How To Tell Your Vanilla Friends About Your Power Exchange Relationship


It’s been a struggle for me to tell people about my M/S relationship because I’ve felt they wouldn’t understand or that I would be judged. The word “Master” and “slave” can carry a connotation that does not make this dynamic sound favorable to the vanilla community.

One would think that the word “slave” infers that I am forced to do things that I don’t want to do or that I don’t have any say in the home. The term “Master” could easily make my partner sound like a controlling tyrant. How these words have been presented to the masses are very different from what they mean in the BDSM community. This is why it’s a challenge when trying to explain these concepts to vanilla individuals.

The best way I have found to explain power exchange relationships is to start out with concepts that that most people will agree with and understand, such as: transparency, communication, consent, knowing what your partner expects, vows etc.

Starting with something people can easily get on board with, allows you to assess whether it’s safe to go more in-depth into the topic, and allows the other person time to wrap their head around what you are telling them.

It’s also a good idea to mention that the entire dynamic is consensual, and that you are very happy with your life. Once the person knows you’re happy, and that your relationship is based on core values that they believe in too, it is easier to go further into explaining more foreign concepts.

You can keep your relationship details very vague or you can go into specifics depending on how you comfortable you are feeling. Initially, it’s usually a good idea to save very foreign things, such as whips and paddles, for a later date. For example, when I first told my best friend about our relationship, I only mentioned that we modeled our lives around the ideology of the 1950’s. Then, at a later date, I told her about our rules. I still haven’t told her about our spankings or punishment assignments. It’s no one’s business how you live your life, but I totally know what it’s like to want to tell people about the amazing relationship you have, but are too afraid of judgement to do so. That’s why it’s best to take things slowly and in stages.

I waited nearly a year before I opened up to my best friend. After explaining all the wonderful things we have built into our relationship, and how happy I was, she was fully on board. The things that really sold it to her were that I told her that my Master and I rarely fight, that I know exactly what he expects of me at all times/ how to make him happy, and that I never have to wonder about where I stand with him.

Before I went into our actual power exchange structure, I talked about how we use resets (a pause when tensions get heightened), and never go to bed without resolving an issue. Both of these things she understood and had heard couples talk about. Finding that relatable opener allowed me to later go into our actual contract, rules, some of our protocols, etc.

It made me extremely happy that she was accepting of my life and my relationship. I think that more times than not, we feel that those closest to us, will disown us if they knew the truth. But most of the time, our loved ones just want to see us happy and that we are being treated well. As long as you convey both of these things right off the bat, they will most likely be receptive of everything else. However, your vanilla friends may not understand everything you are saying, even when you explain it to them very thoroughly.

It’s too high of an expectation to expect even those that know us really well to fully understand where we are coming from or what our lifestyle entails. All we can hope for is that they are happy that we are happy.

When this does happen, it’s a giant win for everyone in the BDSM community.

About the Author:

Slave Bunny, a 1950’s power slave, is involved in a wonderful and loving TPE 24/7 M/S relationship with her Master and husband. She is also the Creative Director of Kink Weekly.

She has dedicated her life to working on herself mentally, spiritually, and physically, and hopes to inspire others to do the same. Through teaching and mentoring, she hopes to help everyone in the Kink community as much as she can.

Feel free to add her on Fetlife (Slave_Bunny992) to see her upcoming workshops and classes.



  1. Glad you were able to educate a few people.

    Baby steps.

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