Domination and Submission

January 4th, 2010 by Steve Pavlina

As I mentioned in my 2010 Focus post, my personal focus for this year involves immersing myself in the fun and exciting world of domination and submission (D/s). (I really love my life!) Now one obvious question I’ve been asked a few times is: What the heck does this have to do with personal development?

Once you get past the socially conditioned attitude that D/s is somehow naughty or deviant, you’ll find that it has a tremendous amount to do with personal development. Let’s start with some of the most basic elements and go from there.

Body Image

First, when you consciously explore your sexuality with other people, body image issues are bound to come up.

What is all this extra fat doing on me? Why can’t I be taller? Why can’t I be more muscular? Why was I born looking like a troll? Why are my boobs so irregular? Why is my sister so much better looking than I am?

How are you processing these feelings? Do you feel like you’re broken and need to fix yourself before you can fully embrace a healthy and abundant sex life? Do you ever say things like, “Once I lose another X pounds, then I’ll be open to dating again”?

Do you give up on feeling attractive because you’re stuck following someone else’s rules?

Well, guess what. Your body is always going to have some flaws. It’s never going to be perfect. And it doesn’t have to be anywhere close to perfect for you to enjoy sexual abundance. Fussing over your imperfections is only robbing you of pleasure. Why not enjoy an abundant sex life now, and work on making whatever improvements you’d like to make from a place of abundance… as opposed to thinking you must do those things first in order to earn your right to enjoy such abundance?

This isn’t specific to D/s of course, but if you’re doing anything sexual, it’s likely you’ll have to deal with some body image issues.

Get over yourself. Accept that we’re all physically flawed. Your body isn’t perfect, and neither will your partner’s be. Recognize that your partner is probably just as miffed as you are. It’s how you use what you’ve got that counts. Often the people who seem to have the most flawless bodies are those with the worst body image struggles.

If you’re truly hideous, then turn out the lights, and master the art of pleasuring your lovers in the dark. :)

Enjoy what you have while you’re here. Don’t put off the enjoyment of a satisfying sex life just because you’re dissatisfied with how you look naked.

Shift your attention to the parts of yourself you love most. Instead of looking at your fat, notice your muscles. Instead of feeling bad about that big mole, notice how nibble-ready your earlobes look. And instead of fussing over a hairstyle that was a mistake, notice how your eyes look when you smile.

When you love your body, you give others the opportunity to love it too. Don’t be so selfish with your sexuality. You’re only denying yourself and your lover of pleasure.

Communication Skills

Reaching the point of having sex with someone, especially within a D/s context, can certainly challenge your communication skills. Some people are very good at this. Others really suck (and not in the good way).

Are you able to effectively communicate your desires with other people in such a way that you get the results you want? Can you overcome problems like shyness, shame, guilt, and fear that cause you to hold back and hesitate? How often do you miss opportunities because you choke on finding the right words?

What about your listening skills? Are you good at figuring out what your partner likes and dislikes? Can you tell when things are heading in a positive direction sexually and maintain the momentum together? Can you handle the pacing and flow of communicating about sex without coming across as too passive, too aggressive, too dorky, or too creepy?

Can you get a date when you want one? Or are you one of those people that hovers around your target for months, pretending to be “just friends” when you’d really love to jump ‘em and hump ‘em? Does the thought of asking for a play date make you turn pale with anxiety?

The more you explore your sexuality with other people, the faster you’re going to develop some amazing communication skills. You can read as many books as you want, but ultimately this skill is developed through experience. I know that sucks (and not in the good way), but it is what it is.

Good communication skills are particular important when exploring D/s. Are you and your partner on the same wavelength in terms of the type of experience you wish to co-create, or have you fallen out of sync? Can you communicate about serious topics while staying in character?

If your communication skills are poor, it will have major consequences for you in the bedroom, assuming anyone other than you ever visits there.

Overcoming Limiting Beliefs

What’s possible for you sexually? Do you have fantasies that you’d love to experience, the kind that some people have already enjoyed but which you doubt are possible for you? How does it feel considering that if it’s possible for them, it’s almost certainly possible for you too?

How accurate are your beliefs? Are they well-aligned with reality, or do they prevent you from experiencing too much of the possible by mistakenly ruling it out as impossible or highly improbable?

Some common examples of limiting beliefs include:

– Women don’t like sex nearly as much as men.
– I have to be in love or in a relationship before I can enjoy having sex with someone.
– If I can impress her, she’ll like me and will be more inclined to go to bed with me.
– I have to pretend I’m not interested in sex, or she’ll think I’m one of those guys.
– No one in their right mind could possibly want to be dominated by me.
– I can’t discuss my sexual interests publicly because society will shun me for it.
– If I get rejected, I won’t be able to handle it.

False beliefs hold us back sexually. When we dump them and adopt more accurate beliefs, we empower ourselves to create a whole new range of experiences that were previously impossible.

