Submissive

BDSM Doesn’t Magically Fix Your Life

strong because i was weak

"I thought it was all supposed to get better once I submitted."

"I can't help it. I worry and I'm afraid he'll leave me."

"I don't mean to be jealous, but I'd feel better if my Dom would just share his passwords and let me see everything."

Would you be shocked to know that I have read/heard some variation of these statements from different submissives across the interwebz? Sad but true.

Dominance and Submission Doesn't Magically Fix Your Relationships

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BDSM isn't a correct-all for your past relationship woes.

If you are filled with self-doubts and self-loathing in a vanilla relationship - and your partner isn't the source of the problem - you'll most likely be filled with self-doubts and self-loathing as a Dominant or submissive.

If you are always jealous and doubtful of your partners - regardless of whether they give you reason to be or not, you'll be that way in your D/s relationship.

If you withdraw into yourself and refuse to communicate in all relationships, guess what. That won't automatically change simply because you're now a big D or a little s.

Dominance and submission - as well as the rest of the BDSM spectrum - is a relationship dynamic unlike anything most people have ever experienced. It requires full and honest communication. It requires trust. It requires believing in yourself and your partner. It also takes time and patience to cultivate - if you're looking for a full relationship and not just a temporary play partner.

For the record, vanilla relationships should have this level of communication, trust, and belief. And some do. I don't disparage vanillas as "other" or "lesser" - but I'm D/s so I discuss D/s. For vanillas who truly communicate and trust at the same level as a healthy D/s relationship, good for you! Could you please start a blog and teach your non-kinkster brethren? Because they could use some help, too. 

You Don't Have to Be Perfect to for a D/s Relationship

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You don't have to enter your D/s relationship with your shit together: completely confident, no insecurities, and able to bare your soul. Most of us don't. What you should do is be willing to try, willing to do what's necessary for the relationship to work, and willing to speak up - even though it will seem nearly impossible at first.

It probably seems like some relationships spring forth from the ground fully formed into D/s perfection. Le sigh. Not true. Every relationship requires hard work - regardless of your level of kink or lack thereof. Time must be spent learning each other, talking to one another, spending time together. (Time spent in a virtual world counts - but be assured, it doesn't truly prepare you for being together in a physical space.)

I'm going to give you a little tough love:

  • If your partner makes you feel bad about yourself and discounts what you say, you're in the wrong relationship.
  • If you aren't willing to talk to your partner - and you're not even willing to try - regardless of whether that's your fault or theirs, you're in the wrong relationship.
  • If you can't let go of the past and see the person in front of you for who they are, you're probably in the wrong relationship.

When you're willing to accept less than someone's best and willing to let someone lie to you, cheat on you, and make demands of you without giving anything in return, you're only hurting yourself and wasting time with the wrong person in the wrong relationship. On the flip-side, when you're willing to manipulate, lie, steal, or cheat, you're hurting your partner and yourself as well as wasting everyone's time.

It is always better to be alone than to be in a dysfunctional, disheartening, or damaging relationship. Always.

Finding the Right One for You

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Dominants, the good ones, are patient wolves. And, this might surprise you, they're also human. We, as submissives, give them god-like attributes, but that's not the reality. They need to get to know a prospective submissive before deciding if they want to dominate you. And any "dominant" who is ready to order you around within the first 30 seconds is a fake and a wannabe. Run in the other direction when you come across them - and you will.

A good Dominant takes their time. They talk to a potential submissive and learn likes, dislikes, personality, everything they can. They learn as much as a submissive will let them learn - and often, plenty that you don't think you're telling them. From my experience, Dominants watch and read people very well - especially when they're interested.

For submissives, I will always tell you to be careful. Keep your guard up in the beginning. There are too many assholes posing as Doms in the world to do otherwise. But at a certain point, you have to take a leap of faith. You have to decide if you trust your instinct enough to let this potential Dominant in closer. And when you do, you have to truly open up.

I know (because I was one of them) you blame yourself if you open up your heart and then it gets crushed. That's not a failing on your part. Loving someone with your whole heart takes courage. Sharing part of your soul takes courage. Trust takes courage. So if you chose the wrong one, if you were released from a Dominant you considered "the one," don't berate yourself for being "stupid." Stand tall with your head high because you acted courageously.

Without knowing for sure (hello, I am a submissive, after all), I believe that the same is true in reverse for Dominants. They have to be careful of someone so willing to submit that they'll pretend to be someone they're not. No matter how strong they seem, a Dominant's heart can get just as intertwined as a submissive's, and they hurt just as much when things go bad or don't work out.

