A Short Perspective on Dom/sub Relationships

Am I a fake sub?

I recently had a question from a reader who is learning what it means to be a Dom. They wrote the following paragraph, and I liked it so much I thought I would post it here (although I hope he doesn’t mind but I’ve cleaned up the grammar as English wasn’t his first language). The bolding is mine.

[To be a Dom] First of all you need to see yourself as such, so you can change the way you see the world and to act with dominance – or else, you won’t be able to dom properly. The sub must be willing to submit, and for that to happen she must be heard and respected. A friend of mine told me that the sub offers her body, her will and her soul to her dom. This tells me pretty much everything. Such a gift should not be taken lightly and the Dom must embrace the sub, but not own her entirely. The Dom must take care of the sub – attending to her needs – and in return, she will be more willing to enter further into submission and want to follow the Dom’s commands and demands. However, the sub is not a prisoner of the Dom’s will. She is there because she wants to be, and the dom must nurture this connection, or lose her. There are many kinds of Dom/sub relationships, and not all subs are right for all Doms.

– Reader, August 2021

What I love about this description is that it embodies what I consider to be my personal style of dominance – a nurturing and caring one. But it also highlights a key point – the Dom never fully owns the sub. Yes, in a 24/7 service-orientated dynamic there is the illusion that the Dom fully owns the sub (same with pet play), but it is just that – an illusion.

At any point in time, the submissive has a choice to walk away from the dynamic – and a good Dom will respect this choice. (A Fake Dom wouldn’t, which is the difference in my mind between a healthy D/s relationship and an abusive relationship. Consent is EVERYTHING.

I also like the wording because it makes clear that the submissive is choosing to submit. She is choosing to give up some of her freedom, or to be commanded around, or to have decisions made for her, or be put in painful positions because she gets a benefit in return. No emotionally stable person would choose to submit unless there was a pay-off.

I talk about these payoffs in my book Sensational Scenes (which you should 100% buy if you are a Dom starting out and want to give your sub, or future subs, incredible mental and physical experiences in and out of the bedroom). The two types of pay-off are typically freedom from the stress of everyday life, and the pleasure from helping another person.

If a sub is getting neither of these benefits, then he or she should ask herself why she is in the D/s dynamic in the first place. Is it simply because she wants her partner to be happy? I’ve seen this particularly with those who have a co-dependent or anxious attachment style (read Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment for more information), and the relationship normally blows up at some point because the submissive never really feels fulfilled.

I also like how the writer talks about the responsibility of a Dom is also to take care of the sub. It is not just to use and abuse her for his pleasure. As mentioned above, the Dom should also regularly check-in to ensure the sub is getting some of the benefits listed above for playing the part of the submissive. Improving your communication techniques is therefore an important part of being both a Dom and a sub, and regular sit-down discussions should be had (I recommend weekly for new Doms and subs) to ensure both parties are happy and enjoying the relationship.

So re-read what the reader wrote. Think about it. Comment below what one thing you are going to do in your relationship as a result of this article to improve your D/s dynamic.

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