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Living with D/s October 2, 2010

Posted by Leah in D/s.

A reader asks: how do you stop D/s in the bedroom from spilling over into real life?

I responded as follows: the short answer is that you recognize the context and behave accordingly. You don’t let the fact that you had her on a leash begging to suck your cock color how you view her thoughts in a conversation about politics. You don’t expect deference outside of play just because you pissed on her in the shower in the morning. You compartmentalize.

Let me elaborate on my thoughts.

I like the submissive role sexually. I expect autonomy otherwise.

In selecting partners, the e-mail exchange and the initial meet-up are generally sufficient to determine who exhibits respect for me as a person. I won’t play with someone whose intelligence I don’t regard consequentially. Part of this intelligence is smarts and conversational aptitude. I also look for the ability to interact normally, as equals in a non-sexual setting without the trappings of power games. We need to be able to talk before we can play. Just because someone declares himself a sexual dominant, it does not mean that I, as a sexual submissive, will agree with him in a discussion about music. I have my opinions, and I will express them. I will be better at some things than he is. His ego needs to handle that. A dominant ought to be secure in his identity, honest, and guileless. Braggadocio is off-putting. Superior airs before the clothes come off are disqualifying. After the play, ideally we transition back to being equals. The ones who can’t, the ones with whom the tone of the interaction has been altered by the sex won’t get a repeat invitation.

I am not a slave. This isn’t a lifestyle for me. I set boundaries and stick to them. These are mostly internalized, so I don’t give them a conscious thought. Some are blindingly obvious. I am not going to hand over my bank account or credit cards. I decide how to fill out the ballot in an election. The passwords to my e-mail accounts are mine.

With most play partners, there isn’t a fuzzy middle ground. It’s clear when we are being sexual, and it’s equally clear when we are not. The regulars understand this well. We are friends who enjoy the power exchange sexually. We are able to switch the D/s relationship on and off depending on the situation.

Dominance is a trust. The rest flows from this recognition.

With the boyfriend, there is an intermediate gray space that we have to negotiate. But he is my boyfriend because we generally agree on where the borders lie. The two of us started out as fuck buddies. We had a D/s dynamic from early days, and as the relationship developed, incorporated this into our everyday lives.

Sharing an apartment, we found a division of labor and resources that suits us. He doesn’t enjoy cooking and can’t do it well. So he gets the groceries, I prepare the meals, and he does the dishes. I hate vacuuming and dusting. He doesn’t mind, so that’s his job. I am more demanding about the necessity of having a clean bathroom, so he obliges me by taking his turn at scrubbing the tub and the toilet more frequently than he would were he to live alone. These are the usual domestic compromises. They have nothing to do with my being submissive in the bedroom.

We are opinionated. We have our disagreements and each make our share of mistakes. Occasionally we argue. These differences don’t spill over into the sexual life. Indeed, make up sex is usually less kinky and more loving than the normal routine. He doesn’t need an excuse to spank me. Often, he manufactures one. We admit the pretense and laugh about it. He doesn’t actually beat me because I think his taste in cinema is philistine. (It is though.)

We each have outside lovers. We avoid influencing who the other plays with and how. Jealousy is an issue that we must navigate. We address this by being open and scrupulously honest about what we do. Different people fill different roles. Sex is not a competition. It’s a manner of expression. I get wet when I hear him relate his exploits. The things he tells me make me a better lover. The boyfriend reads my blog. We talk about our experiences on Skype.

The boundaries can be tricky where the sexual and the quotidian intersect. If he asks me to wear a buttplug to work or go without panties or flash a stranger my breasts at a bar, these fall under a sexual banner, so I typically comply with such requests. But if he started picking out my clothes on a daily basis, I would balk. It’s an issue of respect. I don’t like micromanagement. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem I face.

What happens when he wants to play, and I am busy, or vice versa? I am typing at the computer, and he slips a lead around my neck and starts fondling my tits. But I need to work. He is painting, and I want to be submissive and bound. I kiss his shoe and run my hands over his thighs and groin. Sometimes we proceed to sex. Sometimes we don’t. The person making the proposition accepts the other person’s verbal response. We acknowledge that we each have lives separate from the other and responsibilities.

Living together, we shift easily between the ordinary and the sexual modes. We are chatting, and then I am on my knees, and then we are chatting again. I am submissive in one sphere, but not the other. We identify where we are and act appropriately. I don’t feel I am a lesser human being for drinking his piss. He doesn’t treat me as one even while his bladder is emptying into my throat. This is how we play. I find being called names sexy. I find embarrassment to be sexy. I find being powerless sexy. These acts excite me within their reference frame. We compartmentalize our behavior.

The equilibrium works for us.