Nurturing the Bond of Dominance

A few days ago, Talllover64 wrote a post titled, Nurturing the Bond of Submission. One of the comments on that post was that it seemed as if he was saying that the responsibility for nurturing the relationship fell totally on the submissive. As written from his point of view, he was indeed saying that the submissive had responsibility for nurturing the relationship; however, he was not saying that the submissive had the sole responsibility. The dominant does have responsibility to nurture the relationship as well.

I intended to write a corresponding post from the dominant’s perspective; however, many of the points raised in the original post are as valid from the dominant side. Therefore, I will borrow heavily from his original post. All sections in italics are from the original writing.

In a D/s relationship, a strong bond can develop between Dominant and submissive partners that is founded on mutual trust and shared experiences. This bond is like nothing else I have ever felt between myself and another. It is a beautiful, wonderful and sensual connection between two persons that is indescribably joyful.

Something that is key to me here is the foundation of mutual trust. It is often mentioned that the submissive must trust their dominant. That is not a one way street, however.  The dominant must also trust the submissive. We can do everything in our power to ensure that our submissive is happy and healthy, but we have to trust that they will let us know when something is amiss. Many of the things that occur or can occur within a d/s relationship are things that we, as dominants, know others may judge us for. Sadism, humiliation, control, possessiveness, etc. We trust that our submissive will not judge us as less human for engaging in these things once we have their consent.

Shared experience: For me, that is how the mutual trust is built. Some level of trust can be given from the beginning. It is what allows us to pursue a relationship, a friendship, a flirtationship. Any level of positive interaction with another human being require some initial investment of trust. As we share our past experiences through communication, and we make new experiences with each other, that trust either grows or is chipped away.

I view trust like bricks in a wall. Walls, in the context of a relationship, are usually used as a metaphor for something negative, something to keep someone out. Yes, walls do keep things out, but they also keep things in. Things like warmth, safety, security. If we view trust as bricks, then we bring the first bricks to the relationship. Our shared experiences can serve either as mortar or as a hammer. As the frequency of our interactions increase in a positive manner, we are cementing together the bricks, strengthening our wall, adding new bricks as we go.  If the interactions are negative, they act as a hammer, knocking bricks off the wall.

 

As a submissive, I forgot that I have responsibilities in the relationship. I forgot that I need to act and not just react to my Dominant partner. The lesson I learned is that as the submissive you have a responsibility in ensuring the success of the relationship. The bond of submission must be nurtured and cared for, and it must be nurtured and cared for by you.

While written in the context of a lesson learned from a past relationship, Talllover64 was spot on with this….except the paragraph could be just as easily written with the roles swapped. As the dominant, I have a responsibility in ensuring the success of the relationship. The bond must be nurtured and cared for by me. If I am contributing more bricks and mortar to the wall, and I am checking for cracks, and flaws, then I am doing my part. If my submissive is also doing the same, then we ensure our best chance for a strong wall. If my submissive stops helping me build the wall, I have a responsibility to call this to their attention, to find out why they have stopped.

However, to a submissive entering into the world of kink for the first time, exploring my submissive self for the first time, engaging in a D/s relationship for the first time, and trying to please a Dominant partner for the first time, nothing was obvious, and nothing seemed normal.

I was a new dominant almost a decade ago, and nothing was obvious to me either. I got focused on the things…all the things. Restraints and paddles and toys, oh my!! I forgot to nurture trust and share of myself. I forgot to grow in my dominance with my submissive.

To those contemplating entering into a D/s relationship as a submissive and to those already in a D/s relationship as a submissive, don’t forget to about your bond with your partner. This bond is precious. This bond sustains and grows the relationship. As a submissive, there is no better feeling in the world but to know the deep joy that fills you when you please your Dominant partner.

Nurture this bond through communication with your partner. Nurture this bond by telling your partner everything. No matter how stupid, no matter how inane, no matter how trivial, say it. Tell your partner like your relationship depends on it because it does.

To those contemplating entering into a d/s relationship as a dominant and to those already in a s/s relationship as a dominant, don’t forget to about your bond with your partner. This bond is precious. This bond sustains and grows the relationship. As a dominant, there is no better feeling in the world but to know the deep joy that fills your submissive when they feel safe in your dominance. When, no matter how hard you push them, they find peace in your arms.

