Monday, May 16, 2011

love in the lifestyle

SouthernSir sent me this interesting question (and later his own response which I agree with.) He and I would be interested in readers' views on this.
Hello Pygar

I am curious about how one feels regarding how love fits in to the BDSM lifestyle.
In reading various resources I have noticed that there are many Dom's who feel
that love towards one's sub is actually a detriment to the relationship and the lifestyle as a whole.
Once a Dom begins to feel emotion's towards their sub it changes the dynamics of the relationship
in such a way that to some they feel it makes them weak, or because of the fact that they now love this person that
they feel they are now no longer able to push their subs limits out of fear of hurting them.
Doesn't love make you stronger not weaker in any relationship?
How can one truly guide someone and push their boundaries in all ways if they do not truly care for that person?

Curious on thoughts about this.

Respectfully yours
I replied,
Thank you SouthernSir for your interesting email.

I feel a caring relationship with a sub is essential. Just my approach. I feel that a real attachment between sub and Dom is key to such relationships. How could a sub give herself totally to her Dom if she did not feel she was cared for - and yes, loved?

I find I have to have a strong affection for a sub and I am not frightened to call it love. Her submission is something precious - to give this deserves respect, care and love.

If a Dom feels no emotion towards his sub then I worry he is not a Dom but an abuser.

I agree strongly with you that love makes you stronger not weaker in a relationship.

You are right that it is possible to push boundaries when there is trust and respect and a true knowledge of care and love.

- Pygar
So what do readers think?


  1. I agree wholeheartedly! You both said it so well it's not much more I need to add (that's a first, right,P?! =P)
    I actually have a difficulty to see how you _can not_ get an emotional attachment to your sub/Dom. From a submissive point of view; how can you not feel (atleast) affection towards someone you give yourself over to? And I agree; I don't think you can give yourself fully until you have that connection. It deepens trust and respect and the will to follow, wherever he may lead you.
    Same must go for Dom? (but switch places on follow and lead ;))

  2. I just can write about myself, not for all subs. But i am just able to lay back into the arms of my Dom if i have feelings for him. But more important for me is the fact, that i wouldn't be able to trust somebody without having feelings. There has to be a common understanding within a D/s relationship, sympathy and yes, feelings. It is always said, that the sub is allowed to have feelings - but why shouldn't the Dom be as well? I need to know, that my Dom cares for me, that i am safe with him and that he has feeling for me. Not to sure if i would call it love though...


  3. I think there has to be some strong feelings between myself and my Dom in order for me to truly give myself to him. I have never been able to just "do it" for the sake of "doing it". I need that emotional involvement to fully surrender myself to a man. I need to know that he loves me and will do what is in my best interest. I know for me it is a very strong and important part of my submission to my Dom.

  4. So well said betwixt the two Tops here...*smiles*...

    i started with my Sir as having formed some feelings over 5 months of talking, texting, emails. When we finally met was...Wow...BOOM...for us both.

    He was very uncomfortable with the "L" word, but he did care for me...

    And i nearly left him in January, year to the day from our first live meet, because of His reluctance to open His heart.

    We (thank all the Powers that Be) have reconciled, as i love Him deeply. And i know He returns that love, that depth of caring.

    in opening His heart? He was able to ramp our D/s play to new levels.

    It's been an exciting, sometimes painful journey (on several fronts!) that has opened the doors to a deeper, saner part of my life.


  5. I think that love is an important component. As already mentioned, love only makes a relationship stronger, not weaker. My husband (who is my Dom too) exerts his leadership, guidance, and dominance out of his love for me. He pushes me BECAUSE he loves me. Love is at the core of it. And same for me. I obey and submit, please and serve, BECAUSE I love him. I don't think either of us would be able to do these things if love wasn't at the very core of it all.


  6. My feeling is that if a sub were to give themselves to a Dom that did
    not care for them or love them it would be nothing more then an empty
    sexual relationship where they were nothing more then a so called
    whipping post. There would not be any growth in the relationship and
    it would just stagnate and wither over time.

