Words & Ideas - Dominator or Initiator?

Initiator Toru-nakata

Sticky, sticky, sticky

One of the sticky topics to tackle on this site is the concept of domination and power as applied to our sexual relationships.  Power can be so subjective, and in the realm of sexuality, we're dealing with a vast lair of context.

I believe words have power and it's important to choose them carefully and wisely. It's certainly possible to end up just arguing semantics and start beating each other with dictionaries, but there's no doubt in my mind that words are concepts and concepts guide our actions.

My point here is to start a conversation around the words dominator, initiator and giver - and likewise, submissive and receiver.

Live and let give

The concepts of giving, giver and power are complex.  On the stereotypical surface it can seem as though the giver is in a position of power, and the receiver is considered submissive.  In many heterosexual interpretations of homosexual pairings, men who receive the dick are often viewed negatively (for being submissive, being woman-like).  To the point where men who are inserting their dick are excused any sexual attraction at all.  If you're giving the dick, you can be heterosexual regardless of the sex or orientation of receiver.  For women receiving a dick, the man is "giving it to her" and the woman is "taking it," phrases also used in violence and fights.  

However, in the case of oral sex, it's the opposite.  A power shift occurs so that the receiver is viewed more positively and the giver is submissive.  If a woman is 'going down' on a man she's often literally or metaphorically considered to be 'on her knees.'  'Giving head' doesn't imbue any position of power.  Men are also often considered submissive if they go down on a woman.  So the giving and receiving doesn't quite sum up the issue, and role reversal of giver and receiver don't address the underlying power differentials.

Please and thank you

Philosophically, I want lovers to be able to give or receive with power.  Just like it takes maturity and a certain amount of self-confidence to gracefully accept a compliment or a gift, it is powerful to receive sexual pleasure.  To give and receive should be able to co-exist, in balance, within us.  

Asking for pleasure can be viewed or posited as begging, and begging is considered submissive.  By extension, it can be very difficult to ask our lovers for pleasure.  There's the fear that we will be denied, that we will be seen as needy or unfulfilled, and that we are vulnerable to the actions of our lover.  Asking is initiating.

The initiator is most often the giver.  This is actually a fantastic opportunity for role reversal.  If a partner is commonly the initiator by giving and doing, touching, inserting, moving - then a fantastic way to vary the routine would be for that person to initiate by asking, or for the other partner to practice being an initiator by asking.  

Initiators who are givers tend to be considered aggressive.  It's easy for the words initiator and aggressor to be interchangeable.  But if you think about a partner sitting and saying, "Come and get me," you can see where these parallels fall apart.  The person saying "Come and get me" is the initiator, the responding partner is the aggressor.  Who is giving and who is receiving here?  Seems pretty equal to me.

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