Not everyone is cut out to be balls deep in this lifestyle and there is nothing wrong with that. I have seen more posts than I can count in educational groups about people who are absolutely miserable trying to be a slave/submissive or master/dominant. Why? The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Somewhere in the same post is often a statement, “I think I am just going to give it all up.” Again…WHY? Because it has to be all or nothing? Hogwash!
You do not have to be a fulltime “lifestyler” in a dynamic to enjoy what BDSM and kink have to offer. There is no rule saying you must be all in or get out.
Like a menu at a Chinese restaurant, you can find enjoyment in the pieces and parts that are on offer. So what if a Total Power Exchange is not for you. Maybe you just like taking or giving over control once a month. Who cares if you are not a massive pain slut and would rather a good tickle. Good for you. The world would be a boring place if everybody was meeting a, “kink standard.”
Make your own mosaic of what fits you and roll with it. If you are unhappy as a submissive and hate having rules, you might be a kinkster who just likes to bottom occasionally as a play partner. Great! If you are a Dom/me who is struggling and frustrated constantly, same deal. Maybe being the occasional top is for you. There have certainly been points in my kink life where I backed off the lifestyle and just spent some time playing.
If you do change from one role to another, you can always change back, or into something completely different. Being a certain something or that if you are that something, a certain way, in not required. No matter what the peanut gallery has to say.
If you are one of the many out there who have found yourself in limbo, frustrated, and confused. Have hope. There is a place and kink for damn near anybody in our carnival of paraphilias. So do not jump out of the clown car just yet.
Take Time to Define Your Needs
Take some time to really evaluate yourself and your needs. Without comparing yourself to anyone else. What kinks pique your interest? What makes you feel good/bad? What are the things you are unsure about? Why are you unsure about them? What are the things you absolutely have to have? How often? Etc.
As I said, without comparing yourself to anyone else. You are the one unique you. There is no expectation that you become Super-Master Single-Tail Esquire, or the ultimate slave. Do not worry about living up to an image you have in your mind or what you think everyone else in kinktopia will consider, “legitimate.” Just be you.
And if you have not got that figured out yet…… so what? You will get there. Be patient.
It can be OK to just play.
Not everyone has to have a deep personal connection when they are practicing their kink. Sometimes play for play’s sake, is a good thing. As long as it’s safe and with someone you can trust. It is how we figure out what we like; by trying things out.
I have several play partners (bottoms) who are friends, but not romantic interests at all. The scenes are rarely emotional. What they want one in a while is to get broken down, beat, and sometimes humiliated. Seems to recharge their batteries and they are good for a couple of weeks. After the scene, we go back to being just friends. I do not view them as less than a dedicated submissive, or somehow inferior in the lifestyle. That is just them, and I accept them for who and what they are.
When you are ready, explore!
Like those bottoms I described, you have a niche, even if you have not found it yet. Explore different things, with different people if you can. How one person tops in fire play can be completely different from someone else. Conversely, if you are a top who enjoys impact, not all masochist bottoms are going to get your motor running. Sometimes physical and/or intellectual chemistry matters.
There are plenty of kink inventory charts out there for reference. Pick one and start making a bucket list. We do it with everything else in life why not this? Make friends in the community and start learning who is good at what and who likes what. Share your goals with people. A lot of people in our little world want to be helpful and for others to have good experiences. You might be surprised how easy it is to check some of those kinks off your list.
Do not be afraid of change.
Everything changes, as much as we do not want it to at times. Learn to embrace it. Who you are today regarding kink, is not who you are going to be two years from now, let alone ten. Your experiences will mount, preferences evolve, and your skill/knowledge will be greater. All of this is a good thing. Try not to hold on too tightly to the way things are now. If you do, you may get stuck in a rut and find yourself being disappointed in the future. Our partners are growing and changing also, so we need to be looking forward and evolving with them (for long term relationships).
To borrow a cliché, it’s not the destination, it is the journey. Enjoy where you are now. In the future, look back on it fondly, but do not let what might have been weigh you down. There is always a new adventure right around the next corner. If you spend too much time looking back, you might miss it.
Sometimes things just end.
In the wide world of kink, there has been a massive influx of those who want to jump in the deep end feet first but have not figured out how to swim yet. Most dynamics are doomed before the ever get started. Poor communication skills, unrealistic expectations, or just plain not being committed take them down on a regular basis.
If this has happened to you, do not be too hard on yourself. Do he honest. Look at yourself and own your part in why something went sideways. Then commit to being better and make a plan to do so. Breakups are almost never one sided. Even if your partner was silent on the issue, you have an idea of the things you need to work on.
While you are a free radical, practice your communication and being honest to a fault. Think about your expectations and if they are realistic. Where they may have been with one partner, they may or may not be with your next.
Not every dynamic has to be a forever one. I have entered into dynamics where we both knew it had an expiration date for differing reasons. They are looking for their forever man/woman/partner; or they have a primary (poly) and are wanting to learn/gain experience for a time – are a couple of examples. As long as you both know what those reasons are and are comfortable with the arrangement, go for it. Something to keep in mind the next time you are vetting if you dive back in the pool.
Above all, enjoy yourself.
If you are not having fun anymore, there is a reason. Take a beat and figure out what that is. There is a ton of crap in our regular lives to drag us down, kink should not be among them. What it is that we do should build us up! Inspire self-confidence; be a means to learn about ourselves; and be a reasonably safe haven from the mundane world. Yes, there are going to be rough patches. Those are opportunities to grow and change. Take them for what they are, learn, and move forward.
BDSM and Kink can be as fun as you want it to be. Sure, it takes some effort and self-reflection at times to keep it on track. In the end, that effort is worth it. Better than being stuck in a negative loop wishing things were better.
Be the genuine you. Be in control of your own destiny, and Be adventurous. When you are 80 and looking back, it will put a smile on your face.
TAC is a lifestyle writer, dominant, and mentor who contributes to several online educational groups such as the BDSM Alternative Lifestyle Discussion and Education; Information Exchange for Dom/mes, Masters, and Mistresses; and the Virtual Munch. His writing includes information on self-improvement, growth, dominance, trauma, power dynamics and power exchange, and safety. His goal is to continue giving back to a community of friends who have supported him for nearly three decades. He can be found on Fetlife at TAC_1