Nurture this bond through communication with your partner. Nurture this bond by telling your partner everything. As a dominant, it is your responsibility to make sure that your partner is in an appropriate headspace to process what you are telling them. Don’t abuse their subspace. Keep their headspace safe. But do tell your partner what is on your mind. Tell your partner like your relationship depends on it because it does.

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Nurturing the Bond of Submission

DSC_0037In a D/s relationship, a strong bond can develop between Dominant and submissive partners that is founded on mutual trust and shared experiences. This bond is like nothing else I have ever felt between myself and another. It is a beautiful, wonderful and sensual connection between two persons that is indescribably joyful. Sadly, I discovered after a relationship dissolved, that the bond which binds together a Dominant and a submissive must be cared for and nurtured in ways that I had not imagined.

Something happened to me as I grew into my submissive role. Something that I did not expect. I found that as my submission to my Dominant partner deepened; I seemed to have given up a part of myself. I cannot speak for other submissives, but for me, I experienced a personal transformation as I grew in my submissive role. I changed as I became a more committed submissive. It was not a change I saw or understood until after the relationship ended.

As a newly enslaved submissive I was enthralled with my D/s relationship and very eager to please my Dominant partner. I found my D/s relationship to be better than I had ever imagined and I wanted to ensure that the relationship continued. My focus, my purpose, was to please my Dominant partner. The more I served Her, the greater the pleasure I felt. The more She rewarded me, the more I wanted to serve Her. This cycle became a feedback mechanism that pushed most sense from my mind. I became focused on keeping the bond that had grown between us.

I became so intent on pleasing my partner and on holding onto that feeling of that bond that I totally ignored the need to nurture and sustain the bond. I embraced the role of the submissive at the expense of my submissive relationship. I turned my mind off only paying attention to what my Dominant partner told me. I ignored an essential component of the D/s relationship, me.

As a submissive, I forgot that I have responsibilities in the relationship. I forgot that I need to act and not just react to my Dominant partner. The lesson I learned is that as the submissive you have a responsibility in ensuring the success of the relationship. The bond of submission must be nurtured and cared for, and it must be nurtured and cared for by you.

This may all seem like common sense to some. In hindsight, it is all too obvious. However, to a submissive entering into the world of kink for the first time, exploring my submissive self for the first time, engaging in a D/s relationship for the first time, and trying to please a Dominant partner for the first time, nothing was obvious, and nothing seemed normal.

To those contemplating entering into a D/s relationship as a submissive and to those already in a D/s relationship as a submissive, don’t forget about your bond with your partner. This bond is precious. This bond sustains and grows the relationship. As a submissive, there is no better feeling in the world but to know the deep joy that fills you when you please your Dominant partner.

Nurture this bond through communication with your partner. Nurture this bond by telling your partner everything. No matter how stupid, no matter how inane, no matter how trivial, say it. Tell your partner like your relationship depends on it because it does.

When Monogamy Meets Polyamory

I’ve never been good at monogamy. For one, I love women…and men. I prefer to be in a relationship with a man, but that itch for women starts up, and there are somethings a man just can’t do for me, like have a vagina or gorgeous tits. There are other reasons for me not being monogamous. I have many layers, and I believe it is unfair to expect one single person to be able to meet all of my sexual and D/s needs. I don’t think it’s fair to expect a sub to play Daddy when my little side needs some Daddy-time.

I don’t have to justify why I am poly, I just am. And after several failed attempts at forcing myself to be monogamous, I embraced poly. Every new relationship I consider starts with the knowledge that they are not the only one in my life. If they are the only one for some reason, then I start with the discussion that them being the only one may not be a permanent arrangement.

Yes, being poly has limited my partner pool. And that’s okay.

More recently, however, I began a relationship with a man who was very clearly and adamantly monogamous. I stated that I was not monogamous, and possibly never would be. His response took me off-guard. He said, “That’s ok. I said that I was monogamous. Not that you had to be.”

Up until then, I had not considered a relationship with a monogamous person. Usually the “I’m monogamous” statement was the end of any relationship thought. So, I’m very much still acclimating.

What dating a monogamous partner has taught me is this:
– He won’t try to change me, but sex without his knowledge is still cheating.
– For that matter, scenes without his knowledge is cheating.
– He is completely devoted to me, and I have taken him on as my only submissive. I need to make sure that I am meeting his needs.
– Yes, I can have sex with someone else or be in a relationship with someone else, but rather than think about whether I can, I have to think about whether I should.

