A couple of disclaimers, first.
I’m a wordsmith. I’m also an analyst by trade. That means that I take words – especially on paper and turn them into powdered ink and pulp, looking for the true meaning behind them. There are few non-fiction BDSM books that I do not own. I have read them all – more than once. With each page, rather I agree with the author or not, I learn more about myself. This, I feel, is the purpose behind reading. Not to change the way the reader feels into the way the author feels – but to learn how you, the reader feels. I hope that people get that from my rants and essays, and don’t feel like they should believe the way I do, just because I say so. I want the reader to turn them into powder and pulp, too. And find out more about who they are.
Also, I’m one of those people who refuse to get caught up in “buzz words” or “slogans”. I don’t follow SSC (please let me define my own parameters, I am an adult) and the like. It’s not so much rebellion, as it is a belief that we’re all so different that we can’t be put in some nice, neat little box.
So, when the subject of a “power exchange” comes up, I bristle.
Because I’m a word purist. Because it sounds like a slogan. Because I’m not giving UP power to GET power in return. I know that people believe they’re doing that – that they receive personal power by giving up their personal power in a safe, loving environment. Sometimes, I envy people who can look at BDSM that way. I don’t. Nothing is ever simple for the Screamer <g>.
For me, giving up my personal power in a relationship means – that I’m giving up my power. I don’t expect to get any power back. I DO expect to get something of equal value back. And I’m usually not disappointed. But what that is, is not power. It’s freedom. It’s acceptance. It can be sexual gratification, it can be masochistic release. It can be fulfillment of fantasy. It can be emotional release. It can be, and should be, many things to many people. But to me, it ain’t power.
Unless I’m on Top <g>.
There’s no doubt that BDSM in general is an exchange – whether you are in a relationship, or just playing with other people casually, you are giving something and getting something else in return. That’s an unarguable fact. But to call this a “power exchange”, I feel, takes away from all of the other things that D/s or SM or B&D can be, and is. Look at all the things that you can give or receive – power is but one aspect of it. And for me, that part of this isn’t an “exchange” anymore than my submission is a gift <g>
You are giving pain to get satisfaction. You are binding someone because you like the feeling of doing it. You are taking a spanking that you might not enjoy, but are getting an emotional surge from doing so, because your partner IS enjoying it. There is always a give and take. Otherwise, none of us would be doing this. We’re all getting something that we need – be it physical or emotional.
This is not to say that those who use that
term are wrong, just as people who live by “Safe, sane and consensual”
are not wrong. Everyone does BDSM in his or her own way, whatever
works for him or her, and that’s one of the things I love most about having
this in my life. I just don’t want to be generalized that way.
Don’t put me in that box unless I’m wearing your collar and you really
want me there <g>. I just don’t want to run my relationships on someone
else’s slogan. Especially when I don’t feel it fits where I am.
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