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Does D/s Interfere With Communication?
I've seen this happen often enough to believe that it is, in fact, a real and present danger within every Dominant
My personal opinion is that it is most often the result of D/s gone awry. By that I mean that the dynamic where D/s interferes with open, honest communication is usually the result of one or a combination of several common misconceptions about submission. The first one is that submission means never disagreeing with the Dominant. The second is that submission means never giving voice to questions/concerns about the relationship. The third is that submission means that every issue within the relationship should be, in some way, infused with the Dominant
submissive dynamic. The source of these misconceptions can be with the Dominant, with the submissive, or originating from both. Before the problem can be resolved and a healthier communication established, one needs to understand and address the origin of the issues affecting communication.
It is my strongly held belief that obedient submission does not mean that the submissive has to agree with Dominant in every way. While obedience may be the act of doing what the Dominant wants regardless of agreement, it's important for the submissive to be able to give voice to those thoughts and feelings that aren't in agreement.
If the thoughts and feelings aren't given a voice they will, over time, result in resentment and frustration. Allowing for the submissive to express her concerns and points of disagreement does not negate the ultimate control of the Dominant nor should it be viewed as an act of disobedience.
A successful loving Dominant submissive (D/s) relationship must allow for the submissive to
have an equal voice for thoughts and feelings though the final say is very likely the Dominant's. An obedient submissive who stifles her thoughts and feelings, either because on her own volition or because it has been discouraged by the Dominant, will likely become resentful and resistant.
While D/s relationships may have an additional and very different dynamic from vanilla relationships, there are also commonalties. D/s relationships are not automatically immune from many of the same forces that affect vanilla relationships in a negative way. Intimate time together and outside stress can have a very profound and negative affect on any relationship, including D/s relationships.
Additionally there is, I believe, a special burden in a Dominant
submissive relationship and that is to ensure that the submissive never feels that the Dominant is taking for granted that her submission is automatic regardless.
Dominance is a privilege that carries with it a great degree of responsibility. This doesn't negate the responsibility of the submissive but the fact is that, in a power exchange relationship, the Dominant assumes the responsibility for meeting the needs of the submissive as well as his/her own. The submissive has every right to expect that the Dominant will devote time and attention to the relationship to ensure that the needs of both are being met.
There are very few submissives who thrive solely on serving the needs of the Dominant without attention to their own and without outward displays of appreciation. The existence of this type of selfless submission is mostly a fantasy invention of the online D/s world.
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Just as I believe the Dominant is right to assume the submissive will devote herself to his needs and the relationship, the submissive also has the right to expect the same from him. Though there may be inequity in control and power within the relationship, there must never be inequity in meeting the needs of both people.
I believe there has to be a place in every D/s relationship where the submissive can express feelings of dissatisfaction without the imposed, sometimes limiting, protocol of D/s that might otherwise be present in the couples' communication with each other.
Lastly, I think it's important to recognize that not every issue within the relationship is part of the D/s dynamic. Some things may have to be discussed outside of the context of D/s at least some of the time.
This is particularly important when there are problems that are having a negative affect on one or both people or on the relationship. I can think of lots of scenarios involving illness, unemployment, career decisions, issues involving children, the need to care for an elderly parent, major financial decisions and big changes to the structure of the relationship like the involvement of another person on an on-going basis etc. These are, for the most part, challenges that can face any long term relationship at one time or another.
The mistake I see being made most often is to assume that the power exchange dynamic that guides the relationship on a daily basis has to also apply to developing a framework for how to deal with these special situations. Once the framework has been agreed upon, then its execution can probably easily fit into the D/s dynamic but the development of the actual framework really should involve the equal participation and equal voice of both partners.
Some issues and their potential consequences are too large for one half to be anything but a fully active part of the decision making process. Submission does not mean that one abdicates one's responsibility to protect your own well-being. While it's wonderful to believe that the Dominant will make all decisions with the best interest of the couple in mind, the fact remains that they are, like us, human and not infallible.
Major life decisions that can have long term and profound implications may need to be removed from the D/s dynamic until the basic major decisions are mutually agreed upon. Too often I've seen heard the ravages of a submissive who gave up all rights to have a say in the couple's financial decisions without benefit of ensuring her own financial security in the event of the Dom's death or a dissolution of the relationship. That's just foolish but it happens and is, in my opinion, a result of D/s gone awry. That's just one example.
Just as often I've heard the real stories of women involved in monogamous relationships suddenly faced with the introduction of a
permanent sister sub without any discussion of or consideration for her feelings or how it will affect the relationship. The Dominant made the decision, period the end. We're not talking about the occasional involvement of another person - we're talking something on-going and time consuming. This has none of the consensuality we so strongly assert is a cornerstone of BDSM.
The power exchange dynamic of a D/s relationship may give the Dominant the privilege of making daily decisions for the couple and control over the submissive's day to day life but its parameters need not be boundless. It certainly need not assume the right to have unilateral control over huge, potentially life altering decisions that come up over time.
D/s can and often does encourage incredibly open and honest communication but, sadly, it often seems limited to the sexual wants and needs of the submissive rather than involving all aspects of the relationship. All too often the honest expression of the thoughts and feelings of the submissive that don't fall into the category of sexual desires are stifled either by the submissive or by the Dominant. There seems to be the misconception that to put voice to those is to challenge the control of the Dominant or question the obedience of the submissive. Whether it's because of a lack of confidence in one's Dominance or a poor understanding of submission, it represents a ticking time bomb that will one day explode causing perhaps irreparable damage to the relationship.
Dominance is not about selfishly taking from the submissive without nourishing her spirit and desire to submit by hearing her thoughts and feelings with respect and taking them into consideration. Similarly, submission is not blindly doing what you are told while stifling frustration, anger and resentment.
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