Monday Morning Fika with Liz Borino: Dom/sub Roles and Health

Good morning and welcome back to Fika! Today we welcome Liz Borino who will talk with us about the effect of health issues on a D/s relationship. She is the second M/M author to appear on Fika, and she is the first to talk about considerations of health. We often read fantasy stories of discipline and spanking, but in real life things don’t work out as neatly as in the stories. What happens when health problems interfere?

My name is Liz Borino, and I write Male/male erotic romance with light BDSM. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? What it basically means is I write about two horny men in a Dom/sub (D/s) relationship who are madly in love with each other. An element of domestic discipline is inherent in their D/s relationship, which is part of the reason I’m lucky enough to appear on Ana’s blog.

What do you think of when someone says BDSM? Whips? Orgasm control? Bondage? Protocols and rituals?

Well, it’s all of those things, or none of them, depending on what the couple wants. Here, though, I’m going to discuss people in committed 24/7 power exchange relationships. The cornerstone of a power exchange relationship is consent. So, when kink is brought into a vanilla bond, one of the most important aspects is the negotiation, usually with a contract involved. Limits will be discussed, rules decided upon, protocol put forth, and roles cemented. Will they be monogamous or poly? All of this should be negotiated until both parties are comfortable.

But not everything can be negotiated. What happens if, for example, the Dom is out with their friends and on the way home gets into a debilitating car accident, leaving them bed, or even hospital, bound? This is real life. It, unfortunately, happens to couples every day.  So, what happens to the submissive kneeling naked awaiting their Dominant’s return? They were told not to get up until their Dominant came home. And then the call from the hospital rings through on their phone.

What then?

In many cases, the submissive throws their clothes on and rushes to the hospital to care for their partner. They continue their agreed upon structure in a different setting. The submissive partner does their best to serve their Dominant. In times of sickness or injury, this might mean anything from advocating to ensure their Dom receives the best care possible to giving sponge baths and cleaning up body fluids. And the submissive performs each of these tasks with as much devotion as they would give the perfect blow job. This is an entirely different kind of service from what the submissive is used to, but one that is, in my opinion, one of the greatest tests of devotion. While this level of care is certainly present in vanilla relationships, being trained to meet people’s unspoken needs—on both sides of the slash—deepens the connection.

It’s worth noting that not all Doms have trained their subs to take the sort of initiative required to react this way. Some submissives won’t know how to handle seeing their Dominants in this position. They hold vigil by their bedsides while others take care of their partners. The submissive is still there for their Dominant and are serving them the best way they know how. They are following their training by not being able to be the ones to tell the Dominant no when they want their medication early or want to get up when they need to be in bed. The word “no” isn’t in their vocabulary when it comes to their partner. And that’s how the Dominant wants it.

However, in the third book in my Mine series, Cutaway, Steve and Zack find themselves in the above situation. Despite being the submissive partner, Zack rushes to the hospital, fighting with media, publicists, and Steve’s mother – all of whom believed they knew what was best – to get to Steve and bring him home. Because after five years together, Zack knew the best way to keep his Dom’s pride intact, thus serve him properly, was to take care of him in the privacy of their own home. Just as it isn’t easy for real life couples to handle, it wasn’t easy for Zack to look Steve in the eye and say, “If you don’t drink [Gatorade], you can’t have your morphine shot.” Zack was determined to get Steve back on his feet and follow the doctor’s orders, even if it meant making the other man uncomfortable.

How about the opposite? I’m glad you asked. Many Dominants will show the same devotion to their subs, if they need it. “But,” I can hear you cry, “A Dom shouldn’t be serving their sub!” They aren’t, at least not in the same sense. If the consensus on Fetlife, the kinky Facebook, is to be believed, than a Dominant caring for their submissive during illness is “protecting their property.” Their sub can’t serve them if they are in poor health. So, it’s in the Dominant’s best interest to get them back there as soon as possible. In a way, the sub is still serving the Dom, the orders have just changed from, “Be kneeling when I get home,” to “Take your medicine, even if it tastes bad.”

I have a (possibly) overly-romantic counterpoint to the above reasons for why Dominants and submissives in long-term relationships are there for the good and the bad, the blow jobs and the trips to the bathroom when their partner can’t make it. Love. D/s couples trust each other with their lives, and that enhances their commitment to one another. So, in my view, it isn’t about serving or being served. Getting someone through their lowest point – physically or mentally – with love and strength is what true devotion is all about.

Mine (1)

Mine series Vol. 1 blurb:

From the moment Steve Michaels met actor Zack Greene in the men’s room of a press conference, the director knew his snarkiness mixed with angelic features, excited him. What he wasn’t prepared for was the vulnerability underneath the hardened exterior. And he really wasn’t prepared to fall in love.

But they did.

Zack needed some positive press and a second chance after getting out of rehab. He found the director of Ben’s Life, the series he planned to audition for. Steve helped him within a loving structured relationship.

