As the Internet turns twenty, more or less, we should address the popularity of long distance D/s relationships. For the most part, the days of “Master, twenty-seven years old with twenty-five years experience looking for submissive” are gone. With technology like Skype, Duo, Facetime and webcamming, among others, it is fairly easy to get a handle on what your long-distance party is or is not. Thus are born a myriad of LDR’s that can approximate many of the aspects of a proximate D/s relationship. That is the good news.
The bad news is that, when you are in a long distance Dom/me-sub relationship, it can often be difficult to maintain the power exchange that is at the heart of such an arrangement.
The D/s dynamic is relatively easy to maintain when the Dom/me and sub are proximate. The Dom/me gives an order and can quickly evaluate how the sub obeys. Punishment or reward might be called for; the Dom/me can make an instant assessment of the situation. But, the principles of consistency and swiftness of reward and punishment that apply to live-in Master/slave relationships do not necessarily translate to long-distance relationships; in-person Dominance can be hard to duplicate. There can be time delays in the Dom/me’s discovering infractions, just as there can be interruptions in meting out the actual punishment; these obstacles can even result in unintended misunderstandings. Thus, you might be wise for both parties to cut a little slack in all interactions when in a LDR. Murphy’s Law – “What can go wrong, will go wrong” – is in full effect in LDR’s!
In a long-distance BDSM relationship, the following concerns, ones that might be easily overlooked in a local liaison, must be addressed. And, they should be dealt with as quickly as possible. (If you have already covered these points, then you should be less worried about your relationship.)
- What are your “away” rules? Can he/she see other men/women? Are you allowed to play? What exactly constitutes play? Hard and soft limits. These are items can usually talked about over coffee; in long distance they are often overlooked. Besides, in local, the “horniness because of distance” factor does not apply. These critical concerns must be covered in great detail, to both parties’ satisfaction.
- Do you both see the monogamy/poly continuum in the same way? Is he/she a “one-slave” Dom/me? A “one-slave” Dom/me with play partners? A poly Dom/me? Are you the only collared slave he/she plans to have? With respect to these issues, are you on the same page that he/she is on?
- You should agree on a specific call schedule. For example, you might agree to speak on the phone twice a week and Skype/Facetime/Duo (or whatever interface you both use) once a week. Obviously, if this schedule isn’t adhered to, anxiety can result – so both sides must make a special effort to stick to the routine until you unite for good.
Starting off on a good foundation is extremely important here. In a local relationship, you can fix things quickly with a face-to-face talk over dinner. In long-distance, this is impossible. Dinner means a plane trip and those wonderful TSA lines. Thus, small problems can fester and can become big problems. If you can nip them in the bud, you have a much better chance in your long-distance romance.
When you are dealing with LDR’s, different rules apply. Since you are both far away from each other, either side can hide lots of baggage. Thus, both sides must be held to a higher standard – if you are planning to take it real time someday. Trust must be virtually absolute. The fact that you say, “The phone calls used to be twice a month and now it’s been a couple months since I have talked to him/her,” is a red flag. Red flags eat into trust; and without trust your relationship will die. But, there might be a reasonable explanation. So, before you jump off the “trust express,” make sure your concerns are real and not unfounded paranoia. (Long-distance relationships and paranoia are roommates!)
Our technology is such that you can easily see the other person. And there is nothing like seeing the other person’s face to know all’s right with the world! Long distance is tough enough without both of you disappearing into the vague world of misunderstood e-mails, texting and Twitter DM’s!
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.
Great article! It gave me a lot to think about for my own long distance relationship.
In my opinion, it all depends what you and your partner want out of the relationship. Once wants are talked about then the dynamic can better assess if forever staying long distance is going to be sustainable.
Thanks so much for writing this article! I have one question for you-
Do you think that long distance relationships can work long term if there is no plan for either party to move to their partner’s place of residence?
My instinct: No!
Statistically: (From my own observation): Unlikely.
The Rule: There are always exceptions to the rule!
I truly believe that anything is possible.
It really comes down to a hieghtened sense of honesty, integrity, communication, understanding, and maybe even scheduling/time management.
No holds barred be as open and honest with each other of your limits, expectations, and treat it as something of a business negotiation. Neither party will end up 100% satisfied with the long term so be sure to renegotiate as often as you need to in order to stay within comfortable boundaries. There is a terribly low success rate for LDR, generally speaking, but you really never know what works until you try! Best of luck.