LovingBDSM

The Loving BDSM Podcast

Category: Relationships (page 1 of 5)

4 Things D/s Won’t Magically Fix In Your Relationship

Dominance and submission (D/s) can enhance your relationship, take your desire and confidence to new levels, help you grow as an individual and in your relationship, and do a lot of things short of shooting glitter out of your butt. Basically, for some of us, D/s is fucking amazing.

But it’s not superglue, y’all. It can’t magically fix everything.

While many of us (myself included) can’t imagine a life without D/s, many people see it as a cure-all for struggling relationships. If your relationship is in trouble because you’re constantly trying to figure out who’s in charge, D/s might fix that. But if your current relationship struggles for any of these other reasons, D/s won’t cure it. It might make the problem more obvious or worse.

Communication Issues

D/s only works when both partners are willing to communicate openly and clearly. This isn’t a skill that many people have, so it’s got to be learned. Yes, of course, you can learn to communicate better as you explore D/s. In fact, most of us do. You don’t have to be perfect at it, you only have to be willing to try.

But if one or both of you refuses to communicate and refuses to learn, D/s will only magnify that problem by a thousand. Refusing to communicate looks different in everyone. Some people withdraw. Others deflect and want to talk about anything else. Even worse, some people lie — from small white lies to big whoppers.

When communication is lacking, your D/s relationship can’t grow and thrive. In the end, you may lose trust, feel resentful, and the relationship may be worse than when you started. Before you start your D/s journey together, both sides need to understand how important communication is, even if you’re not great at it yet.

Trust Issues

There is nothing in BDSM, including D/s, that doesn’t require trust from both sides. You have to trust each other to do what you say you’ll do. Trust that you respect the others boundaries, and trust that you’ll speak up in good times and in bad. Just like communication, trust can definitely deepen and grow as you explore D/s. It’s a beautiful thing when you learn that you can rely on each other in new ways.

But if you don’t trust your partner to follow through, do what they say they will, keep up their end of the bargain, or not lie to you, D/s is like pouring gasoline on the situation. If your partner isn’t worthy of trust, you may never know if they’ll listen to your safe word, check in with you, or be there when you need them. Real people get really hurt in these moments — physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Trust is too important a piece of the D/s puzzle to not have. But you can’t wave a wand, confer on yourselves the title of Dom or sub, and think all trust issues have been fixed. If trust is lacking, you both need to be honest with yourselves and each other about how to overcome it.

Problems with Follow Through

Both Dominant and submissive have responsibilities in your D/s relationship. Even if you’re in a relationship where one person only does what the other person says and/or the micromanagement is high, it only works when both of you do your part. Not everyone is as reliable as we’d like them to be, even when we love them a lot.

If either of you (or both of you) have problems following through with promises made or responsibilities, D/s is going to be a greater challenge. It doesn’t matter which side of the slash you’re on. Can you overcome it and work through it? Can you learn to be better? Of course! But deciding that you each have new roles and entering D/s doesn’t immediately fix this problem.

Old habits die hard. If you’re the type who starts off enthusiastic and then gets bored or worried “it doesn’t really matter” (for any reason), this is going to bite you in the ass at some point. Your partner will be left disappointed because you didn’t do your part. They might wonder if you really want to be D/s at all. Now you’ve both got hurt feelings and mistrust to deal with.

Mental Health Issues

First, let me say that if you have mental illnesses of any kind – anxiety, depression, personality disorder, you name it – you can absolutely have a healthy D/s relationship. Speaking from personal experience, a solid D/s relationship may even help you (or be the reason you) work through your mental health issues. This happens in a variety of ways because it’s unique to everyone. For me, I wanted to get control of my anxiety and bipolar disorder so I could be a better submissive,  and I learned to talk about it so John Brownstone would know what was going on with me.

