Knowing What You Want From a Relationship

Hello my beloved perverts!

Another week gone by, another weekend spent with my Boy learning not only about myself, but also about him – and us. We fell into a serious and deep talk about our future, and some of our fundamental differences as human beings. Lee is a very liberal, kind, human-loving activist for just about all injustices you can think of. He keeps up with the social issues of our times, and is vocal about a lot of the current injustices, has vast and in-depth knowledge about LGBTQ+ issues, has knowledge and experiences in the realms of sexuality and Queerness that is way beyond what I have. It is a deep-seated part of who he is, and I love him for it.

I am not that person. Not even close … activism up close and personal has never been my stick. I tend to operate in the background if i feel I can make a difference, and that is usually on a small, individual basis or in small-ish groups. If I feel that I cannot make a difference or change a situation to the better by investing my time and energy, I do not. I have not lived the majority of my life in the Queer spectrum, and my knowledge of the history of the LGBTQ+ community as a whole is dismal compared to Lee’s. I do not get emotionally involved in with the injustices that are going on; I am there intellectually and I sympathize and do what I can – but I do NOT get emotionally involved. I am not even close to as comfortable with my sexuality as Lee is with his, and Goddess knows I blush more than I ever have with erotic embarrassment at times …

Point is – Lee and I are very, very different on a fundamental level. So … what are we building our relationship on?

Story Time

In the early part of my journey, I had fairly firm ideas of what my relationship(s) should look like. They were going to be based on consensual Power Exchange, a 50/50 give and take, needs and desires of both parties equally met. At the same time, my counter part (submissive) should be a complement to myself as a Dominant, preferably a fairly dominant personality in their own right. I was rather proud of the fact that I thought I knew what I wanted and/or needed, and therefore had a head start to finding the right person(s).

What I did not know was … what I did not know.

My first D/s relationship kind of fell along the butch/femme theme, and I referred to my girl as my “wife”. She did a lot of things for me that a traditional wife would do, and I enjoyed her taking care of domestic things so I could pursue other interests. It was what she wanted and what made her happy, and therefore I would be happy.

My next D/s was with a male whom could not quite figure out what he wanted – he started out thinking of himself as a slave, went on to submissive, and then Leather boy. I tried to accommodate his needs as they changed, but gave up after 6 months. I came to the conclusion that I could not give someone what they wanted/needed if they did not know themselves.

Another D/s relationship with a female went well for a year, during which I met her needs as a strong woman to look up to, bolster herself, help her cope with some anxieties and self-esteem issues, and get more self-confidence. However, a month after she petitioned and received her collar, she came to me in tears because she realized she could not be submissive to another strong female, she needed/wanted a male Dominant.

One of my experiences, just under 6 months, was with a young(ish) man that used to be in the military, having enrolled very early in his life. He was a wonderful submissive, doing exactly what he was told and without complaints. However – he was unable to make independent decisions based on circumstances presented to him. Unless there was a precedence on which to make a call, he was stumped. The military provided a solution in writing to every conceivable situation, and when in doubt, he could go pull the appropriate book and see what needed to be done. I need my partners/submissive to be able to think outside the box, and make some judgement calls based on their knowledge of myself, and the circumstances presented to them.

A former lover/submissive of mine had quite some … old-fashioned ideas around women. Since I did not fit any of them, he tried to compromise and hide part of what he wanted/needed to be with me. However, it is not possible to do so on a constant basis and be happy. Ultimately, his need to protect me ‘as a man should be taking care of his woman’ was our downfall, although other issues were also in play.

There were other relationships, all ended because wants/needs/desires were not met on either or both sides. Each relationship taught me a little more about myself and what I needed from a partner/a submissive/a relationship. Every single one of them painted my picture of an ideal partner/relationship in a little more detail. In retrospect, if I had known what I do now in terms of what I needed and wanted, along with the courage to voice those needs upfront … well – some of the relationships I had would not have been.

That is precisely the reason why I am so adamant about a potential partner/submissive being able to verbalize what they want and need in the very early courting/negotiation phase. While it is often hard to talk about what we need for fear of scaring the potential partner away, it is something that we all need to practice doing. Just imagining how much heartache I could have saved myself or my partners if I had been able to have that conversation prior to falling too deeply into lust/NRE makes me hurt all over again.

