5 Fears You May Feel in a New D/s Relationship

When you hear the word “fear” what comes to mind? Is it past trauma or future worries? Are you afraid of spiders or snakes?

Many people enter into a D/s relationship — or at least an understanding that they’re Dominant, submissive, or switch — with a lot of excitement and a few fears.

The point isn’t that we shouldn’t be afraid, but that our fears are more common than we realize. While a single blog post can’t possibly name every fear you might have as you navigate D/s and BDSM, here are many that you may recognize. The good news is that many fears can be overcome with enough time and experience and with partners you trust.

Fear of Rejection

This one is a doozy, especially if you figured out you’re kinky while in the midst of a vanilla relationship. But it’s also true for single kinksters navigating the hellscape that is online dating. We often see rejection from another person as a rejection of us as a person, as if there’s something wrong with us. And, to be fair, some people dish out rejection like you’re a criminal who deserves life in prison. But that’s about them, not you.

Rejection hurts and it sucks. To have the D/s life you want, you have to face it eventually. To build the best relationships of your life, you have to let yourself be vulnerable and open to potential to hurt. It’s hard, but it can definitely be worth it.

Fear of Fucking Up

For everyone who’s been rejected, dumped, or ghosted, you may already have this refrain running through your mind. That you’re a fuck up and that’s why you’re alone. That is (likely) less true than you think. Yes, we all make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes end relationships. But we can learn from those mistakes, too.

For others, this fear is about the responsibility you feel for getting D/s “right” or being “perfect” — I’m looking at you, my anxious friends. The hard truth is that we all make mistakes when we do something new — whether that’s navigating a kinky scene or trying to be the best Dominant or submissive we can be. Own your mistakes and resolve to do better next time.

Fear of Not Being “Enough”

Good enough. Pretty enough. Sexy enough. Submissive enough. Dominant enough. Whatever your “enough” fear is, you’re not alone. The big thing to remember is that there is no single standard for “enough.” All you can or should ever be is yourself. For the partner who’s the right fit for you, you’ll be more than enough.

Past relationships, bad tapes, our own anxieties — they all conspire against us to fill our heads with these thoughts. It makes us second-guess our decisions and see every five minute silence as the end of a relationship. You are enough — for the right partner(s).

Fear That You’re Not “Really” Kinky

I use “kinky” as a placeholder — pick your preferred term on this one: Dominant, submissive, sadist, masochist, slave. When we see examples of what those terms mean to us, it’s easy to compare ourselves. Some kinksters will realize they’re different and worry (fear) they’re not really the label they identify with.

Every BDSM identity and label exists on a spectrum from a little to a lot. There is no single way to be anything in this kinky life. At the same time, sometimes you’re not using a label that fits you, either. Feel free to reject labels, in general., if that helps. But remember that “common” characteristics we see don’t mean “required.” Your kinky identity and D/s relationship are whatever you make of it with a consenting partner.

Fear This is Too Good To Be True

In the early days of my relationship with John Brownstone, I woke up every day convinced this would be the day he’d realize I was a hot mess and run in the other direction. Finding a partner and the relationship style that fit so perfectly didn’t seem real. It had to be a dream. I became stoic about the fact that it would probably end.

Other people who face this fear seem to go out of their way to prove their fears by forcing the relationship to end. They test their partner by lying, cheating, or refusing to communicate. And others simply run the moment this fear becomes all too real. I tried to run, too, and John Brownstone patiently, calmly, and methodically followed, because he knew I needed to learn he wasn’t going anywhere. But many perfectly good D/s relationships die early deaths because things are “too good to be true.”

Fear is powerful, and many times it comes from past experiences and memories that we can’t always control. The point isn’t that you won’t ever feel fear in a D/s relationship. It’s that (hopefully) you’ll have a partner you can trust and turn to when you’re afraid. That you’ll be the partner they can come to in their moment of fear. Together, you’ll learn the communication skills necessary to your navigate fears, concerns, and worries. We can’t completely get rid of fear, but we don’t have to let it rule us either.

What fears have you had to deal with in your D/s relationship? Are you still working through them or have you found ways to overcome your fears?

3 Responses

  1. julie knispel says:

    all of the above resonates strongly with me, because so much of it i’ve experienced this year personally. being in a new (two and a piece months now) relationship with someone i’d known for over a year after my last one ended now so much with a bang but a whimper, i carried in a lot of emotional damage and baggage. i was lucky in that my new partner/Domme was there for the end of my previous, so It knew what i was bringing with me, and was ready and willing to help me through it. but i still have fears that i’m too much, or not enough. that i don’t express my appreciation and love enough, or that i overbear. it’s so hard to have to face these things, especially as the fears of ruining things, of abandonment, are as much a product of other emotional issues i’m having to face as they are of that.

    i know i’m lucky…and it’s hard to balance the things i know to be true with what my brain tells me.

    • Kayla Lords says:

      Many, many, MANY of those things take time, a lot of communication, and the help of a partner that’s willing to show you they’re not like a previous partner. It’s very difficult and sometimes (for some people) professional help with a therapist can make a difference, too. Keeping the lines of communication open will go a long way in that healing process, especially if your partner is the patient type who will give you both the space you need — AND push you from time to time. You’re definitely not alone in this one. It happens to so many of us, unfortunately.

      • julie knispel says:

        oh for sure. i’m back in therapy and i know that’s going to help. and W/we talk all the time, and my Domme is aware of what i have going on going into the relationship/exchange. W/we work through things a lot, but i also have rough bouts of Bad Syndrome and it takes a bit more fighting to keep on the level. and i’m lucky that Goddess is just like how you describe…understanding and patient, but also willing to give me a push when i need it.

        this was a super article, and i’m so glad you wrote it <3

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