But D/s, on its own, can not cure depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue. It may help you feel more yourself. In some cases, it may help you clear your mind. But in some cases, if you’re not getting the medical care, support, or help you need, it might exacerbate things. Plenty of really wonderful submissives and Dominants struggle with mental illness.

Dominants and submissives put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and even the healthiest among us can feel guilty when we fall short of our own expectations. Keep the lines of communication open. Be willing to seek help where you can find it. Don’t think that you’re weak or believe you’re a bad Dom or sub because of your mental health issues. You’re not. You’re human and you deserve a happy, healthy D/s relationship too.

D/s is an amazing thing in a lot of relationships. We’ve heard from many couples who say it saved their marriage. Discovering my submissive self and being in a healthy relationship has done a lot for me, too. I’m more confident, know I’m loved, and understand my place in the world a little bit better.

But D/s isn’t magic, y’all. You can have any of the issues we named above and still have a healthy D/s relationship but, like anything else, it requires hard work and effort from both of you.

Guess what we’re talking about this week on the podcast! Episode 147 will be about using D/s to “fix” relationships — both the good and the bad. For those who love them, there will likely be plenty of rants from me. Can you think of other situations some people use D/s to “fix”? Share in the comments below or talk to us on Twitter!

 

6 Ways Submissives Can Support Their Dominants in Tough Situations

In the BDSM world, at least our corner of it, we spend a lot of time talking about what Dominants can and should do for their submissives. That makes sense. Many submissives have consensual rules, protocols, and/or tasks to follow so they know exactly what they need to do for their Dominant.

This isn’t that conversation.

This is what you can do for your Dominant when they’re low energy, going through something tough, or just not feeling quite themselves. The default for many of us (*raises hand*) is to panic, worry, and think the worst.

There are better and more practical ways to support your Dominant.

As always, your experiences will vary and some Dominants may or may not find these things helpful.

Acknowledge Their Struggle

Sometimes what we want most is to be seen, to know our partner recognizes that we’re in a bad place and not ourselves. “You seem down” or “Are you feeling okay?” can mean more than we realize sometimes. Try not to make assumptions about what’s wrong, and when in doubt, just ask.

I’ve heard plenty of “I’m fine” or “It’s nothing.” If my instinct is screaming at me that something isn’t right, I push back a little. Dominants tend to believe (falsely) that they have to be strong every moment of the day. What we need more than strength is honesty.

Ask What You Can Do

It’s easy to think we know exactly what our partner needs. Sometimes we do because this is an old problem rearing it’s ugly head. Ask how you can help. Maybe they know, maybe they don’t. But sometimes asking that question can open up the discussion. It also allows your Dominant space to be vulnerable.

“I don’t know” isn’t an answer I want from John Brownstone, but it’s also one that allows me to offer solutions if he’s willing to hear them. Sometimes that little bit of back and forth works as a brainstorming session and we come up with an idea together.

Try Not to Assume the Worst

I’ve found myself (too recently) imagining that the problem is me, that he doesn’t want to be my Dominant anymore, and that somehow I’ve wrecked things. It’s all crap of course, but that doesn’t keep my anxious brain from spinning out of control. Sometimes our Dominants aren’t ready to talk. Maybe they don’t even know what’s bothering them or why they’re stressed. A lot of the times, they know exactly what’s wrong but don’t think talking will help.

Until and unless your Dominant tells you that you’re the problem, try not to go down this path. You aren’t an effective helper when you do, and you create extra friction and worry for almost no reason. As long as your D/s relationship is mostly good, solid, and healthy, it’s not all your fault — even if your relationship is what they don’t want to talk about.

Respect Their Boundaries

Maybe it’s because I’m a babygirl or maybe it’s because I have the fixer personality (I want to fix every problem), but I tend to trample on John Brownstone’s boundaries when I’m worried about him. No, this isn’t okay. Yes, I need to do better. But I do it because I’m worried about him and need reassurance.