Know Thyself, Thy Needs, Thy Deal-Breakers

That brings us to this week’s “lesson”, as it were: recognizing and and honoring your needs and wants in your relationships. As a society, we are not raised to be ‘selfish’, we are taught – especially women – to put our partners and/or families needs first, then tend to ourselves. Few are the people that you can outright ask: “So, what do you need from a relationship?” that can give you a straight, well-thought out answer. The thing is, you have to know what YOU need before you can determine what you need from a partner and/or a relationship. For example – if you don’t admit to yourself that you need alone-time at least twice a week in order to function well, how are you going to ask/negotiate for that?

So, how to go about figuring out what it is that you need? Let us start with acknowledging that having needs is not selfish, weak, or dependent. Everyone has them, it does not make you needy or greedy – it simply means you are human, and have needs just like everyone else. Let go of the notion that you should put others in front of your own needs; you cannot serve/love anyone to your full capacity if you are not taking care of yourself.

Ask yourself: “What are my needs?” Most folx have only a general idea of what their needs are, never having sat down and truly thought about it. What are your prerequisites for a relationship? What are the deal breakers? What does your inner voice tell you? I suggest you sit down with a piece of paper (or your keyboard) and look back at past relationships. Make a list of things that were not right about them. Perhaps you realized that having constant company did not allow you the alone-time you realized you needed. Perhaps the fact that your partner had no particular goals in life while you had very definite ideas about it. Then do the same thing for the parts that just worked for you, where your needs and their contributions matched and worked well. Perhaps cooking together was a joy, or your kink matched up perfectly, or you loved that both of you were night owls.

Look at your list and accept that the things you wrote down are valid, that you need certain conditions met to be happy, and that it is OKAY to want or not want certain things in your relationship. You may not like some of the things you discovered – that is okay, too. Think about how important those line items are to you, and either change them or accept them. It is YOUR list, your choice to make. 🙂 Being real and honest with yourself will lead to authenticity – and that is just plain sexy!

Learn to communicate your needs to potential partners. This can be really, really hard, and I acknowledge that – especially if you are a submissive, introverted, or shy person. However, mind readers do not exist, and unless you can verbalize what you need/want/desire, there is a good chance that you will not get it. That is basically setting yourself up for failure, because expecting a partner to fill your needs/wants/desires when they have no idea what they are is unreasonable and destined to fail. By being upfront with your needs, you also give your partner ‘permission’ to do the same. You set the stage for a mutually respectful environment.

The last step is, of course, tending to those needs and honoring them. 🙂 All this work was for nothing if you are not willing to actually give yourself permission to fill your needs! This does not have to be done all at once, baby steps will do the trick. As in introvert, perhaps you choose not to go to that party on Friday, and instead honor your need for alone-time by sitting curled up with a good book and some coco instead. Perhaps one of your need is to be able to have 30-45 minutes in the morning to drink your coffee undisturbed and by yourself (I do!), and honor that by setting your alarm accordingly, or ask your partner to give you that time.

It takes time to identify some of your needs, it takes work and honesty with yourself. It is not done quickly; and in my case it took 16 years to have a fairly firm idea what my needs/wants/desires are – not only from a partner, but also from my relationships, no matter their flavor. I have definite deal-breakers, I have found some ‘wants’ I can do without if I am with the right person (compromise), and I have needs that MUST get met in order to even start a relationship.


When Lee and I started our relationship, we did so very differently than anyone else I know or have heard of. The fact that we both knew what we wanted and needed, lessons learned over time and through past relationships, and more importantly what we did NOT want, allowed us to craft and direct not only our relationship structure, but also our personal and emotional involvement. We are very different people, my Boy and I, but we are good for each other. By knowing what each of us expects from the other and the relationship in general, we are able to shape and direct ourselves and our relationship in a way that serves and fulfills both of us.

We are offering a class called “Intentional Relationship Design” where we go into detail about our process, and how it worked for us.

With that, my friends,

Go ye forth and be kinky! But safely!

Ms. Cenna

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