Again, I’m not picking on any one role or kink. I’ve been working through a variety of things within our culture that are broken. In a previous post I mentioned some of the ways a popular BDSM Test has caused problem within our lifestyle. Today I want to talk about how that test influenced the role of Switch in a very negative way, suggesting the role to people who likely aren’t a Switch and redefining what the role of Switch actually is.
I realize this kind of education doesn’t make me popular. It’s a difficult pill to swallow that perhaps the identity you think you are, because you were told you are, isn’t your real identity. It isn’t my goal to cause you an identity crisis. Rather I want to tell you who you really are so that you can get the most out of BDSM. My intentions are positive, I’m not trying to keep people from being a Switch; there is no gatekeeping taking place in this post.
While a Dom is a Dominant and a sub is a submissive, there are actually two definitions of a Switch. One is more common and the other is rather rare:
Switch — common use: someone who enjoys being either the Top or the bottom; enjoys giving or receiving physical SM stimulation. Among Leathermen, activity switches are sometimes referred to as versatile.
Switch — less common use: someone who is willing to take either the leadership or subordinate role in a relationship depending upon the chemistry or connection within that particular partner. When used this way, a person is referred to as a psychological switch. Psychological switches would have relationships wherein their roles are different — dominant in one relationship and subordinate (not necessarily submissive) with the other.
It is very rare that a Switch is both dominant and submissive within the same relationship. Functionally that would be chaotic for most people and very difficult to maintain. This is where most people get it wrong! A radical redefining of the Switch role has caused our culture to throw out the common definition and try to convince most people they can be both Dom and sub within the same relationship.
Most people who are actual Switches are in Power Neutral relationships where both people are autonomous and power is shared equally. They only switch between what kinks they enjoy giving and receiving. This isn’t any less than a Dom/sub dynamic, it is simply a different dynamic. No one should feel the pressure of being a leader or follower, they simply need to educate themselves on the proper techniques and safety involved with giving and receiving kinks. Should they desire to roleplay during scenes they might temporarily act dominant or submissive to properly set the mood and give a convincing scene.
Other than redefining the role, the BDSM Test gave people who were merely exploring kink the results that they are a Switch. The test diagnosed interest in different kinds of kinks as Switch. If you really didn’t know yet what you liked and didn’t like, you were told you are a Switch. You were simply exploring, you shouldn’t have been assigned a role! People who are exploring BDSM are “Exploring” they are not both a Dom and a sub!
They may try to Top and find they don’t like it. Or they may try to bottom and not like that. They may find they always like to Top or always like to bottom. If they explore and eventually come to the conclusion they like to Top one or more kinks and bottom one or more kinks… then they properly fit the role of Switch. If they explore D/s relationships and turn out to be a Dom to someone and a sub to someone else… then they properly fit the role of Switch. If they are one of those rare, mythical creatures who can Dom and sub within the same relationship… then they too properly fit the role of Switch.
So a lot of people in our BDSM lifestyle who self-identify as Switch are currently Exploring. Others are trying to do something difficult/rare and are having less than positive results. If you are a Switch try being someone who enjoys either the Top or the bottom; enjoys giving or receiving physical SM stimulation. You will more than likely find the most fulfillment in it. Relish the freedom of a Power Neutral relationship dynamic. And throw out that rubbish BDSM Test!
Discipline focuses on teaching desirable future behavior.
Punishment is to inflict suffering as consequence for past behavior.
Punishments should not be done in anger, and should always reinforce positive behaviors.
Here are some ideas for punishing your submissive without being physical or giving them spankings.
Discussion: This is for the minor infractions or first time offense, simply stating that you are disappointed in their actions and offer a better solution for next time.
Submissive’s input: Deciding on a punishment together, by letting the submissive voice their thoughts on what punishment would fit the crime. Discuss why they acted out, what they did wrong and desired behavior for next time.