When he says he’s not ready to talk through a problem or that he doesn’t really want to think about it, I have to respect that. This is a moment to be patient, give your partner some time, and calm down. Pushing and pushing because you “need to know” or you’re sure you know what the problem is only makes things worse. Ask me how I know.

Know Some Problems are Unsolvable

I want every stress, problem, or worry to have a fix. But that just doesn’t happen. Sometimes it’s their health — mental or physical. Other times it’s money, work, bills, kids, or something else. I believe that talking about problems can help (just ask my therapist). But not everyone does, and not everyone wants to talk when you’re ready to listen.

So yes, sometimes your Dominant has to go through something tough. They have to be stressed, sick, hurt, or unhappy. And you have to let them work through it in their own time and their own way. That this is difficult has less to do with you being a submissive and more to do with caring about your Dom. But sometimes all you can do is be there as a comforting presence, let them know you care about them, and wait.

Do What You’re Supposed To Do

This one is completely situational, but in my experience, it helps both you and your Dominant. Do your tasks. Follow your rules. Keep things going as much as you can. If the situation is too chaotic or your entire relationship has been overtaken by whatever is going on, this might not be possible. But when your Dom is the one out of commission, and you’re still mostly normal, be the submissive they depend on. As much as you can be.

It’s easy to think that your Dom doesn’t care because they’re not checking in or they’re not acknowledging what you’re doing. But sometimes seeing you go about your submissive life reminds them of what life can be like. They may be in a dark place where they think nothing matters and the D/s isn’t important to anyone. And there you are, following your tasks, keeping your protocols, and being your best submissive self.

It won’t always be the right solution, but even if it doesn’t solve everything (and sometimes nothing will), it might help you feel better, too.

From experience I know that every situation will need different solutions — from me and from John Brownstone. But the majority of these options don’t fail, and they tend to keep the lines of communication open. The hardest lesson to learn here is patience because sometimes the only thing that helps is time.

How have you supported your Dominant through tough times in the past? Share in the comments below or talk to us on Twitter!

Why We Say Caregiver/little Instead of DD/lg

To be clear, John Brownstone and I consider ourselves “DD/lg” or Daddy Dom/little girl…although to be really clear, it’s actually DD/bg or Daddy Dom/babygirl. So most people would probably understand if we used DD/lg to talk about the softer, gentler side of D/s.

And we have used that term and we probably will in the future. But we prefer to say — and are moving towards always saying Caregiver/little. What does it mean and why would we say something that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue? We’ve got our reasons.

More Inclusive

The first and, to us, most obvious reason is that Caregiver/little is more inclusive. Instead of using one term that points to a specific gender binary or assumes a heterosexual pairing, we’re staying as neutral as possible. Call yourself Daddy, Mommy, or something else? Are you little boy or baby boi? It all has a place in Caregiver/little.

One label to fit them all…

A Clearer Definition

A lot of people balk at the idea of being a Daddy or Mommy as a specific type of Dominant. There are a lot of reasons for that, but much of it has to do with understanding what it all means. When the vast majority of us hear those titles, we think about parenting. But “caregiver” is much more neutral. If you’ve been a caregiver to an aging parent, a sick spouse, or a child, you know that the definition is in the name — you provide care. Daddies, Mommies, and other Doms who fall into this category provide care, too. It’s just a different kind.

Get Past the Squick

We’ve gotten dozens of emails and messages from kinksters who have said some variation of the following:

“I thought DD/lg meant you had to identify with a specific age or pretend to be a kid or was just kind of gross. But your style of DD/lg makes sense to me, and I think I might be a Daddy/Mommy/little, etc.”

The alternative is:

“I always hated the term Daddy/Mommy so I didn’t think we would try it, even though I kind of like elements of it. But it’s not what I thought it was, so maybe I’m ready to learn more.”