These are all new things to think about for someone who is used to having compartmentalized relationships.

Silencing the Voices

Sometimes we reach a point in life when the voices we hear every day become a cacophony. This is particularly true regarding the “lifestyle”. In a lifestyle where there is no right way, there are a myriad of opinions about what a dominant should and shouldn’t do, what a submissive should and shouldn’t be, whether one can truly call themselves dominant, etc.

It’s all bullshit. And sometimes you have to take a break from the voices. Put down the phone, step away from the computer, and get back to what really matters. Your voice. Your opinion.

Don’t lose yourself in the clamor.

The only opinions that really matter are yours, and your partner’s, if you have one.

Pushing Limits

Limits are good. Hard limits, soft limits, it doesn’t matter…limits are good. Communicating those limits is even better. But even if something is not a hard limit or a soft limit, there are still limits.

How much pain can you take (and enjoy)? How long can you be denied an orgasm? How long can you kneel? These are just some examples of limits within things that may not be limits. And like hard and soft limits, these limits will be unique to each person.

So what do you do as a dominant, when your submissive enjoys testing and pushing limits? How do you find the limit without going over?

The simple answer: Feedback.

The long answer: Communicate with them. Check in during the scene to see how they are doing. Ask if they want more. There is nothing sexier to me than someone saying “more please” when I check in with them. Encourage them to say something when they reach the limit. And when they speak up: STOP.

Rope Bottoming

After attending a party with my Lady, she made a curious comment:  “People aren’t used to seeing a good rope bottom.”  Frankly, it never occurred to me that the people were even paying attention to me, I figured everyone was paying attention to what she was doing.  As with many comments, I started thinking about it, so here is what I can say about it.

I do not know that I am a good rope bottom.  That is up to the individual opinion of the rope top, in my mind.  But she said it, so I’ll go with it.  But there are things that I am conscious of while being tied, and things I do that make it easier for the top.  So I will try my best to explain those here.

A quick note on safety for rope bottoms.  General trust is not going to suffice when it comes to rope and bondage, in my opinion.  Rope bottoms need to research aspects of this type of play just as much as tops.  No, bottoms will probably never become as proficient as a good top due to a lack of practice tying people, but knowledge of what is going to happen, the basic techniques, where the rope should and should not be, etc., is the bottom’s best assurance of pleasurable experience.

So, here are some tips from a rope bottom to other rope bottoms to make the experience as good as it can be for both:

First, have patience.  A lot of patience, in fact.  Done right, binding someone in rope is not a quick process if we are going beyond arms and legs tied to the bed spread-eagle. Whether you are standing, sitting, kneeling or laying down, it takes time for the top to move around you, clear their ends, check their passes and decide their next move.  Give them the time with you calm patience.  You will be rewarded with a much more comfortable bondage experience.

Second, do not move.  Obviously, if your top asks for you to put your arms behind you, do so.  What I am referring to is fidgeting, not holding a position, scratching your nose, armpit or ass.  Basically, you want to try to eliminate any movement if not directed by your top.  Try sitting at home, alone, and concentrate on not moving.  You will find it harder than it sounds.  You get thirsty, and your drink is right there.  The mental thought of “don’t move” seems to make ever odd place on my body itch.  Start slow, see how long you can make it without moving, then strive for a longer time the next time.

Third, try not to flex the muscles in the area your top is working on.  As a male rope bottom, I can say with certainty that if my Lady is working on my upper body and arms, I could make everything basically futile by flexing my back muscles.  Rope bondage relies on tension, so if I were to flex while you are making passes around my back, when I relax they fall into a puddle around my waist.

Fourth, pay attention.  Your top will be clearing their ends.  It keeps them able to continue binding you instead of dealing with a rats nest of twisted, knotted rope.  This is a great opportunity for you to enjoy the sensations.  Rope bondage is not all about the final position, but the journey of getting there.  The feel of the rope dragging across your skin can be quite enticing and intoxicating.  Enjoy it.

Fifth, relax.  I fully realize this is more difficult as the intricacies increase, or the positions become more strenuous.  However, the more relaxed you can be during the process, the easier it will be to remain in the positions your top asks of your body.  Tight, tensed muscles will not generally relax once bound in place.  Generally, muscles in this state will simply start to cramp, on occasion severely.  Relaxed muscles, on the other hand, allow your joints to move freely, and are much less prone to premature cramping.