Daily Affirmations: Use this for when the submissive talks bad about themselves or their body. This will help them see the beauty and value of their life while reinforcing positive body image. Give them a sentence to say in the mirror every day or even every hour and then take a pic and see the beauty within oneself.
Reenactment: Redo the situation immediately, this time with the correct behavior. Repeat if needed, answer any questions they may have to better understand what they did wrong and what will be expected of them next time.
Lectures: Make them meaningful learning experiences, not just scoldings. Explaining the desired behavior, why it’s desired, and why it’s best for the sub and the relationship.
No Dessert: This can be a restriction from their fave foods, snacks, or dessert. You can also force them to eat something they don’t like (ALWAYS make sure they do not have any allergies to that food)
Writing Lines: Make sure the sentences include either what they did wrong, or the changed behavior. They should be numbered, neat and correct spelling/grammar. You can have them put their finished pages in a folder so she can keep up with all infractions.
Writing: This can be a letter to the Dom, or an essay paper (like in school). There should be an apology, also an explanation of what they did wrong and how this will be corrected in the future. This should be in proper paragraph format with correct spelling and grammar.
Withdrawal of Privileges: Basically grounded from your fave toys or activities for a designated length of time.
Extra Cleaning/Chores: This would be extra chores they normally don’t do, or don’t do as often. You can make it more intense by having them use only a toothbrush or on their knees (get creative)
The following are a little more extreme. Make sure you know you’re submissive enough to know the punishment won’t cause a negative outcome or be viewed as abusive. The point of a punishment is to correct a behavior and reinforce the negotiated behavior.
Corner Time: Having to sit still either in a corner or up against the wall, can also be placed in a cage during this time. No talking, moving, or electronics. Can be intensified by having to hold a coin on the wall with their nose, kneeling on rice or books on outstretched arms.
Bondage: Any form of bondage for a set amount of time. During this time they are not allowed to talk or try to escape, they are to reflect on their actions and what modifications need to be made in order to avoid another punishment. While they are tied up you should NEVER leave them alone or have them gagged (as a safety precaution).
No contact: That does NOT mean to ignore them. Explain what they did wrong, the length of the punishment/no contact and the behavior you were expecting. They are to take the time to reflect on their behavior and how they can change it. During this time they are not allowed to initiate any form of contact (in person, online, text or calling).
Lose Furniture Privileges: They are not allowed to sit on any furniture during a designated time. This includes but not limited to the couch/chair, bed, kitchen table, and outdoor furniture. They are to sit on the floor to do any activity including eating and sleeping.
Removing Collar: This is my least favorite punishment to give or receive. I honestly don’t recommend it at all. It should be used as a last result, and only removing the collar temporarily. At this point, if you have tried all the other punishments and they are still disobeying, being bratty or being disrespectful you should sit them down and discuss if this relationship is what they really want. There is no reason an adult can’t follow rules. They might be acting out because they are unhappy with the relationship, their submissive roles and/or the lifestyle.
Once punishment is completed, it should be dropped. You should not bring up previous punishments or bad behavior when dealing with current behavior (unless they keep disobeying the same rules). Be sure they know you are proud of them for completing the punishment and using it as a tool to be a better submissive and person for you in the future.
So many things can go wrong when first getting into the BDSM lifestyle. Especially if you are in an already established relationship and want to add a BDSM dynamic to that relationship. Mistakes will be made, and thats ok, learn and grow from them. This will take work, just like the work you put into your vanilla relationship.
I do not have a link to this, and author is unknown. This was wrote a while ago, so it is not all inclusive with genders, sexuality or the types of dynamics. The message is still the same, just change it to fit you and your partner.
Dom Me, Dammit!
A Common Issue
Perhaps one of the most common complaints we get from submissives who are in marriages or relationships that are moving from vanilla to D/s is this one:
“I want to be dommed and my husband/wife isn’t doing what I need.”