This is a moment where labels hurt more than they help. We all have ideas of what something means based on stereotypes, erotica, porn, and just bad information. When you already have a definition of “Daddy” or “little girl” in your head and it involves kids, it’s going to squick you out. Using the term Caregiver/little tends to get people to ask, “What does that mean?” instead of assuming they know and getting grossed out.

Lessen the Assumption About Age Play

Okay, so first things first…age play can be a part of a Caregiver/little dynamic. Some littles identify closely with an age, and part of their dynamic is for the Dominant to assume a parental-like role for this legal, consenting adult who portrays the characteristics of a younger age. Diapers, pacifiers, sippy cups, coloring books, and a lot more may or may not be involved. Yes, this is totally a thing.

However, that’s not true for all Caregiver/little dynamics, and it’s not true all the time even for the kinksters who enjoy it. Because people have such a strong association with the words “Mommy” and “Daddy” and children, kinksters sometimes jump to the conclusion that age play is inherently involved. Speaking as one Caregiver/little dynamic in the world — no, it’s not. We don’t engage in age play because it’s not our thing, and we’re definitely still a Daddy Dom and babygirl combo.

We’re not the creators of “Caregiver/little” — as always, we heard it somewhere and liked it. That means we also don’t own the definition. As always, whether you say DD/lg or Caregiver/little, it’s whatever you make of it in your own power exchange. In episode 142, we’ll discuss the dynamic in greater detail.

Got opinions on Caregiver/little vs. DD/lg or any other name? Share in the comments below or talk to us on Twitter!

On Being a 24/7 Submissive with a Polyamorous Dominant

I almost called John Brownstone a “poly Dom” but that sounded like a mathematical term, and I don’t do numbers. We’ve mentioned briefly (in past episodes) that we have the capacity to be poly, and we’re both open to it. While it doesn’t involve romantic love or sexual connections, we are polyamorous. Although not in the complete way we’d like to be, I think.

He has other submissive/bottom partners while I don’t have any other partners at all. Not because I don’t want them or because I’m not interested. It’s complicated and has to do, in part, with my trust issues and anxiety.

A lot of people say they can’t “share” or couldn’t be in a poly or open relationship because of insecurities and jealousy. And that is true for a lot of people. For a long time, I felt the same way.

But here’s what it’s like being his 24/7 submissive, his wife, the love of his life, but not the only person he Doms/tops.

How Our Poly Life Began

The idea of polyamory is still a relatively new concept to me. I’d never heard of it when I discovered my kink side, and even when I first learned the term, I resisted the idea. “I don’t share” is something I still say, but that’s not exactly true. Now it’s a joke.

If polyamory is new for you, I’ll give a quick and imperfect definition. Being poly is loving/caring for more than one person and having more than one relationship at a time. It’s not code for cheating, and it only works when all parties consent.

What being poly looks like for one relationship will be different from another. Just like the BDSM life, y’all. Communication and consent make it work, and we get to build what works best for us.

We didn’t discuss polyamory much, if ever, until after we moved in together in 2014. We had a kind of open relationship around that time because he had moments with people who aren’t me. (That’s a story for him to tell, but we never defined it as polyamory.)

The moment polyamory as an option became real for me is when we had our first threesome. It was also the first time I felt compersion (feeling love/positive feelings for the love/positive feelings of my partner). I watched John Brownstone kiss another woman and my heart swelled two sizes (a bit like the Grinch, actually).

In a perfect world, you begin with rules and boundaries. We fell into this mad, passionate thing over a weekend. And very quickly I learned what didn’t work for me.

They took a shower together and had some private time. I had a moment where I felt left out, but I hated it more that I didn’t know the shower was going to happen. I didn’t care what they did in there, but that feeling of surprise hit a nerve I didn’t expect. So, we came up with rules.

My Rules for This Poly Life

Maybe “rules” isn’t the right word. It seems a bit harsh and dictatorial. I have boundaries and things I need to receive in order to feel comfortable. As long as these things hold true, I’m okay with whoever he partners with.