There is a start.  There is much more to be said, but I will take the time to reiterate my early thoughts on safety.  Know the rope top you are submitting to, the style of bondage he or she uses, and have a basic knowledge of that style.  I love being bound in rope.  I wish everyone could feel the way I do when I cannot move.  More importantly, though, is that everyone does everything they can to remain safe.

How Being a Dominant Little Works

In a previous post, I addressed the fact that I am a dominant little, and Phoenix wrote a post sharing his side of things. I am still frequently asked how that works, and I welcome the opportunity to try to explain. Last night, I had a conversation with a friend about this, and I realized that in that conversation I explained it better than I ever had before.

Friend: I wondered how that worked for you. Being little at the core but the dominant one in your dynamic. Almost sounds like a recipe for destruction. I know if I let redacted drive the bus we are going off a cliff.

Me: I am not the typical little…and Phoenix is not the typical submissive. He is very protective and ensures that the pesky adult stuff gets handled with regularity. But for him, protecting me and doing the adult things is a service for him. He doesn’t view what he does as dominance because he is serving me by doing them. He doesn’t view himself as a Daddy, although at times I do.

There are some things to note in that exchange. First, being a little is “at the core”. It is something that is fundamental to who I am. When I can’t sleep at night, I either snuggle closely into Phoenix or I go snuggle with George, my 5 foot stuffed gorilla. I will get distracted by all things shiny or sparkly, and don’t get me started on what happens when someone else mentions that they are making tutus. (Speaking of tutus…I definitely have a tutu making, sparkle fest planned for today).

There is more to littles than just a love of plushies and sparkly things. It’s a certain attitude, and perception of the world. I find it very difficult to describe, but if you have ever met a little, even an atypical one such as myself, you will know what I’m talking about. I could go into the backstory of how I realized I was a little, but that’s for a different time. Suffice it to say, that being a little has been a fundamental part of my personality for as long as I can remember, though I didn’t have a word for it until a few years ago. On the other hand, being dominant and being a leader is also a fundamental part of who I am.

Enter the second part of that exchange: Phoenix. He is a service-oriented submissive, but he is also very traditionally masculine, and protective. I hesitate to call him nurturing, because that word doesn’t completely apply to him, and that’s okay with me. When I am sick or in pain (and I live in chronic pain), I don’t really want someone spoon-feeding me soup or fawning over me. Just let me suffer in peace.

So what does service-oriented look like for us? Well, like I mentioned in the conversation, Phoenix takes care of the pesky adult things for me, like making sure bills get paid, trash gets taken out, etc. For him, this is a way of “taking care” of me. For me, it allows me to enjoy my little-space without a nagging worry in the back of my head that I’m forgetting something. Phoenix also does traditional service tasks like foot rubs, and running my bath, and *gasp* making me a sandwich. Sexually, I lead. I decide when and how we will have sex, what (if any) kink will come into play that night, and when he will be allowed to have an orgasm.

The last thing I mentioned is that Phoenix does not view himself as a Daddy, though sometimes I do. Phoenix, in his own words, is just Phoenix. There is nothing more or less to him than who he is. And no, he is not the stereotypical Daddy that you hear so much about in the plethora of ddlg writings, but then, I am not the stereotypical little.

I do have a mentor who fits the bill of stereotypical Daddy, and in fact, he was my Daddy when I lived near him. While I was submissive to him, and still would be if we were in a relationship, he recognized very quickly that I was dominant. He does not mentor my little nature. He mentors me as a dominant, but does it in a way that my little side understands. Maybe I am a little that “grew up”, but never stopped being Daddy’s princess.

My Journey, Part Six

I am nearing the end of this marathon, I assure you.  Just a brief tour of the basics that have been my life and experiences in the lifestyle so far.

Once I had a name to go with the sexual concept in my mind, and a fair amount of research and self knowledge under my belt, I gently broached the subject of doing anything kinky with my girlfriend at the time.  She was definitely interested, even mentioning that she would go through my browser history while I was at work on third shift.  So my journey, with no pun intended, was out of my hands and head for the first time, in the care of someone else.