The frustration level these new subs are experiencing is overwhelming and I’m sure their partner is in the same boat. For many couples, this period of uncertainty can make or break the foundation of a healthy power exchange and any hope of changing the dynamics of their relationship.
There are many factors that come into play as we begin to sort out the tangled nerves and disappointments.
While every couple is different, we find many common threads in unraveling the problems of their budding Master/sub alliance.
Identifying the problem is the beginning of a solution and the purpose of this article. Here are some of the most common:
Past Roles in the Relationship – Probably the biggest factor in the failures of vanilla to kink relationships. For years the wife has worn the pants in the family and suddenly she wants hubby to take over. Her intentions are great but her partner knows her all too well and isn’t surprised when she barks out orders as he tries to exercise his new-found dominance. Sometimes it isn’t this obvious, but the results are the same: He balks at taking the reins because of years of being the one under the whip.
Lack of Knowledge – Another prime cause of potential failure to make the transition. Both people in the relationship may want the change but neither has enough experience or knowledge about the complexities of a D/s relationship to take the first steps out of the bedroom. They find the sexual aspects very satisfying but seem to fall flat when dealing with the psychological effects of changing roles. Martha loved being tied up and having passionate sex but dug her heels in when asked to fetch a cup of coffee for “master.”
Lack of Experience – Reading about something and doing it are light-years apart. Both parties were aroused as they read a chapter in “Screw the Roses” but were left cold when it didn’t “feel” like it said it would in the book. “Didn’t it say that the sub was supposed to like nipple clamps? Then why did it hurt like hell when my bungling dominant husband tried them on me?” Experience in how to use toys and how to motivate the submissive’s desire to surrender takes time and practice.
Moving Too Fast and Expecting Too Much – Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your D/s relationship. It takes time to grow into these new roles and years before you reach a point where you both can anticipate the needs of the other in something as difficult as a power exchange. When someone tells you that they learned all they needed to know about being a dom or sub in 6 months they were either wannabes or playing on the surface. A Dominant/submissive alliance takes time and work to build foundations of trust, respect and patience to get to the 24/7 type of situation you may desire. In the beginning it’s a struggle to maintain it for more than a few hours or days at a time. No one can go from vanilla one day to 24/7 in a week.
Fear – Very often the reason a relationship bogs down. One or both in the partnership do not trust enough to move beyond the first steps. It might be fear grounded in past experiences or just fear of the unknown or failure. Subbies, take note; more often than not, it’s the dominant who has the most fear. Taking on the responsibilities required in being the “boss” is overwhelming to some dominants. They struggle with conflicts regarding failure, society’s view of their role and fear of injuring you emotionally, physically or spiritually. Nagging won’t help the situation either.
Growth Differences – Another big one. Submissives jump into their roles much quicker than dominants. It’s part of their nature. Dominants need to ease into things, check out all the possibilities, feel secure in their position and confident in their abilities. Submissives seem to rush into it and throw themselves on the fires of martyrdom, especially with someone they already love and trust.
So Where Do I Go From Here?
I can tell you where NOT to go: to an online Master instead of your partner. This is one of the most damaging things that happens in a marriage that tries to go from vanilla to D/s.
If you want your s/o (significant other) to eventually be your Master/Mistress, then direct your attention to them, not someone outside the relationship.
Not only does this cause you to have conflicting feelings of loyalty and fidelity, it undermines the confidence of your real-life partner.
Trust is the essence of a D/s relationship and I can see little room for trust when a submissive is carrying on an affair online with another dominant. Even with permission from your s/o, you are likely headed for some serious problems.
You are going to get conflicting information, expectations and emotions when you try to serve two masters. Comparison of the two dominants is inevitable and does nothing but create difficulties for you and your real-life mate.
Very few submissives can keep their hearts out of the symbiosis between dominant and submissive, so don’t fool yourself with the idea you can play online and turn off the bond that develops between you and your “cyber-master” when you shut down the computer.
