4 Questions to Ask When You’re Struggling In Your D/s Relationship
My partner doesn’t like this/loves this/wishes for that. I think he’s right/wrong/weird. How do I make him like what I like? What do I do if he hates my kinks? Will I die alone?
If you’ve ever been on the sending or receiving end of a message like this, you probably want divine intervention to fix the problem. As a long-time “fixer,” it’s certainly my instinct. How many times have we thought (about anything in our lives) that if someone would just do this One Thing, they’d be fine?
It’s easy to think that way, but rarely is it the right answer. What works for me won’t work for you. There are too many other variables – personality, economics, relationship status, life, work, kinks, kids, you name it.
John Brownstone and I receive a lot of questions from kinksters, new and established. We don’t think we have all the answers (who does?!) but we try to help. Most of the time, our “answers” aren’t concrete solutions. Our answer is to ask questions or to make suggestions. The “fix” is to answer those questions and decide what you’re willing to do with those answers.
So if you’re looking at a problem in your D/s relationship and you’re wondering how to fix it, here are our most common “solutions.” These are based on the initial question you might be asking yourself about your kinks, your partner, or your (future) relationships. Of course, once you start digging below the surface, the questions become more complex.
Have You Talked to Your Partner?
You’d be amazed at how many people have a thought about what they want their partner to do for/to them but forgot to mention it to their partner. In reality, they didn’t forget, they’re usually terrified. That’s understandable, especially if you’ve never mentioned your submissive/Dominant/switch needs.
The unknown is terrifying for some people. What your partner might say and how they might react are often huge sources of worry, no matter what your concern is. I wish there was a magic wand to make that part easier, but the only magic wand I have gives me orgasms, not solutions. The first step in solving your problem, dealing with your concern, or getting the kink you want in your life is to talk to your partner.
You’ve got to go out there and say the hard thing. Maybe write it down if squeezing the words past your throat is too difficult. But you can’t move forward until you tell your partner and deal with their reaction, good or bad.
Have You Listened to Your Partner?
Okay sure, you had a conversation and told your partner everything you want out of BDSM, D/s, and a kinky life. You feel great, especially now that it’s off your chest. They didn’t run screaming out of the room or call you a deviant. Good job.
Did you pay attention to their reaction or listen to their comments? I’ve received emails from plenty of kinksters who had the conversation and said what they needed and wanted but were shocked when their partner still wasn’t on board. Just because someone listened to you and didn’t cringe at every word doesn’t mean they’re ready to jump into kink with you. Listen to your partner. Watch their reaction. They may need more time to figure out how they feel about something.
If you notice or sense hesitation, let them know that this is a slow process (note to impatient kinksters: this is a slow process). Offer to show them books you’ve read, articles you’ve saved, and (ahem) podcasts you listen to you. Offer reassurance that you’re not looking for a change right this second.
Are You Sharing What You Know?
This one is for any kinkster but it seems most common when the person leading the transition to D/s or wanting something new is a submissive. Many of you are afraid of topping from the bottom or being too pushy. If your partner seems interested in D/s and specifically in being a Dominant, but they don’t know anything about it, you’ve got to share what you know.
Being a submissive who points your Dominant in the direction of good information isn’t being controlling. It’s serving your partner. You’re making sure they get the education they need so you both find happiness and fulfillment in your kink. And a big responsibility of submission (and Dominance, too) is to let your partner know what you need and want. The conversations you have about how you’d like D/s to work is your chance to share what you know and what you need.
On another note, beware the Dominant who expects a submissive to learn everything on your own. We all get better at kink and BDSM when we share our knowledge. It’s even more important when you’re establishing a relationship.
What Will You Do Next?
Some of the questions John Brownstone and I receive are from people who’ve done everything they can:
- They talked to their partner multiple times.
- They’ve listened to their partner and tried to accommodate their needs.
- Everything they know has been shared, their expectations have adjusted, and they’ve tried to live with what little kink or the type of kink they can get.
After all that, they’re not getting what they need and are miserable, but they’re unsure of what to do. I can’t tell anyone what they’re supposed to do, and I won’t, because I don’t have to live with the outcome of those decisions. But I usually ask some variation of a few questions… Are you happy? Is this relationship meaningful enough to you without kink? Do you feel incomplete without the kink? Will your partner open up the relationship so you can explore what you need on your own?
If your answers, ultimately, are that you’re miserable, you see no path forward, and your kinks are more than just sex that you enjoy but who you are, I ask one more thing: what are you going to do next? Will you stay in the relationship and take what you can get? Will you end the relationship? What will you do?
Y’all, I can’t answer that for you. I know what I would do, but I live a different life. My point to this part of the “advice” we give is that you have a few options: live with it, stop complaining about it and do something, or keep complaining but do nothing (that last one isn’t productive but it is, unfortunately, common). What I want for people is to do the hard, scary things that leads to a more fulfilled life and relationship. But that’s a decision you have to make for yourself.
A D/s relationship can be fulfilling and loving, life-altering and life-affirming. Or it can be a slog through every insecurity you’ve ever had with a partner who doesn’t get it, isn’t enjoying it, or isn’t a good fit. The solution to the problem is unique to every individual, but the basics of trying to find a solution are universal. You have to talk, listen, share, and then decide where to go from there. There’s no timeline or right answer for any of it. Do what works for your life, your relationship, and your situation.
For anyone who’s gone through this (and that’s probably most of us), is there anything else you’ve asked yourself that helped you through it? Share with us!