What You Should Expect from D/s Relationships

In an interesting (and busy) Twitter conversation recently that asked about expectations and negotiations, it was the expectations part that stuck out to me the most. What can we expect from a future or current partner? Should we expect certain things? How do we deal with our expectations?

Every power exchange dynamic – D/s or some other form – is unique. And frankly, going in with expectations of what you think is supposed to happen can lead to bad outcomes. You can’t expect the other person to have your same limits or need the things you do. If it happens, great. But you’re an individual first, and we all want different things.

That being said, in nearly every D/s interaction, there are some universal behaviors that you should expect from each other.


You’re talking about your power exchange dynamic here. Absolutely, both of you need to be honest. No matter what happens between the two of you and where it goes, if you can’t be honest, you’re doomed from the start. How can you consent to any of your kinky fuckery if the other person lies? You can’t! Not in a safe way. You may have to demand honesty, but you shouldn’t need to.


There’s no guarantee your kinky partner will love everything you love, but they should accept, without judgement, that this is who you are. Poly? Bisexual? Into weird freaky things (both “weird” and “freaky” are completely subjective)? They don’t have to be into it too to accept that it’s your thing.

The Freedom to Speak

I get antsy when I feel like I’m not being heard. That I can’t say what I need to say. In the conversations you have to start or build upon a D/s relationship, you need to feel safe to say what you think. Yes, you should expect that your (potential) partner will hear you out. And yes, you can set the parameters of what that freedom looks like (a set time, place, etc.) but it should always be there.

The Time to Think

Beware the person who demands fast answers and refuses to give you time to think. In negotiations, you’re talking about big changes in both your lives. One of you will be in charge. The other will submit. It’s a lot to take in, and yes, you should expect to have time to think it over. Even in established D/s dynamics, you have the right to take your time and make sure you’re comfortable with your decisions and choices.


It doesn’t matter which side of the D/s slash you’re on, respect – in and out of negotiations – is an absolute must. How can you believe this person will stick to the rules of your relationship if they can’t respect your feelings, beliefs, and thoughts? You earn the other’s respect, of course, and keep it by being worthy of it but even basic respect should be automatic.


You won’t always get the safety thing right. Over the years, John Brownstone missed my safeword once or twice. He always corrected the situation later, and it was fine. Mistakes happen. But habitual safety problems – ignoring safewords, not checking in, pushing hard limits – lead to bad outcomes.

That You’re In This Together

What “this” means in terms of your D/s relationship is unique to you and your partner. Romantic, platonic, sexual, playtime – whatever you have, it’s a mutual exchange of power. You’re both giving something to it and getting something in return. Yes, you can (and should!) expect some kind of mutually beneficial arrangement from your D/s dynamic.

Very little is universal in kink and D/s. We’re all too unique for that. What works for John Brownstone and myself won’t work for you. Going into a conversation with expectations can be a dangerous thing – for you or your partner. But some expectations are universal – or should be. You’re not wrong, broken, or a bad kinkster if you expect anything on this list from a partner. And a partner who refuses to (or won’t try) to give you these things is waving a whole lot of big red flags. Don’t ignore them.

Okay, now it’s your turn. Are there any other “universal” expectations you think kinksters should have with each other? Share in the comments below!

In episode 117 of the podcast, we discuss having expectations in your D/s relationship.

5 Responses

  1. Indigo says:

    Thanks Kayla this article may have just come at the right time for me, much appreciated

  2. Lorry Fitzsimmons says:

    A good honest outline on what level of commitment you have to each other, are you a couple? ..just kinky FWB?…or somewhere in between. It should be talked about and mutually understood or feelings could get hurt…or worse.

  1. February 19, 2018

    […] also really enjoyed this post from Loving BDSM/Kayla Lords – What You Should Expect from D/s Relationships. Having played with our own version of a D/s relationship, I feel that all of these points are […]

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