I’ve written before about protocol – but this article is to go into the subject a little further. I want to talk about different levels of protocol. Low (or everyday) protocol, medium protocol, and high protocol. Keep in mind that one person’s “medium” can be another person’s “high” or someone else’s “low”. Also, some D/s relationships may choose to maintain medium or high protocols and not allow low protocol with perhaps just a few exceptions. I will describe these categories with various examples to give you a general idea of what I’m talking about.

Low/everyday Protocol

This refers to the most casual form of protocols. These may include protocols that aren’t as obvious to the vanilla world. Or being in “low protocol” may simply mean you aren’t adhering to most of your protocols with a few exceptions, like coffee service for example.

Medium Protocol

For many people in D/s relationships this may be their everyday protocol or for some it may be the protocols that they adhere to whenever they are at a kink event.

High Protocol

Typically this level of protocol is followed when attending a high protocol kink event. It also may be used for specific periods of time (eg, high protocol weekend) or specific situations (eg, hosting a high protocol dinner).

So what would this perhaps look like in reality? I’m going to use one type of protocol as an example and explain how it would be done in low vs medium vs high.

Let’s start with a fun one – bathroom protocol! Lol If this is a protocol that’s followed then the low/everyday version may be that the s-type must let the D-type know that they are using the restroom. The medium version is the one many people are more familiar with. This would be where the s-type must ask permission to use the restroom.

Wondering what the heck high protocol would look like? Some people think it may be that the s-type isn’t allowed to go to the restroom. Not quite. Typically it may look like the s-type isn’t using the restroom, when in reality they are simply having to wait for permission to use the restroom – they may not ask. This, of course, means that the D-type needs to pay close attention!

Another example would be protocol about where the s-type locates themselves around the D-type. In low protocol the s-type may be required to stand or sit to the left of their D-type. In medium protocol perhaps they must stand or sit to their left in a specific position. In high protocol perhaps there is an added protocol that the s-type always sits on the floor at the D-types’ feet whether the D-type is standing or sitting.

These are just a couple of simple examples – something to give you an idea of how protocols can be used in different ways. As I mentioned before – these are general examples, one person may treat the medium bathroom protocol as their high protocol, etc.

You can also use different collars to represent the level of protocol you’re in. For example – when in low protocol perhaps the s-type wears an everyday, or casual, collar. In medium protocol situations there may be a more traditional or fetish collar used. In high protocol the s-type may wear a fetish collar or perhaps a posture collar is used. These various collars still represent the same relationship dynamic.

Added note – in some circumstances protocols of any kind are more difficult. Vanilla settings, family functions, etc. Some people may decide to temporarily remove protocols or come up with “vanilla protocols” that represent the protocols they have in place but that are very discreet or aren’t noticeable. For example, they have a protocol in place where the s-type must ask permission to start eating. This may be viewed unfavorably by a more mainstream crowd. So, instead, they decide that the s-types way of “asking permission” is to comment about how good the meal looks/smells, etc. Then the D-types way of “giving permission” is by agreeing that the food look/smells delicious. Nobody is the wiser but the D/s couple has stuck to their protocol, under the radar.

I hope this gives a bit more insight as to how protocols can be used in different ways.

Insecurities and the Kinky Eraser

(Disclaimer: this article references stereotypical body insecurities. I am not speaking to my personal idea of beauty.)

For many of you this article may not be very relevant – that’s ok. It does, however, apply to enough people that I felt it deserved some attention. I have had many conversations with people that are coming into the scene from the vanilla world. You know how when you’re dating and you start seeing someone new who is completely different from your old partner, yet you bring along all your baggage that you either have to work thru or realize it just doesn’t apply in the new relationship? Well the phenomenon I am discussing here is kinda like that.

