So I found this article online (like you do): The Value in Vulnerability.

The article is written in the context of making career changes, but I think it’s relevant to situations like D/s, or polyamoury, or activism as well. (Presently, I’m looking at it in the context of D/s, because that’s just how I roll, but it works on all of those levels).


It talks about how, when you start learning how to do something Right, you are always starting at Zero. You’re not going to get it right, right off the bat. So the process of starting – whether that’s trying something you’ve never done before, or stepping up your game (whatever that game may be) to the next level of development/skillz/intensity – always involves vulnerability and, thus, it always, always involves courage.


This 2x2 diagram comes from the above-linked article, "The Value in Vulnerability".


I find that it’s fairly widely recognized that Submission requires a huge degree of trust and vulnerability and courage. And it does. But I find that it’s less widely/openly acknowledged – maybe because of Domism, or maybe because of the wider cultural attitude that says “vulnerability = weakness, therefore power = invulnerability” – that Dominance requires the same thing.


Taking ownership – and therefore responsibility – of someone else, on any level, but particularly on an on-going level, means making yourself vulnerable, too. You are putting yourself in a situation where you have to let someone else inside you. Sure, you’re letting them in so that they can better learn your needs and buttons and what-not, but that still means showing them the squishy places that you guard most carefully. Admitting that you need – at all – can be a really scary thing, particularly if you’re most comfortable in a place of exercising as much control over your personal world as possible (how many of us who occupy Domme Space feel most on top of things when we’re (successfully) doing it all ourselves, rather than having to delegate? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so).


Going into that “not doing it myself” space means trusting a lot. I don’t just mean in the sense of trusting that, for example, the person serving you won’t leave you in the lurch after you’ve come to rely on them. Trust applies to a much wider situation than just being willing to (strive for comfort while you) tell someone else how you want things to be done and trusting them to have meant it when they said it was what they wanted.
I mean that you have to trust that the person who has given you their power to hold is also going to be open with the information you need to guide and steer them appropriately.  I mean that you have to trust that their faith in you is not misplaced, and you have to trust your own judgment in an unfamiliar, or familiar-but-higher-stakes, situation as well.


It takes courage to take risks, especially risks that effect more than just yourself.
It takes courage to go against the cultural (and counter-cultural) programming that says we – especially those of us who are women – aren’t supposed to be demanding, that says entitlement is a deep and unforgivable character flaw, that says Power-Over makes you a Bad Activist or a sociopath or a member of The Man.


There’s this really lovely break-up song by SJ Tucker (go here for a listen) that includes the line “All of us who dare to love are brave”.  I think those words are relevant here, too.


I have to remind myself that – because Owner/property dynamics aren’t just about an active partner (the submissive) and a receptive partner (the dominant) Doing Their Thing, because they are multi-person dances[1] that involve everyone working together in an ongoing exchange – that I am brave for this. That it takes courage, on my part as well as hers, to do this and to strive to do it well.


Of course, I also have to remember that, just because it’s a scary thing to do, to feel your way through unfamiliar territory while leading someone else along the way, it doesn’t mean that I get to cut myself any slack or rest on “but I’m trying, and it’s haaaaaaaaard!” I have to remember that I don’t get to stop, to put things down when it feels too heavy.


If it’s her duty to me to keep striving, keep opening, keep accepting my will into hers, to keep striving to cultivate her submission, it’s no less my duty to her to keep striving, keep opening, keep accepting her Self into mine, to keep striving to cultivate my sense entitlement, of certainty, of Power. We are both brave for deciding, for constantly choosing, to keep learning this dance together.



Ms Syren


[1] Good metaphor, since everyone involved is working to do their parts right, and it kind of falls apart if any of them stop striving to do their steps to the best of their ability.