It is true that we are newlyweds and we do all the newlywed sort of things that you'd expect to see; the hand holding, overt affection in public, lovey eyes and little giggling grins.  What you may not see is that we've actually been together for 8 years and all of this isn't new to us. We've been this way since we first met. Love and passion are a cornerstone to our dynamic and it works well for us. We are Master and servant, to the core, but love keeps us looking up, looking forward and looking within.

Not all D/s relationships are romantic relationships. It completely depends on what the people involved are looking for.  For couples that I know, the service is what is important and having romantic feelings for each other isn't part of the deal. Still others have a D/s relationship as secondary to their primary relationship in which love is the core. That secondary relationship serves a purpose that the primary does not and love isn't necessary. I'm also familiar with relationships that don't want love to interfere with the intensity and possible harshness of the play that is engaged in. Any of these and still more are reasons why love does not have to be a part of a D/s dynamic.

How then does love work for us and most of the relationships that I encounter? Love is an integral part of the relationship. We do the things we do, be it service, sex play, sadomasochism or anything else we come up with. I love him and I do the things we've agreed on because love is part of it. I don't think I could do what I do with him if I didn't. In fact, with casual play partners before I met KnyghtMare the play was much less, sex was never on the table and I didn't serve them in any manner beyond the SM play.

  • Love makes serving him easier, more worthwhile and pleasurable.
  • Love means I'm more personally invested in our life together and want it to work, grow and thrive - I'll strive to that end no matter what.
  • Love keeps us rooted in reality more often than fantasy - even when fantasy is the realm we experiment with.
  • Love makes our relationship stronger and more resilient.
  • Love helps us work through issues and conflicts where a non-romantic relationship could mean a change in the relationship as a whole.

Devil's Advocate could say that love gets in the way of service, or harsher play or what have you. Sure it can if you let it. I can't wrap my head around some of the intense humiliation and vicious torture that KnyghtMare enjoys. Now is that because I love him? Partially. I don't think I can accept that he would treat me that way and love me at the same time. My mind can't compute it. But is that really love getting in the way? I don't think so, it's my thinking process. It's a personal thing not a love thing that keeps me from being able to enjoy some of what KnyghtMare enjoys.

To prove this theory I have wondered if I could enjoy the same play but with someone else and honestly I know I couldn't.  Because I love him is why I tried it to begin with.  I knew he'd have my best interests in mind and care for me during and after play.  It just wouldn't work.

Sure this is all personal speculation and experience, but since that's all I have to go on that's what I feel confident in. Love in our relationship is powerful, just like the power exchange we have created around it. The affection and love we exude everywhere we go is a side effect of a good relationship working.

Thoughts to Ponder

  1. Do you love your Dominant? How does love enhance your relationship?
  2. Do you think love has to exist in a relationship for the dynamic to work? Why or why not?
  3. When can love be detrimental to a D/s dynamic?

Interesting Links

Newsletter Reader Responses

I asked newsletter subscribers to share their thoughts. Here are what they had to say: ~LarissaG
Love is the biggest factor of our relationship. Master doesn't tell me often, but he has told me in the past through his actions how he feels about me. I tell him all the time. Every time we hang up, no matter how many times it is in a night, I tell him "I love you." The reason is because his job is so dangerous (nighttime security manager and dispatcher with patrols) that, that call could be the last. And I don't want the last words out of my mouth to him to be anything less than "I love you, Master." It has become a ritual of sorts. I've found when I don't say it, he worries. LOL I love my Master with all my heart and would do anything for him...
~monkey
When my husband of 30 years and I began to explore D/s, the intimacy and honesty required to do it right, really brought back those intense feeling of love for both of us. When he decided ultimately that this dynamic was not for him, that closed down again despite how hard I tried to keep it open. So I chose to find someone outside my marriage to feed that part of me. For me, personally, I can't do D/s without love. I'm not sure what I expected at the beginning, I think I expected that i could compartmentalize better, but the truth is I could not give myself so completely to D/s, trust so deeply, without love. I don't know which came first, it's a bit like the chicken/egg question, trust or love? How can I not fall in love with someone who accepts me so completely? The dark twisty parts, every bit as much as the light shiny ones? It took me months to reconcile myself to the fact that I love him (them actually), and that I also love my husband. I didn't want to love him, then I didn't want to admit it to myself that I did. The funny part is that he knew I loved him before I did. He knows me better than anyone else has ever wanted to, or known how to.  So for me... no I can't do D/s without love, or I can't do D/s without falling in love.

~tigz

I have just finished reading your newsletter for June 2nd, 2012, on Love in a D/s relationship.  I find this topic a fascinating one for me.  i am a bi-male slave of my Mistress.  W/we have been together in a live-in, 24/7 context for nearly three years.  In fact, later this year we will renewing our handfasting/collaring vows to be forever-and-a-day. It is no stretch of the imagination for people to look at us and see two people madly in love with one another.  Some stipulate, as you sighted in your article, such loving relationships can only hinder an M/s dynamic.  This can be the case, if allowed.  We have had those trials where we had to struggle through to make them work for our dynamic.  But, it is my contention it is out of that love we did (and continue to do so). It has been my observation, it is an easy thing to walk away or not honor another's needs when you are not lovingly connected to them.  In those cases, the relationship is what it is, with only the depth that is prescribed between the individuals.  However, in the cases where love is involved, when there is a need by one (or both) of the parties, the loving relationship can give the fuel necessary to find a way through to the other side. One of the first times this happened between my Mistress and i was when i was experiencing a psychological barrier regarding my depth of subspace during play.  i would reach a certain level and could go no farther, no matter how long, intense, or who she allowed to play with me.  Ultimately, we had to work through some of my mental issues to break through this frustrating barrier that was causing so much misery. If we did not have the depth of relationship, my Mistress could have easily concluded i was one of those slaves who could not reach subspace.  For some others, this can suffice.  But, the love we share compelled Mistress to move me past my barrier into something spectacular. Love in a D/s relationship can hinder the dynamic if you allow it.  Or, it can be the fuel to keep you pushing past the next turn in the road, no matter how rough.  We prefer the latter.  The vistas are so much better around each and every bend.  ;)