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What is a BDSM Relationship?

Dominant/submissive relationships are the heart of BDSM. It’s important that both parties are clear about their preferences, limits and sensitivities during play. This is usually negotiated before a scene begins.

A sub can say a safe word at any time to stop the scene. This is especially important if the dom acts in an unsafe or uncomfortable way.

Dominant

The dominance/submission (dom/sub) dynamic is perhaps the most well-known form of BDSM play. It involves a dominant partner taking on the role of leader, guide and enforcer while the sub is the fragile servant that adores their master. This role play can take place during sexual situations but also can extend to other non-sexual scenarios as the couple chooses. The Dom can punish the sub physically, emotionally or verbally. Alternatively, the sub might decide to punish themselves if they go against their Dom’s wishes or rules.

In this scenario, the dominance is often displayed through bondage, spanking or other forms of discipline. The sub might be tied up, hog-tied or gagged as they receive what their Dom dishes out.

Doms can also use their position of power to control the sub by making decisions for them, like where they eat or what to do on a date night, says kink expert Javay Frye-Nekrasova. There’s even a special type of relationship called a daddy/daughter (DD) or baby girl dynamic that sees the Dom taking on more of a parental role and treating their sub like their little princess.

This kind of power exchange can lead to some very kinky situations and it’s vital that both partners clearly communicate their boundaries. Using the safe word and traffic light system is an essential part of this communication process. If either party is unsure of how far they want to go, it’s always okay to stop the scene and ask for a re-match.

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Submissive

Those in a submissive role prefer to be taken care of and nurtured. In this form of BDSM, the Dom may take on a parent/caregiver role and treat the sub as their “little girl or boy” and discipline them with spankings and other kinky play.

Despite popular misconceptions, being a sub is not a sign of submission disorder or masochism. Instead, it is a normal sexual preference that is perfectly acceptable to those who engage in it. However, it is important that both partners are clear on the boundaries and expectations of their play before starting any scene. Both should express their desires, set hard limits and agree on a safe word or signal to stop the scene if either of them feels uncomfortable.

It is also vital that both partners check in with each other regularly to ensure that they still want to participate in BDSM. Adding in elements of kink is a process that takes time and should be done slowly. For example, it’s not a good idea to go straight from light restraint play to intense impact if you are both new to this type of relationship. It’s better to build up slowly and add in the more intense kinky play as you both get comfortable with it. Then, if you are both still enjoying it, you can move on to more intense techniques.

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Negotiation

Unlike what you might see in porn or movies, everything in a BDSM scene is negotiated. This includes sex, fantasy roles and boundaries. It is important to talk about these issues before any kink play begins. Many tools, from worksheets to checklists to apps, exist to help with the negotiation process. It is best to be as clear and specific as possible about what you want from your play partners. It is also important to communicate any concerns you may have about the scene, such as pain tolerance, age plays or anything else that could affect the safety of your relationship.

Some kinks include sadism or masochism, and these are often referred to as ‘bottoms’ in a D/s dynamic. These kinks can include spanking, bondage and other forms of discipline. Other kinks include mental domination, where one partner controls the other through psychological means. Examples of this would be controlling what a bottom wears or where they go, or even switching roles.

While these kinks are fun and interesting, they should never be used as an excuse for abuse. Healthy BDSM relationships require the same things that healthy vanilla relationships do, such as trust, honesty and respect for each other. In addition, it is crucial to make sure that all parties are enthusiastic about participating in the scene and are not being coerced into doing something they don’t want to do.

Aftercare

The aftercare or post-play portion of a BDSM scene is a very important part of the practice. This involves the Dom taking care of the sub after the scene is over and they are both ready to come down from the neurochemical high that occurred during play. Typically, aftercare includes some form of pampering such as bathing, cuddling, food, or even just sitting and talking together. It is very important to negotiate what kind of aftercare you want to include before you begin a session, and to be sure both parties are clear on what expectations will be in place for after a scene has concluded.

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In some cases, aftercare can also involve the dom assuming the role of a parent or caregiver to their sub as they help them navigate a return to normal life. This is often seen in chastity play, and can take the form of a nanny or daddy role where the Dom acts as a protector and keeper of their sub’s cock cage or chastity belt. It can also be more extreme, with the dom acting as a parent or mentor to their sub who may be prone to self-doubt and insecurity.

It is important to remember that a healthy BDSM relationship is always mutually beneficial and consensual. You should be able to communicate your needs and desires clearly and openly, and should never feel afraid to walk away from a situation that is not working for you. It is also a good idea to make sure both parties understand the importance of safety, and agree on a safe word that can be used during play sessions in case one feels overwhelmed or unsafe.