Recognition in D/s relationships

There is one aspect that by now I have realized as particularly important for a D/s relationship: The recognition feedback loop - at least that's how I like to call it.

What I mean by that is a (strong) need for the submissive part to gain recognition by the dominant part. The [knowing] dominant part ensures that such need is satisfied by

  • making sure the submissive knows what kind of behavior is valued by the dominant, and
  • actually granting that recognition if the submissive part actually behaves accordingly

I believe especially the latter part is important. The submissive part might feel insecure about what she (forgive my ignorance, I am always thinking in maledom/femsub terms) does, and whether it is really the right thing to do. So if she doesn't get encouragement by recognition, she might try something else or simply give up at some point.

The 'feedback loop' (technically speaking probably rather a feed-forward loop) probably gets into place if the desire for recognition becomes a need for recognition, and is strong enough for the submissive to go very far in order to obtain that very recognition.

So initially, maybe much simpler things (actions/behavior, whatever is desirable) result in the desired amount/level of recognition, but over time those things become much more normal for both sides, and thus sub needs to do more or other desirable things in order to gain the same amount of recognition than before.

There is a lot of difference in how much recognition a person needs. Some people base a lot of their self-esteem on the amount of recognition they get from other people (maybe even only close people). Obviously for this kind of person, the mechanics as outlined above should work even better.

Some more thoughts on training

While recently having attended a performance of a famous group of artists of acrobatics, I started to think about training in some general terms, not just specifically in the D/s context. Given those extraordinary control about their body that these acrobats have (and probably inspired by their tightly clad bodies), that flow of thought just occurred to me. Oh and yes, I obviously also had to think of the kind of positions they would be able to have sex in, but that's not the issue that I want to write about right now ;)

So let's first look a bit at the acrobatic artists: They train their bodies to bend into positions that seem impossible. They obtain a feeling for (and control of) balance that is truly amazing.

What will bring them to one of the [world] famous acrobatic companies? They will probably endure hard training starting at a very young age. Many of them will not be doing this entirely voluntarily, but more because their parents/trainers keep on insisting that such valuable talent has to be "made use of", improved, etc. Certainly none or almost none of the artists will be able to sexualize/eroticize that kind of pressure, submission, ...

Looking back to the D/s training, especially in those areas that I'm interested in, I think there's some analogy. It, too, is about achieving higher control about certain aspects of the body. Being able to control the gag reflex in the case of deep throating. Being able to sustain quite unnatural position of the feet in case of high heel training. Being able to handle an increased breathing rhythm and constant pressure to the body, maybe even reshaping the torso in the case of corset training.Other people also like to engage in anal training, being able to stretch the sphincter to a desired above-average level. Or, lets look at posture training, where the trainee has to learn how to walk and manage to keep a book on top of the head, without making it fall.

So in both cases we're dealing with the fundamental strive to alter/enhance some physical aspect of the body. I think in both cases (to a varying degree) the main motivation can be described as: To be able to be better than other people, to be different from them, to be special. To please others (and oneself) by demonstrating the abilities of the enhanced body. To be respected/recognised by the enhanced abilities. I think it's just logical that training of something for the purpose of sexual enhancement of the body can also in response become sexually rewarding - whereas training for something asexual, will just be regularly rewarding.

The closest connection between training acrobats and sex related training is probably visible in the case of certain contortion fetishists. Here the mere act of being able to bend the body is what is fetishised. I can hardly imagine that for a couple where e.g. he is a contortion fetishist and she is a contortionist, she wouldn't be more motivated to proceed/advance with the contortion training, because she notices his sexual reaction. This doesn't even mean that we are talking about a D/s relationship at all. Obviously a combination was possible (and isn't it an extremely interesting one?).

Punishment... but what about rewards?

In any kind of BDSM context, many people have very precise ideas on how to perform various kinds of punishments. The list is basically neverending, like spanking, needles, clamps, electro torture, whips, sticks, and all the like.