Now, neither of us had any real or useful experience, just our thoughts, fantasies, and a healthy desire to pursue them.  So, that is what we set out to do, together.  I had my ideas, she had quite a few of her own, and we basically agreed to meet in the middle and alternate between whose idea we were trying as long as neither of us had a major concern or limit about it.  I got to try many things that I hadn’t thought about yet.  I like to think she did, also.  I almost hesitate to refer to our relationship as a 24/7 lifestyle one, even though by the end of it certainly fit the bill from an activity standpoint.  Even though she was always the dominant partner and I the sub, the level of equal input into what we were doing, what we were exploring, made it one of the most equality driven D/s relationships I have ever been in.

This first adult, willing experience with BDSM was quite satisfying.  The actual relationship lasted just over four years, and we continued to play together another nine months until personal issues on my part forced a move to another state.  Each of my subsequent relationships have had elements of BDSM of varying degrees.  Some, as you might imagine, were more successful and fulfilling than others.  But that is true of any series of relationships, regardless of the sexual palette being used.

There was one huge exception in these relationships, though.  None of the women had any experience in the lifestyle, so I was the more experienced.  It created a scenario of “topping from the bottom” for me.  Basically, they were centered around what I liked, therefore both of us were left with the distinct feeling of “I’ll do that for you…  if you really want.”  While I cannot say the scenes were not enjoyable, I can honestly say the emotional fallout was not worth it.

I eventually got married, and had kids, with a woman that when we first dated we incorporated BDSM.  By the time we married, she had decided it was not something she was interested in, and I was okay with that.  Later on, her opinion changed again, so we negotiated the terms of that part of our relationship.  After a couple of years, it changed yet again, back to her not being interested.  I could write another whole series of posts on just my marriage, but I won’t.  It is enough to say that eventually the marriage ended, largely due to her infidelity and abuse. (Yes, men can be abused by the women they are with)

Now, in present time, I am in a 24/7 dynamic relationship with my Lady (you, fine readers, know her as Malady).  For the first time, I am with someone with knowledge of themselves and the lifestyle rivaling if not surpassing my own.  It is to her that I owe the biggest thank you to for introducing me not only to acceptance, but to the larger real world lifestyle community.  I feel like I am home, with family, for the first time.

Negotiation 101

So far, most of the posts here have focused on myself and Phoenix, our journey and our relationship. We have occasionally touched on topics such as negotiation and consent, but have yet to devote a post to it. This is that post. This is the post where I put on my teacher glasses and tell you that what we do is not “safe”.

Phoenix and I practice RACK: risk aware consensual kink. In essence, this means that we accept that there is an inherent risk in BDSM, however, being aware of that risk allows all parties involved to provide informed consent. The important thing here is informed consent. Consent given without all the pertinent information is not informed consent. You wouldn’t sign consent papers to have a kidney removed without being informed of the risks. Similarly, you should not consent to BDSM activities without being informed.

If you are new to BDSM or need help finding a starting point for negotiations, I recommend a yes/no/maybe list. In essence, you would write down all of the kinky activities you can think of and then mark them with yes/no/maybe. You can find multiple checklists online, as well as one at the bottom of this post, if you prefer a form to fill out.

While the yes/no/maybe list is an excellent start, it is important to remember that the key to successful negotiation is COMMUNICATION. I cannot emphasize that enough. If you are hesitant about something, but willing to try it, let your dominant know why you are hesitant. Be honest about your fears and/or concerns. Most importantly, do not be afraid to have limits, and to expect your partner to respect them.

Many sites provide checklists for the submissive to fill out; however, I would recommend that you have your dominant/top fill one out as well. This will give you both a way to see where the middle ground is, and set the “fence around the playground”. The document I’ve linked at the bottom of this post also includes information about potential health risks, history of STDs, and ICE (in case of emergency) instructions. Please feel free to download this document, alter it as needed, and use it to your own personal benefit.

Negotiation Worksheet

When a Dominant Kneels

When you think of kneeling in front of someone, do you automatically think of submission? I know I used to.

While kneeling certainly can be an outward display of submission, it is so much more. When you kneel before someone, you are showing them that you cherish, honor, and respect them. There is a tenderness that comes with the act of kneeling.

The kneeling Dominant is such a powerful image, as they kneel before their submissive to help them tie shoe, to steady them as they get undressed, or just to be at eye level with they while they soak in the tub.

When a Dominant kneels, they are showing they partner that they are valued. They are more than a toy to them. Their strength is in their humility.