What makes a relationship great is that it works for the people in it. BDSM relationships are no better or worse than vanilla or non kinky relationships but there are some over arching elements of BDSM relationships that centre around developing a positive and healthy dynamic between the people involved that many people could really benefit from incorporating into their lives with their partners whether they are kinky or not.
Here are 5 core elements of BDSM relationships that pretty much everyone could benefit from incorporating into their lives in some form or other.
Whilst all relationships involve some level of communications BDSM relationships tend to take communication to a whole new level. Most kink relationships are built on hours and hours of communication and negotiation as partner explore things like hard and soft limits, kinks that are needs and those that are wants, relationship boundaries and structures and peoples sexual orientations. Many people will often even have spreadsheets and even written documents that details these things which they work upon together and agree upon. This level of communication not only builds trust and knowledge but also fosters an environment where everyone feels about to share and be honest about the things they want and like without fear of being ridiculed or rejected. Really open far reaching communication is a powerful part of BDSM relationships that non kink folks really could benefit from developing.
Clearly the conversation around consent and how important it is has, in the last few years, become fair more main stream with it now increasingly being taught within sex education school curriculum but there is still a long way to go when it comes to really active informed consent. The idea around informed consent is that no one can truly agree to something they don’t fully understand and have not spent time considering the risks for. Now whilst that might seen a bit much on a day to day basis the idea of constantly checking in with your partner when it comes to consent is a really good idea and that does not just mean when it comes to the sex part of your life together but all areas. It can be really easy to make assumptions about someones consent especially when you have been with them for a long time but actually checking in and discussing it can often open avenues for people to express how their feelings may have changed. An example maybe something like, when your partner is taking a bath you just walk in and use the toilet without asking them if it is OK. After all it was fine the first x amount of times you asked, over time you just started to assume. Checking in with your partner might reveal that you have missed a change of heart on their part.
Really? Why would non kink folks need a safeword. The simple answer is because sometimes things can get to a stage where you just want to call time out and a safeword can allow that to happen. Agreeing on a word and when it might be used and how means that if someone says it the other person is not going to be questioning it or saying, how long do you need time out for? Are you cross/sad/upset with me? So whilst a safeword is traditionally set up to stop a kink scene there is no reason why it can’t be adapted to other parts of a relationship so people can use it to pause a conversation or a disagreement.
How often do you sit down with your partner and discuss how you think things are going and what things you might like to change or adapt or even try out? If you are in a kinky relationship you might even answer once a week or once a month because for many folks in BDSM relationships that is an activity that is part of a regular schedule of communications. Often folks will have set times when they will sit down and discuss how they think things are going and make plans for moving forward. They might be weekly on a small scale or for bigger discussions perhaps 3 or 4 times a year.
Commitment to explore
Now this one might seem a fairly universal thing to have as part of a relationship whether it is kinky or not and that is definitely true especially in the early stages. Discussing plans and dreams are often a core part of developing a partnership however kinky folks tend to take this to a whole new level particularly where kink and sex is concerned. It is not uncommon for people in BDSM relationships to share detailed documents about things they would like to explore together and also it is something they tend to be committed to in the long term. Think of it like a hobby that you absolutely love and so does your partner and so you both put lots of time and energy into it and therefore into your relationship. It is that commitment to explore and also to continue to learning, growing and evolving together that builds real strength and longevity to a relationship.
All these concepts tend to be core parts of BDSM relationships but they can all be adapted to suit any sort of relationship but the basic principals still stand and can be harnessed to strengthen and deepen your partnerships too.