2. The Dominant is responsible for the submissive. This seemingly self-evident statement is the source of the most trouble and negative associations with D/s. The old cliche is that One cannot master another until One has mastered Oneself. It is perhaps the most important, most accurate cliche imaginable.
Would that there was a school for Dominants, or better yet some sort of certification. A way to weed out the abusers, the bullies, the paranoid control freaks, and worse.
3. Each party has certain rights and obligations. Rights and obligations are at the core of D/s -- what we are to expect and what is to be expected of us, in each role. My experience tells Me that by and large both Dom/mes and submissives are not always aware of the depth of these rights and obligations and the implications thereof.
The above suggests that there is ample and fruitful ground upon which to build a basic curriculum, for lack of a better word, for submissives and Dominants both. That statement is at odds with what I wrote some years ago, and that bothered Me, even though I as fully open to the possibility that I might answer "the question that won't go away" differently this time.
This is what I conclude.
1. There is a certain body of knowledge, intellectual and procedural, that it is worth knowing, for all submissives and Dominants.
2. Those who are involved in long-term, one-on-one D/s relationships may have less need of this standardized body of knowledge, since presumably the Dominant in that scenario constantly communicates and enforces His or Her wishes and preferences.
3. However, forever relationships are more rare than we want to think. A submissive may find his or her dream Dominant, but there are no guarantees, and My anecdotal research tells Me that in D/s, there are even fewer guarantees than in vanilla relationships.
4. Those who are not involved in a community, or D/s scene, or in any poly situation, will likely not see the need for any standardized training or universal body of knowledge.
5., Still, there is value in having that knowledge, for both parties. One, because of the impermanence of things, as discussed in 3., above, and also because a solid basis can only help both submissive and Dominant.
In Part 4, a thought about one way to deliver the lessons.