Bottom line: be true to yourself, but also communicate, trust, and always, always be honest with your partner. Only then will you have a chance of finding the right Dominant or submissive for you.

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About the author

Kayla Lords

I am an erotic author, sex blogger, podcaster, freelance writer, and an opinionated marketer. I'm also a masochistic babygirl submissive with an amazing and sadistic Daddy Dom. Welcome to my kinky corner of the internet!

48 Comments

  • Can’t love this any bigger if I tried! You totally nailed it and you hit home some points that I hope don’t go over people’s heads. Yes, if you have problems in vanilla relationships you’ll easily have them in D/s. It’s the reason why many lottery winners go bankrupt. If you suck with money when you don’t have much you’ll suck even bigger when you get millions without earning it. Work on your issues first and deal with your life.

    • Exactly. You can work on some issues within your D/s relationship but ONLY if you’re willing to do what’s necessary. Some people are…but some people aren’t and those are the ones who seem to go from “relationship” to “relationship” (using that term loosely).

  • Bravo, Kayla! So well said! I loved that you mentioned the pitfalls for Dominants too and that communication must go both ways. Recently in our community there has been a lot of discussion about submissives who are unwilling to negotiate or articulate their limits, yet when something happens in the scene that they dislike, they’re vocal about accusing the Top of abusing their power. Even if you only want to play with a Top/bottom, you HAVE to communicate. Your tough love is the best love!

    • Communication is the key, and I think submissives (some not all, clearly) forget they have a responsibility to participate. In BDSM, nothing can just happen to you…there must be consent and how can there possibly be consent if you aren’t willing to open up and speak?? Uh oh, I can feel another rant coming on. /giggles

  • Yes, yes, and YES. No sugar coating, no drama. Love this, but I know it’s going to fall on a lot of deaf ears, because people don’t want to hear they actually have to do some self examination. Great post Kayla 🙂

  • Supposedly you don’t disparage non-kink relationships and yet you use the disparaging term ‘vanilla’. I avoid using the word ‘disgusting and sick’ when applied to BDSM, so it would be nice to receive the same courtesy in return.

    • You’re new here, aren’t you?

      I give everyone the benefit of the doubt at least once so here goes…

      Since you’re clearly new to this kinky corner of the world, I’ll explain (although I stated it clearly in the post I wrote) that I don’t view vanilla as a disparaging term, I don’t view it as lesser than kink, and I think ALL relationships can benefit from some of the lessons we teach in the BDSM world. I don’t know what you’ve been reading in other places, but here? Vanilla is simply used to draw the line between kinkster and non-kinkster because frankly, typing “kinkster vs. non-kinkster” becomes tiring quickly.

      As for your other remark about how you so kindly avoid referring to BDSM as “disgusting and sick,” may I remind you that YOU clicked on a link with BDSM in the title which would indicate that the topic of the post is about BDSM – from someone who calls herself “A Sexual Being” and clearly denotes at the top of the page that she is in fact a kinky woman. What exactly did you expect to find here?

      Only one person on this entire page is disparaging anyone and it’s not me.

      Everyone is welcome in this space as long as they are respectful of the differences – sexual or non-sexual – between us. If that’s not you, you may want to find something to read elsewhere.

  • Thank you Kayla. I know I am the worlds worst at talking about my feelings and thoughts, always have been. I know this goes back to the fact that I always had to be the “strong” one in my family as my sister had medical problems when she was a baby. It has always been, “oh Sue will cope” so have hidden my feelings for years. If something upsets me I just go and lock myself in the loo hide my face in a towel and bawl my eyes out. Then come back out and get on with things. I am getting better and the Dom I see now and again is very good at drawing me out and getting me to talk. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will end up as a “live in” relationship as there are to many outside factors. Thank you again.

    • And even if it doesn’t end in a HEA or living together thing, it’s still good that he’s drawing you out – and that you’re willing to be drawn out. Learning how to communicate – especially when for years you haven’t (I was a member of that club, too) is a difficult but oh-so-necessary first step.

      And, for the record, I have learned how to open up completely with SSir and am grateful for that connection but I am still VERY tightlipped with the rest of the world. It really is in my nature and a huge amount of trust has to be earned for me to bare my soul – I think that’s a good thing, though. 🙂

      • Kayla, I totally get where you’re coming from.

        It’s hard to leave out the term “vanilla” in your end of the conversation. The importance, level and value of communication is established much earlier on in BDSM partnerships than in non-kink partnerships, mostly because of the level those things are required in sexual play, even if the Dom and sub are only play partners.

