Of course it’s rare than anyone ever finds the ‘ideal’ partner – after all, no-one is perfect. But that doesn’t mean we can’t think about the traits we do seek in a person and actively pursue someone with those traits, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever find someone who has all these traits but hopefully you’ll find someone who has a good few of them.
Some of the things listed here are needs, some are wants, some are perks – the icing on a cake. It’s not a list of what a partner ‘must’ be for me, but rather me thinking about what it is I really want or value in a partner – more self-reflection than anything else. (Also a partially stolen idea from little_n from FetLife :P)
What I Would Like In A Partner
Someone who likes cuddles.
Someone who won’t shout.
Someone who won’t try to scare me.
Someone who will help me with new things.
Someone who will reassure me when I’m nervous or not sure.
Someone who doesn’t want to inflict pain for the sake of it.
Someone who is an equal to me in all aspects of the relationship (equal does not mean ‘the same’).
Someone I can laugh with.
Someone who won’t try to humiliate me or make me feel small.
Someone who suggests, advises, tells me what they want, but doesn’t order.
Someone who doesn’t try to make me ‘prove’ myself.
Someone who shares interests with me.
Someone who is sexually compatible with me.
Someone with a warm smile.
Someone who realises that if my limits are to be pushed, the desire to push them must come from me.
Someone I can share new experiences with.
Someone who doesn’t try to mess with my head.
Someone who doesn’t launch big surprises on me.
Someone who makes me feel safe.
Someone who tells me what they want, what they need.
Someone I can have long, intelligent discussions with.
Someone I can just be around, without the constant need for talking or interaction, just enjoying each other’s presence and company.
Someone who will tell me if I’m overreacting or making a fool of myself.
Someone who’ll talk out problems with me and not go to bed angry.
Someone I can comfort when they’ve had a bad day.
Someone who isn’t afraid to tell me how they feel, or to let me help them if they need a little support and guidance.
Someone who won’t laugh or get annoyed because I sometimes find seemingly little or normal things scary or upsetting.
Someone I can look after and someone who can look after me, without becoming dependant on each other.
Someone who understands that sometimes I just need to be alone.
Someone who doesn’t mind if I want to have a scruffy and/or lazy day.
Someone I can do little things for, just to make their day easier.
Someone whose friends I can share, and I can share my friends with.
Someone who will be honest with me, even if it means I may get a little upset, and someone I can always be honest with.
Someone I can teach things and someone who can teach me things.
Someone who won’t try to control me.
Someone who isn’t afraid to be perfect in their imperfection.
Someone with their own goals and dreams in life.
I want someone who doesn’t want to change me.
I want someone who feels they can always be themselves around me.
I want someone who isn’t afraid to disagree with me.
I want someone who will fight their own corner when they need to.
Someone who I can give back just as much to when they give to me.
Someone who can make their own decisions, but isn’t afraid to take advice.
Someone who can put themselves first when they need to.
Someone who knows I will always be behind them.
I think most of these line up pretty well with my kinks and general wants in a relationship. Like I said no-one’s ever gonna be perfect, but if they were, they’d be like this (for me, anyway). And again it’s not me saying that even if someone has a quality the complete opposite of what I’d ‘ideally’ want, that I wouldn’t go out with them, in the end I think a lot of it goes down to chemistry – you make surprise yourself with who you fall for. Or the ‘perfect’ person might just not do anything for you if you happen to find them, that kind of stuff is just too near-impossible to predict.
(I’ve also just had a moment of realisation that any FetLife links that I’ve previously posted can ONLY be accessed if you have a FetLife profile, sorry, totally slipped my mind to mention that somewhere).
Now BDSM covers a lot of aspects, but in order to be considered BDSM it stands to reasons that one of three aspects has to be present – B/D (bondage and discipline), S/M (sadism and masochism) or D/s (Dominance and submission). Anything that doesn’t fall into these three categories is considered non-kinky or ‘vanilla.’ However are non-kinky and vanilla really synonymous? Vanilla is often categorised as ‘boring,’ conjuring images of heterosexual sex in the missionary position with the lights off – but if Vanilla is simply sex not covered by BDSM, is it not possible to be kinky in its own right? Therein lies ‘vanilla kink,’ (or perhaps French Vanilla if you prefer). (There is also the argument that vanilla sex doesn’t include kink at all, regardless of whether it lies within the boundaries of BDSM – but I don’t see why this should be the case, as vanilla is often used as a term for people not into BDSM itself).
For example, does doing a bit of dressing up in the bedroom count as BDSM? Not really, unless the roles involve a Dominant and submissive character. Does anal play count? Not really – even a lot of toys that can be introduced into the bedroom don’t necessarily come under BDSM; butt plugs, dildoes, vibrators, vibrating eggs, anal beads, etc. Or what about foot fetishes? Hot oil massages? Trying out different sex positions? Pretty much anything in the Karma Sutra? Although all these will probably seem pretty vanilla to someone into BDSM, to others they definitely come under the category of kink – ergo, Vanilla Kink.
This really makes the Them vs Us argument present on BOTH sides pretty pointless. There isn’t always a clear cut line, it’s a continuum and a person can fall anywhere on it. What is kinky to some is vanilla to others and vice versa. As well as this, the ‘vanilla is boring’ argument also loses its credibility – although there’s not as many options as within BDSM, there certainly is a lot of room for variety.
