What does a lifestyle submissive need to know?
July 26, 2010 12:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm curious about becoming a lifestyle sub. What do I need to know before I go? (Possibly NSFW)

What does a gal need to know before she embarks on a search for a long-term dominant partner for a potentially 24/7 D/s relationship?

Do you have any good book recommendations, anecdata, or web references that I need to see before I begin? Assume that I have experience with dominance and submission, but not on such a grand scale.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

This is what my friend, who was in a 24/7 D/S relationship did, that I thought was smart: Meet several times before agreeing on a trial basis, then talk long-term only after you have tried out a weekend or longer with the Dom.

Make sure you have a written contract. This helps spell out from the beginning what your limits are. You need to be sure about how finances will be allotted, etc. Don't just go on good faith or your feelings in this kind of all-or-nothing power relationship.

Also, the contract should allow you both to exit gracefully at the dissolution of the relationship. I know you don't want to think of the ending right when you are just beginning, but it's an absolute necessity to make sure you have a clear plan. How long will you have to move out, find a new job, home, etc. should the two of you part?

Here's what she did that didn't work out so well: got pregnant. Could have been fine, but the two of them were not planning on the relationship going into that territory.

Fetlife is often recommended here as a resource; there's a Metafilter group there.
posted by misha at 1:12 PM on July 26, 2010

This isn't by far everything you need to know, but things that you might find helpful to keep in mind:

*Connect with a community of other subs (whether they're 24/7 or not) so that you can discuss the things that come up for you with other people who will understand, be supportive, and who can offer advice from their own experience. Ideally this should be in real life, because online communities such as Fetlife, while they can be helpful, are often filled with people who aren't necessarily being fully truthful about their own experiences, and frequently the advice they give is What I'm Supposed to Say and not What Is Actually Working for Me in Real Life.

*Even if you enter into a 24/7 D/s relationship, it is important to be able to communicate with your partner outside of role [I know this word isn't appropriate for some and I don't mean to imply that it's roleplay rather than real, but I'm using it for lack of a better one] sometimes, or to know for certain that you can safely and freely communicate whatever you need to while in role

*Like with any other relationship, a healthy D/s relationship usually includes having friends and interests that don't have to do with your D/s relationship

*Don't forget that you still have to live your everyday lives--go to work or school, take out the kitty litter, have dinner with your parents, etc.--and your relationship agreements shouldn't interfere with your ability to do those things. And on the same note, the fact that all these everyday things have to be done means that there are probably going to be minutes and hours and maybe even days where the D/s aspects of your relationship aren't being actively expressed. You can build in rituals and language etc. to alleviate this some, but expect it to happen and try to be OK with it.

*You probably already know this, but compatibility outside of you wanting to be submissive and the other person wanting to be dominant is very important, especially for a relationship where you're going to give so much of yourself and expect so much in return. Try to avoid falling into the "we're both kinky so this is obviously meant to be" trap that many a sub has fallen into many a time and make sure you're truly compatible and have the trust and respect for each other required for a healthy relationship.

Slavecraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude is a great book to get started with.
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:31 PM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Here is a link to the people from metafilter on fetlife group.

The masters and slaves group there is a bit of a mess but there are a few wise people in it. If you want, I can give you some names of people who are 24/7, as well as talk about it from my own experience. Go ahead and contact me here or on fetlife (I'm the moderator of that group)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:36 PM on July 26, 2010

Remember it's a relationship first, and D/s second. A written contract means nothing if you're dealing with garden-variety relationship troubles. Make sure you have the same values with respect to money, kids, spirituality, etc.

I see rhiannonstone already covered this, but I want to stress it. D/s is no panacea and I've seen too many submissives try to shoehorn themselves into a relationship with someone with whom they're not compatible.

Also, see if there is a submissives discussion group local to you. Milwaukee has one, and we're only the 27th largest city in the US, so I'd imagine any city larger than us would also have one. Get references - if he's active in the local scene, someone will know whether or not he's trustworthy. If he's not in the scene, at least you have friends from whom you can get a reality check. It can be difficult for some submissives to distinguish the strict demands of 24/7 from emotional abuse.
posted by desjardins at 3:50 PM on July 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

Remember it's a relationship first, and D/s second.

This, a million times over. The 24/7 thing is all "real" (and fun) -- right up until it meets real life, and then things get complicated (though still fun, usually). In other words, you need someone you love and trust first and foremost, rather than the person who ticks the exact boxes on some bdsm list but whom you don't really love and trust. (And remember that power and trust flow both ways: it takes enormous trust to let someone tie you up and whip you... but it also takes trust to do that to someone knowing that if they showed up the next morning at the police station with bruises and a sad story, well, that shoe would be on the other foot, as it were.)

Here is a link to the people from metafilter on fetlife group.

Come say hi!
posted by Forktine at 6:06 PM on July 26, 2010

This is me. We've known each other for a year, had numerous visits back and forth and I've been living here for three months. While apart we talked extensively on the phone as well, so we had a lot longer than a weekend. My group of scene friends all gave him the hairy eyeball as well.

Read this. Twice. I actually have it as an ebook on my iPhone, it is the most useful practical guide ever.

Don't lose touch with your friends - stay involved and connected. You will freak out and you will need their support. You will need at least some of them to be accepting of your lifestyle - one thinks one can hide this but after a few rounds of 'why' the answer 'because my partner decided it' will come up. You want some friends who will not go 'you're crazy!'

You will find things that make you balk and freak the fuck out. This is normal. Communicate with your partner. It gets better in time. Difficult things often cause self growth.

Keep a journal. (she says - I am hellaciously bad at this!). It helps you keep track of your thoughts, feelings, and events.

Don't let people warn you off. This path is one of the most rewarding and growthful experiences of my life, and I have the most stable, intimate, intense and durable relationship I've ever had.
posted by By The Grace of God at 11:35 PM on July 26, 2010

Yes! I haven't read the book recommended by By The Grace of God but the authors are notable (at least to me) for being sane, loving, honest, and practical.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:38 PM on July 26, 2010

Upon reading the thread. We don't have a written contract or lots of protocol or whatever. There are infinite ways of doing this and no right way. Everyone is different.

Please get in touch any time here or on fetlife if you want to chat!
posted by By The Grace of God at 11:38 PM on July 26, 2010

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