"... when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
-- When Harry met Sally

"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed."
-- Carl Jung

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Longevity in D/s relationships - Cross-post (E)

From Mistresses and their Captured Men via Strawberry Mistress (seems inactive at the moment)

Hidden away from the world in the little bubble of D/s bliss Goddess Selena and I live in, my mind drifting, catching up on domestic duties while collared, leashed, and partially bound, with some occasional rituals serving Goddess Selena as the only interruptions, my thoughts kept gravitating around the concept of the growth and maturing of relationships that are heavily flavored by the D/s lifestyle and BDSM power exchange.

BDSM and D/s literature and social media are overwhelmingly focused on definitions and categories, meeting like-minded kinksters, transforming present relationships into kinky ones, how-tos, finding solidarity in fetishes, and sharing kinky playtime.  And all of those are cool…  Been there, done that…  A lot.

But there is not that much written, or discussed, on the long-term growth and maturation of D/s or BDSM lifestyle relationships.  And I wondered why.  One would think the challenges of the lifestyle in terms of added layers of interests (matching or not), communications, and the needs of relational dynamics that tend to be particularly demanding, would present much to explore, discuss and share.

I shared these thoughts with one of bloggers, and kindred spirit, I respect the most, hmp, and we conspired to respectively produce posts that would discuss this issue. After a few exchanges, hmp was first off the blogging starting line back on Thursday, and I took advantage of his insightful reflections to write this present post, undoubtedly the longest ever on this blog. So go to the bathroom, get a drink, and have a seat. This will take a while. hmp’s original post can be found here, and the parts that I copied (all but the Valentine’s Day wish to all at the end) appear below in bold and italics. And keep in mind that both voices belong to submissive males...

My friend and fellow blogger Dymion recently pointed out the lack of information available on achieving longevity in D/s relationships. There is plenty out there on ways to find a partner but precious little advice on how to make a relationship last.

Every person and every relationship is unique. D/s relationships are by definition more complicated than vanilla relationships. What has worked for Her Majesty and I over the past 27 years would not work for everyone.

That said, I believe D/s can help keep the romance in a relationship fresh, exciting and vibrant. The key is making sure your relationship is based on a firm foundation of love and trust. What follows are a few suggestions based on personal experience:

1) Establish compatibility before tying the knot. Establishing kink compatibility is not a guarantee for future success but it should be considered a necessary condition for achieving it. Your partner does not have to like all of the same things you like but she should be open minded about kink, accept you for who you are and be willing to explore. 

As the celebrated mathematical expression goes, “…a necessary but not sufficient condition...” The instances of “transforming” someone into the scene are rare and not often long-lasting. The presence of some kind of D/s spark or magic from the start is important, a sense of exploration is essential, and acceptance is non-negotiable.

2) Practice open and honest communication. Your relationship will not reach its full potential without honest communication nor can you hope to solve the problems that will inevitably come up if you can’t talk about them honestly.

Open and honest communication is critically important in every intimate relationship, and all the more so in a relationship where D/s or BDSM plays a key role. The additional layers of depths of such relationships, with the possibilities of greater convergence or difference between the individuals, make the need to communicate even greater. EAR (Explore, Acknowledge, Respond) listening should be practiced  on both sides, with a sincere intention to understand and find win-win scenarios.

3) Nobody has it all. We rarely possess everything we desire in life or balance everything in our lives successfully. Try to be realistic and honest with yourself about what you can reasonably expect from a D/s relationship. 

The intensity and thrills of D/s interactions impact the reward area of our brains in an incredibly powerful way, especially on the submissive side. They are addictive and there is often a sense of never having enough. But without balance, the unfettered raging of D/s and BDSM oriented desires is self-destructive, and through resentment for the one not meeting for those needs and desires, the lives of our partners. Balance, grounding, a real sense of how this can work within the relationship, and strong communications, are the foundation.

4) “No fault assurance.” The blame game is self defeating. When you point the finger at your partner you should see two fingers pointing back at yourself. You are in this thing together. Never let petty resentments or a festering grudge divide you.

