Overcoming resistance

Thumper recently wrote a post on his boyfriend Drew’s blog (in case you don’t know the context, Thumper is Drew’s (part time) submissive boyfriend). It’s a hot and interesting post that talks about resistance at its core, and it raises some points that I often have a lot of trouble articulating in a way that makes sense.

I commented on it with this:

I love this post from the sub perspective, thank you so much for sharing it.

“What I don’t really know about myself is where my illusory resistance to his dominance ends and is replaced with real resistance.”

I love that you say this. THIS is the dangerous place, the knife edge for me as a dominant.

I love loveLOVE pushing past where he thinks he wants to stop because that’s where the uber hotness lives for me (and us), going there together, but I have to trust us BOTH to know where that tipping point is between ‘resistance that I can get past’ and ‘resistance that signals the end point’. They both present the same because they *aren’t* some kind of ‘play-acting’: They both feel sincerely real to him and they both look real to me, because they are.

If I push past the first, there is an ecstatically happy place for both of us on the other side and I want us to go there, but if I push past the second, there is a mess of hurt and blame and lost trust on the other side of it. And until I know for sure that I can recognise one from the other, I won’t go there with him.

As you say, that takes time and trust which 100% goes both ways. Though it’s often presented as one way: that the sub has to trust the dom. But from the other side, I have to trust him as well.

Thank you for articulating it so well.

I’ve written about ‘force’ as a kink before. For many of us, when it works, it’s raw and scary and so very hot.

As a dominant, if I feel resistance from my submissive and I metaphorically (or literally) say ‘STFU and take it, bitch’, that shit is scorching.

As a submissive, if you long to feel overwhelmed and your dominant pushes you with confidence and asserts themselves despite you digging your heels in, there is a level of submission you can reach under that force of will that is all melty-wonderful-swoonworthy.

Until it’s not.

The thing that bothers me about the idea of overcoming resistance is that I often see two schools of thought on it:

  1. You shouldn’t do it, it’s bad: the dominant is a bad person for pushing and the submissive should just own up to what they want (FFS!)
  2. Dominants should have the confidence to just push past resistance instead of being such woosy babies about it, submissives love that (FFS!)

Neither of those views reflects how I approach or deal with resistance.

I LOVE overcoming resistance, but recognise very clearly that there is a knife-edge between the point where it’s hot and the point where it’s not. The nuance is there whether we acknowledge it or not, and the dominant has to asses each situation on its merits over and over again.

There is a contingent for whom the prevailing chorus is a blanket “Oh, I love it when a dominant does that” without seemingly any acknowledgement that in truth, sometimes that’s not the case because REASONS.

Even in an established relationship, the dominant wears the responsibility for making the call and paying the price if they get it wrong (and rightly so).

Some dominants know full well that pushing past resistance is risky and prefer simply to never go there. They will back off at ANY sign of resistance unless it’s very clearly negotiated in the lead-up to play. I can understand their position.

As Thumper articulated so well, the resistance I’m talking about is not play-acting, it’s not ‘bratting’, it’s not fucking about. It’s there. It exists. And sometimes even the submissive isn’t quite sure of the nature of it until it’s tested.

If you were to try and negotiate some kind of resistance play up-front when they were in that headspace, I suspect the submissive would just say ‘you know what, I just don’t feel like playing at all’ because that’s the truth, and that would be that. Which works perfectly if you never want to go there, or if you want to negotiate play-acting resistance. But they aren’t the same thing. At all.

The first time I had the confidence to push past my submissive’s resistance was huge for me. Huge. Mind blowing. Close-making. I got it right. And I trusted him not just to come with me, but to safeword if I was getting it wrong.

But I’m very aware that the line between getting it right and getting it wrong is paper thin.

How do I know I when I get it right?

The aftermath is a glowy-hot intimacy where we both feel impossibly close, where he is so very grateful that I pushed, where he feels loved, feels safe. And me, well, I just want to wrap him up and feel that aching vulnerability pulsing against my skin.

Loves: 15
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  1. As usual, you express it so very clearly!

    As a submissive, I have felt the sheer magic of being pushed by my dominant just past where I thought my limit lay, and finding that amazing space beyond, where I felt so deeply my submission to her, and was in that incredible ‘subspace’ where even perception seems to deepen. It’s something truly wonderful.

