View From The Top: Giving Orders

“Go get the paddle and bring it back to me.”

The order is never just the words coming out of my mouth. It’s the tone of voice I use, the eye contact, the confidence, the ease with which I speak. I have to go over the simple words again and again in my head before I ever say them. Sometimes this makes me slow to give orders. Sometimes things sound better in my head than they do out loud.

“Set it down on the bed and crawl. Hands and knees.”

The fewer words, the better. Concise, precise. One of my favorite early Crash Pad episodes had a butch barking orders at a femme while fisting and fucking her, and I couldn’t stop watching it. Not getting off, but in awe of the easy power that came from a bare minimum of words. “Chair.” Go over to that chair. Sit in it. Wait for me. “Down.” Go down to your hands and knees on the floor. The meanings were so obvious, dripping from them.

“Good.” Praise is important, but only selectively (until the aftercare). Keep them wanting. That’s the whole game. “Eyes up.”

I get a thrill of pleasure when our eyes meet. Open and blue, rife’s shimmer with desire and obedience, already in a state of submission. It doesn’t take much to get him there. He walks the crystal edge of it all the time, waiting to be pushed over. He doesn’t want to hold himself back. I finger his hair, his chin, the skin of his cheek. Smile at him. Feel my lust grow. But in my head, I fumble for my next words. What am I going to have him do?

“You’re going to earn it, boy.”

He knows what “it” is. The easy go-to is my dick, but “it” could be anything: my praise, an orgasm, my aftercare, my mastery. That’s the point. He nods, swallows. His throat pulses. It makes my mouth water, makes my clit twitch and my hips tense from the inside of my pelvis. I want it. No, no, not yet. His gaze is so intense. I don’t know how much longer I can hold it. I’ll get him down on the floor, keep him busy so I don’t have to hold this level of intensity. I can’t keep it up. The intense energy that flows through us shakes me, inside, somewhere deep, and I almost want to cry.

“Down. Kiss my boots.”

They’re leather shoes, actually. But “boots” is a symbol. It calls to mind high-protocol leather at events, dressing up, expanding the distance between us to have even more friction. He does, because he is an eager, good boy: his lips gently pressing, his hands moving to massage my feet through the leather, slight variations on the theme. I love his foot worship. I love the feel of being above him, him down on the floor. I often say it’s “where he belongs,” and the part of me that is very serious about this power differentiation between us believes that. The other part of me knows that we are deeply equal humans who both deserve the full ecstasy of experiences. But that part just reinforces the other — because an aspect of his quest for ecstasy is being under someone’s feet, being pressed down into the floor, being humiliated and cherished and kept.

“Good boy. That’s where you belong.”

That master part is still a challenge for me. I want it to be easy. I want to say that it’s easy, that it comes naturally to me. But it doesn’t. I work at it every day. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t work in the way that I’m forcing something; it’s work in the way that I work to write every day, even though writing is the portal to understanding my lived experience and the world that exists at my core. So many things counterweigh the impulse to be a master, to be a dominant, to be in charge: my early conditioning, the four-year-old in me who was told over and over to stop being so bossy; the eight-year-old who chose friends who would do what I said, but would talk about me behind my back; the fourteen-year-old who couldn’t keep friends because they were sick of my controlling efforts. There’s the trauma of past power dynamic relationships that went horribly awry, the dynamic going sour like milk, the taste one I can never quite get out of the back of my throat, coming up like bile when I even suspect that I’m too much, too big, too wanting. And then there’s my depression, the ways my body is naturally inclined to down-regulation, and the slump of defeat that comes with a depressed emotional state: no interest in sex, no energy, no hope, no vision of why any of it would be fun. I have to actively work against these things every time I give an order.

“Did I say you could use your tongue?”

He shakes his head against my foot and goes back to kisses. His soft lips. The inner parts are pink and delicate, and yield so easily against my knife, against my fingers. His yield is what I crave. His yield brought me here, to this exploration of M/s. Early on, after he found me and I decided to keep him — I was just what he was looking for, he was thrilling in a way I could not describe and could not turn away from — I assigned him two classic gay boy power dynamic books to do book reports on. The first was fiction about an M/s relationship; the second was Slavecraft (I mentioned it once before). The M/s fiction was thrilling, and we talked about it, hushed and turned on, dissecting the parts that were problematic. Slavecraft was life-changing.

“Bend over the bed.”

He stumbles to his feet, trying to get his body back into some equilibrium, his tongue swollen, mouth red, and he bends. I grab the paddle.

