I’m required to run all my posts by My Lady before I put them on the blog. Sometimes she waves them through, and sometimes she tells me to make changes. When I sent a draft of my earlier post on “hot dystopias”, she responded with:
I like your blog post overall and, in particular, your perspective on the eroticism you found in 1984.
I was gratified, naturally – praise from My Lady means a lot to me, partly because I’m under her control and partly because she’s sharp and discerning – but I was also in a bit of a quandary. She hadn’t actually told me whether to proceed with the post or not. After thinking about it briefly I published the post, but wrote back:
I went ahead and put up the blog post, ma’am, with the usual last-minute tweaks to the wording. You didn’t explicitly instruct me to post it, of course, but I took your positive evaluation of the post as a kind of implicit green light. I hope that wasn’t a mistake, or at least not one severe enough to make you decide to hand me over to the Thought Police.
This led to an e-mail exchange about communication styles and ways of conveying instructions. My Lady brought up the influence of gender:
I’ve been learning that men are less willing to make assumptions, even when the context or other factors makes the meaning quite clear…
My experience matches My Lady’s in that I do think men tend to be a little more explicit than women, and perhaps deal less well with lack of explicitness from others. I don’t pretend to understand the root causes of that general pattern, but in my own case I think there’s a personality-related reason and a D/s-related reason for my preference for explicitness.
The personality-related reason is just that I attach a lot of value to clarity. Once upon a time I was a bookish, awkward teenager, less than adept at reading social cues, and I learned that I often had difficulty understanding others and making myself understood. As a result, I worked hard to avoid misunderstandings, not always successfully. Many years later, I still have my moments of confusion in social situations, though they don’t happen as often as they used to. I’ve become better at parsing what people say, and interpreting what they do. I’ve also learned that when I don’t quite understand what’s going on, taking a minute to formulate and ask a couple of polite but direct questions can help immensely. When e-mailing or texting, I can take a bit more time and write rather than talk, so I find it even easier to put together the right questions when someone is communicating in a way I find vague or unclear. Nevertheless, I appreciate people who write and say what they mean, and I try to be equally direct with others even if I come across as a little blunt. It just seems better that way for everyone involved, although my concept of “better” may be unduly influenced by my preoccupation with avoiding misunderstandings.
My D/s-related reason is that I think explicitness is a quality that befits both submissives and dominants, for different reasons. When I write to My Lady about what I’ve been thinking, feeling and doing lately, or answer a question she’s asked, laying all the pertinent information on the table without any waffling or obfuscation is an act of submission in itself. If I have to report something that I find embarrassing or distasteful to discuss, or something I suspect will displease her, I often have to grit my teeth in order to resist the temptation to gloss over critical details or retreat into vagueness. However, that semi-confessional process can also be pretty hot, underneath the emotional discomfort. At some deeper level it’s exciting and erotic that I’m not entitled to conceal my thoughts and actions from My Lady behind a smokescreen of equivocal words, any more than I’m entitled to conceal my body with clothes when she wants to see me naked (we’re well past that early, though prolonged, stage when she still hadn’t seen my penis).
If submissive explicitness is about not being permitted to use obscurity as a way of maintaining privacy, dominant explicitness is about exerting confident, precise control over a subordinate. The clearer My Lady’s instructions, the less room I have for interpretation in carrying them out. Moreover, considerate people often “test the waters” by dropping hints about what they might want before they actually ask for it. When My Lady gives me instructions without any prior beating around the bush, especially orders that require me to do something difficult, taxing or hard to endure, she’s denying me the respect for my feelings and preferences that I can usually expect as an adult in polite society. Instead, I’m being treated as someone who can simply be told what to do, which pushes buttons that make me feel deeply, excitingly subservient to her. The more explicit and thorough the instructions, the more I feel uncompromisingly dominated, and it also helps if the instructions are issued a style that My Lady and I sometimes called “unadorned” – no softening or sugarcoating, no pleases, thank yous, or other little expressions of courtesy. Do this, boy. Don’t do that. You may do this, you may not do that. Do this other thing by Monday, in exactly the way I’m about to describe. Do it wearing only your collar, and send a photo. Do it whether you want to or not – although she never has to actually spell that one out, because it goes without saying.
I do understand that less explicit forms of communication also have their possibilities. My Lady will sometimes drop ominous hints about what she might have in store for me in the future, which is probably more unnerving for me, amusing for her and erotic for both of us than a straightforward explanation of her plans would be. I can see, too, how it would be fun for a dominant to issue incomplete or ambiguous instructions, and then sit back and enjoy watching her boy struggle to work out how to obey. Games like this aside, My Lady likes submissives to learn her needs and develop some ability to anticipate them, and to demonstrate their intelligence by working out what she wants them to do. In fact, she says that giving precise orders doesn’t come naturally to her, although I can testify from experience that she’s awfully good at it. Probably it helps that she’s well aware that the explicit approach can be both practical, in some situations, and very erotic. For my part, I can understand how leaving me to figure out her needs and desires might sometimes be easier for her, even if I might find the process difficult. My Lady doesn’t always choose to make things easy for me, and of course I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There are also times when a more or less subtle suggestion from a dominant can be like the crack of a whip. A few months ago I finally had the opportunity to spend a weekend visiting My Lady and her partner, who shares fully in her authority over me but normally doesn’t do much about it or communicate with me directly. They had me spend a few sweaty hours each day helping them with some fairly heavy-duty yard work, and on Sunday this extended far enough into the afternoon that we had an outdoor lunch break. At one point My Lady reminded me that my break wasn’t to be too “leisurely”, and although her tone was quite casual I still felt sharply reminded of my subservience – it was one of those moments when I would have loved to spontaneously kneel down, press my lips to her boots and spend a few minutes just revelling in her power over me. Unfortunately, we were visible from the road and I had work to do, and I wouldn’t go throwing myself at My Lady’s feet without permission anyway.
In my experience, however, things like that are the exception. Usually it’s explicit commands rather than little hints that make my lips hunger for a taste of My Lady’s boots, and on my side I try to be very clear and straightforward in my communications with her for the sake of submissive transparency. Enough about me, though. If you are dominant and/or submissive, how do you like to communicate with your partner(s)? How do you like your partner(s) to communicate with you?