I’ve Got To Be Me

I hope you have been enjoying Rika’s Lair, my monthly column dedicated to thoughts and experiences regarding power dynamics in Service-Oriented D/s relationships. Look up “Ms. Rika” in the search box for links to all of my articles in KinkWeekly! 

I often get emails from couples asking for the secret to creating realistic, lifestyle power dynamics within their relationships. They want to know how I grew into the dynamics I have with my submissives. They want to know if there are ways to approach a 24/7 D/s lifestyle that are more successful than others. 

Of course, there is no secret – however, there are some considerations that are very straight forward, and contain very basic, common sense. 

The important point in 24/7 lifestyle dynamics is that you can’t pretend to be someone you’re not, when conducting a lifestyle arrangement. Playing a role or assuming a persona will work for scene-based, time-bounded sessions, where you can pretend to be a particular person for an hour, a day, a weekend, maybe even a week – but ultimately, you need to return to who you really are. No one can pretend to be someone they’re not, every minute of every day, with no end in sight; not without it taking some serious tolls on your psyche and sense of happiness. 

I, and almost everyone I’ve met, started their D/s experiences doing scenes of some kind. For me, I had a boyfriend who used to make bets that he knew he would lose, but pretended he thought he could win, making the stakes that the loser would be the slave of the winner for the weekend. In those days, “being the slave” meant getting tied up, being spanked, being put in mildly degrading positions (like kissing feet or ass, not speaking unless given permission, never allowing his head to be above mine, etc.) and being sexually out of control. Being the dominant (which always was me) entailed dressing in leather and boots and being wickedly evil and demanding. It was good kinky fun. 

But after the weekends, we would go through a period of disconnect: I was ready to go back to our regular relationship – and he was ready to make this lifestyle a full-time gig. I always enjoyed playing the games, but when I thought about making it my life, it couldn’t stick with me. The persona I assumed during those games wasn’t me. Even though it was me having fun playing a game…it wasn’t something I would want to live – the persona was not someone I identified as “me”. 

The “progression point” was realizing that being the dominant in a lifestyle power dynamic is about being who you are naturally, and having a partner who submits to THAT person. In other words, I am me…and my partner agrees to submit to me. In order to do that, I need to define what submission to me means: What I like, what I feel serves me, what pleases me – and communicate that to my partner. He then has to adapt his submission to deliver that. I don’t change who I am. 

This was not always natural for my partners, who often grew up on porn imagery. I had to insist on dynamics the way I wanted them. I was unwilling to base a 24/7 lifestyle on sessions. The logic was, I would never be happy unless I am who I am. And my submissive could never be happy unless his submission was viewed as actual service – by me. This logic is irrefutable. The fact that I was more than willing to dominate my men, quite strictly, as long as they submitted the way I wanted, was an irresistible draw. They went along with the deal and quickly grew to understand how much more fulfilling submitting to a dominant who is not acting could be. 

Today, rather than defining dominance as a role that I play, my dominance can be defined as accepting my sub’s efforts to fulfill my definition of submission. Some of those BDSM kinks still are in play – the ones that really serve me. Other kinks still come out during playtime – but are viewed by both of us as more topping than dominance. His submission is based on my preferences, my imagery, my wishes. 

I’m not fitting imagery to play the role of dominant…I AM the imagery of a dominant – for my unique dynamic, with my unique partner. Being dominant is being me. I am my own definition of dominance. You can be yours. 


Ms. Rika is a lifestyle dominant, educator, and author; living in the suburbs of NYC with her husband/slave. She has written several popular books on her approach to adding Dominant-Centric, Service-Oriented D/s to relationships. You can find her books (in both print and eBook formats) at Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/msrika), or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iStore, Books-A- Million, Kobo.com, or anywhere books are sold. Search for “Ms. Rika”. Ms_Rika@hotmail.com


  1. your work is always so thorough and on-point

  2. ballsnchains says:

    Thank you for bringing your POV to the site

  3. pony_asher says:

    Love this. It’s so true- if you’re not true to yourself, it won’t last. I love your focus on the practicality too. I’m starting to think the kinkiest things, are the kinky things that are actually going to happen, which demands practicality and being yourself!!! Thanks for your column, I can’t believe I just discovered it.

  4. I believe I will.

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