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One of the topics that’s been discussed some lately is the fact that sometimes dominants give commands that don’t quite seem like commands.

aisha talked about commands that were almost couched as suggestions, as did faithful in her blog.

I suppose that must seem very odd to submissives, that we do that.  We can, so easily it seems, just give that command.

We can TELL you what to do.

So why don’t we just TELL you sometimes?

There’s often a reason, you know.

You could do your child’s math homework.  You know, at least one hopes you know, how to do fractions.  If you were looking to solve the problem of the answer to the equation of 2 2/3 times 3 and 3/8ths, you understand the process.

You find the common denominator and translate the equations into those common denominators, you multiply the numerators, then you simplify the result again.

It would probably take you less time than it takes your child as he struggles with the concepts and the math.

It would certainly be easier.  You could do that and then both of you could move on and do something else.

But, you’re saying, then he’d never learn how to do it himself.


He’d never learn how to do it himself.

Sometimes giving an order is sort of like giving someone the answer.  I want  you to start doing X or stop doing Y or change the way you do Z.

It’s simple, it’s direct, it gets to the answer quickly, and the answer is “right.”  You don’t have to make so much space in your brain for it, do you?

And it’s so much EASIER, isn’t it?

And, when it’s done, and you have the answer, what did you learn?

Sometimes that’s ok.  Sometimes you don’t NEED to learn anything.  Just fold my towels long ways first because that’s how I want them folded.  No need to justify it or explain it or learn anything other than, that’s how I want it done.

But sometimes, it’s not.

If you’re trying to teach something, it’s always more work.

But it’s kind of like that giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish thing.

If I always give you the answer, then it never takes up the space in your head.

And it’s one thing when it’s towels, because it’s pretty finite and concrete.  Even if you fold one of my towels wrong, nothing bad happens.  I might make you refold it, but the quality of our lives is not lessened.

If I give you nudge in the direction in which I want you to go, though, if I give you an idea of what I think the destination should be, but don’t lay out the specific path, it’s more likely you’ll learn something from it.

When the similar situation confronts you again, you know how to handle it, or at least have a better sense of how to handle it, because you have experience with it.

Sometimes, too, we don’t give orders because a smart dominant doesn’t give an order that a submissive can’t obey.

It’s both pointless and ineffective to tell someone they shouldn’t feel guilty, for instance.

I can command you not to, but what that is actually going to do, most likely, is double your guilt.  You’re still going to feel guilty about the initial thing, but you’re also going to feel guilty about feeling guilty because now you’re also disobeying.

Sometimes those suggested commands are like holding out your hand, offering a steadying presence, suggesting a path rather than directing one.

Sometimes it’s because we believe that you need to work through the problem yourself, not just be given the answer.