Benefits of position training
(Original article from http://kinktoychest.com/index.php/castle-realm-archives/154)
Definitions: Position training - teaching the submissive to assume a set of standard poses (such as different types of kneeling and standing, with the arms, legs and head variously placed) in response to voice commands from the dominant. Particular attention is paid to correct form and fluidity of movement.
(For an overview of position training, see SM 101--A Realistic Introduction by Jay Wiseman)
The Mentor: Having read the assignment I gave you, I would like for you to tell me your thoughts on the advantages of position training for a submissive.
The Charge: It seems to me that there are two distinct areas of advantages to position training for the submissive: those that benefit the dominant, and those that benefit the submissive.
For the dominant, first and foremost, such training offers the benefit of providing him with pleasure - both during the process of the training and as a result of it. Through such training he receives the surrender of his submissive and the gratification inherent to him therein.
It also offers him opportunities to:
- Establish his power and control over the submissive and set the tone and framework for the relationship;
- Tailor his submissive's individual behavior to that which gives him the greatest psychological and physical gratification; and
- Establish patterns and signals that will, in the future, enable him to exert control with the least amount of effort to obtain the desired visual, aural, oral, postural, or other result.
The Mentor: And what benefits do you see for the submissive?
The Charge: For the submissive, such training firstly provides her with a fundamental opportunity to please her master and to integrate his desires into hers. That is, before all else, she must learn not merely to accept but to welcome and, indeed, thrive under his rule and direction - to respond to him with obedience because he is her teacher and her master. Position training gives her the opportunity to integrate her submission into the fiber of her existence through the basics of movement that establish deference to authority. It enables her to understand - and feel in her core -- the depth of her commitment to serve. I would think that if she cannot be not merely psychologically comfortable, but feel herself to be gloriously happy in positions of submission, well, then there is not likely to be any point in going any further.
The Mentor: Quite so. At first, the submissive may submit to the training reluctantly and only out of a desire to please. If, over time, the submissive is unable to internalize the reason for the training, indeed, cherish the opportunity to so overtly offer surrender, the dominant should re-evaluate whether it is something that is appropriate in the relationship. What sorts of obstacles do you think a submissive might encounter when first beginning such training?
The Charge: Kneeling has become scandalous in our society, with the pervasive "politically correct" exaggerations/distortions of values based on equality. The notion of "service" has unfortunately become debased and taboo. Thus, to present oneself to one's master by kneeling before him is to transgress the values of society -- of the entire world around you -- and to say that his word, his desires, his values come before those of any others and that his values have primary importance in your life, above all else. Thus, such transgressive behavior demonstrates her willingness to sacrifice for him on multiple levels -- indeed to transform such actions from sacrifice to self-fulfillment -- and to make him the center of her universe. Kneeling is both symbol and substance -- a basic mechanism for her surrender of power to her dominant. Therefore, it seems to me that kneeling is the essential place to begin, define, and constantly recommit to the fundamental nature of the relationship and to the royal authority of her dominant.
The Mentor: Being aware of these potential hindrances is essential to both dominant and submissive. There is a saying: "Forewarned is forearmed." Kneeling and prostrating oneself before another can tap into some very emotionally-charged places, particularly if the submissive has long been strong and independent. Are there other benefits you can think of?
The Charge: Position training is likely to improve her posture - and this change is apt to carry over even into the hours of her life when she is not in the presence of her dominant. Not only will this improve her digestion and reduce her risk of back problems and osteoarthritis, but it will help her maintain a subtle level of awareness of her submission and her master throughout her day with further psychological benefits. This can help her find small joys in otherwise mundane tasks, relax and cope more effectively with difficult moments, and bring to him a fuller appreciation of her submission at the end of her day...the fulfillment of her day, indeed her existence, when she lays the flowers of her submission at his feet.
The Mentor: Most insightful. You have captured the essence of what position training is about. Beyond the pure joy dominant and submissive may experience in the acts themselves, you have gone further to anticipate both emotional and physical benefits. You mentioned before the negative effects that cultural conditioning might have on a submissive as they begin this sort of training. There is another issue that crops up frequently: a struggle with body image. That is, dissatisfaction with their proportions may make some submissives self-conscious about how appealing they may be to their dominant while in certain positions that leave them especially vulnerable. How might that be overcome?
The Charge: I know that it is totally normal for all women - including attractive ones - to compare themselves to the truly beautiful women of this world and feel they come up short and thus feel something less than they would want to be. I have always been among them. But during those long minutes the first time I lay face-up on the floor before my dominant, legs outstretched and arms overhead, something changed. I was tense at first, then gradually relaxed. I discovered my own beauty. For what could be more beautiful to a dominant than the sight of his submissive outstretched in total submission? Nothing! I knew at that moment that I would never feel anything less than beautiful -- utterly gorgeous -- when in submission. I was elated. It was a transformative experience that has never left me. It has enriched my life.
The Mentor: Letting go of all of those external comparisons which are irrelevant has enabled you to see yourself as your dominant sees you. Free from the tyranny of advertisers' standards, you have discovered what it is to be truly beautiful. In letting go of those artificial definitions, you are able to relax and luxuriate in the warmth of your dominant's approval and overcome a tremendous hindrance to your submission. You are pleasing to your dominant; no other standard is of importance.
Submissives often find one or more positions very challenging, either emotionally or physically and I know from our conversations that you have, too. How was it that you resolved those conflicts within yourself?
The Charge: I simply accepted my difficulty - and understood that it was meant to be that way, that it pleased him for it to be difficult for me - and that such acceptance was part of my submission. Which, in turn, made it easier.
The Mentor: Which position made you feel the most submissive or vulnerable and why?
The Charge: Without a doubt, "kneel forward." This is the most transgressive of the postures - kneeling and then bowing deeply with the forehead touching the floor and the private parts raised and exposed. It makes an extraordinary statement with the body. "You are my ruler and I am yours to do with as you will." Yet it is simultaneously the position in which I am most comfortable physically (because some of the body's weight is transferred to the forearm). Further, I enjoy it psychologically because it encourages interiority. That is, head-to-floor functions like a blindfold, which obliges one to look within oneself - to know oneself very deeply.
The Mentor: This position in particular evokes a similar response in many submissives. Not only are you bowing, which carries with it all those emotional conflicts brought on by social conditioning, but you are very much exposed--literally offering your most intimate parts to your dominant who may, at his whim, do with them as he wishes. This can evoke intense feelings of vulnerability that the submissive may find startling and uncomfortable at first.
You have expressed your thoughts and insights very clearly, and I am very pleased to hear that you understand the potential benefits that position training has within a D/s relationship. Many in the community see only the superficial acts and wonder what possible benefit this could provide. They do not readily perceive how something as simple as learning a few body positions could so profoundly affect the depth of their relationship. For a dominant who understands what struggles the submissive must deal with to perform these positions, it can be an extraordinarily joyous turning point when they are done not just as a sign of compliance, but as a genuine expression of surrender. Your descriptions will be of immense help to others who may find themselves faced with similar tasks. You have done well and I am deeply pleased.