Growing dependence

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Of course it's natural for people to start their BDSM careers with limited skills. But having said that, we should note that newcomers might already have natural ability or flair, or they might have some experience in some other area which they can bring to bear in their BDSM activities such as boating (for knots and bondage), medical training (sounds and catheters), or parenting (bossing people around). But, however knowledgeable or experienced they are when they arrive on BDSM's doorstep, they have to adapt what they know and what they subsequently learn for the completely new reason of establishing a power-, pain- or bondage-based relationship with their partner.

BDSM skills need to be complementary between BDSM partners. For example, a top who throws a whip around is generally going to need someone who can well receive a lashing and not every submissive or bottom can. Likewise, a dominant whose area of interest is a particular type of service is obviously going to need a submissive who can deliver that service and not every submissive is inclined that way. Finally, a master who wishes to train up a slave clearly needs someone who both has the aptitude and the desire to be a slave and who is willing and able to learn.

As well as having these complementary interests, there also needs to be a corresponding level of skill, experience or ability present. A top who is an expert with a whip probably won't find a newbie very satisfying as a partner because the top will have to hold himself back a lot of the time. Similarly, a master who wishes to train a slave won't have a very good time if the slave lacks the discipline to study and practice.

If there isn't this corresponding level of skill, experience or ability between the two people in regards to what they're trying to achieve together, then one person or the other is not going to be able to fully stretch their wings.

Complicating things a little is that over time we learn. Our skills and understanding develop. We have a problem though when one person stops learning or growing and their partner does not.

There can actually be good reasons for someone to not advance or improve. They may not have the time to devote to gaining more skill or understanding or they may simply not have any pressing need to be any better than they are. What they know might be entirely sufficient to satisfy their needs. If they're with a partner who feels the same then more learning or growing might simply be wasted.

For dominants, submissives, masters and slaves a necessary component is an effective partner. A super duper master is not going to be at his super-duperest without a super duper slave. That's not to say that he or she will be a poor master, but they're only going to achieve their fullest when they have a slave who operates at the same or at a higher level.

A consequence of one person stopping or limiting what they learn BDSM-wise is that a partner who needs to go further simply cannot. A master on his way to super-duperdom will slowly grind to a halt if his slave isn't able to grow with him. In a similar way, for a submissive to have a profound experience they generally need confidence that their dominant knows and appreciates what's happening. When they see that their dominant is clearly lagging behind then they're not going to be able to get those profound experiences because it's not safe for them to go there alone just hoping for the best.

There is, I think, an implicit obligation for each of us to grow to prevent these problems. If we don't, or if we assume that what we are is good enough, then we are condemning our partners to stay the same as well. Through learning we open the door to new experiences not only to ourselves, but also to our partners. In BDSM this is vital because so much hangs on the actual interactions we have with others, especially our slaves, submissives, masters and dominants. When we can do more and understand more then we are not only increasing our own horizons, but we are also increasing what our partners can experience with us. We're increasing their horizons as well.