This also goes for offline playing at scene parties and groups.
Focus your submissive eyes on your s/o. Start working on “you” before you work on them. Learn what being submissive truly means and put that knowledge to work within your relationship.
There are many ways you can begin to practice your skills while your dominant is testing the waters and not yet able to assume his/her eventual role as Master/Mistress.
Help build their confidence by deferring your decisions to them. Nothing, and I repeat NOTHING, brings out those dominant feelings like you showing your submissive side. Show them you are changing and willing to accept their control.
In order to do this you have to give up control first. Very few new dominants are going to wrestle the reins from your hands. Lay them down gently…and let them alone.
You are going to have to show your vulnerability in order to evoke those protective feelings from your dominant. Doing this isn’t always easy and the temptation to control the situation is a powerful urge to overcome, but you can do it with practice.
Years of previous behavior are not going to suddenly vanish and neither are your s/o’s reactions to their memories of past events.
You are going to have to do some serious damage control to give him/her the courage to try to be in the driver’s seat if you were the type who always grabbed the steering wheel. Don’t expect your s/o to “take” command from you if you were always the ruling partner. You are going to have to make this control a “gift” and place it at their feet.
Be prepared; it might take them some time to gain enough confidence and trust to pick it up for fear of having it torn from their hands, as it was in the past.
Some Helpful Tips and Guidelines
I know you’re anxious to get started and those submissive feelings are bubbling over inside you, but you have some work ahead of you. Keep this in mind: Though it may be an effort to make this succeed, you will reap benefits that will last a lifetime. As an added bonus, while you work toward this goal, you are developing your own submissive instincts and skills.
This looks like a win/win situation to me. *grin*
Count Your Blessings Daily – You may not have the perfect dominant yet, but you are much better off than those poor souls who have a s/o who won’t even discuss the idea of a power exchange. Your partner is interested, so you are fortunate and have a great chance to work on the lifestyle you have dreamed of.
Continue to Learn – Spend time learning more about the lifestyle, activities and psychology of a submissive. Share what you’ve learned with your partner in a non-threatening way. A statement like “Dear, may I tell you what I read about submission today?” will work far better than “Listen to what I read about what a dominant should do!” The second statement will only build resentment and give him doubts about his own dominance over you.
Stop Topping From the Bottom – This is a big one and should be at the top of the list if you are guilty of it. A typical example is found in this statement “I told you not to let me get away with doing certain things. Tell me to stop doing it!!” You are taking control of the relationship by guiding how your partner will control you and when. A submissive’s place is not to tell a dominant how to do anything unless he/she asks. A much better way to handle it would be to say “I need help to overcome doing certain things. Is there a way you might be able to help me?” You’ve shown your willingness to ask, you’ve expressed your confidence in his ability, you’ve been vulnerable by asking for help, and you have put the reins in the dominant’s hands. Not bad for a few simple words.
Be Careful About Making Suggestions or Offering Criticism – This one is a twin sister to “topping from the bottom.” Avoid making suggestions during a scene or any attempt at taking control. Nothing can deflate a new dominant’s ego faster than hearing “I want you to tie my hands like this instead of what you are doing” or “You aren’t spanking me hard enough…do it harder!” While this information might be appreciated at another time, it won’t win you points if you offer it while he’s trying to practice his dominant skills. Wait for a better opportunity to say. “I loved how you bound me when we made love last night and I’d like to try something that I’ve fantasized about ” and then go on with your suggestion if he seems receptive. Or…”I found the spanking you gave me very erotic and enjoyed it. I think I’m ready to try a bit more the next time.” and then tell him what you are ready for. You have not belittled his attempts to take a dominant role and you have shown him you appreciate what he did and desire to take it a little farther.
