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Love and Romance
                In The Domination and Submission Life-style

There are many ways that people in the life-style meet their need to practice D/s. Some form relationships with professional Mistresses or Masters. Others are constantly trolling the Internet, News groups and chat rooms trying to hook another interested party for a secret liaison because a wife or husband doesn't share their interest. If it be a single person, they may be searching for someone to date and possibly even have a long term relationship with.

Although not billed as ‘places to meet a mate' educational organizations, munches and clubs provide a venue for many like minded folks to get together and possibly engage in  play. Frankly, after running a dungeon, I must say that the frequency of two people meeting at a D/s party, falling in love and actually getting married is relatively low. I will be the last one to say that it is not a possibility because that is where I met my husband and we have had a wonderful

relationship from the beginning. But for the most part you can see a game of musical beds going on. Quick passionate flings leading to the same dead end. It does help tremendously though  if you can find someone in the life-style because only then can you enjoy a truly honest, intimate, and fulfilling relationship.

All too often though, one partner in a relationship has a yearning to be submissive or dominant and the other doesn't have an idea what it's all about, let alone the inclination to participate. Such is the blight of so many people. You live with a secret, or try to get the person you love to accept and participate in D/s. So often people in this position never address the issue with their partner for fear of rejection. Unfortunately this can lead to a good deal of emotional pain and suffering for both parties. When secrets are kept in relationships there is always that wall which prevents true intimacy. Get used to hearing this now because I will repeat the theme often. To be loved unconditionally and share our deepest selves with another, is the most profound emotional and spiritual need of all humans.

In his practice as a therapist my husband would always differentiate between two characteristics of love within a relationship. First there is the Romantic Love which we feel when the relationship first begins. The word romance comes from stories of ancient Rome where love is an exciting and glamorous affair. There are all the scenes of enchantment and ecstasy that today fill the pages of movie scripts and television drama.

It is interesting that the Italian word 'Amore' comes from the Latin 'A' : meaning next to, and 'Mor' : death. Now I am sure that it was not meant that to be in love one would die physically. Rather it refers to the ego, that which constitutes the definition of ones self,  is abandoned for something else. 

Although it is very exciting, it is clear  from the meaning of that word that love, or romantic love, is not a place of growth for the whole of the human spirit. Romantic love is where fantasy is used to construct a ship out of illusions, denial, and unrealistic expectations, that sails us out away from life where we can have sanctuary from all it's pressures.

As wonderful as it is, and as lucky as we may be if we have a sense of romance in a relationship, the truth is that this kind of Romantic Love can not hold together a nurturing, long term experience for two people. Yes, we may use a form of it as an anchor to keep passion in our life, but such initial romantic love in our relationships does not keep the wheels of our emotional and spiritual life turning and moving forward on solid ground.

What is ‘Real Love'? This is what my husband calls the ‘stirring the Oatmeal Love'. Getting up and going to work every day, cleaning the house, watching the television program you don't like, sleeping next to flannel night gowns, living with the snoring, tossing and turning nights with farts between the sheets stuff! Not exciting, but the real things that we do in everyday life with our partner.

It is here that we are real and we find the unconditional acceptance that is so necessary for us. This is the 'For better and worse vow' that drops out of the glamour and majesty in the celebration of a wedding like a lead sinker in a bucket.  But without this glue, which holds two souls together, a marriage profits no one except the caterer and florist. This is what those fifty year anniversarys are made of. Without it, the flame of romance that once burned, blows out. We start looking for another spark to set a blaze the fire in our hearts.

How do we know what Real Love is and when we have it? Try asking these three simple questions of yourself about the person you think you love.

First is: Do you feel excited being with this person? Are they fun to be around and do you feel a loss of that excitement when they are absent from you for awhile?

Second: Do you feel freedom with this person? Can you be who you are, revealing your dark secrets and unpleasant emotions and insecure feelings? Do the dynamics of your relationship encourage you to be vulnerable without much fear of emotional danger? Can you say I want or don't want without trepidation, negative consequences and resentments?

Third: Can you commit yourself to this person? All too often, people answer "I do" to this question in their wedding vows without knowing what the question really is! Unfortunately, it's because romantic love has clouded their vision and what they are really saying is that they are committing to the ideal of the perfect marriage, not to the reality of the work which living with the imperfect person standing before them entails.

Saying yes is easy when you're holding a basket of dreams in your hand and the excitement of last night's wild passionate love- making lingers in your mind. But what happens to those dreams when the job becomes a struggle, your style of car is no longer seen in sexy television ads, you think someone switched your child in the delivery room with a baby from the Adam's Family, her boobs are hanging down to meet her hips like basketballs instead of softballs and the Doctor just prescribed Viagra? Will the answer still be yes or will you be inclined to go out shopping for romance again?

No, I'm not a pessimist, but life and nature have a way of being truthful beyond our fictitious illusions cultivated by the intoxication of romance. The good news is that in the real love we find a place where we can really grow and we can find true acceptance for the real us. Believe it if you will, but this is where the seeds for a good D/s relationship are grown from. This is where a couple can share their true feelings and feel less inhibited by sexual insecurities. The illusions and expectations of Romantic love are not the dominating factor in real love and the individuals can relate to one another with more intimacy.

Remember the question you were asked to answer above about feeling free. If you could answer yes then you have one of the critical elements needed for real love and a higher propensity for unconditional acceptance. With Romantic Love, one must fit into an illusion that formulates an often rigid fantasy. You must be the hero , the strong, masculine figure that radiates virility. Or you must be the beautiful image of femininity that is the mecca of sensuality. Either way, good luck!

