Good Morning Friends!
I hope everyone is having a great week! We are halfway through the week, and just coming off of a Little Space Celebration, so I thought it would be fitting to get back into the “60 Days of Little Introspection” series. What began as more reflection posts from me now has turned into me answering major questions that I have seen posed on various forums, Dd/lg advice threads, etc. In today’s post we are examining the legality behind being in a D/s relationship. Is it legal to be in a Caregiver/little relationship? Is it legal for someone to be a Daddy or Mommy Dom/me? Are D/s contracts legally binding? Join us as we dive into this fascinating topic! Are you ready? Then, let’s jump in!
I. Understanding the Law and the Age of Consent:
When examining the legality of the Cg/l lifestyle it’s important to understand that in the community we view our lifestyle as a kink. We are a part of the greater BDSM lifestyle and as such minors are not welcomed in most circles (for their own safety). But what constitutes as a minor? The answer varies from nation to nation, (and even state to state in the United States!). Let’s first understand what the term “age of consent” means.
**Edit/Update: There are some U.S. states in which certain forms of BDSM are considered illegal. This Texas law firm has an excellent article describing the Texas law on BDSM and how a court could perceive certain acts within the lifestyle as illegal. If you’re interested, please take a read.**
Age of Consent: the legal age at which an individual is considered mature enough to consent to sex. Sexual relations with someone under the Age of Consent are considered statutory rape, even (in some jurisdictions), if both partners are themselves younger than the Age of Consent. (Source)
If sexual intercourse or any form of sexual activity is important to you to incorporate into your D/s relationship, then I highly recommend that you look up the Age of Consent law where you live. As a rule of thumb, the greater Cg/l Community does not support minors in kink because we strongly believe in adhering to the law. In addition, when adolescents have sex too early it can greatly impact their mental, emotional, and physical well-being. This is why you will see BDSM writers stating that a D/s relationship is between two consenting adults who voluntarily exchange power. An adult is defined as someone of legal age, and a voluntary exchange of power means that there is no forced coercion, intimidation, or any other means of manipulation from either party. It is when a legal adult chooses to surrender power as the submissive to their dominant.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s discuss the “elephant in the room”. If you are concerned about having sex with your Little because you fear that they might be too young and you’re going to get in trouble (as the Dominant) with the law…. chances are, they are too young! I hate to be the one to burst the fantasy of having an extremely young, “just legal” Little, but people lie. People will lie about their age. People have ill intentions. In an effort to protect vulnerable Littles who are new to the lifestyle, young in life experience, and are prime targets for predators, I strongly encourage young, legal Littles to stay away from having sex with Dominants until they are older. And Dominants…. don’t be creepy. Please don’t be creepy and try to prey on young, inexperienced Littles. It can greatly damage their well-being. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!
II. Staying Safe Online (What to Do and What Not to Do):
The number one question I have seen time and time again online is: How can I get a Daddy or Mommy? The summed up answer is, when it’s meant to happen it will. Be yourself. Expose yourself to safe groups in the community. Talk to people and get to know others in the lifestyle. Then, when a potential Dominant approaches you and begins to see if you’d be interested in a relationship… vet them! Ask them a set of questions that they need to answer so you can better understand their intentions and expectations. (I even created a “Questions to Ask New Dominants” pdf for you to print off and ask potential dominants!). Don’t rush in too much too fast. You’ll want to take your time getting to know your partner before you agree to become D/s. Power exchange is serious and should be taken with complete understanding and thought about what you’re getting yourself into. Fellow littles, here are a few other safety tips:
- Do not give out personal information. This might sound silly but predators online have a way of “smooth talking” Littles into giving up personal information. Make sure your name, location, address, etc. are no where to access online. Try using a pseudonym (fake name) to ensure your protection. Then, down the road once you’re a couple and well-established you can reveal your name.
- Remember that what images you post will always be there. There is a saying I heard once, “when you post something online, be prepared for the world to see it”. Rarely can you ever completely destroy all traces of something online. There are back up’s to back up’s located in some server…. place. My point is, (and this advice is especially to Littles who love to post photos of themselves in lifestyle attire), be careful of how much you reveal online. Predators love to look for young Littles who seem vulnerable and approachable. You never want your little space to be violated by anyone with ill intentions.
- Never let an online dominant pressure you. If you’re meeting and chatting with a potential dominant and they want you to call them a title like “Daddy, Mommy, Sir, Master, Mistress” etc. RUN! These titles are earned and they carry weight. Genuine littles understand that it takes time, trust, patience, and deep understanding as a D/s relationship is formed, for these titles to be given. You don’t want to open yourself up emotionally too quickly only for an online “dominant” (who isn’t really a good dom) to crush your heart. No! Kindly tell them that you know that titles are to be earned and that you prefer to call them by their screen name, or another nickname. Keep the D/s titles sacred for when you do choose to enter a relationship with your partner.
