D/s—BDSM practitioners primarily involved in public venues, hook-ups, and other temporary or part-time play predominantly fall under the consent and trust relationship foundation, instead of the love foundation that most 24/7 couples build on [*see my post on D/s: comparing foundations]. Sadly, that is why posers, wannabes, and abusers can operate in the public venues for lengthy periods before the word gets out about them.
Curiously, while reading blogs over the past few months, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among Doms / Dommes in 24/7 relationships. They are making statements and claims that mirror the negative aspects of various Doms / Dommes in the public venues, especially by posers, wannabes, and abusers.
In short, their claims and statements make them sound like little dictators over their subs. They appear to be forgetting some of the most important factors regarding D/s—BDSM relationships. Core elements of the power exchange, such as: Dom and sub are equal partners in the relationship; it is the sub’s wants and needs that drive the relationship, not the Dom’s / Domme’s; by accepting the power exchange and control over the sub the Dom / Domme accepts the responsibility to fulfill the wants and needs of the sub, while keeping them protected and safe physically and emotionally.
So, why are Doms / Dommes in 24/7 D/s relationships boastfully making claims like the following:
“It’s all about my pleasure. He must fulfill my desires. He has no rights, and he needs to know that I have no obligation to please him in anyway.”
“She needs to realize Master is everything. All my wants and needs get met daily. And if there’s no time for hers, she does without.”
“I don’t really know whether he likes what I do to him or not. He doesn’t share his feelings. So, as long as he fulfills my desires I’ll keep doing it my way.”
“She’ll take whatever I give her. I’m the King, she’s the slave. It’s all about pleasing me.”
It sounds like they are getting their dom training and beliefs from the same place, or they are reading each other’s blogs.
I might expect such statements from newbies; but most of the blogs I’m making reference to have been in D/s awhile, or claim to have researched it in-depth. If so, how did they fail to make the connection to basic core elements of D/s—BDSM relationships (such as those mentioned earlier)?
Doms / Dommes serve and protect
In Dom’s Guide to BDSM Vol.1, Mathew Larocco states the following:
…the Master actually has the more complicated role between the two. The master also has the task of giving pleasure and discipline to the slave or sub, and is less focused on taking pleasure himself. A great deal of what you do as a Master will be for the benefit of the sub. You must desire to please a partner, and not simply take what you want (emphasis added).
And for those that act like little dictators and don’t take the responsibility of being a Dom / Domme seriously, Larocco further adds the following:
Because if it’s a joke, or trying it is just an excuse to treat your partner like crap, then no, it’s not healthy and it’s not even going to be very pleasurable for you or your sub. The Caligula-take-all approach to BDSM is an outdated concept and it’s actually evolved into more complex characterizations today, rather than just the Overlord commanding his slave.
In other words, except for posers and abusers who don’t give a shit, newbies should be the only ones who succumb to the antiquated belief that Doms / Dommes have absolute power. But even newbies, if they’re serious about their D/s relationship, should quickly learn that is an erroneous belief.
Many experts in the lifestyle point out, like Larocco’s book, that one of the many misconceptions surrounding D/s—BDSM is falsely believing that “the Dominant controls the submissive.”
In Leading and Supportive Love: the Truth about Dominant and Submissive Relationships, author Chris M. Lyons states the following:
A healthy Leading and Supportive Relationship is not about roles partners have, but rather the two types of partners who form a relationship that greatly serves both people: a true partnership.
Lyon further claims:
The partners are both dedicated in service to each other and both of them are very clear about it. There is immense appreciation because one could not be who they truly are in the relationship without the service of the other.
And Lyon, a personal coach and relationship expert, adds further credibility with the following:
Dr. Brad Sagarin, a professor of social and evolutionary psychology at Northern Illinois University, asserts that the s-type partner is “a fully-consensual entity” and “an equal partner in the negotiation of this relationship.”
Similarly, Larocco includes claims from Studies in the Psychology of Sex by Havelock Ellis:
He [Havelock] also states another little understood secret of the BDSM lifestyle—sadomasochistic activities (distinguished from abusive relationships) involve the “express request of the masochist” who gives the sadist emotional cues and mutually understood signals—in essence prompting and guiding the sadist on how to properly give him pleasure and pain.
In other words, the Dom’s / Domme’s intention and duty is to please the sub. Thus, it is the sub that actually powers or drives the relationship.
“After all,” Larocco concludes, “it is consensual and voluntary, and the only reason a sub would stay in the ‘control’ of a Dom is to experience pleasure/pain in just the way he or she wants.”
It’s the Dom’s / Domme’s job to make their sub happy. They are not supposed to bully and break them for their own pleasure. They are supposed to be giving the sub what the sub wants and needs. That is their duty and service to the sub for accepting control over the sub in the power exchange.
The Doms / Dommes not doing this are acting like dictators, similar to posers and abusers, which we see in the public venues and hook-ups quite often. But it’s surprising to see the same attitudes and actions among the 24/7 D/s relationships lately. It’s a sad trend, since 24/7 D/s relationships are primarily built on foundations of love, not simply consent and trust.
Ignorance is no excuse
Several Doms / Dommes with the Caligula-take-all attitudes make references to not knowing what their sub honestly wants or needs. Nor do they know how their sub feels about the way they are being treated by the Dom / Domme. Both of which are serious failures on the part of the Doms /Dommes with regard to their responsibilities to their subs.
