24/7 D/s vs FLR: What’s the difference?

There were some conversations on Twitter today about the difference between a 24/7 D/s dynamic and a Female Led Relationship (FLR).

An expanded version of my tweet-thoughts on this below.

The upshot: To me they’re the same thing.

My goal is a 24/7 D/s dynamic.

In my 24/7 D/s dynamic (when I have one), I have the authority in our relationship.

I lead, he follows.

There may be carve-outs that we agree on: For example, I may not have authority over his work or family, we decide what works for us. And that may change over time.

But the bottom line is that in our relationship, at all times, I have the decision-making authority, and he honours that. I dominate, he submits.

I think when a lot of people hear ’24/7 D/s’, their first instinct is to go ‘you can’t! we have lives!’, because what they’re picturing is 24/7 role play or playtime. But that’s not what it means for folks who genuinely seek that or live it in any real sense.

And some folks who might baulk at hearing ’24/7 D/s’ may be a lot more comfortable with the term ‘FLR’. Oh a female led relationship, yeah, that sounds nice, I can see that…

To me, ‘D/s’ is just dominance (I say) and submission (he does), and ’24/7′ means that it’s an integral part of our relationship, that’s how we are all the time. And also to me, that’s exactly what an FLR is.

So I see them as the same.

As well as the misconception that 24/7 D/s means 24/7 shouty bitch role play and beatings, another misconception is that wanting 24/7 means I want to micromanage his activities every minute of the day. As if our life is a ‘scene’ or a play session. I 100% do not, and it’s not.

I’m not interested in sitting on his tail every minute of the day telling him what to do like he’s suddenly a mindless robot who needs help dressing himself instead of the amazing, smart, capable man he is. That makes no sense and of course it’s not workable.

I’m not only uninterested in the minutiae, there’s a ton of other crap I’m not at all interested in either.

And yay: As the d-type, I get to say “Not interested in that, just take care of it” if I want. Win!

So one day, I might want him to wear that blue shirt that makes his eyes look so pretty. And he will. Because D/s.

364 other days of the year, I might not care one bit what he wears. Wear whatever you like, baby. Though if he comes downstairs wearing those shorts he knows I hate, I’m just as likely to go “No, not those.” And he’ll go and change. Because D/s.

More examples:
I can say, “I’ve booked dinner at the Thai restaurant at 7pm, wear your levis and that green t-shirt I like.”
OR
I can say, “Sort out something for dinner, I don’t care.”

I can say, “Our next holiday is Turkey, here’s where we’re staying, this is what we’re doing while we’re there.”
OR
I can say, “Somewhere warm for our next holiday, bring me some options.”

I can say, “Bring your arse over here so I can beat it to a pulp.”

I can say, “Stop what you are doing, and give me kisses.”

I can say, “Take the garbage out.”

I can say, “Come kneel here at my feet.”

Any and all of those are about D/s, and I can exercise mine in the ways I want anytime I want, and he will do it, because I say, he does.

In all of those, though, my authority is the last word.

Even if I’m not exercising it 24/7 over every little thing (and I will absolutely not be doing that), it exists as part of our fundamental relationship agreement, it hums along quietly in the background, and we both know that if I exercise it, he will jump to it.

I say, he does.

A difference some FLR subgroups (and definitely many FLR-devoted sites) draw between D/s and FLRs is that they are ‘ew’ on kink (while often still espousing kink activities with the odd caveat that ‘when we do it, it’s not ‘kink’, it’s CONTROL’. It’s a weird take: ‘We’re not like those dirty dirty kinksters, and anyway, let’s talk about chastity and spankings to keep your husband in line…’). I don’t know why, but yeah, that’s a whole thing.

Regardless, neither has to include kinky play: It’s a choice. I love kinky play so you better bet I’m having it. But if I didn’t, my 24/7 D/s relationship would be no less 24/7 OR D/s.

I think the idea of ‘FLRs’ grew out of trying to find a less scary way to introduce D/s to women since D/s (and ‘femdom’ in particular) has grown into a porntropia of woman-repelling glurge. It’s absolutely understandable.

I think there was then a push to wholly separate and differentiate FLR with the emphasis on relationship) as opposed to any kind of BDSM, and from that grew a kind of philosophical split between FLR and D/s.

But yeah, to me, 24/7 D/s and FLRs are, in all practical ways, the exact same thing.

Opinions vary wildly of course, and that’s just fine.

I don’t expect anyone else to have the same view as me and I don’t assume they do.

At their core, labels are conversation-starters, that’s all.

So if you care enough about how a particular person sees it, you have to have that conversation, and that’s pretty much always the case with relationships :).

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36 Comments

  1. I would have to agree with your assessment. I’m old enough that 24/7 used to be TPE and I see FLR just delineating away from any male dominated ideas. Oddly enough I think FLR is a male construct to coax women into femdom to satisfy their fetish desires. Welcome to the matrix lol

  2. I couldn’t agree more, ma’am. In our house, it’s precisely as you put it – She says, I do.

    For us, what I hear most often is “Rub my feet” or “Run me a bath” or “Order something I like for dinner.” It’s about worship, submission, and obedience. Yes, it’s also sometimes “Go put on your pink nightie and stockings” or “Get me the harness and the lube” but the dynamic doesn’t change.

    I know, from our discussions on this, that She feels 24/7 D/S is more about kink, and that puts too much pressure on Her to be in charge. She prefers FLR because, in Her mind, it’s the same authority without the need to make all the decisions. For me, it’s all one and the same, it’s all about constant submission to Her needs and desires, but the label does change her attitude.