Dominants, now it’s your turn to get a few safety tips too. Just because there are a bunch of creepy wannabe “doms” out there doesn’t mean that there aren’t Littles who use and abuse dominants, because there are. Here are a few safety tips to know as you try to find your Forever Little:
- Be wary of Littles who want too much too fast. The “too much, too fast” rule also applies to Littles who are eager for gratification and who are using a D/s relationship to fill an emotional void in their life. This can be deeply wounding to a dominant. I know far too many doms who have trouble with littles who take advantage of their love and kindness because they only focus on emotional taking, taking, taking from the dominant. This leads to burnout in the dominant…. hard. Instead, look for the Littles who are just as equally cautious in getting to know you. Look for the little who is willing to sit down and tell you their expectations and why. They should be able to tell you in detail what type of little they are, how they discovered the lifestyle, what their needs are from a dominant, what kinds of experience (if any) they have in D/s relationships, and what their hard and soft limits are. You’ll want to know all of this and more as you vet them thoroughly.
- Be cautious of Littles who lack a servant’s heart. This is a term I like to use and I think embodies any healthy D/s dynamic. There should be giving and nurturing from both the Dominant and submissive in different ways and this involves having a servant’s heart. In other words, you want to find a Little who is naturally giving of themselves. Look for someone who is eager to please and has your best intentions at heart. Your D/s relationship should be a positive influence in your life and be something uplifting. Just as you’ll be guiding your Little to be the best person they can be, so too should your Little be supporting you in your own goals, dreams, and daily life. Avoid littles who are self-centered and have a sugar baby mindset.
- Inexperienced Littles need more time to figure out who they are. If you’re vetting a potential little who has very little experience in the lifestyle you’ll want to give them time to discover who they are as a Little before you engage them in a D/s relationship. They need to understand why they are an adult little. Where does their need to regress stem from? This takes a lot of time and self-reflection. Everyone in the lifestyle begins at a point of inexperience, but it’s in these beginning stages that we need more time to learn, discover, make friends in the lifestyle, and self-reflect before moving on to be in a relationship with someone else. Encourage littles new to the lifestyle to do just that. They’ll appreciate you all the more down the road when they are well rooted in who they are.
- Lastly, remember that you are not a substitute for a professional therapist. There are millions of people in the world with mental health issues. (I’m raising my hand over here because I have anxiety and I get it). Yes, as a dominant it is your job to love, guide, support, and push your Little to reach their fullest potential through rules, tasks, etc. that are agreed upon by you both. Yes, you can absolutely help your little with their mental health through medication reminders, giving them products that soothe them (weighted blankets, aromatherapy, massages, and so on) but you are NOT a substitute for professional therapy and medication to care for their needs. Dominants, if you are ever put in a position where your Little is acting out and emotionally hurting you because of their own mental health struggles, you need to sit down and discuss this with them fully. Encourage them to seek professional counseling. Just because you’re the dominant doesn’t mean that they get to hurt you. They are still a legal adult at the end of the day and they are responsible for their actions and words.
III. D/s Contracts Are NOT Legally Binding, But They Are Helpful:
I’d like to wrap up this post by touching upon D/s contracts because many people use various templates and contracts for their relationships. The Captain and I have made a Cg/l Relationship Contract Template for your convenience if you’re interested. So, what is the purpose of a relationship contract? Think of a D/s relationship contract as an outline of expectations between you and your partner. There is going to be power exchanged, on some level, between the dominant and submissive and as such you want to know exactly what you’re getting into. In the contract there is a place to lay out: when you’ll communicate and what the best time of the day is, what methods of communication will be used, any and all rules in the relationship, titles and names preferred, and hard/soft limits for both parties (if intimacy is a part of your dynamic). It is important to understand that D/s relationship contracts are NOT legally binding! Even if you went and got the document notarized, (which would be seriously odd), it is still not legally enforceable because it undermines the nature of D/s relationships which is that: all play should be safe, sane, and consensual. In other words, your partner cannot force you to be with them.
Every once in a while we read about a person who used our lifestyle to harm another person and forced them to endure abuse as their submissive. I encourage every person in our community to remember that contracts are helpful. They organize thoughts and are a great place to write down the foundational tools for your relationship. They give structure to your dynamic and can even be tucked away as a memento to reflect on in the future and update as you evolve together as a couple. However, they should never, ever be used as a tool for entrapment. The exchange of power between two consenting, legal adults is serious and should be handled with the utmost care. Remember to stay kind, and always take care of each other.
Alright my friends, that’s from me for this post. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, hit that like button and let me know. Smash that follow button if you’re new around here and I will see you back here for the next topic!