As a submissive, I take seriously the distinction between wanting something and needing it. And for that reason, I’ve thought a lot about what I truly need in a relationship. As I see it, I have four needs: love, ownership, spanking, and sex. And when any one of them goes unmet for long enough, I get twitchy. Off balance. It throws the other needs off as I try to compensate, and eventually the whole system goes haywire. So I’m going to lay it out as best as I can here.
This one is the easiest and the hardest. Attention and effort. I need him to show me that I’m an important part of his life. Show me that, as he goes about his day, he’s thinking of me. A quick text. A silly picture. Asking how I’m doing. Telling me about his day. Sweeping me up with hugs and kisses, and wrapping me in his arms like he’s never going to let go. With the right person, this is easy. But without love, he has no shot at meeting the rest of my needs. Sex will not satisfy me, and I will not be able to give myself deeply as a submissive. I need trust and affection. I need presence and support. I need to know that he will be there and take care of me. I need to be loved.
But it’s not enough to love me. I need to feel controlled and structured and protected and owned. I need to know deep in my bones that this is not a “normal” relationship, and we are not equals. I need rules. I need protocol. I need firm boundaries. Accountability. Punishment, if necessary. I need to be used at his discretion and for his pleasure. I need the little moments like responding “yes, Sir” and the big moments of being broken and reduced to nothingness. I want his control to permeate every aspect of our relationship. Always present, even as an undercurrent. Always in my place. Always kneeling at his feet, physically or in my heart.
This need for ownership is also why kink fulfills me—but only if it’s a type of kink that inspires feelings of servitude, obedience, ownership, and absolute control. When he binds my hands and strings me up to the ceiling, or when I’m licking and kissing his shoes. When he’s making me scream and taking pictures of my tear-stained face. When he wraps his hand tightly around my throat. But I have kinks that don’t fulfill my ownership needs. And for the most part, they sit on the shelf. I don’t need kink; I need ownership. Kink is just one way of exercising that ownership. I need the everyday structure and the hard use. I need to know that I belong to him on a level that most people don’t understand. As a slave. As cherished property.
It may seem strange that I separate this out from the kink that fulfills my need for ownership. And of course, it does make me feel owned. But I have learned that spanking is just a core need for me. Even if he does a million kinky things that make me feel owned, I will still feel unfulfilled without regular spankings. Spankings are just different for me. I need them. Nothing settles my mind or makes my heart sing like spankings. Spankings make me feel loved. They say, “I am here, and I see you.” Spankings calm and cleanse me, and they bring me back to him. They sate me on a level I can’t reach any other way. Going without being spanked is like going without hugs or kisses. I have more to say about spankings, but it boils down to this: I need them, more than almost anything else we do.
And yes, I need sex. It’s not at the bottom of this list because it’s unimportant. I do very much need sex. His cock sliding between my lips. His fingers curling up to find that perfect spot. His skin on mine. His body over mine, feeling him claim me over and over again. But sex is last on this list because it is so tangled up with the others. Even that phrase—feeling him claim me—is what I need from sex. I need to be held down and shoved in to the mattress. I need to have him take orgasms from me that I didn’t know I could give, because he controls my body. I do enjoy sex even from a vanilla standpoint. But just as sex means more when you love the person, it also means more when it’s part of his control over me.
An interesting thing I have noticed is that I tend to use sex to compensate for other unmet needs. It took a long time for me to see it, because I’ve almost always had unmet needs. But I just assumed I had a very high sex drive. I would have sex and orgasm multiple times, then go home and masturbate to several more orgasms. Then I started in D/s. And for the first time, I experienced a bone-deep level of satisfaction. I was truly sated. And I realized that I had this deep need for submission, and all these years I’d been trying to feed it orgasms. It doesn’t work. I always want sex. But now when I begin to feel insatiable, like no amount of sex could quench that drive… Now I know to look for what else is missing. Am I feeling insecure about whether he loves me? Is our dynamic slipping? Do I desperately need to have my ass beaten? The answer is usually some combination of these.
Without all four of these, some part of me gets lost. It’s not enough to love me; I am more complex than that. When something is missing, anxiety creeps in, and I start to sink. And then it’s time to check the gauges. Attention and affection? Structure and control? Spankings? Sex and orgasms? Usually something is missing. Then it’s time to rebalance. As a submissive, my role is to understand my needs and give status reports on where they stand. He decides how to rebalance. And I must trust him to know how.
This is a very insightful summary of the things that make D/s relationships so unlike “normal” relationships. The following passage really resonated with me:
“it’s not enough to love me. I need to feel controlled and structured and
protected and owned. I need to know deep in my bones that this is not
a “normal” relationship, and we are not equals. I need rules. I need
protocol. I need firm boundaries. Accountability. Punishment, if
necessary. I need to be used at his discretion and for his pleasure. I
need the little moments like responding “yes, Sir” and the big moments
of being broken and reduced to nothingness. I want his control to
permeate every aspect of our relationship.“
I’ve seen more than one D/s relationship run up on the rocks because the two people, though they loved each other deeply, forgot the one ground truth of D/s: love alone is not enough, because “this is not a ‘normal’ relationship.” Spot on.
It’s important to remember that not all d/l relationships involve dominance or submission.
But it’s important to remember that sometimes they do.
And it’s important to remember that if they do then domination is at least as important to the submissive as to the dominant.