Sensuous Sadie Starts Negotiating the 24/7 - Part 2
by Sensuous Sadie

I am a little over a week into negotiations with Tyler for a 24/7 relationship. Our discussions have stalled, leaving me with many questions, so many questions.

I have played in plenty of scenes, where a short negotiation to determine the general sway of things was sufficient. My Dominant would sit with me for a bit, ask about my boundaries, needs, fears, and the rest. What things have I not yet experienced but want to? What's on my NO list? What health issues do I have which might affect play? Where do I come into this emotionally? What do they want from me as a submissive? I have been in a few longer-term relationships, where these same conversations stretched out for a few hours. These same questions loom even larger, and take even longer to process when it comes to the intense commitment of a 24/7 situation.

I'm pretty forthcoming about these things; I have no secrets. Usually the answers come easily, and we can always negotiate further as things come up. For every hour spent in play, there are two hours spent in life: cooking, cuddling, conversation. Plenty of time to process any new issues.

But with a 24/7 arrangement, things are so much grander. I must have sufficient trust and faith in this person to turn myself over to him completely–mind, body, heart. This intimacy is an entirely different beast than the here-or-there play. There is a greater emotional vulnerability, not just because of what I'm giving to him, but because I don't already know him well enough to know how he will handle the emotional part. And we all know the emotional part is the hard part.

I imagine a 24/7 negotiation will be a number of discussions over time, a flowering foundation which solidifies and deepens until we are ready to take the plunge. There are so many things to get out on the table before it all starts. After we are enmeshed, it will be harder to renegotiate. I don't want to be yanked in and out of subspace in order to figure out how the grocery bill will be handled or whether or not he can have another submissive in the upstairs bedroom.

I have a few fears, but not many. I look at this as an opportunity to experience a transforming connection with myself, with him, and with my spirituality. My sex life is fairly negotiable, and in fact I have sampled many of the flavors of BDSM. But my economic life, my private life, my spiritual life are not negotiable. How will we work out a compromise in these areas which are so foundational to my life?

More importantly, will he know how to handle things when emotional issues come up, for they surely will. Is he grounded enough to manage not only his own feelings and needs, but mine, which will be so much more tender in this situation? With some of my autonomy given up, will I be able to distance myself emotionally if I need to? If I am confused and lost, will he be able to lead me out of the woods or will he opt out?

Tyler has his own fears; he is afraid I will fall in love with him. Is this born out of a fear that he cannot handle love? I have only fallen in love with one of my D/s partners in the eight years of being in the lifestyle, but even so I cannot give him any guarantee. Or can it be that Tyler is afraid of falling in love with me?

At this moment I am a wee bit infatuated with him, actually not him so much as with what he has to offer me. It's natural, I suppose, because this is the first time I've been so close to these fantasies coming true. But is that "love?" At 20, I might have confused infatuation with love, but not at 38. I wonder, if he is so afraid of love, does he have the emotional maturity to handle the Dominant responsibilities of a 24/7 relationship?"

I know there is a shadowy love-like realm when one is in a D/s relationship. The feeling of total trust and dependence which comes with deep submission can seem like love, I've felt it. But in the light of day I could always see it for what it was, a toss-up of lust, submission, and passion. If only there were a word for this transforming magic.

One of my Dominants, Ryan, understood this phenomenon. He understood the depth of submissive vulnerability and dealt with the emotional pitfalls responsibly, as submissives need from their Dominants. When he saw me teetering on the edge of falling for him, he'd sit me down, and have a gentle talk with me. Master Ryan knew himself, and in his knowing was unafraid of me or anything else.

Tyler is afraid that after the three-week 24/7 contract I will want more from him than he's prepared to give. But I wonder, isn't it natural to want an ongoing relationship with someone who has taken you to the deepest place? Would I want to go there with him even once, knowing that precisely at the three-week mark, everything may stop cold? Even if it was not love we had, but instead a caring commitment of another sort, wouldn't even that suppose some kind of ongoing conversation?

We started negotiations last week, but as of this writing there has been no meaningful communication for many days. Is he just plain thoughtless to leave me hanging? Is he paralyzed by the reality of negotiating? Has he gotten himself in too deep and now doesn't know how to proceed? I may never know. Regardless of the reason, do I want to risk myself for someone who cannot reach back to me when the going gets tough?

So, I'm guessing things will not go ahead. I'm guessing that while Tyler has two years of training as a Dominant, with paddling and bondage galore, in his heart he is not ready for something with such a strong emotional component as is central to a 24/7 engagement. I still don't know where this will end up, but I'm staying open to the possibilities. For now I will just be present to the limbo state of negotiation; after all… it has only been a week.


I had hoped Tyler and I would be able to negotiate something workable, but soon I recognized our goals were not in alignment. Our beliefs about communication differ widely in that I believe communication is the foundation of any relationship, doubly so for the D/s persuasion. I can't say quite what Tyler's perspective is, but it is not the same as mine.

Nevertheless, our negotiation was successful in that we both discovered what we need to know about the other person. Although I didn't like Tyler's style of communication, I can't fault him for making different choices than I would. People often think a "negotiation" must lead to the desired goal to be a success, but in fact the negotiation is designed to provide sufficient information to make a decision. It's too bad I couldn't commit to any further play with him, but I do not regret having experienced this first negotiation, regardless of the outcome. And I will always appreciate the opportunity he gave me to get in touch with this deep desire.

Perhaps something else lies ahead for Tyler and me, but for the moment, this story is complete.


Sensuous Sadie is a BDSM columnist and edits SCENEsubmissions, a free e-newsletter for the New England area and beyond. She is the founder and leader (1999 - 2001) of Rose & Thorn, Vermont's first BDSM group. Comments, compliments and complaints, as well as requests for reprinting can be addressed to her at or visit her website at Sadie believes the universe is abundant, and that sharing information freely is part of this abundance, so she allows reprints of her writing in most venues.

Copyright 2002.