What’s in a “Yes, Sir”?

… in which my ideas of what “Yes, Sir” means for us were challenged.

These days, our D/s river runs deep and doesn’t surface often. I think it’s largely because we don’t have enough energy (or power) which could be exchanged. But it certainly continues to run, only far beneath the surface. Our two years of overt D/s have changed us: Regardless of spankings or none, we both like our life better when he’s the boss and I’m not. Xander looks out for me, and lets me have downtime and outings. I do my best to obey and address him respectfully in word and tone. I keep him in the loop of how I am doing emotionally and mentally, and I communicate my needs and preferences clearly. I support his need for downtime and give him what he needs. And I try to stick to my slow weight loss plan as best as I can, because he made it clear how much he’d like me to get my pre-kids figure back (me, too). He doesn’t ask much of me above and beyond that, and that’s pretty much as far as our D/s goes most days.

We communicate well and don’t fight much, we’ve found easy ways to connect emotionally, and we have each other’s backs. It’s a good marriage, and though I do miss the special closeness, relaxation, and the spring in my step and increased self-control I get from being well spanked and well bedded, the lack of these two are really my only complaint. It could be so much worse!

But recently, Xander put his foot down, and I was surprised I didn’t know how to respond. I’d been going to bed much too late, and I can’t afford to. I get really grumpy and irritable with the kids when I lack sleep, and it affects my health. After we’d sorted out the miscommunication that led to it all, he told me how I was to do things from now on. I was surprised and a bit thrilled (because he hasn’t told me how or what to do in a long time), and mostly relieved. And this was the sort of interaction that required a “Yes, Sir” from me, but – I couldn’t say (or rather, write) it. Not because I didn’t agree with him, or because I couldn’t submit to it, but because it meant so much to me, and I couldn’t say it without knowing if it was as important to him as it was to me, and what it meant to him. I’d been running on assumptions for too long, and I didn’t want that to happen again.

Manga of a girl saluting and saying
But what does it mean??

I remember how at first, saying “Yes, Sir” to my husband felt a bit awkward, but how much I loved the feeling of sharing a naughty secret with him when I said it aloud. I loved the way it made me feel submissive when it was for something that came easily and the way it reinforced my commitment to obey him when it was hard to say.

After the bedtime discussion we had over our phones, his final message said, “OK, I think you get it. So this topic is done.” I had no trouble accepting it. But I just couldn’t bring myself to write “Yes, Sir.” In fact, I didn’t know how to respond, so I didn’t respond at all. When he got home, I told him in person that I accepted his dictum, but I couldn’t say “Yes, Sir” to it just yet, and I’d need to talk with him about why. He said, “I did notice you didn’t reply at all.”

Later that night, I told Xander I needed to know what “Yes, Sir” meant to him before I would use it again, because it meant so much to me, and I couldn’t bear thinking it meant one thing but later finding out that it didn’t. He said, “It is very important to me. But it’s just information. This is how you tell me that you accept and will abide by my decision.” Spoken with dom-ly finality. His tone said clearly this was not open to discussion. And here I was, full of all the feelings, and he obviously didn’t feel the same… I struggled with that. After a while, I quietly gave him the “Yes, Sir” for the bedtime decision and told him I needed time to think about all of this. He said, “There’s nothing to think about”, but he also knows me well enough to give me that space when I ask for it.

It took me a whole day to mull over his view that “Yes, Sir” was “just information.” What about the D/s and the erotic thrill and all the… feels?!? Didn’t he, couldn’t he, …? But after much deliberation, I arrived at the conclusion that he’s right. Or did I simply submit and accept that this was what “Yes, Sir” was to mean for us? As I’m writing this, I can’t tell if in this case, there’s even a difference, because if I truly want him to lead me, then I do need to follow his lead. And that means I will have to let go of at least some of my ideas on how he “should” lead and instead, accept how he actually does lead. (I can always respectfully tell him if I like it or not.)

I can and do “Yes, Sir” again, because now I know it means the same to me as to him: that I accept and will abide by his decision. And at the same time, every instance of “Yes, Sir” is also an affirmation that I still want this, that I still want him as my Dom and that I still want to obey him and follow his lead. And that is a good place from which our D/s, the one according to his rule, can grow.

What I need

What happened when Xander got something wrong, spanked me very hard, and what I made of that.