Start Asking Permission for Things – A good way to spark a dominant’s hunger for control is to give him a sample or two. One of the easiest ways is to begin asking for permission for simple things. Ask to be excused when you must leave the room or for permission to go to bed. Start using his/her title when doing it. “Master, may I be excused for a few minutes?”, “Master, may I watch tonight?” or “Mistress, may I please go to bed now?” are only a few examples. You’ve put the decision in his hands, required a response and shown that they have control of this situation. Don’t expect miracles at first. Many new dominants may seem to ignore your request because it made them feel a little uncomfortable or even foolish. Sit patiently and wait for a reply and repeat the request only if necessary. In time they’ll develop a taste for it and will be quick to remind you when you forget to show that courtesy another time.
Begin to Ask for Opinions and Advice – Simple things and yet they can do a lot for building trust and confidence in your dominant. Asking what outfit you should wear to work or how to deal with a problem with a neighbor are examples. A word of caution: When you ask for opinions or advice…Take it! You want to do some real undermining of their control? Ask what outfit you should wear and then don’t wear what he suggested. The next time you are likely to hear “Do whatever you want like you usually do.” More than once I had to smile when looking at a blouse that didn’t quite match my skirt because I asked what one I should wear. The final results of doing this were beneficial to both of us. Master has developed a better sense of color coordination and I no longer have to decide what to wear because He picks out all my clothing.
Stop Expecting To Be Forced Into Submission – It only happens in books or abusive relationships. Submission is given, not torn from you. If you think you are not acting submissive because your s/o isn’t making you submissive, then you’re only deluding yourself. Save those fantasies about being forced to your knees to serve your master for your scenes. Most of us have those kinds of “Beauty” fantasies and like to act them out now and then, but you can’t live them and expect to be happy. Your submissive nature can’t be fed unless it’s a willing and consensual act of surrender. Go to a battered women’s group and see first hand what “forced” submission is all about. Accept responsibility for your successes or failures in your own submissive-ness. A good dominant can bring out those feelings in you and help you go deeper and deeper into yourself, but your submission depends on your own desires and needs to give and to please.
Be Patient – “I want it, and I want it NOW!” is not the battle cry of the submissive army. Learning to wait is a lesson we all need to practice. It’s not easy to wait for the day when you feel your dominant’s foot on your neck, and feel his authority over you, but there are things that can fulfill you long before that day arrives. Pleasing your dominant and making them happy just might come from backing off a little and giving them time to grow to the level you’ve reached. Once they get there, you might find out you are the one that needs to grow most of all. Most of the submissives I’ve known have remarked at some point or another: “I used to long for the time when my Master would really dominate me and now I have to struggle to give him the control he wants.” You have no idea how hard it can be to submit all the time until you get there so don’t be in such a hurry. You aren’t ready for it any more than your dominant is. Be patient for both of your sakes.
Learn to Control Your Tongue – When a long-time dom I knew was asked “What was the hardest part of training your submissive?” he replied, “Controlling her tongue. I knew until it was under control I had no control of her mind or body at all. Her sex was the easiest part because it received the pleasure from her submission. Her tongue gives up the most and gets nothing in return.” That little muscle can get you in more trouble and damage the self-confidence of a novice dominant faster than any single part of you. The tongue reflects the condition of your heart and mind, so train it well. It will speak literally of the depth of your submission.
Create a Home Filled With Harmony and Peace – Make him the Master of his own home and you have half the battle won. Find a special joy in tending to household duties that keep things in order and build a pleasant physical environment, and your s/o might be more likely to provide you with a safe environment for your submissive nature. We all respond to the things around us, and positive changes in your home will not go unnoticed by a new dominant who is checking for any signs that there have been changes in your attitude or the relationship. He/she will measure their success as the Master/Mistress of the house by some very unlikely yardsticks. Taking care of your dominant’s property can be very pleasant for a submissive. Remember, you are also part of their property, so taking a little extra care to make sure you are well tended will be appreciated too.
