Devotion within the BDSM Lifestyle

BDSM Lifestyle 101: Making Your Fantasy a Reality

Welcome To Living Your BDSM LifeI will forever remember the day I realized the lifestyle I had only ever dreamed possible, was actually my reality. Way back in December 2014, I knelt before my Sir, lifted my hair into a ponytail, and felt the titanium of my collar lock around my neck. I was in Heaven. Pure bliss. And couldn’t believe my fantasies were now a reality–and how in love with this man I was.

How do we get there? How did we make the lifestyle we only ever dreamed of into our reality? A reality which spanned kinky realms, vanilla realms, and even into our work lives?

Through careful planning, a whole lot of patience when I wanted to jump two feet in the deep end of kinkery, and taking things slow. They say slow and steady wins the race, and in our case, slow and steady won the race to finding the place where love, kink, and life met perfectly.

And the slow, steady steps, ins and outs of the lifestyle, and negotiation go-tos you too can use to make the lifestyle of your dreams into a reality, are all right here, wrapped up in a bow, and sprinkled with all the love our dynamic shared.

Please share if you want others to learn about the beauty of the BDSM lifestyle?

Lifestyle vs Kinky: What’s the Difference

So what in the world is a lifestyle? And what makes it so different from just being kinky? Well—a lifestyle is just that–a LIFE style. No longer is kink confined to the bedroom, but it is a part of who you are and how you live life, how you relate to your partner.

Typically when looking at a lifestyle you will see:

As you can see, this is far more than just chains, whips, and gags in the bedroom. In a lifestyle, you truly live as either a submissive or a Dominant. Now switches may go back and forth between the two, but at any one moment they are either a submissive or a Dominant.

For example, I tell people I am submissive. It is who I am in the morning, in the evening, at all parts of my day, because it is truly WHO I AM. It is a part of me as much as being a sapiosexual, or a pansexual is. It is just who I am. I cannot feel romantic love without a power dynamic, it just doesn’t feel right. And I couldn’t imagine being submissive in the bedroom, and then, as soon as sex is over, going back to some sort of equal power. It just doesn’t feel right anymore.

That is because I live, and love, and love to live the lifestyle. It allows me to be the submissive woman and lover I was meant to be. I desire rules which govern my day, even simple ones like calling my Dominant “Sir”. But, trust me, I also enjoy those pushed up against the wall, feeling his ownership of me, begging for release moments you might see in bedroom kink. I just need the power dynamic to continue after the release occurs.

Ready, Set, Wait: Setting the Pace​

My Sweetest Submissive Collared N Leashed BDSMNow if reading that just made something click for you, or tingles occur throughout your body, or had you going “Exactly! That’s me too.” You most likely, are a lifestyler.

Granted, if you are reading this article there is at least some part of you which knows keeping kink in the bedroom just doesn’t cut it for you–you need more. Now, before you go jumping into the kinky dating pool and into the arms of the nearest kinkster who meets some of what you want, let’s take a moment to pause here.

Too often, kinksters are so excited to finally find themselves, their wholeness, their home, they go jumping into whatever relationship creeps up first, and that can be completely overwhelming.Let me share from my own trial-and-error in the lifestyle.

My first Dominant had been in the lifestyle 20 years—I had been in it all of 20 minutes, and he began to talk about negotiations, taking things slow, easing me into the lifestyle. Well, anyone who knows me will tell you me and patience are not good friends. So I pushed, and pushed, and somehow puppy-dog eyed my way into him letting us jump into a full 24/7, rule-filled dynamic.

Oh boy–was that a BAD IDEA (and the first moment of many I realized 20 years of experience should be something I listen to). The rules felt overwhelming, I felt there was no pause, no time to process, and, at times, it felt more fake than a real relationship. It took only 2 weeks for me to realize he was right, and we needed to slow down the pace. And I’ve never made the mistake of jumping feet first into a full-blown dynamic since.

So what does taking it slow look like?

For us, it was having 5 to 10 rules (it varied as we tested out different rules and if they fit our life). These included:

  1. the title to call him in public.
  2. a bed time since sleep and I are about as good friends as patience and I.
  3. three times during the day to check in via text.

