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Day 22: What do you think is important in keeping a BDSM relationship healthy?  How does it differ from a vanilla relationship?

There are so many kinds of BDSM relationships, and so many kinds of vanilla relationships, that it seems to me that they have more in common than not. I think there’s a larger disparity between casual relationships and serious relationships of both types, or between monogamous and polyamorous ones. There are, however, a few things that I can think of that are more important in BDSM relationships than in vanilla relationships, although they are paramount in both.

I have always been of the opinion that the single most important habit in any relationship is communication. It solves literally all problems between people. In BDSM it’s even more vital, because a scene can go wrong so easily without it– you must communicate before-hand with the other party to make sure of hard limits. There’s also the other considerations of learning one anothers’ fantasies, having a safe word if things get too rough, and delving into the psychology behind your activities.

Attentiveness, too, is an important part of a BDSM dynamic. Even with a safe word at the ready, doms especially must learn to read the other person for signs of true discomfort or ecstasy so that they know how to proceed.

There must also be a lot of respect between those in a D/s dynamic. Especially to observers, BDSM toes the line between love and abuse, so if someone starts getting careless disaster will likely ensue. And what is a dom if he does not command respect from his sub? Whether the relationship is serious or casual, it’s so important to care about and respect each other, for the sake of safety.