Put Yourself First, Always

To some, this is self-evident advice. To others, it feels anathema. For a great majority, it’s just fucking confusing.

Especially in kink. Because, well, we take on roles (both voluntarily and unconsciously) that often require giving up our focus on ourselves or focusing on ourselves, but not too much.

Where is the line?

I’ve discussed this before, in my writing, “The Needs Hierarchy”. Feel free to check it out, but I will summarize what I believe for this post.

Dominant’s Priorities:

1. Dominant’s Needs
2. Submissive’s Needs
3. Dominant’s Wants
4. Submissive’s Wants

Submissive’s Priorities:

1. Submissive’s Needs
2. Dominant’s Needs
3. Dominant’s Wants
4. Submissive’s Wants

Even with our chosen/inborn roles (whichever you believe is OK with me), I believe that ultimately, every capable adult human is responsible for making sure their own needs get met.

That means practicing self-care. Speaking up when something is missing. Communicating to others when things are not going right and so on.

Everyone.

Dominant, submissive, top, bottom, owner, property, pet, master, slave, vanilla… I believe everyone is responsible for making sure their own needs get met.

That is what I mean when I say “Put yourself first, always.” It’s what financial advisers mean when they say, “Pay yourself, first.” It’s what airline personnel mean when they say, “If you are traveling with a small child, secure your own mask first.”

Because if you do not take care of your needs, you may have nothing left to help others with theirs.

But what about wants?

Well that’s where our roles come in. That’s where the line gets drawn in the sand.

For dominants, well, yes, our needs are above our submissive’s needs, but our submissive’s needs are more of a priority than our wants.

And for submissives, yes, your needs must come before ours, but both our needs and our wants get higher priority (with exceptions, in some cases) than your wants.

Though, it’s important to keep in mind that a want ignored for too long can become a need.

No, you don’t need a hug RIGHT NOW… but if you don’t get that hug at some point, it could quite possibly become critical to your well-being.

So, even wants are important.

But they have more wiggle room.

And it’s not just kink.

This is a balance that you can find anywhere, even in the vanilla world.

You MUST be able to think clearly to lead others. Therefore, your need for taking care of yourself, so you can be there for others (co-workers, kids, friends) who need you is key.

When I was growing up, I got the message that complete selflessness in a relationship was the goal. I would put my partner’s needs and wants before my own, to the detriment of my well-being, to try to do the right thing (even when I didn’t understand that).

All of my relationships, romantic and otherwise, have benefited from me prioritizing my needs. When I take space to be alone and practice self-care, I have more energy to devote to my friends and my lovers, and they feel the energy I have to give them so much more strongly.

Less time is more quality time, and I very rarely snap at people over a difficult day, because I take care of me before I see them, or in extreme cases, I bow out, so that I can recover and not spread the cranky virus.

Do you put yourself first?

Or, do you totally disagree with my point? What are your experiences from either side?

is it different with kink for you than with vanilla life and relationships? Or the same?

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