Submission is easy, it’s obedience that’s hard

The submission thing I’ve got covered. Everyone has their own definition, me I go for short and sweet.

Here’s my favorite:

Wikipedia - Submission is the acknowledgement of the legitimacy of the power of one’s superior or superiors.

On most days, I even fit this second definition pretty well:

The Free Dictionary - Submission - The state of being submissive or compliant;

Acknowledging the legitimacy of Lady Pagan’s power is a no brainer. She’s got the personal presence and the force of arms to back her position, plus there’s a little matter of my oath to her that I take very seriously. Most importantly, I implicitly trust her to always wield this power taking into account both of our best interests.

The superiority thing is even easier. I wouldn’t have made the vow I did if I did not believe she was more intelligent, emotionally mature, has a more accurate moral compass, and  better judgement than me. The only category I’m reasonably sure I could still take her in would be the standing broad jump, and these days even that would be iffy.

Being in a submissive state comes natural to me with people I respect, and she’s at the top of the list of people who have earned it.

So why do I sometimes find obedience so tough?

The stuff you would think would be the hardest are actually the easy ones: “I want you to go to gym” or “I want you to eat better”…even “I want you to apologize to ‘x’”. These are things that I continually struggled with on my own, but completely accept when it’s an order from Lady Pagan. Part of it is the trust, part of it’s my desire to better myself, and a large part is my knowledge that she understands it’s a challenge and she’s not going to give up on me.

Then there are the seemingly selfish or pointless commands: “Get me more wine” or “kneel before me”. These are also no problem, mostly because I know it’s not about the kneeling or the wine (well, maybe in some cases, it IS about the wine). It’s about feeding the dynamic and the needs of both of us. I get that, want to support it, and comply willingly.

My problem occurs on those commands that don’t fit either of these categories. It might be an order to go to the store, or do some task in the yard. Before I quite realize what I’m doing, I blurt out “no”.

To be clear, in our dynamic Lady Pagan does not want a drone, and there are times when it’s perfectly acceptable for me to not agree immediately to a command. I’m required to state so politely, using the form “Milady, I’d like to but” followed by a legitimate reason :

  • There’s something she forgot or information she does not have
  • It’s something I’m not capable of doing and why
  • It’s something that I really, really do not want to do, and why

Lady Pagan will then consider the reason, and either rescind, re-confirm, or change her command. It works well for both of us. I’ve done it maybe 6 times in the past 2 months, and in each case I think it increased our confidence; mine in that she would give legitimate reasons a fair hearing, and her’s in that she didn’t have to know everything or always be right, just be the final decision maker.

“I’m not gonna do it and you can’t make me” is not one of those legitimate reasons.  Unfortunately, it’s sometimes the first thought in my head.

And I know the damage that can do, if I say it out loud.  DD has a great post on her site,, and Ferns has a fantastic one on hers,, that both discuss the impact hearing “no” has on a dominant.

So I try to suppress it, and usually I succeed because I honestly and truthfully want to obey. Lady Pagan is not only worthy of that obedience, it’s part of a very sacred promise I’ve made to her. Because of that vow, even when I’ve fucked up and blurted “no”, I’ve followed it up with an apology and  then go about doing whatever my task is. I’m getting better, as I de-program myself out of canned responses I’ve spent a lifetime of being a smart-ass learning.

But sometimes it’s too close for comfort.



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  1. Thank you for this. This, part, in particular, rings true for me with Jalan:

    “there’s a little matter of my oath to her that I take very seriously. Most importantly, I implicitly trust her to always wield this power taking into account both of our best interests.”

    I’m highly obedient and prize that in myself, as it sounds like you do. And we, too, have (under most circumstances) a re-confirm option. If she does confirm it, then it’s law. She’s the decidery half of the relationship, but we’re still partners.

    About a week ago, I blurted out an instruction to her (she was driving) overriding what she was doing. It shocked both of us, and is pretty much the only time it’s happened in the 2+ years we’ve been a D/s couple. I begged forgiveness when we got home, and she granted it.

    Our patterns are so strongly oriented around obedience and compliance that when something like that happens on rare occasion, she usually takes it as a signal that something is wrong in me, rather than as an affront. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have asked forgiveness, but it does mean I’ve earned a measure of grace for it. Then we talk about what’s wrong that could have led to that uncharacteristic behavior.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, and your reference to the grace you receive from Jalan. Grace is a wonderfully nuanced concept, and I consider it one of the cornerstones of my relationship with Lady Pagan.

      You’re right, I do highly prize obedience. For me it demonstrates commitment, respect, and my willingness to put the needs of the relationship first. That’s why it’s so distressing to me when I come up short. I envy your track record in that regard, and hope I can do half as well.

      1. Lady Pagan

        Aren’t you supposed to be working? arches eyebrow

        1. Sorry Milady – stuck in a VERY boring meeting…

    2. Lady Pagan

      Thank you, Naga, that does indeed sound very much like how we wish to treat those outbursts …. find out why, and correct accordingly.

      But it is true that the few times I’ve heard “No!” or something like it, my initial reaction is “okay, do you want this[dynamic] or not???” If I can stay silent until Paganboy is able to restate his position, it all works out fine. The biggest reaction I need is the raised eyebrow – not that he doesn’t get it without me doing a thing.

      Once in two years? Jalan must be very proud of you. .

      …as I am with Paganboy, despite a little more frequent – it’s the recognition of the slip that gives me that pride, knowing we are a work in progress.

      1. With thanks, I should clarify — it’s not the only time I’ve disobeyed in two years — I’m human! It is the only time we can remember my out-and-out giving her an order like that.

        But Lady Pagan, I completely agree with your goal of not treating disobedience as necessarily challenging your authority over Paganboy. When someone wants to submit and obey (not talking about “brat” dynamics), there is often going to be something else going on when that happens.

        And, Paganboy, the grace is indeed important. I have a hyperdeveloped guilt gland, and explicitly discussing what went wrong and whether it signals a need for change (or, very rarely, punishment) is crucial to being able to move forward, lesson learned.

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