No surprises. I’m an anxious person and hate surprises. If he’s talking to someone new, I want to know. I also want to get a sense of who this person is. I don’t need all their details, but I don’t want a new partnership sprung on me either.

Give me details about the relationship. Is it sexual, platonic, a power exchange only, romantic? So far it’s mostly been as a top/Dom to other women. But he’s explored other avenues — some with the idea that they might like both of us.

No one else calls you Daddy. I understand the urge, because (to me) he’s the epitome of a Daddy Dom. But they have to find another term. That title is mine. Sometimes he’s “Sir” and he also has another name that (clearly) means Daddy, but it’s different. I helped pick it out, actually.

They have to know I exist. Nothing about John Brownstone makes me think he wouldn’t tell someone about me. The way we live our life online, you can’t possibly know him and not know I exist. But having a 24/7 submissive who he’s married to needs to be in the discussion early on.

Do I need to meet them, talk to them, “decide” if they’re okay for him? Nope. He’s a grown man and can decide for himself.

I do ask probing questions about them. I want to know about their actions, how consistent they are, do they say things that aren’t true? Why? Because I have an intuition about people, and as a service submissive, I see my role as an advisory one. I will give him my opinion based on what I know and believe. He’s the Dom and The Decider™ so the decision is still his, but I get to say my peace.

What About Jealousy?

Someone recently asked how I can be part of this and “let” him have these other relationships. Aren’t I worried he’ll find someone better or leave me?

The truth is by letting him out of the house or talk to strangers on the internet that could happen. I don’t control him or his feelings. If someone came along and he thought he loved them more than me, well, that would be devastating. Knowing us the way I do, I know it’s highly unlikely, but nothing’s impossible.

If I hadn’t had that moment of compersion, I probably would have been resistant to the poly life. But realizing that I love when someone loves him or when he’s attracted to someone else opened my eyes. I was so happy for him, and I desperately wanted him to have those moments again.

I also recognize that I can’t fulfill all of his needs, just like he can’t fulfill all of mine. We’re compatible on a lot of levels, and we make each other very happy. But there are things we want and need that the other can’t always provide.

What makes it work and keeps me very comfortable with this poly life all boils down to a few things:

  • Our constant open communication. I’m never afraid to tell him what I think or express my feelings. I might find it difficult, but I’m not fearful.
  • My complete and total trust in him. He worked damn hard to earn it, and I have no doubt in him, his word, or his feelings about me.
  • He respects my “rules” and boundaries, seeking to keep me comfortable.
  • His willingness to help me work through feelings of insecurity and envy if they hit (thankfully that’s been very rare)
  • I love seeing him happy .
  • I love knowing that he’s getting needs fulfilled that I can’t do for him.
  • It’s important to him so it’s important to me.

Feeling Neglected

I think the real fear I could have and other submissives might understand is feeling neglected. Are my submissive needs not being met because he’s too busy with other people?

This is something we dealt with early on. He was still learning to juggle multiple connections, and he made small mistakes. Nothing that breaks a relationship and anything that can happen to a busy Dominant. The key was, as always, communication.

“I feel neglected.”

“I’m your submissive, too.”

Okay, maybe I got a bit snarky. I was adjusting, too. But when I pointed out that I’d been left waiting a few too many times, he fixed it. That also helped me feel more comfortable with the arrangement. I was still his top priority, and as the 24/7 submissive, wife, lover, partner, it’s what I needed.

And yes, I’ve waited while he consoled a partner, helped them worked through tough times, and even dished out a bit of discipline and stern words. I give him the space he needs to navigate his relationships. It’s only if I perceive a pattern or something very important gets forgotten or ignored that I would speak up.

Since that first time, though, it’s never been an issue.

So yeah, I’m a 24/7 submissive to my darling Daddy Dom, and he’s got other partners. We’re both open to the idea of me having other partners but the stars would have to align in a way not found in nature for that to happen, I think. And if I do meet that person, we’ll create new rules and boundaries and adjust again.

