One of my responsibilities in my relationship with Joy is to guide our exploration of the many and varied paths of BDSM. For us, at least, BDSM is a journey rather than a destination, and we make progress from day to day and year to year. There are many, many different directions in which to go, and to assist in my navigation, I set short term and long term objectives for our exploration.
The short term objectives are easy—they might be based on a new toy I purchased that I want to try, or around the idea I imagined for our next adventure. Today, however, I wanted to talk more about the long term objectives. Long term objectives are not so easy.
Let’s specify that objectives, in this case, are different from relationship goals. I definitely do have relationship goals within the context of D/s, and though we haven’t really discussed it, I’m quite certain Joy has them as well. As an example, one of my D/s relationship goals would be for Joy to embrace, rather than fight against, her desire to submit. Another would be for me to get better at overcoming her resistance and making her submit when she does not wish to do so. Goals like these are strategic, and exist at the relationship level. For our purposes, however, an objective is more tactical. It is an activity or situation that I want us to experience together. And a long term objective is an activity or situation that is out of reach right now, but that I desire us to eventually attain.
I currently have two long term objectives that I’m working toward. I will not tell you what they are–Joy periodically reads this blog, and knowing where I am guiding us would likely prove detrimental to our progress. However, here are a couple of former long term objectives that we have already reached to serve as examples:
- Be able to come in Joy’s mouth freely and expect her to swallow
- Share Joy with another woman in a BDSM scene
In both these cases, when I initially broached the subject, Joy was unable/unwilling to go there. As a matter of fact, I believe her response to the first objective was something like, “It’s gross and I don’t do that” and the second was along the lines of “I could never have another person in our bedroom. And no matter what guys wish, we’re not all lesbians, you know?”
Joy’s reactions were indicators that these activities were too far outside her comfort zone to be immediately attainable. But I wanted them nonetheless. What to do?
Setting long term objectives has to do with the process of overcoming limits. I’ve written before about working with limits, about the power and the risk it entails, and I won’t repeat myself in detail here. Instead, here’s a metaphor that illustrates the process that I’ve found to be successful:
Imagine a stream you want to cross. The water is swift and dark, and you cannot see the bottom. However, you have determination, persistence and time on your side. Pick up a single stone and drop it in. The water swallows it immediately and it vanishes without a trace. Drop in another stone and then another. Drop enough stones and eventually they start to poke up above the surface. Keep on dropping stones and you will begin to build a bridge that will carry you to where you want to go.
The stream is the limit you are facing. The stones are “baby steps” toward your objective. Each time you take a baby step, you drop a stone in the water. Just as the stones pile up, the baby steps build one upon another. In the first example above, a baby step I employed was using Joy’s mouth but pulling out before orgasm and coming on her breasts. The next baby step in the series was to shift my target so that I came on her face. In the second example, a baby step was watching a video of one woman Dominating another. A second was to role play a scene with another woman in which Joy had to submit.
Each baby step works to expand your partner’s comfort zone ever-so-slightly in the direction you want to go. Each step takes your partner a tiny way towards your objective, and a tiny distance beyond their comfort zone. Repeat that baby step enough times, and eventually it will become accepted—your partner’s comfort zone expands to encompass it. Then it’s time to take another baby step. You may not notice any effect from an individual baby step, but they accumulate over time and eventually progress may be made.
Obviously one key to success with this approach is picking the right river! You will run out of stones and time if you try to build a bridge across the Mississippi using a stone-by-stone approach, but if you pick a smaller stream or creek, your chances for success are much improved. In the same way, picking an activity where your partner’s limit is not strong is more likely to succeed than picking one where the limit is severe. In the examples I cited above, I knew Joy had an interest–a hidden desire–to explore the directions I had chosen. That’s part of the reason why I selected them.
I suppose it’s perfectly possible to operate without any long-term objectives in a D/s relationship—I can see how that would work. However, I’m a planner, and I like to have something to work towards, so Joy and I always have at least one. And slowly, so slowly, we make progress against it.
As I said, I currently have two long term objectives I’m working against. We have had several breakthroughs along the way, and at this point, one of the two is nearing completion, I think. Oh, there are still hurdles to overcome, but I’m beginning to see a clear path to the final step, and I suspect that within the next four or five months, we’ll be there. I may regret saying this—we could easily backslide—but for now, prospects appear bright.
Assuming we are successful, I’ll share when we have reached our goal. Until then…