Consensual Dominance and submission in relationships reflect an intentional acknowledgement and exploration of intrinsic power dynamics in an erotic fashion. These relationships draw upon the nature of the relationship, (the “bossier” person, more educated, older etc tend to traditionally be the “dominant”), to play with the already established power exchange. Conversely, some of these relationships have been “forced” on us through the years, eg … parents, bosses, etc that may have left an erotic print on our psyche that we wish to examine. By accepting and developing a D/s dynamic in relation to another, we can often heal and grow in ways that astound. The reason I am drawn to D/s as a Dominant is that I wish to mend some of the power imbalances I have endured over the years. I am also infinitely curious how relationships work and have a great desire to see them grow and develop into deeper awareness and closer intimacy.
The most important aspect to D/s training for both parties is to know yourself, your wants and your needs, and to be able to articulate those wants and needs in a thoughtful and thorough fashion. We cannot fully know ourselves at any given time however, so it also encourages compassion for yourself and your partner. You are human, you will err. There are many avenues to self-exploration and understanding and not any one of them is the only way. Ideally when our paths cross we can begin to understand how each of us have gotten there and have the wherewithal to follow through the relationship in a meaningful way. I would also suggest an ability to accept the type of relationship for “what it is” instead of trying to make it something it is not. A D/s component exists in all of our relationships, and when we develop that aspect of our dynamic then can we weave a thread of erotic power play.
As far as D/s training goes, I had to come to terms with the fact that I am a dominant person who enjoys and appreciates rigorous self exploration, consequently I attract submissives who also value self exploration and wish to defer to a more experienced person. What I have determined over the years since I began practicing serious D/s training is that I am a tenacious, yet flexible dominant. I have very specific ways that I like things done, but I cannot and will not reprimand irresponsibly. Two of the main ingredients to a good submissive for me are flexibility and humor. This is not to say that they should be a flake and a smart-ass, but that they can accommodate my mercurial ways with a sense of dignity and charm.
Although difficult, if I were to try to break down what makes a good D/s relationship work it would look something like this:
* Communication. An ability of each participant to articulate their wants and needs and ability of each participant to negotiate their wants, (needs are less negotiable) are imperative to healthy relationships in all forms.
* Commitment. Energy and enthusiasm can wane in a relationship, but desire to participate in the relationship should always be intact – even if it is simply being questioned. It is perfectly healthy to question many facets of the relationship, but if the desire to be in the relationship is gone, then other facets arise. Be mindful.
* Compassion for yourself and the other. Be kind to yourself, even when you make mistakes. Further, even if you are the dominant it does not mean that the submissive has no right to their feelings and emotions. Be kind to them also.
* Service. The Dominant should be in service to the higher power of the relationship as much as the submissive is in service to the Dominant. Service ideally is the erotic glue to D/s. How can you serve and be aroused by service?
* Flexibility. Each party should be able to move for the other. The most obvious understatement to this may be that the submissive will probably defer more often than the Dominant. Give each other enough space to work out individual quirks, but not too much that you no longer have any commonalities. Breathe into the change that will surely emerge.
* Trust. How much do you trust that the other has your well being in mind first and foremost? How much do you trust yourself?
* Be honest. To what extent can you be honest with yourself, your beauty, power, and grandeur, with all of its foibles, imperfections and inconsistencies? D/s is all about being able to be truthful relaying your truth in a thoughtful and thorough fashion and subsequently being able to listen to your partner.
To sum it all up in the words of a former student at the Cleo Dubois Academy of S/M Arts “find out what your partner wants and give it to them.” And of course, let them know honestly when you can’t.