For this article I am honing in on body issues and sense of attractiveness. There are two areas I see this issue play out – individually and when looking for a partner. I will start with the individual. This typically effects s-types. Why? Because they are usually the ones expected to shed some clothing at parties or at least during scenes. However, many new s-types feel completely intimidated by this when they begin their journey. They can’t imagine taking off clothes in front of a room of strangers. Much of this has to do with body image as well as it just being a new situation for them. I think what happens though, eventually, is that they see many others stripping down and they realize that almost nobody has a “perfect” body. And guess what? They also observe that those people aren’t ridiculed for it! This is something you just don’t see as much in the vanilla world. In the vanilla world, people get made fun of for every little flaw. No wonder people are intimidated by the thought of getting naked (or close to it) in the midst of a crowd. In the kink community not only are they not teased, but there is usually a lot of support and compliments given where the focus is the outfit, the shoes, the glittery eyeshadow, or the scene itself. Eventually I see most of these same people who started off feeling intimidated and insecure about showing more skin – taking it off (or at least more of it) a few months (give or take) later.

This issue also comes up when looking for a partner. This can go for everyone – newbies no matter what side of the slash. They come in thinking nobody will want them because they’re “too fat” or not attractive enough. Now I understand these insecurities (along with many more I just haven’t listed) are everywhere and certainly prevalent in the vanilla dating circles. Heck – there are dating apps solely based on matching due to how you look!

Here’s the thing – this is my theory as to why people have to adjust their baggage – or just toss it in the garbage when they enter the scene. In general, kinksters are looking beyond physical attributes – and/or looking at physical features completely differently. Have a big butt? Perfect for spanking. Broad shoulders like a linebacker? Fantastic for flogging. Large nipples? Hand over the clothespins. A bit fluffy and not stereotypically attractive but can throw a flogger? Line up the s-types! Do you get what I’m trying to say? Also, beyond play I think when people are looking for a connection, especially a D/s relationship, they are more drawn in by the strength of the dynamic than the other person’s physique. If you initially find someone who is “hot” but the dynamic pull just isn’t there – the attraction can fizzle. Vice versa, the dynamic pull can be so strong that the physical attraction simply follows. Can there be both? Of course! The point is that people walk into this scene with baggage and insecurities and it’s great to watch them slowly drop those societal expectations – even if it takes a little time. Kink is certainly more than skin deep.

Meta-communication or metacommunication, is a secondary communication (including indirect cues) about how a piece of information is meant to be interpreted. It is based on idea that the same message accompanied by different meta-communication can mean something entirely different, including its opposite, as in irony. The term was brought to prominence by Gregory Bateson to refer to “communication about communication”, which he expanded to: “all exchanged cues and propositions about (a) codification and (b) relationship between the communicators”. Metacommunication may or may not be congruent, supportive or contradictory of that verbal communication. (definition by Wikipedia, 2017)

Most people understand that a healthy relationship is chock full of good communication. If there is a problem or issue – to be able to sit down and discuss the issue, each partner expressing their viewpoint and opinion, and finding a resolution. This is a wonderful skill to have and it certainly helps a relationship flourish and move forward.

However, an additional skill that often gets overlooked is the ability to have communication about how you each communicate. Sometimes the way we communicate can get in the way of finding solutions to problems. I often find myself in my therapy practice walking couples thru their communication styles (often how they differ) in order for them to be able to focus on the actual problem.

Here’s a very common example of what I’m talking about. A couple has a fight or a problem that comes to the surface. (Going heteronormative here – bear with me) The male partner (I will call him “Steve”) says he needs some air and walks out and drives away. The female partner (I will call her “Linda”) gets even more angry and frustrated – running after Steve and yelling things like, “Oh sure just ignore me and leave like you always do!” She continues to sit at home stewing in anger. Meanwhile Steve is frustrated by Linda following him and screaming. He just knows he needs some time and is frustrated with her that she wants to push the issue right then and there.

Sound familiar? This is a scenario that happens a lot. So now what’s happened is that there is another layer of anger and fighting just about how each partner handled the argument. Perhaps when Steve comes back home there is a whole new fight about him leaving on top of the original issue.