    I love my girl very deeply and I am honored by the gift she has
    bestowed upon me. It is that same love that makes me push her that
    much more as I see what she is capable of and can be.

  7. I believe BDSM is a relationship style, not better or worse than any other style, just different. Love or deep attachment is the ultimate goal of any life time relationship and it is no different in BDSM. Of course not everyone is looking for a life time or even long time relationship.

    So I think it depends on the nature of you practice or play with BDSM. For me in a 24/7 context I suppose I could do it with out being in love but what would the point of that be?

  8. Disclaimer: Read this on the understanding that I am one of the world's least romantic females...

    Everything said here rings true -- IF the emotion you mean is caring.
    Because I think that yes, there needs to be caring in a BDSM relationship. Preferably a caring that's open to evolve into something more. I agree with Sir J, this is generally the goal in any relationship and BDSM is no different.
    But I also agree with lil - I don't think the emotion has to actually be love for things to work well.

    Love is a bit of an untrustworthy word, I think.

  9. Love in the sense of caring, like Jz said. And I think it's as much, if not moreso, about self-love first That is essential for forming any healthy relationship, D/s, M/s, vanilla, friendship, etc. When there's the lasting kind of marriage or long-term committment love, well that takes things to another wonderful level of course. But is that necessary for a D/s connection to be meaningful and positive? I don't think so. Depends on what the two people need and want.


  10. i think the folks who've said that "love" is a slippery word are right indeed. However, "trust" isn't as hard to pin down, and if nothing else, D/s or M/s is based on mutual trust and honesty. i could not possibly trust a Dom who did not, in whatever ways He saw fit, make it known to me that He cares for me. By extension, i have a hard time being Honest with someone i don't trust with my body, soul, and will. (Honesty with a capital "H," meaning *truth*, even when you would rather not face it, even when it isn't pretty and pink, and even when it means giving Him an answer He won't like.)

    "Love" probably has as many definitions as there are people...but one thing it is *not* is weak. It requires, i believe, vulnerability, and vulnerability requires that old "trust" thing again. For me, love is in the details, in the close way He observes my manner and demeanor and questions me, responds to my needs (which are often distinct from my *wants*, damnit), lets me know He is there, even when He can't be my everything.

    Sorry to babble. Your question made me think, SouthernSir, and I'm indebted to You for that. Thanks also, Pygar, for posting.

    - kytten

  11. I loved my last partner passionately, she was my lover, partner and submissive. When she died I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to embark on another D/s relationship.

    What I have now with my Dominus is totally different, it's certainly not a romance and more M/s than D/s.

    We've had a rough patch recently, something made me doubt he cared as much as I thought. I don't think he loves me, but he has admitted to strong feelings for me.

    Do I love him? Yes.

    I was made brutally aware of my feelings when I thought he'd died in the New Zealad earth quake, but I kept it bottled up and have only told him very recently.

    Do I think love essential to a D/s relationship? No, but I do think it's almost inevitable given the intensity of what we share.

    How can we hurt the one we love? Surely to deny them what they sought in the first place is more hurtful?

  12. DanesWood said: "Do I think love essential to a D/s relationship? No, but I do think it's almost inevitable given the intensity of what we share."

    I think it is nearly impossible for some kind of feelings not to grow from a D/s relationship. Given the depth of the sharing call it what you will; love, caring, affection, devotion. It is there to be found.

    As with nilla; my girl and I met online and we had built a strong enotional bond before we ever met. When we did met in person it was accentuated to entirely higher level.

