D/s and Mental Health

I’ve been meaning to talk about D/s and mental health pretty much from my first post. I’m sure others have broached the topic, and probably better than I’ll be able to. But I’m also sure there’s plenty of fertile ground here to cover. Even if I can’t say anything original on the topic, my own lived experience will certainly be unique.

So the fun question of course is “can D/s help with mental health?” I’m going to come out and take a stance on this: no. I know, I know, you love it and it has helped you. Me too. Fair enough. But the fact that I have mental health issues and I learned some new life skills and now I use them to help me handle my mental health issues is not a statement unique to D/s. Meditation and taking up a hobby can also help your mental health. D/s does not stand out from the alternatives. More importantly, D/s is just as likely to exacerbate mental health problems in some people. You and I found D/s and used it and it helped, but that’s a logical fallacy known as ad hoc ergo propter hoc, which means “just because this happened after that does not mean this happened because of that.” You can’t know if D/s will help or hinder someone’s emotional balance until they try it; this is the literal definition of nonpredictive behavior. If someone asks me if D/s will help their sanity (or save their marriage—a whole ‘nother set of posts!) the answer is always “maybe”.

Yes, I’m going to write a bunch of stuff about how D/s is amazing at helping with mental health. I don’t think I’ve met a happy sub in a healthy D/s relationship who didn’t find vast amounts of stability and reassurance from their dynamic. I promise, I am going to write about that.

But not today! I’m in an Eeyore kind of mood. 😉

Well, okay, mostly what I mean is I want to lay the groundwork for some future, happier posts by getting all the warnings and bad news out of the way. You know how all the posts on anal sex begin with “Waitwaitwait! Before you begin! Use lots of lube and go slow!” That’s kind of what I want to do here.

First, D/s is not a replacement for competent mental health care. I have a great therapist who knows Beth and I practice DD and D/s, and she’s cool with it, and her knowledge of our lifestyle informs her counseling. Does she work with my D/s to help with my mental health? Yes. But the important thing here is I have a therapist. She’d be a great therapist even if I weren’t into D/s.

Second, D/s is not a replacement for necessary medication. My therapist says that it’s a valid form of behavior modification. Behavior mod means changing your habits and lifestyle to encourage healthy thought patterns and cope with thinking errors. Behavior mod is a fantastic tool and I recommend it highly and if you suffer from chemical mood swings it will not be enough. It’s been a long time since I needed meds, but when I did I really needed meds.

Third, any form of D/s that helps you accept and process the truth of reality around you is likely to be a very good help in your struggle. But any form of D/s that helps you escape from or ignore that same truth is going to be very detrimental.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly: I am not your doctor. Never forget that you take my advice at your own peril. But please also remember: you are not your doctor. Ignore my advice at your own peril as well. 😉 (I know a few of you who read my blog are, in fact, actual doctors. I don’t have to tell you that you make the worst patients, right?)

I will write more about this stuff when I’m in a better mood (maybe). For now, please be advised that these statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Also, for the record, “use lots of lube and go slow” is generally good advice, but if there is any way you can directly apply this to your mental health, you are astonishingly and profoundly messed up.

Let’s be friends!

5 thoughts on “D/s and Mental Health

  1. I absolutely love this post. I am part of several online groups and I can’t tell you how many submissives (not Doms so much) seem to wear their mental health issues like a badge of honor. They pride themselves on having incurable panic episodes or suicidal ideation that only their dominant can pull them out of…
    It bothers me to no end. I have seen so many posts of people who were generally in what I would consider “crisis” absolutely refuse to acknowledge anything outside of D/s may help.
    I understand. There are lots of chemicals that are released when playing, and that can help people “feel better. But it’s a chemical thing. And if you’re not aware of it you put yourself at risk for severe sub drop. Especially if there is already a chemical issue causing a mood disorder.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Amen, and thank you for posting this. I’m fine if a sub has mental health issues. No shame in that. And I’m thrilled to hear it when D/s helps. But yes. It’s no substitute for actual medicine. Use it in conjunction all you want, but not instead of.


    • Oh, and lest I be hypocritical: I’m fine with Doms who have mental health issues as well. But we tend to be pretty quiet about a lot of things, and vulnerability around our mental health is a biggie.


      • Yeah, I think dominants feel more pressure to be stoic. When submissives play up their mental health issues I think that they feel it’s part of their “role.” I could be totally wrong. I have no degree and only experience mental health care from the patients chair.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘any form of D/s that helps you escape from or ignore that same truth is going to be very detrimental.’ – couldn’t have said it better, couldn’t agree more! Written on it a few times myself, nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

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