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5 Signs of Unhealthy Insecurities in Your D/s Relationship

Content warning: mentions of abuse, primarily emotional abuse. We don’t go into details, but take care of yourself. If today isn’t the day for you to think about bad relationships and insecure partners, come back another time.

I’ve just finished reading a few articles on unhealthy jealousy in relationships, and I noticed something strange. Some of the legitimate signs of something wrong in a relationship can also be applied to healthy D/s power exchange relationships. Taking control of the other person, telling them where to go, deciding what you’ll do together…sound familiar?

As with everything, it’s about consent. One person’s controlling jealous asshole is someone else’s great Dominant. Weird, right?

How something makes you feel and what the intentions are matter most. Jealousy is insecurity by another name (shout-out to Professor Sex for teaching me that one). So when someone in a D/s relationship is jealous, they’re really just insecure.

It’s not your job to correct those insecurities. If you’re doing everything you’ve agreed to do, being honest, respecting boundaries and limits, and following the “rules” of your relationship, the insecurity is their problem. But it impacts you and your relationship, so it becomes your problem, too. What, if anything, you do about it depends a lot on your partner.

Low-level insecurity improves with communication, time, and trust. But massive insecurity that impacts the relationship might not be something you can (or should) try to repair. That’s a decision only you can make.

Just because something sounds like a sexy D/s thing doesn’t mean it’s healthy or okay. And some things that we call insecurity or jealousy can be just as harmful and damaging as other more “obvious” forms of abuse.

Wanting to Know Everything, All the Time

In many D/s relationships, it’s typical for one partner to let the other partner know where you’re going, who you’re going to be with it, and what’s happening. I don’t leave the house without John Brownstone knowing about it, and when he goes out, I want to know what he’s done. (I’m nosy like that.)

But there’s a line between curiosity, concern, and your power dynamic and a freak-out over where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing. Agreeing to tell your partner where you go and what you do is one thing — that’s consensual. Having the information demanded of you “because they’re the Dom” or with guilt, tears, and a worried overreaction — that’s insecurity.

If the information isn’t freely given, it’s coerced. When you’re made to feel bad because “they didn’t know” or “you didn’t say anything” — and it’s not part of your power exchange — it’s a quick trip to their insecurity and feeling like you can’t be your own person. Submissive or Dominant, we’re always our own people.

The only information a partner gets to have is the information we consent to give them. Yes, open communication is best, but being bullied, guilt-tripped, or coerced into sharing details is unhealthy.

 

Taking Control Beyond Consented Limits

You’ve talked through your power exchange, agreed to how D/s will work for you, and are trying to navigate it. Next thing you know, your Dom is demanding more power, more control, more everything. You’re not comfortable, and when you ask why, you get answers that don’t fit or seem worrisome.

  • I worry about you.
  • Because I can help you.
  • It’s my right. (There is no “right” to D/s, only what you consent to offer freely.)

What is it that they really want? Are they trying to micromanage you? Do they think you’re going to run off with the next Dom that falls in front of you? Even if their intentions are good, it’s a huge red flag and speaks of definite insecurities.

Some people, when they’re massively insecure, feel like the only way to keep their partner is to hold on tighter. This is problematic in any relationship, but when a Dom does it, it slips into abusive territory very quickly. Hopefully when called on it, your partner will realize what they’re trying to do and stop. It doesn’t mean you should stay in the relationship with them, but it’s easier to deal with than the controlling asshole who doesn’t care that they’ve crossed a line.

Giving Zero Space

This one is touchy because every person needs their own unique amount of space in a relationship. But there’s a line between OMG-this-feels-good and OMG-I’m-suffocating.

To the kinkster who’s now imagining their last string of back-to-back messages, you’re not automatically suffocating your partner because you want to talk to them all the time. If they’re cool with it, then keep doing it. As long as it works for both of you, it’s fine.

But if you realize that you’re sending excessive messages or trying to get your partner’s attention all the time, ask yourself why. Is it because they almost never talk to you until you nag them? That’s a different problem.

Is it because you’re terrified that if you go even an hour without hearing from there, they’ll leave you? That screams insecurity.

Maybe they’ve given you a reason to feel insecure and maybe they haven’t. That’s a separate conversation. But if you’re not certain of their affection, attention, or time, think about why that might be. Is it because of their actions or because of something going on with you?

Making You Feel Guilty

Guilt is not all bad. It’s useful for realizing when we’ve fucked up and should apologize or correct the situation. Being made to feel bad all the time — for living our lives, having friends, or not living up to some standard is borderline emotional abuse. (Maybe it’s fully emotional abuse — I’ll let experts tell us.)

D/s relationships won’t be perfect. Sometimes you’ll be sad, angry, or feel guilty. You will, at some point, argue with each other. But if you feel bad all the time, and your partner is the reason for it, that’s a definite problem.

  • Are they upset when you leave them alone?
  • Do they think they should get all your attention?
  • Do they act like you’re responsible for their bad mood?

Those kinds of things are very short trips into really dangerous and abusive situations. But even in a less scary situation, this is (at least partly) due to massive insecurities on their part.

