What is dominance and submission to me?


aveburysarsenTNOK – usual health warning. This is a personal point of view and I’m not disrespecting what works for others. This is what these things mean to me.

Our dominant and submissive relationship is based on being the best we can be for each other. We’ve previously defined it as being equal and opposite. It is – but it is also complementary and it is always our aim to minimise compromise.images

Our dynamic is founded on strength and responsibility, service and obedience – and there are dominant and submissive aspects to each of these.


This seems to be a given for the dominant (but I know there are times when I am not strong). It’s sometimes assumed that obedient, non-resistant (the reverse of bratty?) submission is doormat-like and not worthy of respect – because submission is based on resistance that must be overcome by the dominants strength.

That’s not my view.

It’s easy/lazy for both partners in a service/obedience based D/s dynamic  just to pay lip service to what is required. But delighting your partner always takes effort and subsumes self. And that’s a job for both.

She never stops delighting me. I hope I do the same for her. But it’s especially difficult for the submissive to be true to her part of the dynamic when it doesn’t suit. Often simple submission takes strength.


For me (and my partner) this goes a lot wider than just us (and just BDSM). We both reckon that if more people took their responsibilities seriously there would be less need for rights.

For me as a dominant it means I need to use what she has consented to for my satisfaction, but as safely as I can and not abusively. It means I make it possible for her to give me what I want by taking away concerns and worries that stop her doing so.

This includes domestic trivia. I’ll cook if she needs time to do her nails.


Service for us is partly ritualistic. There are small but important things we do (I plait her at bedtime, she makes her obeisance when she leaves the room) which keep us in our places. But they aren’t the essence of who we are – just a way we remind ourselves and each other of who we are.

Service is asymmetric. Mostly she gives and I receive. But it is freely given and something she wishes to give. It’s not a chore to her – it makes me glow and that makes her feel powerful.

She is also the power behind my throne . When I weaken she holds me up. That too is service.


BDSM couple, top, bottom in handcuffs, on Euro...
BDSM couple, top, bottom in handcuffs, on Europride Cologne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Obedience is something I earn. It is the reward I get for making her feel secure, desired. cared for and respected. If it needs to be enforced then we both have failed.

Obedience will not always be easy. Like service, it is part of who she wants to be, even when it doesn’t suit her: It is only real when it isn’t optional. And that means I have to enforce it – even when I’m in the mood to be laissez faire – or not in the mood for much: She isn’t who she wants to be unless she feels controlled and respected for her obedience.

Why my relationship isn’t better than anyone else’s and what’s wrong with “vanilla”?

aveburysarsenTNI saw a blog on UK BDSM website fetbook today. It made me think and drove me to post some thoughts on this, reproduced (and slightly edited) here.

First, concerning “vanilla”:

I love vanilla ice cream. I hate the term vanilla used in connection with BDSM and haven’t used it for some years now.

Why? Well, if people in D/s relationships are ever going to live their lives in the open then we need to be accepted by the wider world. Vanilla is sometimes used by BDSM people in a pejorative sense, which won’t help acceptance.


I don’t think that was the intent in the article that sparked this blog – but it still comes across that ‘vanilla” might be a less exciting, intense, trustful choice. There’s a sense of superiority that I don’t feel is true.

There are many differences between relationships based on D/s dynamics and non D/s relationships. For me, the first important distinction is that D/s can look like abuse from outside, but it isn’t, as long as it is based on consent. Getting the wider world to realise that would help us move into the light.

It looks likely that around 10% of people have a BDSM urge. Far fewer do anything about it. Fewer still make it a major focus for their lives. Most of the world would be very surprised at the thoughts expressed in the original article, a few of which would probably, in the wider world’s eyes, condemn the piece. Take the end of that blog:

Will you be satisfied having mild to medium Trust in your heart for your partner? 

Perhaps even a sense of deep trust in your heart?  

Or do you need MORE – do you need the Living Experience of those moments when Trust is so In-Your-Face that their is plainly and simply no denying it, when you can almost taste it, feel it, and hold it in your hands?

I think few people in non-BDSM relationships will believe that the trust they have with their partner is in any way less than the trust we experience.

What follows is very personal. Many will differ – and that’s fine.

My partner is my partner. I have the same concerns and cares as people who have a non D/s relationship. What differs is not the relationship, we love each other, we enjoy cooking and theatre…

What differs is who we are. We are D/s people. Equal but opposite. She forgot to telephone me the other night, I spanked her – both of us are cool with that. (actually, that’s peachywrong: for both of us that was a perfectly natural thing to do).

What differs for me is not the deepness or intensity of the relationship, nor is the level of trust, or passion, or intensity different to what people in non BDSM relationships can achieve or experience.

What differs is who I am. I thrive in a relationship where I’m expected to take responsibility and be the leader. She thrives in her non BDSM marriage because that part of her which needs to serve and support is who she is when she is with me.

So, I used to be a BDSM evangelist because I thought I’d discovered a true way to the most fulfilling possible relationship and that people who chose BDSM automatically had deeper, richer lives than those that chose not to. I was wrong.

What I have is a relationship that is right for me, because D/s is at the centre of who I am. It’s my orientation. I need it and I fail when I deny it.

But I’m no better or worse than anyone else. And I want to be accepted for that.


What do you call your partner – poll results

aveburysarsenTNFor nearly a year I’ve run a simple poll asking whether dominants and submissives have special names for each other and when they use them.