Weekend check-ins are a funny thing… they either don’t happen at all or, if they do, they are often more intense than the everyday, weekday ones. We tend to be more relaxed and have more time, and if the kids are busy enough with their play we might leave them alone for a few minutes longer. (If they’re out with the nanny, that’s when the fun really happens. Sometimes.)

So, last Saturday, after a leisurely breakfast, the kids got stuck into a new movie, and I asked Xander if we could we “go to the back” (our code for “rules and morning spanking”). He asked, a bit tongue-in-cheek “You really like your spankings, hm?” I had to tell him, “To be honest, I don’t like them so much anymore, but I know I’ll have a much better day if we do our check-in.”

In the bedroom, he sat on the bed and I kneeled before him to recite my rules. We were both relaxed and in a joking mood, and Xander was fiddling with the tawse in his hand. Now, I do like the tawse – mmmmh, leather! – but man, he’s spanking hard these days. And having the implement right in front of my nose (where I couldn’t ignore it) made me nervous, because it reminded me that soon after the warm-up, it was going to sting me a lot before I’d begin to like it again — and only if Xander decided to give me some of the fun sort at all.

My first rule is “I’m your little slave girl, and I love you.” The second half, while absolutely true, also allows him (and me) a good read on how connected I feel to him, by the way I say it. Most days, I’ll say “and I love you very much.” That day, with the tawse in my face, I said, “and I love you… I think.” We had a good laugh, and I found my way back into saying my rules properly. When I was done and on my way over his lap, I kissed him and said, “I love you very much.” Because, I really do. And because I’d just sassed him and he was holding a frickin’ tawse. He laughed and replied: “That’s good, and it doesn’t change a thing. Because I love you, too, and that’s why I’m giving you what you need.”

I was still laughing for the first three or four strokes. But he was spanking hard and fast, and this spanking very quickly turned into no fun at all. I went from laughing to something much closer to crying in a heartbeat, but it didn’t appear as if Xander realised it. In every maintenance spanking, he takes me slightly past the point of my tolerance, but this one was much worse than the “usual” maintenance. I normally don’t beg for a spanking to stop, because unless something else is wrong (like a cramp or such), he won’t anyways, and it’s understood that the moment I’m over his lap, my job is to submit as gracefully as I can to what he gives. But this time? It hurt bad enough that I was begging ‘Please, no more!’ several times. And nope, it didn’t change a thing. That spanking felt like it was going on and on and on. I was pretty sure he still thought I was laughing, and if I’d somehow told him in words, “I’m crying,” he would probably have let up a bit, but I chose not to. I just tried to keep quiet enough so the kids wouldn’t hear me. I had squirmed too much for his taste earlier, so he pinned my legs and short of me safewording, this spanking – like all of our spankings – was going to be as long and as hard as Xander decided. And you know what? Although I can say with certainty I didn’t want the thrashing I was copping, and even if I was pretty sure he was gauging how hard and long to spank me on the faulty assumption that I was still laughing, I was really, deeply OK with it. The moment I lie down over his lap, I submit to him, fully. I get my say in what happens back after he decides we’re done and I may get up. And frankly? I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want him to be in control.

picture of person with question marks over his headBut something about all this still had me baffled for days, and I couldn’t figure out what. This definitely hadn’t been the spanking I wanted, and I wasn’t all that sure it was only what I needed, either, and yet I was happy with the way it had gone. I kept wondering if something was wrong with me. And only through writing this post it finally dawned on me why this really was all OK: It’s that by now we have done this long enough that I can trust my man to get it right even when I think he’s getting it wrong. This is what makes this is a power exchange, and not an abusive relationship: I’m handing over control of my own free will, and he takes it and does with it what he thinks is right, because that is what we both want. In return, he’s giving his leadership, strength and care to me in a way that I can’t have any other way.

Later on the day of the spanking, I told him that after the third or fourth swat, I hadn’t been laughing anymore, and he confirmed he hadn’t been sure. “It’s really hard to tell some time.” He didn’t apologise. He didn’t have to. Because, while he may have misread my emotional state, he absolutely didn’t misread the responses of my body over his lap and he really did give me what I needed:

His dominance.
His strength.
His control.

And a spanking worth writing about.

The onus of my submission is on me

My commitment to submit cannot depend on my feeling submissive or not. And, why my man did absolutely not want to “just punish me” to help me improve my behaviour.