The space between acceptance and resentment is often not very large. And disappointment makes the defining lines blurry. But blaming the other, and/or blaming ourselves, leads nowhere. If the relationship is based on common interests, good communications, and a sincere sense of exploration, then emotionally investing into addressing issues, realigning wants/needs/desires, and finding win-win scenarios is part of the game.

5) Every minute can’t be play time. If you think it through you will realize this fantasy is not only impossible but probably not even desirable. In any case it won’t happen so best to know that up front.

Wait… what? It can’t? Well, maybe there is a submissive somewhere that is living out the Beauty Trilogy. But for the overwhelming majority of us, the fantasy is ultimately not realistic in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (which will eventually catch-up), nor does it address the demands of the real world (and there are consequences to this.) Again, balance and communications are essential.

6) Practice flexibility in D/s roles. Sometimes it doesn’t work to filter everything through a predefined set of protocols. Even if she is naturally dominant there will be times when your lady needs you to take charge. She may need a strong protective arm around her or a shoulder to cry on. There may be times when your ideas are beneficial to the relationship and should be heard regardless of who is dominant or submissive. Wear your D/s role like a loose garment rather than an impenetrable suit of armor.

D/s dynamics will be sliding across several spectrums relative to the different areas of the relationship. “Serving” also means being strong for the other when the need arises. And sometimes even taking the lead for the benefit of the one being served and the needs of the relationship. Rules and protocols are there for a reason, but underlying purpose and arising circumstantial needs require a deeper interpretation of those rules and protocols.

7) Accept downtime and appreciate the little things. There will be times when unforeseen circumstances will mean taking a break from D/s activities for a period of time. The key to survival is acceptance. During times of inactivity take comfort in the little things that reinforce your D/s romance; a tender foot massage or a furtive kiss on her booted toe.

Economic and financial issues… Geographic relocation… Changes in employment…  Significant health issues… Major stress at work… Family issues… Life happens! Sometimes things aren’t perfect because of external factors that are way outside our abilities to control or influence them. It’s acceptable that the “normal” flow of things may be interrupted. Communications will play an especially important role at this point. And keeping the D/s pilot light on through minor rituals and random acts of submissiveness will go a long way toward being able to bring the heat back up when the time is right.

8) Practice flexibility In Play. Be open to trying new things and changing your routine. Play style is bound to evolve over time. Be open to change and go with what works not just for you but for your partner. 

“Change is inevitable. Growth is intentional.” (~ Glenda Cloud) A strong sense of curiosity, a willingness (or need) to learn, and a thirst for exploring new things and experiences are all part of how we grow. The momentum of the new discoveries and new experiences must be allowed to overcome the inertia of routine and comfort. And above all, awareness of the natural process of change overtime, in all facets of our lives, allows us to become active participants in that process.

9) Many subs lack a dominant woman in their lives to serve and play with who loves them for who they are. If you are one of the fortunate few never forget to count your blessings and show your lady how much she means to you both in word and in deed. A little gratitude goes a long way.

There are few needs as powerful as the need to belong, to be part of something beyond ourselves, and to be appreciated in some kind of way by others. Being appreciated, respected, and loved as we are, and for whom we are, is an incredible gift in any kind of intimate relationship. A little gratitude goes a long way, and a lot of gratitude might even bring everyone into a D/s frame of mind a little more often...

And finally, I would like to add one more point.

10) There are few influences, forces, and drives that impact us more in our lives than habits. When active decision-making is replaced with habit, dynamics get reinforced and nervous system wiring gets stronger. But if a conscious decision is made to reinforce D/s dynamics, hopefully without expecting immediate gratification, and acted upon through little not-so-random little acts of submission or dominance, and through daily or weekly rituals, that wonderful D/s tension remains ever-present. Especially in such an intense rewards-based behavior. And opportunities for D/s fulfillment increase. It’s difficult to go from zero to sixty, but if the car never comes to a halt, then anything is possible. “If you believe you can change – if you make it a habit – the change becomes real.” (~ Charles Duhigg)

hmp and I would be delighted to hear from anyone who would like to add to this topic. Or disagree. Or contribute. We know there is much more wisdom out there, and more experiences to be shared and to build on. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with either one of us if you would like to take part.

From Slaves of the Goddess (seems inactive at the moment)