Whoever loves the least controls the relationship

This is an old adage that I’ve heard many times, and I think it’s true. I’ve been in relationships where I was not loved as much as I loved the other person, and I felt myself to be at their mercy. Not in a good way, either, but in a terrible, desperate way. My great regret is not leaving this type of relationship sooner.

It should be said, though, that being unable to return someone’s love is also painful. Knowing that I could not give them what they wanted was terribly sad. Again, though, it was hard to leave.

We want to be wanted and needed. We want to be loved. And that desire makes us dependent on those whose love we desire the most.

For me, and many others, the desire to submit, or more specifically, the desire to be dominated, is an extension of that need. When a dominant person makes the effort to take us, make us, or “force” us, that makes us feel wanted and needed. Many submissives talk about feeling dependent on their dominant, it’s true. But think about the fantasy scenario.

If submissives imagine themselves being “forced,” being made to do things that, in reality, they actually want to do, does that not imply that the dominant wants it more than the submissive? And if the dominant wants it more than the submissive, then who is in control?

Submission contains within it an expression of need – a need to be wanted and needed. I suspect that for many, this grows out of a history of not having one’s needs met, or a history of feeling unwanted and unloved. That desire for the irresistable, forceful, and even violent desire of a dominant creates something a paradox.

In fact, perhaps the neediness in a submissive craves not the control of a dominant, but the satisfaction of knowing that the dominant needs the submissive.

Dominants project an image, often, of callous indifference. That emotional distance can be helpful in creating the atmosphere and the dynamic that is pleasing to both parties. But when we compare it to non-consensual analogs of BDSM play, we see individuals who victimize others not out of a sense of security, but of insecurity. Predators lash out at victims in an attempt to acquire what they feel they lack, and what they feel they deserve but are unfairly deprived of. Aggressors attack because they feel powerless.

Some might say that this signals the difference between the “fake” aggressor and the “real” dominant. I find this distinction to be meaningless. Aggressors and bad dominants don’t care about the consent or well-being of their victims, while good dominants do. That is the material difference. This does not imply that good dominants are acting out of a feeling of security. I’d wager that there are plenty of considerate, ethical dominants who feel all kinds of insecurity, about a wide variety of things, including their dominance. The difference is that they choose to address that insecurity in ways that do not involve violating consent.

Dominants have needs, wants, limits, and feelings, contrary to popular belief. And submissives can be indifferent and callous as well as dominants. I believe that sometimes, hidden within the appearance of powerlessness, lies a deeper need to feel in control by manipulating the desire of others.

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