There are two techniques that every dominant partner sometimes takes advantage of when planning an adventure. Unfortunately, to some extent, they oppose each other, and because of this it often comes down to a choice of which one to use. However, as they are not exact opposites, if one is clever enough, it is sometimes possible to leverage both, working together, each lending its special power to the scene you have set up.
The two techniques are, of course, surprise and anticipation. For our purposes, surprise is achieved when one’s submissive half does not expect something that you have planned. Anticipation comes into play when you provide advance knowledge of a coming adventure in order to allow the submissive partner to build up the impending event in their mind.
Right away you can see the potential dichotomy I referenced. Surprise involves keeping your partner from knowing, while anticipation involves providing advance knowledge. The two seem pretty mutually exclusive, don’t they? Well, let’s take a look at each on its own, and then come back to how it might be possible to use them together.
I’ve written before about how the sweet spot for any adventure is just beyond the comfort zone of the submissive partner. This is a place in the mind of the submissive well past “I’ve done this before”, a step or so farther than “I’ve thought about this and decided I’d be okay with it”, but not so far as “I am afraid, and I need to get away!” It lies squarely in the middle of “Oh my God, am I really going to do this?” Suprise can help you approach this state precisely because it provides no time or ability for the submissive partner to mentally prepare for the activity. In other words, it limits their ability to ponder on the actions you have planned and reach a determination about whether or not they are acceptable. Instead, the submissive is faced with an unexpected, immediate choice to submit to your plan or to bail out via safe word. No true submissive likes to hit the eject button, and because of this, many times the immediate reaction is to…submit. This can sometimes allow you to take your submissive partner into situations and activities they would have been afraid to enter if given advance notice. Of course, the risk inherent in this approach is that you may go too far with what you have planned, causing your partner to feel that they have no choice but to eject.
Example: Imagine that you have decided you’d like to share your partner with another dominant (note that extensive groundwork with both your partner and the other dominant is required before taking this step!). The “surprise” approach to doing this would be to begin the adventure having said nothing to your partner about anyone else participating. Action begins, with the submissive dressed (or undressed) and (possibly) bound appropriately. At some point during the play, the doorbell rings. When you open the door, the other dominant is there, and the scene progresses from there. The submissive partner is caught by suprise by the addition of a second dominant partner in the scene.
Anticipation, on the other hand, derives its power from the ability of the submissive partner’s mind to dwell on coming events, deriving excitement from thinking about them. In many cases, their mind will magnify the information you have given them, lending additional power to the experience when it happens. This works especially well if the events you have planned are known to be at the edge of the submissive’s comfort zone, but at the same time, the submissive views the planned events as inevitable, something they can do nothing about. Care must be taken with this approach, however, to be sure that the magnification effect does not push your plans past the sweet spot and into “terrifying” territory. Anticipation can be more powerful than you realize. The other risk with anticipation is that your partner may imagine more than you can deliver, and therefore be let down when the experience actually arrives. Because of this, it’s wise not to set the anticipatory bar too high.
Example: The “anticipation” approach to our example above would be to inform your partner in advance that you will be sharing them with another dominant. The scenario you use for this could be anything…you could say, for instance, that you lost a bet, that your partner was the stakes, and that the new dominant won the right to “own” your partner for the evening. You might let them know the date the other dominant will come to collect their bet a few days beforehand to allow the anticipation to work its magic. You instruct them carefully what to wear and position them for the new dominant’s arrival. When that doorbell rings, I can pretty much guarantee your partner will be experiencing a high level of excitement.
Okay, so we’ve talked about both surprise and anticipation separately. Let’s try talking about how it is possible to use them together. They key to this is to make sure that the advance information given to create anticipation is incomplete or just plain mysterious. If you give your partner a piece or two of the puzzle, you can set them to anticipating what might happen. They can spend hours wondering what exactly the pieces you gave them mean and how they fit together. They can imagine a hundred activities, each stricter or more severe than the last. But if you keep the rest of the pieces to yourself, you can still catch them by surprise with what you have planned. In fact, chances are very good that your submissive half will be very much aware that despite all their guesses they really don’t know what is coming, and that makes the whole situation even more of a thrill!
Example: Still using our same scenario, suppose that the day before your dominant friend is scheduled to visit, you give your submissive partner some new, sexy underthings and the following instructions:
- Be sure the house is clean
- Make the bed
- Lay out a selection of paddles and riding crops in the bedroom
- Put on the new undergarments, then a nice outfit over them
- Put on your collar, ankle and wrist cuffs
- Set an extra place for dinner
After providing these instructions, you say nothing more about them. If questioned, you simply say something like “You have your instructions. Be sure you follow them.”
If you give no further information, your partner’s mind will be free to wonder. “Someone’s coming to dinner,” they’ll think. “But why not say who? And why do I need to wear my cuffs and collar? Are they going to see me? Why have the bedroom set up before they get here? What’s going to happen?” It’s possible that they might actually even think of exactly what you have planned, but the point is, they won’t know, and therefore whatever happens will come as at least a bit of a surprise.
Not good enough for you? You say that if they guess it, it’s not really a surprise? Okay, then do something unanticipated. Let the dominant who comes to dinner and stays for fun turn out to be the opposite gender of what they might expect.
So, both surprise and anticipation are powerful tools, and each can be used separately with good effect. But, if you think about it and plan in advance, it might prove possible to use both together to get even greater impact. Not all adventures lend themselves to this, and it’s not something you should use every time anyway. But when you have the opportunity, don’t pass up the chance. Both you and your partner will appreciate it very much if you do it right.