This is a common manifestation when two people process differently. It’s an easy thing to fix once you have a conversation (with empathy) about it. What Steve and Linda will find is that Steve is the type of person who needs time after an argument (or maybe during if it’s really heated) to be alone in order to process and think about the presenting problem. He may also need that time to calm down if he tends to get heated and less logical when emotionally flooded. Linda, on the other hand, is the kind of person who processes in the moment and prefers to deal with issues head on until they are resolved. Taking a “break” feels extremely frustrating and when Steve would just walk away (before she understood why) it felt to her like he didn’t care.

Once both partners learn that they are different in how they process conflict – the hope is that they will no longer take it so personally and will be more empathetic to their partner’s needs, even though their needs are different. So if you and your partner seem to handle things in different ways or there is misinterpretation regarding how things are handled – talk about it. Have some communication about how you communicate. While it may sound like a lot of work or overwhelming – it is something that in the long run will be extremely beneficial to your relationship.

We Are Human First

This article is about consent and negotiation and mistakes and hindsight. It’s about personal responsibility and compassion.

There are reasons I don’t do pick up play and why I like to be at least friends with someone before I do a scene with them. When you play as a bottom you are trusting someone with your physical, mental, and emotional well-being for a certain amount of time. When you play as a Top you are trusting another person to be honest with you up front and not vilify you if you make a mistake. Notice the running theme? TRUST. Now, if you are just starting to play and have just met that person or have only known them a short time, then a whole lot of trust isn’t necessarily there yet. This is why it’s not recommended that you do heavy scenes or attempt to push boundaries and limits with someone in the beginning. You should be developing more trust first.

So what should you trust about a new play partner? Well, as a bottom you should hopefully be able to trust that your Top has good intentions and is looking to play with you in a safe way while adhering to the limits that you have stated during negotiation. That they are not looking to take advantage of you or do things that weren’t discussed just because “well you didn’t say I couldn’t”. (This is also why I teach newbies to negotiate from an “I want to start with just doing x, y, and z” position rather than trying to think of all the things they don’t want to do.) As a Top you should be able to trust that the bottom has disclosed whatever medical issues, triggers, etc that they are aware of, along with things that may be unique to them as a player. For example, bottoms – if when you go into subspace you are barely aware of your surroundings or what year it is, this is something the Top should be made aware of!

However, guess what? Even after all that things can go wrong. The bottom may have forgotten to disclose something. The Top may have briefly had a brain fart regarding one of the bottom’s limits. The bottom may have been triggered by something they didn’t realize they would be triggered by. The Top may have done something that wasn’t spelled out in negotiations (not talking about major stuff). But remember, scenes are supposed to be fun. Especially with a new partner who is likely not to go too “deep” or too far in play the first time. Not everything will be spelled out in the negotiation – it’s not possible. Or, if possible, it would probably be a very boring, predictable scene.

So what do you do about that? Well, for starters, choose to play with people you can have a conversation with. I’m talking about a conversation beyond the negotiation. If these things happen (which they will) don’t jump to anger and blaming the other person. Start with personal responsibility. Look in the mirror and ask yourself what part of that do you hold accountability for? Acknowledge this to your partner. Hopefully they will acknowledge their part of whatever happened as well. TALK about the little things that happened and assume it was not born from manipulation or ill intent. Are some people douche-nozzles? Absolutely. However, most people aren’t looking to hurt you or create a bad reputation for themselves. Most people are doing the best they can or the best they know how to do. So talk about the scene. Make adjustments in your future negotiations if need be.

Just remember when you strip away the titles and the power exchange – we are all just human first.

 

So many closets, so little time.  Well, ok, only two closets, however, I’ve had to come out of them again and again.

When you hear that someone “came out of the closet” you may think, “Good for them, it’s a big step and now they don’t have to worry about it anymore.”  What people may not realize is that once you come out – that’s just the FIRST time.  Essentially you have to come out every time you meet someone new or run into an old friend or family member who perhaps wasn’t around when you made the big announcement.  (That’s how everyone comes out by the way – big loudspeaker type pronouncement over the radio or in a stadium.)

