My favorite professional sport to watch is cycling. What does that have to do with spanking? Says the curious reader.
It you don’t follow sports, then you may be unaware of the link between Dominance/submission and athletics. Headlines such as: Yankees spank Red Sox in the rubber match; Chelsea whip Manchester United in the rain; The Patriots take the Giants to the woodshed. In cycling, a common phrase is: Stamped his authority over the peloton.
The Giro d’Italia—the first of three Grand Tours, the third being the Vuelta a España, finishes this weekend. My favorite event of all is the second Grand Tour, the Tour de France in July. They all run for three weeks, and have two overall themes: Great racing and amazing aerial photography. The organizers use the races as one giant tourism campaign.
Cycling is the ultimate team sport. In each race there is a designated GC—General Classification—rider who wears the number 1, 11, 21, 31, etc, and is supported by the other riders in order to finish as high as possible in each stage and overall. The actual leader of the team though, is the directeur sportif who follows behind in a vehicle constantly monitoring the race and directing the strategy. A rider can win and be successful through sheer talent, training and discipline, but without a strong team who can protect and guide their GC rider, breakaway and/or designated sprinter day after day, victory will be elusive.
There have been a lot of posts recently from many different bloggers writing about the nuances and the struggles of D/s in daily life. In an individual cycling race there can be only one winner, but as in relationships, the strongest team will always be more successful. The trophies and the colored jerseys may go to individuals, but it is the team that celebrates together at the end of the day.
The Dominant in a D/s relationship is the leader; the road captain, the one to whom homage is paid in champagne toasts, but who also has the complete responsibility for the success of D/s. A submissive cannot fail. They are simply following the direction of the Dom, and if a wrong road is taken, if there is a crash, if insufficient energy is supplied and attention not paid to details; it falls upon the Dom to accept responsibility for the failure to communicate and lead the way to safety.
During a 150k-200k stage race, the average professional cyclist burns 1,000 calories per hour, for a race that takes 4-6 painful hours to complete. The body though can only process an average of 1,500 calories during that time, so in order to maintain weight, they need to consume, on average, 8,000 calories a day. Hydration is even more important, with an average of 1 Liter of fluid every hour of racing. The monitoring of proper nutrition is the ultimate responsibility of the directeur sportif, who uses the radio, feed zones, domestiques and soigneurs to direct a mobile dining service and support staff that is moving at 40k an hour on the flat, and up to 80k downhill.
If we equate a D/s relationship to a team race, then the more control the Dom exerts, the less likely mistakes will be made in terms of feeding the power exchange. The submissive role is as a domestique. They are the ones who ride at the front, providing shelter from the wind and other riders, fetching bidons and food from the the team car, pacing their leader around road furniture, over long flat roads and up steep hills and snow capped mountains. The domestiques sacrifice their own ambitions, energy, even their own bikes if needed, in order to support their leader and give him/her the best chance to win. One-by-one they ride, until they can barely pedal another stroke, the entire team keeping their leader at the front, dropping off when spent.
Sounds kind of one-sided doesn’t it?
Sort of how most people view the entire concept of Dominance and submission. All about foot rubs and peeled grapes: lounging around while your frightened servant scurries to meet your every deviant whim and dark desire. Demanding obscene sexual favors constantly, and then, when not satisfied with the effort, spanking and punishing until the submissive is broken and left at the side of the road while the Dom cruises arrogantly past in cushy splendor and comfort.
In any human endeavor you will find people who abuse their authority, who punish unjustly, who only care about themselves and even seek to destroy for the sheer joy of inflicting terror upon the innocent. I will never justify D/s that is all about gratifying the Dom’s desires and ignoring the submissive’s needs.
That is not being a team leader. That is not winning. That is not about celebrating the tight bonds of love and respect developed over time through hard work and constant training. Like in cycling, or another sport, or writing a novel, there is no substitute for effort. Nothing in life comes easy, least of all an intimate relationship built around the bottom and the willing heart.
A D/s relationship lasts a lot longer than three weeks, and takes an incredible amount of energy to get through each and every day. We may quail at the thought of being responsible for another person who gives us their complete trust, but when we agree to act as a team, to selflessly support the other partner, to see to their comfort first and ride together against the world; then that steep mountain pass doesn’t seem so daunting after all.