        It’s taken me 47 years to come into a vanilla (I like to call it gourmet vanilla) relationship that has the level of quality of communication that I see in a lot of BDSM relationships. Before and during any time we take part in anything that’s considered risky, we both weigh the pros and cons to determine if it’s something we want to do and double-check with each other on consent.

        I’ve seen (as I think we all have) so many vanilla relationships fall apart because the importance of communication was never valued or established at the get-go. It’s something I’ve written about often. It frustrates me when people don’t read these posts because people think they’re boring or I take something like communication dead seriously in something that’s supposed to be carefree and fun.

        Thanks for your wise words of wisdom and sharing your bare naked honesty. It needed to be said.

        • Thank you, Bobbie!

          Many people in BDSM are giving lip-service to the importance of communication without actually doing anything. They say they think it’s important, but they fall back on their old habits from vanilla relationships and let petty jealousies, fear of rejection, and a million other things get in the way of something that is so imperative in any relationship, but especially BDSM.

          I adore that you talk about it, write about it, and live it – outside of the BDSM world. Vanilla folk need to hear this just as much as kinksters. We might not reach everyone who needs to know it, but if we reach one person at a time, we’ve done something good.

    • Wonderful!! Some people think that BDSM is the only place where this kind of thing applies, but really the world would be a better place if ALL relationships had this level of trust and communication. 🙂

  • Good to see people reading and commenting who are outside the lifestyle. Nothing wrong with vanilla sex, people, let’s remember that it doesn’t necessarily mean 15 min of passionless sex twice a month, just the absence of kink, but if your non kink relationship is suffering due to a lack of honesty and communication, you will bring those same issues to a D/s relationship and it too will fail. Any relationship is hard work. D/s is actually harder, and will exacerbate unresolved issues, so be prepared to be brutally honest with yourself FIRST, then to make yourself vulnerable by communicating with your partner, then work together to build trust. Notice that I didn’t even mention BDSM. Don’t confuse the terms, they are not equivalent. You can be D/s and still have vanilla sex. D/s is how you relate to each other. Vanilla and BDSM are what you do. Most D/s couples engage in both. Thanks again Kayla! Great discussions here!

    • “Any relationship is hard work.” Exactly this. I don’t know if it’s sub frenzy or the Dominant equivalent (is there such a thing?) but people come across BDSM, often specifically D/s, and consider it a cure-all. Nope. All those pesky issues in your non-kink relationships are going to come flying to the surface even faster in a D/s relationship or with the negotiation that comes with BDSM sex. All of it is hard work, and if you’re not prepared to work hard, you’ll be disappointed every time.

  • Thank you so much for this. Just the idea that we don’t have to “have our shit together to get into BDSM.” I forget where I saw it, but I recently read a person talking about how as a person living with a mental health issue, they felt excluded by how so much about BDSM online talks about healthy mental people etc. I live every day consumed by what my bipolar does to me, as does my Master. He’s mostly joking, but when He wakes (He works 3rd shift), He’ll come out, stop by my chair and look at me, especially my face and my body language. Sometimes it tweaks a bit when I’m feeling fragile, but He’ll ask “Which Joelle am I dealing with? What level of crazy are you?” True, rather not PC, as well as full of stereotypes of mental health issues- I’m bipolar; I don’t have multiple personality disorder. But He checks in nonetheless because I am bipolar and my moods change with exceptional speed- hence His personalities joke.

    • I can’t imagine the struggle to find the balance between BDSM and any mental health issues. I would think it’s beyond hard, and the right partner is probably the only way it works.

      I have read, a few times, that people with low self-esteem can’t make good submissives. I call bullshit each and every time. I had crippling, horrible, shit self-esteem and for me, it was the love of a good man that helped. I had to do the work for sure, but being supported by someone who cares deeply makes a big difference.

  • I loved this in SO MANY WAYS! A lot of times you see D/s couples who appear SO TOGETHER that you do forget that it takes time, commitment, and understanding to get to that level and it takes hard work.

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  • What a great post Kayla, I don’t think I have anything special to add here, except to say that a bad relationship doesn’t become a good one because it involves BDSM. The M/s relationship I am in is good because we are working at making it so. Not because of the dynamic.

    • I think that’s an excellent point. Using D/s or BDSM to fix a current relationship is never going to work if both parties aren’t willing to put the work in. While all relationships should have this, anyone in D/s or BDSM is required to work hard at communication and honesty in order for the relationship to function properly.

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