long distance D/s

It’s no easy task making long distance kink work, in fact some would say that it’s downright impossible. I assure you, it can be done. Here, I’m sharing 10 tips for navigating long distance kink, so you can both flourish when you’re a world apart.


“Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.”

~ Roger de Bussy-Rabutin


Full disclosure: This way may not be your way

As with all ideas on D/s and relationships, you are welcome to take what works for you and leave the rest. The following concepts are ones that have worked within specific dynamics. They are not necessarily unique but they are tried and true acts of mutual devotion all of which have been negotiated and reworked many times. Nothing about your dynamic needs to be “just add water”. You must build it brick by brick with your preferences, biases and blind-spots. How my relationships have managed the long distance kink aspect of D/s may not be what works for you. That’s okay!  

a red tea cup with white polka dots on a grey background

Habit + Meaning = Ritual

I have written extensively about ritual in D/s and my particular hunger for it, but it seems to be even more important when there is distance to consider. Finding ways to make the mundane meaningful can be the key to valuable rituals that support your headspace, bring you comfort or affirm your dynamic.

Example:

In one dynamic, tea was a significant connection point. Every morning I began my day with a cup of tea, often the same brand that He preferred, made the same way that He likes it (extra long brew, milk, no sugar). I devoted that time each day to being present within my submission. It was a relaxing and positive way to start the day and it helped me set off on the right foot. Everyday he checked in mid-morning to see if I’ve had ‘brekkie, meds and DT’ aka breakfast, my medication, and a Daddy Tea

TAKEAWAY: Forget what you “think” devotion and long distance kink looks like and find small ways to honour each other or feel connected to each other throughout the day. For D-types it may be sending a reminder about tasks or checking in, while for s-types it may be more of a clear and obvious ‘ritual’. Do what works for you and not what you have been led to believe you should do.

Making Long Distance D/s Work

Connecting live

Imagine long distance kink and relationships before texting? I’m old enough to tell you this much: it kind of sucked.  When communicating in long distance kink and D/s, clarity is very important, and can be the difference between safe play and accidents, both physical and emotional. Text allows you to interact in real time, but so much nuance is lost. Besides, text is meant to be a short form of communication, and sometimes your feelings, needs and expectations are better expressed in long form. Making time to connect live can be key to making long distance D/s work, because no amount of emojis can replace hearing their voice and seeing their eyes. a few times a week.

TAKEAWAY: The more significant the topic, the more important it is to speak directly, but moreover, you must agree on what ‘significant’ means.

a slim white woman sits cross legged, arms stretched out in front of her knees, head bowed.

Sub Meditation

A daily task that I quite enjoyed in a past dynamic was sub meditation. From early in the relationship, he insisted that I spend time in meditation on my submission. As a Switch I have historically struggled with feeling like “enough” in either role, so He asked that I face that challenge daily and take stock of my successes and learning.

He never expected nor required a debrief as it was my own personal rumination. However, He was always available to discuss anything that came up or to hear about my thoughts and process. Much like the morning tea ritual, this was dedicated time to submission that didn’t require our schedules to align. These two acts of devotion bookended my day and kept me in touch with Him.  

TAKEAWAY: Online and long distance kink is often more mental/emotional than physical. This does not diminish D/s, but it does create opportunities for ongoing self reflection. Meditation, journaling, or other meaningful actions can tools for feeling connected to one another and to your sense of value/duty/service/responsibility with in your dynamic.

Making Long Distance D/s Work

Spend offline time apart

Staying connected is a big part of making long distance kink work. However, wanting to spend time together can lead to an excessive amount of time online. It’s a slippery slope, attempting to accommodate various time zones. It’s essential to make an effort to prioritise offline time for projects, hobbies and relaxation. Sometimes this means that you’ll choose “me” over “we” and spend time that you could be together, apart. It’s not sustainable to smother each other or expect constant attention from each other. Do what suits your personalities and your long distance kink dynamic even if it means you sometimes purposefully do things apart from one another. 

TAKEAWAY: D/s structures can easily slip into dependent/co-dependent territory. Making mindful decisions about how you spend your time together and apart can help make the give and take more balanced and ensures that you each have time and space for yourselves. 

self care moment, bare feet in the grass, a cup of tea and daisies

Self Care

There’s a line in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast that I love: “… life is so unnerving, for a servant who’s not serving …” and I relate to it so much. Sometimes geographical distance can make you feel so helpless. For many, the joy of submission is in the anticipation of Their needs and in exceeding Their expectations. Personally, I’ve learned that caring for myself is an extension of my submission. Self care now has the dual benefit of also being a form of worship.

TAKEAWAY: The intricacies of power dynamics lend themselves well to structured care, including self care. When distance is a factor, Doms and subs may need to tweak or edit the way care is expressed and achieved. By positioning self care as something subs do ‘for’ Dominants, the desired structure can be honoured; proof positive that intention can be so integral in D/s ritual.  

woman writing in a notebook

Fluid Structure and Accountability

For many, a feature of D/s is structure and accountability. For subs, the desire to defer to, or be controlled by, your Dominant can be a central part of the dynamic. As a Dominant, the sense of responsibility and authority can be fulfilling and exciting. Accountability also lends itself to correction and discipline, something that is at the heart of many D/s connections.

