Healthy Boundaries: The Line Between Need And Needy

While I was at COPE a couple a couple weeks back (I had an amazing time), I took a class from MasterSoAndSo (I can’t find him to link him on Fet, so I may have the spelling wrong) about communication.

In that class, the idea of need versus needy came up for discussion.

In my editorial calendar for today (this is what I call me loosely organized collection of writing prompts that I set for myself every weekday), I had the topic, “Need,” with a link and a reminder:

It feels like wanting one another is most important for a healthy relationship.

Then there’s “needing” each other. Not in an unhealthy way, but in points of bonding and purpose I suppose.

Like, I need for my partner to be communicative, otherwise, our relationship won’t survive…

So that’s the need for certain basic expectations to be met.

— by @IvoryVixen, from a comment on A Few Thoughts On Need… (FetLife link, requires login)

In the class, as we were discussing the idea of need versus needy, it seemed to boil down to how we handled it.

How we thought about the need internally and how we communicated the need or acted upon it externally.

Which, to me, took a bit of thought and unpacking.

To use an example from above, “I need for my partner to be communicative, otherwise, our relationship won’t survive.”

This, to me is a need. It’s clearly stated, and the point made is about why this is needed specifically from that partner, as opposed to something I can fulfill myself, by being a “whole” person (whatever that means).

Let’s dissect this:

  • I don’t need you to communicate with me.
  • IF we are desiring to create a relationship together, I can state with clarity that I need you to communicate with me clearly and effectively.
  • When this need is not met, I can say so and mention that it is a need for the relationship we are building together—or, another way of looking at it is that it is a need in service to a mutual desire.

This is a need in the healthy sense of a relationship. This is setting and holding healthy boundaries.

Other ways of thinking about this, or acting upon it:

When you don’t communicate with me, I feel bad (or I act badly).

In this case, this takes the need from a condition of a relationship or behavior into something that is s putting a personal responsibility onto the other partner (for how I feel or act) that they may not have agreed to.

You’re not communicating with me, which makes you a bad person.

This put MY need as a condition to their value or achievement as a human.

You don’t love me if you don’t communicate with me.

This takes my need for communication and uses it to dictate how another person feels (probably without their consent).

These three examples are all what I would consider needy behaviors. They are demanding and entitled, and blur the lines between who I am and who my partner is.

Need is NOT a bad thing.

I used to think it was. I was wrong.

I was mixing up needy behaviors and thought patterns with needs. And I still believe that those needy behaviors are detrimental to relationships, even when (especially when) I exhibit them.

Because they are not consensual and they are not fair. They are self-focused, and give little to no room for a partner to make mistakes or to think and feel differently.

They merge two people into a mish-mash of one “couplehood,” rather than respecting their healthy personal boundaries.

I need these things (not just these things, and not necessarily in this order) from a partner:

  • communication
  • admiration
  • desire
  • pleasure
  • laughter
  • comfort
  • all of this

And yadda yadda.

I can need desire, for example. I don’t believe I can demand it. Or command it. Or judge a person’s worth on their desire or lack of.

Because desire is my need. And it’s my responsibility to set my boundaries in a way that allows me to receive desire in a healthy way or to walk.

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’m not exactly sure that mine are solid, yet. This is something I’m thinking through.

  • What are your needs?
  • When do they cross the line into ‘needy’?
  • Are needs and needy even different ideas to you?
  • Have you experienced need and neediness from partners?
  • How do you experience personal needs and healthy boundaries intersecting?

I’m excited to read your perspectives on this.


The Dominance Often Found In Submission

I identify as a dominant in my relationships. I switch in play from top to bottom, and everything in between.

I even enjoy the “submissive” (as they are called in ignorance) acts of bedroom play: dirty talk, hypnosis, etc. I love all these things from the top and the bottom. It’s incredibly sexy for me to be able to live the fullness of my life as a woman.

Outside the bedroom, I am in charge in my relationships.

And do you know who most often approaches me in a serious way asking about relationships_real, ongoing, long-term service relationships?


Men who identify as dominant.

Men who have lived decades in charge.

Men who have devoted their lives to being who they thought the people around them wanted them to be, expected them to be.

And who did it well.

Men who really, finally, definitely want to stop being inauthentic, and just be themselves.

I see as much sorrow in men being dominant to make others happy and to fulfill others’ dreams as I do in men submitting to please others.

And it’s not just men, of course.

I’ve seen over and over examples of people who have taken charge because their partners were not stepping up—not from a conscious decision or because it’s who they want to be…

My major relationship going on 6 years now, my Pet, is one of these people.

He has been in charge his whole life. He was thrust into that role. In work. In life.

He felt it was a facade, trying to please the people around him, make people happy.

And when he and I met (at a FemDom party), I KNEW he was not a submissive. Not like many others are. In fact, I figured he didn’t belong there. Was a lookie-loo.

Still, I gave him a chance.

Over the months that followed, I spoke to him about authenticity. I gave him tools. I gave him permission to explore ALL of who he is. His dominant side and his submissive self.

And boy, did he!

Now the joke is that the most dominant man some of my girlfriends know is my submissive.

And believe me, he has earned EVERY BIT of that.

