It can be so easy to fall into. It makes sense.
We all want to fill our hearts’ desires, yes?
Perhaps it’s something simple. It’s a frustration, and making a deal will fix it. “I really need you to do these dishes. I will have kinky sex with you just the way you want it.” We both win, right?
But let’s take a step backwards and ask if that’s really what we want our relationships to look like. Sure, there may be housework that needs to be done, but if your partner isn’t helping and a forthright conversation about how important it is to you doesn’t change things, taking a step onto this path can lead to a dark place.
Ideally, when practicing kink, or sex with our kink, as we all want different things, we employ willing participants. We want the person or people we play with to not only consent, but be enthusiastic participants. If sex and kink have reduced in frequency in a relationship, that sounds like something to discuss seriously. One of the most common areas of contention in relationships is sex.
So instead of having those hard conversations, we barter. I get what I want, sort of. You do the dishes. You get what you want, sort of. We have unfulfilling kinky sex, with at least one semi-enthusiastic participant.
So the next time frustration hits, it is easy to turn to bartering. I’ll do it again, you do it again. How often? Monthly perhaps. Sex outside of these transactions becomes almost non-existent. I have become a whore in truth, exchanging sex and kink for simple help around the house. Perhaps it always was this way, we simply gave it honesty.
It is an awful feeling to realize we have reduced our sex life to a series of transactional exchanges. It used to be something that brought us closer that we both enjoyed, but now it is simply another tool, another chore to make time for, and a rather messy, sticky chore at that.
So how do we avoid creating transactional relationships?
That isn’t an easy answer. I can only offer my experience. Having had a relationship which went that direction in the past, my instinct is to avoid any type of trade with partners. I choose to do things for them because I want to bring them joy, such as building one a new flogger or doing the laundry and hanging his shirts the way he likes it done.
I have no expectation that my reciprocation will be anything other than a simple, “thank you,” or a hug. By letting go of my expectation that I should be receiving some type of reward or compensation for my time and effort, it reduces the likelihood that sex becomes the coin of our relationship. I want our intimacy and play to be out of mutual desire rather than because either (or any) of us have thoughts that it will be a trade.
My goal is for my relationships to be honest enough to withstand the temptations to become an opportunity to keep score.
About the Author
Hadrian Temple says
Kink is about honesty and openness. It’s a tool for achieving a deeper type of transparency in our relationships. To me, that’s the secret to avoiding purely transactional relationships. We need to present with our subs and doms and care about them as human beings, not just sex partners. Without that sort of transparency and honesty, bdsm relationships tend to curdle into something more unhealthy
Quid pro quo, wrapped in the facade of “mutual satisfaction” is the downfall for many D/s dynamics. There are many ways to achieve mutual satisfaction of NEED, without sacrificing the imbalance of power that the D/s dynamic requires. Obligating a dominant to “return the favor” dilutes their authority.
It’s not surprising that subs try to establish quid pro quo for their service – they are the ones striving to get what they want while also striving to serve. However, what surprises me is how many dominants ASSUME they HAVE TO engage in such transactional agreements in order to obtain submission…as if D/s dynamics need to be “fair”. Submission creates a one-sided imbalance of power within a mutually satisfying dynamic. It is not “equal” in either rights or expectations.
Some of my previous articles here in KinkWeekly discuss this very notion. I fully agree with Christmas Bunny’s position.
Mistress Laurent says
I have never believed in, nor practiced “tit for tat” relationships. My own quirky version of FemDomme D/s is not based on rewards. If I feel like giving him a treat, I do.
His job is to Please Me.
My job is to tell him what I need, and when he does a good job.
Treats are treats.
That bartering game really serves no one, right??
I personally agree, though I had an acquaintance let me know of some alternate views on this issue.