Every time you tell someone new, you run the same risk you did the first time.  Will they react positively or with criticism?  Will your relationship with them change after this conversation?

When I came out the first time it was at the age of 17 and I came out to my friends as bisexual.  (FYI – this is still how I identify – I know – SHOCKER – it wasn’t just a phase…..)  I am proud to say I have wonderful friends who totally accepted me and had no issue.  I got involved with my LGBT group on my college campus and dated the only other bisexual girl in the group because the lesbians wanted nothing to do with us.  (That’s a topic for another day)  Fortunately she was just my type and we had a nice time together.  It was, however, a short romance and pretty soon after we broke up I started dating the man I would eventually marry.

Fast forward 15 years, marriage, two kids and one divorce later.  Time to get back out into the dating pool.  I cast out my net to any and all on the typical dating sites.  Met a few great people – not great matches however.  Then I met a woman – an amazing woman.  We dated for a couple years with some bumps in the road.  However, it was a serious relationship and I felt that it was time to come out to my parents.  Until this point I was “relatively out” – meaning I was out to everyone except my relatives!

So there I was, in my 30’s, coming out to my parents.  Thankfully they are both totally supportive.  My dad thought perhaps it was a post-divorce phase until I explained that she was not my first female partner.

So then there was the kink/BDSM closet that I had newly discovered as I was going thru my divorce.  For many people kink is something they do in the bedroom and they never feel the need to “come out” about it.  However, for me it wasn’t only my lifestyle, it was also my job.  Only a couple years into the scene I worked as a pro-sub and then a pro-Switch.  I eventually felt the pressure to open up to my mom because she kept asking so many questions about my new job in “customer service”.  Nice cover, right?  Fortunately it coincided with the 50 Shades trilogy and my mom happened to be reading the first one.  I used that to come out to her.  Her biggest concern was my safety and my happiness.  I assured her that I was both safe and happy.  She was supportive.  She has even attended one of my classes to try and gain more of an understanding – which I thought was super awesome of her!

Shortly thereafter I told my dad and he was accepting as well.  All of my friends know and I’m not shy talking about it with new friends I meet.  I am a bit more cautious with friends connected to my kids.  However, if you read my article titled The Outsider, you will see I didn’t have much to worry about.

I know that many people don’t feel they can come out about their orientation, their BDSM lifestyle, or perhaps both.  They may fear family shame, ridicule, or job loss.  As for me I feel extremely fortunate to be able to live my life openly.

I am at the point now in my life (perhaps some of it just comes with age) where I figure if you don’t accept me (and all that I am) then I don’t need you in my life.  If you want to know more, however, just ask and I will answer any question you have!

I come out of two closets again and again….and I’m proud of both!

D/s Concepts That Work for Any Relationship

 

I came across an article recently on a vanilla/mainstream psychology website. The article link is below, but basically it talks about doing relationship check-ins.  The author advises couples to sit down on an annual basis and review their marriage – this article advises doing it alongside a professional, such as a therapist.  She relates it to a performance review that may happen in a workplace.  However, I relate it to the relationship contracts we create as part of D/s dynamics.  Once a D/s couple has created a contract, typically it includes an annual review or even a monthly review – or anything in between.  The author basically describes a check-in that consists of creating a safe space to discuss issues that have come up and give one another feedback.  In this sense what the author describes and what D/s partners do is very similar.  We go over our contract and offer feedback as to what we think has been working and what we have issues with.  We go over protocols that may have been forgotten (which is why written contracts come in handy – they work as reminders), others that haven’t worked out well, and confirming the ones that work.  Depending on what we include in our contract, the “review” may include updating limits and/or rules or boundaries surrounding poly dynamics.