Aside from overcoming stereotypes, this offers a middle ground between totally vanilla and hardcore kink. This is especially useful for people who want to spice things up in the bedroom but aren’t ready to venture into the world of BDSM just yet, or as a stepping-stone to BDSM – especially when introducing it to a nervous spouse. Kink doesn’t always mean painful, embarrassing, or anything else for that matter! It’s whatever YOU want and YOU need it to be.
What we need people to realise is that something that works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. What may seem tame to one may be way too extreme for others – but within and outside of BDSM, there’s always room for experimentation and variety. So why the stereotypes? Vanilla isn’t always boring and BDSM isn’t always extreme (not to say it can’t be ;P) – it all depends on the person and what they want out of it.
The whole argument seems a bit silly really.
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).
I just read something that’s made me absolutely FURIOUS. Normally when this happens I try to explain myself that just because something happening to me would make me angry, it’s not necessarily the same for others, and so my anger’s unjustified. Well that doesn’t apply here; seriously it’s the pure stupidity of people! Basically the story involved tying someone up and throwing them into a pool – how absolutely moronic can you be? Yes, they only left her down there for 20 seconds before giving her air – but that 20 seconds is plenty time for her to panic, to possibly gulp in a lung-full of water (even a tiny bit which wouldn’t kill you can later lead to inspiration pneumonia – this can even happen whilst drinking water and accidently breathing a bit in. Normally avoiding by coughing up said water, but that’s obviously not gonna happen underwater) or even faint (if they panic). Yes both are unlikely, but the fact that they’re can happen AT ALL is enough. Even if they’d just given some warning that yes, she was going to be underwater would completely bypass these risks, but somehow felt ‘take a breath’ was sufficient. How can people be so idiotic? Quite frankly (even without the danger of fucking drowning) I would have broken every bone in the idiots body for trying that on me – although that’s a personal response, I’m sure anyone who took five minutes to know me would have to be beyond stupid to think that would be the sort of thing I’d want. But it’s just so, so stupid! And how could they safeword? It could be possible that these particular people don’t partake in safewords (or some sort of equivalent gesture), but again, at least in something as dangerous as this – not necessarily in all cases – that’s just so fucking brainless!
Okay rant over – and onto what I was actually going to write about before I read that ridiculous thing.
I finally decided that was curious enough about how pain would feel in a sexual setting that I’d give it a go. I tried a bit of spanking, and then using a ruler – and I have to say that it felt good, but it hardly felt painful at all. Even when I was hitting quite hard (or at least what I thought was hard, that opinion could vary) I only got a tiny sting maybe on the insides of my legs and nowhere else. Either I’m not as wimpy as I thought I was or I’m too much of a wuss to be hitting hard enough (could be the old survival reflex coming in, the one that stops you chomping through your finger like a carrot even if you think you’re biting down hard). But it definitely wasn’t anything unpleasant and definitely makes me want to try it out with someone else in the future (probably someone who’s do it properly haha). At the very least a bit of whacking doesn’t seem so scary, but only experience will tell how much pain that extends to.
I wanted to take a closer look at the labels applied within BDSM – Dom/sub, Top/bottom, Master/slave, etc. To see where the distinctions lie. Of course I quickly found that there were no clear distinctions; while there did appear to be some core concepts that the majority of people agreed on, most of the finer details were subject to individual definition. Rather than having set definitions, there were rather various spectrums that an individual can lie on – one may choose a label to market themselves (e.g. someone looking for a Dom would describe themselves as a sub), but beyond that the labels themselves would describe very little of that individual, as there’s so many different spectrums they can lie on.
A post I found extremely useful in the explanation of this was written by Cowhideman from FetLife, replying to a discussion about how to label yourself within the BDSM community (and whether such labelling was necessary at all). In his post he outlined several spectrums an individual can lay on, including:
PAIN INTENSITY SPECTRUM
HIGH PROTOCOL-LOW PROTOCOL-NO PROTOCOL
THEATRICALITY SPECTRUM (how themed you want play to be, for example you may want a scene in a Victorian setting)
So there’s just so many different options there. Say someone identifies as a sub – you got a vague idea of where they lie on one spectrum (and still only vague, after all, HOW submissive are they?), but you have no clue where they stand on any of the others. Are they masochistic? Not all subs are. If they are masochistic, do they want intense pain? Not necessarily. Just because they’re a sub, do they want 24/7 domination? You can’t know until you ask.
So looking at that, it seems that labels really are, well, pretty much useless outside of advertising yourself for potential partners, and even then you’re going to need to do a lot more work to find out which of those partners are compatible with you. This raises the question on why so much emphasis is placed on finding an appropriate label, and why some roles are sometimes looked down on (for example, people who identify as bottoms rather than subs may be looked down by some subs in a very ‘this is the one twue way’ fashion).
As someone just starting to explore BDSM this is important to me, as I felt very confused on not being able to find a precise label for myself – am I a bottom, or a submissive? After looking into it, if I chose a label for myself it would be ‘bottom,’ or perhaps skipping over all that and just identifying myself as a ‘kinkster.’ But what use are these labels really? To someone who didn’t know me, they wouldn’t garner much information from either of those words, so it seems silly to stress over them.
If you’d like to see Cowhideman’s post, follow this link, although his reply was the most informative the entire thread is worth reading – https://fetlife.com/groups/347/group_posts/841222. I’d also like to thank him for allowing me to use the information in his post for my blog.