Fear is a funky part of This Thing We Do. When you talk about how fear plays into your time with your partner, people immediately go to the idea of threats of pain, or getting in trouble for this or that – but if you think about it, it’s a much more core, more primal thing that plays a huge role in TTWD.

To me, fear plays a huge part because it keeps you honest about your relationship, about your goals, about what you can and cannot commit to.

There’s fear of hurting your partner – something few, if any, would ever *want* to do, but it certainly is a concern. That might be something physical (there’s a razor-thin line between pain in a play context and actual injury) or mental. Mental might be part of some type of situational thing you’re involved in (role-play, humiliation, etc.) or interested in, or it might be that you’re not able to be what you’ve committed to.

If I’ve committed to be or do “X” and don’t live up to it, fear steps in, tries to pull you back to the straight and narrow or even cause you to change. This is a powerful and controlling force in a relationship.

As a submissive partner, fear is a “play” thing and a reality-thing, depending on your dynamic. I guarantee you that if you are into impact play, you fear the paddle, switch, crop, spoon… That whole dynamic of desiring something you fear, then wanting it again when it’s over STILL bends my mind – it just doesn’t make sense.

But the fear – it drives the adrenaline in those cases. It gives you the power to perform hopefully as needed, and to be engaged. It’s a weird thing, that fear is. I still get butterflies before nearly anything that is about to go on. I worry that I won’t be better than last time, that I will miss a cue (HA! Assured!) or that I’ll do or say something that will go over wrong or change the dynamic.

Fear has slowly taught me that there are times to acknowledge it (playtime! Yes! Don’t screw it up!) and times to address it (OMIGOSH that is just WRONG – must be something else to be done?) and times to press through it with everything you’ve got to make it your little b*tch (OW!!! That F’ing Hurt! More Please…)

When I think back to the love/hate/love relationship I personally have with D/s, FLR and BDSM-type stuff, fear runs through it all. It’s a bizarre relationship it has in all of this. But I’m glad it’s there to lend an edgy, sometimes sharp, sometimes blunt… hand.

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