    I had never thought clearly about the difficulties involved until I read your post: the huge responsibility which lies on the dominant’s shoulders as she pushes past the resistance, and the risks involved. I have been pushed too far, and it was a painful and shattering experience at the time, for both of us. Thankfully we got through it and ended up with even deeper trust in each other than before, but the potential is there for the breakdown of trust, and that can be next to impossible to repair.


    1. I’m glad you could relate, Doug.

      And thank you for sharing your experience: lovely *smile*.

      I think when you are talking about pushing *limits* that’s another thing again, a further step, and correspondingly more risk.

      I’m glad your experience of being pushed too far ended so well. I think if you are both genuinely acting in good faith there is room for some mistakes.

      Part of my consideration in making a call on whether to push or not is knowing him well enough to trust that we can recover from it if I get it wrong. I’ve not had to test that trust yet: I hope I never do.


  2. I read Thumper’s post yesterday and then yours this morning and spent some time thinking about my own experiences.

    It is such a heady feeling to push past that resistance and get to that space. It is like the entire world fades away and there are only the two of you. Once we get there, I never want it to end. Unrealistic, but it is such a perfect space.

    The scary part to me is that the feeling is so heady that I want it again and again. Trying to balance that within a marriage is a constant struggle. :)

    1. Ahh, yes. I imagine that can be scary.

      Your comment (which I read as touching on domme-space) had me thinking of various instances where I pushed past my submissive’s resistance, and realised that many of them are rather mundane every day things. So it runs the gamut of those little power rushes and heightened D/s in the ‘ordinary’ as well as the big ‘woah’ things. Different risks, but each a kind of challenge.

      People are fascinating.


  3. I need to know the sub likes to be pushed before I go there. Not in the sense of negotiating a resisted scene (which can be hot, but as you say, not the same), but in more general negotiations. I need to here them say “Sometimes I want you to push me” or “I like when a dom pushes past my resistance” or something similar. If I don’t hear that, then I will back off the first time I meet resistance. If I do hear it, then we can have some real fun.

    1. *nod* That makes perfect sense.

      I do think that a kind of ‘statement of preference’ that implies blanket consent can absolutely help, but in the face of genuine “No, I don’t want to/can’t/something” resistance in the moment, I’m not convinced it holds up as well as we’d like. Because: human.

      That is, you STILL have to use every ounce of judgement in making the call *in each particular instance* regardless, and be prepared to wear the consequences.


  4. Such a thought provoking post! It has just captured my thoughts. I feel a bit like a moth being drawn to a flame, with no ability to prevent it.

    I think I have experienced it at times, but not thought about it as clearly as you have stated it. But now that I have read your words, I find that I want to experience it more strongly.

    I wonder if this is why I am always trying to make my submission feel as real as possible. To be in place where safe words are not needed, that we understand and accept each other so well that we just “do it”.

    I think I am still processing the ideas you have brought to light so well. Thank you for that.

    1. You’re most welcome. This is a tricky topic to talk about because it’s nuanced on both sides.

      “I wonder if this is why I am always trying to make my submission feel as real as possible.”

      This is an interesting statement. I’ve talked about this in various ways (not just in play but really for real), and I agree with you: For me, the dynamic doesn’t just have to *feel* real, it has to be a real thing that exists between us.

      It’s not a thing we ‘agree to do until we don’t’, our agreement is ratifying a thing that already exists.

      Again, that’s a difficult thing to talk about because from the outside, it’s complicated and it opens up fears of abuse and lack of consent and all that.

      It’s *easier* to feel it from the inside than it is to talk about it externally. Fascinating though.


  5. I’ve always just used the prod, I R doin it wrongz ? *grins evilly*

    Joking aside I think it varies on a person to person basis what can and can’t be pushed, that’s what safe words are for just in case, I’ve never been safe worded though so I guess I’m doing it right.
    Mind you I am deaf perhaps some sort of visual might have been a better idea *grins* It would explain all the thrashing around, crying and door slamming around here lately heh.

    1. “I think it varies on a person to person basis what can and can’t be pushed…”

      True. And I’d go even further: It differs not only from person to person, but from situation to situation, mood to mood. Making the right call is an independent decision that has to be made each and every time. And every time has the potential to get it wrong.

      The risk there is the reason why I have to trust him to call it if there’s a problem and I have to trust him to work through it with me if I get it wrong. Without that trust, the risk is too high for me.


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