When we first enter our lifestyle, we often are swept away by the allure of an ideal world of Masters and slaves living in perfect synergy. The Master is in firm control; the slave willingly obeys every command. It works great online. It is awesome every other weekend. It is mind-boggling at the dungeon party. But, the idealized concept of a live-in Master/slave relationship is quite different than reality, whether you are a newbie or an experienced lifestyler.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that there are both advantages and disadvantages in a live-in D/s union. I will attempt to identify the most critical areas in the live-in relationship, giving you both the pros and the cons of each as I see it.
• Trust. It is much easier to establish trust in the live-in situation because there is little left to the imagination. When you are with someone much of your non-job time, you can truly get a deep understanding of that person’s basic character. Since trust is such a critical area in a D/s relationship, the live-in relationship builds trust in a very deep way. Of course, it also can highlight any negative trust issues since little can be hidden from each other.
• Forget myths. This is real life, not social media. I never believed that the “myth of Dominant infallibility” had any relevance to a real life relationship of any kind. But, once you live together, there is no way to hide your warts and human faults. As a Dominant, don’t try to live up to some artificially perfect standard that you think your slave expects. As a submissive, don’t beat yourself up when you are less than faultless.
• Maintaining play levels. It is much easier to maintain an exciting level of play when you are together for brief periods of time. Here the live-in arrangement can easily erode play – even taking it for granted. One must keep your all aspects of play – including protocols and rituals — fresh and timely. After all, it is said that all relationships require work. Here the effort of maintaining your play levels will pay off handsomely over time.
• Honorifics. Here is where a little goes a long way. Calling your Dominant “Master,” “Sir” or “Mistress” on a daily, consistent basis truly reinforces the power exchange in a deep and profound way. Likewise, the Dominant’s “good girl” or equivalent phrase contributes mightily to the dynamic.
• Isolate key protocols. It is easy to gloss over protocols when you live together. Jobs, outside commitments and friends can make it hard to maintain essential rituals even in a low-protocol relationship. I suggest you identify one or two basic protocols that reinforce the fact that you are the Master/Mistress and she/he is the slave. I personally endorse the greeting ritual upon returning from work as a great way to keep the D/s dynamic fresh in each other’s mind.
• Slave diaries. I suggest the slave keep journals of your best scenes. In this way, the slave gets to emotionally re-live those scenes that were memorable and the Master can recreate those scenes if the play devolves a bit, as it easily can, over time.
• Slave contracts. Slave contracts have no legal standing. They cannot keep a bad D/s union working. But, they are powerful tools that can keep a D/s relationship strong.
• Discipline. As the Dom/me, you must be vigilant to see if and when your relationship might be eroding. It is much like weight loss. If you see a person every day, it is hard to notice any change in weight. Similarly, it is hard to notice when little things gradually go awry. I suggest that you take stock every so often correct small problems before they become big ones.
• Speaking freely. The Master must give the slave regular opportunity to speak her mind without fear of punishment. This is a simple human need and trumps all D/s theory.
• It’s a relationship. Don’t forget the “relationship” aspect of a D/s relationship! This obvious fact is often overlooked. Have fun. Go to movies. Laugh. A live-in Master/slave relationship should not be like working in the Siberian coal mines. The advantage of living together is that it makes it easy to develop a well-rounded relationship. Don’t neglect this advantage.
The key, as I see it, is for both the Master/Mistress and the slave to understand the pros and cons of a 24/7, live-in relationship. Obviously, not all of these suggestions apply to everyone. But, by being aware of the double-edged sword that such a relationship is, you can embrace the positive and avoid the negative.
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.