July 31, 2010


The foundation of any BDSM relationship is the exchange of power. Unlike traditional interactions, a D/s or M/s relationship is built upon the premise that power is unequally divided. This is done willingly with one person ceding power and the other accepting it. Of course, with each comes responsibility.

The Traditional Model

To state that inequality in relationships is exclusive to BDSM is misleading. Most relationships have some type of inequality built into them. This is true even for those which are supposedly 50/50 breakdown. Depending upon the situation, certain factors come into play which make equality impossible.

The first situation is one where one person is in the position of authority. A common relationship that most of us are familiar with is the employer-employee. Anyone who worked for another knows the power this person wields over you. He or she has your financial future in your hands. Obviously, anyone who has this much control is in the driver's seat. Inequality is experienced each time you are called into his or her office. While in that position, your work future is dependent upon the choices of another. Their authority over you is obvious.

Another situation is where authority isnt present but power is. This could occur because of the forcefulness or timidness of the person's involved. Have you ever seen a friendship where one person is always making the decisions. The second person is the one who always follows along while agreeing to whatever the "powerful" one dictates. Here there is an inequality based upon the personalities involved.

We can see this same thing occur within intimate relationships. Some will exercise power over the other based upon his/her personality. Many get into situations where they cannot make a decision without the permission of the other. In a subtle way (although not always subtle), the inequality of the relationship is exemplified with each request for permission.

BDSM Relationships

BDSM relationships differ in the fact that there is no pretending of equality. As you can see, equality as a methodology is not very common. Most relationships have a power breakdown that leans one way or another. Instead of 50/50, there is a 60/40 or 70/30 type of interaction. One person naturally exerts more influence over the other person.

While not pretending to strive for equality, we also recognize that the power structure in a BDSM relationship is absolute. This is especially true in the M/s world. All power lies in the hands of the Master or Mistress. Here is a situation where each party agrees a unequal balance of power. The breakdown in these circumstances is 100/0. The inequality is complete.

Why The Shock

Some are shocked to learn that people willingly submit to relationships where they have no power. I see this all the time, especially from those who were cultured to think that equality is a worthy goal to strive for. We live in a world which promotes racial and gender equality on many levels. However, these same people fail to realize that most relationships are absolute and we willing cede power over. If you doubt this, tell me the power breakdown when you are sitting in your car after being pulled over by a police officer. Most find they have little power in those circumstances. Pass over the license and registration and shut your mouth is the obvious course of action.

Thus, do not be shocked that people choose this type of relationship. As I mentioned, the major difference is in degree and the fact that we do not pretend to live for equality. It is my belief that people who seek this are not in tune with reality. There is nothing in nature that offers up the idea of equality. Why do humans seek this when we see the inequality in every relationship we have? BDSM just eliminates this foolish notion and allows us to work on our relationships within the parameters established based upon unequal control. To me, this is a bit more honest.

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