The 5 Love Languages came up in a BR class on communication I attended this summer, and I bought the book soon after. Though I haven’t finished it, I did learn a bit from it. I attended another class last week on D/s and the love languages of D/s, and it brought the whole thing back to mind. Hence, blog post.
Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Gifts, and Acts of Service.
My receiving love language is (1) quality time, followed closely by (2) physical touch, with (3) words of affirmation in third. Without the first two, I won’t believe the third, but without the third I won’t be entirely fulfilled.
My giving love languages are quality time and acts of service, followed somewhat more distantly by physical touch. I stay really busy and highly value my time, so when I make time for you it shows I’m prioritizing you; the more time with you, the bigger the priority you are to me. On the service side, call it my midwestern upbringing or blame my submissive side, but I like to take care of my partner and do what I can to serve their overall happiness.
UndergroundSea’s Class on D/s Love Languages:
As for D/s love languages, the first note from this class was an organic power comment. In order to have a good D/s dynamic, you need to have an equal balance of organic power to begin, or the Dominant party needs to have higher organic power. Otherwise, if the submissive party has more organic power they must surrender more power as part of the D/s dynamic in order for there to be a power exchange. Organic power’s contributors include desire, confidence, comfort with conflict, and mental tenacity/wit/resolve. For me, I equate this to generally having your shit together. If I have my shit together more than my partner, than it’s harder for me to surrender enough power for there to be a D/s dynamic. Another way of looking at is Type-A or Alpha – I’m generally pretty Alpha, but if there’s someone more Alpha than me present I naturally step aside to them. That type of feeling is an organic power thing.
There are many more than 5 D/s love languages, and many that may not be on this list, but examples: verbal, physical, service, deferring for priority, privilege differences, exaltation/reverence, omitting social courtesies, physical subjugation, restraint and bondage, violation of space and dignity, infliction of physical/mental discomfort, obedience/capitulation, decision making, control of resources, supervision, and discipline/behavior modification.
Several things became apparent to me in this class, including my preferences and some ideas surrounding service, protocol, behavior modification, independence/pride, and brattiness.
First, a clear distinction is made between a request and a command “Will you please get me a cup of coffee?” v. “Bring me a cup of coffe.” Personally, the first doesn’t really ring of dominance, and the second grates a bit too much for me. I much prefer a third, non-discussed option of “It would please me if you would bring me coffee.” I like when commands are presented as options. I don’t necessarily want a 24/7, bring-me-this-and-that, type of dynamic, but I would love the opportunity to serve my partner. By presenting me with opportunities to serve, I can make him happy in the menial/housework-y type of things without it pissing off my feminist side. Maybe in time I’d be cool with more direct commands in non-sexual contexts, but not quite yet. Basically, while service is a love language for me, it isn’t really a D/s language for me.
Second, I prefer a very high level of protocol to show my submission. When I put someone in a position of authority, and I agree for them to be there and respect them in that position, I defer to them for priority and somewhat exalt them. Eye contact restrictions, terms of address, taking the floor rather than the seat nearby, giving them the position of preference or opportunity to choose first, etc. are all ways I show my submission. I am a high-etiquette person in all parts of my life, and I have certain standards that I feel should be upheld. It is similar with D/s – I’d prefer to have certain standards laid out and have a higher protocol/etiquette in place when I’m subservient.
Third, behavior modification as a concept freaks me out. I get pissy around the question of “who decides my behavior needs modifying?” Shouldn’t my partner accept me as I am and love me for who I am? If they do, why are they wanting to modify me? If it is something brought up by the submissive as a desired area of improvement, and the Dom is helping her achieve her own personal goal, great. Go for the modification. If it is something that is surrounding a personal service or way of presenting oneself preference of the Dominant that the submissive agrees upfront to be modified to adhere to, fine. Personality things, appearance things, career things…that not-so-much. I guess I don’t really subscribe to trusting my partner enough to determine if something is modifiable. Again, perhaps it’s something I don’t fully understand or may someday desire, but as of now, it’s foggy.
Fourth, any element/language of D/s that infringes upon my independence or pride is extremely difficult for me. These are the elements I desire to have in a relationship someday, in some fashion, but that I can’t play with casually at all. For example, privilege differences, omitting social courtesies, violation of dignity, decision making, control of resources, and discipline/behavior modification are a different category of D/s for me. They all require that I acknowledge someone to be my personal superior, and pleasing them supersedes my pride. I agree to surrender independence in favor to becoming dependent on their authority. For me to be dependent on anyone else, I need there to be trust that it is an interdependence and that great caring is present, moving towards love.
Fifth, I get pegged as bratty sometimes, or as really living for the struggle. In many ways, that’s true. I enjoy fighting against the bondage or my Top and losing, because it reinforces the helplessness. This reaction comes from not having my helplessness fed through other means of D/s. When I’m in a D/s dynamic, I very much want to please, and I’m very much aware of the surrender of control, thus I struggle far, far less.
Lastly, another element of my personality that manifests in D/s – I hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else ever would. I’m not really a perfectionist, but I’m an achiever. I have a standard that I think I should be able to somehow someday attain, and I strive to reach it. Similarly, if I know something is desired of my Dominant, or is a rule/preference, I will set that as a standard in my mind. If I should prove unable to attain it, I will self-punish myself and feel inferior/like a failure all on my own. One disappointing word, hell even just knowing it’s disappointing without a word on it, will make me extremely unhappy for having displeased the person above me. This is a work flaw too – recognizing when my success is out of my own control is difficult. I need to know I’m pleasing my Dominant, I need to be corrected when I’m not, and I need them to explicitly lay out standards and also be given an opportunity to explain why I failed to meet them if I did.