Are you a Dominant who believes your submissive has to “prove” their devotion through special tests you set? Or are you a submissive who has been asked to prove yourself with “tests” that make you uncomfortable, hit hard limits, or just don’t seem right? Yeah, you’re not alone.
Here’s the thing about D/s and BDSM…ready for it? There are no fucking tests. Not a single decent Dominant will require you to jump through specific abusive or manipulative tests to prove your submission. And, while we’re on the topic, you both have to prove yourself to each other to make a relationship work.
So when someone starts talking about “tests” that make your skin crawl, your hackles raise, and your intuition scream at you, here are the only things you both actually have to prove to each other. There may or may not be a test on it later – and definitely when you’re least expecting it.
You’re Willing to Communicate
John Brownstone and I believe there are only two real rules to BDSM, and one of them is communication (consent being the second). Without that, you’ve got nothing. You can’t even consent if you can’t communicate. Dom or sub, it doesn’t matter, you both have to be willing to say the hard things as well as the good things.
Yes, it’s fun to talk about the kinky fuckery and the things you want to try. Can you also share that you’ve experienced violence and therefore can be triggered in a scene? Are you willing to say you had a bad experience in a relationship and now you want to take it slow? Whatever it is, you must say it. You’re allowed be bad at communication (at first), but you can’t be unwilling.
You Respect Boundaries
Everyone gets to have boundaries and limits. To the Dominant who thinks a submissive should just “trust” that you know best for them, get over yourself. Your main responsibility is to take care of your submissive whether it’s for a lifetime as a partner or for an hour in a scene. Yes, you’re supposed to get what you want, but so is your submissive. Subs, you need to remember that, too. Just because you want a thing to happen doesn’t mean your Dominant has to give in – especially if it’s a limit for them.
Respecting boundaries and limits, whether in your kinky fuckery or in the lines you’ve drawn to separate your kink from other aspects of your life, is a requirement for a healthy D/s relationship. Doing anything less shows a lack of consent, erodes trust, creates a toxic environment, and means you’re flunking BDSM 101.
You Earn Trust
Can I tell you how tired I am of “Dominants” (aka airquote Dominants) demanding trust from a submissive from the first contact? Fuck. That. Shit. Trust is earned, and if you aren’t willing to put in the time, commitment, honesty, and communication to build it, you’re not looking for a D/s relationship. You want an easy fuck and a naive or desperate submissive to stroke your fucking ego.
(This is where John Brownstone would tell me to breathe. So I am.) There is no timetable for earning trust. And it must absolutely be earned. You’ve got to be who you say you are, show up when you say you will, and give as much (if not more) than you receive. And yes, submissives do too. To the dear, sweet subs out there, when you manipulate a situation to get what you want (genuinely topping from the bottom) you’re hurting the trust between you. Remember that.
You Must Be Honest
You earn trust by being honest. Not everyone, on either side of the slash, seems capable of honesty. People say what they think the other person wants to hear. They say what’s easiest and keeps the conflict down. A real test of any D/s relationship is this: being able to say the hard thing to your partner because it’s also the truest thing in that moment. Being honest doesn’t mean you have to be an ass about it. You can be honest and still be kind.
In case you wondered, that means saying, “This isn’t working out” instead of ghosting on someone. It also means saying, “I didn’t really like that thing we just did. Please don’t do it again.” Of course, there’s also, “You made me angry” or “You hurt me badly.” When you can say those things and listen when they’re said to you, you can pass almost any other “test” out there.
You Earn Respect
A certain amount of respect should be given because we’re all human beings. But beyond that very basic amount, the rest is earned. When you communicate and respect boundaries, you earn respect. When you show that you’re honest and trustworthy, you earn respect. But beating your chest and demanding it because you gave yourself the title of “Dominant?” Puh-lease. I don’t think so.
Submissives, you deserve respect, too. And yes, it means you have to be honest and trustworthy, communicate fully, and honor boundaries and limits to achieve it. The rules aren’t different for you, either. Being a playful brat or a sassy submissive is good and fun if your dynamic works that way, but beneath that exterior, respect is required for the way you play to be safe and meaningful. How hurtful could it be for a Dominant to be told bratty things when they’re not sure their partner respects them? And are you willing to accept punishment, discipline, or control from someone you don’t respect?
Certain Things Should be Required…
When you’ve been hurt in the past, it’s normal to want proof it won’t happen again. Silly tests and unnecessary trials don’t really give you the confidence you need in your potential kinky partner. Trust, communication, honesty, respect – these prove that you’re dealing with someone who wants to be a good partner and is willing to try. Frankly, all you can ever ask of someone is that they try. Passing these tests doesn’t mean you’ll stay together forever. But failing them means you’ve got a red-flag-carrying bad situation on your hands.
I know there might be other things I can list. But to me, these are the big ones. If you get these right and prove yourself to each other this way, the rest usually falls into place. But what do you think should be on this list? Feel free to share in the comments below!
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