“Silence” is the prompt this week for Wicked Wednesday. There were a lot of ways I could have gone with this one, and almost did. I could have referenced the many times I have talked about gags here on K&P, or I could have posted pictures of scenes in which W has used them on me. I could have linked to W’s own words about why silencing his play partners with gags is a turn-on for him, or shown off the many (many – the man likes his gags!) types of gags W owns.
But I’ve been thinking a lot about being silenced in a different way. After a recent discussion with a friend of mine, I realized I had some other things I want to say on the topic.
“Take away her voice and you take away her power.”
I love the act of being silenced – of having my voice taken away – and the reason I do is there, in that quote. Powerlessness. That is what it means to me, and why it holds such fascination for W, as well. To have my power stripped from me in that way – and to have the Top I am playing with doing it consciously for exactly that reason – is incredibly hot.
It’s hot because it’s a dark, transgressive desire, that hints at power that isn’t “exchanged” or freely given up, but taken from a woman. Especially in a world where many women lived through times when they had no voice, and many more still do. We have had to fight to be heard, and we have had to teach our young women to use their voices, admonishing them to reject relationships that would silence them. So to play with that scenario, especially knowing that is why the person wants to silence me, knowing how “un-PC” it is for a man to want to silence a woman…
Um, yeah. Hot.
In a scene.
But not, ever, in real life, in my relationship dynamic. I will never, ever, accept a relationship in which I am not heard. And thankfully, W would not want to take away my voice in any other scenario. Yes, it gets him off to use that in a scene, but in our every day relationship? No. And the fact that he can do both – can silence me and take my power from me in a scene and yet still want (and expect) to hear what I have to say in real life – well, that’s what makes him so perfect for me, and our relationship work.
I am not saying that my every desire must be heard and agreed upon. I’m certainly not saying that I must always have the last word and never be overruled. I want a strong partner who stands his ground if he believes he is right, and will defend his position with confidence, even if it is opposed to mine. I am not even saying that I will not acquiesce if my partner is wrong. There are times and places for compromise, and I am willing to do so. But what I will never stand for is being silenced within the dynamic of my relationship(s). Being told that I have no right to speak, no right to be heard, simply because I am sub and he is Dom.
Now, this is not to say that I believe I must have the right to argue any point at any time. (This, in fact, I do have, but as I have said, I do not have a typical D/s relationship dynamic.) What this means is that I at least have a safe place in which to voice my opinions, given the agreed-upon rules and protocols within which we have established this relationship. Those rules might be a certain time or place in which I can speak my mind, or by asking permission to do so, or doing so in a certain way. But never does it mean that my dominant partner has the right – because he is “the dominant” to tell me “I don’t care what you think, I don’t want to hear it.” He may say, “you can be heard under such-and-such circumstances,” or even “I’ve heard enough, now here is my decision,” but to be completely silenced? Nope, I don’t think so.
Nor does it mean that I always get my way. In fact, I don’t want to always get my way, even when it is something I really want, or even something I think he is wrong about. I need to know he is strong enough to stand up to me, to say no and make decisions even in the face of my resistance or downright anger. I need him to do this because I trust him to make the right decision, even when I think it’s the wrong one – and by acceding to his decision, I am reinforcing that trust. (It also trips a submissive trigger, but I won’t go into that now.) But that can only happen after I know I have been heard. One can only give up their power if they have had power in the first place.
Okay, so this is all well and good, as it pertains to my relationships. But here’s where I am going to stick my neck out a bit: I think for a relationship (D/s or otherwise) to be healthy and for it to have a chance of lasting for longer than it takes the NRE to wear off, ALL relationships have to have some way for both/all parties to be heard. And yes, I mean “all relationships” as in even the most heavily D/s relationships, even M/s.
I know, I know…slaves don’t need to be heard. Slaves only do what they’re told. Slaves don’t have a say, don’t have a voice in anything.
Well…I cry bullshit on that. Oh sure, I know there are plenty of folks out there that say that is the way it is in their relationship, and if so, more power to them. But I maintain that relationships such as that are untenable for the long run, and that they will, eventually, collapse under their own weight, the weight of the silence that lies between them, in which one person is not heard, and the other person does not hear. There are of course exceptions…but in this I would imagine they are few and far between, and I would go further and question if the people involved really are happy and healthy.
The thing is, like all good fantasies, this one hangs around in people’s consciousness when they start to explore BDSM. It gets regurgitated over and over, with every bright-eyed, bushy-tailed newcomer – top or bottom – seeing it as the holy grail of relationship models. You hear Dominants all the time saying, “My word is law, I demand unquestioning obedience, never question me!” And okay…that’s all well and good in fantasy. But in reality? In the real world, where people have thoughts and feelings? Where people – tops included – make mistakes? Not so much.
We are human before we are submissive, top, bottom, slave, master or dominant. And we have to be able to relate to each other, if we are to have healthy relationships, as humans first. And that means – even if we have agreed that the Top’s word is law – that we can at least be heard, in whatever form that takes within the relationship. Without that, I don’t believe a relationship can be healthy or sustained.