In the last year, I’ve downsized my book collection by at least 60%. The last time I purged, one of the books in the pitch pile was Mars and Venus in Touch by John Gray (the guy who wrote Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, just in case that wasn’t obvious). I flipped through the book, skimming it for anything I might find interesting, and I stumbled upon what Gray calls “The primary love needs of women and men.”

I looked at somewhat like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and upon reflection, I found it rather interesting and relevant.

Women need to receive

  1. Caring
  2. Understanding
  3. Respect
  4. Devotion
  5. Validation
  6. Reassurance

Men need to receive

  1. Trust
  2. Acceptance
  3. Appreciation
  4. Admiration
  5. Approval
  6. Encouragement

I found it particularly intriguing in thinking of these needs in a relationship where there is a power dynamic, D/s and, to a point, even kink and BDSM in general.

It seems to me, although I may just be glorifying it in my head, that the dynamic between M and me brought many of these needs into our relationship, some of which were missing before hand.

Now I can only speak for myself, and my relationship, where he’s Sir and I’m toy, for that’s all I know, but I’m willing to bet just about any well-working, healthy D/s relationship encourages all of these aspects.

Let’s run down the women’s needs first. Caring. It’s what a Dom does, in more ways than meets the eye. They care for emotional needs, sometimes physical needs, growth and well-being. The care, or else they wouldn’t have taken on the responsibility.

Understanding, perhaps, is the key. A Dom understands his (or her) sub, often times in ways we don’t understand ourselves. They understand what we need and what we want and what we are afraid of. They understand and they don’t judge. Instead, they respect these things, and us, and work with them to take the relationship higher.

Devotion is a word you often hear out of a sub’s mouth, but let me tell you, a Dom is devoted to his sub just as much as she is to him. Watch a scene between a loving couple, watch the way he watches her; devotion’s a two way street and they walk it together.

Validation happens in so many ways in a power exchange. It’s in the pleasure and the pain. It’s “good girls” and “cum sluts.” It’s in his word and his touch and in his praise. It’s when he gives and when he takes. It’s in his love.

Reassurance is what aftercare  is all about. It’s about him letting you know that everything’s fine and he’s proud of you and he knows you’re doing your best. It’s about praises when you do well and punishment when you do bad. It’s about keeping the balance right and taking control when needed.

When we turn to the men’s needs, D/s holds just as strong. Trust is the first thing a sub gives to her Dom. She has to trust him to move forward in the dynamic. She trusts him with her heart, body, mind, and sometimes even with her life. Without trust, there is nothing.

A sub offers her Dom acceptance, taking him just how he is, flaws and all. When she gives her submission, it is an act of acceptance, for who he is. She accepts his control and his demand, and in return will try to please him as a sign of her acceptance of him. As he does not judge her, she in turn, does not question him.

Appreciation and Admiration go hand in hand, and they are things that we subs try to be good at  (hint: cock worship). We are thankful for our Sirs, the things they do for us and the things given to us (especially the orgasms). And in this appreciation, there is admiration. For me, there is no one that could be a better Sir to me than M, and I know that and I treasure that, and I try to remember it and show him as much as I possibly can.

And lastly, encouragement is given in our sighs of contentment after heavy play. It’s given when we give, all that we can, and allow him to take what he wants. It’s given in the desire to please and to pleasure and to be used. It’s the “Yes, Daddys” and the “please” and the “may Is” that slip from our lips. It’s the arch of our back into his hand and our moans when he fists his hand into our hair.

It’s all of this and so much more.