It’s been more than a month since Joy and I made the abrupt transition from D/s to an essentially vanilla life. While this period has been difficult at times, we have continued to communicate through the entire duration. We have kept up our tradition of weekly “state of the relationship” conversations, held each Saturday night. And moreover, we have maintained our most basic rituals, which require Joy to keep herself shaved and to come to bed wearing a nightgown and no underwear.

The embers of our once-fiery D/s relationship still glow–our rituals and our conversation have allowed us to preserve them. And slowly, ever so slowly, I see signs developing that tell me they may one day be fanned back to life.

From what I can tell, Joy’s decision to step back from submission was not triggered by a single act or any particular event. Instead, it seems to have been due to the confluence of several factors building up over time. These include:

  • Self-image – Joy has had to deal with a career hit recently that has left her questioning herself, and that combined with her perception that she is aging due to the passage of a milestone birthday has dealt a blow to her self-image. Joy must feel confident to be able to submit–when she lacks confidence, she feels the need to establish her strength, rather than give it up to me.
  • Sense of Failure at Submission – Probably partly as a consequence of the above, Joy decided that she isn’t very good at submission, a conclusion which I rather wholeheartedly dispute. Feeling that she doesn’t do it well makes her want to quit trying.
  • External Stressors – My employment situation is currently precarious, and that adds additional stress to our lives. Stress and D/s don’t mix well for either of us, and that has aided and abetted our situation.

While all of the above focus on Joy’s thoughts and feelings, there’s one overarching issue that takes precedence over all of them, and that is that Joy’s Dominant partner didn’t do a good job of reading her and giving her what she needed. While I admit that my wife can be difficult to read and frequently gives conflicting signals, knowing what she needs and wants is my job, and I did not succeed at it this time around. Much of my focus over the past month has been on understanding what she needs, helping her to open up to me about it, and then trying to give it to her.

Small steps and incremental progress–those are our watchwords right now. And we are making gradual progress. Last night, we had our very first non-vanilla sex since this episode began. Oh, we didn’t break out the cuffs or the paddle. Remember, baby steps. However, we did employ a realistic anal plug to simulate forceful double-penetration, engaged in a generous amount of nipple twisting, and talked dirty all the way through. Joy became thoroughly aroused, and by the time we were done, she had been fully exercised. Without explicitly saying so, she had given control of herself over to me, and we fell asleep afterwards in each other’s arms.

My expectation is that progress will continue to be slow–for reasons I still can’t comprehend, Joy fights hard against what she wants. For now, she can allow herself to experience some submission, but cannot admit that she desires it. With patience and time, hopefully the glowing embers will flicker to life and burn hotter and hotter once more. Perhaps some new limits have been established–time will tell. However, for now, we are both happy to have connected again in that old, familiar way…

Enjoy yourself,


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