Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Not-So-Mythical 24/7 Dynamic

The concept of a 24/7 BDSM dynamic invokes a lot of debate within both the online and meatspace communities. Some who claim 24/7 look down on those who aren't, mainly the bedroom-only crowd as being less...into it somehow. Others claim that they can't do 24/7 because it's just so much more work and you have to control absolutely everything the submissive does. And others still, claim that 24/7 cannot in truth exist at all because there are always moments that you have to step out of the dynamic and communicate on equal terms.

A wall of leather kink items from
the local Ren Faire.
I don't subscribe to any of these ideas. A dynamic, 24/7 or otherwise is what you make of it. You and your partner(s) set the parameters of your relationship. There are no universal guidelines of 24/7 power/authority exchange that you must follow to fit that label. If someone tells you otherwise, I would take any other advice they've given you with a grain of salt. Or a truckload. Whichever amount works for you.

How I personally define 24/7 authority transfer dynamics is simply that the transfer of authority is constant and involves the d-type having authority or control over areas that are not related to sex. The authority does not have to be complete. While I would say Total Power Exchange (TPE) dynamics are 24/7, 24/7 dynamics do not have to be TPE. I would say typically 24/7 does include both sexual and non-sexual authority, but the non-sexual aspects are what are the most important to me in defining this dynamic as some power exchanges do not engage in sexual activity at all.

This is no better or worse than someone who only engages in sexual authority transfers. It's just different.

One issue I have noticed from reading other blogs and listening to people discuss the 24/7 dynamic, is that a lot of people misconstrue 24/7 with micromanagement. They believe that in order to be 24/7, the d-type must control all aspects of the s-types life, from finances, to bathroom use, clothing, diet, etc. This is also a misconception about slavery, but this is not post specifically about slavery, as 24/7 is not relegated to only M/s dynamics. In either case, neither require micromanagement to exist. Micromanagement can exist within these dynamics, but it is not a defining feature. I would wager most 24/7 dynamics do not engage in micromanagement, or, if they do, it is only at certain periods and not a constant practice.

I'm not allowed to cut
or dye my hair without
permission.
I can tell you, for one, Daddy hates micromanagement. It annoys him. He won't give direction like that and quickly becomes weary of a pet who requires that kind of direction. Micromanagement will never be a part of our dynamic. I would still consider it 24/7.

I have found this particular myth has turned many people off of 24/7 because of how exhausting micromanagement is to someone who does not have a micromanagement kink. I don't think people realize how much freedom there is in the construction of BDSM dynamics and abandon things when they feel they don't fit into some imagined criteria others have given them. I would encourage anyone who dismissed 24/7 as a possibility for them due to the idea that it means micromanagement to look at it with new eyes and realize that they do not have to build their dynamic that way.

Another idea that gets tossed around a lot is that 24/7 can't exist because vanilla is a thing we all have to participate in and sometimes you have to step out of the dynamic to deal with problems. I generally keep my mouth shut when this comes up in the local scene, as I do with other topics I might disagree with, because I don't want to start an argument at the table and I don't know that everyone would be open to a debate on it. Our group is comprised of a couple dozen different kinds of dynamics, many of which aren't 24/7. I assume the topic isn't of great interest. I could be wrong, but I don't like to start things like that.

I do not believe that the "vanilla" aspects of life preclude the existence of a 24/7 dynamic. 24/7 does not mean, in my view, that one is practicing some sort of kinky activity on a constant basis. It simply means that the authority is constant. The d-type retains authority over the negotiated areas 24/7 regardless of whether they exercise control over those areas. The established rules for the s-type remain in place at all times and must be followed at all times.

This is not to say that extenuating circumstances won't make it impossible to follow established rules. However, this is not a question of the temporary cessation of the dynamic, but whether or not one is dealing with a reasonable d-type. Extenuating circumstances are not stepping out of the dynamic. One must simply adapt within the confines of the dynamic. However, if stepping out works for you, that's great. All I am saying is that I don't believe that it is a necessary step overall. As long as you are dealing with a reasonable human being, they will understand.

