The best advice I have to give
The best advice I have for those of you who are thinking about starting out in a D/s lifestyle is to find what fits and to make it your own. There are many who will tell you what you should do, and think and feel, but believe me when I say, there is no one true way. I have learnt that in order to build something which is sustainable, it has to be done in a way which works for you. Forget what others tell you is right or wrong. Take the bits that you think will work for you and throw the rest away.
Or pop it in a drawer in case you come to it later. Because guess what? This thing that we do (TTTWD) is constantly changing and evolving and growing. It shifts with you as your life encounters its peaks and troughs. It deepens and strengthens as you fall further down your rabbit hole. It is every changing as you change, and so what you need at the beginning will change as your own needs do. So there is another piece of advice: never say never. I have done things that I definitely would have said were a clear no to begin with. So unless you want to eat your own words for breakfast, try to keep an open mind.
One thing to think about before throwing yourself in too deeply is to do some research. While fiction is good for finding ideas and exploring the sorts of things that might excite you about D/s, don’t believe everything you read. And this doesn’t just go for fiction. Some of the writing which presents itself as fact, is heavily elaborated to read in way which makes it seem ideal. While D/s feels like a bit of a fairy-tale to me, it is not like that all the time. It takes hard work, it is not perfect, and I would be wary of anyone who tells you otherwise.
One of the things which really helped us was to finding other people who were in the lifestyle to talk to and compare notes. It is much easier now but at the beginning we really doubted ourselves. We would be fine when everything was going according to plan but when something happened to throw us off, we wondered if we were cut our for it after all. It was great to have others who could empathise and encourage so if you can find yourself a community, either locally or online, then it can make a huge difference. Even connecting with other bloggers who seem to be on the same lines can be a help.
While it can be really exciting to suddenly have the opportunity to explore this thing that you have thought about for so long, it is a good idea to take your time and let your dynamic find its feet. I think there is a tendency to be like a kid in a sweet shop where you want to try everything, but taking things slow means that you have time to really explore. While BDSM is exciting, it involves lots of new feelings and you will likely be pushing your own boundaries (or someone else’s) so it is good to make sure that you don’t let things run away too far too fast.
This can be helped by talking. To make this work you need to talk, talk, and talk some more. Communication really is the key to having a successful relationship. While your foundations of trust, honesty and respect are at the core, without open and regular communication as the glue to hold it all together, there is every chance that you will come unstuck. We talk about all aspects of our relationship and have built this into the structure and routine of our dynamic which reflects how important good communication and active listening are to us.
The final thing I think is that you should have fun. There is no point in continuing with something which makes you unhappy, so if that is the case then I would go back to the drawing board and look at what needs to be changed. Just because others do something, or it is something that you have always done, doesn’t mean it needs to stay. If D/s stops being something you enjoy then you need to take time to re-evaluate and make the necessary changes. Thinking about your why is a good way to do this and one which has served us well over time. We can get lost in the what, but really the why is a much better guide.
The worst advice I ever got
There are two things that slowed us down at the start and made making D/s work more of a challenge. The first was that bedroom only just wasn’t enough and so we kept coming unstuck. This was easily rectified by weaving the power exchange through other areas of our relationship. The second was the converse of everything above: being told there was one true way. Some of my research had done this too but it was harder when we came up against this in a community we were part of. They gave me the worst advice I have had.
I say this but it wasn’t all bad advice. A lot of the ideas were sound enough, although that is where it should have stopped – at being suggestions for what you might want to do. So while we had found friends to support us and share their thoughts, whenever something didn’t quite fit, it was made clear it had to be changed. There was no option to try things on for size, alter them to fit, or throw them out as something which wasn’t for you. I watched things become more extreme and less flexible until they actually claimed that they invented D/s for married couples. Time to make a sharp exit!
If a community won’t allow outside factual references and only ever refers to their own material then it is not a good sign. You may notice that they don’t seem to be very inclusive or accepting of difference – they can’t afford to be. If they make you feel that you are wrong in what you are doing, rather than listening to why you are doing it that way, again this suggests a lack of flexibility, and in relationships there has to be flexibility. Being made to feel that one size fits all, and that you must alter your own way of doing things to fit the brand, will not allow you to create a sustainable dynamic.
So my advice is to exercise caution around people who make bold and unrealistic claims. Around communities or formulaic structures which are built around one person’s experience. Around groups who don’t leave room for difference or diversity and tout their own one true way. Be wary of those who try to make you hide or change what you are doing in order to perpetuate their myth, and those who discredit or put down others in order to validate or raise their own profile. This is your relationship and you know what will and won’t work and what you want and don’t want. There is no right way, only your own way.