Hello! Welcome to D/s Playground

We’re thrilled you are here! This course comes from many years of studying dominant/submissive authority exchange in relationships, conducting our own experiments about it, coaching other people, reading all the books about it, listening to all the podcasts, attending all the conferences and groups, and doing all the research we can.

You probably already know who we are, but just in case: Sinclair writes queer kink, gender, and relationship content over at sugarbutch.net since 2006, and rife is a designer & illustrator who created Kinkopoly and The GENDER Book, among other projects. We have been together since 2011 in a 24/7 live-in authority exchange relationship.

Our Fundamental Philosophies

Before you begin looking at the materials and diving in to the experiments, we want to be on the same page as much as possible. Here’s where we’re coming from and the philosophies behind the Playground.

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Take what applies to you, and leave the rest behind.

We are all in different places, and not all of the materials or offerings here will be applicable to you. Totally okay! Knowing what doesn’t apply to you is almost as useful as knowing what does apply.

Everything in This Course is an Experiment

So conduct the experiment, and collect the data.

Much like our good ol’ friend the scientific method, in the Playground we have a hypothesis, method, materials, the experiment, data, and a conclusion. All the information you get out of your experiments — both the hands-on experiments of your homework, and the thought experiments in your journals — are data.

What I love about approaching things as an experiment is that there is no way to fail. The data may be that you didn’t enjoy that thing, or that you would have enjoyed that thing if different variables had been in place, but it’s still just that — data. And data is neither good nor bad, it just is.

Let’s go get some data! For sex science!

You don’t have to do it all.

Maybe you already know this, but: we’ve found that people who are drawn toward D/s relationships tend to be perfectionists. They strive hard, want to do their best, and want it done right. These are generally good traits! However, when taking an online class, it can end up putting pressure on you.

There are a lot of materials here. Each was hand-chosen and requested, and fine tuned to give as much of a holistic sense of the subject as possible. And, you don’t have to go through each one of them.

Some will speak to you, some won’t. It’s totally okay. See if you can let yourself complete the parts of the course that you are drawn toward, and let the rest go.

After you sign up, you’ll get reminders about the different materials in the course via email. You don’t have to go through them in any particular order — you’ll already have access to ALL of the materials in the units you purchased on the site, but the emails will just remind you what’s here.

You’ll have access to the course materials for one year from the date you purchased them — so if you really need to, you can skip one, and go back to it later.

This is how we’re using language:

“Authority exchange” vs “power dynamics.”

There are many forms of relationships with consensual negotiations about who is in charge and who follows. Most of the time, in kink communities, those are called “power dynamics,” but we prefer calling this style of relationships “authority exchange.”One of the challenges with the term “power dynamics” is that it implies that one person is “in power” and the other person “gives away their power” — but this gets confusing, because “power” is also used to mean “personal empowerment.” In practice, both people should still feel empowered, strong, capable, and like themselves in these kinds of arrangements.

Using the words “authority exchange” instead describes the relationship a little more accurately: one person is giving the other authority over them — whichever parts of their decisions, actions, and will that have been negotiated.

Top/Bottom vs Dominant/Submissive

Often, in kink communities, “top” and “dominant” are used interchangeably — as are “bottom” and “submissive.” In this course, we differentiate between who is doing the action (top) or having the action done to them (bottom), and who is in charge of the experience (dominant) and who is consenting to the participate in the experiment (submissive). With this use of these terms, someone could be a dominant and bottom at the same time.

This is fun to do with other people!

The course is meant to be focused on you — your particular relationship with authority exchange, with your dominance and submission. But it’s often most fun to explore one’s dominance and submission in relationship to other people, I know. Plus, it might be useful to have someone to keep you accountable to go through the materials, journals, and homework.

But please: don’t share the materials with anyone outside of the course. If your friend or partner is really interested in doing this, too, we have a discount code we can give you. Contact Sinclair to get it.

Want to upgrade your experience?

There are some bonus benefits to being a patron — signing up for a membership through Sinclair’s Sugarbutch Patreon.

In addition to getting the materials before everyone else, Patrons get LIVE webinars, where you can ask questions, share experiences, and ask for support from each other.

Patrons also access to a Discord is a chat server — a private one, set up just for us. It’s an intimate space with trusted folks, and a way to get involved with a community of people working with conscious, non-binary, intersectional authority exchange theories.

At $5 and above, all the D/s Playground units are included!

Don’t have a dominant or submissive?

It isn’t necessary to go through this course — all the experiments have variables of things you can try yourself or things you can try with other people. Still, it’s wonderful to have an accountability buddy, if nothing else.

We are available if you want us to be your buddy or coach through your course. We can meet once, or at the beginning and end of the unit, or weekly through the course — let’s have a conversation and determine the best structure that would work for us. Sessions are $100/hour.

Above all else, have FUN!

If it’s not fun, ask yourself: what variables can you change to make this more fun?

It’s easy to take courses — and even dominance and submission! — very seriously. But ultimately, this is about pleasure! Explore your sensuality, erotics, sex, kink, relationships, psychology, wants and dislikes, service, community, and more … and remember, at the end of the day, our goal pleasure, growth and enjoyment.

We hope you have a wonderful time going through these materials, journals, and homeworks. We’ve loved putting them together.