Essential Guide for Better Trust Dynamics in BDSM Domination
Trust dynamics in BDSM domination seems to be a confusing discussion topic, especially for those not in the community. What each partner involved expects and how that can work for everyone’s benefit? We’ll break it down for you.
The Essential Guide to Trust Dynamics
There’s always a lot of talk about trust in BDSM communities. Generally speaking it’s pretty starry-eyed idealistic stuff about devotion and capitalising each other’s trousers. An excellent term that a friend of mine once came up with for the slightly irritating habit some people have of using a capital letter for a dominant’s pronouns; much in the same way as one does for actual God. That stuff is all well and good. The real meat of kinky trust dynamics is genuinely fascinating. Not just because it works in both directions.
It’s vital for submissives to trust their dominants…
To respect safewords. The absolute crux of trust in BDSM relationships is, of course, the safeword. To a certain extent, this is where that trust begins and ends. A dominant who ignores a safeword is at best a shitty dominant, and at worst a rapist. If there is any doubt in your mind that your safeword will be respected, you need to deal with it immediately.
To fulfill aftercare needs. Most people need a little bit of aftercare following an intense BDSM scene. For some people, this is a pretty involved process requiring snacks and blankets and cuddles. I generally speaking just want the other person to not completely disappear for ten minutes or so till my headspace has realigned itself. I might occasionally ask them to fetch me a glass of water, but that’s about it. There are other people still who actively want to be left at this point, and are better off alone for a while. Whatever your thing is, it’s important that you know you can trust the people you play with to do it for you.
To respect limits & look out for them. We all secretly want to be the Mythical Limitless Submissive, but none of us are ever actually going to be. Chances are you have an idea of what your own hard and soft limits are. So it’s important that you communicate those clearly in advance of playing with someone new. Once you’ve done that, the onus is on them to respect those limits. It’s okay to push at them and testing them can be a lot of fun. It’s only cool if you’ve agreed that you’re interested in playing that way. However it’s never okay to pester you about something you’ve said a hard no to. A dom who repeatedly refuses to respect your limits is not a dom you should feel comfortable trusting.
To be receptive & communicative. Sometimes, issues come up in kinky relationships that don’t quite fit into safewords or limits. My pain threshold is a lot higher if I’ve been properly warmed up. Meaning start light and gradually ramp up the intensity and I’ll keep going like the proverbial frog in a saucepan. But if you whale straight in at full tilt there’s a good chance I’ll just jump out again. I had one partner who didn’t seem to understand this at all.
He got bored doing the warm-up, and enjoyed my reaction when he went straight in at the top. He just wished I’d last longer with it, especially seeing as he’d seen me take much harsher beatings from other people. I had this conversation with him again and again, but I never really felt like he understood what I was saying. In the end, it was one of the major things that led to the end of our relationship. If he’d been able to hear what I was saying – and accept that he might be screwing up – we’d have got along much better.
…but it’s just as important for a dominant to trust their submissive.
To safeword when they need to. Your dom needs to be able to trust you to understand your own needs. Know your thresholds and desires well enough to use your safeword if you need them to stop. Ignoring an agreed-upon safeword makes a dominant an abuser, but there’s a flip side to that. If you have a safeword and you don’t use it, you have not withdrawn your consent.
That’s not to say that I don’t understand how it can be difficult sometimes. It very much is, and it may be that you need to talk to your partner about things that will make it easier for you. There have been a few times in my life when in hindsight I should have used a safeword but didn’t. Those experiences were unpleasant, but they are at the end of the day, not the other person’s fault. A dom who knows that they can trust you to safeword if you need to can relax. They can go to deeper and more intense places you wouldn’t get to explore with them otherwise.
To communicate & fulfill aftercare needs. Despite their best efforts to convince us otherwise, doms are not psychic. If you need a particular thing doing after an intense session: tell them that – preferably in advance. Remember also that dominants get a come down too. Aftercare can be just as important for them. Simply cuddling up to someone while they reset their headspace into something less intense can make a huge difference to them.
To keep figuring out & sharing their limits. Limits change over time, and many people find that their boundaries are always in flux. I’m not a big fan of anal sex and generally count it as a ‘soft limit’. In my D/s relationships it tends to be reserved for punishments. Some days it’s a hard limit for me. When I feel that way about it, my doms need to be able to trust me to communicate that. It’s absolutely okay to have limits and comfort levels that aren’t always the same. What isn’t okay is to get cross about having those changing limits approached if you haven’t explained what they are.
To not get weird when something goes wrong. Things don’t always work out perfectly. Doms are taking just as much of a risk as subs are – more, if you’re worried about the potential to make a fool of yourself! Submissives need to be understanding and generous to their dominants when a comment hits the wrong note. Or if a strike doesn’t quite land where it was intended to.
We need to keep communicating honestly and openly without assuming our dominants are somehow psychic. We need to take responsibility for our own decisions to use safewords and outline limits. If we’re doing all that properly, the dominants we play with will feel safer and more comfortable with us. In return they’re better able to go to deeper and more incredible places with us. Everybody wins.