What is a dom/sub relationship?


A dom/sub relationship is a BDSM interaction between two people where one is dominant in nature and the other is submissive. Dom/sub relationships are often sexual, though dominant and submissive traits may spill over into everyday, non-sexual situations.

Dom/sub relationships exist between all genders and pairings of genders. The dom and the sub may be of the opposite sex or the same sex. Dominant females are sometimes called dommes, dominatrixes or mistresses. Dominant males are usually called master or sir. A person who plays both dominant and submissive roles is called a switch.

The most common activities in dom/sub relationships include sexual humiliation, bondage, spanking, pseudo-slavery, enforced chastity and sexual roleplay. Physical and emotional safety is a large concern in dom/sub relationships. Safe words are one way to ensure safe play, and experienced doms consider the well-being of their partners above all else.

In online communities, submissives often refer to their dominant partners as Master or Mistress, with capital letters. Some subs refer to themselves in the third person and use capitalized pronouns for their doms ("This girl is His pet"). Some submissives are only allowed to post in online forums with the permission or accompaniment of their dominant partners. Other forums provide places for unattached doms and subs to find a partner.

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