PSA: D/s doesn’t magic away normal human behaviour

In a book club chat with Joshua Tenpenny, the submissive half of the M/m couple who authored Real Service (if you haven’t browsed my non-fiction BDSM booklist yet, go take a look!), he talked about the realities of submission with years of real D/s relationship experience behind him, and I tell you what, discussions with people with that kind of experience is a breath of fresh air.

One of the things he said was essentially: “You’re not going to be in some magical subby mindset all the time, that’s not how it works!”

There are many many questions from newbies who imagine that D/s creates a magical bubble where they will blissfully feel the euphoric joy of dominance and submission all the time, in every action and interaction. I think this is in part because when you’re new and exploring play (which is where pretty much everyone starts, online or in RL), you very likely do feel that, for a myriad of reasons (especially online where no real-life inconveniences intrude on this).

But when they move into an actual-for-real D/s relationship that extends beyond playtime, when they don’t feel that euphoric mindset while doing relatively mundane things, they think somehow they’re doing it wrong, that something is broken, that they need to ‘fix’ it.

But it’s not a thing.

There’s no ‘magical mindset’, no domly/subly nirvana they should feel.

People wax lyrical about it because it’s hot and fun and sweet, and that’s where the intensity lies. Hell, I do that because those moments of intense connection inspire me to write. Nobody wants to hear about perfectly mundane situations where I tell my submissive to do something dull and he thinks its annoying, but he does it anyway (I HAVE written some posts like that, but rarely).

Add the newbie-high type feelings to the endless stories about how super-special D/s is, and often when the reality of a D/s relationship hits, newer folks are confused & disappointed because they don’t feel like they think they should. They’re still sometimes cranky about dumb shit and annoyed about that thing their partner said and grumpy about goodness knows what.

Will you feel some amazing little kick of goodness over small things sometimes? Absolutely. Cherish it.

Will you feel it all the time like some floaty goodness that pervades your every interaction and overrides your normal human feelings? I can guaran-fucking-tee you that you will not.

There’s no magical D/s fairy dust that sets aside normal human relationship guff, human feelings, human complexities.

What makes D/s relationships work for real is navigating agreements and taking action despite not feeling some magical submissive/dominant buzz.

That’s not as sexy or romantic or mystical as thinking otherwise, but it’s the truth.

If you, as a sub, grumpily think, “Oh FFS, I just sat down :(” when your dom asks you to do something, that’s normal. It’s okay, truly.

The question is: “What do you DO then in the context of your agreed D/s dynamic?”

And the answer to that question is the crux of making your D/s relationship work. The crux is not that you feel a certain way about it all the time. The crux is that you do the things that support your dynamic and your relationship.

You can negotiate how to deal with those very real actually-happens-a-lot situations in ways that help you both strengthen the dynamic. You can create ways of using them to your advantage.

This vs expecting magical thinking to make all of that human relationship stuff just… go away because ‘subspace’ or something.

Loves: 19
Please wait…

You may also like


  1. So true Ferns. Every relationship is work, not matter what they are. A dear friend who happens to be a Domme, though not mine, has helped me understand an awful lot as I have ventured into this world. One of the most important first things she taught me was that even in a D/s relationship, the principle of equality has to exist. Both parties need to give and get in ways that maintain equilibrium, which is work, like anything else. The spiritual part of D/s is just part of it, but so too are the days less pleasant tasks like who is going to take out the trash or vacuum the floor….and what is interesting is that with her sub they worked out how psychically taxing such mundane things were and divvied them up according to who would suffer the least from doing them…I thought that was rather enlightening for the humdrum. But what you say, or he says, in the post is so true, at the beginning, EVERYTHING for a new sub is exciting…but it is no big deal for things also to normalise, especially for those into the lifestyle aspects of D/s. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *