a relationship based on dominance and submission can often lead to burnout…what are the symptoms and what do you do about it
What is burnout? Regardless of your position in the lifestyle you can become burnt out. Burnout is often also called Dom fatigue, or sub fatigue, and thought of as an extended drop. Honestly though you can experience a form of this even without having a partner. It is simply the feeling that you’ve had too much of the lifestyle for a time and you cannot find the energy or zeal that you used to have regularly to continue. And it’s not just a feeling of oh I’m tired after this scene, it’s a deeper more resounding, I want nothing to do with this in my life right now feeling. So for those who are really committed to the lifestyle or a particular relationship the feeling can be devastating. I really always compare burnout in the lifestyle to that of the workplace, if you don’t take a vacation for a long time you can get burnt out and the same applies here.
Many longer term D/s couples (and short term couples, too) often suffer from what I call “BDSM burnout.” Why burnout happens is simple enough. Domming (and subbing) ain’t easy. It takes work, energy and time. Sometimes the BDSM relationship can start to become a chore rather than a joy. It can be the submissive who has “had it up to here” with pleasing her Dominant. It can be the Dominant who finds that the effort he/she must put into being the Master/Mistress outweighs the rewards. It can be a combination of the two.
It’s becoming clearer and clearer that most things BDSM related are taking a massive toll on my mental health, personal energy levels, and overall outlook on my kink future. Simply put, I’m burned out. I had to step back from offering kink-related coaching services, let go some of kink-based writing spots, and really take the time to honestly say, ‘You’re trying to do too much right now.‘
Looking inwards, looking back: What people said they wished they’d done and known
When I asked people what they wished they had done and known in retrospect, their answers were heartbreaking (and again, painfully familiar). There were common themes of (1) Lacking self-knowledge–both not understanding what they needed to be fulfilled as doms and subs, and also not understanding when they were experiencing burnout (2) Failing to successfully communicate about problems in the relationship/dynamic (3) Believing “this” was the best they were going to get and later finding out they could, in fact, get much better (4) Admitting when things weren’t going well and seeking help from others in the community.
I am quoting these accounts at length because I think there is a lot of wisdom in each one, and all weave together some or all of the themes I’ve just highlighted:
From M (sub woman): I wish I…
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