We all enter the lifestyle for our own reasons. In the blogosphere, internet, and local communities you will tend to find that the reasons that people choose the lifestyle often end up being the “bonding” factor for people. That is, people look more closely at those who got their along a similar path. While that creates a shared sense of empathy and often similar experiences in traversing the successes and mistakes we inevitably make along the way, it can also paint a false sense of understanding. “Since we are all this way, this is the right way.” It’s easy to now picture a thousand voices in unison yelling, “there is no one right way.” I hate BDSM cliches so much because I feel like they are easy to say, easy to be offended if someone challenges them in any way, but very difficult for people to see when they aren’t actually acting upon the spirit behind the idea.
At its core, D/s is kink. We can justify it in a thousand ways and had a thousand ways of getting here, but really, it is kink. Its basis is an idea of consensual inequality that yields mutual pleasure for the involved parties. We need it, love it, and want it because… it gets us off. I know there are people that may want to light me on fire and pitchfork my still beating heart out from my chest for trying to put it so simply, but I make no apologies for this belief, nor do I care to try to hide behind them. It may do a hundred other things for us as well, like give us confidence, make us behave less selfishly, think more about others, grow as humans, uphold our sense of responsibility, cater to a loved one, and so on, but the truth is we do not need D/s to do any of those things.
I do not need to be submissive to make the one that I love feel loved, valued, and cherished. If I could only do that “as a submissive,” I would be a pretty poor lover. The same goes for a dominant. While D/s provides us a vehicle to connect on deeper levels than we may have in our vanilla lives, it isn’t the only vehicle to do so. We COULD have connected without it, we just didn’t.
This is where the “how we got here” part of things begins to diverge quite a bit. I read plenty of happy D/s blogs. The majority of them fall into one of two categories:
- The relationship began as consensual D/s or it was added very early on.
- An originally vanilla relationship where we get a view into their lives like 10+ years into their D/s progression long after both parties have fully embraced their roles.
What is absent in most of these blogs is the need to justify D/s beyond what it is. It is the life they choose to lead and find happy and mutually fulfilling. If anyone needs reasons beyond happiness and being fulfilled, I strongly suggest they remove the long stick from their ass, as it makes life a lot more enjoyable. We like it and it makes us happy. Boom. Best reasons ever.
By contrast, I have found that the blogs that seem filled with the greatest struggles, the most anguish, the consistent communication failures, self-doubts, and unclear expectations are those that try to justify D/s in a large number of ways. They often go above and beyond citing dozens of reasons about how it is definitely NOT about the kink. Don’t talk about it, don’t say it, don’t even think it. It is for every reason you can think of except for the kink. We are not doing it for mutual pleasure and happiness. We are doing it for principles that one of us read somewhere and decided to adopt them.
I’m sure that painting it in this way might seem biased, but that is how things appear to me when I see people making such a passionate case for D/s with such a massive need to justify it without talking about kink, or worse, writing kink off like it shouldn’t even be there in the first place. In most cases, I find this happens when one party has interest in D/s and their partner does not. This is most often an existing relationship where the submissive tries to sell their vanilla partner on being dominant. They play up the merits and sell D/s as a lifestyle that is all about the principles and benefits with no ulterior motives or additional needs. Much of the time this doesn’t work very well. Someone’s needs very likely will go unmet (or severely underfed).
This is often where a lot of sexist logic or dogma comes in and I’m not a huge fan of involving sexism in D/s. Nothing automatically makes someone a good dominant. Nothing automatically makes someone a good submissive. The problem with this approach is that it removes consent in some cases, and in other, it allows people to accept a role without enough knowledge of the responsibilities it entails. I find the large majority of unhappy D/s blogs seem to resemble these case.
Returning to happy land, there is another interesting aspect of successful D/s. While I feel that at the core of D/s lies kink, nurturing a successful and sustainable D/s relationship does turn its eyes away from a kink-focus. Part of becoming comfortable with your role is seeing how your inner drive, desires, and responsibility to your partner begin to interact. You want to feel more submissive so you begin to feed yourself by becoming someone that is more selfless. The dominant wants to provide the right dynamics and environment for the relationship so they begin to act more inwardly focused yet still keep their sub’s needs in their mind at all times. Basically, they act selfish in order to actually be generous. This relationship is symbiotic and very beautiful when it works.
I don’t really have a point in all of this but I wanted to put a reminder out there that D/s is supposed to feel good. It’s supposed to be fun, exhilarating, and bring loads of mutual pleasure and fulfillment. D//s doesn’t create the love that is there: you have to want that on its own.