Respect.  In a fully-fuctioning D/s relationship, respect is one of the absolutely necessary keys.  Not so much in a playtime only and, I      suspect, in some “online relationships” the respect is a “sometimes thing” not full-time.  The partners, Dom/Domme and sub, must equally respect each other.  I know, I know, what some people call a TPE (Total Power Exchange) involves mostly the respect the sub has for their owner/Dominant, but I find that lop-sided at best, and completely wrong at worst.

Respect, emotionally, physically, and especially psychically, means that both partners remain aware of the accepted roles they play in the relationship.  It also means that even if verbal or physical humiliation acts are part of the repertoire, each partner still respects the other as a living human being and affords them the dignity that includes.  It doesn’t mean the Dom/Domme gets to bully their submissive or abuse them in ways that are contrary to human relationships.  Neither does it mean the sub gets to abuse the Dom/Domme in what often seems to be “emotional blackmail.”  In vanilla relationships, we see this type of behavior frequently, and we’d rather not see it creep into working D/s ones as well.

Imagine a sub saying or even thinking/feeling “If you really loved me, you’d…(fill in the blank).”   That’s emotional blackmail and neither partner wins whatever the outcome.  Part of D/s respect in a relationship requires good communication.  You hear/read this over and over in relationship blogs and chat rooms.  No Dom/Domme wants to have to deal with a constant series of explanations to subs of why or why not they do or don’t do certain things.  On the other hand, sensing a level of uncomfort (particularly in training) on the part of a sub should prompt their Dom/Domme to open the communication door wider to discover the whys and wherefores and determine the source of the discomfort.  Again, that’s the kind of behavior that respect entails.

Throwing up your hands and shouting “I just can’t deal with this” and walking away is not the behavior of a good Dom/Domme.   It shows that you’ve lost control and don’t have the means and skills to deal with any situation or circumstance.  What that communicates to your sub is that you may not have it all together and that can prompt uncertainty and doubt in them.  That uncertainty and doubt translates into bits and pieces of emotional instability and that undermines the normal respect.

Unrealistic beliefs — and these do happen in D/s relationships — also plant the seeds of disrespect.  There are subs, for example, who believe their Dom/Domme must be an absolute sexual powerhouse, an unswerving tyrant, a genius know-it-all, and the world’s most interesting person.  Doms and Dommes, like subs, are human beings with all that that implies.  Being a Dom/Domme doesn’t mean that you are always perfect or idealized any more than the sub is these things.  Real people make mistakes.  It is their self-respect that makes them deal with these flaws and foibles in a mature fashion.  Learning from mistakes made is the sign of a good Dom/Domme or sub.

Investigate yourself and your relationship for elements where respect is lacking.  Practice respect for yourself and others.  If you’re a sub, it doesn’t mean you have to bow down before everyone who believes they are a Dom/Domme.  If you’re a Dom/Domme, practice this same behavior.  You shouldn’t expect everyone who is submissive to bow down and kiss your boots.  Treat everyone as a human being with dignity as who they are and determine where the lines lie for domination and submission.


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