30 Days of D/s,  Experience,  Opinion

Is Confidence at the Root of Good Communication?

This post is #7 in my 30 Days of D/s series. If you’d like to read more, please visit my 30 Days of D/s page for the complete inventory of posts. 

According to Kayla Lords, sexblogger extraordinaire and facilitator of 30 Days of D/s  “The number one factor in whether your D/s relationship will succeed or fail is communication. Without it, you can’t build or keep trust, you can’t negotiate your kinks, and you can’t deal with problems.”

And she is ever-so-correct.

But, just like conflict, I’m not a great communicator or my needs, fears, vulnerabilities, or upsets. I have a tendency to feel embarrassed by my requests…even simple ones like: “Can we have sex now?” It’s dumb, because I can count the number of times He hasn’t been interested on one hand. And even if He wasn’t, it wouldn’t really be a rejection of who I am or what I am interested in. It wouldn’t be a personal judgement.

So, that leads to the questions for today: What kind of communicator am I? What kind of a communicator is He? And what happens when we (try to) communicate our needs?

There are three main types of communication: non-verbal, verbal (face-to-face or distance/voice-only), and written. I prefer written communication because it gives me time to think and get my ideas “right” before I share them, but my non-verbal communication is pretty easy for him to read. He is mainly a verbal communicator, though He writes a lot for work, so I’d say he’s probably good there, too.

There are five basic communication styles: assertiveaggressivepassive-aggressive, submissive, and manipulative. (For a quick run-down and examples of each, click HERE.)

At work, I have a different communication style than I do at home. I’m often in leadership roles at work, and I tend to be very good at listening, advocating, and problem-solving. I am detail-oriented (though I can also see the big picture) and good at creating goals and plans to achieve them. I’m a team-player and good at leading in collaborative environments. I try to make sure everyone feels included and valued but have no problem letting someone know when they’ve messed up and how they might amend the situation. I’m not accusatory or patronizing. I don’t lord my position over others. In this role, I am an assertive communicator.

But at home, I resort to a much more childish position when I feel I’m being called on certain behaviors. I can become easily defensive (which probably reveals my insecurity and fear of vulnerability) and lash out to avoid further confrontation. I can also be mean (name-calling) and manipulative.

When I want or need things, I’m also not great at asking. I don’t know why this is, other than possibly a fear of being rejected or judged, which like I said earlier…is severely stupid. It doesn’t come from any place in my past. I’ve never been in a situation where I was continually critiqued for my desires or turned down. And of all the people to be embarrassed to talk about things, it doesn’t make sense that I’d fear my Husband.

But, when I want something sexual, I suddenly clam up and become meek and unwilling to stick my neck out there. It’s definitely something I need to work on.

I’d like to be an assertive communicator at home, as I am at work, and I’d say I’m at least getting better.

He, on the other hand, is an assertive communicator pretty much all the time. He can be aggressive at times, but I run the gamut from passive-aggressive to aggressive to submissive to manipulative, depending on my emotional and/or mental condition.

In a heated situation, I tend to clam up altogether or request time to “process.” But, my processing time tends to be too lengthy for His liking.

Why and how I can be assertive at work (maybe because it’s less emotionally vulnerable to be?) and such a weak communicator at home, I have no idea. I can be tentative out in the world, too, in places I am less comfortable. I don’t like asking for help in stores, or talking to therapists. I don’t like unfolding myself for others or sharing personal details.

So, I guess I’ve always had trouble asking for things I want or need. It appears the only place I truly feel confident, and therefor am capable of assertive communication, is work.

Maybe what I really have is trouble with is confidence? Hmmm…

Some things to remember:

I’ll only get what I ask for.

If I don’t ask for it, I can’t expect Him to know I want it.

He isn’t going to judge me for my desires.

Good communication is key to avoiding conflict.

(Disclaimer: The opinions in these articles are simply that…opinions. These are my personal feelings on issues of D/s. It is important to note that I am and always have been in a consensual relationship, and any activities I partake of, I have done so with full consciousness and willingness. Also, on the issue of pronoun usage, I use HE/she pronouns, with the Dominant being the He and the submissive being the she. This is for ease of writing and because it is what I identify with. Pronouns are interchangeable, so feel free to fill in with those that work best for your situation. Be nice in the comments. I’m not here to be berated or argue the issues, I’m just here to explore my own feelings and opinions and share them with those that may find benefit in doing so.)


  • Cara Thereon

    I’m terrible at asking for what I need. I’m also probably land somewhere around submissive When it comes to communication styles. Though I’m sure I’m passive aggressive at times. It’s just hard not to acquiesce at times.

    Your points at the end are incredibly valid and things I could probably stand to think on myself.

  • SassyCat

    This is something to think about, what kind of communicators we are. I’m awful when it comes to asking for affection, attention or sexual needs. I can ask for other things no issues. I just don’t wanna get rejected.

  • RaxLeAnne

    Right there with ya. It is crazy that in professional roles we can communicate with no issues, while in our personal lives it becomes more difficult. I believe this is because this communication is with the people whose views and opinions truly matter to us. When we are personally invested in a relationship, it is easy to take on the “I’m not gonna rock the boat” stance. I find it helpful to add writing to almost all of my communication. Even if it is a post-it note with a couple of bullet points, it tends to help keep me focused on what I want to say. Bringing a little bit of the work mentality home. As always a great read… and hope you are enjoying your vacation 😉

    • Brigit Delaney

      You’re right…I also feel like in personal relationships, there is more at stake, so we don’t always say what we really want to. But, then…there are also times when we say too much, because we know those are the people who aren’t going to leave us.

  • Kayla Lords

    I’ve found that communication is a skill like any other. You can learn better ways to do things AND move past the fears and insecurities — but it takes a lot of effort. As someone who was never good at communicating needs, wants, or desires — and who resorts to sharp sarcastic humor (the kind that’s more cruel than funny) when I feel backed into a vulnerability corner — it isn’t easy. But having the kind of open communication with JB that I do, I now know that it’s worth the struggle.

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