Establishing a D/s dynamic
It can be quite overwhelming when you start out to add D/s to an existing relationship. I know that when we started we were searching for the right way to do things. Of course, we learnt (probably not quickly enough) that there is no right way and those who preach such a formula are to be given as wide a berth as possible! Following someone else’s plan will likely have teething issues in the short term, and definitely not be sustainable in the long term. But there is no point reinventing the wheel. Do your research, find what works best for you, and leave the rest behind.
Once you have established your D/s lifestyle, it is probably a good idea evaluate some of what you are doing. To quote Bananarama, “It aint what you do it’s the way that you do it, and that’s what gets results.” This is something that I think is important when you are thinking about your relationship, particularly if you are introducing D/s to an existing relationship or thinking about establishing or reviewing the rules and rituals which will help to reinforce it. So often with D/s, it is not so much what we do but how and why we do it.
Finding a good fit
I will admit that we had some stupid rules and rituals at the start. We were led by others and added in things which just weren’t important to us or things that didn’t fit with our lives and our personalities. We wanted to do it right though and we wanted to fit in. At the end of the day, you are the ones living this and you are living it together. It doesn’t matter what the next person does or thinks, and that goes for individuals who seem to overshare advice, as well as communities with a one size fits all approach. What works best will be individual to you.
I realise that at the start D/s can seem that it is something new and different, but actually you really need something that will fit into your life and be sustainable. Unless the life and relationship you have currently is one which requires a complete overhaul, it is likely that you will just be redecorating and remodelling what you have, rather than casting it all aside to start again. So what you do may be similar to the sorts of things that you have done before, but the way that you do it and the meaning and reasoning behind it will often be what has changed.
Making it your own
Frequently during discussion, we find that while one couple does it one way, another does it the opposite way. Initially this may seem contradictory but in actual fact, it is because the meaning and the perception of that act to those particular individuals is what counts. I remember a very heated topic chat about service where this became apparent. There were differing views as to what was and wasn’t service, based on what worked and carried meaning for that couple. There really is not a right and a wrong here, except for the obvious if it works it is right and if it doesn’t it is wrong.
This is a rule that HL and I have tried to follow since we learnt the hard way that there was no one true way and that our way was the one for us (although we certainly would not suggest it would be the one for all of you). The rules and rituals which we have, serve to reinforce our own power exchange. The things we do are essentially based around respect, self-care, and nurture and over time we have found that the ones that have stuck are the ones which are important to us.
Initially we made the mistake of trying to incorporate things which we had read others did, or things which other more experienced people told us we should be doing. This failed, quite spectacularly in some instances. It was hard for me to remember to do things which held no value to us and it was hard for HL to reinforce them for the same reason. Obviously what each couple does will depend on them, but for anyone who is interested, there is more detail about the sorts of things that we do here and here. What works best has changed as our lives have changed, from our rules and rituals, as well as our contract, come under review.
Some of what we do will help to reinforce the feeling of submission for me and Dominance for him, so essentially it is there to support the power exchange. Some will be about me thinking about him and making him the focus and my motivation for what I do. We try to meet the needs of the other and that is easier when you are fully connected on an emotional and on a physical level, so it will be about talking and listening as well as showing the other person that you are thinking abiout them and demonstrating how much they mean through your actions. Through constant effective communication, the level of trust will grow and the level of intimacy that is created as a result will strengthen what passes between you.
Finding your why
Whether you are starting out, or part way through your journey, it is always good to stop and ask yourselves why you are doing the things that you are. What do they add for you? How do they contribute to your growth as an individual and strengthen you as a couple? What is their function within your dynamic? This sort of evaluation will allow you to work on the things that matter, and spend less time struggling over the things that are superfluous. D/s shouldn’t change you as a person: it is more about being able to be your best self so trying to fit yourselves (individually or together) into a mould that is wrong for you will hold little value.
Whether you wait for a door to be opened for you because that is part of the respect and care that your Dom wants to show you or whether you hold the door open for him because that is part of how you show your respect and service to him, really is immaterial. Whether you initiate things sexually because he wants to know that you love and desire him, or wait for him to initiate them because he sees your body as his, will not matter as long as the way that you approach things is adding value to your dynamic. Thinking about your why will allow you to focus on the how, and even sometimes change what you do so that it is a better fit and works best for you.
Sustaining a D/s Dynamic
All so often, when making sense of the world, we tend to focus on the actions that we see without always being aware of the thought and reasoning behind them. Within a relationship, this sort of approach is often not what works best as it can lead you to feel like you have failed or have not got it right. It is not what you do but how and why you do it that is important and those are often the things which are not discussed because they are particular to the individual and to the couple. If you can come up with things that fit with your lifestyle and which are significant and hold value to you, then the chances are that they will be easier to implement, to reinforce and to sustain.
Relationships are fluid, so things that once worked and held value might cease to be required. This is not a failing: it doesn’t mean that you are no longer doing it, it simply means that things have moved on for you, as a couple. As you grow together, your reflection will allow you to learn more about yourself, and more about the things that are significant for you both. Try to avoid unrealistic comparisons to others as a way of evaluating, and focus instead on what something does or doesn’t add for you. Your power exchange will be individual to you, and how it works best will be something that evolves as you do.
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