6 Ways to Fuck Up Your D/s Dynamic
There is no rule book when it comes to Dominating or submitting, no definitive Wikihow on how to navigate your way through the rocky waters of a D/s Dynamic, but I’ve decided to compile a helpful list of ways to ruin your dynamic, and hopefully some helpful tips on how to avoid them.
Step 1: Doms Giving Their Subs Whatever They Want, And Subs Demanding Things From Their Doms.
Hang on a minute… Isn’t a the dynamic all about power exchange? So why do I see ‘submissives’ all over Fetlife with wish lists and making demands of their counterparts? And why do I see Doms falling at their knees like little puppies, trying to win them over?
It’s a common misconception that the man is the Dom and the woman is the sub, but let’s face facts – the trend does lean that way. And I guess it’s ok for women to make demands in the name of equality and (dare I say it) feminism… The reason I hesitate when I mention feminism and equality is because by making our lists of demands, we’re dangling ourselves as women, as prey, as prizes to be won, and we’re feeding into the inequality more and more.
As a sub, I would absolutely love it if my Dom put his conditions on our D/s relationship. As a sub, I love pushing my own comfort zones with the psychological side of being dominated as well as the physical. So Doms – have a good think about what you want from your sub. Yes, if you’re going to be romantically involved, like so many of us in the kink world are with our partners, relationships are always going to be give and take, but what I’m suggesting is a list of prerequisites and requirements for your sub to demonstrate his or her submission. I’m not talking full on 50 Shades style contracts, although some of you may choose to go this way. My personal preference is for my Dom to make a sexy but uncomfortable suggestion (like the months I went without wearing knickers!). Pick something to get your sub in the right mindset for obedience. Make it fun, make it flirty, but be firm! Remember those 3 Fs!
Step 2: Not Administering Discipline
It’s really hard when you love someone to want to discipline them… Well… That depends on how much of a sadistic streak you have! Some Doms get off on it a lot, and lucky for them, so do some subs. I don’t know… I guess I was never really told off enough or punished very much as a child so a lot of my need to submit and to be disciplined when I don’t comes from that. I also hate being told off… But a physical punishment gives me just what I need. I could go on and on about how much release I get from being punished, so check out my previous blog on Sex, Love & Masochism.
The importance of discipline should not be overlooked. Even if your submissive is very much a brat, the threat of punishment still needs to be there, or he or she won’t have anything to act up against and will lose out on feeling bratty, and the Dom will lose out on being able to administer some discipline. What fun is being a brat if you get away with everything?
If you set a punishment, it’s really important to follow through. At least try. If it’s 80 spanks and your sub is crying and your head and your heart tell you to stop at 40, then stop at 40, but at least make an effort, and then explain what he or she did wrong and that you are letting them off lightly and that they won’t get away with it every time. Always read body language and stick to your safe words! The more you let your sub get away with things, the less of a D/s dynamic you will end up with. And subs, it’s often perceived as ‘wrong’ to ‘top from the bottom’. You can just ask for a spanking, or ask not to be spanked, but the least you can do is try your best when any kind of physical or psychological task or punishment comes along. That’s the part you are meant to play, so play it as well as you can and don’t point fingers if you’re not getting the play you set out to get. It takes 2 for this dynamic to work!
Step 3: Making Excuses For One Another/Taking Too Much Responsibility For The D/s Dynamic Fading
Here’s where shit gets personal and I’m sure that I have my partner’s consent to write about this, otherwise he will delete it. One of the biggest things a lot of us struggle with is sub drop and Top/Dom drop. It’s hard to get over, but if you pick up on it early and look at really practical ways of giving after care to each other, you can avoid falling into the trap of feeling like a bad sub or a bad Dom.
