In D/s relationships there is a fine line to walk. Between dominant and abusive, things can be a bit blurry for those outside and inside of the relationship. Here to help clarify some things about consent vs dominance is our #kinktastic DearAbi. Read on...


How far is too far? Kink and privacy in question


Dear Abi,

I’ve always known I was kinky (I’m a submissive woman), and I’ve been practicing BDSM with casual play partners on dates as well as in clubs and at parties for a couple of years now. However, I’ve recently got involved in my first proper Dom/sub ongoing relationship that has the dynamic outside the bedroom as well as inside of it. This is something I’ve wanted since I can remember, but we’re still trying to figure out exactly what we want this relationship to look like.

He’s in a pretty similar situation to me - done lots of casual play but new to this kind of thing. How can we start setting up a dynamic in a way that works for both of us?

Also, he’s suggested that I give him the passwords to my social media accounts etc. I’m trying to work out how I feel about that. Is it too much of a violation of privacy, or is it within the rights of him as my dominant?

Thanks in advance,
Sub Still Adjusting

Hacker in black hoodie sitting behind laptop
Does your dom/me feel like a hacker instead of a master?

Dear SSA,

Before we go any further, there’s one thing I’d like to make absolutely clear:  Nothing is "within the rights of him as your dominant".

I promise, darling, it really doesn’t work like that. There isn’t a rule book for this that we all must follow; you’re not entering some brave new world of proscribed submission. Unless you’re particularly wedded to formal BDSM protocol (which is highly individualised anyway) or about to get heavily involved in Gorean slavery (which I would not necessarily recommend, for a variety of reasons), chances are that you - like the rest of us - are just making it up as you go along.

BDSM doesn’t operate on “rights”: your dom isn’t entitled to anything. BDSM operates based on enjoyment and on agreement: what you both want to do with each other and what you have both consented to do with each other.

It’s especially important to talk about this as it relates to kink, because there are times when boundaries might seem a little blurry. My dominants have my permission to push ahead when they’re in the mood and I don’t seem to be, for example: I like the dynamic that suggests, and I have a safeword if I want or need to withdraw consent unambiguously.

I loathe and despise anal sex, so it’s sometimes used as a punishment - which, of course, I have consented to and continue to consent to, despite really not enjoying it in any way, because I very much do enjoy the D/s dynamic it produces.

If you feel like it would be a violation of your privacy to share passwords to your social media accounts with your dominant - if you feel uncomfortable about it and don’t want to do it - then don't do it.

Say “no, that doesn’t work for me; let’s think of different ways to enhance our dynamic”. There certainly are submissives whose partners have total access to every corner of their lives like this, but I’ve never wanted that - and you don’t have to either. Someone who tries to push this point once you’d said you aren’t interested in pursuing it wouldn’t be acting in a dominant way but in an abusive one.

Building A Dynamic

This is a huge topic, one that I’ve covered in more depth here on

Here are a few pointers to get you and your partner started:

  • Consider terms of address. I’ve always found using a particular name or honorific for my dominant partners to be a powerful way to establish a dynamic and put myself in a headspace. There are plenty to choose from - there’s a good list here - but you can default to ‘Sir/Mistress’ if you aren’t sure yet which you like most.
  • Establish a few basic rules. Don’t come up with a long list of everything you will ever want to try; 1-3 is a good starting point. Keep them simple: “you’ll send me a photo of yourself every day that I will find arousing in some way” is a good one, or “you’ll always wear the kind of underwear I like most”. Orgasm control is a popular choice; the usual starting point is to establish that you’re only allowed to come with your partner’s permission whether they’re present or not. (If you’re non-monogamous, these rules often need a bit of tweaking; here).
  • Share your fantasies freely. It takes time to build up a dynamic, and you’re both going to need to understand what the other person is looking for. Sharing fantasies is a great way to do that - and you’ll each be able to tell the other which ones you’re happy to make come true for them.

It’s important to remember that nothing is set in stone. Your dynamic should work for both of you, and the way to make that happen is to try things often and with an open mind. Always leave the door open to recalibrate if something doesn’t work.


Want to ask DearAbi a question? Send her a message or talk about it freely in the forums. Privacy is a hot topic in the kink world, make some basic ideas so you can play happy! If you're new to the family, why not get the full experience and sign up for a free membership?


Images from FlickrCreativeCommons from s-a-m



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