I will give you anything to
Say you want to stay, you want me to
Say you’ll never die, you’ll always haunt me
I want to know I belong to you
Say you’ll haunt me
Together, together we’ll be together, together forever
“Say You’ll Haunt Me” by Stone Sour
I’m going to let you all in on a giant secret that Love (that’s what we call ourselves, it’s short for “Love Is A Fetish”) has been keeping. We know what the perfect D/s relationship looks like.
No, it’s not ours. Though, ours is perfect for us. I’m talking about the idea of a perfect D/s relationship. The very core principle behind a 24/7 Dominant/submissive dynamic is a slippery thing to try and nail down.
Trying to describe the “right” way to D/s is like trying to tell someone else what their favorite color should be. So, instead, I invite you to join me on a thought-experiment.
If we strip away those things not essential to something’s existence, we are left with perfection. In this case, we’ll be dissecting the concept of Dominance and submission in the context of a 24/7 relationship dynamic.
Let’s see what makes this thing tick. We’ll start by making up a fairly run-of-the-mill D/s couple. Their names are Sara and Jane, they’re upper-middle class, married, and have no kids.
First off, here’s a bunch of stuff they don’t need to make a D/s relationship work: marriage, proximity, physical contact, or sex. Let’s subtract those concepts from our couple.
Now, Sara and Jane live on different continents and have only ever interacted online. Love, as we all know, can exist across a divide. Why not a D/s relationship?
Actually, you don’t need love to be in a D/s relationship. Delete it.
We’ll also get rid of care and affection. Screw it, toss out lust and desire too. All of these are very unnecessary when you consider that D/s relationships are all unique – this one might not be like yours, but it’s still a valid D/s concept.
Let’s keep going.
Consider this: as long as they don’t exchange personal information, they don’t even really have to trust each other. In fact, without any physical contact, it’s arguable that they don’t even need to communicate at this point.
Let’s remove communication, including any and all forms of contact now and forever, completely from the equation.
How can Sara still be a submissive? How does Jane still call herself a Dom when she looks herself in the mirror?
That story might go something like this:
Sara and Jane met on a train. At precisely midnight the train passed through a tunnel which, at the speed it was traveling, took it exactly one minute to clear. For exactly 60 seconds they locked eyes from across the rows of seats separating them. They never saw each other before or after that night. Though they never spoke again they, each in their own separate way, never stopped thinking of the other.
Perhaps it’s only because the universe is infinite, and so even coincidences as strange as this one must exist, it seems uncanny. Still, both of those women spent the rest of their lives stuck inside of a mental fantasy they never wavered from. Each, without the other knowing, played the other’s lover in a mental game that governed their lives.
They lived to serve the fantasy, little more than a memory of a woman they’d not-quite-met on a train so many years ago. Sara, for example, who was 20 on that train, lived to be 92.
She knelt in submission, bowing her head mindfully, as she fantasized every night without fail (save when she was unconscious with fever, twice in her life) about what it would be like if Jane (whose name she had no way of knowing, but happened to guess was “Jane” in yet another coincidence) was there to dominate her.
Since the imaginary Dom in her fantasies knew her better than any real person could, Sara had no choice but to spend her every waking moment in service. She toiled tirelessly on bettering herself in every way. She demanded perfection from herself in all endeavors, though accepted her best efforts – she knew that balance, in all things, was key.
And you can guess how, through sheer random coincidence, Jane spent her nights alone. She took no lovers after the fateful night aboard a sleepy train. Yet, she was never lonely. She dedicated herself to being the best person she could possibly be, so that her imaginary submissive would feel her gift was given to someone worthy of it.
This is the perfect D/s relationship. With nothing else to do, no other way to serve the relationship, both women dedicated themselves to being the best version of themselves they could possibly be. Because they assumed that’s what their fantasy version of the other wanted.
I can’t put it any simpler than this: If you want to have a successful 24/7 D/s relationship with the person(s) you intend to spend the rest of your life with you have to be – before all other things – a catalyst for them to become the best version of themselves they can be.
24/7 is too much scrutiny, too much exposure, too much vulnerability to put a relationship through if it isn’t built on helping each other become better people. You need the little successes.
Example: if you smoke cigarettes, and you believe they’re bad for your health, stop it. You’re stealing time from your relationship. And that means you’re lying if you say you’re giving it your all 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
I’m not saying you have to suddenly become perfect over night. But, I am saying that a commitment to being a Dominant or submissive 24 hours a day, 7 days a week will destroy you and your relationship, like the worst kind of heroin habit, if it isn’t accompanied by an equally binding commitment to constant personal growth.
You’ll need other positive things in your life to celebrate when 24/7 D/s, like any other relationship, gets hard. The difference is, with 24/7 D/s, when you “feel a little distant” it can be like Dom-drop/sub-drop X 1,000 every time it happens. So, keep talking.
Key phrase: Perfect Dominance/submission
What does your perfect Dominance and/or submission look like? Discuss how your 24/7 D/s relationship might be different than the ones you’ve read about on Fetlife or seen elsewhere in the BDSM community.
What do you think of the Perfect D/s Relationship parable? Discuss your takeaways (it’s okay if you hated it, tell your partner(s) why).
D/s relationships, at their core, are about a mutual philosophy. Create a list of things you’d like to work on in order to be a “better you” for your relationship. Have your partner discuss how they, in the specific context of your D/s dynamic, can help you to achieve those goals.
This one’s as fun as you want it to be. You can help in ways ranging from a “blowjobs instead of dessert” policy to lose weight, or withholding spankings until the chores are done.
The point is: in a 24/7 D/s relationship you want to always feel like you’re accomplishing something to help “team us.” It’s terrifying, whether you’re a Dom or a sub, to pour everything you have into your D/s relationship without the assurance that you’re both on the same page.
Trust me when I tell you: helping one another to grow as individual people is the only way to show your work in this kind of relationship.
Tristan is a science and technology journalist who values life, humanity, and taco soup. He/him