In my first few months of submission, I was asked about my ideal relationship by a Dominant friend of mine. It's something that I still ask novice submissives when they come to me asking how to find a Dominant that they are compatible with.

My answer reflected ignorance and misunderstanding.

I believed that my ideal relationship would have the Dominant shouldering all the responsibility of the relationship and they would take care of everything including myself. They'd make all the decisions and I'd be free to relax and enjoy the pleasure of being someone's submissive. I imagined my life would be almost like a child's. No care in the world and no need to "be" an adult.

Boy was I a novice.

Thankfully, I had people who set me straight and through my own personal learning, I've developed a better understanding of responsibility and its role in a D/s or M/s relationship.

Looking up responsible, the root of responsibility, in a dictionary will get you a definition similar to: -answerable or accountable, as for something within one's power, control, or management (often followed by to or for); one's duty or trust (Merriam-Webster)

Sure, with that definition I can see why I thought that the Dominant was the sole one responsible for everything in a D/s relationship. Especially with the words power and control within the definition itself. Those words get passed back and forth in conversations about D/s every day. But I'll soon tell you why responsibility is present whether you are Dominant or submissive.

Personal Responsibility

Every adult has some personal responsibilities that don't go away just because you may be submissive in a D/s or M/s relationship. You will always be responsible for your words, actions, attitude, and behaviors.  Your personal beliefs, morals, and values are also things that you are personally responsible for upholding and in control of.

Partner Responsibility

Responsibilities for your partner are two-fold. Ones that are direct and others that are indirect.

Direct responsibilities are ones like not lying, being open and available to them and their needs and being an overall good companion. These are things that you control directly in relation to your partner. I consider these separate from personal responsibilities only because they impact your partner directly.

Indirect responsibilities are things that your partner's responsibility gives to you for your own. Things like your needs being fulfilled or your desires explored is a part of that. You are responsible for how you handle these things that are their responsibility. As a submissive, you also give these same indirect responsibilities to your Dominant.

Relationship Responsibility

Responsibility in the relationship are things that help keep the relationship on the right track; from expressing your love and commitment, revitalizing your physical and emotional connection and the health of the relationship. If you drop your side of the responsibility the relationship could suffer.

Each person has similar responsibilities when it comes to the relationship and without the work, you do to maintain and control your own responsibilities the whole relationship could falter.  When I believed that the Dominant was in control of everything any relationship that I may have tried would have likely failed because wouldn't be taking control of the things that I need to do to make the relationship work.

I hope what you have picked up is that no one person has greater responsibility; we have different responsibilities to ourselves, our partners and our relationship.

What are your greatest responsibilities?

There was a discussion a long time ago about responsibility in a D/s relationship, which inspired me to write this post. You can read it on FetLife here.

photo by n8k99