I’m curious if you have also noticed any correlation such as this in your time as a Dominatrix, or something different?
Sade: I really resonate with all of that as I consider myself to be a very sensitive and intuitive person as well. When I was younger and earlier into my kink explorations/career, I didn’t have the language or finesse to determine where these particular delicate boundaries needed to exist (or how to establish them). It was something that slowly emerged over time as I played with and developed relationships with many different people and learned what was and was not working. When I was younger and I had many submissives who were just not engaging with kink (or me) in a healthy way. Kink was a negative thing to purge out of the system or they had poor self-esteem regarding their particular kinks and/or submissive desires. I feel like I spent a lot of time dealing with the fallout of that lack of respect for themselves, me, and BDSM as a whole. The fallout often looked like seriously flaky behavior, emotional manipulation, and just a whole lot of heavy emotional lifting just to get the baseline of, okay, this thing we are doing is okay! It’s not an aberration. In fact it’s healthy, beautiful, and something to be celebrated. I realized I didn’t want to be starting from a place of deficit with my BDSM relationships. Establishing that boundary, generally speaking, has lead to much more joyful, nourishing, healthy relationships with my core submissives and clientele.
How does your BDSM practice and relationships feel now that you make a concerted effort to filter out those who lack self-respect?
Faustine: I absolutely agree with your realization that you no longer want to start your BDSM relationships from a place of deficit, I realized at some point not too terribly long ago that I’d had enough of taking in people who want me to fix them or wallow with them. Now that I make a concerted effort to screen out people who harbor some sort of unresolved and unconscious internal emotional toxicity or dark and burdensome baggage that weaves around their BDSM inclinations or kink narrative, I feel that my BDSM relationships can start off on this really light and transparent feeling foot. I feel that they get the chance to have a running start rather than starting off with some really horrible boundary pushing and continual boundary reasserting slog, which then allows me to enter into the relationship feeling really happy, hopeful, and excited about what we are going to build together in terms of our cocreated kink exploration journey.
So I feel like a healthier and more powerful person, I feel more alive and less emotionally burdened, energetically drained and physically inundated with psychosomatic manifestations of fatigue and poor mental health. I mean, we are Dominatrices right? These “submissives” should want us to feel powerful, truly powerful, not just because it can allow them to enjoy the space of submission they experience while we play the role of Dominant for them, but because we as Dominants can then experience the real joy of feeling like a liberated, powerful, healthy Dominant entity, and THAT is incredibly sexy because it is sustainable and creates the potential for thriving long-term D/s and kink exploration!
Have you noticed shifts in your practice as well since implementing new boundaries? And I’m curious what kinds of things cue you in to noticing that a potential submissive might not be right for you in this way, how do you sense or experience self respect in your subs/clients?
Sade: Great answers and questions! I love what you describe regarding wanting to create a dynamic where your Dominant truly feels powerful and healthy. That’s so crucial. I would say that I have experienced similar shifts. When I am exercising these boundaries and culling my potential relationships in this way, everything does feel so much lighter. I can inject my energy into actual exploration (instead of clawing for baseline) and my relationships feel far more mutually nourishing. Enacting these boundaries for myself is also how I reinforce my own self-respect as a Dominant. I know that what I am doing is positive (and nothing to be ashamed of) and I can avoid carrying the very burdensome weight of unprocessed shame. Energy that was spent “building up” or “fixing” a submissive is now freed up to be poured into mutual creative exploration, growth, and just plain old shameless fun.
Some of the cues that I pay attention to now start with the intake application or initial phone call. I pay attention to how they describe the relationship between their kink explorations and their vanilla lives. I look for indications that they seem to have reasonable boundaries between their fantasies (particularly if they involve the realms of humiliation/degradation/heavy masochism and some other heavier types of play) and their actual selves/lives.