Rules & Definition Of A Dominant Submissive Relationship

A dominant-submissive relationship rules and answers to know

By Gerald Matiri
Rules & Definition Of A Dominant Submissive Relationship

Definition of a dominant-submissive relationship

Dominant-submissive (D/s or Dom/sub) is part of a broader category referred to as BDSM. D/s is all about power as opposed to the physical sensation involved in BDSM. If you are in a D/s relationship you either submit to your partner or dominate them psychologically. In short, one partner dominates the other because he/she has more power in the relationship. Most people like this type of relationship because of the dynamic power involved. In today’s culture, sex and power are mixed together and that’s why most women fall for more powerful men, while men fantasize about being powerful and therefore irresistible.

What is a dominant-submissive relationship all about?

First and foremost, a Dom/sub relationship is an energy dynamic between two partners. The Dominant leads, guides, and protects the submissive. The submissive is the baby girl or servant who pleases the dominant. Most D/s partners limit their dynamic to sexual activities but the truth is the relationship may be applied in interesting ways beyond sex. For instance, the dominant can create a simple rule for the submissive such as asking for permission to go out on weekends.

The dynamic may as well be a set of strict rules and complex responsibilities that make the dominant feel more in control of the body and mind of the submissive. But do not confuse the Dom/sub relationship for a master/slave setting. D/s is a lifestyle. If someone tells you they are in a Dom/sub relationship, you should know that their life, especially the sex aspect of it, entails power play. Such partners may switch their roles as they please - a man can dominate for a while and then become submissive at some point.

In most cases, the D/s relationship happens occasionally in pre-arranged scenes which don’t have to always involve sex. Those pre-arranged scenes are about power exchange. For instance, if the woman is the submissive partner, she can give her man a massage, serve him food, and take any order from him. The dominant partner can sometimes restrain the submissive one or discipline them. Different couples play different power-based roles e.g. pirate and captive; teacher and student; or a cop and a criminal. 

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Some partners can maintain their power dynamic for longer periods of time such as during a holiday while others take on a long-term arrangement (one is dominant and the other is submissive throughout their lifetime). These couples live a completely normal human life; their relationships are not really different from the rest.

Do dominant-submissive relationships really work?

There are people who just love to dominate while others prefer being submissive. So, yes, D/s relationships work for such people. If both parties are in the relationship willingly, it means that there will be no conflicts as far as power is concerned. But like any other relationships, one D/s may work differently than another D/s. The only common thing about the relationships is that there is a dominant and a submissive partner. The D/s flavor is naturally determined by the specific individual you are partnering with.

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The roles of a dominant partner

The core of a Dom/sub relationship is the fact that the dominant takes full control of everything. Note that domination involves taking and not giving so the dominant expects to be pleased in whatever way they like by the submissive. Basically, the dominant expects nothing short of obedience. The summed up roles of domination include:

1. Taking responsibilities
2. Being in full control
3. Prioritizing their desires and choices
4. Performing duties to their submissive partner
5. Demanding compliance and obedience

Submissive roles

The submissive delights in submitting to their partners. Their joy is not all about being dominated in bed; their fundamental desire is to please their dominant. The ideal definition of a submissive partner is the one who elevates their partner’s needs above theirs. As the submissive, you may not like the idea of being punished but it doesn’t mean you will resist it. You accept another human being's control over you in a variety of ways, such as complying with your dominant’s demands in bed. Sometimes, you will not give your opinions until your dominant states theirs. Basically, these are the roles of the submissive:

1. Elevating the desires of the dominant above theirs
2. Accepting to be controlled
3. Expressing the desire to please the dominant

The 10 rules of a dominant-submissive relationship

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This is something everyone who is interested in Dom/sub relationship wants to know. First of all, there are no hard or fast rules; the partners create their own principles regarding what to comply with, what to avoid, and how to enforce the rules. The whole D/s concept is based on a set of standards, some of which are deep-rooted in the power dynamic, and the rest are implemented as reactions to the dynamic. If you are considering a Dom/sub relationship, you must understand first the objectives of these rules so you don’t commit ignorant blunders. Here come the D/s rules.