  13. Southern Sir: My Master and I have been online for 7 months now, and we have also connected very deeply even though we haven't yet met -soon though! Hopefully within the next month or two -and I can't wait! It is going to be so good -because I already love Him =)

    word verification: prond (just turn the n around =)

  14. I think love is essential to a D/s relationship. At least I can say so of my experience.
    It is first now, that my relationship with my Master had gotten some stability, the love is deep that I am truly able to embrace my submissiveness. It is also now I can actually communicate properly about issues that might pop up. I've never been a person that could cry with witnesses. Even after we moved in together. I would choke down my tears until I could run and hide in the bathroom. Now, I still hide a little, but the hiding can under his arm or burrowing in to his cheast. Or now that we are long distance for a period again, hiding in to a pillow while still in video call. This also led to little communcation in the past, because I would just shut down, go in the closing in mode, to avoid crying. Because I knew, if we/ I talked, I would end up in tears. Without love I could not submit to him.

  15. Is it love or trust that enables you to submit ponderouspet?

    I'm a little like you, I find it difficult to show I'm not coping with an issue too well. I tend to close down and it's a real effort to open up and allow him to see I'm hurt and upset, even though he's not the cause the majority of the time.

    Is it strength or weakness to allow ourselves to be seen so vulnerable?

  16. DanesWood.
    Well, it is both love and trust. I had/still have a little issues with trust. It is me(well us) being totally in love that makes it so the relationship has gone forward and still do, the trust has grown along the way.

    It depends wether it is a strength or a weakness. I would say it is a weakness when you end up closing in from the one person in your life that is closes to you. But it can be considered a strenght when it comes to puplic. Because it do takes strength to be able to hold in and hold back emotions. And that can be any emotions. But it is a weakness if you never can let the guard down.

  17. Master cares about me, deeply...i know because He has told me so and because i see it in the things He does for me- in the ways He shows me He is with me, even if not physically most of the time-i feel it when we are apart and when we are together. Is it love? i dont know...He has never said the words "I love you", but as others have stated, love has many different meanings to different people. do i love Him? oh yes, no doubts about that at all.
    i think maybe starting out in this kind of relationship, maybe the deep feelings arent there yet, but i believe after time, the bond, trust and caring grow deeper with each day.

  18. I think love and trust go hand in hand. As you trust more you love more. As you love more you trust more.

    DanesWood said: Is it strength or weakness to allow ourselves to be seen so vulnerable?

    I would have to say it is a strength. To be able to put yourself out there to be that vulnerable takes not only trust, but true inner strength and conviction. That is not weakness at all.

    Hisflower, saying the words "I love you" is only one way of expressing feelings. The way someone looks at you, the way they touch you, the way they kiss, the way they spank (sorry couldn't resist a little humor) so many different ways to express love
    and just as many different ways to feel love.

  19. "To be able to put yourself out there to be that vulnerable takes not only trust, but true inner strength and conviction."

    This. Thank you, Southern Sir.

    I love my husband deeply and have for over half my life, but that doesn't automatically make me able to "let go" and easily experience the things he wants me to experience. But I trust him implicitly with the trust Southern Sir describes, and this gives me the strength to submit.

    However, I simply can't imagine submission to a man I did not love, trust, and honor as I do my husband.

  20. I don't know if Sir loves me; I do know he cares deeply for me.
    I couldn't trust him if I didn't love him and I do totally trust him.

    But it is not my usual kind of loving.. I know we couldn't live together under any conditions unless it were for only a few days a week. He needs his "alone" time more than anyone I've ever met. And I need some as well.
    Its a moot point for us but certainly an interesting question. I don't know how anyone could trust the other without deep caring and love.

  21. Wow - 20 comments so far. What a great discussion. Thank you all - and especially to SouthersSir for posing the question - and then giving us his own answer to it! But thank you too to everyone else for being so open very personal things and engaging in the discussion so positively.

    I think most are agreed that a strong affectionate tie adds to a D/s relationship. Some may see this as love and even need that - others perhaps not. Love is a different thing to pin down. Jz wrote that the strong emotion doesn't actually have to be love for it to work out. However I am sure she would not preclude that. She wrote an interesting post some time ago related to this where she talked of in her case "intimacy" being the key part of her relationship rather than love. That inspired a past post by me on "A Kind Dom" discussing exactly that.

    Thank you all again for sharing your feelings and experiences.