In episode 139, John Brownstone will discuss what it’s like to be a 24/7 Dominant and polyamorous. I promise to try and let him do most of the talking.

Got thoughts about this post? Comment below or talk to us on Twitter!

6 Things That Still Happen in Solid D/s Relationships

Show of hands — who’s looked at a D/s relationship (or any other flavor of relationship) and thought, “Hashtag relationship goals!” I know I have.

It’s easy to imagine what life will be like once we find the “perfect” Dominant or submissive partner or when we fully transition from vanilla to kink. But reality has a way of catching up with that image we build in our mind.

We’ve talked about disagreements and arguments in the past, and they happen in every relationship. But there are other small things that happen. They don’t mean your relationship is failing, only that there’s no such thing as perfect.

Here are six things that happen even in the most solid and seemingly “perfect” D/s relationships.

You Forget to Communicate

It doesn’t matter how much you remind yourself that you need to communicate, it’s easy to fall back on old habits. John Brownstone and I both find ourselves not saying what’s on our mind when we should. Thankfully when it happens, we speak up as soon as we realize what’s going on. Or we “force” the other to talk. Sometimes apologies have to be made, and sometimes we need to reconnect.

You Hate Something About Them

I hate the sound of John Brownstone’s chewing if I’m not also eating. Yes, that’s really specific and no, I don’t know why either. He hates that I keep lights on in every room. Sometimes we laugh about them, and sometimes we don’t. Yes, we’ve gotten into arguments over a stupid little thing that doesn’t actually matter much. As long as these things are small and don’t send you into constant rages,  it’s probably fine.

One Of You Doesn’t Admit the Truth

I don’t like to call this a “lie” in the hurting, manipulative sense. These are usually lies of omission. You think you’re doing the right thing and not telling your partner something hurtful. Maybe you think it’s unimportant. You know you’ve done wrong when the truth comes out, and your Dom or sub isn’t happy with you. As long as it’s not a habit, not manipulative, and not harmful, you’re probably okay. As with all things, how you handle it and what you do after matters most.

You’ll Take Each Other For Granted

We don’t want to think it’ll happen, but eventually, you’ll probably take your partner for granted. They always do a thing for you, or they’re always there. Yes you love them and appreciate what they do, but you’ll forget for a moment. Maybe you don’t say “thank you” enough or you begin to make assumptions. Like communication, this is completely fixable once you realize what’s happening. Apologize, show gratitude, and ask what your partner needs from you.

You’ll Forget Something Important

If I didn’t repeat John Brownstone’s birthday to myself over and over again, I wouldn’t remember it. Saving it in my phone and adding a calendar reminder helps, too. Forgetting something once happens to all of us — an important appointment, an anniversary, whatever. It’s what you do later that matters most. Neither of you are the worst people in the world when you forget — you’re simply human. Take steps to remember next time, and you’ll likely be just fine.

Your Kinks Won’t Always Align

Will you be okay if you have zero kinks in common? Probably not. But do they have to match perfectly? Not at all. Compatibility matters but you don’t have to be an exact match in order to have a successful D/s relationship. You only need enough common interests to be satisfied in your relationship. While some people may decide to open their relationship to exploration with other partners, it’s not a requirement. There’s plenty to discover in even a single, shared kink.

If everything is awful all the time, and you never communicate or tell the truth, yes, there’s a serious problem in your D/s relationship. But if things are mostly good, and these are occasional blips, your relationship is likely solid. If you’re still worried, look at the patterns of your relationship — communication, trust, and happiness. That will tell you more than the occasional argument or lack of communication.

This week, in episode 135, we’re talking about how no relationship is perfect, even when two people are “perfect” for each other.

Now it’s your turn. What other normal things happen in any solid, healthy relationship? Talk to us in the comments below or on Twitter!

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