My Favorite Things: Authority Subversion

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I’ve talked a bit in the past about some of the things that I think of as personal turn-ons, and one of the ones I’m kind of surprised I haven’t done a post on is one that I’ve mentioned in a lot of other contexts. It is universally, 100% of the time, even in a story that’s otherwise not particularly very hot, always always always a sexy and exciting thing when the societal power structure that we expect to encounter on being introduced to the world of the story is upended through mind control.

In case that sounds too clinical, I’m talking about students hypnotizing teachers, subordinates hypnotizing bosses, or criminals hypnotizing cops (or, ahem, superheroes). It’s incredibly hot when you take someone who we as the audience have been conditioned our whole lives to see as authority figures with all sorts of unspoken and assumed power granted to them by society, and then use mind control to peel all those layers of authority away to reveal a secret desire to be dominated and controlled that’s so strong that all the power in the world doesn’t help them against it. It’s very sexy to know that you might be the boss, you might be the arresting officer, you might be the person who has all the theoretical power in the world…but right here, right now, you are utterly helpless to resist the person in front of you. That kind of scene always makes the mind control feel stronger, because it’s pushing uphill against the expectations of the reality we live in, and strong mind control is sexy mind control.

And the truly wonderful thing about it is that because D/s is inherently a power exchange dynamic, you can even subvert that with mind control. There’s nothing quite so hot as a Dominant character who suddenly finds that they want to submit, especially to their own submissive. (Although, tooting my own horn, it’s also hot when a physically powerful Dominant can’t resist a mentally powerful Dominant who uses his own body against him.) Or you can use power in a different sense, like the power a blackmailer has over their victim, and subvert that authority slowly over the course of a whole story. (Not gonna lie, this is one of my best.) And of course, you can have the power dynamic expressed in a literal form before being subverted, like, say, having the submissive character hold a gun to the head of the dominant and still wind up giving in. It’s a very flexible trope.

I’ve used it plenty of other places (“Unbelievable”, “Dressed for Success”, and “Bent 4 U” to name a few) but I’d also like to point to a couple of other authors who’ve made it work nicely. “Clarification Question” is a long story about a more-or-less consensual hypnosis relationship between a professor and one of his current/former students who simply can’t resist his weakness for hypnotic domination. It’s got some very nice sequences, and in the later chapters a nice theme of serial recruitment creeping in as the author suggests that maybe the story’s Domme might be a sub herself. And softi wrote a very nice story called “Changes” that directly subverts the D/s power dynamic with a woman who finds herself melting into submission as the hypnosis she knows so well is used against her. It’s a piece that really shows just how much is possible with one of my very favorite things.

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