I sometimes get really awful sub drop and my partner takes it very personally. He believes himself to be a bad Dom and it breaks my heart, because we’re really quite good at D/s when we’re both mentally balanced (or as close to sane as we get!). It’s important to communicate, and to listen to each other. If your sub is making you feel like you’re not doing it right, or if your Dom is making you feel like an inadequate sub, why not actually talk about it? Thoughts are not facts.
The issue arises when we come to believe things about ourselves which are not true. It’s easier to say ‘no sweetie, you’re not a bad sub, it’s all me’ or ‘sorry darling, I’m an inexperienced sub, look at all the other subs you’ve Dominated and how good they were’. Essentially, what I’m trying to say is that when you love someone, it’s easy to say ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. But that’s not conducive to happy sexy D/s times! You need to look at your strengths and weaknesses and assess the situation and decide where to go from there. Maybe more aftercare. Maybe gentler play. Maybe updating your list of hard limits. Maybe rethinking your safe words (we have currently got a very effective 0-10 system which I love because he knows when I’m comfortable and happy to continue pushing myself and when I’m in need of a pause and a cuddle).
Subs, don’t beat yourselves up! I’ve found it really helpful to talk about things the next day. Even when there are no marks, I can say ‘I took 8 spanks last night and I’m really proud… And I think I can take more next time!’. Doms, EQUALLY do not beat yourselves up! Be proud and say ‘I spanked that peachy bottom 8 times last night and gave awesome aftercare and my sub seems to be back to normal and I think next time I’ll give her 15!’. It’s all about communication but you really need to communicate well with yourself internally too! No negative self talk – just be honest with yourself and with one another.
Step 4: Pushing Hard Limits
Things can sometimes start off too fast in a D/s dynamic. We’re filled with NRE and we can take more pain than usual. We can also take more bullshit. Especially if we are new to the scene. Once you’re settled into a D/s dynamic, it’s good to be responsive to your sub’s physical limits. If you burn out too quickly in play, you will not give your sub time or space to grow into his or her role, and it can wind up with feelings as mentioned in Step 3, where one or both of you feels like you’re doing it wrong. If you feel that way and you want to give up, why not just take things down a notch and try things that are slightly less extreme?
Play with those soft limits and be compassionate. Leave the hard limits alone. If he or she can’t do bum stuff, don’t do bum stuff. If he or she doesn’t like needles, don’t make a big deal out of it and try something he or she’s more comfortable with. You’ll soon build a long repertoire of things you do for fun and things you can do for punishment, without ever breaking into those hard limits which you are better off not trying.
Step 5: Setting A Bad Example
If you expect your sub to be always ready and willing to submit, set a good example. You can’t forego Dominating him or her just because you had a long day. You need to be consistent if you expect consistency in return. This includes aftercare periods. You can’t expect your sub to be ready to play the day before a hectic week at work and then refuse to provide aftercare when your hectic week at work begins too. You’ve got to be in it together every day, and choose carefully when you’re going to do sexy psychological stuff – making her go to work with no knickers, making her play with herself on a train – and when you’re going to do the much harder stuff that takes more aftercare and involves your presence. Communication, people! I can’t stress it enough.
Step 6: Not Being Engaged In The D/s Dynamic
All subs need to feel valued. Actually, I should reword that, because some subs need to feel worthless and used. But we all need our role as submissives to be acknowledged. Submission and power exchange are highly psychological. That’s not to say Doms don’t need the same acknowledgment. Power exchange is emotionally taxing for them too! For me personally, I like to feel like I’m appreciated physically and emotionally. I love hearing my Dom purr as I stroke his back until he’s fast asleep. I like his encouragement when I’m grabbing for his cock in the middle of the night (or day!). Likewise, I always try to show my appreciation for him choosing me to be his. I try to put myself in his favourite positions without being asked as a gesture of love, commitment and obedience. I like him to know that I know who I belong to. We often (if not always) exchange text messages thanking each other for a good play session even if we’ve woken up together. It’s just nice to give each other a little of our presence and attention in between seeing each other and playing.