I am writing this from a male dominant/female submissive perspective because that is my world view. However, I believe that it applies to any combination of dominant and submissive. I am not intentionally excluding anyone, just using specific pronouns for ease of writing.
When I first became aware of the online world of BDSM, I read everything I could find. I gained an impression of dominance and submission from the many things I read. I knew who I was and what I wanted, had realized quickly why previous relationships worked out the way they had, but I didn’t know how to go about finding someone who would be a good match for me. And saying ‘no’ has always been very hard for me, because I’m a pleaser.
It took me awhile to learn how to hold onto my personal power until I was ready to give it to someone else. I knew that every time I exchanged messages with a prospective partner, and he immediately went into the ‘kneel bitch’ or started calling me ‘girl’ or ‘slut’ or ‘little one’, my hackles rose. When he started telling me things to do or would avoid my efforts to move the conversation into more vanilla territory, I would become very uncomfortable. But I had a difficult time stating that to him and stopping communications. I worried that he would think ill of me. I thought that doing that was something good submissives didn’t do. It took a bit of experimentation, a little mentoring, but I eventually ‘got it’.
I see so many submissive women come into WIITWD thinking that because they identify as submissive, they must ‘submit’ to all who call themselves dominant. That because they are submissive, they don’t have rights anymore. They come into groups and ask us all the time, “he wants me to do X and I don’t want to do it, is it okay to say no?”
When you are beginning to talk to a prospective dominant online, you have not yet submitted to him. In fact, you should not submit until you decide the time and person are right for you. While you may both choose to use specific words with each other or to have other ritual-type things between your conversations that you are both comfortable with, things like him ordering you to do things shouldn’t happen until you are ready. It is perfectly okay to say, “I’m not yet comfortable with that”, and to expect him to respect that. It does not mean you are not submissive or are less submissive than someone else. And when you’ve voiced limits, you have every right to expect him to respect those limits until such time that you have agreed they will be pushed.
You do not have to give away your personal power to every Dom, Dick, and Clueless who comes along. It is perfectly okay to spend time doing your due diligence with each other. The bottom line is if he doesn’t allow you to have that time, if he constantly tries to push the boundaries that make you comfortable, he doesn’t respect you and he isn’t interested in learning about who you are. A dominant who knows how things work in the real world knows that you must get to know more about each other than which toys you prefer and what’s on your checklist, unless you’re just looking for a play partner. If you are looking for a relationship, you have every right to expect him to want to participate in due diligence with you. In fact, if he’s worth his stuff, he will insist on it, because he wants you to be a good match for him, too.
But if he’s pushing, if he’s not respecting your requests to learn about each other, if he’s not participating in a give-and-take conversation about real life, then you can be sure that he’s only interested in one thing. And while you may be a great match in the BDSM department, that does not make a relationship.
If your goal is a relationship, whether D/s or M/s or some other variation, then you owe it to yourself to be true to yourself. Yes, I will tell you that when you get it right, your limits will change. When you get it right, when all the pieces fall into place, you will feel good about yourself and about where you are going. You will find that you grow daily in who you are and in your submission. But until that time, you owe it to yourself to take your time and make sure it’s really the right relationship for you.
With that said, you have every right to say ‘no’ at any point when talking to a prospective partner. You have every right to say, ‘I don’t think we are a good match so I think we should both move on’, and expect him to respect that. And if he won’t back off after you do that, you have every right to block him. And if he becomes abusive after you’ve blocked him, you have every right to report him to the owners of the site you’re using. In fact, you have a responsibility to yourself to do all of the above. Because you are the only one who can truly protect your own interests. It is absolutely within your rights to stand up for yourself.
I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes. It is something that actually helped me to leave an abusive marriage, and I’ve kept it close as I did my search. Maybe you’ll see something in this that will help you find your own center.
“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” ~Maureen Dowd