“Count.”

He does. Steady as my hand. Slavecraft changed my life because it changed rife’s. His notes, printed in neat pencil in the margins, show precisely his awakening to his own slave nature. I’m not sure this is me, it says in the margins. Then, a few pages later: I had this kind of feeling too, but not about being a slave. In the next chapter, during a discussion of the difference between a slave and a submissive: oh my god. I am a slave. He brought his book report to me humbly, handed it to me with both hands. When I read it, it blindsided me: If he is a slave, that makes me his master. I never wanted anything more than I wanted to be a master in that moment. No, that’s not true — it felt similar to when a girl I’d casually given my heart to had leaned in and whispered, “I think you’re butch.” I knew, in that moment, that that’s what I was, deep inside, but it didn’t quite match. There was still a road to walk, in order to get there.

“What number is that?”

He had stopped counting. Whimpering a little, twisting away from me, but keeping his hands steady. “That one didn’t count,” he says. It was a little off — not very powerful, and didn’t quite land right. Fine. Stronger blows. Mastery doesn’t come naturally to me, but it also feels like the truest thing about me. It feels like a relief to be able to own and control. It feels too good to be true, like the reality is even better than the fantasy. How did I deserve this? How do I get to do this? I have never been so fulfilled. I didn’t know that this was what I’ve been searching for this whole time. A part in me I’d locked away became alive, and now I get to flex and train it rather than try to ignore it.

“Five more.”

After the five, I use my hand to draw soft lines on his ass and thighs, and he sighs, turning toward me like a cat. I don’t want to disappoint him. I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Sometimes it takes me an hour to work up the nerve to ask him to do something, even though I know he will do anything for me. Sometimes I forget that I hold the larger container of M/s, the structure we are both committed to and that keeps us strong and tethered to each other, in service to the relationship which serves us both. Sometimes I wish it didn’t cost me so many spoons to tell him to do a task, set a goal, get me something. It is always a risk. Every time.

“You are so sexy, my sweet boy. I love your body. I want you.”

I whisper in his ear, bending over against his back. When I stand, I start unbuckling my belt, my jeans. He can hear that sound, and it makes him shiver. I watch his spine ripple. He has never let me hold that risk alone, he has always caught it with soft open hands. He reminds me, over and over, that he will always catch me, he will receive what I give him, he will give what I ask. That we are in this together.

“Turn over.”

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is “the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queer women” (AfterEllen), who “is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places” (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Sinclair identifies as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor and an introvert. Follow their writings at Sugarbutch Chronicles.

Sinclair has written 40 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. I can’t believe that there are no comments on this article! I usually don’t comment on websites, but I just had to comment to let you know how much I love both this article and the entire “View from the top” series – as someone who only recently started to really explore her dominant side, these articles are so helpful and resonate with me deeply. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences and fantasies with us.

  2. I love your whole ‘View From the Top’ series, but this one resonated with me the most. Especially the whole part about your past power dynamics and how they affect your M/s dynamic. Beautiful writing. I love it. Thank you.

  3. I love this so, so much. Especially this:

    “I work at it every day. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t work in the way that I’m forcing something; it’s work in the way that I work to write every day, even though writing is the portal to understanding my lived experience and the world that exists at my core.”

    On my first read, I read that as “It’s work in the way that I write it every day” and that felt equally true. At least for me.

  4. This was amazing to read. I was with someone who would get so mad at me if I was a little shy or nervous about giving orders. She would say that I wasn’t really dominant because she thought giving orders didn’t come naturally to me and it really hurt. I’m so happy to read that I’m not the only one who gets nervous about giving orders sometimes.

  5. I want to thank you for this whole series. I’ve long identified as a switch but only recently have I started topping and taking on the D role in a D/s relationship. Your writing has helped me put words around the stuff I’m struggling with as I let this side of myself out and create a world for my submissive and myself. And your writing made me feel okay with the fact that I prefer to be called Sir, even while I’m presenting very femme.

  6. I haven’t even finished reading this essay yet and I’m coming down to comment one thing you wrote that just hit me like a truck.

    ‘[…] the dynamic going sour like milk, the taste one I can never quite get out of the back of my throat, coming up like bile when I even suspect that I’m too much, too big, too wanting. ’

    Thank you. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and working my way through this series but this is EXACTLY what I needed to read right now. I’ve been feeling a lot like this recently and it’s so helpful and reassuring to see I’m not the only one who has. I love your work, and I hope this year is extremely fruitful for you!

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!