Respect in D/s – Redefining Respect in Play
Most well-functioning relationships have a strong foundation in some basic ideas of honesty, communication and respect. If you are unable to be yourself and trust the person you are in a romantic connection or sexual dynamic with, then your relationship might not develop into the deep bond that so many people are looking for. While respect and communication are important in all sorts of relationships, they become paramount in D/s connections. That is not only to avoid harm and hurt, but also to grow together in the dynamics you are in.
I am not a relationship expert but I am quite confident in saying that my relationship with my Master is well-functioning. There are things that could improve, there are things that we both wished were better and we have good days and bad days together. But in general, our relationship is well-functioning.
I think the D/s part of your relationship will expand more in the future, but we are navigating difficult territory. I have a plethora of mental and physical illnesses, and he is more of a caretaker Dom than the strict Dom that I’d sometimes need. In the bedroom, on the other hand, it works out perfectly. Our sadistic and masochistic, dominant and submissive inclinations are in harmony with each other.
Respect in D/s
When people hear the word respect in relation to D/s and BDSM they might just assume that it is a paradox. How can a relationship where someone is breaking all the boundaries of what conventional respect is, actually be respectful? I get that. A submissive gives up a lot of control and power, and a Dominant seemingly can do with the submissive however they please, right? Only, it isn’t that simple.
Before you enter a D/s dynamic, might it be for BDSM play or a romantic relationship, you both discuss limits and consent. There is no “all free to go” – card. There is a framework of limits that both in the connection need to respect. They communicate, they discuss things, and they decide the rules and framework of the relationship or the play scene together.
Once that is done, there are many ways for everyone to continue to show respect. In a lot of D/s connections, partners address each other according to their roles. For some that is for the bedroom only, for others it might extend to almost all areas of life. Again, it is not only something that the submissive does, the Dominant does so as well.
Most people would be worried about the Dominant’s lack of respect for the submissive. They might hurt them, degrade them, play with them, set up rules that need to be followed, and punish when needed. This might imply that the submissive is to respect the Dominant, and if not, they might get punished. The thing is, in a consensual connection, where limits have been discussed beforehand, everything is done with respect to just that. It might not be very obvious, but the Dominant is showing respect towards the submissive by respecting limits and only acting within the framework they worked out together.
I can see how there is a potential for disrespect and even abuse in D/s dynamics. If a Dominant is not respecting the limits, then the relationship can quickly slide into something very unhealthy. But in D/s relationships and BDSM play, consent is paramount, and if that is followed by all parties involved, then respect is a given, and most likely even stronger than in most vanilla connections.
When Respect Gets Redefined in my D/s Relationship
There are some areas in my relationship, where the boundaries of respectful behaviour sometimes get pushed. In those areas, it is important for us to still be aware of where the lines are, and to not break any hard limits. But can respect sometimes mean something different than the structured roles, following commands and respecting limits? For sure.
Being a Brat
I am a brat. I am definitely a submissive, but I am a bratty submissive. And I sometimes tease my Master by pushing the boundaries of respect a little. I know what is expected of me, I know that I am supposed to be respectful and follow his commands. But I also like to intentionally ignore those things and poke him. He knows that, and as we are not in a very strict protocol D/s dynamic, my bratty disrespect becomes part of our play and our daily interactions.
It could be the literal poke with the finger, or it could be saying “Master” in a more sarcastic way. It could be sticking out my tongue to him, or even blatantly ignoring a command. I don’t do those slightly disrespectful actions to make him angry, or because I don’t respect him. I do them because I want to play. What I want is for him to punish me, I want to push him into showing me that he is the one in control. I want to fight with him about it. And I want to lose.
I don’t necessarily see those things that I do as hugely disrespectful. I know where the hard limits are, and I only push a little. If my Master were a Disciplinarian, or a strict Dominant, who would have told me that those kinds of actions were not allowed, then I would definitely not behave that way. But he knows me, and I know him. And what might seem disrespectful in a D/s context for others, is part of our play and our dynamics. It is sort of like that I crave reminders to act more respectfully. Sexy, painful reminders. Mmm.
Degradation and Erotic Humiliation
Another area where it might seem like respect is not given, is when we engage in degradation play or erotic humiliation. I love being degraded and humiliated in a sexual context. Verbally, physically, sexually. I like being called a whore, a slut, a plaything, a hole. I love being ignored when someone fucks me, I love being pissed on and I love being shown how nasty and horny I am. So when he does those things to me, yes, they are disrespectful. But that is just the thing: that he is disrespecting me as a human being and as a sexual object, is my turn on!
And it is also important to add that there are limits that he respects in that context. I don’t like being called things like pig or cow. I don’t want to hear negative things about my body parts. And there are also physical hard limits, like scat or public humiliation. Most of those might be fantasies of mine, but are at the moment hard limits. So when doing degradation or erotic humiliation, we redefine the idea of respect during those play times.
In general, respect is about caring about another human being and making sure that you are aware of their boundaries and needs. It is about accepting that we are all different and need different things to feel safe and satisfied. I don’t think it is much different in D/s relationships and BDSM play. Respect is more defined, and something that is openly communicated when limits are discussed. Any misconceptions about respect in D/s and BDSM dynamics seem to ignore the importance of consent in those connections.