Very frequently, i find myself trying to relate my idea of a power exchange with those more customary relationship dynamics i encounter. It will happen while i'm at a dinner party with friends, and everyone around the table is coupled off in some measure of commitment. Or on the train, commuting into work, i'll observe the young couple sharing a pole, whispering to eachother. I think about what led to these affiliations, how it might differ from my own. All relationships begin with a single transaction. But is that where they cease to ressemble eachother? The terms of that transaction in SM is very crucial, if not the single denominator of what transpires following it.
The two opposite sides of the power exchange meet. A transaction occurs. The dominant makes a proposition. It is here that the next moment defines the structure of the dynamic. Does the submissive offer her consent by accepting his offer? If she does, this places her in control, not the dominant. Every subsequent decision he makes is within the realm of her intellectual consent. He may act like the overlord of this dominion but she is the Creator. Whereas, should the response to the initial transaction be one of silence, not rejection, but absence of an acknowledgment, the dominant may act on the terms he dictates and enforces.
What draws me to the type of a relationship that i am in, is that my submissive, masochistic partner, is as starved for power as i am. We are equals in that sense. Otherwise we wouldn't be compatible, and would not be able to fulfill each other as we currently do. She gets off on giving, and i get off on taking. Granting permission strips the equality in our pursuit. The grantor becomes the leader, the controller. One becomes stronger than the other without any attempt on the more dominant party at taking that control. This nullifies the need to create equality in our roles. It wouldn't be the same i'm afraid, it wouldn't fulfill either one of us if it were the other way around.
I've never outright asked if the submissive would consent to me doing the things i'm about to do. It's known. It's felt. The exchange occurs when a flow moves across the connection our bodies/eyes/souls make. This is The Gain i've frequently discussed. This is the currency that i use to purchase the pleasure i derive from her flesh.