One of the qualities that I think is important for a dominant in a relationship is one that is talked about far too little is vision.
I use the term in this context as the ability to look at a submissive and see what improvements should be made, to see what should be cut away and how the remaining facets can be polished.
It is the same ability an expert diamond-cutter must have, to look at the raw stone and see the diamond that lies within waiting to be exposed.
Like the gem-cutter, too, a dominant ho undertakes this kind of transformation needs a steady hand and a clear understanding of the structure under the surface. A poorly-planned or badly-aimed cut can destroy the stone, leaving a pile of worthless dust.
A dominant who attempts to cut away the dross in a submissive runs a greater risk than that of merely ruining a piece of rock, however. A dominant without clear vision can leave a submissive scarred, unable to recover from the amateurish blow.
The ability to truly train a submissive requires clarity of vision.
It requires the ability to look at another person objectively, to see and understand faults and strengths, be willing and able to refine, to polish away the faults, to showcase the strengths that exist already.
Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury once defined love as the ability to give ourselves back to ourselves just a little bit better than we had dared hope or dream.
I think in its best incarnation, this lifestyle allows us the same opportunity.
As a dominant, we can give the submissive back to themselves, better than they had dared hope they could be.
The submissive does for us what they could not do for themselves, stretching and improving to conform to our vision of what they can and should be.
Dominants sometimes talk about how they have trained a submissive, or submissives will say that they have been trained. When one explores that more fully, it turns out that they mean that they have experienced a number of different sensations.
They’ve been “trained” because they’ve been exposed to floggers and singletails and violet wands and fireplay and needle play and wax play and Japanese bondage.
To me, this is a path separate and apart from training. That is exposure to different implements and/or experiences. For me, it has nothing at all to do with what I believe training can and should be.
I believe training a submissive involves teaching them to be more pleasing, either to me or in general, and it’s specific to each submissive as well as to each dominant.
Training someone involves taking on a certain responsibility for education and improvement. That education can be formal education, such as requiring a bright but uneducated submissive to attend classes or enroll in college, or less formal, such as requiring that they learn to correctly set a table for a formal dinner, or learn to play a musical instrument, if they have a native ability.
On a more personal level, training them to be pleasing to me might involve teaching them which mug is my favorite, which tea I like, how strong I like it brewed and how much sweetener to add. Training them in that sense is simply educating them to my preferences.
Sometimes a dominant is hesitant to demand that the submissive reach, that they work for their own improvement. I think that we owe it to them, however, to make those demands in whatever way is the most effective.
We ask them to give us their trust and their affection; we ask them to allow us to determine the course of the relationship, to make the choices for both.
I believe that as dominants we must not only always have their best interests at heart, but also be willing to hold their interests over our own on some levels.
What they want from us, assumedly, is that we be dominant, that we make the decisions and take the responsibility.
If we shirk those responsibilities because it’s too much bother, or because we don’t want to ask for something that is difficult, if we do it because we ourselves are too lazy or too undisciplined to follow through, do we truly deserve the trust they place in us?
If we never ask them for what is difficult to give, we never allow them to test their own limits in terms of challenging themselves to be, as the military says, all that they can be.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the military expects to extract that excellence from the recruit through discipline and obedience.
What kinds of things is it acceptable to require from a submissive?
I think the essential changes in personality or behavior should always have at their core the improvement of the submissive.
It will make the bright but uneducated submissive’s life better to gain a formal education. They will have the ability to more effectively use the native intelligence they already possess.
While your intention might well be that they never work outside the home, it is a form of insurance that they can support themselves should they need to, or contribute to the household income if circumstances should dictate that necessity.
I think requiring a submissive educate themselves is always acceptable and I believe it should be a continuing process, that there should always be educational goals in place, whether they be as formal as a college degree or as informal as learning a language or a specific skill.
One of the things I genuinely value about both slave drew and slave thomas is the finding they know more about something that I perhaps didn’t know that they knew at all. I find that both very appealing and something that represents me particularly well, in a light that matters to me.
