Q&A: Are BDSM Scenes Required for D/s Relationships?

I’ll admit this question was a first for me, but when I read it, I understood why someone might wonder:

My partner and I fully enjoy our D/s relationship and power exchange. We feel comfortable with our roles, and we’ve grown together as a couple. However, we keep hearing about BDSM scenes and kinky play. We don’t do those things and aren’t into the types of activities people mention in kinky scenes. Are scenes required for D/s? Can we still call our relationship a D/s relationship if we don’t scene?

The short answer…

BDSM scenes aren’t required for a power exchange (D/s or otherwise) relationship. All that’s required is that one person give up control at some point and the other person take control. So do you, and don’t worry about adding BDSM scenes or kinky play unless you want to.

A slightly longer explanation…

Some people might be surprised that someone would have this question, but I’m not. (Not anymore, at least.)

Why?

Think of almost any conversation you’ve ever overheard with kinky people (in D/s relationships or not). Sure, we’ll talk about our power exchange, but often in the next breath, we’re also talking about the spanking, flogging, bondage, whatever fun we had, too. And the term “scene” means everything from some kinky sex we had last night to an elaborate BDSM scene filled with toys, fantasies, mindfucks, and even costumes.

It makes sense to me that someone might think it all goes hand-in-hand.

D/s is a subset of BDSM

For a quick primer, especially if you’re new, let’s remember that D/s isn’t a thing that gets tacked onto other BDSM play. Power exchange relationships are their own category within BDSM. The modern-day breakdown looks like this:

  • B and D: Bondage and Discipline
  • D and S: Dominance and Submission
  • S and M: Sadism and Masochism

Why “modern-day breakdown?” Because my understanding is that some point in time (not all that long ago, really), Dominance and submission were not necessarily listed within BDSM as their own subcategories. By the time I found out about kink, D/s had their own place within the BDSM acronym. When did that occur? I have no idea. (To any kinkster historians reading this, feel free to share in the comments below!)

The best part of BDSM is that you can pick and choose what you like to do (with a consenting partner) and ignore the rest. If you’re not into bondage, sensation, pain, or anything outside of D/s, you’re still definitely into BDSM. Likewise, you can love everything but D/s and definitely still be a kinkster in the BDSM lifestyle.

Okay, so now I’m curious…what parts (if any) of the BDSM subcategories are not your thing? 

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