A leather clad woman leading her panty wearing husband around with a collar and leash, doesn't quite fit this picture. No, in fact, it appears to be diametrically opposed to all our images and sensibilities of Romantic Love. Although it is my belief that Hallmark needs to expand their line of valentines, I don't think they would be very interested in buying any of the photos from this web page for next year's cards. Where's the soft and sweet kiss or the candles and flowers? The images on my page tend to reflect a harsh or even violent emotion it seems. Where's the love?

The love is in the trust, vulnerability, openness, and acceptance of one another as real, whole, humans. What the images we see in D/s represent are feelings found deep inside of us that we feel we need to be hiding away from our social life. They are the foundation  of our most intense motivations both sexually and otherwise, that drive us emotionally. They are guarded for fear of chastisement if we were to reveal them to others. For us to realize ourselves as whole people though,  we need to be able to explore and express them.

With most people, thoughts and fantasies which involve D/s themes are not usually transitory. They are steadfast elements of our personality that hold tremendous gravity in the working of our psyche. Most often we see them occur in simple forms at young ages and re-occur throughout our life.  Most of us can trace early D/s fantasies back to childhood impressions of family members or characters on television, movies or comics books. Remember Cat Woman in Batman, the perils that James Bond fell into, or the sweetheart cowgirl captured by the outlaw wearing a black hat! Hey, they were exciting and turned us on! Although we did not recognize them as sexual at the time, we none the less retained the impressions and associated them later with the glorious sensations of arousal that were such wonderful feelings as we traveled that path through puberty.

I have yet to meet someone that expresses thoughts of an interest in BDSM and then can truthfully say that they never think of them again in their life. They stay with us because they are an integral part of us. Frankly, I think it is fair to say, that more people have D/s inclinations than would like to admit it. Why else would the growing popularity of D/s in our pop culture be there if it did not connect with the interest of the masses? People are afraid of it though. It rests inside them and they don't know how to come to terms with it. There is an old saying that humor often comes from what people are afraid of. That is why there are so many ethnic and racial jokes. How often have you seen humorous references on television programs or movies, let alone wise cracks at parties, that have a D/s theme? The collective conscience of our society has a D/s dimension incorporated within it, but we fear it as much as we flirt with it.

When one has true love, they possess a gift of sanctuary from the critiques of a judgmental (and maybe a hypocritical) world, and should be able to share these intimacies with their beloved. With this gift there is a reciprocal character of love which holds an unconditional positive regard for the whole of the individual who is the object of affection. This Real Love is of a stature of a sacred love. It is a profound achievement which has a synergistic quality of creating something greater than the whole of it's two parts.

There is possibly only one other  relationship that rivals Real Love between two humans.  Religions of the world describe man's relationship with God as being of the same commitment,  intimacy, acceptance and positive regard.  Of coarse it depends on ones own belief system, but imagine someone knowing every deed, and even every thought that you have ever had, and still loving you. Whatever your personal opinion of theology may be, that notion seems overwhelmingly powerful. Maybe that is why the love between a husband and wife (or it's social, cultural or politically correct equivalent) has been ordained by church and state throughout history.

Real Love is indeed the foundation of all that we hold dear in life and it is the best platform for a D/s relationship. D/s goes further in Real Love. But what of romance and Romantic Love? Do we discount it as pure follies or depreciate it to a level of a simple game played out in sexual intoxication? Do D/s and Romantic Love share at least a common bond of fantasy and illusion? How does a couple blend D/s, romance and Real Love together into their relationship?

First and most important, recognize that, like it or not, all three are part of your life together now and must be dealt with. If they were not, you would not have spent the time reading this! Whether it is both of you or, just you, or only your loved one that has an interest in D/s, it is a part of your relationship already. It will not go away and cannot be ignored or denied! What needs to be done is to balance and prioritize the influence it will have on your life and your relationship.
If you or your spouse cannot accept D/s practice in your relationship, then you need to examine if you are truly in love with the person before you.  Are you in love, or in love with the notion of just having a relationship? Some people can accept never knowing love. It is better for them to have the security of  just having someone there. Maybe it's a nice job, a stable income, a house, children, prestige or all the other perks that goes with being part of a couple. If you cannot talk with your mate for fear of losing all those things, then you have your answer to these questions and of what your life priorities are!

If you have been unhappy for years because you have felt alone in a marriage or relationship and yearn to be loved, even if you have had no D/s inclinations (assuming your partner has), then maybe you need to take the risk and start asking questions and exploring yourself and your mate. There must have been something there, real or not, in the romantic feelings you have experienced, and enough equity in your relationship to induce you to continue reading this.

If your partner has approached you with the proposition of introducing D/s into your relationship, consider yourself lucky! They must be a brave person and think enough of their relationship with you to risk deepening it. Opportunity knocks

Now here is where I can introduce to you a simple but profound concept. True Romantic Love! When a couple's relationship grows through the initial infatuation and experiences the intoxication of Romantic love, it will then hopefully lead to Real Love. By stirring all that 'Oatmeal' and learning who the real 'whole' person they have chosen to share their life with, they can now be introduced to the passion of making love and playing with the true love of their life.

If there was enough romance in the beginning to captivate your imagination 'Once Upon a Time' there will be more there now. It may look different! Build on Real Love with all it's deep intimacies, commitments and unconditional positive regard. The possibilities are limitless. You will find much more to do together. More adventure. More surprise. More creativity. More imagination and exciting, closer to home fantasy! More trust!

Most of all the potential for an increase in the wealth of love growing between the two of you grows exponentially because the focus of all the passion between the two lovers will be directed to the true, complete and whole people there!

~ Lady English

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