Let’s start with some common misconceptions about a D/s relationship
1. D/s is not abuse
And those who take part in it are not always victims of abuse looking for a way to manage it. While public opinion would have you believe that D/s relationships are abusive, this is not the case. This impression is often down to the way that they are played out in the media and while films like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ brought power exchange dynamics into the mainstream, it is not a realistic portrayal of how things work. Of course abuse could exist within D/s as with in any relationship but this is down to the personalities within it rather than the type of dynamic they are in.
A D/s relationship should always be about consent and so, if there is pain play involved, whether that is physical or emotional, it has been previously discussed and agreed between the parties. It must be something that both desire because meeting the needs of the other is at the heart. There will be strict limits and boundaries established and these would be honoured and respected. In fact, respect is at the heart for both parties. While some people who explore D/s may have experienced negative things in the past this is part of life and no more likely than those who engage in vanilla type relationships.
2. It’s not all about sex
Ok, so for many of us we do enjoy really hot sex as part of our D/s relationship but that is because we are kinky and want to have naughty fun. D/s is based on a power exchange and while frequently that plays out for participants in a sexual way, this does not need to be the case. If your power exchange is focussed on the bedroom and has a sexual aspect to it then, of course, that is a good way to explore it. However, if this is not the case and it is based more on service for example, then there are lots of other ways to fit Dominance and submission into your life.
3. It isn’t all whips, chains and dungeons
A bit of a follow on from the last one but D/s is only one facet of BDSM. Again, the media would have you believe that impact play and bondage are at the heart. There are lots of us who do enjoy those things, but they are by no means essential to having a strong D/s dynamic. What you do depends on what you enjoy and the ways that you interact and engage with one another. D/s is as individual as the individuals within it and so, what you do, really is up to you. There is no rule book other than the one you make yourself so please don’t let others tell you there is.
4. There is no one true way
And if someone makes you feel like this is the case then close your ears and walk away. We have been there and done that, and trying to fit someone else’s idea of what will work will be a hiding unto nothing. My advice, learnt the hard way, is to read and research and talk to other people in similar dynamics. Take what you think will work for you and leave the rest behind. There is no right or wrong and there is no one true way. The only way you need to go is the one that works best for you.
5. A submissive is not weak
Actually most submissives I know are quite the opposite. Submission is a choice. People choose it for a variety of reasons and giving up control to another person is never an easy thing to do. It takes strength and courage, as well as a shed load of trust, to feel confident enough in another person to let go and allow them to take control of things. Often submissives are people who are good at being in control and they can be in roles outside of their dynamic where they have responsibility and take the lead if needed. So in this sense, both parties in D/s have to be strong rather than the fallacy that the Dom has all of the power.
6. One party isn’t seen as being superior to the other
Again, people often assume that, because a power exchange means the Dom and the sub are in different roles, that the D type is seen as being superior to the s type. In reality, both value and need the other in equal measure. It is about playing to each other’s strengths and supporting each other when needed, so although it may look unequal, in a healthy D/s relationship, it will not feel like it. Yes, one may serve and show respect openly to the other, but in reality, there is give and take on both sides and without that balance, it doesn’t work.
Things that help to know before starting out in a D/s relationship
7. It’s all about communication
If there is one thing that you need to focus on to make a D/s relationship work, it is communication. Whether you have rules and rituals built in to help you with that, whether your relationship is in the bedroom or a lifestyle dynamic, communication is always key. D/s is based on trust, respect and honesty, and at the heart of all of these comes open communication. Part of that is about communicating your needs but also about listening to the needs of the other.
In a D/s relationship where your focus is on meeting the needs of the other, you need to make sure that you are up to speed with the way those needs change and grow. Not only do you need to try to share your thoughts and feelings, but you need to be able to have good active listening skills. You will usually find that D/s couples are highly attuned to one another and are able to anticipate changes in their partner, both in a physical and emotional sense.
8. Vulnerability isn’t weakness
It can feel really hard to be needy of someone, but to have a close connection, allowing yourself to be vulnerable before them is really important. It can feel frightening and scary to share your innermost thoughts and desires and it can also be uncomfortable. However, often it is a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained and so in order to really push boundaries, you have to take the chance. Being open about thoughts and feelings might not come naturally, but it allows you to meet each other’s needs and also to develop a close emotional connection.