A word of warning, before we proceed

This is a more philosophical, maybe even categorical post. If you want to read something light that makes this submission gig feel easier, this may not be the post for today. If on the other hand, you’re prepared to put in the work that being submissive requires, then maybe a dose of reality may be just what the doctor ordered. That much said…

Commitment is a decision, not a feeling

It blows my mind how much this “little slave girl” thing continues to make things so much clearer to me in terms of my submission. Between the realisation that Xander’s lack of energy is likely due to depression and that my “job” as his wife and as his little slave girl is to support and serve him, not to be “yet another job” he has to fulfil, it has finally occurred to me that the onus of maintaining my submission actually rests squarely on my own shoulders and not on his.

Painting of Woman carrying firewood
Detail from “Woman carrying faggot” by Mihály Munkácsy

My commitment to being Xander’s submissive is a decision which makes certain attitudes and behaviours a requirement, as per our agreement of how I express my submission toward him. “Feeling submissive” certainly makes maintaining theses attitudes and behaviours a heck of a lot easier, but it is not a prerequisite. My role as Xander’s submissive requires obedience, respect, honesty, and transparency of me regardless of if I feel like it or not. If I expect him to make me feel submissive in order that I might maintain my submissive role, I actually expect him to do half of my job, and that’s not fair. (And if I demand it of him, well… that’s not even remotely submissive to begin with, is it?)

I’m not saying that in a good, working D/s relationship the Dom doesn’t need to dom his sub. It’s a relationship and as such needs both give and take in order to exist. And if Xander didn’t appreciate my submission or didn’t show willingness to honour his side of the equation and act dominant towards me, at some point, I’d certainly reconsider my willingness to submit to him. But, the work and responsibility of submitting to him is 100% mine. The work – and responsibility – of guiding and protecting me are 100% his. And that also means I don’t tell him how to do his job (anymore, cough, cough), but that’s another can of worms which I’ll open another day.

But for this pledge of ours to live as dominant and submissive towards each other to be worth anything, it has to be unconditional. It cannot depend on how dominant or submissive we feel in the moment, or on the time of month, and not even on the behaviour of the other.

“If you just punished me…”

Which brings me to the next point: Many a submissive on this journey – and I don’t exclude myself from that group – dream of their dominant to have very high expectations of her, and to discipline or punish consistently when she fails to meet these, maybe with the odd exception for mercy… It sounds hot and comparatively easy, so what’s not to like? “If you punished me consistently and harshly, I’d learn to behave so much better so much quicker, and you’d benefit from my improved behaviour.” Been there, said that. Guess what? Just like for so many other women, it didn’t happen for me, and at the time, I was very disappointed. Didn’t he care? (He did, and that is why he did not do as I asked him to. Read on.) And couldn’t he see how serious I was about this? (Actually, no, he couldn’t – yet.)

Usually, this request doesn’t come from a wife who is already good at being submissive, sticking to her rules, or who is consistently obedient and respectful. So her own poor track record is very likely one reason why –from a loving dominant’s point of view – punishing her for behaviour she might have shown for years could sound like a bad idea. The other reason is the dominant partner’s need to protect. In a nutshell, he doesn’t want to hurt her, and before he can trust she really wants to and can change to the more submissive stripes she claims she now has, he is not going to risk her goodwill and trust through the possibly damaging action of punishing her time and again, in the vague hope that’s really what she needs.

“Not so fast, little sub!”

Xander explained to me that, because he loves me and cares for me, he doesn’t expect me to do things I can’t do or things he doesn’t believe I can do. And he sure as hell doesn’t want me to fail and get discouraged or resentful. At the time I thought he could have advanced me some trust on this, but now I have to admit he was perfectly reasonable not to. So, I learned: If I want my man to expect a higher standard of behaviour from me, it’s up to me to demonstrate that he can – by making that standard my own as best as I can, whether he holds me accountable for it or not. Because Xander loves me, he had to believe I am capable of succeeding at something before he could feel free to require it from me.

follow the instructions
Follow the instructions…

Because I want this dynamic, I ended up submitting to Xander’s lead in how I went about improving this behaviour. I accepted and tried to implement his practical advice with as much grace as I could (which wasn’t a lot at times). I learned to receive (rather than reject) his encouragement and perspective when I felt I wasn’t doing so great. Over time, I actually got better at it. And when he saw I was able to control this behaviour better, it did become an expectation. This behaviour was something that, two years ago, he said he’d never spank me for. Well… I have learned much better self-control, and nowadays, if I do not uphold the “new” standard, I will get my backside warmed for it – and more than I like.