For both the vanilla and D/s version of this idea it creates a sense of closeness and connection while identifying issues that may have come up over the past year, month, 3 months, etc.  It also confirms all the things that have been, and still are, working.  For the D/s relationships it strengthens the bond of the power exchange as well.

What I love about all this is that here is an example of something we have done in our community for decades – and the mainstream community is catching on.  I think as we continue to find and expose more examples like this (there are plenty) and could explain what is happening under the kink jargon to mainstream people, we could show why more and more studies are concluding that D/s relationships are just as healthy, if not in many cases healthier, than vanilla ones.  Perhaps some of the stigma we face would be lifted.

Original article link:

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/meet-catch-and-keep/201510/why-relationship-review-can-help-keep-you-together?utm_source=FacebookPost&utm_medium=FBPost&utm_campaign=FBPost

 

 

A Third Leg

 

No, this article is not about giant members.  lol

So I was watching talk shows the other day.  Well, I use the term “watching” loosely.  More like glancing up at the tv occasionally while they were running in the background as I helped my kids with homework.  Anyway, on one of the talk shows a co-host was mentioning something about how people have been saying that couples last longer if they have a “third leg”.  She went on to describe what this meant.  Basically she was referring to things like having kids, shared tv shows (and being able to watch them together thanks to streaming networks), a common hobby, etc.  Something they can focus their attention on as a couple that is outside of themselves.

The reason for the “third leg” being helpful in keeping couples together and interested in one another is that it gives them something to talk about and connect over.  It’s amazing how much people will thank streaming networks for saving their marriage!  Especially since it used to be that if a couple only had kids to connect over they were at a loss once the kids moved out.  Now with external entertainment at our fingertips we have much more to interact about for an infinite amount of time.

This got me thinking, however, about those of us into kink and/or polyamory.

We have those same things to connect over, tv shows, maybe kids for those in the scene that share children, perhaps common vanilla hobbies as well.  However, in addition we share kink.  For some it is like another hobby we enjoy together, for others it’s our lifestyle.  Either way it’s something else we share with our partner(s) and look forward to.  If we play then we look forward to that – maybe planning scenes or deciding which parties to attend.  If we are involved in a power exchange relationship then we may spend time together communicating about rules, protocol, etc.

When it comes to poly it’s an entirely new level.  If there are other partners then (similar to kids) you have another (or other) actual people to connect over, communicate about, plan things with, and talk to.  With or without other partners you may still be communicating about how poly will work for you.  Discussing finding a new partner or partners.  Perhaps you go out together to meet potential play partners, lovers, and/or life mates.  There are those that have other partners and are also looking for additional partners.  I don’t know where they find the time, but that’s just me!  Also, unlike kids, additional partners don’t necessarily fall under the same developmental timeline of growing up and moving out or away from you.  This doesn’t mean that poly relationships don’t end, however, you are then able to continue opening up to others in the attempt to find and unite with new people.  You can’t just go out and try to find new kids to replace the ones that left for college!

The point of all this is that if you’re involved in kink, poly relationships, or both – you have opened up a whole new world of “third leg” possibilities to connect over.  This not only keeps life interesting, but our relationships as well.

 

 

Pushing a Dynamic

 

This, like most of my articles, is for both sides of the slash.  Let’s start with what you hear of more commonly.  The D-type pushing boundaries or pressuring an s-type, especially the newbies, to act as if they are in a power exchange dynamic.  So all you s-types listen up: Just because you’re AN s-type, doesn’t mean you’re HIS or HER s-type!  If you haven’t heard this before, it won’t be the last time.  A power exchange dynamic, just like play, is something you enter into with consent and communication.

So how might a D-type push these boundaries?

