The Dom/sub lifestyle is one that has interested me since I was about 19 and saw ‘The Story of O‘ for the first time. I haven’t known many people who were a part of the kink community to ask about it so when a my friend Amber (not her real name) first became involved in the scene, I was interested to learn more and no, I don’t mean just the sexy details!
Dom/sub relationships are what interested me. It’s far more than leather-clad bedroom antics and I couldn’t get my head around a partnership that involved one person being so, well, dominant, over the other. How could that possibly balance out? Did the submissive partner have no say in anything? How far does that control go?
My advice to you, Dear Reader, is to leave your pre-conceived ideas and judgments at the door, grab a cuppa, and have a read because there’s a good chance you’ll learn something new!
1. Being a submissive is more than just a role in the bedroom. What does it actually mean in your day to day life?
My day to day life is the basically the same. While Master has chosen not to interfere in my everyday life he does have rules for me to follow, such as referring to him as Master at all times, not to change my appearance without his consent and to refer to approved Doms only as Sir. Master also knows I like to play with other Doms in threesomes and in groups. He has laid out very specific rules I must follow when finding and meeting others for play. Breaking these rules will result in corporal punishment to ensure I do not break the rule again. Master’s preferred method of punishment is a crop across my backside. Those who are married in D/s relationships may choose to follow high protocol. This is when the Master sets out rules and rituals for his/her sub to follow daily. These can be sexual in nature or extend to everyday living such as making Master’s coffee or performing a task in a specific way. All rules are at the discretion of the Master and if these are not followed the sub may be punished.
2. In most relationships, mutual respect is a key factor in the success of that relationship. Would you say that in a Dom/sub relationship, mutual respect is less important or more important and why?
I would suggest mutual respect is absolutely more important. D/s relationships are very different to vanilla relationships or even to sado/masochistic relationships. Mutual respect involves trust, a trust resulting in a relationship far stronger than marriage. Often the Dom or sub is either single or attached to others, and are together for the purpose of play. The play I am referring to can involve pain, control, sex or a combination of all. Safe play is a high priority within the community and commands a high level or trust and respect for the safety of all involved. Those who play with others they do not fully trust can be very dangerous.
3. To an outsider, the language used between a Dom and sub might seem confronting. You refer to your Dom as Master. What does he call you and how do you feel about it?
Master calls me slut or whore most of the time. Slut and whore, among other names, are terms of affection in the BDSM world. I love being Master’s whore.
4. Can you explain the appeal of submission in your own words?
At home and work I am a fairly dominant person as it comes with the territory. With my sex life I also thought I was quite dominant until I met Master. Our conversations were always open and free and I knew from the beginning he was dominant and I knew I liked rough sex. He suggested to me one day that I was submissive, and I didn’t believe him. The more he told me about the BDSM world the more I realised I was in fact submissive. I now enjoy the dominance my Master, or any Dom has over me, as it translates into sexual excitement. As a submissive I feel a strong desire to obey and serve for their pleasure and that excites me. I am turned on by pain inflicted during sex, safe humiliation and group play. It takes a tremendous amount of trust to hand yourself over to another for the sole purpose of their pleasure and only someone who is truly submissive would, or could, do this voluntarily. I have never done anything I did not wish to do because I was so ordered by Master. It doesn’t work that way. I do as ordered only because I wish to please my Master and I am comfortable in doing so. A true Dom would not make a sub do something they are uncomfortable with, or would morally object to. Believe it or not the one who holds the ultimate power in a D/s relationship is the sub and not the Master. If the sub in not satisfied with their Master in any way they have the right to walk away, as in the end of the 50 Shades of Grey movie. If issues can’t be resolved with open communication there is no point continuing the relationship. A true Dom wants his sub to be happy to serve him as that is what gives the Dom their power.
5. Are you ever the dominant one? If so, does it come naturally or is it something you have to work at and is it limited to bedroom play or does it spill into day to day life?
No, I am never the dominant one and I only like to play with those who are a true Dom. Before meeting Master I thought I was quite dominant in the bedroom, taking control and doing what the man would love. Master then guided me to show me that this desire was me actually being submissive. My desire to please or serve is strong and my satisfaction comes in knowing I have the skills to please and service a man. In doing this, it has heightened my pleasure and taken me to a place I’ve never been before.
6. I have to ask- 50 Shades of Grey. Is it, in your experience, an accurate portrayal of a Dom/sub relationship? It’s been widely criticised for disguising abuse as typical Dom behaviour- what’s your take?
I started my D/s relationship not having read the books. I tried to explain to my Mum and Sister what it was like with a Master but they found it difficult to understand so they asked me to read the books and tell them if it was the same thing. I read 50 shades and I found some parts to be accurate and but others far from reality. The scene where Christian and Ana entered into negotiation on limits was great. For BDSM play to be safe and consensual there is some type of negotiation before anything happens. This way all participants know what to expect and boundaries are respected. The scenes where Christian is demanding control over Ana leaving her an emotional mess and him shutting down into his “50 shades of fucked up” routine was terrible, giving the public a false reality. To me I saw this as emotional abuse against Ana. He may have Dom tendencies but with his emotional baggage, it does not qualify him a true Dom. A true Dom is both confident and strong with a caring nature. He/she would never leave a sub in a distressed state and would insist on open communication at all times. If there was a problem steps would be taken to rectify it immediately. Also a true Dom would not be ‘cured’ by their partner as it’s suggested in the books. Being Dom, as with being sub, is in a person’s nature. There is a common misconception that Doms are sadists who get off on hurting women. There are certainly dangerous people like that out there and don’t deserve to be linked to the kink community.
7. 50 Shades has also been applauded by some for bringing the Dom/sub relationships into the open. Do you think this is necessary? Do you think you’d benefit in general if your lifestyle was more widely understood and accepted?
I’ve only been in the lifestyle a few years but before I met Master I had almost no knowledge on BDSM other than what I had seen in porn. Getting people talking about sexuality, not just kink, is always a good thing. Education brings awareness and tolerance. The kink community sets an amazing example of open-mindedness towards everyone’s sexual preferences, size, shape, fashion and kinks, no matter how bizarre the vanilla world would consider it.
See the follow-up, ‘7 Questions with a Dom’, here.