There's a really bad idea out there that Dominants decide everything and submissives simply accept it. Once you enter into your relationship, after initial negotiations, you're expected to submit, serve, and wait for whatever your Dominant decides to do to you or for you. You do what you're told and keep your mouth shut.
New (or bad) Dominants aren't the only ones who fall into this thinking. Submissives do it, too.
It's time to re-examine what you think you know.
Negotiations Never Stop in D/s
Hopefully, before you became the little “s” to your partner's big “D” you talked a lot. What you like, what you don't like, what you'll do, what you won't do, what you want, and what you need – for both of you.
If you think that those first conversations were the extent of it, think again. People change all the time. Your tastes and desires change. Life happens. Kids happen. Jobs are lost. Family members get sick. All of it has an effect on your life and your relationship.
Don't think you're stuck with the rules, structure, protocol, or even kinky fun that you started out with. The longer you're in a relationship, the more you learn about each other. Of course, you'll need to adjust and change. Don't be afraid to speak up when you need or want something different. You never really stop negotiating in D/s.
How to Open the Lines of Communication
Communication is important in all relationships – D/s or vanilla. You know that, or you're figuring it out fast, but sometimes it's scary to open yourself up more than you already have. Worse, you might be afraid of rejection – even from your own Dominant. For you, I have a few tips to try in order to open up dialogue and get the conversation going. (This works when you need to renegotiate or deal with an issue.)
- Let your Dominant know you have something on your mind and want to talk when it's convenient for you both.
- Watch their mood. If they've had a bad day at work or they're sick, it might not be the right time for a deep conversation.
- Speak respectfully, according to your current protocols and rules.
- Start with the good – what's worked recently, what's been wonderful, what you'd love more of.
- Move the conversation, gently, into what you need. Don't make demands. You're the submissive, remember?
- Explain your thinking. Why you want what you want (or need), and how you think it will benefit you, your Dominant, or both? (I tend to mentally prepare for the conversation long before it happens, even rehearsing what I want to say so I'm prepared when the time comes.)
- If it's a completely new concept – training, protocols, rituals, or even kinky sex – to your partner, try to have resource information available. Websites, books, and blog posts are all good options. Where did you learn about it? Try to send them there.
- Understand that you may not get an answer immediately. You've already had the time to think about this. Your Dominant may need time, too.
- Be clear on what a hard limit might be. For example you want to move into a 24/7 relationship but you don't want to use titles in front of your children or your parents. Make that clear.
- Be willing to abide by your Dominant's final decision. There's no guarantee your Dominant can give you what you want. What you're asking for may fall into their hard limits or be more responsibility than they want at the moment. Can you live with that?
Real life example time!
For several years, I've struggled with my weight. I know what I need to do – eat better, exercise more, but I don't always have the discipline for it. Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are my personal Kryptonite.
Over the past year, I've asked Southern Sir for help. We've discussed my goals and what strategies I think would work. For different reasons – illnesses in our families, stress at work, and other issues – he hasn't felt able to take on the responsibility of managing my fitness and diet plan.
Now that life has calmed down, I've come back to him. This isn't a full negotiation – we did that when I first brought up the topic – we're simply continuing the conversation from a few months ago. I've explained my new plan – adding strength training and eating more protein (and less sugar). I discussed the details with him and showed him my resources to explain my thinking. He added his opinion based on what he knows. I've committed to a plan, and he'll monitor me without micromanaging me.
Is it exactly what I wanted when I first approached him a year ago? No. I thought I wanted him to watch over me like a hawk. That wouldn't work for him, and I respected his needs, even as he understood and respected mine. Over time, we've developed a compromise that seems to work for us both. None of it would have happened if I hadn't been willing to talk about what I needed.
You won't always get exactly what you want. And you probably shouldn't. (Remember who's in charge, after all.) But you shouldn't be afraid to discuss your needs with your Dominant. Likewise, they should be willing to talk about their needs with you. Hopefully, these steps will help if you're struggling to start the conversation.
If you're in a relationship where you've been told you're not allowed to renegotiate or bring up concerns, you're in a dangerous situation. There should always be a time when you can communicate with your partner.
To the submissives out there who renegotiate and communicate regularly, please share your methods in the comments below. My way definitely isn't the only way, and we can all learn from each other!
Image via Kozzi