Operating Under Double Standards

A huge red flag that we caution new submissives against is when a “dom” says something like, “I can have open relationships and as many partners as I want. But you’re mine, and you can’t. I own you.”

Ugh, I feel the need to take a shower after that. It’s not sexy (when presented like that). It’s gross and creepy.

When we see it in the early stages of a D/s relationship, we know it for the red flag that it is. But what happens once the relationship is established, you’ve figured out your power dynamic, and you’re trying to make it work? It can be subtle and insidious at first.

Yes, a Dom gets to make decisions, and a submissive doesn’t. That’s the power exchange. But a submissive has to consent to it, too. Nothing is “Because I said so” until a sub decides they’re okay with it.

What does this look like in action?

  • I can go out with friends, but you have to stay home.
  • I can have multiple partners, but you can’t — even if you want to.
  • No one is allowed to talk to you except for me. (Scary, right?)
  • Don’t look at, flirt with, or engage with other people, but I can.

Some of these things might even start out kind of sexy, like you’re finally “owned” the way you’ve always wanted to be. But eventually, it may begin to chafe. And have you actually consented to it, or did you go along because for a few minutes it was kind of hot?

If there was no discussion about it, now is the time to get it out in the open and deal with it. If you consent to it, have fun with it! But if you don’t, you don’t have to accept it as a D/s thing, because it’s not.

Bottomline…

All of these things exist on a spectrum from a little to a lot. It may be some underlying insecurities that have to do with bad tapes — which you may be able to work through together. This might also be the result of some dangerous, controlling, red flag, abusive behavior. Sure, your partner is “insecure” at some level, but you don’t feel safe. Working on their insecurities isn’t a priority — but feeling safe should be.

Only you know where you lie on the spectrum — whether you’re the one dealing with your partner’s insecurity or you’re the insecure partner. In safe situations, communication and being honest about your feelings is a good first step. Talking to a professional may be a good idea, too. But when insecurities move beyond a fixable thing, what’s most important is that you take care of yourself.

This week in episode 148 we’re talking about jealousy and insecurities in D/s. Hopefully the podcast episode will be a little lighter than this, but these are real concerns that kinksters deal with all the time. The line between an annoying insecurity and a scary one isn’t always clear. 

Got thoughts about insecurities? Ever been the insecure one and had to pull yourself out of it? Was your partner able to help or did it hurt the relationship? Have you been on bad end of your partner’s insecurities. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below or talk to us on Twitter!

D/s Can’t Fix a Broken Relationship LB147

Fair warning…this week’s topic brings out all of the ranting. Can D/s be an amazing thing in an imperfect relationship where both people want to and can make it work? Absolutely! Will D/s be the magic potion that fixes everything that’s wrong? Nope. Let’s talk about it.

In this episode:

  • D/s can enhance a relationship. It can even make it stronger and more resilient.
  • But D/s cannot fix a relationship already beyond repair.
  • We don’t always see how bad things are at first until we get very honest with ourselves.
  • It’s normal to want to fix the relationship and make it last.
  • But if both sides won’t put in the work required and aren’t willing to get real with themselves about their own shortcomings, D/s can’t fix it.
  • D/s might be perfect for your relationship but make sure it’s the right kind of dynamic and power exchange that fits you both. If you’re trying to fulfill a stereotype of what you think D/s is, you’re setting yourself up for difficult challenges.

Links from the show:

4 Things D/s Won’t Magically Fix in Your Relationship (blog post)

Kink-Friendly Professionals

Professor Sex

Loving BDSM Resource Page

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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!

 

On Being Kinky and Asexual

Please help us welcome Sarah Heart aka ChinaDoll320 as our guest contributor this month! She’s discussing her experience with asexuality and kink in her own D/s relationship. If you’re new to the concept of asexuality, click on the links located throughout the post as they lead to different resources. If you’re on the LGBTQUIA+ spectrum and would like to share your experiences as a guest writer, we’re definitely interested!

College is a time of exploration. And while many people use their newfound freedom away from their parents to experiment, explore, and in some cases, merely express their sexuality, I’ve known mine from an early age. I just didn’t know what it was called until this year.

I’m demisexual. To those who have never heard of the term, or have, but don’t know what it means here’s the simplest explanation: I’m not attracted to people I don’t have a pre-existing emotional bond with. It’s almost a given in every romance story, so I grew up knowing that was me, but I didn’t know until middle school when people started hooking up with each other (yes, I think that’s young, too), that it wasn’t like that for everyone. You may notice, that the title of this blog post discusses asexuality not “demisexual.” And here it gets a little murky.

What is LGBTQIA+

Please forgive this short upcoming lecture:

LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual. Now, I’m not going to say I’m an expert on any of these terms. I’ve heard lesbians label themselves as “gay” and both gays and lesbians call themselves “queer” in an attempt to reclaim the word. But as much as LGBT should stand for acceptance for all, there have always been issues of erasure.

