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Love in the BDSM world and 24/7 relationships

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Love in the BDSM world and 24/7 relationships

Postby FumiRawR » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:58 am

I find BDSM very interesting and I want to participate in it, but most of my research hasn't cleared up much when it comes to live in these relationships. I feel like most would function like vanilla relationships in that aspect, but I've seen a few times now that some people think love isn't an aspect in this lifestyle. Is that true, or are those people maybe saying that because they personally haven't experienced it yet? I've also seen that 24/7 types don't often happen, and I might be wrong on what that even means too. Do they mean 24/7 as in love in subs that always cater to their masters needs? And why wouldn't it be a common occurrence? I'm pretty bad at explaining what I mean or want to know, so if you need more clarification, please ask. And thanks for the time.
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Re: Love in the BDSM world and 24/7 relationships

Postby MJH2013 » Wed Apr 08, 2015 3:52 pm

Hello FumiRawR, as a Dominant in a 24/7 TPE relationship with my submissive I hope to be able to answer or at least to address the majority of your concerns that you mentioned. However, as I am unsure of your current leanings in identification (if you are a Dominant, submissive, switch, or kinky individual) I will have to be more general and not tailor my explanations to any identity. I hope that does not pose too much of an issue.

As you have noticed, some BDSM relationships function similar to vanilla relationships at points, but some are very different. In a scene-based relationship, both partners are in a vanilla relationship minus when they choose to participate in BDSM scenes in which both partners assume roles which are again discarded once the scene is over. This is the type of BDSM relationship that is closest to a vanilla relationship as the BDSM is limited to specific sexual occurrences and does not occur at any other point. The next step "up" in kink would be a relationship that is vanilla minus all sexual encounters which are BDSM-related. Again, in this sort of a relationship BDSM and the roles assumed are more akin to "roleplaying" than a "lifestyle".

However, after those two types of relationships, BDSM and vanilla relationships begin to diverge from one-another. The next type of relationship is when roles are assumed for a certain amount of time outside of sexual encounters, such as on weekends, once a month, etc. and consists of the non- inherently sexual tasks that you have most likely heard of through your research and are all too common in BDSM-related erotica (such tasks include cleaning while in a submissive state, cooking meals, non-sexual worship, obedience to all commands that do not pass limits, being told what to wear and what not to wear, etc.). This type of relationship is not a 24/7 BDSM relationship as though the BDSM extends beyond the sexual sphere of the relationship, it is still not the main portion of the relationship itself- it is ancillary, or at the very most used in conjunction with the vanilla aspects of the relationship. Outside of the specific allowances of BDSM outside of sexual play, this relationship is vanilla- the Dominant attempting to exert his or her control over the submissive outside these contexts is a violation of consent and grounds for terminating the relationship.

The next sort of relationship is the "fabled" 24/7 BDSM relationship in which the Dominant and submissive never leave their roles- and thus the previous roleplay becomes what some refer to as a "lifestyle". BDSM is no longer a part of the relationship- it is its basis. The relationship is predicated around unequal power dynamics, and not only presupposes the existence of a BDSM component to the relationship, but in fact benefits from this dynamic and allows the partners to grow closer together and avoid fights through the use of this BDSM component. For example, on matters that my submissive cannot make a decision on, she can bring the matter to me, explain both sides (or give me suitable information with which I can form my own decision) and ask me for my decision- which prevents her agonizing over a difficult decision or procrastinating on a difficult decision as well as the fights those two less-desirable outcomes would have caused. However, even in 24/7 relationships there are in fact limits on the Dominant's authority. This is shown through either a written "slave contract" submissive's hard and soft limits, the Dominant's hard and soft limits, the submissive's needs, the Dominant's expectations and rules, and all other pertinent information. Some Dominants (myself included) find that an actual written contract to be tedious and unnecessary and choose to rely upon a frequently discussed verbal agreement that serves the same purpose as the contract and can be modified at any time. Any violation of the contract or agreement is a violation of the submissive's consent and grounds for immediate termination of the relationship. Should the Dominant attempt to stop this termination, he or she is now an abuser and should be reported to the proper authorities. The legalistic scholar in me would also like to note that the slave contract, regardless of witnesses and authorship, is not legally binding in any state of the United States and most countries in the European Union (possibly all of them as well) and thus cannot be used as a defense should the police and the law by proxy become involved. There is also a type of relationship that grants the Dominant even more power and authority- a Total Power Exchange relationship (TPE) but as this type of relationship is so niche, I will only elaborate on this type of relationship if you are interested in learning about it.

As for why 24/7 BDSM relationships are more rare than you might expect, that has to do with the needs of the submissive(s) and Dominant(s) in question, as well as the amount of work required to start, develop, and maintain this sort of relationship. Most Dominants and submissives quite simply do not require to constantly be dominant or submissive and are more than satisfied with a scene or limited-role BDSM relationship. Additionally, Dominants in a 24/7 BDSM relationship are required to address both BDSM-related concerns (sub drop, limits, specifics of BDSM play, dealing with new/conflicting fetishes, etc.) along with vanilla relationship concerns (emotional investment, fights, fidelity, etc.) and real life concerns (depression, death in the family, stress, employment, etc.) and with most Dominants' and submissives' needs fulfilled by relationships that require less work the 24/7 BDSM relationship seems unnecessary by comparison. Thus, the only people who want (or are willing to engage in) a 24/7 BDSM relationship are those who constantly need (or want) to be Dominant or submissive more than only engaging in that role intermittently, are willing to take or give a large amount of control to another, and are willing and able to deal with the additional concerns and responsibility that a 24/7 BDSM relationship requires.

