When I joined the BDSM group, almost 8 months ago, I hadn’t expected so many of the members to be in 24/7 master/slave relationships. But the majority — I think — of the active members *are* in 24/7 relationships, or are seeking such a relationship.

There’s a continuum of dominant/submissive behavior and attitudes (well, it isn’t a continuum, because that would be simple, and this is not — dominance and submission intersect with bondage and fetishes and edgeplay in about a billion different ways, which isn’t a continuum at all, but I’m still going to call it that), and I’m working out where exactly I fall on that continuum.

Being a slave doesn’t appeal to me. At least, not from observing the master/slave relationships in my group. And I absolutely DO NOT mean that those relationships are harmful or damaging or dangerous — on the contrary; of the master/slave relationships I’ve observed, they all seem *very* healthy and loving relationships. It’s the *structure* of those relationships, however, that really is not for me.

The thrill of giving up control, for me, wouldn’t be there if I was never going to get my control back, no matter how loving the relationship. Being able to make my own decisions is too important to me, and I wouldn’t be willing to give that up permanently, even in an erotic context. The exchange wouldn’t be worth it to me.

Though I guess what it comes down to, ultimately, is that for me, there wouldn’t *be* an erotic context. The idea of handing over all my control, all my decisions, 24/7 to a master simply doesn’t turn me on. I’d feel smothered, not aroused. K. has described it as a *need* that she has, to submit completely, that if she weren’t in a 24/7 master/slave relationship, she wouldn’t feel completely fulfilled.

And I don’t feel that need.

What *do* I need, then? More than just a casual play partner whacking my bottom at a party — which is (kind of) the BDSM equivalent of a one-night stand. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had one-night stands where I knew going in that that’s all they were going to be, and they were really enjoyable. Yes, indeed. And so far, in my kinky life, I’ve played a few times, with people who were basically casual play partners (i.e., “one-night stands”). Though not “one-night-stands” in the sense of hooking up with a stranger; the people I’ve played with are people who I knew somewhat before I was willing to play with them, people who I knew enough to trust. I guess (to continue the metaphor) they were more like a friends-with-benefits deal. Not a one-night-stand with a stranger, but not a *relationship,* either.

Anyway. Ultimately, I need more than that. I don’t expect to find what I need immediately, because inherent in what I need is the element of time and exposure. What I need is for my partner to know me well enough to understand what it is that I’m giving up — giving *them* — when I submit. It’s not about baring my bottom to be swatted; it’s about baring my soul enough to willingly give them control, for a certain time, in a certain way. And it takes time for me to *let* people get to know me, which is why I won’t find exactly what I need right away.

It’s okay. It’s good. I’m learning a lot in this lifestyle, mostly about myself. What I want, what I need, and what I don’t. AND learning that that’s okay. That whatever I want, need — and DON’T need — is absolutely okay.

And that’s good. Yes.