To couples who mostly engange in "SM" in its stricter meainig, those punishments are actually what they are interested in. A masochistic partner actually likes to be punished, and depending on the level of punishment and the level of masochism, the punishment is actually enjoyed, looked forward to and/or actively being asked for.

However, getting back to my much enjoyed and previously blogged about training in a more D/s like setup, a punishment needs to be an actual punishment. I think any form of education/training is most successful if there are both, punishment and rewards.

Depending on the submissive/masochistic partner, I've discovered that there can be multiple quite distinct reasons for accepting and in one way or the other 'liking' punishment.

The former kind of mostly masochistic group of people derive pure enjoyment/lust from the pain that is experienced as part of the punishment. It's - I would at least suggest that - a mostly physical thing. Sexual arousal from pain.

The latter group, I'd say they are mostly submissive, actually enjoys/accepts the punishment as a consequence of them doing something wrong. They don't actually enjoy the actual pain. Rather, they see it as a part of the power that the dominant partner is able to exert over them. And they can enjoy being punished as part of the process to be more like their dom/master would like them to be.

As usual, everybody is different, and these are just my very personal observations over some time now. And many 'bottoms' will actualy be part of both groups, to some degree. But I guess you get my point.

So especially, for that latter group of mostly submissive individuals, there also needs to be some form of real reward. An obvios (and obviously easy, for the dominant partner) way is to define reward as absence or reduction of punishment, restriction or predicament.

So lets assume the submissive partner has to endure whatever restriction to please her partner, such as e.g. feet-killing high heels, a tightly laced corset, gag, [butt] plug, clamps, whatever. Then it's easy to reward any desirable behavour by loosening/removing that obligation.

Also, in my humbly opionion, verbal rewards are extremely important. Let the submissive partner know that you are extremely happy with a particular performance, that you are proud of your good girl/slave/pet/... After all, she voluntarily submits herself to the dominant partner, in order to please him, and to make him happy (and be happy because she can make him most happy in that way)!

Another option which I find particularly tempting, is to consider sexual pleasure/satisfaction as a reward. This obviously varies with the partner, but at least with partners who have a healty to strong sexual drive this can work quite well. So in such a setup, the dominant partner can tell the submissive one that she will only get fucked as a reward if she performs her [however defined] duties well before. Sometimes her motivation can be enhanced by making sure she is/gets already quite hot and horny while performing the actual duty (by having to wear some sex toy or whateever else is keeping her aroused but does not provide the chance to orgasm.

Obviously this will only work if the dominant partner can actually control himself from not taking her just because of his sexual desire (before she has performed whatever duties she was supposed to perform). I personally have to admit that I absolutely never had any problems resisting that temptation, but I've heared of men who have ;) This can also give another twist to the overall game. Lets presume she wants to get fucked, and thus takes care of her duties, and wants to be rewarded. If he is watching her, she can behave (if permitted) in a particularly slutty way, show herself off, behave even more in the way she knows that turns him on :)

This kind of 'reward by sexual pleasure' play will probably find its strongest form in couples who engage in chasity belts or other chasity devices. I personally haven't really got any experience with it, and it isn't something that is on the top of the list of things I like to try. But sounds reasonably interesting, still :)

Which brings us to another topic, that is not at all a reward, but somehow relates to sexual pleasure in a D/s setup, oto: It's one of my personal favourites and called 'orgasm control'. Allowing the submissive partner only to orgasm after having asked and being granted permission to do so. Yes, sometimes that can be hard for her. But hey, who said it's going to be easy :)

Education and Training as part of D/s

One of my favourite scenarios in a D/s kind of relationship are related to education and training of the submissive partner. Being presented with the gift that the respective submissive partner allows me to influence her in a way that she [semi-]permanently alters her behaviour, her habits, or whatever else I desire. Isn't this the biggest, most influential and intimate gift one can give another person (or receive, in my personal case)?

