Our resident BDSM advice columnist Molly comes to the rescue of a new Fetish.com member who needs clarity on how 24/7 D/s relationships work - and advises on the red flags to watch out for.
  

Dear Molly
I'm fairly new to kink and BDSM, recently I spoke with someone about 24/7 D/s relationships, I asked her a few questions, and she gave me a general idea about it. But this kind of relationship confused me so much because she said that, 'the slave has no freedom'. For example, she chooses for him; what to eat, what to wear, when to sleep and when to wake up. She told me that he is allowed to have hard limits, that means things that she will never push him to do, but he has no right to use a safe word. So that means no matter what she does to him, he has to take it no matter if he likes it or not - as long as it respects his limits. But she also told me that when he serves her in a good way, she will give him rewards, sexual pleasure and be more caring for him. This kind of relationship sounds a little bit harsh for me, maybe because I didn't understand it very well and perhaps it's different from the normal Dom/sub relationship. I'd be happy if you could explain to me in detail about 24/7 D/s relationships; are there different forms and if so, what are they and was the information given correct?

New and confused

 

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Dear new and confused,
I can see why some of the given information is both confusing and off-putting. I'll try to help make better sense of it for you. D/s or Dom/sub relationships like all relationships vary greatly. Just like no two marriages are the same, no two D/s relationships are the same either.
 

24/7 D/s relationship or not?

Not all D/s relationships are 24/7, but that doesn't mean they're not still Dom/sub relationships. For some people, maintaining this dynamic all the time is just too much or just not possible, perhaps due to being involved in other relationships or distance from partners. As a result, people have negotiated a different time frame on their dynamic, e.g. it might be something that only happens when they're together in person, or just happens in the bedroom, or at certain play events. 

24/7 D/s relationships mean that the dynamic between the two people is something that's part of their life all the time. It's never switched off, and the agreed relationship rules between the partners are in place all of the time. 

Key to both of these relationships, 24/7 or not, is that they're entered into by both parties who have explored what they mean to them and how they might like it - and agreed together on what works for them as a partnership. One of the most important things when exploring such a possibility with someone is that you have some idea of the things you might like and the limits you have. Anyone who tells you that you're not allowed limits or to have any input into your D/s relationship is in my opinion, someone to stay away from. 
 

Dom and sub versus Master and slave

So we've already covered that not all D/s is 24/7 - but what about the difference between Dom and sub and Master and slave relationships? For some people, this is just a matter of title preferences, but for others, those words mean very different things and can inform the type of relationship those people have. For many people, the level of power exchange - e.g. how much control is given up by the sub or slave -  is indicated by those terms and often Master/slave relationships involve a greater amount of power exchange than D/s relationships. 

Often in Master/slave relationships, the slave will have very little control over anything and the vast majority of their life will be managed by the Dominant.  These include things like you mentioned, such as what they wear, when they eat and sleep, where they go, what level of interaction they're allowed with others - and possibly even financial control of their lives. Those things are not limited to Master/slave relationship dynamics but can also be a feature of a Dom/sub dynamic too. Which is why it's vital not to assume what someone's kink relationship looks like based on the titles or words they use to name it. 
 


New to kink, BDSM or D/s relationships? Find other kinksters new to BDSM in the forum. Need questions answered? Ask Molly! 
 


You define your D/s relationship 

The most important thing when it comes to having a D/s relationship with someone is for you both to work out what that looks like. There's no right way to do D/s, no Dom/sub handbook to follow; the only right way is the one that works for you and your partner.  It's essential for you to think about what you would like that relationship to look like, then find someone who fits well with your needs and desires so that you can define what D/s means together. 

There will be some people, like the person you spoke to, who has a very fixed notion of what that means for them and expectations of what the other person will do. I don't think that it's a method that would work for many people, as it seems to be all about pleasing the other person with little or no regard for what their partner might like. On the other hand, there'll be people for whom precisely that will be a huge turn on; giving up all control and being focused on pleasing the other person. Clearly, from what you said, that would not work for you, and so this person is not the right fit - for you.
 

D/s relationship red flags

When talking to people about potential D/s relationships like this, it's also worth bearing in mind some red flags. These are things that someone does or says that should make you question whether the person you're talking to is safe or genuine. Some examples of red flags are:

  • Someone who expects you to submit to their will/wear their collar almost immediately.
  • Someone who asks you for money or control of your finances as proof of your dedication to them.
  • Someone who says you're not allowed limits or to say no. Saying you can't have a safeword means you can't say no, which is essentially removing that person's ability to withdraw consent.
  • Someone who refuses to ever meet up in person or talk to you on the phone or video call.
  • Someone who presents a list of demands and never asks you what you like.

These are just a few examples, but basically, anyone who is not interested in talking to you about what you like and developing a relationship together is someone that I would be very wary of.
 

Communicate for a happy D/s dynamic   

I write this a lot here on my column on Fetish.com - when it comes to defining a D/s relationship, communicate well with your partner. Be open and honest about what you like and what turns you on, and be receptive to learning new things. Develop what those things are as you gain experiences and listen to your partner(s) when they tell you their needs and wants. Open honest communication is how you get to a place where you have a happy and robust D/s dynamic that works for both people. 
Good luck! 
Molly x


Join others who are new to BDSM in the forum - it's free to join!  For tips and advice, contact Molly via her Fetish.com profile or visit her thread in the BDSM Forum:gimp:

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Jed

Posted

^^MrC...very much in agreement my friend. 24/7 will always contain RL situations that BOTH parties need to accept and identify with...having an empathetic nature will help you sustain your relationship, and allow you both to thrive. Life is full of curve balls, acceptance of these moments and learning how to deal with them through good communication will allow you both to grow. Regardless of the dynamic or roles within that dynamic, acceptance of this and creating an agreed rule to deal with those moments should become part of the foundations of your relationship.
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Mrchristopher70

Posted

Good article. I would say 24/7 is a mindset it's the setting of roles and those roles are not limited to a certain situation but you must understand the limits of what you are capable of within the constraints of real life. It's about working with and excepting a balance of ablity And establishment of certain rules that do not change withing the constraints of real life .
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