In regards to the idea of love and BDSM, there is actually a very long and concentrated discussion on this particular topic on this forum in a thread called "Do Sadists Love?". I would recommend reading it for a more detailed discussion on the idea of love in BDSM, but will attempt to summarize my views (which are addressed at length in that post) here as well. I believe that love is not inherently impossible in the BDSM lifestyle, in any sort of BDSM relationship, and that people who enjoy BDSM are not precluded from love. I see BDSM as a spectrum, and do not believe that love is inherently impossible along it. In fact, I believe that I love my submissive (though I can never really be sure, as I am not able to accurately define love in an objective sense.) as in order to accurately explain my views without the word love I would have to wax-poetic for several hours. There are some people who participate in BDSM that do so without necessarily forming a romantic (or even a sexual relationship with their partners. There are some who even believe that if a Dominant loves his or her submissive that he or she cannot dominate said submissive properly. I tend to take the opposite route and believe that love enhances BDSM as opposed to limits it. Basically, there is no good answer as to why those who believe that BDSM relationships cannot be ones filled with love believe so- there are too many factors (such as feminist critique, the aforementioned idea of limitation, differing definitions of love) with too many variables to accurately address all concerns without you providing more specific information. So, if you still want to discuss this topic, would you mind clarifying your concerns with BDSM and love? Do you believe that BDSM and love are compatible?

I hope that my answers and descriptions have been at least moderately helpful in answering your questions, and that you continue your education on BDSM. As I frequently say, we are all learning together.

Best of luck and best wishes,

-MJH
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Re: Love in the BDSM world and 24/7 relationships

Postby FumiRawR » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:32 pm

For clarification, I'm a switch (usually a sub) and I do believe love is possible in any kind of relationship (isn't that why we enter into them?) And I agree that love would make a BDSM relationship work better, it's just that I found some people saying it isn't and nobody has said it does (that I've seen until now), but the way you put it makes more sense (they haven't experienced it). I understand that it wouldn't make sense fit people to just put out there that BDSM people can love (because who can't) I just got a little worried.

I read your entire response ( very informative ) and I appreciate you taking the time to respond that in depth. There are probably more points I wanted to respond to but even rereading it I can't remember (bad memory).
I forgot my point but thank you very much ^-^!
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Re: Love in the BDSM world and 24/7 relationships

Postby grandgnu » Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:03 pm

I'll be celebrating 10 years of marriage this October with my wife. I'm a masochist and she's a sadist. We do not identify sexually as dominant/submissive, but as far as our overall relationship goes, while I may be the masochist, I'm also the dominant partner.

However, we are not "lifestylers". Our S&M practices are limited to foreplay and sex, and don't seep out into our everyday relationship, which is vanilla.
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Re: Love in the BDSM world and 24/7 relationships

Postby Callalily » Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:10 pm

Hello,

I am very new to this world, but I am happy to share my personal experience. That said these are just my opinions; everyone is different when it comes to love and sex!

For me, love in this kind of relationship is not optional, it is a requirement. :) Quite honestly, I can't have sex -- of any kind -- with men I don't love. I just don't enjoy it. Sex is too intimate an experience for me. It leaves me too open and too vulnerable.

This is even more true when it comes to expressing my submissive side. Being submissive means I have to put myself entirely in the hands of another person. I am giving them power to hurt me mentally and physically. I am telling them they can do what they want with me. It's scary! :) It requires lots of trust. I'm not capable of offering that kind of trust to someone who doesn't feel love for me. I need to know that the person cares if I'm okay, wants me to be okay as much as I do. That they would not wish to put me in the emergency room or a mental hospital or do anything that would scar or injure me permanently. I need to know my pleasure and enjoyment and happiness matter to them. I need to know that even when I'm being punished or degraded or humiliated, respect and concern are still underneath.

Of course, not all Subs feel that way. I'm what I think is sometimes termed an emotional Submissive: the kind of Sub who struggles with not compromising herself in order to please pretty much all the time, not just sexually but in everything. I am very bad at saying no. :D Even just reading through a list of BDSM limits and saying "I don't want to do this one" is really hard for me, because part of me feels like a failure and I worry I will disappoint my Dom. I was glad to read that I'm not alone in this, that many Submissives have to fight the desire to be the "perfect" Sub. Like for example, many of us feel guilty when we safeword, because we think we should have been able to hold out longer or something. I have only recently begun to understand that the opposite is true, that my first responsibility as a Sub is to be honest. To find out what my limits are and communicate them, to accept that some days I'm not going to be able to handle anything really aggressive, to safeword when things get too scary or painful. The fact that my Dom loves me makes it so much easier for me to do that, because he wants me to do that. He wants me to enjoy myself. He wouldn't like doing anything that I hated or was damaging for me.

That said, I don't think love would necessarily make a BDSM relationship work better. It just depends on the people involved. Some Subs desire to be completely, selfishly used by someone who feels nothing for them, and some Doms want to completely, selfishly use another person. Some Doms have difficulty punishing or disciplining people they love; some Subs find it too confusing to love someone who wants to cause them pain. And just generally, some people prefer to divorce sex from feelings. There is no right or wrong way, only knowing yourself and what works best for you.

As for why 24-7 isn't more common, I would just say it is not the right relationship for everyone. I think sometimes it's held up as a kind of ideal BDSM pairing, but IMO there is no such thing. Everyone has different desires and needs. I would be very unhappy as a 24-7 slave. Fortunately, my Dom isn't interested in one either. Which is what makes us compatible! And I think that's ultimately all that matters, just as in any relationship. :)
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