In a recent edition of my Dear Abi column over on Fuck.com, I answered a question from someone who has recently entered into a BDSM relationships for the first time. She wanted to know how best to go about establishing a dynamic with her partner, so I gave her some basic advice.

As I was writing it, though, I realise what a huge topic this is - and it seemed like a great opportunity for a more in-depth exploration of it here on Fetish.com.

 

BDSM Relationships 101:

Establishing Dynamics

 

What do we mean by ‘dynamic’?


For the purposes of this guide, I’m using ‘dynamic’ to refer to the way that people in kinky BDSM relationships relate to each other. Dominant/submissive can be used as an umbrella term - not least because it’s pleasingly and inherently gender-neutral - but there are plenty of specific kinds of kink dynamic. Master/slave, owner/pet and caregiver/little are all common types. And really there are as many BDSM dynamics as there are BDSM relationships.

Bear in mind that you don’t have to pick one of these roles and stick to it. In my experience, the overwhelming majority of kinky relationships develop a dynamic totally unique to them. One that blends elements of lots of dynamic types together to become something ideal for both people.

 

Consider your terms of address


Deciding what to call each other is an important part of establishing the kind of dynamic you’re going to have. If you’re happier using each other’s names, do that. It’s worth a bit of discussion, though, because this is certainly an easy way to start getting a dynamic going.

Some styles and subcultures have names that are specifically appropriate to them. Daddy/Mama in an ageplay or CG/l relationship, for example. Other people have titles they specifically like using. I personally am fond of using Sir and Ma’am for the majority of the people who dominate me. I’ve always felt a bit awkward saying ‘Master’ or ‘Mistress’ out loud. If you’d like some ideas, here’s an excellent list with plenty of options for people of a variety of gender identities. Don’t feel like you have to pick one immediately and stick with it. Experiment for a while and see what works best for you.

 

Who's your Daddy?


Remember, though, that terms of address aren’t just for a dominant partner. What the dom calls their sub is just as important. Many will have particular names that help put their submissive partners into a particular subspace. This is a great way to build headspaces and is a huge component of a lot of psychological BDSM. A session in which your dom is calling you ‘whore’ or ‘fuckdoll’ will feel very different to one where you’re being referred to as ‘baby’ or ‘sweetheart’, though both can be equally submissive places to go.This is something you really need to talk about in advance, though. Not everybody wants to be called a dumb slut, after all, and if you get it wrong you could end up genuinely hurting and upsetting someone you care about - so clear it with them

This is something you really need to talk about in advance, though. Not everybody wants to be called a dumb slut, after all. If you get it wrong you could end up genuinely hurting and upsetting someone you care about. So clear it with them first and keep your experimentations inside everyone’s limits.

BDSM-dynamic-2.jpg

 

Work together on a list of rules to follow


Not everyone wants their BDSM dynamics to spread out into the rest of their lives. But for those of us who enjoy maintaining a kinky structure outside the bedroom as well as inside it a set of rules for the sub to follow at all times is a great way to start.

Don’t fall into the trap of setting too many, though. Start with one to three. This should give you a solid foundation you can build on a few months in if you feel the need to. There are plenty of lists and guides online that can give you new rule ideas. The best way to get going is to sit down together and figure out what turns you both on.

As with all things in BDSM, this is a two-way street. The rules you set need to work for both parties in the relationship. You both need to be clear that they can be changed and developed as time goes by depending on what works best. They’re not set in stone; they can be tweaked at any time.

Be sure that the dom is actually enforcing these rules. They lose all power if they’re allowed to slide. Which will have a serious impact on your relationship’s dynamic. Subs also need to be really strict with themselves about accountability - if you don’t confess when you’ve broken a rule, the spell will be broken.

If your relationship is non-monogamous, you might find that you need to tweak your rules a little to help your relationships sit comfortably alongside each other. I’ve written about how to do that in more depth here.

 

Look for ways to share your dynamic with a wider community


If you like the idea of taking your dynamic out and about, it can be a beautiful way to develop and enhance that dynamic. Once other people can see what you’re doing, it suddenly becomes that much more real. You’re no longer in your own private little bubble. The roles you and your partner take on when you’re alone can be beautifully solidified with a little public display.

That display shouldn’t be too public, of course. Bystander consent is important. It’s vital that everyone involved in what you’re doing - including people who aren’t directly involved in what you’re doing - is entirely happy with what’s going on. The easiest way to achieve this is to look into play parties, fetish clubs and kink events.

Fetlife is a good place to start finding munches and other events near you. If you happen to live in London, I’ve got a quick run-down of how to get started in London’s kink scene here.

 

Remember that all BDSM dynamics are a work in progress


If you’re doing it right, your BDSM relationships will continue to change, grow and develop the whole time you’re together. You’ll have periods of an intense BDSM dynamic and periods where things are a little calmer. You’ll have times when you’re very invested in certain established roles and other times when you’re avidly exploring new ones. Don’t let your dynamic or your relationship start to stale. Keep sharing your fantasies with each other. Trying out new things you’re both interested in and willing to explore. Thinking seriously about what you might like to do next.

Brand new dynamics often have the most fire to them. They can seem the most passionate, the most intense. They’re usually pretty shallow when you really get down to it, though. I love casual sex - including causal kinky sex - but for a rich dynamic with a lot of depth, you can’t beat an ongoing relationship.

Put the time and effort in that it needs, and let yours grow naturally. It might just turn out to be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

 

Abi Brown is a freelance writer and general pen-for-hire devoted to sexual deviancy, far-left politics and wearing too much jewellery. Find her at her website or @see_abi_write.

 


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