Foundations: Building the Four Pillars

Before I tackle vetting for the Dominant, I wanted to tackle something that I reference a lot but do not spend nearly enough time on and I feel like as I find myself sliding back into the saddle, it’s something that I want to address today. The Four Pillars of BDSM are Honesty, Communication, Respect and Trust. I put them in that order for a reason and my reasons will be made apparent as we dive in. I hope you guys are ready. I’ve looked forward to this one. When I researched this more fully in preparation for today, so it wouldn’t be me rambling on about just personal feelings, the Four Pillars of BDSM originate from Old Guard teaching. If given time, even if it isn’t exactly your cup of tea, I can’t suggest enough delving into what came before. The Old Guard history is truly a fascinating era in what has brought us to the kinky world we know today.

The first pillar built is one of honesty and before you can be honest with anyone else, you need to first be honest with yourself. What is it you want? Do you have expectations? What is it you need, desire, crave? What are your kinks? Is that all of them? What about that one you left in the dark? Before you can even contemplate working on the next pillar, you have to be able to be honest. While we can all agree expectations tend to be unfair, maintaining an expectation of honesty is not an unjust presupposition. Going forward, extend honesty in all things with your prospective partner. You cannot expect honesty from them if you’re not honest with yourself and them.

As you build communication, you will return to your building blocks of honesty. It is here that vetting will eventually occur. Maintaining open and honest communication is paramount to any vanilla relationship and is even more so important entering the realm of dynamics. Communicating your needs, desires, and fantasies will naturally come, but you need to be able to also communicate your dislikes, soft limits and hard limits. You will need to be able to communicate your state of mind, feelings and thoughts. You will need to <strong>LISTEN </strong>to theirs. Listening is just as important in communication. You can talk to each other all day, but if what they are saying isn’t being heard, you’re just wasting your time. 

I positioned respect as the third pillar because without communication and honesty, in my opinion, you cannot build respect and in order to trust your partner, you must be able to respect one another. Respect in this aspect is multifaceted. As a Dominant, you need to respect your submissive’s limits and consent. As a submissive, you need to respect your Dominant’s authority and limits. How do you build respect though? From a relationship psychological standpoint, this is an involved, active exercise. Talk openly and honestly with each other. Listen to your partner. Value their thoughts, feelings and needs. Compromise. Speak kindly to each other. Be supportive. Keep your promises. When we get into world power exchange, some of these values can change depending on the authority transferred in your dynamic, such as compromise, but many of the same core tenets of building a healthy respectful vanilla relationship remain unchanged as you build your dynamic.

Once the pillars of honesty, communication and respect have been built, trust begins to form. Without trust, you cannot consent, gain consent or submit. Trust is a tender thing. It is carefully cultivated. It is not unlike a sheet of fine glass. Once fractured, it loses its structural integrity. Trust is vital in a submissive being able to freely submit. The submissive has to be able to trust their Dominant to be able to respect her safeword and hard limits. They trust their Dominants to lead and to protect their best interests. Trust is vital to the Dominant in that they are able to trust their submissive to obey within the confines of their structure and rules.

In building the four pillars, we are able to freely give what we have to the other. The submissive yields their power to their Dominant and the Dominant takes that power, adds it to their own, and together they are both able to fly. Without them, the whole structure begins to collapse and we are unable to reach the soaring heights we dream of.

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