T and I were talking with someone this weekend about d/s relationships. The guy we were talking to is involved in the swing scene, and he and his wife are now starting to explore bdsm. He asked if (I’m paraphrasing) the d/s crept out into other areas of the relationship or if it stayed in the bedroom/dungeon.
We do have a certain amount of d/s that permeates the relationship, but I found myself fumbling for words trying to explain our particular dynamic to him. That made me realize that T and I haven’t really talked much about this. So we talked on the ride home, and I realized that I don’t have many concrete ideas regarding d/s.
Specifically, we were talking about how d/s manifests itself in the relationship. How does it show up in everyday life? I’ve had relationships before where some d/s oozed out into the rest of the relationship. There are also areas that are off limits to the d/s- career, family, finances, relationship decisions, etc. And there are other areas in which I’d feel taken advantage of (not in a good way) if the d/s were applied to them, such as housework. I see that occasionally in others’ relationships, and it doesn’t come across as d/s to me. Certain things we’ve done evoke that fire I feel inside, making me feel more submissive toward her. For example, she’ll occasionally tell me to kneel and remove her boots/shoes, or she’ll order me to sit at her feet. Another time, she had me serve as her drink-holder at a party. Not a big thing, but it brought to the surface the dynamic. I don’t see blatant, heavy forms of d/s being practical all the time. While 24/7 is possible, 24/7 in the dungeon is not. So the more subtle forms of d/s come into play.
Just knowing about her power can most likely be enough at times. Occasional public humiliation raises the possibility in my mind that she could make it happen at any time. The same goes for any other form of dominance. Asserting control, even if it’s something that goes unnoticed by everyone around, brings to the forefront the dynamic. Flexing your muscle at times (in whatever form that may take) can provide a solid reminder of your power. D/s can be a quiet background hum, a world-shaking explosion, or anywhere in between.
T does push me hard in some areas, and this often deepens the d/s dynamic. She can take me further than I want to go and force me to go beyond what I think I can do. I usually don’t want to do it, but I really enjoy making her happy as well. It’s deeply satisfying.
I try to be proactive as well in my submission. Balance between active dominance and active submission is important; both people need to make an effort in order for any relationship to work.
Springing out of this conversation, T asked me a couple nights later how I differentiated between submissive and slave. That’s a worn-out discussion in most circles, and the general consensus is that each relationship is different, so one person’s definitions don’t fit everyone. But that’s not what we were talking about; we were talking about our definitions. I’ve never considered myself a slave, but this conversation intrigued me, and I hope to continue it. I hadn’t ever considered the possibility of taking on that position, but the more I think about it, I realize that’s mostly because of negative experiences with some self-proclaimed slaves. I have a less-than-ideal connotation of many people who identify this way due to these experiences. I’m trying to detach those memories from the word to find out more of what it means to me. At this point, I see it as simply a more extreme form of d/s. I don’t agree with all the “your desires don’t matter” or “a slave should have no limits” stuff. It’s all internet wankery. But heavier levels of d/s can and do exist, and I’m curious. The thought of it makes me nervous, but I also know it can be rewarding for both people.