Not so long ago I wrote a post sort of loosely inspired by a question posed ages ago about whether it was okay to s-types to blow off commitments they’ve made. Now I want to turn that question around. Is it okay for d-types to blow off commitments? I hope it’s obvious that the answer is no. I don’t see why anyone should be willing to be vulnerable with me if I won’t prove that I can be relied on to look after them.
There are two related ideas I want to get at here, so this post might get a little tangled up. The first one is that if you’re trying to figure out whether something’s okay to do, try looking at it from another angle. If you’re wondering if it’s okay for an s-type to blow off a commitment, turn it around and ask whether it’s okay for a d-type to do the same thing. Or to paraphrase Cunning Minx of Poly Weekly, what would you do if you were monogamous? The second idea is that if you get different answers depending on the circumstances, it’s worth looking into why that is.
Personally, I think blowing off a commitment is equally uncool for both an s-type or a d-type. Trust is a big fucking deal no matter which side of the slash you’re on. I personally can’t top someone I don’t trust and I can’t imagine anyone would feel comfortable bottoming to someone they couldn’t trust.
If you think some behaviour is okay for subs but not doms (or the other way around), it’s worth asking why. I’m speaking in very general terms here – inside of a relationship, the answer is very likely “because we like it that way,” which is totally valid. But outside of your personal relationship with your personal dom or sub, why would you hold people to different standards depending on the way they identify?
Outside of a negotiated relationship, I think it’s really insulting to expect less of s-types than we do of d-types. That’s like saying submission is for fuckups who can’t handle adult responsibilities. To keep beating on the now very dead horse of blowing off plans to attend a party together, I’d accept “I just don’t wanna” from a five year old but would see that as a ridiculous and immature non-reason from a twentyfive year old. Submissive people aren’t children! They are just as capable of keeping agreements as a dom or grownup.
Or to use another example, I’m very sad to say that I’ve seen more than one horror story online from a submissive person whose dom unilaterally decided they were going to find more submissive partners and the original submissive who thought they were in a monogamous relationship would just have to deal. If a submissive person decided they were going to look for more doms without their existing dom’s enthusiastic consent, we’d all say that was totally uncool, unkind, and more or less guaranteed to end the relationship, right?
So why on earth would it be acceptable for a dom to do that? Sure, inside of a relationship “because we like it that way” can be a good reason to do things that appear hugely unfair, but that only applies when “we” both actually do like it that way. Nothing about being dominant magically makes it okay to treat your partner like shit, and nothing about acting like a greedy little brat and totally disregarding your partner’s wellbeing makes you worthy of having anyone submit to you.
If you’re having trouble deciding whether something is okay to do, try turning it around. You won’t always like the answer, but you’ll probably learn something.
3 thoughts on “Turn it around”
I also highly recommend reading Franklin and Eve’s Relationship Bill of Rights, which applies to all human relationships, regardless of configuration or power dynamics: https://www.morethantwo.com/relationshipbillofrights.html Committing to a power dynamic does NOT equate to giving up any of these rights.
That bill of rights is fantastic! And you’re totally right, committing to a power dynamic does not equate to giving up any of those rights and anyone who says it does is waving a red flag with a red flag on it, surrounded by red flags. Run!
I would hope that it would be common knowledge that both Dom/mme and sub have responsibilities to each other. If you say you’re going to be somewhere or do something you should follow through. It doesn’t matter what side of the rope you like to be on.
If for some legitimate reason you can’t meet your obligations you should let the other party know as soon as possible. It’s just common courtesy…