My point is, I don’t care what you’re doing, who you are, what role you choose… to live a truly fulfilling life you have to be 100% authentic. THAT actually takes dominance in life, even when you pledge yourself to another in submission.

And if you think it’s weird, the idea of dominance in submission, think of the strong, dominant authentic men in the military, and how they are often subordinate to those they respect in the chain of command—you’ll get it.

Or think of an incredibly dominant and successful man putting himself under a sensei.

Or a celebrated knight to their monarch.

*Of course, if you believe in the dominance/submission continuum, this will make zero sense to you. Here’s another view: The Dominance / Submission Continuum Is An Incomplete Perspective

What are your thoughts?

Do you believe that dominance and submission are opposites or incompatible in a singular personality?

Do you believe that someone can be both dominant and submissive within one mind, based on the situation or on the people they interact with?

I look forward to your thoughts.

Labels & How We Use Them

A week or so back, a friend of mine said to me:

“I hate labels. I don’t even know why we need them.”

I don’t hate labels, myself. I love them, and yet, I still see his point. They can be restricting and ‘not enough’ sometimes.

And there is also the issue of how we use labels, and the meanings and assumptions we attach to them.

A [comment posted today][] on a writing of mine states:

A lot of men who identify as a “dom” or “daddy” seem to project a great a sense of entitlement on this website. It’s as if they believe that that things like respect and authority are inherent in the persona they choose…and many seem to lose sight of the fact that they are communicating with actual people and not just other personas .

Who knows though…just a distant observation.

[And one posted yesterday][]:

To be clear … I do not ascribe to the term ” Dominant” I am a Dominant personality but I do not seek to Dominate people in the form most ascribe to.

You know by being narcissistic, egotistical, always right, dismissive of questioning and focused on making people ” Please me”

What I do is provide those tools I have gained through personal experience, to assist people in helping themselves in creating the person they themselves wish to be… regardless of their desire to ” Please me”.

Both of these commenters are not only using a dictionary or widely-accepted use for the label “dominant” or “dom,” but also including their own judgments, observations, and dare I say, experiences.

Which is what humans tend to do.

It does muck up the use of labels though.

On FetLife, I use the label ‘kinkster,’ because while I am a dominant personality, and a dominant in my D/s relationships, I am not YOUR dominant (unless I am, you know who you are), nor do I care to be pigeonholed in ways as mentioned above, or in other ways that [many mischaracterize dominants who identify/present as women.][]

I’ve also been accused of “bait-switching,” when some poor, unsuspecting daddy dom perves my photos, sees kinkster and writes me with some variation of:

“On your knees. slut, and beg to receive my domly sausage.”

While totally missing the part of my profile that states:

“[I’m not a submissive.][] Believe me, I’ve tried. I partner well with dominant personalities, and clash with domineering ones.’

Because those people believe that a label should be whatever they think it means, rather than (is the case of my use of kinkster), a way of simply saying that I’m open to many forms of play that the word “dominant” as a label does not really cover in most minds.

In my mind, of course, it covers anything I want to do.

But that is not at all the purpose of a label is it?

It’s to be specific. And informative.

Kinkster is as informative as I want to be with a single label on FetLife.

On [Dating Kinky][], I use “dominant” as my primary label, and identify as:

  • Dominant
  • Top (although I’m not a service top, and sometimes don’t like the label at all for reasons)
  • Switch (T/B)
  • Bottom
  • Kinkster
  • Voyeur
  • Cuckoldress
  • Hedonist / Sensualist
  • Evolving
  • Exploring

For matching, because when meeting new people, I want to be able to connect in the facets that fit us.

How do you use labels on kink sites?

Do you describe yourself the same way in every kink environment? What label do you use? What does that mean to you?

If you use different labels depending on where you are, what determines your choice?

I’m curious about your thoughts on this subject.

More On Labels

It’s The Thoughtless Act That Often Hurts More…

A year or so ago, someone said in response to one of my writings:

yes i may have been hurt by a comment by someone but was that the intent of that person? I can ask and find out; they have been mortified that an offhand comment hurt me and apologised profusely. How i react then is my choice.

My reply was, “I’d like to point out that if someone was trying to hurt, then it is doubly less important that you take it to heart.”

If someone I care about is trying to hurt me with their words, then why should I be hurt?

That makes me immediately pull back and think over the situation. Continue reading “It’s The Thoughtless Act That Often Hurts More…”

You. Must. Talk Dirty. To. Me. (Or, provide a valid reason, open to proof and defense from all sides, on the proper forms, in triplicate.)

Talk Dirty To Me

I tend to be direct.

Very direct.

I mean what I say, when I say it.

Sure, sometimes I’m wrong, or I change my mind, but generally, you can take my words, especially about myself, at face value.

You can also believe that I took care in saying exactly what I meant.

And when I say that I don’t want to speak sexually with a total stranger on the internet, that seems, to me, like it should be clear.

Apparently, it’s not. Case in point (bold is mine):

Duuuuude (second message):

Would You be interested in chatting? 🙂


If by chatting, you mean talking sexually, no. If you mean having meaningful conversation about topics of mutual interest, maybe. Continue reading “You. Must. Talk Dirty. To. Me. (Or, provide a valid reason, open to proof and defense from all sides, on the proper forms, in triplicate.)”