As you saw earlier, fantasy operates a busy transportation hub in your mind, capable of projecting you to its different territories without so much as an overnight bag. Well, there’s a second, related hub that can take you deeper underground where the treasure is buried–playing with power.
You’ve been playing with power all this time, you just never labeled it that way. If you like to be pinned under your guy, you’ve experienced the thrill of submitting to power.
If you like holding him down you’ve experienced the thrill of wielding it. It’s not possible to have sex without some kind of power exchange. At one moment or another you are wielding or yielding.
If you’re doing missionary you are surrendering yourself to him.
If you’re on top guiding the speed and depth of his thrusts, you’re controlling him.
If you dig your nails into his back you’ve inflicted pain. If he does it, you’ve had pain inflicted on you.
If you’ve liked a massage that almost hurts you’ve experienced a pleasurable aspect of pain. If you’ve given one you’ve experienced the satisfaction of administering it.
Just because you’re not conscious of how you relate to and enjoy power doesn’t mean you’re not experiencing it. In fact, the only difference between power playing and structured power playing is awareness and intent.
For example, you might not have intended to have your partner spank you when you got into that playful wrestling match. And you might not have been aware that the pleasant sensations you experienced came from yielding to his power.
Alert! Have you read our BDSM guide?
With structured power playing, on the other hand, you come at it with awareness and intent. You become aware that you like to be lightly spanked (or do the spanking), get your partner’s agreement to participate and create the environment for a satisfying BDSM experience.
It is an organized, systematic attempt at creating the power sensations you’re drawn to.
You Have No Choice But To Submit.
The key to structured power playing is the exchange of power or sensation (spanking, being tied up). You can be submissive –choosing to allow the other person to have control over you in some way, or dominant–choosing to honor the request of the submissive.
Notice the words “choose” and “allow.” They are critical to consensual, structured power playing.
Power playing is a terrific way of leaving your day-to-day anxieties on hold. Submission sex, for example, often elicits an exhilarating, liberating feeling. By giving up responsibility for what’s going on, by bending your will to the authority of another, by taking on the role of the compliant and the helpless you can experience a form of therapeutic escape from stress, guilt, shame, fear, and anger.
Being in the presence of a controlling figure makes some people feel the kind of safety and protection they felt as a child. Others like the feeling of surrendering themselves, of disappearing into the unavoidable nothingness that comes from relinquishing all power.
Still others like earning the approval of a dominant figure or turning their partner into somebody more commanding and powerful. Anastasia Steele, the main character in Fifty Shades Of Grey, is a great example of a woman who came to embrace her inner submissive. Her love affair with Christian Grey was almost completely defined by structured power playing.
Command & Control.
Taking the dominant position, on the other hand, provides the thrill that comes from placing yourself above someone else. You can enjoy the authority of telling someone what to do, watching them obey, inflicting “punishment” if they don’t and getting a vicarious thrill from seeing their “suffering.”
Structured power playing is an exploration of your sexuality and personal boundaries. It’s a way to play up excitement and intensity of the sexual experience. It transports you out of judgmental thoughts into territory that widens and deepens your understanding of who you are.
It’s hard to dredge up self-judgments when you’re in the middle of a passionate, personal sexual odyssey.
Ready, Set, Play!
It’s easy to start power playing in a more intentional way–build on what you already like. For example, if you like it when your partner gently pins your hands over your head then the next time it happens, tell him how much you like it and suggest that you go a bit further. Have some silk scarves by the nightstand and suggest that he tie you up gently.
Of course, this only works if you have a willing partner. If yours has a little too much starch in his collar it’s best to have a talk first so you don’t scare the hair right off his head.
But let’s get back to you being tied up with those scarves. What do you feel? How does he react? Do you like it? Which part? Why? Do you want to go further or dial it back? What would make it more arousing? What do you want him to say? What do you want him to do?
If things go well, you may discover that you want to go further next time, either with manacles or rope. If they didn’t go well, no biggie, you just found out it’s not for you.
Or maybe it is, but it’s you who should be tying the knots! Be sure to spark a conversation about other fantasies. This is your opportunity to shop the sample sale of your innermost desires.
In the next post, we’ll give you some help in figuring out your preferences (this isn’t an all-or-nothing sort of thing). In the meantime, here are 25 facts about BDSM that you probably don’t know.
If you missed the last post, check it out here.