These were simpler rules, but still weaved his control into my day. As we continued to grow as a couple, and I grew as a kinkster, we added more intricate rules:

  • positions to greet him with
  • where to stand when we were in public
  • stricter protocols for when we hosted kink parties or went to dungeons.
  • of course other protocols for the bedroom which took kinky sex into the realm of kinky love making.

Now you and your partner may be ready to jump in with more rules. You know you best. As long as you are willing to adapt if it feels too overwhelming, or expand when you are needing more, you are well on your way to an amazing lifestyle you’ve been dreaming about.

Navigating & Negotiating the Vanilla-Kink Merger

If you have ever worked in the corporate world, you know how fun mergers can be. Bringing two companies with completely different expectations, protocols, ways of doing things together requires a lot of patience, care, and negotiation.

Merging the vanilla world where the idea of calling someone Daddy can make people’s eyes go wide, with the kink world where spankings can be as sexual as they can be corrective—requires just as much care and concern. Yet, many a kinkster, forgets to sit down and negotiate with their partner just how much kink they will merge into their vanilla life–and how they will do it.

Even I, a huge negotiation promoter and educator, forget to talk out the details when I get too carried away in the thrill and excitement of a new dynamic. Vanilla life has a nice way of reminding me I forgot, as well, because suddenly I find myself being disciplined for something I truly can’t fit into my vanilla life. And after I stop being stubborn and trying to force the kinky shaped block into the square hole—I open up, talk to my Dominant, and we adjust the way we do things.

So what are these areas to focus on? I like to break down my negotiations into the four spheres of my life:

  • work
  • social (friends/family)
  • kink
  • and general public.

This break down has helped me structure my negotiations of a lifestyle so me and my partner know, from the start, how we want our dynamic to mix into our vanilla life.

Work

Submissive Working At BDSM Office

Work is always an important aspect to discuss, whether working in an office, or from home. When I started in kink, I was in graduate school and working in the public sector–two places I didn’t want kink in all its leather studded glory, to be shining.

Honestly, merging work and kink was the aspect which made me the most nervous, because I didn’t want my private life to suddenly be public. That is when my Dominant pointed out to me, kink only had to fill as much of my work time as we wanted, and that even vanilla relationships don’t tend to seep into work outside of texting, phone calls, or a potential lunch date. When I realized that, it made negotiating how to integrate our power dynamic a lot easier. So we negotiated and agreed on set rules around the two ways we interacted in the work place: text and phone calls.

For text these were our rules:

There were occasional times we actually were able to sneak a phone call in, even just a 10 or 15 minute one, and we had rules specific to that since it’s a lot easier for someone to overhear you, than to read a text over your shoulder.

Work: Remote

Thanks to good ole’ COVID, “work” has started to look a lot different for most of us. Some of us are remote, some back in the office, and some on a hybrid schedule. As I entered new dynamics during this time, I started navigating work negotiation within the realm of remote work.

While this affords a lot more freedom in what you are able to do and be private about, there can still be hesitancy to do certain things when in work mode. Negotiate and talk it out with your partner and go with what feels right for you. I tend to like to keep at least the protocol of set check-in times as it gives me something to look forward to during the day, and is a nice way to stick to a schedule and not let the work day sweep you away.

Social

Now mixing vanilla social life and kink is where things get interesting. Sure, if you are involved in the local BDSM community you may have a few kinky friends, but no doubt you have some friends who you can’t even fathom hearing you say “Sir” or hear you talk about “punishment.”

Depending when, where, and how often you get together with these friends, or with your family, will be a big part of determining how the social mixing of kink and non-kink looks in your dynamic. While most of my dynamics have been with people who were pretty open with their friends, I always make sure we spell out how our kink will look in front of family. For the most part, we basically ended up looking like a very respectful, 1950s style couple.

It still got a few looks of wonder and confusion at first, with 1950s style being out the window, but eventually, friends and family just adjusted to the idea. And that was important for me too. I wasn’t willing to give up my lifestyle in order to keep friends who judged it, but I also wasn’t going to throw it in their face if it was not something they consented to. Here are some ideas of things I’ve used for the social sphere:

BDSM Scene

Dominant Submissive Enjoying A BDSM SceneThat’s right. You should even discuss how kinky you will get when you are around kinksters. There are some couples who chose, even in kinky spaces, to not put their full dynamic on display. For example, I was in a DDlg relationship and we chose to keep any sort of deep age regression out of the kink scene because it was personal and private to us.

