ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Power Exchange in Relationships: D/s Do or Don't?

Updated on January 11, 2011

Controlling BF or Guidance Provider

Dear Veronica,
… Here’s my situation. I’m gay, I’m 24, and my boyfriend is 48. We’ve been together 2 years and things are going really good. We get along great and I always feel safe and protected. The one problem we have is college. It's a new thing between us. He wants me to go to college and make something of myself and I just don’t want to. I have a decent construction job. I work hard and I like the work. He’s got a serious career and looks down on people that don’t have an education. He’s very controlling and in most ways I like that. He thinks people that work with their hands are beneath him. …

Please give me some insight? TYSVM!


Power Exchange

Dear Billy,

There’s a certain dynamic that you and your partner share that’s hard for a lot of people to understand. D/s or Dom/sub relationships are not all that uncommon. If you’re into being with someone 24 years older than you are that you’ve described as controlling, then there is definitely something submissive about you. And the same is true in reverse of him.

You’re of legal age and can certainly make decisions for yourself. No judgments here, I promise.

In general your situation is a type of power exchange one. Most relationships are, to some degree. Some are just more obvious or dramatic than others. I don’t know of anyone that is honestly in a full 50 – 50 relationship. Even if it’s just 51 – 49 and completely seamless to an outside eye, the person in the partnership with that tiny 1% more control knows it.

There is nothing at all wrong with a power exchange relationship.
There is however, everything in the world wrong with non-consentual powerexchange.

I want you to really take a deep breath and think about your relationship. You are the only one that knows the answers to these questions.

Who Knows Better

The issue you’re discussing in your email is college. It’s not like he wants you to turn tricks for him, or do something harmful to yourself. Wanting you have a college education is really a very thoughtful and wise thing for him to want for you.

On the other hand, there is a problem with judging people. If what you’re saying is true, and he looks down on people that didn’t go to college in a mean way, then that is a problem.

I’m not sure though, that what you’re interpreting is real. He may be wording things a certain way to guide you into making a decision he feels is the right one for you. That’s manipulative, but understandable.

On some level you are involved with this man because you like the dynamic. He may be some kind of father figure for you. He may be providing some kind of discipline and stability that you really crave. Maybe you like being taken care of and guided. D/s is often much more than a sexual turn-on for people: it can be a healthy symbiotic way of life.

Since that is the framework here, we have to consider the possibility that you do actually want to go to college, but are reluctant or afraid for some reason. Maybe you’re afraid you’ll fail, or afraid you can’t fit in socially. Maybe you’re afraid of taking on the responsibility and pressure. Maybe it’s a financial issue that concerns you. I really don’t know. But I do think you need to examine all those possibilities.

Billy, there is a chance that you are aware of your own sabotaging. You may be very cognizant that you don't always think things through, or that you don't always understand the big picture. That may be what attracted you to your power exchange relationship. Maybe you feel you're better off in the hands of someone else, who is trustable and wise, and who will make the right decisions for you.


There is a chance that college isn't the issue at all. Maybe you became involved with this Daddy-figure when you were at a different place emotionally. Maybe you liked being able to rely on an older, wiser partner to make decisions for you that you weren't ready to make.

And maybe now, you're just not in that same headspace any more. Maybe it doesn't matter that he's trying to encourage you to go to college. Maybe the point of your adversion is that you're just done being told what to do, no matter what it is.

Just as there was nothing wrong with entering into a power exchange relationship, there is also nothing wrong with getting out of one.

If this feels like it's ringing a bell for you, you need to have a long talk with your partner about your relationship changing in dynamic. For all you know, he may see your growth and change, and love you for who you are, and not want to control you anymore, but doesn't know that's what you want to.

Relationships take work. They involve compromise. They grow, and change, and transform. You don't have to grow and change alone, your relationship may do it right along with you.

If your partner isn't open to listening to your newer needs, then you need to consider that this relationship may be over.

More on Power Exchange

I can't stress this enough: CONSENT is the key here.

Of course it is not OK to let yourself be controlled by someone against your will. Many people, esepcially people coming from a place of abuse, can't understand why anyone would ever allow someone to control them.

Queer Theory teaches us much about this. Queer Theory is a psychology/understanding of psyche that falls under the large heading of Critical Theory.

Heavily influenced by the work of Michel Foucault, queer theory builds both upon feministgender is part of the essential self and upon gay/lesbian studies' close examination of the socially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities

Just as the Kinsey Scale demonstrates that all people fall somewhere in between Heterosexual and Homosexual on a scale of 1 - 6, Queer Theory shows us that people also fall someplace on several overlapping scales, not only between gay and straight, bisexuality, intersexuality, transexuality, asexuality, and but also between sexual identity as male or female, and also on ways we perceive pleasure and comfort with non-normative ideas like sadism and masochism, and as I'm discussing here: dominance and submission.

We've all heard that little personal ad phrase: "Safe, Sane, and Consentual." What consenting adults agree to do together, that harms no one including themselves, is really no body's business.

What's Right for You

Billy, only you know what's going on with your relationship. There is no judgment here. I've tried to outline the different things that could be at play. Trust your instincts, open a dialogue with your partner, and don't ever hesitate to make sure your life is what you want it to be.



If you liked this HUB please click the Thumbs Up.

All text is original content by Veronica

All photos are used with permission.

All videos are courtesy of Youtube.


Submit a Comment

  • Veronica profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from NY

    This is the HUB I was telling you about, cindyvine. It took me a week to get all the points I wanted to make thought out and written up. This is a gay couple, but I think the sentiments are sexless.

    thanks ;)

  • cindyvine profile image

    Cindy Vine 

    9 years ago from Cape Town

    I think that very rarely are old men with young girls equal partners in a relationship. I agree with the advice you gave here


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)