One way can be before you ever meet them.  It could be as soon as their first message to you.  Greeting you, making their intention known and then “giving you permission” to call them Sir/Mistress, etc.  Why? Just because you’re an s-type?  Calling someone by a title is something you do as part of a dynamic.  (By the way this is not in reference to those who refer to everyone as Sir or Ma’am out of politeness nor toward those that have it as part of their protocol.)  You in no way “owe” this to anyone, especially someone you’ve never met! Remember you have a voice.  Let them know you aren’t comfortable referring to them that way since you’ve never met.  Or perhaps it wasn’t their first message, but only a handful of messages in.  Either way, whether you’ve been chatting for one minute or one year, titles are things you discuss.  If they get upset, then I would take that as a huge red flag.  Chances are, at best, they are role-playing the D-type thing and really have no idea or interest in how these things work.  At worst, they are purposefully trying to manipulate you.

Besides expecting titles to be used, there are other ways that D-types can push a dynamic.  It could be at a party or munch where they tell you to get them something or expect you to cater to them.  Key words here are “tell you” and “expect”.  It’s one thing to politely ask for a favor, it’s another to simply assume you are at their beck and call just because of how you identify.

Now on to the other side of the issue.  S-types can push dynamic as well.  Here’s how…

So you, a D-type, find someone to chat with on Fetlife.  Things are going well up to this point, only a dozen or so messages back and forth so far.  That’s when the s-type hits you with, “what do you want to do to me Daddy/Mommy?” or “What did Master/Mistress do today?”

Daddy?! Master?!  Mommy?! Mistress?!

Hold on there!  These are titles that should be earned, discussed, and negotiated.  Now, this s-type could be trying to push for a dynamic or relationship prematurely, or they may not know any better.  I think it’s a common misperception that s-types are expected to use titles for every D-type.  This is especially true for those that are new in the scene.  I recommend, if this happens to you, to let them know that they do not need to call you by a title, that your name (or preferred label) is perfectly acceptable until or unless you both agree to enter into something more.  Now, if they disregard that request, then you may have an issue.

What it comes down to is that a power exchange dynamic is something to be respected and taken seriously.  Try not to move too quickly and be wary of those that do.  It’s ok to move at a slower pace, at your pace, until the time is right.

Tips for Using BDSM Dating Sites

BDSM dating sites are an easy way to connect to the fun world of BDSM dating. For a lot of people, they feel nervous trying to find someone in person for BDSM. Plus, they don’t want to have to worry about connecting with people who aren’t interested in BDSM.

Finding the right person on a BDSM dating website is everyone’s goal. In order to help with that, we have written a list of some of the most helpful tips for using BDSM dating sites.

Be Safe

The most important thing that we wanted to include in this article is that you need to be safe. Never give out your personal information online. Instead, meet in a public place and start sharing information from there. If you feel comfortable at the point of meeting up, you can make the decision then.

Start With Regular Conversation

Yes, you are looking for someone who shares the same kinks as you when you are on a BDSM dating website, but people aren’t looking to go straight into sexual talk. Instead, they want to start off with conversation starters, just like normal dating websites.

If you start with a regular conversation you are far more likely to find a match.

Don’t Be Shy

One of the biggest benefits of using a BDSM dating website is that you can start to get to know your potential partner online before meeting them. If you are shy you won’t get anywhere with your online dating goals. Being open doesn’t mean sharing your personal information, it means sharing likes, dislikes, messaging first, and generally not being shy when it comes to messaging and the content of messages.

Fill Out Your Profile Thoroughly

BDSM dating sites are intended for those who are interested in the lifestyle. That means there is no harm to filling out your profile completely. In fact, the reverse is true. If you don’t fill out your profile completely, people might think you are a fake or not serious.

A full profile helps others to learn if they like you as their profile helps you to learn.

Finding The Right Dating Website

Finding a good BDSM dating website like BDSMdatingonly can be hard. You will spend a lot of time looking around the internet in order to find the BDSM website that is right for you. To help make the process quicker, use BDSM Dating Sites. It is a directory of BDSM dating websites for singles to use.

Be Honest

In any relationship, whether it is BDSM or not, you need to be honest. A lack of honesty on your profile, in your messages, or on your first date will be noticed eventually. That can lead to a lack of trust or even the failure of your date.

