I'm going to crawl out on a limb, here. I recently read a couple of M/F BDSM stories where the dominant blatantly disregarded the submissive's set of limits. By blatant I mean he ripped them up in front of her. Okay, yes, it's fiction, and I understand the reasons in both cases, but it still bothered me. Why? Because the hero was basically saying "I know you better than you know yourself, so we'll play by my rules, not yours. Take it or leave it. No negotiation."
Problem was they'd just met that day. A bit presumptuous, don't you think?
I do realize having a dominant take total control is a fantasy come true for some readers. In erotic fiction, we want the hero, or Dom, to intuitively sense his lady's deepest desires and know without a doubt what it is she needs and desires, even if she doesn't. The notion that someone has the ability to fathom our secret fantasies and bring them to fruition is sexy. But shouldn't he at least know her name, first? Okay, I exaggerate, but my point is that reality is different from fiction. And a fantasy on the page could be a nightmare in real life.
Take-charge heroes get my juices flowing, and I enjoy reading stories with them. However, I also want said hero to value the woman along with her limits. Because respect is an important issue for me, I'm not a fan of stories where the hero or dominant enjoys humiliating the heroine or submissive, even if she seeks the treatment. Nor do I especially like stories where the man believes his pleasure is more important than hers. And a side dish often served with that premise is discomfort. Yes, pleasure can be received through pain and discomfort, but soreness and irritation can diminish pleasure as well. So, where do you draw the line?
In her article on the subject, Lisabet Sarai says, "A sub experiences satisfaction and pleasure in surrendering to a master or mistress. Part of the excitement derives from uncertainty. The ideal is that the dominant should do whatever he or she pleases, subject only to the submissive's hard limits and governed by the safe word." She goes on to say (and I'm paraphrasing) that a checklist tends to dull the thrill of play.
I understand and agree. The act of total surrender, for some submissives, can offer the ultimate in satisfaction along with a sense of pride. But that isn't true for all. Nor should it be. For some, the pride and satisfaction comes from pleasing the other person, which does not always involve surrendering.
In one story I read, the submissive had been wearing a large butt plug for most of the day and it had grown uncomfortable, so she asked for permission to remove it. When the dominant asked her why, and she told him, his response was, "Ah. So your comfort is the most important thing?" A part of me was thinking, "Yes, and it should be for you, too. Shouldn't it?" But he was a dominant, and he expected her to want to please him above all else, including her own comfort. So, she closed her mouth and did what he wanted, even though she received no pleasure from it. Then again, neither did I.
So, here I am, just like the kitty pictured above, out on a limb. Only, I suspect I'm alone. This article is my personal opinion and I do not intend to stand it as a flagpole to measure others against, but if the goal is mutual enjoyment, why should one person demand another's discomfort when there's no pleasure received in return? That particular Dom admitted to being turned on by the idea of the sub continuing to wear the plug he'd inserted into her, simply because he'd wanted it there, but awareness and soreness are two different things to me. So, the thought of him enjoying her discomfort made me squirm, and not in a good way.
In my mind, pleasure should be mutual, rules should be clear, and limits understood and accepted, which brings me back to my original topic. Limits and negotiations. What are your thoughts? Do you prefer a fictional Dom to respect or ignore his submissive's limitations? Do you like Doms or heroes who enjoy watching their women squirm with discomfort because they wished it? I've given you my opinion, now I'd like to hear yours if you're willing to share.
Below are some articles on the necessity of limit negotiations in real life:
Below is the link to Lisabet's article: