How do I introduce BDSM into a long-term relationship as a Dominant?

Introducing BDSM into a long-term relationship

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A reader recently emailed me this (some parts changed to keep it anonymous):

As a new dom my personal challenge has been trying to find an ethical way to introduce D/s into a long-standing (and very healthy) vanilla relationship. The concept can be pretty intimidating from the would-be submissive’s perspective. I really struggled to find any relevant help in this journey. Pretty much all of the content I could find assumed that the sub was introducing D/s to their husband, or that both partners were already well-versed. Your sub-focused approach to dominance has been a great way to introduce it, in a way that is enjoyable and fulfilling for both partners.

Anonymous Reader from Australia

It sounded like he had managed to overcome his challenge of introducing dominance and submission to his partner, but it got me thinking I should write a little bit of advice for those who are struggling.

Here are my top tips for introducing D/s to an existing partner (with a focus on a male Dom introducing the concept to a female long-term partner).

1. You’ve got an advantage

Less of a tip and more of a statement. Being in a long-term relationship means (in theory) you are your partner trust and respect each other. If you’ve got an issue, then your partner will probably listen to you and want to help you.

You therefore have the advantage over people who are in the early stages of dating. You can probably more openly discuss how you feel without the risk of killing early relationship attraction or making the person think you are a weirdo.

The downside of a long-term monogamous relationship is that if your partner has no interest in BDSM then you’re a bit screwed.

2. Soften the language

The words you use to convey your interest in BDSM can have a profound effect on how your message is received.

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The acronym BDSM is pretty scary sounding. Most people have heard the term, but don’t know what it stands for.

So when you begin to have the conversation with your parter you might want to avoid using BDSM terms to begin with.

For example:

  • Instead of saying you want to ‘dominant them’ or ‘be dominated’, say ‘I’d love to try an experiment where I take charge’ or ‘I’d love to try you taking charge and see what happens’.
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  • Instead of saying you want to be degraded or objectified, tell them you want to be called ‘a little slut’ or ask them if you may talk dirty to them.
  • Instead of saying ‘let’s try some rules’ say ‘I’d love to agree to some fun things we can try outside the bedroom when we’re around the house’.
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These are just examples. The skill is taking the terms you might be familiar with and putting them into a language your partner will understand.

3. Give a reason why

Why do you want this?

That’s probably the first question your partner will have when you say you want to dominate them.

It’s important they understand the core desire which is driving this in you. You need to reassure them it’s not because you want to control what they do out of spite, jelously, because you don’t like the way they behave, or any negative reasons.

They may automatically assume it’s because you don’t like something about them and are trying to change them.

So sit down and think about what the need is within you that is driving these desires. You might want to try this quick core desires exercise as a starting point if you’re stuck.

4. Get specific

Telling someone you want to try BDSM is like telling someone you want to go on holiday with them to The World. It’s not particularly helpful. You need to get specific.

Pick out just a couple of activities you would like to try and ask your partner if they’d be interested in trying them (using the tips above about softening the language and giving the underlying reasons why those activities turn you on).

You can find a list of 350+ BDSM related activities in my Sex Menu, available free to download.

5. Listen to their concerns

Once you’ve laid out your desires to your partner, they’ll probably have plenty of questions and concerns.

Take the time to listen carefully to what they have to say. Try not to act defensively if they start to question why you are into BDSM. They are probably just nervous or might even be shy talking about sex, which can make them standoffish or even angry.

Answer all their questions as best you can, without an agenda.

6. Accept a ‘No’

There’s a chance your partner is not interested in being a submissive at all, no matter how you position it.

You must be willing to accept this. Don’t try and change their mind.

You might find after a few days when they’ve had a chance to think about what you’ve said, and they’ve done their own research, that they come around to the idea.

I’ve found this happens to me when I hear a new idea. At first I’m skeptical. And then I think on it some more, read more about the subject, see other perspectives, and slowly the idea starts to grow on me.

