Adventures in Surrender

She sits across the table from me. She’s been talking about how all her money went on walk-about in a shopping spree in Florida that she wasn’t invited to. Eventually the bank will give it back after the fraud report is processed. But for now, she’s stressed and upset.

Months ago I said I wanted to possess her. We have played with it in the bedroom a bit. I’m developing confidence that she’s offering real surrender, not just a desire to hear certain words while we fuck. I realize that if she were mine, I could help her. What we’ve been talking about is big enough that I could offer real support through that dynamic. Well, no time like the present. There’s some danger that I’ll get slapped or make a bad situation worse, but if I’m right I can lend her strength through that possession.

“Mine,” I say. She asks me to repeat it with my hand on the back of her neck. It helps. She has offered enough of herself that claiming her is calming. In that moment I become sure that this is something wonderful and big. That moment will bring her to desire to wear my collar.

Writing about our journey is hard. It’s intimate because there’s no way I can pull out the part that is just my story. In writing I’m facing the familiar challenge of exposing my own vulnerability. But I’m also sharing the vulnerability of someone who is mine to protect. I’m sharing something sacred to us both.

Yet in our story, there is a bigger story that is important to share. Surrender is big, and it is important to try and share that bigness to help others along their path. I hope that people who have never played with this aspect of BDSM can better understand what is going on. More than that, surrender is a window to the vulnerability and connection that is at the core of love. Even if surrender is not a tool you would use, I hope you can gain another perspective on the heart of connection.

So let us begin. Let us tackle surrender viewed through the journey she and I take.

Strength of Surrender

To surrender—to be taken, to be possessed, call it what you will—requires strength. You need to know your own limits and be prepared to voice them. You need to be ready to accept your desires even as they turn into “no,” something that is never easy. You need to face the vulnerability of sharing your feelings and desires.

When you surrender in a loving relationship, you are surrendering to someone who hopes to see you grow, who hopes to see the relationship thrive. To do that, they need to know your fears and feelings, even the ones that are hardest to share. It takes strength to face the vulnerability of being that open.

And then there is the vulnerability of the surrender itself. You are giving someone power over yourself, your body or both. To willingly do that takes strength. Consider the moment that opened this entry. She gave me the power to reach past her hurt and fear and calm her. That same power is frightening. What if I’m not there when I’m needed? What if I treat openness with disrespect?

Active Surrender

What I ask requires more strength still. Just as my goddess charged me, I charge her to surrender actively. It is not one surrender I ask for but an ongoing commitment, a surrender of a thousand yesses.

When it came time for me to put I my collar around her neck, I handed her a key. She can take it off whenever she likes; the interesting question is when she can put it back on.

We rejoice in each yes we find. Each one is an opportunity for greater connection, for a new way for our souls to touch.

So, if surrender requires such strength, why do people do it? Aren’t the people strong enough to surrender themselves strong enough not to need it? There are many answers to that question. For us, one of the biggest is that the surrender provides a window into greater openness. Through that we find connection and intimacy. And through our successful surrender, we find ourselves even stronger. Even if we think of surrender as just one of the lover’s tools, all those tools are there for us to grasp.

Coming back to our story, the months between my initial desire and that February moment where I claimed her to settle were not spent idly. We discussed strength and surrender. She spent the time learning; she found her own community different than mine. She’s spent that time building the strength she will need and preparing. I’ve spent the time working to understand her and to gain confidence.

Creature of Joy, Love and Pleasure

Surrender, like any tool, can be used to many different effects. One Saturday we returned from dinner and with obvious nervousness, she handed me a gift. I opened the box to find a collar that she hoped I would place around her neck. I was surprised. Unbeknownst to me, she had been researching collars since that day I claimed her to calm. She wanted to offer herself as a gift and she wanted to find a way of doing that special to me. So, she found a collar with a bow and made me an offer similar to the Christmas scene in my story “A Gift of Humanity”. Her offer was much bigger though, and she wasn’t sure whether I’d think we were ready for that. Nor was I, but we worked over the next days to crystallize our intent.

We built something beautiful. In wearing my collar, she commits to face the world as a creature of joy, love and pleasure. I commit to holding space to make that safe for her and to guiding her journey. It’s not an easy thing I ask. I ask her to view the world through the lens of love and to cultivate the joy and pleasure she finds. I ask her to grow in her skill at doing that. On an ongoing basis, I ask her to be mindful of the world to appreciate the love and connection in it.

The mindfulness, the focus, and the growth are all a challenge. It is a challenge she welcomes: it’s already close to her nature. She is already strong in love’s skills.

Together we will challenge each other—bring out the best in each other. For the challenge I have set myself in guiding her is also difficult. I am there holding space for her. I’m mindful of her success, her growth, and I honor her surrender. She shares the joy and excitement she finds; I work to appreciate what she shares fully. And of course, I’m there supporting her when things are difficult.

A lot of the time, holding that space is about being mindful and about the subtle approach I take. Sometimes, though, it's very concrete. I was bringing her to Beltane. It was her first pagan sex camp; she was nervous. What if she couldn't fine space to regroup and be herself?

“If you can get it there, I’ve got a tent you could use.” That “introvert tent” became far more than a bundle of fabric. It became a symbol of listening and coming up with real solutions to the challenges I’m asking her to face. Knowing that we’re a team and we will find answers has helped her believe in me—believe in us.

Sacred Love and Lust

Together we’ve committed to celebrate each surrender and each joy as a sacred step on the path of love.

As in everything, the mindfulness and focus applies. When she says, “I love you,” we work to hear it fully; it becomes part of our ritual to re-enforce and build love. It does not fade to routine punctuation in our discourse.

