April 19, 2010

Moving with Force

Read enough blogs, documenting relationships ranging from the most extreme M/s owners, to the sweetest Daddy/little girl connections, and you begin to see the wide range of methods and techniques used to move things along, particularly the degree of influence imparted by the dominant member of the relationship. This is particularly true of training techniques but in many instances actually apply to the entire conduct of the relationship, influencing the entire interaction. It becomes apparent when something goes wrong, when things are off track and corrective action needs to be taken.

The previous post, force, was an attempt to put the idea out there and clarify my thinking, and engage with a few readers from their reaction to that small offering. It came to me during this process that control = force. I had always thought of force as a S&M practice, and overlooked the subtle but effective use of force in all methods of control. The concept of force runs the gambit of techniques employed: force, enforce, reinforce and reinforcement, each an exertion of the dominants will and dominion, over the behavior of the submissive but with radically varying degrees of application. I think a large degree of that is implied by the kind of connection that is present between the parties involved. It is also clear that some aspects of all four categorizations are likely employed at one time or another in nearly all relationships.

a powerful effect or influence; to cause to do through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means, coerce.
I think the strictest Master/slave relationship involves the potential for the greater degree of pure force - a powerful effect or influence; where the Master is likely to cause things to be done through pressure or necessity, by physical, moral or intellectual means, by applying coercion.

This may well include the routine application of moving a girl along, literally, physically, by grabbing hands full of her hair or tightly gripping her collar and literally dragging her to where she needs to go. It may likely not involve any degree of intellectual instruction at all, but rather just the absolute application of physical force. Even routinely grabbing her and pulling her along, come this way, follow along, and she will, because she is yours, and trusts you or fears you. So, you could MAKE the sub do something through force.

This might include prolonged restraint, caging, physical restrictions, and whippings and beating, real and earnest applications of force.

ensure observance of rules; compel to behave in a certain way - to keep up, impose or bring into effect something, not necessarily by force.
When you talk about how your girl might feel about being restricted, and she thinks the control might be interesting, "really like the idea of somehow being controlled."

You set rules for her, that provide direction and guidance but at other times she has to walk the path, with you right behind her, offering words of encouragement, or correction or perspective, "if you do this or that, here is what will happen". Or, provide a good environment in which she can do something that one time, and then enforce the repetition of the behavior.

Consider the idea of a control that insists, rather than restricts? So many times, we Doms/Tops implement directives that take away something desired, but what about the idea of requiring something that is not a burning desire? An example might be orgasm control, which is often exercised as orgasm denial or limitation, but can also be a rule that insists on orgasms.

This might occasionally blend in some of the rougher, dragging approach, with an ebb and flow, harsh, aggressive at times, friendly, slow and smooth at other times.

to strengthen, especially by addition or augmentation; to emphasize or review; to encourage a behavior or idea through repeated stimulus.
There are times when the dominant backs off, giving a certain degree of slack to see how well the lesson has been learned. But he may still be nudging with a slight tap or push for the left or the right, correcting the course, needing to watch, pay attention, but not always intervening, teach her the way for herself, with guidance. This involves observing behavior, and reinforcing the positive actions while criticizing but not necessarily punishing the missteps. Ultimately, submission is what the girl gives, not what the dominant takes.

a process in which a behavior is strengthened; increasing the probability that a response will occur by either presenting a contingent positive event or removing a negative event.
Where do you want to go? What do you want to change? How can my guidance, dominance, and reinforcement be applied to your life in such a way that you accomplish your goals, and then set about to do it, with subtle and not so subtle reminders, go do it "now".

Some times you might even let go so fully that she doesn't even feel the control any more, or in fact she feels the absence of the control, the looseness, at odds, at wits end. Once having had the comfort and safety and assurance of guidance and control, what does it feel like to have that taken away, quite nearly the complete opposite of force, the complete removal of influence, other than presence, reinforcement of the feeling and idea of control rather than cranking down the control.

Or it might include setting up ongoing situations where doing that thing brings her peace and contentment and rather than feeling forced, she feels embraced and wants to do it of her own volition and to please. This kind of commitment to purpose is at the heart of submission, it is not compliance by force, but simply reinforcement of her dedication to purpose. It might also include companioning, guiding her along as she deals with an issue. Or, slowly and methodically moving her forward, clearing the path of obstacles, hers and the worlds, like curling?

It is always interesting to read blogs and see what kinds of force are employed, or not to correct misbehavior or a failure to follow rules. It is just as common to read about overly lax responses as it is to read about overly forceful actions.


  1. I think of forces also as in gravity or subatomic. With gravitational forces, two bodies are compelled towards each other only by virtue of the fact that each *is*, that each has mass and is in proximity to the other. They don't need to touch or to impact or deform the other. The smaller, less massive body is compelled more strongly towards the larger one, and the force becomes stronger the closer they get to each other. And for all this seeming passivity, it's an awfully powerful force.

  2. Yes, gg, the nearer together the greater the influence of the larger/dominant over the smaller.

  3. David,

    I'll be surprised if you don't hear from whoever it is that keeps track of domly movements on the Internet. You have illuminated so many of the dom's tactics here!

    My least favourite (but the most effective) tactic is when the dom removes his dominance until compliance is exhibited. That straightens me out in fast order.

    Doms are sly. This is well displayed in your post.

    Good work. We submissives appreciate the explanation.

  4. I read reinforcement as "increasing the probability that a response will occur by presenting a contingent positive event". "removing a negative event" is not really reinforcement.

    Your examples of reinforcement in D/s are rather vague, and, from my reading, D/s seems more centred around punishment --- i.e., "decreasing the probability that a response will occur by presenting a contingent negative event".

    Do you have more concrete examples of reinforcement in D/s?

    I release that questions of what is a "positive" or a "negative" event are non-trivial, especially when the subject is a masochist.

  5. Vesta,
    Doms have to be sly to keep up with the antics of subversive submissives, as you well know. Sometimes, seemingly "giving up" seems the only tactic available.

    The phrase "or removing a negative event" is part of that italicized dictionary definition, although I suppose the removal of a negative is a form of positive? I think it is semantics?

    I think most of the reading we all do regarding D/s seems more centered around punishment because that is more sensational and dramatic and sexy, compared to reading about how a girl got a lollipop for being good. Seriously, I think a lot of people are involved in power exchange relationships that do not involve punishment, or that punishment is a minor aspect when serious correction is needed. I think there are an equal number of blogs where you will find that the worst kind of punishment is a spanking, and that spanking is half delivered and accepted as fun, not really punishment at all.

    Part of the problem with all of this is that the BDSM gets much more attention that pure and simple dominant and submissive relationships, which are often founded on little or no corporal punishment, but may involve restrictions, increased controls over behavior, the taking away of privileges or other corrections.

    I agree that the question of what is a "positive" or a "negative" event are non-trivial, especially when the subject is a masochist, because what many of us would consider a negative is a positive to a maso.

  6. "compared to reading about how a girl got a lollipop for being good" I've never gotten a lolipop (pouts)