Sunday, May 22, 2016

Accountability and Maintenance

I will start this by saying that I do not believe that subs should be rewarded or praised for fulfilling their daily duties.  In my eyes this is a basic expectation subs accept when they submit.  It's sort of like saying, "I went to work today and fulfilled my duties well enough to not get reprimanded or fired."  What would be an appropriate response to this?  Saying, "congratulations for exercising basic levels of personal responsibility that millions of people do every day,"?  If you are a sub and require constant acknowledgement of your service, they have a word for it: high maintenance.

That being said, there's a very fine line to tread here as it requires acknowledging both the short and long run of the D/s dynamic.  In the short run, I personally find it to be quite a turn on to be taken for granted.  It is a reminder of "my place," and feeds my subspace.  In the long run, if it starts to feel like nothing I do matters, I will get depressed, needy, and my performance will suffer.  Basically, a sub needs to feel like she "notices" every so often in order to keep going.  It doesn't matter if this is done in a positive or negative light, what he is really seeking is accountability.

Not all Dommes will deal with this equally.  I find some thrive on control and find plenty of ways to notice without it ever resembling a reward.  e.g. pointing out (or punishing him) when his services were less than perfect, having a system of checks (such as a chore chart) where a simple mark can indicate "adequately completed," or even full-blown ritualized inspections.

The situations where this dynamic seems most problematic often fall into reluctant-FLR relationships.  In these cases, the sub often sold the Domme all of the benefits of lifestyle D/s but failed to mention (or downplayed) the Domme's responsibilities in this.  If a sub tells her, "I need you to notice," that places an additional and unexpected burden on her and she may very well resent it.  I think this is why a common "punishment" in these relationships is to remove D/s.  I believe this is quite possibly the worst possible choice since it can decimate a sub's dedication, send him into depression, and she loses the benefits of his service.  If this becomes cyclical and standard practice, I do not believe D/s will be sustainable in the relationship over the long run.

I think one of the big disconnects that happens in these cases is that we are still in an era that has close enough ties to the "traditional roles" of spouses.  40 years ago, it was pretty standard for a woman to do all of the cleaning, shopping, cooking, and laundry every day, in addition to raising the children and in many cases, she was working as well.  The man of the house was involved in the physical labor tasks such as yard work, snow removal, fixing the car, plumbing, etc. which are frequently "once a week" or "as needed" tasks.  If a Domme was raised in one of these households (or with a single mother), I can understand her frustration that a sub feels the need to be even noticed for performing these duties.  The "old way" made these thankless jobs that were to be expected.

What fails here is that the sub doesn't need attention, he just needs to feel accountable.  Many things can drive subspace, but fear works very strongly to maintain it.  It's much easier to spend 99% of what would be free time performing required tasks if you are afraid of what will happen if you don't.  Without accountability, subs can get restless and begin to act out.  This is usually minor at first, doing the "bare minimum" instead of being thorough, half-assing some of the more meticulous tasks, and losing their "eager to please" attitude.  It's easiest to think of this as submissive depression.  He feels it doesn't matter anymore to her, so he doesn't feel like trying as hard.

This leads to another disconnect:  the assumption a sub may have that a Domme will feel dominant all the time.  A sub in sub depression will begin to think selfishly.  He'll become more needy and lose sight of how she may be feeling day in and day out.  His need to feel her dominance will become his driving force, overshadowing his "need to please her" that drives him when he is in a healthier submissive state.  He may act out attempting to incite a dominant reaction or he may simply trudge along, getting worse and worse over time.  In any case, this disconnect triggers a cycle where both Domme and sub can resent the other for not fulfilling their agreed upon roles.

It is the Domme's duty to stomp this out.  This might not be fair, but it's truth of the matter.  The common misconception is that this requires lots of effort and dominance on her part.  In truth, it can easily be done in 1-3 minutes.  Since I have no doubt that there are many Dommes that would eagerly beat the hell out of their sub in these cases, I'll focus the next bit on those who "aren't in the mood" and looking for something that requires minimal action and effort on her part.