1. Honest communication

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This is the groundwork for any trusting relationship. If you close the doors to open communication, it won’t work as expected. You must talk about the fundamentals before you delve into a D/s relationship. The key factors you must discuss include health, sexual needs, boundaries, likes/dislikes, and experiences. Your partner is not a mind-reader so you need to speak up about your expectations, contracts, and rules. Continued communication is what will keep the relationship moving.

Make time to discuss issues freely and learn how to read your partners signals or safe words. Honest dynamic and interaction go a long way. For instance, if you are the dominant type and want to push the limits of your submissive, you will require particular information to understand her boundaries. The only way you can understand their limits is through effective communication. You want to exercise power in a positive and constructive manner. So, more information will enable you to accomplish your roles better. To get the right information, you need to be honest as you interact with your partner.

2. Realistic expectations

If you are the dominant partner, always leave your submissive begging for more rather than making them wish you hadn’t gone an extra mile. For this matter, let it be clear as far as your fantasies are concerned so you can determine what is practical or not. Not all the BDSM films can be put into practice; you don’t need to copy all of them. For the submissive partner, do not forget that your dominant is as human as you. Sometimes, even the most powerful and experienced partners can be indecisive or awkward. If they make errors, do not focus too much on them. Having realistic expectations in a D/s relationship means you can differentiate between fantasy and reality. Most of the stuff you watch on movies or read in magazines is impractical. Just go with what seems natural in your relationship.

3. Health

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The D/s relationship requires both parties to be emotionally and physically healthy. This involves good nutrition, appropriate sleeping patterns, minimal alcohol intake, and a stress-free lifestyle. You cannot practice the explicit sexual activities of the D/s if your emotional or physical energy is low. If you think you are not well, just forget about the strenuous activities. Do not hold your submissive in resentment if they don’t respond to all of your needs. What you should do is support them till they regain their physical or psychological well-being so you can enjoy your D/s activities in bed. If you want a healthy D/s, practice only those things the two of you are comfortable and happy with.

Trust and respect are important even during experimentations - you have to respect each other’s boundaries. And when we say experimentation, it is about how many extra miles you can go. If you feel like you’re getting too far from your comfort zone, you have the right to say 'no' and your partner must respect that, whether you are dominant or the submissive. And that is why you have to discuss the boundaries before indulging in D/s activities.

4. Enjoyable rules

The definition of fun in relationships differs significantly. D/s play comes with unique pleasures which are normally planned beforehand. So, you should only design rules which are easier to follow, otherwise, your dominance or submission will be undermined. Take for instance a situation whereby the submissive partner is expected to take off their clothes whenever the dominant partner gets home. What if the dominant is in the company of another person or there are other people in the house? This rule would not be appropriate. The best rules must not leave provisions for guesswork if you want full enjoyment. Before coming up with a rule, think about instances in which it would be difficult to comply or whether it could trigger dishonesty.

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5. Patience

Being the dominant partner doesn’t mean you have to command the submissive more than a normal partner does. You have to be patient with your submissive and let them get to know you first. Gentleness, subtlety, and finesse fit into the definition of the dominant. In as much as you have the greater power, you need to show kindness and gentleness to your submissive. Be sensitive so you can create a comfortable atmosphere for the two of you.

A good dominant lets the submissive know if they are truly interested in the relationship or not. Bear in mind that if you are the submissive, your work is to satisfy and serve your fellow human being so that they can focus on making your fantasies come true. However, don’t take the dominant as an instant switch - be patient and wait for the right time for your fantasies to be realized.