The B and T are in the common acronym used, but straights, gays, and lesbians often treat Bi’s as not enough of anything. They don’t fit into any category neatly (at least in some people’s minds). In the conversation of sexes (even before gender became such a hot topic in recent years), almost everyone I’ve ever met only talked about two: male and female, despite intersex definitely existing.

And that leads me to Asexual (Ace) (<=== click that link as it will give you a good primer on asexuality if you’re not sure what it is). When I was in high school, I was wrongly told it stood for “Ally.” 

We’re Asexual and Kinky

My Dom is both asexual and aromantic. But asexuality is on a spectrum, so he’s not sex-repulsed, which is an assumption even I had about the asexual community. And when I told him that demisexual falls under the Ace flag, he didn’t think that was correct. I don’t blame him. It’s not a common term because it’s barely talked about, if at all. It’s even more obscure than Ace, which is already facing erasure from the main sexuality conversation.

Now, here’s the real reason you’ve stuck with me for so long: you want to know how two asexual people can possibly in a sexual kinky relationship (because we all know there are non-sexual kinky relationships, too). The answer? Quite easily. To an extent, due to other personal reasons that have nothing to do with our sexual identities.

But if I’m not feeling up for sex for whatever reason, I don’t have to worry about not pleasing him. He’d just as much rather cuddle or do something else. That doesn’t mean I don’t still worry about it .(I have anxiety and grew up in a heteronormative, patriarchal society that subliminally and often overtly tells girls and women they have to make the men in their lives happy—don’t get me started on that).

On the flip side, when I am feeling up for it, sometimes he tells me to slow down or “not right now” because he gets “sexed-out” as we like to say. And it can change for either of us quickly from one moment to another. So, safewords are pretty important to us.

So, how do we do it?

Communication. We’re both Ace, but different types. And we kind of fluctuate rather than being one-dimensional no-sex-at-all people one might imagine. On the contrary. But like in any kinky relationship, we need to check in with each other about what we’re up for individually and together. By kinky and BDSM standards, it sounds quite normal in those terms. And I hope my experience has been helpful in either teaching you something new, or letting you understand a little more about being Ace, in general.

About Sarah Helena Heart

Sarah Helena Heart aka ChinaDoll320 is  just a college girl exploring her submissive side with her Daddy while blogging about it and writing fun erotica stories, too. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter!

Review: The BDSM Pillory Set by Lodbrock

We love the company and the Pillory Set so much that we joined as an affiliate. If you make a purchase, we make a small commission and you help support our work and maintain our coffee addiction.

When we were asked to review the BDSM Pillory Set by Lodbrock (received in exchange for an honest review), we weren’t quite sure what to expect. The pictures on the Lodbrock website are gorgeous, but were we the type of people who enjoy playing with a pillory set?

After a single afternoon of kinky fuckery, we had our answer…

Yes, we were definitely the type of people to play with one. And OMG, we loved everything about the experience.

For our full review — with thoughts and footage of the pillory set itself — watch our video review below or scroll down for a synopsis:

Lodbrock Pillory Set Review

  • In the video, we gave the price in Euros (because that’s what pulled up on our phone, lol), but in U.S. dollars, the cost is $599.00. This is an investment piece for kinksters who can afford to spend money on this kind of BDSM gear. Yes, we realize not everyone can.
  • The pillory set is a form of restraint aka bondage. There are multiple angles and ways to play with the pillory itself. We chose to play on the bed so that I had extra support for my body.
  • A beautiful paddle and flogger are included. The paddle created a deep thud, while the flogger (due to the stiffness of the leather) was a stinging pain. I preferred the paddle and was able to take more than I thought possible before the pain became too much.
  • The blindfold covered my eyes completely. I couldn’t “cheat” by looking down and seeing light or (worse) the floor. It blacked out everything which I loved. It’s also a very soft leather that’s comfortable against my skin.
  • My wrists are 7.5 inches around, and with the leather inlays in the “hole,” it was a perfect fit. We pinched my skin a few times trying to find the right angle — that’s how “perfect” it was. If your wrists are bigger, you’ll need to remove the leather inlays, but it will likely only give you a little more space.
  • My neck measures 15 inches around, and I had plenty of room. I never felt claustrophobic or like the pillory was choking me (something that triggers my anxiety and panic attacks).
  • You can mount it to your ceiling if you choose, but you don’t have to. If you decide to, the mounts and chains are included.

Below are pictures that we took, but the Lodbrock website does a much better job, so feel free to look there, too. View pillory set pictures on the website.

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Do we recommend the Lodbrock Pillory Set?

We’re already looking forward to the day when we have space to mount the pillory to the ceiling. In reality, we’d install the mounts, and store the pillory out of sight until we wanted to play. But until we can do that, using the bed works just fine, and playing with the blindfold, paddle, and flogger without the pillory is an option too.

We love this set. It’s clearly made with skill and expertise. The Lodbrock Pillory Set is a genuine work of art. If you’re investing in BDSM equipment for your own personal playroom or dungeon or you’re building out a BDSM club or dungeon in your community, we highly recommend it.

Interested? Check out the Pillory Set and more from Lodbrock.

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