I’ve closed the polls, really because I’ve got bored more than anything else. Here are the results.

Naming policy

(ie what do people call each other).

NamingSubmissives most frequent response was that they used a general, not a unique name for their partner, followed by using their partner’s given name. However, only around a quarter of the votes from submissives were for using their partner’s given name and just under half were for using a special name – just not an unique one.

Dominants reversed this order of priority, being more likely to use their partners’ given name rather than any special name.

Naming protocol

(ie when do people use these names).


I asked people when they used their special names – if they had them. Nearly one in four dominants voted that they didn’t have a naming protocol whilst less than half that proportion of votes from submissives agreed with this.

Dominants were most likely not to have any form of naming protocol. This was the least common choice for submissives.

Setting aside those who didn’t have a naming protocol, The most common result, for both submissives and dominants, was to use a naming protocol when by themselves or at scene events. The second most common return for submissives was using special names only when alone together.

Not proper research

This is a self-selecting sample of people who have responded to this poll over eleven months. I did my best to prevent repeat voting. But:

  • It’s a self selecting sample drawn from fetish/BDSM websites and Twitter.
  • People could vote on any or all of the options – so one vote does not mean one person responding.
  • There were 326 votes on the poll for dominants and 458 on the poll for submissives.

Thanks to all those who took part.

I’m still eagerly looking for participants in my US/UK BDSM and money survey. Absolutely anonymous – find it here.







Submissive Perfection

standing stoneI was reminded last night, in another place, of something I wrote on “Informed Consent”  back in 2008.

“Perfection: a dangerous subject: first because it doesn’t exist and secondly, because writing about it might make some think that one won’t settle for anything other. Finally, because a post like this (seriously but lightheartedly meant) is likely to attract comments that range from the witty to the sarcastic.

Still, my shoulders are broad.

I am risking the post, however, because I think a person’s vision of perfection at least gives other people an idea of how the author’s mind works – and that may be useful.

So, here’s my vision of subly perfection – I’ve thought about it and I suspect I’m about to expose myself as the stereotypical male Dom. Here goes:

  •  She’s proud of herself and likes to make me proud of her too – she strives to excel in all aspects of her life and service.
  •  She knows her limits but wants to be eased (sometimes cajoled) beyond them
  •  She desires her limits and wants rules and rituals to reinforce them
  •  She expects respect – and shows respect
  •  She sees her submission as part of all of her life and not just a sub set of it
  •  She gains my attention through her behaviour – but never asks for my attention
  •  She revels in praise, but accepts that punishment is a vital part of dispute resolution
  •  She wants me to want to show her off – and her dress, grooming, deportment and behaviour reflect this at all times
  •  She expects to be protected and adored and is not afraid to expose her vulnerabilities (to me) to achieve this
  •  She expects to support and nourish me – and thus I am unafraid to expose my vulnerabilities, when I feel them
  •  She appreciates formality and can associate it with intimacy, not aloofness
  •  She has strongly held views and expects to express them, in a respectful context.

(and, as suggested by Bearoftwo: “the maturity to accept there will be differences and the attitude and desire to overcome them”)

She delights in delivering her curtsey.

If Betty Page and Audrey Hepburn had had a daughter – she’d be her .”

The rest of that thread is here.

My orgasms are his

acc2_be22This was agreed some time ago.

He wants a blog about it, partly to show yet again the lack of privacy he feels is reasonable in our relationship. Also because he knows it makes me think.

It came about because at the time he was the only provider but also because of the way it made (makes) him feel. It is not easy to orgasm and in many ways a distraction, being too hot/cold, tired, stressed etc., could all add to the problem. So his ability to take my orgasm became quite a big deal.

As part of our dynamic it was also important. So it does not mean that orgasms are banned when we are not together (though self-induced ones are) but

Ecstasy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

that they have to be paid for, in a way that makes them his.

Usually it’s a spanking. Nothing major, but enough to remind me.

(originally posted on StrictlyNormal ), 25 April 2013.

Staying awake

BelasariusMe: “Did you sleep well darling?”

She (de-plaiting): “Uh-huh, err, yeah”.

Me: “You mean you didn’t?”

She: “Well, you put me on my back and used my breast as a pillow”. (I do, they are plumptious)

Me: “But, darling, we do that most nights and you say you sleep ok?”

She: “Oh, I do. But last night you told me to stop snoring”. (I have no recollection of this)

Me (puzzled): “And…”

She: “AND… I had to keep myself awake because I was on my back and not allowed to snore”.286723


Being a sex object

He says this is the case.

acc2_be22It has many negative connotations for women of my generation, of course… but it doesn’t feel quite the same when he explains. Perhaps it is because it is not a matter of being “only” a sex object. It is about being his, about being wanted, available, and loved.

The availability issue is interesting too – it isn’t about non-consent or feeling abused, or “taken”, more to do with feeling wanted and welcoming, It feels special for us that he is

Modelo: Edimar Rodriguez Iluminación: Ernesto ...
Modelo: Edimar Rodriguez Iluminación: Ernesto Gómez Fotografía: Gabriel Delgado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

never made to feel that he needs to seek permission each time, that he has no need to resort to ‘DIY’ and that he finds me ready and willing.

How much this reflects our D/s dynamic and how much it arises from our caring about one another is not altogether clear. As so often is the way, it may be a mixture of both.

Originally posted to Informed Consent, February 2010