Gifts have ribbons, not strings

Gifts have ribbons, not strings

Vanna Bonta

white ribbon on brown wooden table
Photo by cottonbro on

Submission is a gift

Michael keeps saying this. He then follows up with “And so is dominance”. He’s not the first person to ever say this to me and when I chose that statement for the current NoTrueWay, it was not completely inspired by him.

I came across it in an article for new submissives. There might’ve been a whole explanation, but the claim is pretty much summed up in those four words.

For a long time I accepted this idea as an universal truth, meaning I never questioned it or thought about it much. I feel it’s one of the things one is told when new in d/s. It feels like it’s one of the things that is supposed to make one feel better and more powerful as a submissive. So back then I did accepted a lot of things and beliefs as something true, without questioning them.

Time has passed and I made more experiences and learnt that some things are true for me, while others aren’t. By now I have come to the conclusion that submission can never be a gift, and neither can dominance. As I was writing this post, I did some research on the definition of what a gift is. I did found several nice ones. Wikipedia gives a good one, I find:

A gift is an item given to someone without the expectation of payment or anything in return. An item is not a gift if that item is already owned by the one to whom it is given. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free. … By extension the term gift can refer to any item or act of service that makes the other happier or less sad, especially as a favor, including forgiveness and kindness.

In my understanding, a gift is something you give to another person, not asking anything in return. However that is not true when it comes to d/s. What’s the point of gifting or giving someone my submission when I don’t get their dominance in return?

It also is not a one time favour, to make someone happier or less sad. You can’t guilt someone into submission. It also is not something given or done once. The decision to submit is something that happens again and again and again.

I believe the word “gift” is wrong. Submission is not a gift. It’s not something I can buy, wrap up nicely, and give to someone on a special occasion or to make them feel better. It also is not an act of service – as mentioned in the quote.

Submission, just as dominance, is a conscious decision. Together with (at least) one other person. One can’t decide to submit to someone or dominate another person without them wanting the exact same things.

Saying that submission/dominance is a gift does not do it justice. It’s not a gift. It’s so much more.

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