Updated: Aug 22
In the world of BDMS, power exchange, and kinky shenanigans, people who identify as having a 24/7 dynamic are often seen as the “ideal” kinkster. We privilege folks who claim to have their kink dynamic running all the time, rain or shine, work or play.
Firstly, I think this type of privileging of 24/7 is silly. To be in a permanent dynamic all the time means: 1) you must be coupled, 2) you life a life where work, family, and other stuff doesn’t interfere with your dynamic, and 3) we believe people when they tell us its a 24/7 dynamic. You do not have to be partnered to be a “real” kinkster. Solo kink, sleeping around, and pick-up play are all legitimate versions of kink. Allowing space and time to deal with a world where staying in your dynamic would be harmful does not make you less of a kinkster, it makes you a realist!
Yes, for many of us, kink is more than just a sexy fun play time. Our roles, our dynamics, our identities are intricately intertwined with being kinky. Kinky is a political, social, and personal identity for many people. In this way, anyone who has a kink identity which influences how they move through the world, how they interact with others, how they vote and more is a 24/7 kinkster regardless of relationship status.
If you are currently in a relationship with a power exchange dynamic, how do you figure out how to balance this with your daily life? What has to be negotiated to allow you and your partner to move through the wider world and maintain they dynamic you desire? Here are some thoughts…
What Parts of Your Dynamic Are Necessary for You?
People choose a huge number of ways to express power exchange. For some of us it is limited to just sex and kink play. We engage in power exchange during a scene and never anywhere else. While power exchange may feel necessary to enjoy sex or kink, folks in this category feel no need to expand the dynamic outside of this realm.
For others, it may feel “right” or “important” to call your partner by their honorific (e.g., Sir, Mistress, Ma’am). When in the presence of kinky people, using honorifics can be easy. But what about in front of family? Work colleagues? In the general public? If you feel this is a necessary part of your dynamic, you will need to negotiate about using the honorific.
Decision-making about money, home furnishings, children’s schooling, and other areas of your life may be part of your dynamic. If you have negotiated that one partner will have final say in these areas there are plenty of ways to structure public interactions to respect your dynamic. Answering with, “I like this, but I need to check with my partner before purchasing,” won’t tip off other people that you are kinky. Same with delaying decisions about child care, schooling, and a wide range of other things!
When it comes to bodily control (e.g., having to ask before going to the restroom, eating, etc.) you can negotiate when and how the submissive asks. For some couples, using body language will be appropriate and a way to disguise your dynamic from family or other onlookers.
What parts of your dynamic feel necessary to make you and a partner happy should be discussed and negotiated before assuming this power exchange can happen in public.
Engaging in a power exchange dynamic outside the boundaries of a private scene can lead to problems with other relationships. For some people engaging in a submissive headspace with a partner and immediately having to switch to a more dominant headspace at work can be jarring or difficult. If you find yourself having a hard time maintaining the right headspace at work or with other non-couple related engagements, you may need to limit your dynamic either in terms of time or location.
When you opt to extend your dynamic to time beyond private interactions, you will need to discuss a bunch of new areas where you might have boundaries.
Work- do you need to be exempt from all power exchange rules or just some?
Timing- Can you be expected to respond to texts and requests when not with your partner? Are there times of day it is unreasonable to ask to you to participate in your dynamic?
Family- How much do you want to disclose to family? Will some family know more about your dynamic than others? Will you have alternative protocols in front of family?
Events- What will be expected at parties? At work functions? Other events?
Travel- How will your protocol work while you or a partner is on travel by yourself?
Children- What is expected around your children? Other children?
Collars and other BDSM signifiers- will you were your collar out of the house? Will you have one for work/public and one for private?
It will take time to see how carrying out your dynamic beyond private bounds will impact you and your partner. Go slow and add just a few outside pieces of your dynamic at a time. Set up time for regular check-ins to discuss how both of you are responding the the increased dynamic.