One of the most-argued topics in bdsm is whether or not submission is a gift. I posit that, like dominance and love, it is both a gift and something larger than that.
On a closely related note, some say that the sub is the one who really holds the power in the relationship since they have the power to leave at any time.
The sub freely gives submission to the dom. Likewise, the domme also gives dominance to the sub. It flows in both directions. Either person can stop giving what they give at any time. Either person can walk away. Because of this, both people have just as much power when it comes to ending things. This is not slavery in the sense of human trafficking; that kind of slavery genuinely does have one person holding all the power. But bdsm slavery is different. It’s a totally separate sense of the word. In any d/s relationship, no matter how intense, either person can walk away at any time. The “slave contracts” some people are so fond of would never hold up in court. Both people have the power in reality. It’s shared. The power in “power exchange” comes from giving one’s personal power over certain aspects of life, certain choices. It does not consist of giving total power over every single aspect of one’s being irrevocably for all eternity. If you want to feel this type of slavery, go sailing around Africa where pirates roam the seas. I guarantee it won’t be nearly as glamorous as the bdsm novels would have you believe.
It all comes down to the fact that the d/s relationship is still a relationship at it’s core. Neither person owes the other dominance or submission. It’s a choice to give that. Like most others, I can’t give that to just anyone; it’s got to be someone special. In my opinion, that qualifies as a gift.