“There’s no place for love in D/s.” What a statement! I love the No True Way project because it make me think, and more often than not, gets my hackles up. Do you need love in D/s?

The #NTW topics are all based in the Dominance/submission dynamic and are often a bit controversial, or at least hot-button enough to get us writing about them. The eighth instalment of No True Way is a real humdinger and will no doubt render some very strong opinions from the folks that use the prompt:

There’s no place for love in D/s.

Not true in my world 
I suppose I can see how someone could view D/s that way, but it’s very foreign to me. I know that lots of folks seek out professional D/s or have emotionally transactional D/s experiences, and that is all well and good. In my observation and experience, D/s creates and supports a level of love and understanding that is very intense and very pure, and is a big part of the allure. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is elite or superior, but it can be incredibly potent and exciting. Considering the trust required for any activity involving power exchange, I can’t fathom giving over any part of myself in submission without loving the person I’m giving it to. In the past I have made the egregious error of submitting to someone I loved but who did not love me back and the results were tragic.

Love implied, but not required
Certainly D/s can exist without love but it can exist just as well with it. The D/s bond can be exquisite and very deep, with or without love, but D/s that is steeped in love and all the trust and closeness that comes with it, seems even more rich and nuanced. The key is to know what you want and how to express that because finding a good fit with a D/s partner can be challenging enough as it is, and if your wants, needs and boundaries are not aligned, it may be a tough road ahead. I have had but a few D/s partners and in all cases I needed it to be a love connection and believed love was on the table, that it was mutual and concrete. Love had been an implied part of the dynamic, but had never been discussed directly and ultimately, it wasn’t there and it fell apart. Like any relationship, love alone is not enough: communication, trust, honesty and integrity all play major roles as well.

There’s no place for definitive language in D/s
The problem here is not whether love can or cannot fit into a D/s relationship, we know it can, it’s that definitive and empirical language like this has no place in D/s. As we know, there’s no one true way and to say that there’s no place for love in D/s is to negate so many incredible connections and love stories, my own included. Likewise, it isn’t a need or requirement for everyone, and everyone’s story is their own.

Violet Fawkes

Violet Fawkes (she/her) is a freelance writer and sex blogger focusing on pleasure education, erotic fiction, and the intersection of identity, kink and mental health.