There are no limits in the number of things that could go on this list. Every couple has special areas that the submissive can work on to give evidence of their devotion and love to the dominant in their life.
A D/s relationship is like a garden. (Where have you heard that before? lol) It can only yield what you’ve planted and won’t grow if you don’t sacrifice to tend and nurture it.
I’ve never seen one rose open because someone screamed, “Bloom, dammit” and your relationship is no different.
In the field of biology “Devolution” is the notion that species can revert to more primitive forms over time. It’s a term that is used less often because we favor progress and have an optimistic view of the future. Within BDSM we often approach change with that presumption that new things are making BDSM better. The reality is mixed – some things have been improvements while other things are devolution. Sorting it all is somewhat subjective but if we look at our rich history we can often see more clearly which things have made BDSM better.
In 2010, Tyler McCormick became the first openly transgender man to have the title of International Mr. Leather. History was made yet again at International Mr. Leather 2019, as Jack Thompson became the first transgender person of color in the contest’s 41 years. Those are just two of an endless list of examples how diversity and inclusivity have positively changed BDSM as a whole. What was once a largely homosexual cisgendered male scene, BDSM is now practiced by all types of people.
So we looked at a positive change, what is the an example of devolution in BDSM? To understand devolution we have to look at something those in our history did well. When we look back we see one of the best things about our history was the clearly defined Dominant and submissive roles with a hierarchy that was modeled after military regiment. Older BDSM Dominants emphasized strong leadership characteristics and compliant subordinate submission. Religion often saw them as sexually immoral and taboo driving the scene underground. Yet BDSM emphasized the same strong personal character as military leaders were taught to hold.
Modern BDSM has seen a devolution of roles. We are seeing more softer Dominants and noncompliant submissives – Dominants acting more like followers and submissives asserting more leadership. What was once a well-defined structure is much more fluid. The biggest breakdown of any relationship dynamic is inconsistency. When a Dominant is less than dominant, for example, it naturally causes a submissive to break their role and act more dominant.
BDSM has three types of relationship dynamics: Power Neutral, Power Exchange, and Authority Exchange. Within a Power Neutral dynamic both persons are autonomous. This is a classic Top/bottom dynamic. Within Power and Authority Exchanges there is a consensual power imbalance: one person leads and the other follows, one gives power/authority over to the other. The reason this softening of roles is a devolution is that it pushes people out of a Power Exchange into a Power Neutral dynamic while simultaneously calling it a Power Exchange relationship.
Prior to around 2005 there was a Top/bottom (Power Neutral) dynamic called Sadist/SAM. A “S.A.M.” was a smart-ass masochist who used their autonomy to push a Sadist into punishing them with pleasurable pain. Progressively that Top/bottom role became popular with new people who self-identified as Dom/sub. Over the last 15 years, the two combined meaning that the couples were in a very limited (or sometimes non-existent) Power Exchange and had shifted to a mostly (sometimes entirely) autonomous Power Neutral dynamic. Sadist/SAM has become archaic and is largely replaced with Soft Dom/brat.
Power Neutral are not less than Power Exchange relationships, they are simply different. Keeping your autonomy is awesome if you are looking to be Topped or Bottomed. If however you are wanting to be Dominant or submissive, you will have to exchange some power and you will be most fulfilled when you let go of autonomy and give or receive that power.
I’ve been disgruntled with social media for a while now. I’m tired of being censored by arbitrary Community Standards that rarely match all the fuckery I want to post. This page is for adults and will contain adult images and “mature” content. It explores duality… that is our darkest fantasies and blackest magic as well as humor, affirmations, aspirations, and all the light within our relationship and us as wholesome humans. Together we will forge a path somewhere in the middle and attempt to help you be less polarized and more magical. We will continue to be an educational resource just as we have been in local bdsm munches we’ve hosted along with our global pages and podcasts. We will continue to connect with you on social media but hopefully build something excellent here that you will want to visit for years to come.