9. Hard work and Teamwork
Some people go into D/s believing in the fairy tale. And to some extent, it can feel like one at times. But like any relationship where you feel at the centre of someone else’s world, your needs are met, and there are no power struggles, it takes hard work and commitment. There will be times when things don’t go according to plan and rather that point the finger, you need to look in the mirror and think about your part. You also need to think about what you can do to get things back where you want them to be.
This can be tricky because so often life gets in the way of where we want to be. Things don’t always run smoothly and no-one is perfect. Being in a power exchange relationship is about never losing site of the other person and what they want and need from you. If you are both doing that, even if one of you has messed up a bit, then your hard work will pay off and you will pull the whole thing back on course. Talking is the key to this and it will allow you both to remain at the centre of your own world. It is all about teamwork and working together.
10. Trust is a huge part
A deep trust of your partner has to be at the heart of a solid D/s relationship. This won’t come overnight and it will continue to grow with you as you become more secure with each other. It is difficult to trust initially and I think it is right to be cautious. Your partner should want that too and should be careful not to push things so that you are both moving at a pace which suits you. For a submissive they have to trust that their Dominant will read the signs and keep them safe, not pushing them past their limits. For a Dominant they too need to trust that their submissive will communicate with them and let them know if thing are getting to be too much.
Benefits of a D/s relationship
Without doubt, one of the greatest aspects of a D/s relationship is the connection that you develop with your partner. It can feel really intense in an almost overwhelming way. They are in your head and in your heart and it can feel as if you are consumed by your feelings for them. This might be an issue if they didn’t feel the same way as you but usually the feeling works for both parties. Trusting someone both physically and emotionally leads to connection that enhances the relationship; it provides a connection that doesn’t just exist on those levels but intellectually too because it concerns your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
Being connected with another person in this way, allows you to explore things together that you might not usually. It is important to set limits and boundaries, but because you are sharing your thoughts and feelings on a regular basis, you are known and seen in a way which allows you to explore together. The trust that you share means that it feels safe to do this and push past the point where you might usually have stopped. This ability to let go for the submissive, and lead with confidence for the Dominant can be a powerful and exciting feeling.
13. Growth in a D/s relationship
The fact that you are pushing boundaries together and focussing on the needs of the other means that usually D/s leads to personal growth as well as growth as a couple. Growing together sexually can be an attractive thing and it was certainly a key factor for me, but the personal growth which comes from the reflective nature of the relationships as well as the unwavering support I get from my partner, also allows me to do things I might not have otherwise. It is easy to make excuses and put your own needs to the background so having someone to champion them for you means that you achieve more together than you might do alone.
So there you have it: 13 things about a D/s relationship which is one of the advent gifts for The SafeworD/s Club Kinky Community Advent Calendar. Except that I kept adding things and ended up miscalculating so actually I did 14 things. I feel this works because I am actually posting this on the 14th, and in addition the last thing is GIVING. So I give you a Bertie Bonus and a 14th things about a D/s relationship.
An advent Bertie from me to finish
14. D/s is about Giving
While all of the benefits have a direct impact for you as an individual, a D/s relationship is about giving as much as it is about receiving. You focus on the needs of the other person, knowing that they do the same for you in return. It is a continual circle of give and take which feels really special. Sometimes in relationships things become unbalanced and people seek to sort themselves first. The beauty of D/s is that you don’t need to do that which means that buzz and sense of wellbeing you get from giving to others becomes an integral part of your daily life.
I added this post to 4 Thoughts prompt of LONGING because this sort of relationship was something that I longed for myself for many years. I never thought that I would find what I have now and I didn’t even have the knowledge of D/s to articulate what it was that I wanted. But here I am, and I am so happy to be here.
I also longed for friends who would understand me and support me in the decisions and choices that I made about my life and my kinks. It has been a bumpy road this year for many of us but I know that I have a true friend in May and wanted to take this opportunity to thank her for all that she does for this community and for her friends and fellow bloggers. You’re a star May!