There is always more to learn however educated or informed one might already be.
Other areas one might target for improvement could be speech or writing patterns. I expect, if I give a written assignment to a submissive, that when the assignment is returned to me it will be properly punctuated, proofread, and spelling and typographical errors will have been corrected.
In that situation, it matters not whether they hand me a sheet of paper written in their own hand, or a printout of a computer file, or an email. I still expect that they will have made that effort.
I hate, and I notice, sloppy speech patterns. If I had a submissive who said “like, I mean,” or “you know,” or “um” all the time, I wouldn’t fine that acceptable.
What I would likely do is inflict a punishment for every slip of the tongue, as it were. Perhaps it might be writing an affirmation, like “I will learn to speak well.” however many times, by hand, they had transgressed.
Or perhaps it might begin with a stroke of the crop, one for each, or even something as simple and really unpleasant as having them wear a rubber band on their wrist and snapping it each time it happens..
I suspect that after a month or so, it would probably have been a pretty effective training method.
I might require that someone learn to cook beyond whatever skills they had. I do most of the cooking because I like it and I’m good at it, and I don’t always, surprise surprise, like other people in my kitchen.
On the other hand, sometimes it’s a lovely treat to be cooked for and served.
I would require that they know how to set a basic table, and serve in a basic fashion.
I might require they learn web design, or how to do home repairs. The areas I would target would be either those where the submissive showed a talent that I thought deserved to be encouraged, or where the lack of knowledge was a hindrance for them or me.
Cooking lessons would make sense for both the submissive who enjoyed cooking and seemed to have a flair for it, and for the submissive who was unable to produce the simplest meal without mishap.
In the first case, the talent deserves to be encouraged for both of our enjoyment. In the second, the skill needs to be instilled to improve the submissive’s ability to take care of both of our needs.
There’s a bonus, too, to the submissive who accepts training. A submissive who is required to learn a skill retains possession of the skill.
I can use it, but in the end, it becomes part of YOUR resume, your skill set, what you bring to the table.
What kinds of training are inappropriate?
I would say the worst training is that undertaken without regard to the submissive’s skills, needs, or desires.
Requiring piano lessons for a submissive who was tone deaf and despised practicing would have little value.
They will never play the instrument with the kind of pleasure that would make it a joy to hear, it would add nothing to their life and would be a burden imposed for reasons other than their own betterment.
The difficulty for the dominant is in maintaining their own focus.
True training requires far more effort than simply exposing a submissive to sensation.
It requires frequent if not constant monitoring of progress.
It requires that one learn to be both cheerleader and taskmaster, encouraging the submissive for their effort to date, while keeping them on course for continued effort.
It requires a certain clarity in picking out the areas to improve or adjust; it requires the ability to both give direction and criticism as needed.
It can also require the willingness to set penalties when effort isn’t put forth, perhaps even to base the future of the relationship on those efforts.
It is much easier for all concerned to require nothing that is an effort, yet by doing only that, we cheat both ourselves and the submissive of the promise that they hold to become more than they are, better than they thought they could be.
I believe that in truly training a submissive, we undertake an genuine and sometimes intimidating responsibility, that of remaking another person over in a more pleasing image.
We also undertake a great deal of work, which will sometimes be worth it and sometimes won’t.
Sometimes you will do your best and find in the end that the essential material with which you worked was not up to the tempering process.
Sometimes they will develop cracks that we didn’t anticipate, flaws that were unseen before and make them unusable as vessels.
We will sometimes find that what we thought might be masterworks will shatter in the kiln, unable to withstand the heat and the internal pressures.
Hopefully, we shrug and go on, rather than letting the disappointment color our ability to judge, or our willingness to undertake the next project.
There are masterworks out there, simply waiting for the Master’s touch.
Part of being the Master is seeing the promise waiting for us, just beneath the surface.