And we come back to the original idea…

And here I come full circle to where my submission is my responsibility: While acts of dominance from him do elicit submissive feelings in me, my commitment to submit to my dominant is not a commitment if I make it depend on how I feel in the moment. And if I want him to be able to expect my submission, then it is up to me to show him I’m able, willing, and striving to honour my commitment regardless of the circumstances. I’m not saying I must succeed all the time but he must be able to see I’m trying.

And before you think I’m one of those “perfect subs: and start rolling in the pedestal or gallows, here’s the reality: While my commitment to submit to my husband does not depend on my “feeling submissive”, my success at being a “good submissive wife” depends on it far more often than I’d like. (That’s one reason for our ‘permission denied’ games – they help me feel submissive) And frankly, I can’t see how submission could exist in a relational vacuum. It is hard to submit day-in-day-out to begin with, and even harder when things throw us off-course (Hello, life!) and I don’t get the submissive feel-good hormones. So while the responsibility for my submission is and remains mine, the success of it is a joint effort for sure.

Any thoughts on that? I look forward to your comments!

Standing Taller

A change in our dynamic has
changed my body posture for the better.

Meerkat standing tall
Taller, like this?

A few days ago was the last day of my “trial month” as Xander’s “little slave girl”. This trial run of a deeper dynamic has brought us such positive changes, we both wanted to keep things this way.  I let him know how  very important it was for to me to mark the change from ‘trial’ to ‘for real’, and he replied: “Well, we’ll have to have a ‘little slave girl’ ceremony, then.” However, as the evening of that day came around, we were both too tired for anything resembling a ceremony.  But as I was lying snuggled up to him, we talked for a while about the way forward and committed to it with him as my “Master” and me his little “slave girl”. I know we will mark the new state of things with a celebration or ceremony when we can, but emotionally, with a few simple words and a hug, the transition from trial – play? – to fact was done. It strikes me this isn’t unlike a wedding, where the the vows and signing of the documents – the formal acts that signify the partners’ intention to merge their two lives together for all times – are only a short and partly prosaic part of the whole ceremony.

So what has changed? At first glance, nothing – just like when we first were married after having lived and loved together for more than a year. But just after a few days, the ground has shifted noticeably between us. I have begun to see myself differently. I feel I’m truly “his” now and no longer feel the need to hold back anything of myself. I can trust more and more that he’ll tell me what he does or doesn’t like. And Xander has been leading with more self-assurance in my immediate and complete obedience.

I must have been 12 or 13 years old when a schoolmate’s mum commented on my hunched shoulders and that I was “burdened with too much responsibility”. I also remember thinking, in the peevish way of teenagers who don’t have anyone to confide in, “Really? Ya think? And what do you want me to do with that insight, lady?” Today, I don’t even remember who she was, but I’m going to send out my thanks to her for her astuteness and for speaking up, because today, I’m sure she was onto something. With the Master / slave girl between Xander and me, all responsibility now ultimately rests on his capable shoulders and is off mine. 

And, much to my surprise, my physical default posture has changed: I am standing taller and my body doesn’t want to slouch, even when I’m tired. For as long as I can remember, my shoulders have been a bit hunched. It’s gotten a bit better since I’ve been rowing for exercise, but Xander would still sometimes admonish me to keep upright. I didn’t like my slouching either, and I’d try, but the moment I stopped paying attention to it, my body would just go back to hunching over.

Geisha kneeling By Japanexperterna - [1], CC BY-SA 3.0, https-::commons.wikimedia.org:w:index.php?curid=33219775
Geisha sitting in seiza

I am delighted every time I notice it: When I do the dishes, the kitchen sink feels and looks just a tiny bit further away. It’s a bit easier to chop veggies with my chef’s knife as the height of the countertop feels a bit more ergonomic. I even had to adjust the rear-view mirrors in the car. And as I am writing this, my shoulders are relaxed where they should, and I’m sitting and typing with ease.

In short, I feel more beautiful, more graceful, more aligned with who I am, deep inside. If there is such a thing as an “authentic self”, then I definitely feel I’m closer to living it now, day to day, and my body tells me as much.

Picture credits:
Meerkat: Public Domain
Geisha sitting in seiza: Japanexperterna – [1], CC BY-SA 3.0, https-::commons.wikimedia.org:w:index.php?curid=33219775