Your love is your pain, and pain is your gain
You’ll force the fit just to feel the strain
You worship the bed with your life
Holding sessions of confession every moonlit night
“S&M” by 2 Live Crew
We begin with a simple premise: to each their own. There are no experts on 24/7 Dominant/submissive (D/s) relationships – anyone who says otherwise is selling something or confusing success with expertise.
The 24/7 D/s relationship dynamic is under-studied by psychologists and misunderstood by the general public. There simply isn’t enough peer-reviewed research on the subject to place much credence on even robust observations.
That means everything in this article (and the others in this series) should be considered anecdotal: take it or leave it. It’s just advice. Also, D/s is used throughout as a placeholder for relationships based on the dynamic between Dominants and submissives. Adapt as needed.
There are pitfalls and booby traps waiting for you on the other side of 24/7 D/s. You’ll find that many successful BDSM relationships are able to survive because the participants aren’t in love – there’s no romantic relationship at stake.
For those of us who are, the transition from part-time play to full-time TPE is… let’s just say it’s different.
It doesn’t matter if you’re monogamous or part of a poly unit, the distinction here is that this is a guide for soulmates.
Note: if you’re not into the whole “romantic love” or “soulmates forever” thing – we get it, it’s kitsch – you’re probably better off working things out in the context of your particular arrangement. But feel free to read on, you never know when Cupid could strike.
Introducing a D/s dynamic into a vanilla relationship is like tasting chocolate for the first time. It can be the catalyst for a recurring sweet-tooth, or it can ignite a lifelong passion. It can also cause an allergic reaction. It all depends on the person.
That’s why every D/s relationship – whether full-time, only on Holidays, and everything in between — is as unique as the people in it.
Yours might be your little secret. Perhaps it’s the reality waiting behind the masks you wear at work and around family and friends.
For others, it’s a freak flag-flying exhibition of love and sex that celebrates itself by existing. There’s no right way to engage in a BDSM relationship.
Don’t let anyone tell you how to D/s – do what makes the relationship happy, healthy, and positive.
But, some things just work: you must begin with communication. It’s worth considering the pre-24/7 conversations a litmus test for your ability to engage in TPE full-time.
You should be able to rip away the veil between intimacy and vulnerability, and engage in a completely honest discussion concerning your hopes and fears for the dynamic you’ll be working toward.
And that’s a good place to start, so we’ll end part one here. Next, you’ll find a key phrase to discuss with your partner(s) during this initial phase of your transition, and a practical lesson you can participate in together before moving on to Part 2.
Key phrase: working toward
Dismiss the illusion that you’ll write up a contract, detail your protocols, and run your 24/7 D/s relationship like a military enterprise. If you’re not interested in constant, explosive growth you should reconsider going 24/7.
Why? At the risk of editorializing your feelings: you’ll be bored with D/s in a few months if you’re passionate enough to do it full-time but unwilling to embrace an evolving dynamic.
Once you make the decision to go 24/7, the real work begins.
Discuss “working toward our 24/7 D/s relationship” with a focus on preparing for the added stress and demands that going full-time will bring.
Answer the following question in the most accurate and complete way possible, but try to keep it simple.
“Why do you both/all want to go 24/7?”
We began in the bedroom exploring S&M, rope play, and episodic power exchange. What we really got off on, however, was exploring each other’s depths through unbridled communication. After a year of working up to it, we decided there’s nothing we’d rather do, for eternity, than continue to focus on that exploration.
If you’re ready to move on: here’s part 2.