I'm just starting a hetero D/s relationship with a man. We are both married to other people. We are both madly in love with each other. We have kept our relationship platonic. We made a vow to this until we are both free. That being said, we are both brand new at the D/s lifestyle, and we are mostly doing this through email exchanges thus far.
I need to ask is it normal as his sub to feel extremely sensitive to my Dom's corrections? Am I taking this too seriously? I don't know if I'm being too sensitive. I want to please him so much, and his instructions have sometimes been ambiguous, so we've had a few miscommunications. When he states his displeasure, it's pulling my heart strings. When a Dom says he displeased, are they really upset with you, or is it part of the play?
Monica, what you're describing isn't unusual. Submissives are by nature eager to please, so they are especially sensitive to correction from their dominant. Actually, we don't even need to hear them say anything, most of the time. When I see disappointment on my master's face, I just want to crawl in a hole.
You ask if a dom is really upset, or is it part of the play? It depends on the context. If you're doing a school girl scene, and he frowns at you and says, "That skirt is entirely too short, Miss Thing. You need a spanking" -- that's part of the scene.
If he told you to wear no panties, and you're wearing panties, then he is probably upset with a valid reason.
I've known of some doms who will sometimes do things simply to keep their submissive off balance; that's a practice that frankly pisses me off. D/s relationships can't work if they aren't being honest at all times. Transparency is very important.
Some doms use that "play disappointment" as a part of humiliation play and/or emotional sadism, which works for some people, but not all. Pretending to be angry or disappointed with a sub who has genuinely tried his/her best is a terrible breach of trust, and to do it repeatedly, in my opinion, is a form of emotional abuse.
But you mention miscommunication, and that seems to me to be the heart of the matter. Of all the things both Dom and sub need to master, communication is the biggest. You can't be safe, you can't be honest, you can't be trusting if you can't communicate. No amount of skill with ropes or floggers is worth a hill of beans if you can't communicate.
You can learn a lot by how each of you reacts to miscommunication. Are you respectful when you tell him that you felt his instructions were unclear, or do you whine and accuse? Does he listen when you try to give him honest, respectful feedback, or does he get defensive and impatient?
Both of you need to sit and carefully consider the situation whenever there is a miscommunication or lack of clarity. Doms need to learn how to be better doms, just as we need to learn to improve in obedience and devotion.
If he has a valid reason for being displeased, and tells you so, then your job is listen. In your own mind and heart, think carefully about what has displeased him. Make sure that you have set aside your own ego, your own hurt feelings, and your own desire to be "right." Those are things a submissive needs to let go of if she wants to serve to the best of her abilities.
You mustn't ever be afraid or reluctant to speak up when you feel he's been unfair, but you must be sure you're being honest with yourself, and do it respectfully. And when you are in the wrong, you must suck it up; feel the hurt but don't let it turn you into a useless puddle on the floor. Put that energy instead to making amends and figuring out how you can avoid repeating the behavior that displeased him.
I'm going to have to figure if he was being too hard on me for his displeasure. It stemmed from his initial instructions not being 100% clear. There was room for interpretation. Once we went back and forth about the matter a few times, he confessed that he realized his instructions were a tad loose. But, he did keep the point of being disappointed that I couldn't follow simple directions. This is where I get the mixed messages from. He's pretty strict on me already. However, I never argue or question his methods, thus far.
Is the "strictness" to be expected more in the beginning of D/s play and lighten up after boundaries have been established? I am very detail-oriented and I'm not being careless reading his instructions; it's when I've asked for clarification and/or told him I'm floundering to understand where he seems to get extremely impatient with me already. I guess I didn't know what to expect.
I ordered your book and a few other titles to get me better versed in this lifestyle. I do want to point out that it was I who asked him to be my Dominant. I have always had this characteristic within me, but never realized how I could put it to use. I'm very giving and worship the men I've been in love with, but have always been unappreciated in this regard. They always took me for granted, used me then throw me in the trash.
Now that I've met this man, we've connected on such a cosmic level, and now we both would like to go down this path.
I have been extremely respectful towards him. I'm so worried to make a mistake because I really want to make this work. We just commenced this altered state of consciousness last Monday. Supposedly he is a complete novice at it as well - we are both blazing this trail for the first time.
Thank you so much Kate. Your guidance means the world to me. Are there any submissive support groups for newbies like me?
If he's new to this, then you both need to take it slowly. It's hard for a new dominant to get a feel for just how dominant he needs or wants to be. The fact is, he can be any way he wants to be, as long as it works for you both. Some tend to overdo it in the beginning, for fear of someone finding out that they are unsure of themselves.
This is why I wish there were more mentors and books for dominants, because they need as much, if not more, guidance in the beginning as submissives.
An important component of a good dominant is confidence, and that comes with experience. In the meantime, a dominant needs to understand that he/she is not expected to be perfect, that is all right for them to ask for feedback from their subs, for them to admit when they have made a mistake and to correct it.
Often, people assume that being the dominant means they call all the shots and the sub just jumps to it. But a good dominant carries an enormous responsibility to mentor, to train, to motivate, and to care for his/her submissive or slave. A good dominant is supposed to help you grow and become not just a better submissive, but a better person.
His impatience may come in part from his own uncertainty about how to do this. When you question for more details, it forces him to realize that he either didn't communicate things well or think through all the ramifications of his instructions; hence he feels like he's been caught short and that embarrasses him. Or he could feel that you are questioning his authority, rather than his instructions.
I understand exactly what you mean about being detail-oriented, even outside of a D/s situation; I'm in a new job where I feel like I'm driving my boss crazy with just those sorts of questions, trying to anticipate possible obstacles or wanting to make absolutely sure I understand what and how she wants things done.
Everybody wants their subordinate to get things done, but until those subordinates learn exactly what is expected of them, and how much leeway "the boss" allows them in making minor decisions on their own, the detail-oriented subordinate or submissive can test their patience a little. That's where the boss needs to remember that he/she is teaching you how to please them, and to be patient. Every question the submissive asks is another opportunity for the dominant to guide them.
You, meanwhile, need to take an extra moment before asking him more questions; take a deep breath and see if you can make a reasonable deduction. I've learned to do this myself just recently. Sometimes in my eagerness, I start asking questions, and then realize I already have the information; I just got ahead of myself.
Again, you two need to discuss this. You need to make sure he understands your questions come out of the desire to please him, not to question his authority. It is perfectly acceptable to ask him for additional positive feedback.
Do you know if he is seeking out more information and education for himself? I do hope so.
As for support groups -- oh yes! If you have not joined FetLife.com yet, you should. It's like Facebook for kinky people.
FetLife has literally a thousand+ groups for all kinds of interests, orientations, kinks and fetishes. Take a look around, and join a couple of groups for submissives. You can read the discussion threads and post questions. This gives you feedback from all kinds of people with different kinds of experience. You will find that if you are wondering about some particular question, a dozen or more other people on the discussion group are wondering too.
Just keep in mind that, as with any group, online or in real time, there are idiots and assholes out there. Watch out for anyone who tries to tell you that their way of doing things is the only right way.
When you are on FetLife, you are welcome to send me a friend's request.
Hope this helps!