When Mistress Delila asked me to write this, I joked that it would be easy. "Dominance is Mistress Delila."
That's certainly true for me, but it doesn't help anyone who isn't involved with Her. And, as it turns out, it isn't so easy to define "dominance." It's kind of like describing the taste of celery. You know it when it is in your mouth, but until someone has sampled it, it's kind of hard to talk to them about it.
In psychological terms, dominance is simply the tendency to assert control over others. In our individuality-driven culture, dominance is sometimes seen negatively - as is submission. In reality, they are simply human nature. When they are mixed in proper measures between two willing partners, they create a strong and intimate bond.
Of course, any personality trait can be distorted to the point of neurosis, if not psychosis. Television shows like CSI and Law and Order make their bread and butter out of stretching personality traits into psychoses. So the most common example of dominance that is displayed on television - especially if one looks at sexual dominance - is that of the predator, the bully, the rapist, the homicidal sociopathic sadist.
Americans, in particular, seem to have difficulty in determining levels of subtlety. At least, they do when it isn't their own life under the microscope. So those of us who are not involved with power-specific relationships are all-too content to lump anyone who seems "different" into the same bin as the dangerous and loony. In a way, it's natural. But that doesn't mean it's right.
After all, dominance is also a trait of people we refer to as "natural leaders." Should we force them to be mediocre just because...well, it sounds better? Should we sentence our next generation of leaders to the loony bin just because they are actually good at it? God, I hope not.
So at a basic level, "dominance" is a personality trait. But when a relationship is to be based on dominance, it becomes more than that. It becomes the cornerstone of the relationship. It is the touchstone to which all aspects of the relationship must return in times of conflict and joy.
Dominance in this respect is not simply making demands and expecting them to be obeyed - although there is certainly that aspect. It is accepting leadership of the relationship in order to create an atmosphere of trust in which the partner can remain submerged in submission, without fear of being abused or damaged. It is accepting the responsibility of guiding the relationship so that it can be successful.
Dominance is a way of relating. It is a way of loving. It is an obligation and a duty to the relationship in which is expressed. Sometimes it is sadistic. Sometimes it is fawning. Sometimes it is as simple as sending me across the parking lot to get something out of the car. Sometimes it is as complex as telling me to plan a menu for our vacation, including a shopping list and a budget.
For me, it is also a reward and a necessary ingredient for me, a submissive man, to fully express my love and affection. Dominance is Mistress Delila.