On the other hand, I was in an M/s dynamic and in any kink space (outside of munches since those were in vanilla places), we engaged in high protocol rituals (e.g., kneeling next to him on the floor when he would sit, no eye contact with other Dominants regardless of gender). Again, this comes down to what you and your partner are most comfortable with.

There may be some kink spaces where you are more comfortable showing certain protocols, and others where you are more just general D/s. Like a little’s event, may be the perfect time to show off your cutest age play outfit, and bring your lifesize unicorn to the dungeon (yes—I did this–and she is a certified member of my local dungeon now).

General Public

Oh the great wide world of vanilla people–the sweet, innocent, non-kinksters who we must protect. I know, that sounds funny, but in order to be good stewards of BDSM and its emphasis on consent–we also have to respect the consent of vanillas (and their non-consent at having BDSM thrown in their face).

While this may sound frustrating, it actually is a fun way to have that naughty little secret no one else knows (unless they are kinksters) through discreet domination. What that means is there is a rule in place that either vanilla people wouldn’t even notice, or they wouldn’t equate with kink.

Now these are just some ideas my partners and I have used, and there are differing opinions on how to engage in BDSM in public. Some people are okay spanking in public, or having aspects of age play, or even being full blown M/s—it’s about what you are comfortable with and making sure those around you are comfortable too.

Yes, it is our right to practice BDSM, but in order for BDSM to be more accepted in society, we have to respect that some people do not accept or want to see BDSM. And the more we respect them, the more they will respect our practice and the way we show love. It is sad that right now we must hide parts of who we are, but we still have those small, discrete ways we can show other kinksters who we are—and through respect and mutual understanding, hopefully we can one day be able to live a BDSM lifestyle without fear.

SafeWords and Pause Words

Whew–with all that negotiating you might think you are ready to dip your toes into this lifestyle water, but we have one more topic to touch on: safewords and pause words.

Safewords are always a must. They will always be a must—and any kinkster who says they don’t accept or respect safe words is giving you a huge red flag. A safeword is the word that stops the play, scene, etc right there in that moment.

So let’s say you are doing some rope play at home, and you call your safeword because your hands are getting tingly from circulation loss, then all ropes are untied, and you and your partner decide whether to try again, or go into aftercare. Or if you are being disciplined and something goes wrong in your mind or body, your safeword ends discipline (though you may come back to it at a later time). But this word completely ends a scene, or play.

A pause word, on the other hand, is something I was actually just introduced to during the negotiation stage with a couple. Their pause word was using their real names instead of titles. They didn’t ever use each others first names, except in a scenario where they needed to have a husband to wife conversation without any power dynamics or worrying about any rules around speech. It’s like pressing the pause button on the power dynamics and being able to have some of those hard conversations couples do.

Now the pause word can lead to a pause period, where the dynamic is put on the back burner in order for you to be able to focus all your energies on something going on in your life (i.e., a move, a loss, a job change). But the concept of a pause word truly has transformed my practice. Looking back on times when I just need to talk to my Dominant as the man I loved, not as my Sir, not having to worry about cursing or crying or curling up into his arms without getting permission first—it could have saved me a lot of worry. Granted, this did occur even without a pause word, and my Dominant knew me well enough to know it wasn’t a punishable or rule-focused time, but the stress I put myself under trying to maintain rules when I really just needed my lover there—it would have been nice to be able to escape that.

Now…Go Make Your Kinky Dreams a Reality

With all your bases covered, and negotiations done. Safe words and pause words in place. And rules laid out and agreed upon. Well, my lovely kinksters, it’s time for you to go let your wildest kink lifestyle dreams become a reality. There may be some hiccups, and you may have to tweak things here and there, but that is the beauty of BDSM–there is always room for change, growth, and learning.

And, trust me, that moment you have your “There is no way this can be real, but it is” moment in BDSM, will make every hiccup, lesson learned, and every lovely kink article read, well worth it.

Go forth and live your dreams–you deserve it!

Bratty Ann

By Bratty Ann

Bratty Ann has been in the Dominant/submissive lifestyle for 4 years serving as a slave, a pet, a submissive, and, of course, a brat. She has developed a deep passion for the lifestyle and for educating others on keeping it safe, sane, and consensual. Her favorite topics to educate on include domestic discipline, taming brats, and mental health in BDSM.

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