    - P xxxx

  22. What an interesting thread! What amazingly reflective answers. I really enjoyed reading them.

    I'm so torn on this issue. Not because I don't agree that there has to be some serious attachment between Doms/Dommes and subs for things to really work, but because perhaps I feel that love is not one thing, but a broad spectrum of feelings. And they all don't have to be present.

    There is a lot of equating love and trust. I think for a lot of people there is almost no possibility of reaching the level of trust under discussion here without also feeling romantic love towards the person in question.

    I tend to suffer from being over-analytic. I can and have trusted people I didn't love, because their ethics and competencies were obvious. I've also loved people I knew I could not trust.

    Ultimately, I think that part of what makes a good relationship, D/s or otherwise, is that you not only feel loved, but you feel loveable.

    Here is where I fail miserably. And I'm envious of anyone who manages it.

  23. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the comments here. I am inclined towards Remittance Girl's theory of love: that there is a broad spectrum of love. I live within a relationship based on 'eternal love' but I also have a mentoring relationship where such a word as 'love' is never mentioned. Yet, I definitely trust and I care and I receive care in both types of power exchange relationships.

    As well, sub-consciously I think I tend to test the bounds of 'loveability' from time to time. Whilst my behaviour is monitored within those power exchanges, my 'feelings' at times refuse to be contained. If you care/love/want to engage with me, you really do need to be prepared to see all of me; even the part that has the odd melt down. Once the emotions have been expressed I am happy to have them contained again. To this end, I'm hard work, I realize, but then again, to hang in there with me is a testament to the level of connection and perhaps too, the test of 'loveability'. (This thought only just occurred to me so please excuse the jumbled thought process.)

  24. Thank you Remittance Girl and Vesta for adding so interestingly to the discussion.

    I think there are so many types of love and it will mean different things to each of us in different contexts. I suppose as Remittance girl suggests that there can be love without trust - so perhaps we should be careful not to conflate them.

    But being loveable? Do any of us have the confidence to describe ourselves as loveable? Isn't that part of the joy when we find someone who truly loves us - to discover that we are loveable to at least one other?

    P xx

  25. Thank you dear Sweet girl for bringing a big smile to my face and even a brief chuckle.

    I am sure you are lovable. However please check with your Master and let us know what he says!!!!


    P xxxx

  26. P: He says see you (read: me) in 3 weeks! ;)

    Smiles and chuckles are good - I hear they prolong life! =)

  27. When my Sir and i met, it was not the usual way...the stars aligned and W/we connected, though W/we were and still are distanced by thousands of miles. Via skype, W/we got to know each other and learned that He was Dominant and i had submissive tendencies, but did not know about the D/s world. Night after night, W/we skyped and with each night, W/we grew to like more of what was learned about the O/other. He slowly began to mentor me, having me research what BDSM was about and with each task, i gave a report. Soon He started testing me with certain things, like nipple play, rope bondage, orgasm and orgasm denial. It was not too long after those tests that W/we decided to further my submissive journey with Him as my Dom and kitten as His sub...

    2 months had past with O/our training every night, adding tasks during the day, starting with a morning ritual and various assignments each day. This had kitten feeling her submission to Him every day, all day, from the moment kitten woke, to the moment she drifted to sleep...

    on O/our 2 month anniversary, Sir came to visit me in person - W/we were B/both anxious to see if W/we were compatible physically and as it turned out, W/we were...

    W/we spent one glorious week together, W/we trained and W/we spent a lot of vanilla moments together as well. On His last day of being with me, W/we declared O/our love and it was a bittersweet departure...

    Since then, kitten received His training collar. kitten has also had a light bulb moment in that i went from wanting Him and His dominance, to needing Him and His dominance...AND HIS LOVE.

    Next month, He returns to me with an Eternity collar, a commitment W/we take very seriously and did not rush, but folks, the love came first and has not hindered Him being strict with me or my complete submission to Him, in fact, it has greatly enhanced it!

    Wishing You well,

    kitten for Sir


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