The BDSM community can be pretty tight knit, but more importantly, they watch out for each other. If you lie to someone the word can spread quicker than you want it to. When word spreads in your local community you might not even be able to find a date.

You Will Likely Send A Lot Of Messages

Chances are that you will spend a lot of time sending messages. Sometimes hundreds. A match doesn’t happen right away and not everyone responds to their messages. Don’t get upset if you find someone you are really attracted to but they don’t message you back.

Don’t swamp one person with messages. One message is enough. It all boils down to being patient.

Use The Block Button

Rudeness and similar traits are something that you don’t want when dating. It is a sign that there is potentially something worse about the person. Plus, you are going to BDSM dating sites to enjoy yourself, not to be berated by a stranger. Block anyone who is rude or who gives you a bad feeling.

The BDSM world is growing rapidly with the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray and so are the number of dating websites out there. Make sure you take these tips to mind in order to get the most out of BDSM dating. Each one of these tips is picked for its ability to help you succeed in finding what you are looking for in the big world of BDSM.

*Sponsored by BDSMdatingonly.com

Know Thyself

 

Know thyself.  I say this a lot to my classes and my clients.  I have lived and continue to live in a way that I discover more about myself every day.  One thing this community and lifestyle can teach you are lessons about who you are, what your limits and boundaries are, and what you strive for.  Over time these things can change of course, however, growth and commitment to self-exploration are essential.

Many of us do this as we go along in this world.  It’s not like you go through a phase of life where you learn everything about yourself and then you’re just done all of a sudden.  I believe we should be growing and learning until we die.  So it’s not exactly reasonable to tell people to not live this lifestyle or begin to explore until they have everything figured out.  It is, however, reasonable to ask people to at least begin the journey of self-exploration and really start working hard on major issues before they enter into a serious D/s commitment with another human being.  Whether it’s issues from childhood or baggage from past relationships – these things should be addressed with serious concern and attention.  I’m not saying if you discover something that needs work and you are already in a relationship, to break it off and seclude yourself until you figure it out.  However, if you aren’t yet in one – take advantage of this time to sink your teeth into issues that may come up in a dynamic.

Now, many people think this is mostly a D-type issue.  That you can’t lead or be in charge of an s-type if you don’t have your own sh** handled.  While I agree that if you are a D-type you should certainly be working on yourself and have the ability to maintain control over your own life before taking the lead of someone else’s, I definitely don’t think it only applies to D-types.

S-types also have a responsibility to work on self.  We commonly talk about triggers when it comes to play and perhaps working through negative emotional reactions when dealing with poly dynamics or other issues the D-type introduces.  However, an s-type needs to also be working on his or her self as an individual.  An s-type cannot depend on their D-type for everything.  First of all, be a whole human being with individual thoughts, interests, hobbies, and friends.  Learn to develop personal boundaries and respect for yourself and those around you.  These are all things that will support you in contributing to your relationship and your dynamic.  Secondly, heaven forbid the D-type is gone – whether via break up or death.  The s-type needs to be able to function independently.  Otherwise their choice is what?  Flounder around clueless or desperately chase the next relationship which may be unhealthy just because they don’t feel they have a choice?  This is not ok.

I grew up with a mom who used to tell me that getting an education is incredibly important no matter my life plan.  She would tell me she would fully support me if I decided (after getting a degree) to be a stay-at-home wife and mother for the rest of my days.  However, if anything happened to my partner (divorce and death are rarely expected) she would know that at least I had an education to fall back on.  This is a very similar concept when it comes to developing yourself independent of your current or future partners.

As a D-type you should encourage your s-types growth, as you continue to grow as well.  As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, continuously work on self.  You can’t afford to ignore major issues.  If other people point out a problem, don’t let ego get in the way.  Stop and examine what they’re talking about.  Be willing to explore and change/work on what you need to.

Know thyself on either side of the slash.  It will do you, your partners, and this community a lot of good.