I recently got asked about the difference between 24/7 play and “only in the bedroom” play. So, thought I’d write a quick post about it.
First, I should mention that most of the couples I know fall somewhere in the middle. That is to say, you do not have to be exclusively one or the other. I think it happens in most couples that one person tends to lead and one person tends to follow.
I should also note that those roles are not always the same as a person’s BDSM roles. I know of lot of submissives who are very authoritative outside of the bedroom, and I know a lot of Dommes who are very easy-going and agreeable outside of the bedroom. So real-life roles and BDSM roles are not always the same.
But let’s skip the stories about CEOs who end up in a dungeon begging a girl in thigh-high boots to spank them. That is most certainly a thing, but it is not the subject of today’s post.
So BDSM “only in the bedroom” means just that. You walk out of the bedroom and become two individuals on even footing, with no power dynamic at play. That’s easy to understand.
Where it gets complicated is in a 24/7 power exchange. I think when people ask about the difference between BDSM in the bedroom and all the time, what they really want to know is how a 24/7 relationship works.
A 24/7 power exchange means that a couple finds ways to work BDSM into every aspect of their lives. The submissive will have a collar to wear in pubic. Something simple that does not attract unwanted attention. And their Dom or Domme will tell them things they must do each day, such as writing assignments (explore a scene you want to play in an e-mail to me), forced masturbation (you will masturbate until you orgasm in the bathroom at work,) etc…
I have no opinion on which is better. I know some people who have gotten far too into a 24/7 exchange and lost their own identity for a time, but it seems to me that they enjoyed it. The biggest drawbacks that I see are when a break-up happens. That is why I think leather families are so important, as well as having protectors and people who look out for you. It seems to me that there is no relationship harder to leave than a 24/7 power exchange.
I am not currently in any. I have been, but I generally choose to keep my kink to the bedroom. In real life, I want someone to tell me where they want to eat and what they want to do. I want them to offer opinions and challange me intellectually. I am not saying those things can’t happen in a 24/7 exchange. I am sure they can! But they never have for me. All the 24/7 exchanges I have been in involved a person who gave their will over to me, to the point of expecting me to pick out their clothes for the day and keep track of what they ate. It as a lot of work, and unlike some Dommes, I did not get off on having that much control.
Each couple must choose for themselves what they think is best. But remember people; safe, sane, and consensual. A good Domme never looses sight of the well-being of their submissives, and always protects their free will, while keeping their best interests at heart. If you’re going to be a Domme, be a good one who cares deeply for your submissive and makes sure they are always okay, and never too lost in you to know what is best for themselves.