Remember, it is the Dom’s / Domme’s responsibility to fulfill the wants and needs of the sub. That cannot be done if they do not even know what their sub’s wants and needs are; nor how their subs even feel about what’s being done to them, or that they’re made to do without question.
A few of the Doms /Dommes claim their subs are shy, poor communicators, or just don’t like to talk about such things. Which, as experienced leaders know, are just excuses. And when a person relies on excuses to explain away an issue, perhaps they are not as ready for the responsibility of the position as they thought.
Communication: another Dom responsibility
It is the Dom’s / Domme’s responsibility to make sure the wants and needs of both partners are fully understood by both.
In Dom’s Guide to Submissive Training, author Elizabeth Cramer states the following:
Because there is no standard way for people to come into BDSM and everyone has their own ideas about everything from the definition of words to the way submission is practiced, it is important you have a spoken agreed-upon and clear understanding of what you both expect.
Cramer goes on to say:
The DNA of a Dom/sub relationship is consent. It is the foundational stone all the rest of the relationship will be built upon. She can’t give you consent if she doesn’t know exactly what you plan to do and what her service will be like.
While those of us in 24/7 D/s relationships would argue that love is the primary foundation of our relationships, we still acknowledge the need for consent, which is achieved through communication: another key element. And it’s the Dom’s / Domme’s responsibility to ensure that communication begins at the start of the relationship and continues throughout the relationship. And that means honest and open communication.
It’s too tempting for a lot of Doms / Dommes to let their subs make standard sub-claims like, “I just want you to lead and I’ll follow” or “I just want to make you happy.” But those type of statements do not tell the Dom / Domme what the sub truly wants or needs.
Cramer warns of the following:
Be aware that a woman who has a submissive nature is going to tell you everything you want to hear, especially if she can’t actually visualize it happening.
However, when it comes time for her to do it she may balk, or go through with it but hates it, which sets up relationship problems. And this is true of any submissive, male or female, along with anyone else that may have poor communication skills.
Several of the Doms / Dommes that made reference to not knowing, or not caring, about their sub’s wants, needs, or feelings, said they were going to keep doing it their way, and just surprise the subs with each new change.
That’s fine for gifts and rewards, but it can be highly stressful for subs facing the prospect of new levels of pain and/or humiliation.
Cramer suggests the following:
While training can seem unpredictable and challenging to a sub, you don’t want it to become so overwhelming that she withdraws from you. The best way to help her is to share your plans with her up front. This will help her see you are following a well-known methodology, and not just making stuff up.
I would add that it also gains trust when the sub sees their Dom / Domme taking the time to alleviate their fears. The same goes for consistently communicating from the beginning of the relationship onward.
Get even attitude
This is something that really surprises me with the trend I’ve been seeing among Doms / Dommes. And fem-doms seem especially prone to this response for some reason.
On rare occasions when the subs express their honest feelings about something they would rather not do, or they even subtly disagree with how their Dom / Domme is treating them, instead of accepting the sub’s right as an equal partner in the relationship to feel that way, the Doms / Dommes respond like a selfish child on the playground. They make statements like the following:
“I’ll teach him who’s boss! I’ll make him do every hard limit, then kiss and lick my ass afterward.”
“Or, when he criticizes (admittedly subtly and not outright) how I am dominating him. It’s frustrating, and I felt devalued as his Domme.”
“The little bitch had the nerve to ask me to change a ritual she hates. Well, who the fuck’s training who? I told her she’ll do it or get the fuck out.”
“He had the audacity to interrupt a session just to tell me he disliked something I was making him do. So, I made sure he did it again.”
Everyone of the above statements shows an attitude inappropriate for a Dom / Domme. They should be glad their sub is communicating with them. After all, it’s the Dom’s /Domme’s responsibility to fulfill the sub’s wants and needs while keeping them protected and safe. But if their character is not strong enough to accept constructive criticism, or if they take every claim or dislike by their sub as a personal attack that “devalues” them, maybe they should reevaluate if they have what it takes to be a good Dom / Domme. After all, for the above Doms / Dommes to respond as they did over their subs trying to honestly communicate with them is petty and childish. And no Dom / Domme should ever require a sub to do anything on their list of hard limits!
Doms / Dommes need to have the ability to place their sub’s wants, needs, and safety above their own pleasure. If they cannot do this consistently they will never be real Doms / Dommes. They will be no better than the posers and abusers in the public venues that get-off on the power trip of being little dictators.
If some of the Doms / Dommes quoted in this post (and others too numerous to include) made such statements in the heat of the moment, hopefully they calmed down enough to remember their responsibility as Doms / Dommes.
Unfortunately, from the number of dictator-like statements I’ve found, it really looks like a negative trend that will eventually take its toll on some of these relationships when the subs get fed-up with being overlooked as an equal partner in the relationship.
Positions of power always carry additional responsibility. Those who accept the positions must be willing to sacrifice their pleasures at times to ensure they are meeting the wants and needs of those they have control over, while keeping them protected and safe.
PS: As a natural Alpha, I have a strong urge to protect, and I feel an obligation to speak-up for subs who (for whatever reason) may feel they don’t have an equal say in their relationship. And if my words piss-off their Doms / Dommes, maybe they should question why? Obviously, the truth hurts.
Let go of the power trip and become a mature Dom / Domme. Take care of your sub and they’ll take care of you out of reverence…not just because of some role-playing obligation.