Switching in a BDSM, power-exchange context is such an interesting relational trick. We've done it, over the years, at a lot of different levels of intensity and within a range of emotional modalities. Most often, our switching has been a very deliberate exercise in mutual satisfaction; driven by our shared hedonistic orientations. The sort of very intense, disciplinary style switching that we've engaged in in the last couple of weeks is a rare thing, even for us.
I know that there are those who don't get it. Don't understand the potential for loving and communicating in this fashion, and find the whole notion unsettling. I know that there are plenty of people who read about our switching dynamic and react negatively, assuming that I must not be "really submissive," or perhaps He might not be "really Dominant." Our community is just filled with people who harbor very narrow views of what is the "right way" to do this thing we all do. It always surprises me to find that very conservative, mainstream, missionary-position (man on top/woman on the bottom) belief system parading around all dressed up, metaphorically speaking, in fetish gear.
What we are discovering, as we are settling back into some more normal sort of day to day pattern, is that our relationship feels stronger than it did before. We feel more connected, and more in love. The awful storminess that we passed through left us feeling pretty ruffled, but on this side of the storm, it feels pretty good to be together.
The thing that most people don't seem to understand is that switching is a huge venture in trust with your partner. To do it successfully, you have to be willing to be seen in a different mode than is the norm. To switch is to allow for a level of uncertainty and vulnerability in the relationship. Switching forces us to lay down the comfortable garb or our usual roles and take on a whole new part -- for an hour or a day or a week or a month, partners who switch agree to experience the world from the opposite end of the spectrum.
For me, doing that is scary and unsettling. It takes me out of my comfort zone. Honestly? When He first began to get all into bottoming again, I experienced a whole range of emotions -- including something that seemed most closely like jealousy. Yup. In a world where there isn't enough spanking energy to go around (at least not by my lights), His desire to bottom seemed likely to suck up even more of a limited resource. I found myself in my head, talking to myself, and thinking, "All this time I've been worried about all the spanking partners that might take some of "my" spanking goodies, and now it turns out that the most likely culprit is HIM!" Round and round and round I went with that monster chattering away in my mind -- is it any wonder that I can seem like a crazy loon upon occasion?
Then, our mostly light and fun switching turned into something serious and heavy. With the addition of a sincere discipline dynamic, I found myself caught between my usual submissive role and the more situationally dominant role I'd been thrust into . It wasn't a comfortable time, and I hope there aren't too many situations like it in the days to come.
I think that those who fuss about switching; who insist that it is not for them, that they could never do it, that it would damage their respect for and trust in their partners; have some real fear that switching might rock them to the very core of their relational beings. I think they worry that things might never be the same; that they could never come back to the place of softly sinking back into the submissive role. I think I have worried about that sort of possibility myself at least once. I am happy to report that He and I seem to be finding our way back to our accustomed places with very little trouble. He and I played a bit last evening -- a very nice, pleasant, and non-challenging session OTK, and then a lovely night spent wrapped up with one another. I awakened this morning feeling a longing for more intensity and more high-end spanking. My asking for that this morning seemed to surprise and delight Him. We played at a much higher level than we have been in the last couple of weeks, and then finished and made love.
He remains "Master" and I remain His. It isn't that nothing has changed. That 's foolish. Of course things have changed. We've experienced change throughout the course of our lives together, and will continue to do that. No one gets to live a life free of change or challenge. We have grown stronger and closer and better for all the struggles of this last bit.