-Time out.  Juvenile, yes, but effective nonetheless.  If a sub is less than motivated, in need of a D/s recharge, and just being annoying or obnoxious, send him to time out.  The severity can reflect the levels of frustration, or based upon how poor you think his attitude is.  On a most basic level, standing him in a corner in silence can be done with simple verbal direction.  Increasing severity will also increase the impact, e.g. putting him in a closet instead of in a corner, having a hood to pull over his face so that he can't see and let him know he is no longer being seen as a person, etc.  I suggest every couple have at least 1 pair of police-quality handcuffs for situations like these as well.  They don't require any sort of elaborate prep and can be applied very quickly.

These might seem like "effort," but the effort is minimal.  In 10 seconds you can order him to stand or kneel in the corner to think about his selfishness.  In 3 minutes you can have his hands cuffed behind his back and kneeling in the closet.  This sort of time investment can often buy you weeks of modified behavior.  Just make sure to set a timer, forgetting the sub is in time out can have the opposite effect.

-A chore chart.  Again, this might seem like work, but that's mostly on him.  Have the sub create the chart (spreadsheet on a computer, dry erase board, etc.) with his duties for the week broken down on a daily basis.  This can include the things he has to do and things you really like it when he does but usually have to ask for.  Once a day have him present the chart for your approval.  The easiest way is to just have him check off the things he completed and you "initial it."  If you don't mind taking an additional minute, you can go down the list, asking him if it was completed, and you can check them off you go.  The easier way takes about 5 seconds.  The harder way may take about 2 minutes.  Both require minimal effort, but what it does for him is immeasurable.  

-An uncomfortable shopping task.  Send him out for shopping with a standard list of things that are required.  Add 1 thing to the list that will mess with him, e.g. an enema, anal lube, a pair of plus size pantyhose that would fit him, etc.  When he gets to that item, it will most certainly impact him on a psychological level which will give him an internal battle that will wake up his subspace.  The item doesn't have to be humiliating, but it has to be something "out of the ordinary" enough to get him thinking.  I believe I remember reading something from QG at I am Her Main sub about forcing him to buy porno mags for women.  That is one of the more extreme routes.

This method has 1 negative and 1 large positive.  The negative is that if he doesn't buy it, this has to be acknowledged.  If you want the "minimal work" route, ask him if it got him thinking about his submission.  If the answer is yes, you can write it off as a joke.  The "more work" route would be punishing it.  The positive is that whether he buys it or not, you now have ammunition that can correct his behavior and attitude on the spot.  The threat now exists.

If he refused to buy it, you can now say that you'll make him buy it for real, or something even worse.  If he did buy it, you can say, "Next time I'll send you to buy ______."

Overall, this method requires very little work.  It takes 3 seconds to write the item on the list, less than 1 minute to see if he bought it or not and any feedback/follow up, and at any time in the future, a single sentence that can be used as a threat that will keep his subspace rolling.

My first clinical post in a while... I didn't really intend it to be when I started.  I've been reading more blogs out there lately and this just seems to cover some of the topics that I've come across recently.


  1. You're quite right in pointing out that an initially somewhat reluctant Femdom is likely to fail at the basic requirements for a Dom, feeling that too much is expected of her as far as acknowledging the work of her sub and making certain that he is held accountable, as well as providing situations that make her sub feel as though he is a sub and is being noticed as a sub.

    This is not a problem for a natural Dom such as myself, but seeing or reading about failed D/s relationships where the Femdom felt it was just too much work always frustrates and annoys me. It's a basic problem often caused by the fact that the male sub has wheedled and/or cajoled his reluctant partner to assume the dominant role in the first place. If the female does not really want this role and is doing it to please her male (or God forbid, to "save" the marriage) there's little chance of success, and it's unlikely that the female will utilize the easy methods of keeping the ball rolling that you describe. It takes two to tango, and if one of the partners really doesn't feel like dancing, well, the party is over.

    1. Thank you, Lady Grey. I always enjoy your comments.

      I get frustrated as well hearing about situations like that and I almost feel like someone shouting at characters in a movie even though I know it won't change the outcome. The "noticed" part is such a small gesture and isn't even really a D/s concept: when someone in a vanilla couple feels completely taken for granted without any "credit" for the good they do but constant reinforcement of only the bad, these usually fail as well.

      My least favorite is when Femdom is "sold" to the partner non-sexually. There just isn't a lot of motivation to grow beyond that... "oh, you'll do the dishes and laundry from now on? great."

      Take care.