how can I talk about negatives in a respectful way

How can I talk about negatives in a respectful way? Reader question

Hi! I came across your website as I was looking for some information. I am a new submissive and am trying to learn what I can about this lifestyle. This is the second D/s relationship I have been in, but first that I am actually making an effort to learn more what that means, and if it’s really a good fit for me. There are some things I like, but recently there are more more things that I’m annoyed/uneasy with: for example how I’m being spoken to, which I think is just part of my Dom’s speech. Do you have any references that you can suggest? I have a general fear about speaking up, and I tend to let a lot of things go because I dislike confrontation and uncomfortable conversations. Any suggestions are welcomed! Thanks! How can I talk about negatives in a respectful way?


Hi Eliana,

Firstly, I am glad that you are trying to find out as much as you can about D/s, although there really are no rules or guidelines about what you should or shouldn’t do. Each couple needs to decide themselves what works for them and what doesn’t. This is your relationship so it will need to fit with your personalities and lifestyle. That said, respect is key and so sometimes submissives can find it hard to say things that they feel are critical.

I am not sure how communication works for you, but we have set times in the week when we can speak openly about how things are going. This discussion will be led by HL but I can also bring things up for discussion. We will focus on play and how that has been – what worked and what didn’t. We will also talk about how the week has been in terms of our D/s and look at ideas and plans for the future. During this time, I can speak freely. HL will listen to my thoughts and always take them into account, although the final decision is his.

Not everyone wants to have a structured way of keeping their dynamic as a focus but for us, we have many demands and stresses on our time, so although we talk a lot at other points too, this allows us to feel that we have each really been listened to and heard. Whatever your structure, I think that you need to speak to your Dom about how their use of language is making you feel. Try to explain this in a way which is respectful and non-judgmental if you can.

Why not start with, “Sometimes I struggle when ……” or “I noticed the other day that I felt …….. when you asked me to ……..” If you try to focus on what you thought, felt or needed rather than what you think that they should have done, then you will be asking your Dom for their thoughts rather than criticising them. You are not saying that what they did was wrong, just that you are uncomfortable with your reaction to it, so then you are asking them for support to help you manage that.

Hopefully your Dom will ask you for your thoughts in terms of how it can be resolved and that will allow you to say what you want to in a constructive way. I have found that approaching a number of situations in this way allows it to be non-threatening. Another way is to ask your Dom if they had noticed your response or ask if they were comfortable with your reaction. Again, that way you are turning to them for advice and support with the fact that you haven’t felt especially submissive or inclined to carry out the task they have given.

These sorts of strategies are quite passive ways to manage the situation so if you dislike confrontation then they might suit you better than blurting something out in the heat of the moment. I feel it is really important that you do speak up though as D/s is based on open, honest communication. Your Dom might be unhappy to learn that the way they speak has made you feel like this. It is important that you both try to meet the needs of the other, so you really have to be able to talk openly about what those are.

It might be an idea to let your Dom know that this is something that you find hard too. Perhaps you can be supported with this, for example by having you keep an open journal where you can outline your thoughts and feelings. This will mean that your Dom can keep account of them and then use that to ask you about things during the times when you do have more open talk. I realise that speaking openly about these things can pull some people out of their submissive headspace, so journaling can be quite a common way of working around that.

I have linked some relevant posts at the bottom of the page in case you would find more reading helpful, but please feel free to contact me if you want to follow up on anything I have included either in my reply or in the links. Good luck, have fun, and thank you for helping to make my world a little kinkier, one question at a time.

missy x

If you are reading this and have a question that you would like me to answer, then just head over to my Ask Me Anything page, type it in the box, and hit submit.

I am also aware of the wealth of experience and information available in the blogging world, so if you are reading this and have your own thoughts and advice, then please add them in the comments section.

Spotlight on Communication
Journaling (this post is on The SafeworD/s Club)
Keeping a submissive journal

Posted in Ask Me Anything and tagged , , , .


  1. I too have trouble talking about the hard stuff. My Dom knows this. So when I have to bring up something negative, I will say something like “this is really hard for me to talk about, because I don’t want to disappoint/upset you…” That prompts him to ask questions and that makes it easier for me to get it out. He also helps by reaffirming that he understands how difficult it is for me, but that he is responsible for my physical, mental and emotional well being and he can’t do his job if I’m not being completely open and honest with him. He prefers me to be direct, but that’s so hard, so he’s patient while I get it all out, with his help.

    So maybe explain that there is something you want to talk about that you find difficult/anxiety producing and ask for his help to communicate it to him.

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