In my Submission 101 class over the weekend, one concept that people kept coming back to was that they wanted some bits or pieces of a typical kinky relationship, but not the other pieces.
Three different people stayed after the class and loitered in corners until I was free, and they all asked essentially the same thing. “Am I allowed to want to be submissive without wanting someone to hurt me?” “Can I find people to hurt me without wanting to have sex with them?” “Will a partner be willing to only be my dominant in the bedroom, and treat me like an equal partner in our day-to-day life?”
“Can I have only the aspects I like of this dynamic without the whole package?”
The answer for each of them – and for all of you – is “yes.”
Now, each of them needed some specific advice – how to phrase what they were looking for to make sure that they said what they meant, where to find a partner, assurance that they weren’t weird – but the basic message for each of them was “you get to choose what you want and you don’t have to endure things you don’t like.”
Each person deserves a fulfilling relationship, so it’s possible that you won’t be 100% compatible with someone who needs part of a dynamic that you dislike. You may need to compromise. You may need to get some of your needs met in people outside of your partner, or from another partner.
But you are absolutely, entirely allowed to look for and request specific desires, and to reject the pieces that feel like they don’t fit you.
This doesn’t just have to be kink specific, by the way!
– Do you want to be a parent, but you don’t like the pictures of parenthood that you’ve seen in media, or in family and friends? Talk with your parenting partner, and only use the parts that you like, and create new roles and jobs that best suit you.
– Do you want a partner, but you are asexual or aromantic? That is okay! Tell the person you like what *you* want to get out of your relationship, and they will tell if if that’s okay with them!
– Are you interested in having sex but not kissing? Kissing but not having sex? Having sex and never snuggling? That’s all fine! Just be clear and up front!
The caveat for this situation is, of course, that you need to know what you want in order to accurately communicate it. That’s a bit of a doozy. Some of the folks in my class didn’t know that there *could* be separate parts of a submissive/dominant relationship, and that there were pieces to break down at all. That can take research. But if you see a relationship or dynamic or role that looks partially appealing to you, try journalling about it. What parts of it are appealing? Why are you attracted to it? What parts of it are off-putting? Why don’t you want those bits?
Once you clarify your own thoughts, you can communicate those to a partner or potential partner.
You are absolutely, 100% allowed to pick and choose which pieces of a dynamic you want. You deserve relatioships that are rewarding to you!