When you’re first starting out in a D/s relationship and both of you are new, it can be rocky going. It can be really frustrating to be so excited to try out Dominance or submission and not have your partner be on the same page as you. Today in chat on The SafeworD/s Club one of the newer subs¹ had some questions about getting her Dom to, well, “get his Dom on”. She was frustrated that her Dom wasn’t doing what she wanted, and wanted to know how to make him step up and do the Dommy stuff she craved.
Some of you more experienced subs are already smiling because you see the inherent problem here: if you’re the submissive, how can you surrender control if your Dom won’t step up and take it? But if you make your Dom step up and take control, which one of you is really the Dominant? And if the Dominance you receive comes at your own command, can you really surrender yourself to it in the first place?
This is exactly the sort of deliciously complicated, intricately messy little problem that I just love to roll around in my head. Beth and I talked about this off and on throughout the day. You might want to get comfortable, because this is going to take a while to get through. Well, actually, no: I’ll try to keep this short, but I hope you like this topic because I’m probably going to be talking about it all week.
For today, let’s start with the actual question and the actual answer. The question is: “As a submissive, what can I do to make my Dom step up and take control?” And here’s the answer: Mu.
It might be cheating to ask a question in English and answer in it Japanese, but it is necessary. Our language literally does not have a word for the answer to this kind of question, but Japanese and Chinese both do. The word mu is central to Buddhist thought; it literally means “not have” or “no thing”.
Please don’t misunderstand. In English if you ask “what can I do” and I respond with “nothing”, it’s not the same. I’m not saying there is nothing you can do. I’m saying mu, which sort of means “your question does not make sense”. But mu does not mean “you should not have asked the question”. It is just… well, it is just mu.
I once had mu explained to me thusly: if you ask a Japanese man “have you stopped beating your wife yet?” he will not understand that it is a joke. He will simply answer mu, because to him the question is valid and yet makes no sense, and to this there is a correct response: mu. One way of interpreting mu is to mean “the mind that frames this question cannot comprehend the answer.”
I’d like to ask you a favor. I’m going to stop my post here because mu really is this important. The question “how do I control my Dom” is obviously logically flawed. But you know how we say “there are no stupid questions”? Mu sort of says this. It says “your question is fundamentally wrong, but it is a good question”. So very many subs ask this question when they are starting out. The question might be wrong, but the people who ask it are good, and they are coming from a very real place of frustration and pain and fear.
I’m going to come at this question from a bunch of different angles this week. But for now, will you sit with this question for a moment?
¹ Note: I’m not naming the submissive for a number of reasons. First, I don’t think she reads my blog and therefore she is not able to defend herself here or clarify my misunderstandings. More importantly, however, I found a thread of pure feeling in her words that was so common to so many of us in our early experiences, and I want to honor those feelings without shaming her for being new to D/s. If I have represented her here unkindly, I hope you will take this to be a failing of my writing and no fault of hers.