    1. I think you hit on a good point there: People use terms that resonates for them and feel like a fit and I’m glad you and your wife found yours.

      I think the biggest issue arises when people present a term and pretend that’s the end of the discussion. This vs asking ‘okay, what does that look like for you?’

      Ferns

  3. Yes! Many people get stuck on the label. Bottom line they are relationships. I use both D/s and FLR when writing but to me they are the same. I don’t micromanage either as I don’t want a mindless drone, what’s the fun in that?!

  4. Wow…

    This is great and a wonderful synopsis of perhaps the end goal or state many of (s) types :) Really want to get to with our partners.

    The issue is I seek the control, of my time my schedule, my finances. I hope to have a partner who would want that as well?

    I hope that doesn’t mean I am trying to be micro-managed? But then I also realized maybe that is something the (D) part of the relationship may not desire.

    I guess it is about setting expectations?

    Thank you for a great post! :)

    1. It’s about setting expectations AND about finding someone who likes what you like.

      Some d-types LOVE micro-managing: There’s nothing wrong with it, or with wanting it. Just that ‘using a particular label’ doesn’t necessarily mean that.

      Ferns

  5. I think it’s mostly just a matter of where the phrase is used. “FLR” is really common in chastity/keyholding/spanking communities whereas you’ll rarely see “24/7 D/s” used there. In most *general* BDSM communities, the phrasing “FLR” is pretty absent while “24/7 D/s” or “Femdom” is pretty common.

    1. No doubt there are circles where each of the terms are more common for whatever reason.

      I think for a lot of folks, they can’t/don’t separate the D/s part out of BDSM. That is, they hear D/s and don’t hear ‘Domination and Submission’, they hear ‘BDSM playtime’.

      Ferns

  6. Looking at different blogs/web sites, I have the impression that “FLR” is used by women who aren’t interested in kink, but intend to dominate their men.

  7. It’s a weird take: ‘We’re not like those dirty dirty kinksters, and anyway, let’s talk about chastity and spankings to keep your husband in line…’). I don’t know why, but yeah, that’s a whole thing.

    That seems very similar to the domestic discipline scene I ran across 20ish years ago in F/m form. The DD people were very M/f and traditional (I remember some, but not all, being religious). They were often aggressive about not being kinksters, but spanking for correcting wifely behavior. A big one I remember is wives carrying strong capcason patches to be applied to them as punishment for misbehaving outside the home.

  8. Dear Ferns,

    It is just like you say it is, it is not in the name, it is about wanting to be in control and wanting to hand over control. I love how you are in it, no fuss, no hesitation, all or nothing, as it should be and thats why its also 24/7. Mmmmm getting so weak in my knees reading this and this proves its not about the kinky stuff.

    Thank you Ferns for a lovely post xxx

    1. *laugh* I’m not convinced that you getting weak in the knees reading this proves its not about the kinky stuff to be honest :P.

      And you’re welcome.

      Ferns

  9. I agree that they are the same thing. What I agree most of all is it all really boils down to dominance and submission regardless what you want to call it. The dominant has the final say and the submissive submits to her. I think D/s and relationships in general are whatever works for the parties involved. There is no one label or one true way. What works for one person may not work for another.

  10. Well said. From my perspective, you could also add Disciplinary Wives Club sort of activities and even “slavery” to this list of labels that describe roughly the same sorts of behavior and relationship. So I don’t know if I’m a slave, submissive, disciplined husband, or in an FLR, I do know that I don’t care very much what box somebody else might put me in.

    1. Yes, terms are a minefield, and it is irksome to have someone shove their definition down your throat and insist ‘no you’re not this, you’re THAT’ because I said so.

      One twue way and all that :).

      Ferns

  11. A couple of years back I dove into all the 24/7 DS and FLR readings–and yeah I noticed that same thing with the FLR being anti kink.

    A negative thing about FLR becing anti kink is that there seems to be less of a focus on negotiation and consent in the FLR community. Most of the time that’s fine because it’s the guy trying to get his partner into the dynamic. ut it still seems problematic. And there definetly isn’t room to discuss things like the dominant’s consent or whether a dominant needs aftercare etc.

    1. Oh my goodness yes!

      There’s a lot of ‘how to’s around manipulation in some of those FLR communities.

      No no, you don’t TALK about that problem, you withhold sex for as long as it takes for him to do what you want (or similar). Some of those websites with the awful ‘how to’ instructions are fucking gross.

      Ferns

  12. Your idea of FLR and D/s meshes almost exactly with what my Owner and I are doing. She can micromanage if She wishes but She very rarely wishes. We have a fairly high emphasis on service and in a lot of ways I act as Her valet. There is no doubt I am spoiled rotten. Sometimes I think I’m too spoiled. But as you said, spoiling me is Her choice and I have no say over it. Anyway, what you describe is very close to what has worked for us for the last 8+ years.

    1. Ahh, I’m so glad it’s been working for you for so long. That’s lovely to hear.

      And yes: If she’s spoiling you, she is absolutely doing it because she enjoys it :).

      Also, after 8 years of happiness, I’d love to have your happy femdom story :) (here’s the info).

      Ferns

      1. Didn’t see this before. Yes, I think I can put something together for you.

        We are Sadisticunicorn and Theryn on Fetlife, FYI.

  13. I would say that F/m is at the core for both groupings.

    The kink is optional, and a matter of personal taste.

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