When you first enter the BDSM lifestyle, you invariably hear the word “trust” mentioned a lot. Obviously, once you consent to being tied up, you must trust your dominant. In a D/s relationship, you trust that his/her decisions will be, on balance, good ones. If others are involved in play situations, you trust that your Master tells you the truth with respect to any additional partners. Thus, the statement that “D/s is based on trust” has a lot of truth within it.
In our lifestyle, and in interpersonal relationships in general, trust is one of the hardest things to judge. “Can I trust him/her?” is a tough question to answer. In a society where people meet total strangers online, with few personal references, it is hard to know whom to trust. Can examining different aspects of “trust” shed some light on how to evaluate a potential dominant? Let’s give it a try.
As I see it, there are two kinds of trust. The first type is what I term “scening trust.” The beauty of BDSM play is that it sets up an objective way to evaluate this area of trust. After a few scenes, or even just one, you can assess the “trust level” of just about anyDom/me by answering the following questions.
Is the Dom/me as skillful as he/she first claimed to be? Did the dominant exaggerate his/her skill level? Did he/she answer your pre-scening questions truthfully? Were there any “truth” red flags? This is not only a question to determine how well suited a dominant is to you, but it also answers questions about his/her basic integrity.
Did the Dominant allow a safe word? I personally believe that some rare couples can eventually dispense with a safe word – but only after they know how they play. But, if a dominant categorically refuses to allow the use of a safe word in your initial scenes, trust is then a major issue.
Did the Dom/me stop immediately upon hearing your safe word? If the answer is “no,” trust can be totally killed.
Was the Dom/me interested in your well-being? Was he/she totally self-indulgent even at the peril of safety? Did he/she give you aftercare?
Did the Dom/me exude an aura of competence that made you feel safe? When the play gets more edgy – such as needle play — the level of requisite trust escalates. Do you trust him to keep you safe in all play situations?
It is fairly easy to evaluate a Dom/me when you are using scene standards. If your answers to the five questions are all positive ones, you are off to a good start. And, if your situation is a play-only deal, you can just evaluate trust from strictly scening point of view.
It is in the area of emotional trust that the lines often become blurred.
What makes an “unsafe emotional player” is a totally subjective call. Yet, this is as important a criterion as “scene trust.” After all, physical damage (unless severe) heals faster than psychic damage. In the emotional trust area, I propose five more questions that must be answered before you can totally trust a potential Dom/me.
Did the Dom/me lie to you at any time? This is pretty basic stuff. But, one must be super-vigilant at the beginning. I am not saying, “One strike and you’re out!” There can be extenuating circumstances or the lie might be a forgivable one (at the option of the lie-ee.) But, honesty is the foundation of trust.
Is the Dom/me as consistent in real life as he/she is during play? It is important that the qualities that the Dom/me brings to play – concern for your welfare, competence, consistency – are brought to the day-to-day aspects of your relationship.
Did the Dom/me bum-rush you with an “insta-collar?” This can be fun; I am open-minded. But, it not the most effective way to establish trust which, like it or not, is built up over time.
Is the Dom/me totally open with you? Does the dominant avoid certain questions or shade the truth? Does he/she address your concerns in a straightforward manner?
Does the Dom/me make any demands that seem unreasonable? If the first thing a potential dominant says is, “Give me your paycheck,” “Slaves have no property” or something similar right off the bat, you can bet establishing trust is not his/her first priority. This is especially important if one is playing the Fin Domme game – make sure the Domme is reasonable and is not looking to leave you homeless and penniless.
If you break down trust in this two-part way – play trust and emotional trust – you can evaluate your potential dominant’s “trust factor” in a more objective way. In this way, you can protect your body and your psyche!
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.