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6. Honesty

Sometimes the dominant may lack the experience that the submissive is looking for. If that describes you, you have to be honest with your partner so you don’t end up disappointing them. The submissive has every right to know what you can or can’t do. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself too so that you can give your partner only the things you are in full control of. Safety should be your first and most important concern no matter how safe a certain scene may come across. Dishonesty is not only problematic, but dangerous too. If you are the submissive type, feel free to share your fantasies and needs because your dominant knows you have them. Be very clear about what you want, what turns you off, as well as your health concerns. If you are not candid, you will experience lots of disappointments along the way because your dominant will be trying to satisfy you based on wrong information.

7. Humility

Even if you are the most talented human being on earth, you don’t need to boast about it - no one wants to hear that. There are many chances you will get in a D/s relationship to show your prowess, but if you are too proud, you could just as easily mess up and show your stupidity instead. No matter how much you praise yourself, your true colors will show up somewhere along the way. Take this advice: do not develop expectations you are sure you cannot accomplish - it is like setting yourself up for failure. You might be the most sought-after gift in the city but you don’t have to boast about it.

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8. Open-mindedness

Even in a Dom/sub relationship where the dominant takes the role of a teacher, it doesn’t mean that the dominant cannot learn from the submissive. Regardless of the dominant partner’s experience, there will always be something they have to learn from their partner. You have to be open-minded. It’s true that no two human beings can have similar perspectives on every aspect of life, but you don’t have to dismiss your partner’s opinions. Try to look at your partner’s perspectives with curiosity and wonderment and you will find that you have a lot to learn. You shouldn’t always think that your personal style is the best; attitude can make you miss important lessons from your D/s friend.

9. Authenticity

Most submissive partners expect to be controlled emotionally and physically, but not brutally. Even though you like dominating, you are still a human being and that’s what your submissive should fall for - a humanitarian heart. Let your submissive partner fall in love with who you really are so they can give themselves to you completely. If you have to punish your submissive, do it appropriately and enforce authentic rules only. Since you understand your full responsibilities do not shirk any of them.

Accept that you are reliable and allow your partner to depend on you. For the submissive, you have to accept being owned, directed, and controlled because that is the whole point of being submissive. Surrender all your power and raise genuine concerns when necessary. Because you have accepted limitations, stay within those limits and respect your dominant. If you remain loyal and reliable, your role in D/s will be much easier.

10. Sensitivity

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There is a thin line between the definition of caring and having a self-righteous attitude. You don’t want to be the overbearing dominant who does everything in the name of caring. A dominant partner should find the balance between fantasies and the needs of the submissive. While the submissive is expected to act like a servant, the two partners should serve one another. The only way to earn your partner’s trust is by showing trustworthiness first. When you are the submissive partner, don’t expect your dominant to be a puppet that you can use to fulfill all of the your crazy fantasies you create in your head. Wait to be surprised and guided as opposed to demanding your needs.

On the other side, the dominant partner must not force their sub to refer to them in particular titles such as 'Master' or 'Sir'. Let them address you respectably only if they're inclined to. If the submissive doesn’t feel like referring to you as their Master, then you probably don’t deserve the title.


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The definition of a Dom/sub relationship can be complicated at times. To some extent, it can encourage emotional abuse. This type of relationship only works for couples who have established effective communication. When engaging in whatever power dynamic feels appropriate - sexual, psychological, or physical- it is imperative to communicate the boundaries. Without rules, D/s may not work. If you want a healthy Dom/sub relationship, you and our partner must exhibit a high level of respect and trust for one another. You can only enjoy surrendering control of your body or mind to another human being in whom you've entrusted both your physical and psychological safety.

To start a relationship like this, you have to lay down the rules of what you like and, most importantly, what role you want to take. Do not simply assume that your partner will enjoy your preferences; you have to ask them what they want too. Find out if your partners’ preferences are things that interest you, and then share your thoughts. Go ahead and share your sexual fantasies and determine if you want to incorporate them into the relationship.

It is imperative that you do stuff you actually want to try as opposed to feeling compelled to perform particular activities. Of course, there are things you and your partner might not agree on; that's why it's important to communicate clearly, thoughtfully, and kindly - if you do so, things will work out perfectly well.

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