A key part of a D/s relationship is about meeting the needs of the other. Communication has to figure in this because unless you are aware of what the needs of the other person are, you are not going to be able to meet them. For this reason, D/s requires you to be open and honest about what you need. There is a vulnerability in exposing yourself in this way and so the trust required is huge. For me, sharing my needs has been a difficult process for a few reasons and part of that was the difference between needs and wants.
The difference between needs and wants
Loosely speaking, wants are things that we desire, whereas needs are requirements. Thinking of needs in this black and white way has always led me to view myself and not having many needs at all. There aren’t that many things which I see as being essential – food, shelter, warmth etc. Viewing these basic things as needs and everything else as wants, and therefore non-essential, was pretty limiting in terms of D/s and so I had to change my view point and become more flexible.
Feeling that I had few basic needs for relationships was a protection. It allowed me to be in control and avoid ever becoming hurt too deeply. It meant that I was never too emotionally connected or too deeply invested, and so I could detach from the emotional side and focus more on the practical areas when things went wrong. And they did. My first marriage failed in the end but I managed to save myself from the way it was making me feel by pulling back and viewing the essential components of a marriage as wants rather than needs. In the end I simply stopped wanting them – with him at least.
A shift in perspective
I was quite insistent with HL to begin with that I didn’t need him, or a relationship with him, or any of the things that brought. I explained that it was a want and not a need. I actually thought that was better as it was born from desire rather than necessity, but I see now that this was actually quite hurtful. I am glad that he chose to nurture my wants and create a situation where I felt safe enough to become more needy. This was a big part of our move to a full time D/s dynamic and it did take a while.
My shift in perspective involved looking at our relationship to see what it really needed to make it work well. Where I had seen these things previously as relationship wants, D/s made them essential. The foundations were no longer just hoped for or desired, they became an integral part of what we did. This has always been formalised through our contract and it meant that there were expectations that had to be met. This was a requirement for things to work within our power exchange.
Wants and Needs of a Power Exchange
Viewing our relationship in this way was really helpful because it turned the things which were simply desirable previously, into things which were essential. It was no longer about protecting myself in case I was let down. It no longer meant that I had to retain my independence in case I suddenly found myself out on a limb. I had learnt that it was a bad move ever to rely on anyone other than myself, but this shift caused me to because more reliant on HL, after all I could trust him not to let me down. Or I needed to try!
Where this had felt a risky thing previously, my new mindset meant that I saw it as the only way he could be truly dominant with me. All the time my focus was on protecting myself, I was unable to meet his needs and submit to his will. Once I saw how significant this was in allowing him to take the role I wanted him to have with me, I was able to let go a little and open up to him. In order to be truly happy I had a need for his Dominance: in order to feel his Dominance I would have to submit.
A change in language
Really, some of it was about a change in language. My shift in perspective around the connotations of each term meant that I was able to use them more interchangeably than I had done. While this sounds pretty insignificant, I think the impact on HL was much greater than that. The wall of independence that I had built around myself began to have gaps as far as he was concerned, and where I created a space, he filled it.
As we grew in our dynamic our trust in each other grew too, as did our confidence. I felt less afraid of acknowledging my vulnerability and I could see the impact that me being more needy of him had. Without the structure and the framework of D/s, I don’t do this. I want someone who will manage me and take the lead, but I make it very difficult for someone to do that because I leave no opportunity and no space. As soon as I need something, I retreat into myself.
Having needs is not a weakness
Being in a situation where that is not allowed has been a real positive. It has meant that I can focus on meeting HL’s needs whilst also showing my own. I am able to embrace some of my own needs as positives and frame them in a way which allows them to become part of what we do. I have written about my need for Dominance and my need for submission; in fact my whole blog is really a testament to my need for different things from HL and from our D/s.
I still don’t need D/s. If we stopped doing it then the world wouldn’t suddenly stop, but I wouldn’t be as happy as I am right now. I need D/s to feel like I do at the moment. I need D/s to have the sort of connection that I have come to want emotionally, sexually and spiritually. I need D/s to experience the intensity and the intimacy that I do right now with HL and so that need transcends the wants and becomes the focus.