It’s important to note that not all D/s connections:

  • are sexual
  • are romantic
  • include pain or impact play
  • are based in action/punishment dynamics

So many D/s pairings, get over-excited right out of the gate and get all tangled up in tasks and rules and routines. This happens because mutual enthusiasm feels safe; you’re really both in this together. Collaborating and talking through behaviours and expectations, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how the other operates and where your priorities are. Over time it’s normal for the focus to shift away from what functions your roles provide, to how your roles work together. Likewise it’s not unusual to stop focusing on the “how” and put more attention on the “what” and “why”. 

TAKEAWAY: There are many ways to manage and keep track of tasks and rules in D/s relationships, so it’s important to figure out what works for you. It can feel really validating to check things off a list or update a spreadsheet. These things give us concrete metrics for otherwise intangible dynamics. Just remember that you’re no less of  a Dom or sub if your dynamic isn’t micromanaged or completely documented. All of these measurements of D/s are individual, and they certainly aren’t important to everyone. Find what works for you, and be prepared for that to take some time. 

Making Long Distance D/s Work

Alternative punishments & rewards

Many D/s dynamics involve elements of behavioural correction and discipline that can result in punishment. Others do not. There are many reasons that people choose punishment dynamics, others feel it is antithetical to their style. But not all punishments are created equal! If you’re more traditional in your punishment parameters, it can be tricky to engage in meaningful punishment (or reward) when distance is between you.

Spanking is a fairly prominent kink for me, so I tend to gravitate to tops and Doms that relish it. For Daddy and me, spanking would never be used to punish (just a preference of ours not to mix the two), but it does get used as ‘maintenance’ (for lack of a better term). As the spanking recipient, and as a masochist in general, there are times when the arousal and release of pain is calming and has a ‘maintenance’ type effect on me. It can help when I’m stressed, it can make me feel closer to him if I’ve had a distracted week, etc. Because of the colossal impediment of time and space his sexy hand can’t reach my sexy ass and so what’s a girl to do? Self spanking and other pain inducing instructions under his guidelines and permission, make a decent substitute. It took a lot of discussion and mutual understanding of needs and boundaries for us to come to this solution. It’s not ideal, but it’s not unsafe, and it doesn’t get over used. If we had a more typical punishment dynamic, we would have to get more creative! 

TAKEAWAY: Punishment is not a requirement of D/s. You can have amazing power dynamics that never mention punishment. If either of you is uncomfortable with punishment, discuss the topic carefully and see if you can come to an alternate arrangement. Rewards can be simple, provided they are meaningful, so learn what your partner needs and express your needs too.

 

Making Long Distance D/s Work

Sync your sex life

Ask anyone who is in an LDR, especially if there are multiple timezones at play, and they will tell you that the logistics around sex and expressing yourselves sexually can be tricky. Again, not all local or long-distance D/s connections are sexual, but for those that are, it can be a challenge. The best recommendation I can make here is this: try your best to sync up your sex life so that you are consistently having some level of sexual connection. But there’s a caveat too: don’t give up if this is harder to do than you think.

Whether you share nudes, leave each other smoking hot audios or videos, whether you masturbate together or role play, whatever you do, do your best to create a comfortable and exciting exchange. Life gets in the way of all relationships but LDRs are even more vulnerable to distraction and fatigue. Just like you make the effort to connect in real time, make the effort to connect sexually. For some, distance and kink dynamics just don’t work, for others its all they’ve known. Be sure that you have transparent conversations about desire, privacy, personal boundaries and what your long-distance virtual sex life can be. 

TAKEAWAY: LDRs, especially kinky ones, can be challenging to translate sexually when you’re literally worlds apart. Patience, compromise and clarity will help both sides of the dynamic express their needs and help have them met. Give yourselves some grace too: you’re managing big, complex human emotions from thousands of miles away. You won’t always get it right but the more you communicate about sex and its importance in your LDR, the easier it will be. 

Making Long Distance D/s Work

Always say goodnight

We don’t have a ton of rules, but one is always at play: always say goodnight. We are 9 hours apart so his morning is within a few hours of my bedtime, and his bedtime is early afternoon for me. Committing to always saying goodnight was an agreement early on. Sometimes other things get in the way or one of us falls asleep on the other, but for the most part, we have a pact to always honour and respect each other enough to say goodnight, even if there’s been tension, even if we’re out of sorts. This is part of the comfort of routine that can help shrink the miles. It can be hard, but the little details add up. 

TAKEAWAY: Building micro versions of ‘real life’ into a LDR can help make the distance shrink just a bit. One of the struggles of LDRs is missing out on the little things; touching their arm as you pass them, hearing them sneeze in another room, smelling them on your clothes after you’ve been with them. In place of haphazard moments, make intentional gestures that are meaningful to both of you. 

Making Long Distance D/s Work

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Having a significant relationship at such a distance requires a kind of focus and perspective that more traditional and local relationship models don’t. Making the decision to engage in a LDR, especially one that has a kink component, is no small feat. But it can be done. Would relationships be better if they were all local, all the time? Not necessarily! For some people, having the time and space of an LDR suits them, and in some dynamics, the distance plays an erotic part. 

Like all relationships, to get the most out of  long distance kink you have to be open to working together on the details. Your relationship is just that: yours. How it looks from the outside, whether anyone else understands or accepts it, none of that matters. If it’s healthy and it makes you happy, do what the two of you need and make it your own. There’s no one way to do any of this and the only ‘right’ way is what is right for you.

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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.