”Unconventional communication for unconventional relationships” is a mantra Julian Wolf uses when teaching. What is an unconventional relationship? Certainly different kinds of power exchange could be considered unconventional. What happens when you try to also have a conventional relationship with the same person? Is it possible for your Master to also be your boyfriend? For your leather daddy to be your wife? For many kinksters that is a great fantasy to which they aspire, but the reality can get a lot more complicated.
As is usual in relationships, communicating your expectations clearly is the key to making it work. Julian outlines several methods such as writing, physical feedback, and even role-playing, but every relationship has to find the most effective medium. Is a shared journal effective? Or perhaps even a shared blog?
Most people can’t live in a kink environment every minute of every day. Jobs, family, or even just non-kink hobbies and friends can draw you away from that D/s headspace. It is possible, though, to keep it smoldering even when circumstances take you away. Ava Amnesia’s techniqes for Maintaining Long distance D/s Relationships work whether the distance is physical or mental. A kinky little text from across the room or a little suggestive pat on the ass as you walk by can communicate volumes of desire. Many D/s couples create levels of protocol for various situations – for example, Alex Bettencourt describes Casual and Formal Service Protocols, and Mistress Melissa takes it even further in defining levels of protocol into levels appropriate to different circumstances.
That means that in some situations her Piggy may be required to stand in slave positions and answer only when spoken to, but in more casual environments (or places where they need to keep their D/s hidden) simple politeness – a “please” and “thank you” – can have a deeper meaning.
Another technique is to take the banal tasks that often come up in non-kink life and put a sexier spin on it. Sinclair Sexsmith talks about integrating the sexy and the pragmatic in your D/s Protocol. It’s not hard to put just a touch of kink into your everyday – a buttplug in while the groceries are put away, or having your submissive on the floor at your feet while watching television. Graydancer, who has a medical condition requiring medication first thing every morning, has his slave Naiia bring him the pill and a glass of water every morning. This mundane necessity becomes a part of their power dynamic and an opportunity to give and receive service.
Alex Bettencourt is very enthusiastic about service and has directions for coming up with entire notebooks for household management, including defining roles and expectations. It is often unrealistic to simply say that the slave needs to do everything in the house, especially if those jobs and family obligations put even more demands on their time. It’s not too hard to reframe the idea of “chore” to “control” – such as “Master has complete control over the food we have in the house, and decides exactly how the money is spent at the store”. In other words, Master does the grocery shopping, but it’s framed in a context of control and dominance rather than service.
Understanding that dominance and submission are still parts of the human condition can be a hard thing to accept when the realities of relationships conflict with the fantasy. Gray, Mollena Williams, and Princess Kali have a series of clips about how essential it is for that vulnerability to be recognized not only in the submissive partner but in the dominant one as well. Mollena goes on to dedicate an entire clip to the ways that you can resolve conflicts while still within a power exchange relationship. These are the kinds of skills that build resilience against the everyday stresses that can affect both kink and non-kink connections.
In the end, it all depends on what kinds of relationships you and your partner have and the degree to which you want to allow them to blend. Whether you only slip into “kink-mode” for an hour or two in the bedroom or have a 24/7 dynamic, it is possible to make it work. As Mistress Simone points out in her female dominant archetypes overview, there is some kind of kink relationship model that can work for both of you – you simply have to figure it out. The key is to remember that your kink and you life don’t have to be separate. They can be mutually supportive, just like you and your partner. Do the work and the life you create together will be a beautiful thing.