Hi, I'm new. First, let me make things clear by saying that I am curious about BDSM, and for the past several months (since about August), I have been reading about it on the Internet. I have submissive sentiments, and for a good while, I was very excited to pursue my newfound interests (or identity, you might say) in the future. However, the deeper I've read into these topics, the less clear things have become. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm really confused... I'm the type of person who is overly analytical and scrutinizes everything. I want to know the littlest details of everything just so I can be informed before I "dive in" or talk about it. Yes, I have read the newcomer FAQ, but didn't find my answer there. And I realize it's probably because the answer is just inferred by 99.9% of people one way or the other, but this is really tormenting me, and I've realized I won't be at peace until I've gotten a straight answer. Please forgive me for rambling... I'm just super nervous. My question mainly concerns the D/s relationship dynamic. The idea of submitting to someone resonates with me; as I read about the lifestyle, I saw more and more that it just might be "for me," because that's how I would feel comfortable expressing my love to someone, in selfless devotion and (hopefully) reciprocated appreciation, feeling safe and secure under their domination. And I don't just mean in play. I thought maybe this would be a viable way of life to suit my personality and my emotional needs on a daily basis... 24/7 as you call it? I'm aware of the varying degrees of dominance and submission, the most extreme being the "Master/slave" paradigm, if I'm right. What I wanted to ask is, when entering into such a relationship, is any element of love, tenderness, or partner intimacy lost? Now, I realize "intimacy" is a subjective term depending on what you're into, but since I'm new to this, let me ask from a more "vanilla" standpoint: An important aspect of partner intimacy (as I've commonly understood) is sleeping together, and waking up together. However, as I understand, BDSM contains many elements and practices of humiliation and degradation that would seem contrary to this, such as caging and being made to eat or sleep on the floor, as a means of affirming either the domination of the Master or the submission of the slave. Apart from "play," in a 24/7 total power exchange (or any degree of a power exchange), is this commonly enforced? Is it considered "improper" for a slave to share a bed or dinner table with their Master? In keeping with their role, must the slave always remain "beneath" the Master, to affirm their submission and the Master's dominance? Is it any different if a vanilla couple "shifts" into this kind of relationship, rather than basing it on the principles of dominance and submission from the start? I apologize for my gross ignorance and for bothering anyone with such asinine questions, but as I said, it's bugging me like all heck, and I really need an answer before I proceed any further with this. I am truly grateful for your time.