Can you help me understand the difference between D/s and narcissist/codependent? I know D/s can be dysfunctional like any relationship can. However, how can D/s not have an undertone of narcissist/codependent? I’m afraid to even try D/s even though I’m not drawn to anything else.


Hi, anon!

Yeah, I can totally see where you’re coming from on that. It’s easy to see d/s as a narcissistic dom and a codependent submissive. Thats the way it gets portrayed.

Here’s my take: first, let’s look at my amazing submissive partners.

@belovedsangi has kicked ass at every single thing she has ever tried to do. Top of every class she has taken. Got a job and was praised for her work and promoted in less than 3 months. She’s an amazing artist and equestrian and ballerina and witch. She’s fucking great at literally everything. She could get by just fine without me.
@danipup is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life. Supremely talented librarian/curator, top notch researcher. She has lived all over the world and experienced more than most people ever will. She has endured heartbreak like most couldn’t imagine experiencing. And yet still, she rises, she smiles, she shines. She fills rooms with infectious energy. She charms people without even trying. She could get by just fine without me.

My point is my submissive partners aren’t even a shred codependent. Quite the opposite. They kneel because they choose to kneel, because they enjoy the peace of mind that comes from being led by someone who they deem worthy. The second I stopped earning my stripes, they’d drop me like a bad habit and I would expect nothing less.

As for me? You could argue that I’m a narcissist. Sure. I do, in fact, have an ego the size of Neptune but I also *know* that I have that ego and I try to keep it in check at every opportunity. Because two human beings, two amazing women, have come to me and said “we see strength and courage and kindness and honor in you to match our own, and we will follow you for as long as you prove worthy”.

And that’s powerful, you know? To have someone believe in me as much as I believe in myself…so I dont take that lightly.

For instance, I wake up every day and set Dani’s schedule. I don’t do this because I enjoy setting schedules and I don’t do this because I enjoy control. I do this because having that schedule helps Dani feel like her day is focused. It helps her feel like her happy and free of worry. And I set that schedule full of things that are going to help her achieve her goals in life. Not to satisfy me. You’ll never hear “Dani, it’s time for my 3:15 blowjob”; you’ll hear “Dani, it’s time for your morning workout”, though. And she isn’t working out to look good for me. Have you seen the woman? She’s stunning! I want her happy and healthy so that she can go out into the world and kick ass as only she can.

That’s what this stuff looks like when it’s healthy. No egos. No codependency. Just people sharing a life and an energy together and trying to build one another up as best they can.


Just going to add that by asking “am I a Sub or am I codependent” or “am I a Dom or just a narcissist” you’re ahead of the game!  Or by asking reverse because, oh yeah, Subs can be narcissistic and Doms can be codependent as hell!

20th Century psychiatric assertions notwithstanding, it’s not the case that having a kink is itself an issue.  But!  For every kink there’s one or more corresponding mental-health, behavioral, or even criminal issues.

And since roughly one out of ten people in general has at least some tendency towards codependence it’s not surprising that Submissives, for instance, or Caregiving tops might have their fair share as well.

These issues aren’t necessarily a problem in kink.   Well… no more than they are for any relationship – romantic, family, neighborly, or even business relationships!  If you’re really codependent, or controlling, or depressive, or sociopathic, and you know it?  If you have anxiety or abandonment concerns, if you’re narcissistic or avoidant and you take responsibility for it?  You’re way ahead of the game!

Way ahead of the game not just in kink but in all possible relationships!  

So when exploring kink, as with exploring any other interest, it’s a good idea to ask yourself “is this a good choice for me?”  To ask “is this me being interested or my issue taking charge?”  If you’re comfortable with your answers then go for it!  One of the great hallmarks of kink vs. vanilla is that we do tend to have self-awareness and we do take responsibility for our own shit!

And just remember.  As with LMS and his partners, @belovedsangi and @danipup, most of the people you’re going to meet in any given kink aren’t going to have issues.  And of the minority who do, most of the ones who do are going to have theirs under control.

We often see established people in kink speak of “newbies” in kink in terms of them being “wannabes” or “weekend warriors,” etc.  But at a deeper, possibly unconscious level, people who’ve found their place in kink may really be assessing newcomers not in terms of their level of commitment, experience, or deportment but in terms of the risk of letting them into their community.  

Bottom line: asking is a marvelous way to get started.  And just by asking, Anon is taking a healthy first step!