A submissives journey
Help support the Asj Community
Dominance and submission ~ A Power Exchange Relationship
If anyone were to ask what 'Dominance and submission' is, they'd receive almost as many answers as people who practice it. Simply stated, though, most would agree that D/s consists of a consensual relationship that is based around a power exchange between two people. One person is the controlling one, known as the Dominant; the other person is the controlled one, and is known as the submissive (note that 'Dominant' is usually capitalised and that 'submissive' is not). The submissive gives a certain amount of 'power' to the Dominant over their lives. This can be as simple as the Dominant telling them what to wear each day, or can be as complex as them having to ask the Dominant for permission to even leave the room. The important thing to note here is that we are talking about consensual relationships. The rights of the submissive are not taken from them, they are given freely during a period of negotiation.
Total Power Exchange
Arguably, the 'pinnacle' of D/s relationships is a Total Power Exchange (TPE) relationship, where the submissive gives up all control to the Dominant. Total means just that. The Dominant controls every aspect of their lives from what they wear or eat, to where they go and who they see. There are many that claim to have this, but this Researcher has seen few real examples. It should be emphasized that this is only arguably the pinnacle of D/s relationships. The other side of the coin is that every D/s relationship is just as good no matter how much power is exchanged.
Before we go too much further, let's define a few terms that exist within the D/s lifestyle:
A Few Myths
Let's look at what a Dominant submissive (D/s) relationship isn't.
D/s Isn't about Abuse
Though the point has already been made it's important to emphasise that this article is about a consensual power exchange. Whatever happens to the sub, whatever demands are made of them, they have agreed to this. If they haven't, if they never asked for this, or they don't want this, then it's an abusive relationship and is not the kind of relationship covered by this entry.
submissives Aren't Weak
If someone has to have someone else run their lives for them they must be weak, right? Wrong. Many submissives are quite powerful people outside their D/s relationship: lawyers, managers, business people, police, soldiers and so on. For some, being a submissive in the home, or merely in the bedroom, is a way of escaping from the normal pressures of being in charge.
D/s Isn't about Kinky Sex
Sure, D/s couples often have kinky sex. Then again, vanilla couples often do too. What defines a D/s relationship has very little to do with the methods used, so much as the power exchange. A simple 'no' when a sub asks if they can have a drink can have as much 'power' as getting them to kneel.
Entering a Dominant submissive (D/s) Relationship
When two people are about to enter a Dominant submissive (D/s) relationship, the first step is negotiation. This is a period where no power exchange occurs, but is a discussion where the parameters of the relationship are discussed. How much power will the Dominant have over the submissive? What hard limits do both have; that is, to what activities are one or both opposed? What will be the safewords? What will be the period of the relationship?
Often after negotiation a contract is drawn up, setting out all of the parameters discussed. In this way there can be no misunderstandings.
In most Western marriages, the symbols of the marriage are the wedding rings worn by the happy couple. You can probably think of a collar meaning a similar thing to a wedding ring, although in a D/s relationship it's more common for only the sub to wear a collar to show that they are owned by or bound to a Dom.
Collars come in all shapes and sizes, from a leather collar that is remarkably similar to that worn by pets, to elegant necklaces that could be worn at the classiest society ball. A collar is a symbol and is therefore as individual as the Dominant and submissive within the D/s relationship.
Why on Earth Would you Go through all This?
It seems a D/s relationship is an awful lot of work, doesn't it? Negotiation, contracts, safewords before you even get to the relationship itself. Yes, it is a lot of work, but the rewards can be worth it.
At this point it should be noted that a D/s relationship is not for everyone. Most relationships, even vanilla ones, contain power exchanges. In some relationships one partner is always Dominant, in other relationships whoever is Dominant changes almost constantly. That, however, doesn't mean that the whole relationship should become a D/s one. Some couples only practice D/s in the bedroom, others in the home, others all the time and some never.
Like all relationships, good communication is needed to keep a D/s relationship on track. The difference here, is that it is essential to the success of a D/s relationship. The basis of a D/s relationship is trust. This is not just the trust that neither partner will cheat, but the sort of deep trust where the partners will trust each other with their lives. For the submissive, they need to trust the Dominant with their physical and mental health; to trust that the Dominant will guide and protect them. For the Dominant this means trusting that the submissive is totally truthful with them, giving them all the information they need to make good decisions.
As the communication flows more freely and the trust grows, the entire relationship becomes deeper and more fulfilling. This also applies to a vanilla relationship, but there isn't necessarily the same impetus to keep communication flowing.
Traps and Pitfalls
The submissive gives power to the Dominant. This means the submissive can open themselves to abuse. This risk can be lessened by keeping the following in mind. They're not bad guidelines for vanilla relationships either:
Questions about our site? Click the ask live icon to chat live or leave a message with our site host. CJ isn't always available, but generally you can find Him here from about 8:30 - 11:00 pm Eastern time. Your questions about the site, the Asj community or just about the lifestyle in general are always welcome. If nothing else, take a moment and tell us what you think of this feature!