Similarly, we embrace the silliness and laughter we find. I’m proud of the work we do to keep things fresh and focused and to avoid routine.

There’s also the lust, and that is as much an expression of love as any word or laughter. She offered herself to be used. She wants to be taken. I accept her offer fully. I embrace the opportunity to explore our animal natures. It’s OK—great in our case—to let go of the civilized and possess her physically. She’s a mammal, warm, wet, and fragrant. Whether I have her pinned under me as I spread her legs wide, or whether a curt word sends her into her favorite position, ready for mounting, she is mine to claim. I mark her with my scent, fill her, cover her, and with a hand in her hair or on her collar, pull back her head so the world can here her joy.

As we gain confidence with our lust, we find deeper acceptance of ourselves. The other day we were talking. She shifts, and I find her nuzzling my hand. I reach to explore and discover she’s in position. “Are you? …”

“Yes!” she said. With just a shift of position and her head against my hand, she’s broadcasting her need. She embraces her slut with no shame, open and waiting. So submissive. Her nuzzles say “Please!” but she has surrendered to what I will do or not do. As I mount her, the musk of last night’s joining fills the room. The evidence that she is already well-used excites us further.

Each time we find lust, it’s another way we build our love and connection. Sex doesn’t inherently mean love, but we work to make it mean that. The surrender is a big part of it. She knows how big her offer is. Every time I use her, every time I take her, the physical is re-enforced by the big offer she’s making. I know too. By honoring her offer, both in accepting it and cherishing the priceless gift, I show that I value both her and what she’s giving me. Since the surrender is active, we both know that she is mine to take only because again and again she wants to give something that big, and again and again, I honor and value it.

The lust feeds back into everything else. It drives to our most basic emotions. However the connection we gain there helps us appreciate each surrender—each yes—from each moment approaching the world as a creature of joy, love and pleasure to each “I love you.” And of course, the sex is another opportunity for us to be mindful.

My Struggle to Accept

Accepting surrender this big has not been easy. Respecting people’s needs, consent and negotiations are critical to my love work. I wouldn’t describe myself as a feminist but in many ways my thinking runs close to feminist principles. I do not want to contribute to the oppression of women.

It takes a lot of trust of myself and her to use her with confidence. Possessing someone is inherently about taking some control of them. Whether it’s just marking them as yours in some way, or whether you shape aspects of their life, you are exerting power over them. I want this to be a relationship of love, so I take on the responsibility of using that power wisely.

Yet she needs to feel possessed. I can’t achieve that without using the power she’s given me with confidence. I need to believe she’s mine to use, take and guide. She needs to feel that belief. I can’t ask what she wants quite the same way I would without a power dynamic. I still need to know, and it still involves a lot of asking and her expressing desires. Doing that without breaking the dynamic is a new skill. Exploring her desires while enhancing the feeling of control is another skill, but I haven’t achieved that one yet.

Several things along the way have reminded me how big and deep our connection is. Her cat died. I spent a lot of time holding space and comforting her. She was mine to settle and protect.

Somehow she let me know she was ready to be mine in another way. I was surprised she wanted sex. I had to suppress a part of myself rebelling at taking pleasure in my sub after she had suffered a loss just because she had given me access to her body. That’s not what was going on, though: she wanted this. We coupled, and I watched with joy as our joining became an act of healing. I still marvel at the gift I’ve been given where her surrender is deep enough to be meaningful even while facing loss.

I think the biggest single realization for me happened a couple of weeks after that. Masturbation has always been important to my love work; it’s been a physical anchor for my relationship with self. If someone is mine, I want that to be a part of how they honor their possession. I asked her to play with herself for me, and it became clear that her physical connection with self didn’t work the same way as mine. We discussed it after. She told me that while she didn’t get the value I was hoping she would, I could still ask her to do it for the value I got. I recoiled from the idea of using her without regard for her pleasure. She stopped me, and over a long conversation, I was reminded that she gets value in offering herself. Sometimes she’ll do things for me and because she values surrendering to me. I realized that to fully honor her surrender I will need to ask her to do that sometimes. I don’t need to invent things I’d like her to do. I need to be mindful of her needs and desires and meet her in a loving relationship that is pleasurable for both of us. But if I turn away from desires too often and deny her that chance to surrender to me, I can damage our relationship just as surely as if I do not keep her needs in mind.

I concluded I wanted us to focus on other things and at least at that time I did not ask her to adopt a masturbation practice. Since then, I have found things where I asked her to surrender to my needs. She said that outside of our dynamic she would have declined, but from what we’ve built together she found a yes.

The rewards of facing my growth are worth it. I think fondly of one case where I was able to accept her fully. One morning I returned unexpectedly early from a trip. I knew she was missing me, and I decided to surprise her. I told her that if she came over and showed me she was the slut I knew she could be, I’d ravish her before heading into work. I met her at the door for a brief safety check to make sure nothing had happened while I was away to take her to an emotional place I didn’t expect. As it turned out, she didn’t earn her ravishment that morning. In its own way, having the challenges be real adds to the depth of the experience. We both walked away with our love and connection rekindled, and I know she felt very possessed that morning.

I know that there’s difficulty ahead with the non-physical aspects of our dynamic. Right now the challenge there is exploring exactly what that means. We have the base: approaching life as a creature of pleasure, love and joy. We’re still learning what it means for her to be my creature of pleasure, love and joy. I look forward to facing that growth.

Writing this has helped me appreciate what we have. I hope that some of the deeper patterns—the ones that transcend any single relationship—show through.