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The Real Meaning of Dominant-Submissive Relationship

The belief that only 50:50 vanilla relationships are healthy isn’t true. BDSM relationships based on a certain level of power exchange can be just as functional and strong. Remember — just because something is different and alternative doesn’t mean it’s terrible.

If you read the “Fifty Shades of Grey,” you came across the concept of Dominant-submissive relationships. However, these books don’t portray it realistically and adequately.

Here’s what it really means to be in a power exchange relationship.

What D/S Relationship Is Not

Many misconceptions surround pretty much anything that has to do with BDSM. The biggest one is that these activities and lifestyles are related to abusive behavior. People tend to believe that BDSM is only an excuse to be mean and cruel. However, a healthy BDSM relationship where each partner respects the SSC (safe, sane, and consensual) rule is far from being abusive.

Besides, there are many elements, like sets of rules, that keep the relationship safe. Even though people usually know this, they find it disturbing that the Dom often has the power to punish their sub physically. And this part of being in a BDSM relationship can sound like abusive behavior to some people.

But the focus here is on control, not the pain and suffering. A D/s relationship isn’t about one partner slapping the other for overcooking their meal. It’s rather about the Dominant holding enough power over their submissive to slap them in a specific situation previously discussed and agreed upon.

So, the power exchange type of relationship is well-organized, consensual, and based on mutual trust. It leaves enough room for both parties to be who they really are. And at the same time, it allows them to express their sexuality, needs, and desires without the fear of being judged and rejected.

The Types of Relationships

Some kinksters prefer to keep BDSM strictly in the bedroom, and others like to engage in different types of relationships based on a certain power dynamic. The BDSM thing that has the biggest amount of power exchange is called a Master/slave relationship.

So, let’s say that your typical D/s is somewhere in the middle. It’s more than keeping it in the bedroom, but it’s not a 24/7 total power exchange. And given that, it’s evident that Dom-sub relationships are incredibly varied.

Like a “regular” relationship, it can be casual, serious, long-term, online, long-distance, etc. It doesn’t even have to require physical contact. The thing that matters the most is that elements of domination and submission are there. And you can organize them in many ways, depending on what interests you the most about BDSM in general.

For example, if your biggest kink is pet play, you can set rules appropriate for your preferred role. So, maybe you’ll establish a rule that a pet isn’t allowed to eat at the table. That way, you’ll keep the distinction between who’s in charge and who’s to submit clear. And at the same time, you’ll allow each partner to engage in activities they enjoy the most regularly.

The Dominant Role

Being a dominant partner in a D/s relationship isn’t about barking orders, calling others names, and beating someone. On the contrary, this role requires patience, responsibility, and respect. A Dominant isn’t supposed to be a tyrant, but a leader who truly cares for you.

And the ability to dominate isn’t something you’re simply born with. It’s rather a skill you need time to acquire, and yet, there’s always more to learn. Even punishment, such as spanking, is tricky and requires a certain knowledge. Not to mention things like reading a sub’s body language and knowing when to stop.

Besides, every Dom needs time to discover what style of domination suits them the best. They also need to think about their own needs and desires. And at the same time, they have to keep in mind what their sub can endure and is willing to do. So, having a great amount of power in a relationship isn’t easy at all.

Being Submissive

People often believe that a submissive role is about being passive and avoiding responsibility, but that’s not the case. Some submissives even enjoy switching roles. So, it’s obvious that people who prefer this role don’t have to be passive. However, they may need to be a bit more flexible.

But being a submissive partner in a relationship means more than simply adjusting to someone. They need to learn how to please their Dom in a sexual and non-sexual way. Also, a sub has to be willing to face challenges, and they need a certain amount of confidence to do so. Speaking of which, it’s not only important to be open to new experiences, but also to learn how and when to say “no.”

Taking the role of a submissive is as demanding as playing the Dominant role, only in a different way. While the Dom needs to lead, the sub is the one who has to know how to follow. D/s isn’t a relationship between aggressive and passive persons — it’s more about two people working together to keep their relationship healthy, functional, and interesting.

Consent Is Required

When it comes to any aspect of BDSM, consent is of great importance. Without it, the relationship or activity is nothing but abuse. For that reason, communication is the most critical aspect of BDSM.

And both parties, no matter their role, need to communicate their needs equally. Setting safe words, rules, hard and soft limits, and such is a must. Also, talking about what types of power-play they are interested in will help them avoid misunderstanding and disappointment.

So, the BDSM relationship is a lot more than role-playig — it has to be built on mutual trust and respect. At the same time, both partners have to be open and willing to communicate all the time.