Pleasure is my business, my life, my joy, my purpose.

Equality in Inequality

I was sitting at his feet as we watched a show, the most normal of circumstances, my head resting on his thigh and his hand in my hair, and I came to a micro revelation. This isn’t really new, I’ve written about this same thing before and it’s how Onyx and I have operated for quite a while, but I had not really put the pieces together as to why I’m considered a “bad” submissive by some and why I had such trouble accepting some of the submissive tropes I had heard in the past.

I used to have more trouble submitting than I do now. I was told constantly that in order to submit I must think of my Top/Owner/WhatHaveYou as someone better than myself, higher than myself, someone to look up to not just literally. I was told that in order to be a submissive I must think of myself as less than or inferior.

While I will admit there are things which Onyx is better than me at there are just as many things which I am better than him at. We’re pretty fairly balanced as far as skills and intelligence goes, I believe. For a long while I had trouble with this concept because I was trying to fit our equality, or equity, along lines of a differentiated power dynamic.

It was from me sitting at his feet, my hair being stroked as I laid my head upon his thigh and we both watched the screen before us, that I understood this difference. For me it’s never been about being less than someone else that makes me want to submit, it’s about relinquishing control to another and trusting someone else completely enough to do that. Enjoying being treated like Onyx’s pet or prized possession, has nothing to do with being less than him or inferior to him, but is simply the dynamic we choose to enact.

The power dynamic between Onyx and myself comes from a place of equality. We are equals and because we are equals I can choose to be his property, because I have power I can choose to give that power over to him. If I had no power, if I had no choice, then there would be less enjoyment for both of us. It’s never been about inferiority for us, although there is nothing wrong with playing with that dynamic as well, but it’s just not where either of us live.

When I was having trouble submitting, when we were having trouble with our dynamic, I was told to think of him as better than me, to trust that he knows better than I do or that he is more capable than I am so that he could lead me. I had trouble with this. The real issue that was happening was I didn’t trust him and he didn’t trust himself, so we both were sabotaging the dynamic we both wanted but also feared. What I needed to do was trust that he knew what I wanted and needed and would choose what to give me, not to hold him up as greater than myself as I was told.

Although we play with power and pain there is no inequality in our relationship dynamic, which may sound like an oxymoron. I put my trust in him to take care of me and give me what I need and he puts his trust in me that I will take care of him and give him what he needs. We’re each giving and taking in different ways, but we’re both equally valued and appreciated and both getting and giving.

Perhaps equity is a better term for it than equality. Unfortunately equality comes along with all sorts of connotations that are not necessarily all good. Equality does not mean identicality or sameness, although a lot of people seem to think that is true. Equality doesn’t mean abolishing differences but it’s about celebrating sameness and differences. Really the way I use equality is the same as equity, but for the sake of minimizing confusion I think equity makes more sense in this instance.

Obviously by imposing a power dynamic on our relationship we are not equal in some senses of the word, but our contributions to each other and the relationship are equitable. They are valued the same and we are valued the same because of it. We are equals although we do not always interact in ways typically thought of as equal. We play with inequality in our actions because we are equals in every other way.


Shiny and New




  1. Yes! Speaking as someone who is Dom to a boy who is taller and physically stronger than I am, and who is at least as smart, if not smarter…power exchange has to come from a place of trust and equality. That trust is built on a foundation of respect – I recognize his desire to submit as an expression of freedom, pleasure and release, not as a sign that he is weak or less in any way. It’s a joy to be able to show him off, and how strong he is, and he trusts that my actions come out of love. Our play is a celebration and it stops as soon as either of us feels that dynamic is off, because it’s far too easy to step from an act that challenges him to an act that breaks trust.

    I’m sorry you were given that ill-fitting advice – I’ve heard it myself, and wish it came with a caveat that not everyone likes to play that way. But how lucky and wonderful that you and Onyx fit so well together. :) Finding a partner who fits isn’t easy, but it makes the play so much better.

  2. Amber

    This is a great revelation to have. It was something I learned in my last relationship that involved D/s, even if things didn’t get much beyond the theoretical there. But yes, that inherent, basic equality is what gives you the power to choose to submit. Bottoms and submissives are not automatically inferior, unless it suits them to feel that way. And even then they have the choice to feel that way, or the choice to leave if they are being made to feel that way unwillingly. I guess it all comes down to that, to choice – we just have to realize that we HAVE that power to choose!

  3. Yes! This describes my relationship with MasterDoc well. We both bring things to the table, take care of each other in our own ways and I let him have power over me because we both love doing it. But I’m definitely a smart, capable woman in my own right. He doesn’t like having stupid subs, he wants smart women.

  4. herlittleburden

    i have always the Dom/sub relationship to be more of a yin/yang relationship than a top and bottom type (superior / inferior) relationship. Both parties have essential aspect of the relationship to fill. Neither is more important than the other. Both sides are required to make it work. A Dom can not be fulfilled if there is no sub. and a sub will not be fulfilled if there is no Dom. my Mistress and i are two halves that make up a whole. Both parts being equally important and valuable.

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