Many, many false beliefs about sexuality are installed by television, particularly in America. One of the best things you can do to improve your sex life is cut back dramatically on watching TV, so you aren’t constantly bombarding your mind with hideously inaccurate beliefs about sex, dating, and relationships.

Here are some examples of more accurate and empowering beliefs:

– Most women and men love having sex.
– Attraction is created by much more than looks.
– We’re all sexual beings. Sex is as natural for us as eating.
– If it can be done in a safe, sane, and consensual way, it’s a healthy experience to explore with a willing partner.
– People frequently enjoy talking about sexually explicit topics within the first few minutes of conversation. They find it fun.
– On a planet of 7 billion humans, there’s an absolute abundance of people who’d be thrilled to explore your sexual fantasies with you.
– If I share my sexual interests openly, I’ll not only attract the attention of compatible partners more easily, but I’ll also help inspire others to be more open with their sexuality as well, thereby helping us all overcome unhealthy sexual repression.

Immersing yourself in the exploration of your sexuality will help you identify, confront, and tear down many limiting beliefs — beliefs that are repressing you outside the bedroom as well.

Sex energy is life energy. Your sexual limits reflect your life limits.

Sex Skills

Being a skilled lover is a line of personal development unto itself. How good are you at pleasing your partner?

Do you consciously work on improving in this area of your life? Do you seek the advice of others who are more experienced than you? Do you ask your lovers how you can make your lovemaking even better? Do you read how-to books on sex? Do you go to sex workshops?

Is this an area of your life you’re neglecting, or do you take charge of it and consciously work on becoming better and better?

D/s requires even more skill development. Do you know how to safely and pleasurably dominate another person? Do you know how to please your partner from a submissive position? Such skills can even be applied outside the bedroom. For example, do you know how to lead your boss?

Self-esteem

Your self-esteem will play a major role in dictating the terms of your sex life. If you have high self-esteem, it’s much more likely you’ll enjoy a happy, healthy sex life.

Do you feel worthy of having sexual abundance in your life?

Is your self-esteem high enough to be able to handle a D/s session? Can you surrender yourself to someone else’s will for a while and still feel good about yourself during and afterwards? Can you feel good about your desire to dominate another person and welcome such an experience?

How do you feel about broadcasting your sexual interests? Can you handle other people’s reactions? Could you handle it if your friends, family, and co-workers discovered what you were into? Is your self-esteem high enough to shrug off criticism and keep moving forward with no loss of enthusiasm, or do you have to hide everything from the public eye to protect your fragile self-image? How much of a chicken are you?

Law of Attraction

How well can you use the LoA to manifest compatible, willing sex partners?

Are you surrounded by abundance, noticing that everywhere you look, fun sexual opportunities abound? Or do you live in a world of scarcity?

Can you hold the intention for what you’d like to experience next and expect it to show up in your life quickly and easily?

You’re creating this experience, you know.

The quality of your sex life is a great indicator of your skill with the LoA.

This is especially true when exploring D/s, and you’re looking to attract something more creative than vanilla sex.

Fun and Enjoyment

Does your sex life help you enjoy more positive emotions like unconditional love, bliss, and ecstasy?

Do you feel good about your sex life at present? Are you happy? Are you having fun with it? Do you feel grateful for what you’re receiving?

When you feel good, you spread that feeling to other parts of your life, and you also spread it to other people.

It’s a wonderful feeling to know that someone else is willing to mate with you. It’s deliciously delightful to co-create a fun experience together, both physically and emotionally.

You may find that these feelings are heightened when exploring D/s. To know that your partner cares enough to help you explore your sexuality in a less mainstream way can generate intense feelings of gratitude and connection.

You’re human — enjoy your sexuality fully!

Courage and Confidence

How do you handle fear of rejection? Are you able to take action in spite of fear?

Can you openly and shamelessly ask someone for what you want? Can you ask a particularly tasty looking morsel of humanity if s/he would like to “play together”?

Or are you one of those soulless minions, missing countless opportunities because you’re too timid to speak up and ask for what you want?

When you do find a sex partner, do you act all clingy and needy, afraid to lose him/her for fear you won’t be able to find anyone better? Do people feel compelled to lie to you to protect your feelings when they break up with you because they don’t think you can handle the truth?

What about the fear of being judged?

Can you publicly reveal that you enjoy what you enjoy, without worrying about being shamed or ridiculed for it? Can you say, “I absolutely love to dominate submissive women — that’s a huge turn-on for me”? Could you handle it if your parents knew that about you?

No courage, no nookie.

Social Conditioning

Are you living your own life as an independent being, or are you trying to fit in to satisfy others’ expectations?

Do you have the will to break with social conditioning when it runs afoul of your true desires? Can you explore what you want to explore, regardless of whether or not it’s socially acceptable?

Success

Are you getting the results you want in your sex life? Are you setting specific sex goals and achieving them? Are those goals in writing? Do you visualize them as real?