Follow Zack and Steve as they face the challenges of work, family, injuries, and pasts together as they redefine family. Mine Series Vol. 1 includes Casting, Action, Cutaway, and That’s a Wrap, and is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Lazy Day store.

Warning: Contains spanking, Light BDSM, Dom/sub relationship, and two men who can’t get enough of each other

16 thoughts on “Monday Morning Fika with Liz Borino: Dom/sub Roles and Health

  1. Joelle Casteel says:

    I loved the post! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Liz. I just picked up “Casting” and made sure the rest of the series is on my Goodreads.
    But yes, coming at it from both the “protecting my property” and the love angles, of course it makes sense that a Dominant would take care of his/her/hir submissive if needed. In my case, as a slave living with health issues including bipolar disorder, anorexia, and hypoglycemia, this can seem a lot for my Master some days. He had to fight with a theme I carried from BDSM erotica/lit that made me not want to eat before Hm- well, a passed out sub can’t quite take care of her Dom.
    Certainly though, when He’s sick, I’m quite capable of “Master, You here’s Your Nyquil” etc. He calls it mom-ing at Him lol He jokes “Will you stay with me even if You have to wipe my butt?” 😀 well I’ve been with Him about 13 years right now and I hope if something horrible ever happened to Him that I would indeed find the strength to stay and be His caretaker


    • Liz Borino says:

      Thanks for your comment, Joelle. I’ve never seen that theme in BDSM lit. That’s very interesting. I, too, have struggled with an eating disorder in the past, and I’m so glad you have a good support system in place with your Master. Being the caretaker requires a lot of strength, and I admire anyone who does it.
      I hope you enjoy the series!


  2. Joseph McNamara says:

    A very compelling prospective on the lives (outside the norm) of a D/s couple. Interesting enough, in talking with my submissive (we are not married) I often refer to us as being closer than our married vanilla counterparts with all the dialogue we have in relationship to our overall health and well-being. And you are so right in that if a couple in this life-style has not discussed parameters for when that out of the ordinary time takes place, there can be human devastation, emotionally, physically and lovingly…. Thank you Liz and thank you Ana for hosting here today… Look forward to the Mine series…


    • Liz Borino says:

      I agree with the increased closeness, Joseph. With as much communication as D/s couples have, the bond is something incredible, if done right, of course. Thanks for commenting!


  3. Constance Masters says:

    Just like marriage, those that take their vows seriously love through everything no matter what. You put it beautifully… ‘Getting someone through their lowest point – physically or mentally – with love and strength is what true devotion is all about.’ Great post Liz 🙂


  4. minelle says:

    I also agree ‘Getting someone through their lowest point – physically or mentally – with love and strength is what true devotion is all about.’ Nice post Liz.

    Thanks Ana for Fika!


  5. Katie Meer says:

    Hey Liz, I really enjoyed your post about bringing reality into the lifestyle. Since I am not in a D/S relationship, I am probably not educated enough to give my opinion. But, heck, why not. I’ll just do it from my own perspective and knowledge base. 🙂

    I agree with what everyone has said so far about the “better and worse” in a relationship.

    But I also feel that there is nothing wrong with the Master serving the Submissive, in the right setting. It seems to be that the stronger, more confident (especially in himself), a master is, then the more ability he should have to be able to trust himself to show his love in a different way. If he is truly the master in the relationship, and his submissive truly is his sub, then a small “flip” in the dynamic every once in awhile (for important occasions like the accidents mentioned, etc…), should not hurt their relationship.
    In fact, I think I would respect each party more, for doing what needed to be done at the time of crisis. If the Master needed to be taken care of, and he submits to this caring, then he is showing true wisdom of a great Master. And if a submissive can push him or herself out of their place of happy, safe comfort, and do what needs to be done in the caring of the Master, then he / she is showing true submission. Submission to the RELATIONSHIP.
    And that’s what it seems like it should be about. I am not in a D/S relationship, but am in a D/D one. And this is what I would hope for if , God forbid, we were ever in this kind of situation.

    Thanks for sharing your story and insight. 🙂


    • Liz Borino says:

      Thank you so much, Katie. I agree with everything you’ve said here. It’s actually exactly what I intended to show in Cutaway. It wasn’t an easy situation for either of them. The experience opened them up to an increased closeness in their relationship. Partly because Zack faced the possibility of losing the man he loves and partly because Steve found a security in that vulnerability.

      Thanks again for your great comment. You really got to the heart of what I wanted to convey.


  6. Penelope says:

    Really interesting and thought-provoking piece, Liz, as others have said. 🙂

    I don’t have much to add except that I don’t think your closing thought is at all “overly-romantic” – I think it is absolutely true and would be just as true from any perspective: any worldview, no matter how jaded; any relationship context, no matter the specifics. Devotion of exactly the type you describe both underpins the strongest relationships and transcends them.


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