Recently a friend asked me an interesting question. What is the bread and butter of your D/s? I had to think about this for a while and later on I discussed it with Sir as the process led me to evaluate what we were doing and discover why, at times, we might find things tricky. I came to the conclusion that the foundations of respect, trust, honesty, communication and love are there are the root of all good relationships, but the bread and butter is what lies at the level above that. It is the elements that form the power exchange which makes your relationship one of Domination and submission. It is the structure that you create around yourselves so that you can maintain strong foundations. And above this, goes all of the other things that you do – the one off acts, the exploration of fantasy etc. I had never before looked at our D/s as being a triple layered thing before but doing this really helped.
Without a strong foundation you cannot even being to have a successful long term relationship of this type. And without those everyday rules and rituals which help you to consolidate, demonstrate and reinforce your foundations you will find that it can all to easily slip away and leave wondered whether ‘this’ is really something that you are doing at all. At times when things are going well then I am sure you will engage in the kinky play, the pushing of boundaries and other things which allow you to explore the power exchange, but at others, for a variety of reasons, this might just not happen. However, as long as you make sure that the ‘bread and butter’ is there, and the basic structure of your D/s is firmly in place, your dynamic will continue to be fed. Now somewhere deep in there this is what I already knew, but I had never thought about it in such simplistic terms before and doing so made it all much clearer.
It also helped us in terms of looking at our Rules and Rituals which we felt we needed to refresh. One of the reasons for this is that we had found that when things were difficult, some of our rules and rituals would slip, or certainly not be reinforced. I had received the comment on my later post on Rules that “if rules are aligned to values then they will be followed.” This made a lot of sense and had led me to thinking about some of the things that we were trying to do for each other; I think that some of the reason why these things were not as important to us, and therefore were not consistently reinforced, was that we had been encouraged by others that these were things that we should be doing. This was historical really as when we were starting out we had received some good advice, but some of it really was specific to those individual couples and so was not the perfect fit for us.
Another reason for a refresh was that over time we have changed in terms of how we are with one another and much of what we do now is just part of that and doesn’t require the same focus that it once did. Our relationship has evolved and the foundations are now more outwardly apparent in how we engage and interact with one another. There has been a shift in our home to behaviour from everyone which is generally more respectful and more considerate of others. So in working out what the bread and butter would look like for us, we went back to our foundations, considered our behaviour and looked and what we do that supports it and what we do that doesn’t.
By doing this we have been able to get a new list of things which we should do and things which we should not. We were able to establish fairly easily which things were important to keeping the structure of our D/s in evidence through the exchange of power, and that will mean that even when the mindset is challenged, we will be able to keep up a functioning level of D/s. This will give us a really secure base on which to experiment and explore as and when it fits. At the moment things are stepping up again for us in that area but life is always full of challenges and events that can knock the stuffing out of you and make things more difficult, whether that is on a physical or an emotional level.
So for want of a better analogy, if D/s is the house then you must first build solid foundations. Once you have done that you can put the structure of your house together. You need to decide how many rooms suit you, where you want doors, windows and electrical sockets. After you have done that and the house is secure you can add the decor. You may have a theme throughout or you may want to vary it from room to room. You are free to change the colour schemes, try new things and paint over what you don’t like and start again and I think that this is a little like what are doing in our relationship. At the moment we have just reviewed the structure and shifted a few of the internal walls which of course will lead to the need to redecorate a couple of the rooms which is always fun and exciting.
And a final warning to anyone else who, like me, was initially influenced by the house others said they should build. Aside from the foundations, the buildings will differ to suit your needs and the internal decoration will be particular to you. It is good to look around at what the various architects and designers have to offer but at the end of the day it is going to be your home,so it really has to suit you.