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But then again, it may not. I know several people who’s partners are simply not interested in BDSM despite them asking. Some go along with it for a while in order to please their partner, but are never really that enthusiastic, don’t put in effort, which leads to both people becoming dissatisfied.

It’s much better to figure out if you’re partner is into BDSM before you engage in it, or after you’ve pressured them in to it.

Conclusion

As with most things in BDSM, it all comes down to communication.

If you’re alreay in a long-term relationship with someone then you have the advantage of trust, and hopefully being able to talk to them about most things. Sex should be one of these topics.

It can be nerve-wracking to admit that you have a certain kink and want to try BDSM, but so long as you position it correctly, chances are you’ll be able to have the conversation without any blowback. And better yet, you might even discover your partner was in to it all along and didn’t know how to ask you.

Either way, being able to discuss your desires openly in your relationship is healthy. Even if you get a ‘No’, you can congratulate yourself on asking for what you want, which helps you grow as a person.

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John

Ok as someone in a long-term (Marriage) D/s Relationship here are my takes

The first prerequisite is to already have a healthy and open communication about your sex life e.g. likes / dislikes, what you & your partner are prepared / not prepared to do.

Assuming this, I would first suggest trying some light bondage e.g. blindfold and fluffy handcuffs as trying something new (DON’T pressure them), this is something that vanila couples try from time to time and doesn’t immediately say ‘I want to Dom you from here to eternity’ (agree safewords etc if you go through with it).

Ask for feedback e.g. how did this make you feel etc. and take it from there, in the case of my own Marriage my wife said that she loved it because being restrained took the pressure off her to make sex enjoyable, this then progressed to the point where after 10 years of Marriage we’re in an a mild TPE arangement, have a literal dungeon in the basement and are very happy with 4 kids.

You need to accept that everyone is different, your partner might LOVE the idea of being a bedroom sub, but is turned off completely by the idea of being dominated 24/7 (even at lower protocol level).

Ultimately (this is going to sound controversial) your relationship has to be stronger than kink, 5 times now I’ve had to dial down the physical kink aspect of our relationship because we’re expecting, each time it has been difficult, but ultimately I love my wife more than I enjoy being a Dom.

Christopher

John, great to hear your experience. I am also in a happy marriage of ten years but only just started experimenting with D/s outside of occasional light BDSM in the bedroom. We already have a slight D/s thing going on simply through our personalities, but after discovering more about this world recently I’ve wanted to do more. My wife is very happy to try new things in bed and is naturally submissive during sex, but is not really into the dynamic outside the bedroom (yet?) aside from generally following my lead in things as part of her nature. Are you able to tell us how you made the journey from light bondage to the TPE dynamic you have today? Was she enthusiastic about this from the start, and if not how did you both make the change together with open communication and without any pressure? Thanks.

Last edited 1 month ago by Christopher
John

Hi Chris

Short version

Shortly after we married she was out shopping with friends and was pressured into buying fluffy handcuffs & Blindfold at the local version of ann summers.

She tried to hide them (she comes from a very Trad Church of Norway family) but I said that we should try them just once and as I said the act of being restrained took the pressure off her to make sex enjoyable. Like you I’m naturally the dominant one and after 6 months, she actually asked me to formally Dom her 24/7.

We started out light e.g. non-physical punishments and formalizing responsibilities that were already de facto her area. But it grew as our confidence in our new roles did, we progressed to light impact play, more restrictive bondage and her ceding more control to me.

For Erica the structure that our TPE relationship gives her (as well as the moderate bondage and impact play) makes her feel wanted, cared for and gives her a baseline of stability on which she built, part of the training was in interpersonal skills as being autistic she lacked those, the fact that she has chosen to submit more, even as we built up her self confidence is incredibly hot !!

I’m afraid give you much advice beyond generalities; as I said its different for each person, if Erica wasn’t autistic then I doubt our relationship would be the same.

One thing I would say is to keep it under wraps at first, even though people are more aware of Kink, there’s a still a lot of misunderstandings out there and esp in a TPE (even a mild one) there are elements that could be construed as coercive control, although I’ve never met anyone who wanted a stepford submissive.