Thoughts on D/s…or Maybe Protocol?
Yesterday I wrote a new post, but pulled it back at the last minute. It was about whether D/s within BDSM was for me and how it annoyed me that people just assumed that almost everyone who knows you’re into BDSM assumes that you are. However after this very enlightening conversation, I took a step back and changed my stance a little – for the sake of clarity, here’s the original post:
BDSM is made up of many aspects, the three most general being B/D (bondage and discipline), S/M (sadism and masochism) and D/s (Dominance and submission). It seems widely accepted that of course, you don’t need to be into all three of these aspects, you may even only be into one, or only certain things within one group. There’s a lot of submissives who aren’t into pain and Dominants who aren’t huge on sadism. However it seems that if someone is into the S/M and B/D aspects, but not the D/s, quite a few look down on it, some even refuse to believe that someone isn’t into it.
The reason I bring this up is because of certain conclusions I’ve drawn about my own interests, or at least where they lay at this moment in time. I’m just not that into Dominance and submission. Sure I like my partner to take the lead and when they let me know what they want it’s great – but I don’t want to feel controlled. Really, I just don’t. Perhaps the word here is that I like to be guided rather than ordered. That’s not to say I don’t want to put effort in, quite the opposite – I’d want to know what it was my partner wanted so I could get to it right away and with gusto. And at the same time the idea of exploring things I’m a little nervous about with a loving and supportive partner is downright hot…but does that really equal submission? Is letting someone take the lead really the same as ceding over power? Perhaps I’m being pernickety, but it doesn’t feel the same. It doesn’t feel as though in that setting any power has been taken away from me, nor my ability to provide equal input in that setting. Maybe it’s the idea of protocols that puts me off rather than the D/s in general? I’m not sure, they can overlap quite a bit, but I’m not entirely sure that it’s just that.
After seeing so many people insist that everyone must be into D/s at least a bit, I tried pretty hard to convince myself that yes, I must be too. But I just wasn’t – I didn’t get excited by the prospect of feeling powerless, quite the opposite, I love to feel powerful. But that doesn’t make me Dominant either – I crave power over my own life and its course but I have no such desire for that kind of control over anyone else’s. For example, if my partner was constantly asking for my leave to do something or constantly wanting me to make decisions for them I’d quickly get irritated and start wishing that they’d just make their own damn mind up. Why can’t it be that? Why can’t two people strive for equal power within a relationship? Why does there always have to be imbalance? Yes, I agree that perfect balance is pretty much unachievable – but that doesn’t make we couldn’t strive for it.
I’ve heard submissives talk about their dream of completely submitting to their Dom, and I can only wish they one day achieve that goal. But is it strange that when I imagine myself, my absolute best self, I’m completely independent – always loving of friends and family, extremely so – but not at all dependant on them? And to want to be with someone similar? Or does that make me cold? When I’ve told people of this in the past they seem to think it would mean that I couldn’t really love someone because I didn’t exactly ‘need’ them to function – but how can that be true? My world won’t collapse if one of my friends decides to one day leave my life forever, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t miss them incredibly.
This wouldn’t be such an issue if people weren’t constantly trying to hoist a submissive or Dominant label on people in BDSM relationships – not everyone does, but there’s a huge number that believe that you must be one, or if you’re a switch, one during a particular scene. But why? I don’t see why sadism/masochism or bondage/masochism necessarily entails dominance or submission. I don’t understand why people purely into sensation play can sometimes be looked down on either – it’s just one way for people to express their kink. It doesn’t mean there can’t be an emotional aspect to their relationship – that’d be like saying vanilla couples don’t have an emotional aspect to their relationships either. In a community that strives for acceptable of all, this seems to be a prejudice which crops up fairly often – even outside the usual ‘twue way’ fanatacists. Again, it’s not everyone, but it’s a surprisingly high number of people – not people who necessarily say outright that it’s not BDSM without D/s, but those annoying people who insist that you just have to lean one way or the other.
But I’m sick of trying to convince myself that I am into D/s. The idea of being dominated doesn’t make me feel safe, excited or wanted – it makes me feel frightened, resentful and uncomfortable. Great if it works for others, but it’s just not for me.
P.S. I’d love some feedback on this – there are many types of D/s relationships and I’m having trouble with distinguishing if it’s the D/s itself or the idea of protocol that troubles me. Any thoughts or personal views on the subject?
However after the aforementioned conversation, I changed my mind a little. Rather than it being the D/s aspect, which I don’t mind to some extent (although I’ll never like extreme D/s to the point of an M/s relationship) it’s more the idea of protocol that I’m not fond on. I like to go with the flow, I don’t want to have to wait for permission to do something, add ‘Sir’ to the end of every sentence of follow a bunch of other little rules – apart from just being a total turn-off to me, I’d be too busy on focusing on following the rules to be able to properly relax and enjoy myself. Kneeling at your feet sometimes? That I don’t mind, but you want me to be down on my knees and staring at the floor everytime you walk in the room? Not gonna happen. Besides, it detracts from the variety; it constrains things within the parameters of the rules. I don’t like being told what to do, I like to offer my services – as one helpful person in the discussion said – I like to feel useful, not used.
I feel I’ve made a big step here to figuring out where my place is in it all, feeling very optimistic today.
Also thank you to be very helpful people who replied in the FetLife discussion 🙂
I also want to say that although I have met a lot of people who don’t accept a relationship involving BDSM without D/s, I may have just been unlucky to find so many and it may not be the case that such a large majority of people within BDSM are really against the idea. It’s certainly not everyone! (Hopefully I have just been unlucky, I don’t like to think that within such a community that’s so accepting, there’s too many people like this).