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Collaborative Evolving Power Exchange

Some readers may have noticed a verbal shift in that long and convoluted conversation between He and I the other day -- our long custom of exchanging affirmations of our power exchange relationship was modified by Him:

Raheretic: I love you
Swan: Yours always and all ways
Swan: bye for now
Raheretic: Mine Always and All Ways
Raheretic: Too..............Yours Always and All Ways
Raheretic: I/we need both
Swan: well then ... Mine always and all ways
Swan: bye, Love
That was intentional on His part, meant to point to what He perceives to be our new and evolving reality.  As He has come to feel more switchy, His sense of our relationship has shifted.  He has increasingly indicated that what we are about is more collaborative and less definitively tilted toward anything that might reasonably be called M/s or maybe even D/s. 

Things have changed.  Things do change.  We are, clearly, not the same people we were 2 years ago, or 5  years ago, or 10 years ago.  Not as young and not as intensely dedicated to the sort of BDSM interactions we once enjoyed.  We've experienced real changes in our health status -- mostly for the better, although there is no denying the fact of ongoing aging.  We've seen significant changes in our career paths and our incomes.  We've withdrawn completely from the public scene -- finding it simultaneously dull and almost incomprehensible; not to mention ridiculously expensive.  We never imagined the road we'd travel in this last decade.  If we had, we might have chickened out before we ever started.

We've shifted the control back and forth between us, over the years, depending on what the circumstances dictated.  Most often, that has been driven by health issues, and I have sometimes been the controlling, and guiding partner as He has needed to focus on surgeries and illness and recovery.  There is no doubt that I am capable of assuming control when the situation warrants it.  

Now, it seems that He does not feel any need to be THE ONE IN CONTROL.  It seems that He is comfortable with our sharing that; switching not just in terms of erotic spanking, but in the much broader context of our day to day power dynamic.  I am made uneasy by that baldly stated truth -- even as I must acknowledge the fact.

I don't know what it means.  Perhaps it really doesn't signify any big change.  Perhaps it is simply the statement of the reality that has evolved between us.  Perhaps it is the natural landing point of the trajectory that we've been following from the moment when, out walking together, we accepted (with a sense of trepidation and wonderment) the desciptor of Master/slave for our relationship.  In that moment, we adopted language that we'd resisted previously, and made it "ours."  We've lived that in the years since, and found it made some sense for the two of us.  Now, there is a new understanding -- a new reality and awareness.  

We still play with the power dynamic in our relationship.  We are aware of it and deliberate in our manipulation of the power flows and energies.  Those who do not understand the use of power inside of intimate relationships are unable to use those energies to their mutual benefit.  That is not us.  Now, though, we seem to meet more as collaborators and partners in that balancing.  Truthfully, maybe we've always collaborated in that, but been more content to have the balance be more radically tilted.  Perhaps it is the fact that I've moved more toward the fulcrum point of the balance, and He has allowed and accommodated that -- until now we stand, face to face across from one another, and right in the center.  

There is no exotic descriptor for what we are engaged in -- no fancy uppercase/lowercase delineators.  We will likely, eventually, stop using the Master/slave lexicon altogether.  The provocative scintilla that came with all of that business will just slip off and away and we will gradually become more apparently "normal" and "mainstream" than we have appeared previously.

It makes me a little sad.  It scares me a little.  There is something easy and sure about being able to sum up the nature of your intimate life in such simple terms.  This new collaborative, evolving, power exchange dynamic seems much less defined and way more nebulous.  I don't know what it is and I have no clear sense of who or how I am inside of this.  It is disconcerting and unsettling.  I have no good experience or working model to draw upon for plain, old, garden variety relatedness based on some sort of equality.  The only time I ever tried that, it turned out to be a total disaster.  Sigh.  

I am full of questions.  What is expected?  What will this mean for us sexually?  Will we still play?  What about the collar I wear?  Should I -- or should I not?  Still?  Will He still be "Sir?"  "Master?"  Will I still be "swan?"  "His?"  What are the lines, the limits, the agreements?  I feel like I am living in a new and uncharted place where I do not know the rules.  And then, I tell myself that it is all silliness -- we are doing this already.  There is no tidal wave of change happening here.  The changes have come incrementally over the years and months leading to this point.  All I need to do is just go on doing it day to day and it will be whatever it is going to be.  There is no going back, even if I would wish it.  

I just don't know.  I just do not know.



  1. Your words resonate strongly within me.

    The years Master and I have spent together, particularly those spent living together, have wrought changes in our relationship. There are times when the only way I can serve Him are to assume the reins and be in control of our world. There are areas and aspects of life which I specialize in and am best suited to control, therefore I do.

    Sometimes it feels that He is no longer Master and I am no longer slave. And I ask myself what does that change?

    The answer is it changes nothing.

    I still serve Him, and His needs, and fulfill that role within our relationship. Does it always resemble the widely held view of M/s? Nope. Is it still intentionally structured so that I defer to His wishes and decisions and authority? Yep. Even when I don't want to.

    When the situation warrants me taking the lead, I do. But it's at His pleasure.

    So yes, really, often it seems that we walk side by side together through this world, equal partners in our shared life. And it can be unsettling, it's just not how it's all described and explained and experienced in the writings found all over the internet, places like collarme and fetlife. Not even how it's described in r/l places like our numerous educational societies, places like Black Rose and TES.

    But it's real life, day in and day out, no glamor, little time for sleeping in cages and wearing full body latex suits. Things like cooking, cleaning, commuting to work, laundry, and lots of other things that must be done.
    Emotional adjustments within families, births, deaths, empty nest, job and career changes.

    We may not always feel like Master and slave, but if I may be so bold, swan, as to observe that if Tom decided tomorrow that He was done exploring His switchy side, it would all be over. He is still, it appears from here, in control of how Y/your relationship functions. Right now, it seems to be His pleasure and His need to walk on the submissive side. But to me, the key was that it was His wish. Will you not change along with Him in the years to come as He decides to move things in one direction or another? If your answer is yes, then I believe you are still M/s or D/s or whatever label you prefer - and are serving His needs and desires.

    Just my two cents, I hope I haven't offended anyone.


  2. Tapestry, Dear Friend -- You have been anything but offensive, and instead have offered me your friendship and a listening ear, and an understanding heart. Thank you. You wrote words that I desperately needed to hear from someone that could understand the tizzy my heart is in. It is a gift that you have given to me.

    hugs, swan

  3. Impish18:12 PM

    The very real and scary truth I face every day as the caretaker of elderly parents who are no longer who they were is that this is is the path we will all walk if we are lucky enough to live a full and cherished life. One day, we will not be who we were or who we want to be. That may be what you are facing, and you need to start thinking about how you will live it and live withit when the time comes, but I doubt you are there yet. As you said, lives and sexuality are fluid, likely you are both exhausted, and this is your path for now.

  4. Dynamics shift, relationships shift, it's a fact of life, something you have already stated. So, is it a matter of accepting the change. I think you're doing this, but tomorrow will likely bring about another change. Krishna and I have changed so much (since having the baby) that I feel I can't write on my own blog anymore. Reading yours makes me reconsider my thoughts on this.

    I haven't commented in a while, but I still read when I can. Love to you all!


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