Before talking about what I enjoy about training/education games, I think it is important to distinguish between the various kinds of relationship that the two respective partners are in.

  • role playing
  • Some people just like the role they are playing associated with training. It's not important whether there actually is any success, and in fact they don't actually want to achieve any behaviour change. In fact, they can start with the same setting next time all over again, and the to-be-trained one can forget everything. It's merely about playing the situation of e.g. a teacher/student kind of setup. While I can understand why that setup, much like any other role playing, is of interest to certain people, it really isn't interesting to me.

  • bdsm-play relationship
  • In a relationship that is either only for BDSM (specifically D/s) play, where the respective partners just meet for play and have their own 'real life', do not form a love relationship / partnership, there is actual possibility for training. However, whatever will be the spcific training goal, the changed behaviour will only apply within the BDSM setting, and not or only unintentional extend to the real life.
  • love relationship with bdsm-play
  • Basically similar to the last category. However, the partners are also involved in a love relationship. Any BDSM related play however happens within a specific setting, that is clearly distinguished from realtiy. Any submission (and consequently any training) only happens within the well-defined play setting.

  • 24/7 TPE or the like
  • In this situation, the partners agree to let the game become reality. The submission of the submissive partner is permanent, and the dominant partner can actually perform training that effects the real life, real personality, real behaviour.

My personal fascination in this area belongs to into the last three forms of training in relationships as indicated above. Obviously [for me], there is an increase of fascination and interest from the for-play-only down to the 24/7 form.

As for training goals, my personal favourite is to turn the submissive partner into my ideal sex slut, my personal sex toy. What does this precisely mean? I like to train her to understand and follow my personal preference of a dress code. She will e.g. have to learn that skirts are almost always a must, that naked legs with no nylons or pantyhose are taboo, that bodies are preferred over panty/bra combinations, that boots almost always overrule most other styles of footwear, that shoes which visibly show the toes are unacceptable, and so on.

As for training of sexual practice, I definitely enjoy training her to learn deep throating, to teach her how to properly offer her body in the [for me] most attractive way. She will learn how to behave "slutty", how to show off in a sexy way, how to expose herself with various grades of sublety, initially for me, and later on (if that is acceptable to her) for others.

As for general behaviour (within the 'play time', if it is not 24/7), she sould learn how to behave appropriately in my presence, e.g. show her affection, make others understand by various means that she really belongs to me - an intensity of belonging in excess of what most people can imagine :)

Now one or the other reader might be asking himself: Yeah. This jerk just wants his perfect slut. Where will he ever get it from [apart from his dreams], and what does she get from all of this? Let me reply like this: Whatever I've mentioned here, I'd like to train her to be able to do it. This doesn't mean that I constantly require her to do any of that! And what does she get from it? Well, first of all, we're talking about somebody who is already enjoying the mere act of submission. Under this presumption, I can use this submissivness to make her go further down that road. To put the bit of extra motivation and sometimes even pressure onto her that makes her go beyond where she would have gone on her own. But in a direction that she herself finds sexually and or otherwise arousing and pleasing. I have no intent nor joy to train somebody to be something that she doesn't acutally enjoy being.

This is not all mere phantasy, but I've actually been lucky enough to be gifted with [play-]partners to actually engage in working on a lot of the training goalds outlined above. And I was having the best time of my life :)

Last but not least, in my opinion and from my experience, any kind of training within the bdsm context will only work if the to-be-trained partner is at least as submissive as masochistic. If she is primarily masochistic, she will actually voluntarily do things wrong in order to be punished, and the punishment is actually a reward and not a punishment anymore.

A partial workaround for this dilemma is to distinguish between punishment that is attractive to the masochist, and punishment that is actual punishment. The former, original punishment then becomes the reward. Do you agree that this sounds confusing? Yes, I think it is confusing. But it seems to do the trick for some couples.