Do you treat this part of your life differently than your career development, your finances, and your health? Are you sexually effective? Do you decide upon and then create the experiences you’d most like to have?

Would you say this part of your life is a success… or a failure? And how does that reflect what’s happening in other parts of your life?

Oneness

Are you exploring your sexuality in a way that serves your good as well as the good of others?

Are you a selfish lover, only concerned with your own pleasure? Or are you a generous and giving lover, creating pleasure for yourself and your partners?

Does exploring your sexuality send positive ripples out into the world by boosting your happiness and the happiness of all who share your bed?

Have you learned how to balance the fulfillment of your desires with the fulfillment of others’ desires?

Can you embrace the asymmetical aspects of D/s without losing your alignment with Oneness? When you’re dominating, do you use your authority to pleasure your sub? And when you’re submitting, does your behavior delight your Dom? At the end of a session, are you both feeling happy and blissful?

Can you share what you’re learning with others, so that they may benefit from your knowledge and experience? Can you help us co-create a less sexually repressed world, for the highest good of all? Do you care enough to help make that happen?

Self-discipline

Do you maintain good self-control, or do you take unsafe risks? Do you practice safe sex even in the height of passion?

Can you make wise decisions when your brain is flooded with intoxicating hormones? Can you recognize when you’re emotionally compromised with infatuation and shouldn’t make major long-term decisions? Do you have the self-discipline to stop yourself from doing something really stupid?

You can use D/s to test and to build your self-discipline. How long can you handle being told what to do as a sub — what are the limits of your obedience? And as a Dom, how well can you maintain consensual control over your sub?

Receiving

Do you allow yourself to receive pleasure? Do you feel guilty about asking for what you want? Can you expect your lover to do what pleases you most, even if it’s a bit unorthodox?

If you can’t receive in the bedroom, maybe that explains why you’re broke too. Fix the problem in the bedroom, and notice what happens to your wallet.

Power

When you play the Dom role, how good are you at taking the lead? Do you feel comfortable with the burden of responsibility? Are you strong enough to handle that role?

When you play as a sub, how good are you at implementing your Dom’s commands? Are you able to respond with loyalty and obedience, or do you become restless and resistant?

How do these bedroom roles reflect challenges in other parts of your life? Do you have problems making clear, strong decisions (bad Dom)? Do you have problems sticking with your decisions long enough to fully implement them (bad sub)?

Explore these roles in the bedroom, and notice what you learn about your fundamental strengths and weaknesses in the area of Power. As you build your capacity to handle these roles in the bedroom, you can increase your alignment with Power and grow stronger outside the bedroom.

Balance and Variety

After you’ve been dominated by your boss at the office all day, wouldn’t it be nice to return home and be greeted with, “How may your willing slave serve you this evening, Master?” Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy someone who takes exquisite delight in carrying out your every command, sexual or otherwise? How about ordering your slave to make and serve your favorite meal, followed by a one-hour massage, and then some deliciously passionate sex — all because your slave truly loves doing those things for you?

On the other hand, if your work life puts you in a role of great responsibility where you must make many tricky decisions, wouldn’t it be nice to release and let go of that responsibility in your private life? How would it feel to completely surrender yourself to the will of a strong, powerful, trustworthy individual who delights in taking charge of your personal pleasure?

D/s can be used to restore balance to an otherwise unbalanced life. You may not understand people who enjoy one role or the other, but I assure you they exist in great abundance.

Truth

Pay attention and notice what’s happening. What’s the Truth about your sex life?

Is your love life littered by a trail of broken hearts you’ve left behind? Or when people interact with you sexually, do you take responsibility for leaving them better off for having known you?

Do you use sexual connections to help people feel good, to heal, and to share love and passion? Or do you use people like objects and then abandon them?

Do you maintain positive ongoing relations with your past lovers, even if you’ve grown more distant with the passage of time? Or do you leave people feeling scorned, resentful, and disconnected?

Is your personal exploration of sexuality helping to improve the lives of others along the way? Are you using your sexuality as a positive force for good?

Do you really believe that having sex with you is a good and healthy experience for others in the long run? Are you certain of that?

Do you consciously choose lovers with a healthy, happy sexual history and good relations with past lovers?

It’s a wonderful feeling to look back on your past lovers and to see clear evidence that they’re much better off for having known you. It feels good to know that by expressing yourself sexually, you’re actually doing some good. This is what it means to be a conscious lover.

Given these many areas of overlap between D/s and personal development (and many more I didn’t list here), it should be abundantly clear that D/s can be a tremendous growth accelerator, assuming you approach it with such an intention. While it may seem like a “naughty” subject to discuss openly, the reality is that exploring sexual power exchanges can help you learn a great deal more about yourself, enjoy a variety of delightful pleasures, and develop your strength of character in ways you can scarcely imagine… not to mention that it can be a heck of a lot of FUN. ;)



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