I have often wondered about this question and certain conversations recently on the chastity forums have got me thinking again. I think for us the answer is no, we could not.
This has been a long slow progression to where we are today. Lots of stops and reversals along the way since I introduced kink to our life. For most of the time I was the dominant one, both day to day and in the bedroom. Once we started switching roles it was still a game. Sandy wasnt sure she enjoyed it much for some years, and didnt think she was comfortable in the dominant role. So it remained a game, she liked aspects of it, tickling and teasing, but mostly it remained something we did now and then for fun.
Three years ago that changed. The reasons I wont go into here, but they were changes in my wife that were not only related to kink but to her whole life. She discovered parts of herself she had not known existed and became pretty quickly comfortable letting herself go. This included in the bedroom, with kink generally, and with her dominance also. She blossomed. With it our marriage also blossomed, and at the same time I made many changes in my interaction with her to support and care for her more. In time this has all got tied up with the d/s life we now lead.
She loves being in control, in and out of the bedroom. Its 24/7 but not in the total power exchange sense. We speak as equals, I will stand up when I feel strongly about things. But what works for her is that she knows that if she gives me that look, if she tells me to go do, I will do it. Quickly. She can stop me in my tracks and redirect me. She can offload her work on to me and while she still occasionally feels bad about it, especially when im tired too, knows that I will do it, because she wants it, because she needs to relax, because I love her and want her to be able to relax the stresses in her mind and offload them, on to me if necessary. These things make her feel loved, supported, and the control aspect makes her feel powerful and completely worshipped. Its fun, loving, caring, exciting and even a bit mean at times. Yes she has a mean streak and loves to let it out, many interactions between us now involve something a bit teasing or mean. A shadow of a kiss that doesnt quite connect leaving me gasping for her, a smack on the arse or a pinch of the nipple, her sliding her clothes from her body seductively at night knowing I am transfixed, and knowing she has denied me orgasm. A tickle before bedtime. These are also constants in our life now.
There is also a great deal of vanilla love, hugs, kisses, from the outside you would not see any of the d/s. But we know the edge that lies beneath it always.
Whats in it for me? Well Im submissive, more so than I used to realise. Its such a sexual thrill seeing the disparity between us, seeing her getting more sex than me, asking, no lets be honest sometimes ordering me to do certain chores while she sits and reads her book. Handing me her empty plate with a haughty air for me to take to the dishwasher (with a touch of a tongue in cheek smile). She is a buzzy woman who finds it hard to relax, i have spent years trying to help her do it. So I get fulfilled knowing this lifestyle has empowered her to relax more often without guilt, and I also benefit later that day from a happier more relaxed partner. I feel like I have looked out for her. Any man with a protective nurtering nature will know how much it means to protect the woman you love from lifes troubles, and I often feel that sense strongly.
And the sex... Its fantastic. She has it turns out a hell of a sadistic streak, and I have a hell of a masochistic one. We click in the bedroom and are always exploring old games, and occasionally new ones. She can be very mean, more so than I would always want, which of course feeds the submissive in me because I am having my limits pushed, and encourages her dominance to grow also, which makes her feel free, but also paradoxically makes her feel loved.
Notice how often I have mentioned love and care. And thats the rub. This lifestyle has brought out a level of love and caring for each other that we never had consistently before. We had flashes of it but we never knew how to sustain it. This way of interacting, these roles we have taken on provide a framework for interaction that encodes within it those things we both value as our own love language. It has also brought a fantastic sex life and an outlet for her dominant nature and my submissive side. Last but not least it has given her, in her own head, permission to break free her inner passion.
In the last three years we have forgotten how to be vanilla. Now and then we have a break for a change, but we dont know what to do. How to interact day to day, how to have sex. Its a lovely change but thats all it is, a break. I never quite shake off being her sub, she never quite shakes off her teasing nature. In bed we have to work hard to stay vanilla as we keep sliding back into our d/s roles. Partly this is habit, but mostly it is that this is now who we are. As Thumper said in his post stacks, this has now become one of the most solid foundations of our marriage.
It took a long time to get here, but I firmly believe that to go back now would be almost impossible and furthermore would risk the very marriage itself. As Sandy herself says (and it warms me to hear it), she doesnt see herself as sometimes wife or sometimes mistress, there is no longer a distinction, she is both. And same on my side for me. Its beautiful.
One little side note. I revealed our lifestyle to a very close vanilla friend of mine recently. He was curious as to why we were so much happier these days, and I know him so well that if I cant tell him it would feel like a lie between us. I trust him. So I told him the whole story (without the gory details!!!).
Surprisingly he almost completely understood. He did wonder how being told to do stuff regularly didnt make me get rebellious, but kind of understood that it met my need to care for my wife. I asked him if he had noticed anything between Sandy and I earlier in the evening (she had left by this time) and he said no. All he had seen was a couple in love who interact lovingly and touch each other a lot in passing. He had not noticed, even once I pointed it out, the occasional look she had used on me, the teasing one, or the do this now or else one. Open air dominance and submission yet even a close friend had no inkling anything was going on. Sandy and I find that very entertaining.