Now, everyone has what are often termed "vanilla" obligations: work, grocery shopping, bill paying, familial obligations, etc. But, you have to do these things regardless of what kind of relationship you have. A marriage is a 24/7 relationship. You don't stop being spouses when you're working, when you're shopping, when you're not together. All of those things exist and operate within the context of the relationship.

My ankle chain.
Perhaps the s-type is only allowed to buy certain brands of foods at the store, or only allowed to spend a certain amount of money, or only allowed to buy what's on the list unless they get special permission. Perhaps the s-type is required by the d-type to dress a certain way for work (within the dress code allowed by the workplace, of course). In my case, I am required to wear a symbol of ownership at all times. Most often, this takes the form of a chain on my left ankle. I inform him whenever I have to take it off for some reason (surgery, airports, dance performances where I replace it with bells, workouts where I use ankle weights), and inform him if I forget to put it back on. All of these are expressions of the dynamic within the context of traditionally vanilla activities.

Even in the face of problems, I don't feel the need to step out of my role to deal with it. Frankly, I wouldn't know how to do this. I don't have separate headspaces. My submissiveness is relative to those around me and depends on the working relationship I have with others. My submissive personality, however, tends to color those interactions anyway. I never have to step out of a dominant headspace to be submissive to Daddy. He never stops being him. He doesn't stop being dominant to deal with a problem.

We are low protocol, so I am free to speak freely always as long as I'm not disrespectful. I pretty much always say what's on my mind when I talk to him. There are some exceptions to this right now, due to life complications, but that is not an issue of the dynamic. I just sometimes feel like expressing certain feelings are a futile exercise and I have no desire to place more on his already overloaded plate right now.

I can see the need for higher protocol dynamics to reduce protocols for certain discussions, but I would not consider this stepping out of the dynamic. Unless one's protocol stifles honest communication, I don't see how one could not have honest discussions or negotiations within those protocols.

There is also the idea from some circles that 24/7 has to be live in to be considered 24/7. Obviously, I don't believe this, as a live together relationship is not currently possible for me. It is the goal, but that will come in time. I still consider my dynamic to be 24/7 because my rules apply at all times. We always interact from the perspective of dominant and submissive because that's just how we are as people. It is a natural response to the personality of the other. The M/s is not separate from our base romantic relationship. It is an integral part of that relationship. They are intertwined. To stop our dynamic is to stop the relationship entirely.

24/7 is indeed possible. It's not a misnomer. It's not a fantasy. It is doable. You don't have to follow any specific guidelines or meet some arbitrary set of criteria to fit into the 24/7 label or any other label for that matter. Your dynamic is what you make it and you can compose whatever relationship makes you thrive.

8 comments:

  1. 24/7 for us has evolved. Our roles have changed, but the fact that he is still my Dom all the time has not. There are so many different ways that 24/7 can exsist.

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    1. I agree, which is why I disagree when someone throws out there that it's not really 24/7 because of XYZ. -wink wink- I don't believe this has to be a part time or pretend thing, because it's not for me.

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  2. Great post! I agree with you on the use of 24/7 to mean the dynamic continuing, not constant kinky acts.

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    1. Thanks! Honestly, I think if people thought of it in those terms, fewer of them would be intimidated by the prospect.

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  3. You have given me something to think about and opened my eyes and mind to see and think a bit differently about this type of dynamic. Thank you!!

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    1. I'm always happy if I can offer a fresh perspective.And I'm always happy when you guys comment on my stuff!

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  4. Ours seems rather similar in nature. i would consider mine 24/7 and we live in completely different homes/states. we evolved to that 24/7 state and it is how we live. Master does not micromanage either but He has perfect control over all that i do. i would say we observe higher than low protocol but it's a good flow for us and i know when to observe stricter speaking.

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    1. Do you plan to live together at some point, or are you planning to stay LDR?

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