarily subservient. Yet they only had their station in life if a woman trusted them enough to keep around. It explained much about his submissiveness towards women.
In turn I shared a book with my dearheart that had a mature romance dynamic built on total surrender. In one memorable scene, a young man upset his romantic interest and didn't know what to do. One of the main characters recommended that he chase after her, go belly-up until she finished venting her frustrations, and then apologise profusely for good measure.
That's one way to do it, but what else does total surrender mean?
In my eyes, total surrender is about a mutual exchange of commitment. If everyone gives everything they have to offer to each other, then everyone wins. There is no imbalance, like what can happen when you carefully dole out time and love and commitments.
When you give your all, you cannot be said to be holding back selectively.
In truth total surrender is similar to the difference between a scarcity mindset and an abundance mindset. Total surrender involves overflowing and sharing that abundant love with others.
It's important to note that I define total surrender in a relationship as mutual. In our D/s relationship I accepted my dearheart's submission, and in turn I offered him my whole self. To offer less in return would doom us to eventual failure: there would always be a chance for resentment to build over the pieces I held back.
Practically speaking my commitment means that I entangled our lives together, and I give him a significant amount of my time and attention and support. He can call on me to solve his problems, or just to hold him tight when things are overwhelming again.
I believe that relationships work best when both sides walk away from the deal feeling like they got the better bargain – which is why total surrender is such a big deal. There's nothing kept back in reserve, so our cognitive biases focus on all our gains, and we do not notice so easily what we give to our partners in return. We end up feeling like we got more than we gave, even if it's not true.
I'm still waiting to see how total surrender fits into our polyamorous relationship. I may be overflowing with love enough to go around, but my time and resources are constrained like everyone else's.
It is also difficult to find compatible partners, let alone those that will plunge headfirst into commitments. I'm not a casual person, to put it mildly. I enjoy the feeling of getting wrapped up in a partner's surrender, in being able to shape their lives.
Sadly I lacked that feeling with my last girlfriend, despite having a D/s dynamic with her. It was more for play than for life.
That said, I got incredibly lucky with my dearheart. We met at the right time, when both of us were ready to make commitments – especially him, after a seven year hiatus from committed relationships.
When I offered him my collar to wear, he curled up on my side and listened carefully. He was so palpably vulnerable from being out of practise, but he was willing to be open.
That's one of the things I admire about him. He's always been open and willing to lay himself bare.
And I've been willing to accept him as he is.