I thought I knew about communication in a D/s relationship after the years with the former mistress. Like most long lived relationships we had established good communication. Some accomplished with my weekly journal and increasingly the unconscious communications of people who know each other very well.
It’s worth noting that your agreed ground rules to communication must be adhered to. Failure to be consistent is not an option.
My journal was agreed to be sacrosanct. I could write whatever my views and thoughts were in there. It was for her to read them and decide if action or deeper discussion was required. Then, one day she broke the sanctity of that space. She took exception to something I’d written and flew into a rage only assuaged by issuing punishment. That thoughtless moment almost completely destroyed my trust in her and come very close to ending the relationship. It took six months of hard work from both of us before it was repaired.
I can always hear Led Zeppelin’s Communication Breakdown when I recall this strained period.
When I became involved with my current domme I soon realised that my previous experience of communicating had been limited. It had inhabited a comfort zone where the mutual intuition was not going to be stretched.
Our initial activity was hypnosis. I’ve touched on it elsewhere, there’s no such thing as body language as a feedback for hypnosis, so how on earth do you know what’s going on ? Is it damaging ? The only window into what’s in my mind is what I can report. Almost immediately in this relationship I had to come to terms with opening up to an extent that I never had before and it was terrifying. I had one overriding factor that helped me do this, it was the only way to help ensure my own safety. Of course it also got her ever deeper in to my mind. It was a conscious decision in that to go where I wanted / needed to go, I had to learn to suspend all trust issues. Not an easy thing to do.
The open honesty and detail required, so far out of my experience and comfort zone. It’s the emotional honesty that’s the kicker. Having to learn that it’s okay to say ‘no, I’m not alright’, fighting the instincts of 50 years of conditioning to be stiff upper lipped, stoically unemotional.
I learned a whole new landscape of communication. It’s hard for a sub to break out of the perceived shackles of not questioning the dom/me, or offering an opinion, or initiating a conversation. It’s the result of putting them on that pedestal and having your eyes averted to the ground.
When later we added CP, this new understanding of how to communicate with her was just as essential. The first thing I was disabused of was that the former mistress had ever taken me anywhere close to the limit. Instead my domme will push and extend my limits at every opportunity. Pretending you can handle it, that everything is alright is disrespectful to both. Being able to say where physically and emotionally an experience has taken me is now absolutely fundamental, again for my own safety as well as her peace of mind.
Look on threads in Twitter, FetLife. Look in blogs and a myriad of sites with a BDSM theme and there will be someone proffering the advice to communicate. Yet, there’s not always advice on how and what to communicate. How do you create quality within that communication that conveys real meaning as opposed to inane chit-chat masquerading as communication ?
I think the first element is a total honesty with oneself. Lie to yourself and you’ll lie to your BDSM partner, even inadvertently. Learn that it’s just as valid, probably even more valid, to say ‘I didn’t like that’ as it is to say ‘I loved that’. Establish ground rules to give a safe space to exchanging frank views.
If you can’t do these things, you might ask why is it that you can’t trust your partner ?
The more I learn to communicate the better it gets.