Needs vs. Wants

Author: Knyghtflyher © 2001

Used With Permission. Knyghtflyher is associated with S.C. LOCKS


Herein lies the one of the most difficult discriminations that a Dominant must make during the D/s relationship with his sub/slave. The general agreement, at least among those with whom I am familiar, is that the Master/Dominant is committed to meet the NEEDS, i.e. physical, psychological, emotional, of his sub/slave. That is the limit of his requirement. The meeting of WANTS is at His/Her sole discretion. The trick lies in determining the difference between them.

I sorely wish I had an easy formula that would allow Me, and You/you, to determine what is a NEED and what is a WANT. But, let's face it…all submissives are not the same and their NEEDS and WANTS differ as widely as their physical appearance. What appears, on the outside, to be a WANT can, in reality, be a psychological NEED and should be met if at all possible. On the other hand, conversely, a voiced NEED can just as easily be a WANT. Only through conversation, learning, and the paying of careful attention to the submissive/slave, can the Master/Dominant begin to discern between the two, and deal with both.

Some NEEDS, the physical ones, are self-evident…the sub/slave must eat, must be clean, must drink, must do whatever is necessary to maintain life. The sub/slave NEEDS shelter, food, water, and yes, clothing. These items are necessities and must be furnished by the Master/Dominant. To do otherwise would not be fulfilling the basic requirements of the D/s relationship and would be a "breach" of their relationship.

Some emotional NEEDS are also easy to discern. All humans, regardless of their role in the D/s relationship, NEED love and respect in some form. They NEED to have self-esteem, and an awareness of how they fit in their relationship. They NEED to have responsibility, in some form, and they NEED to meet expectations and have those expectations clearly stated and explained if necessary. All of these NEEDS are common to all human relationships, be they D/s or "vanilla". Everyone craves love and respect and everyone "deserves" to have a healthy self-esteem and awareness of themselves and their roles.

Now, for the less evident NEEDS...the psychological makeup of a human being is a labyrinth of tunnels and blind spots and clearly marked trails leading sometimes somewhere, and at others, nowhere. I know a submissive that craves physical punishment…in the vernacular, she NEEDS her ass beat, and hard, on a regular basis and when it does not happen, she becomes recalcitrant and moody. Well, is this NEED a physical or psychological NEED? On the physical side, does a good spanking remove cellulite or something? I don't think so, nor do I think that her pain receptors in the buttocks require "fine tuning" or "exercise". This is a purely psychological NEED…this is a part of her self-image, the one she carries inside her head, that tells her what a "good" submissive is, and what a "good" submissive provides to her Dominant. If this NEED is unmet, either in frequency or intensity, the NEED to meet her self-image is not being met and she "feels" like she is failing in her "role" within the relationship, and sometimes, in life itself. This submissive MUST be paired with a Dominant that understands this NEED of hers and is willing and capable of meeting it. For her to find a Dominant that cannot meet this NEED is going to lead to unhappiness on both sides of the equation.

Yes, I know, a Dominant can be expected to "modify" the self-image of his submissive and sometimes this is sorely needed, especially if the self-image of the submissive is harmful or destructive to themselves. These "self-images" must, in my opinion, be changed, but first, the Dominant must achieve that level of trust and control to begin to modify the psyche of the submissive in a positive way. It is not an easy task, to modify years of "self-training", especially if the "self-training" is a result of years of psychological abuse designed to erode the self-image of the submissive and "break" her will. But, it can be done and, in my opinion, should be done. A lot of love, a lot of respect, a lot of attention to detail, and a lot of patience will be required but a submissive with a strong and HEALTHY self-image is a delight and well-worth the effort.

All of this discrimination between NEEDS and WANTS is part of the job of the Dominant. Yes, I know that Dominants have NEEDS of their own, and we will get to them in a minute. I am a Dominant and I have my own "laundry list" of NEEDS that must be fulfilled if I am to be happy in my relationship. But, right now, we are dealing with submissive subjects, and another NEED that I have seen over and over is the NEED to serve, to be of service to the Dominant in the relation- ship. To be disallowed that service can be devastating to that person that NEEDS to feel the weight of their service. This NEED can be easily met, but first, must be recognized as a NEED by the Dominant. I had to train myself, in my current relationship, to allow myself to be "served". As a divorced male who has lived basically alone for over 20 years, I generally did things my way, and had a very set routine of the way things were done. I had to teach myself to "sit back and relax" and allow things to get done by my slave, trusting her to accomplish what needed to be done without "micro-managing". It was not very easy, at first, but as time goes by, it is becoming more and more a part of our relationship and I am beginning to "enjoy" the fruits of her labor.

Another general NEED that I have identified among submissives is the NEED to progress, to grow in their roles, to be taken further along their road. This is a role the Dominant MUST play in the relationship. A static relationship can be terribly destructive to both parties in a relationship…and it often leads to a dissolution of the relationship, sometimes in a most acrimonious manner. Growth can take many forms and can involve many aspects of the BDSM relationship. In some areas, like play, growth can lead to more and more "strenuous" play, with the submissive able to progressively enjoy harder and harder play, and the Dominant to enjoy the same. Limits will be removed, or strenuously expanded, during this growth, and both sides of the equation must grow equally, or at least, strike a balance between them for the relationship to prosper.

But, growth is not limited to the play portion of the relationship. Growth can be in the areas of personal responsibility, or trust, or any other area within the relationship. I, for one, am in a "growth" phase, coming to terms with exactly what I want from this relationship, what I am willing to tolerate, and what my real "expectations" are. I am growing in the "play" portion of our relationship, experimenting with more and more "edgy" forms of play. Some of these new forms of play will involve a longer "learning curve" than others, but, if I am to be successful in this relationship, I will have to first determine if the "learning curve" is longer than I am willing to endure, and whether or not I am "comfortable" with that mode of play. My slave has just "discovered" single-tails and was introduced to them by a fellow Dominant that I trusted and admired. She requested the session because she needed to be allowed to "grow" in this direction. In my opinion, the "learning curve" for this type of play is extended, and begins with a major cash outlay for the purchase of the toy. After that, there is the learning of the proper and safe use of the toy and then practice, practice, practice. I am afraid that, at first, her desire to experience this toy will outstrip my place on the learning curve and I will, from time to time, allow her to grow with other Dominants that I know are safe and "expert" in the use of this toy, and cognizant of her "learning curve", also. This is how I am going to grow myself…by watching and learning, by introspection, and by practice, just as I "grew" when we discovered fire and needles. My NEED in this area, is to grow and explore new things, just as her NEED is to do the same.

Now we come to "wants". WANTS, in my definition, are those things a Dominant or submissive feels would be an adjunct to their life. Food is a need, a chocolate sundae with whipped cream and sprinkles surely classifies as food, but so does broccoli. Many things in our lives fall into those two categories, sundaes and broccoli. Some represent healthy nutrition for the body while others offer something else. Remove a sundae from the diet and you might get a temper tantrum, but the body will be nourished by the broccoli. Failure to meet a NEED can cause physical, emotional, or psychological damage where failure to grant a WANT will not. Beginning to see the difference? Well, not so fast, NEEDS can masquerade as WANTS and vice versa. Only through communication and intense study of the submissive can the Dominant clearly see what represents a NEED in the submissive's life and what merely represents a WANT. DO NOT expect to be an overnight expert in Your submissive and DO expect to make a mistake now and again. But DO listen and DO communicate and DO be aware of the feedback you get, in whatever form it may take. Remember, You took the job. Do it.


Copyright © July 4. 2001



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