A few years ago at the Leatherman’s Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, I was asked to present a class on D/s relationships. When I asked them why they wanted me to do this class, they responded, “Well of anyone I know, you probably know the most about it.” This article is a short synopsis of that class.
D/s stands for Dominant/submissive. There are several types of D/s relationships that exist in the Leather/BDSM world. These are: Sir/boy, Madam/girl, Sir/girl, Madam/boy; Master/slave or Mistress/slave; Daddy/son, Mommy/daughter, Daddy/daughter, Mommy/son, also called Daddy/boy, Mommy/girl, etc; Owner (Master)/animal (pony or puppy, etc); and Husband/wife or Wife/husband.
Now you might laugh about the husband wife relationship being a D/s relationship, but a GOOD marriage is one where one person is in charge and the other follows. Where you have both who are equal, this does not always work out and in order to make it work, it requires a lot of effort on the part of both individuals. It can work, but it’s not easy. Good working relationships are those where one person is in control. If both are trying to be in control, it is a sure bet it will end in failure.
Now let me explain the similarities and the differences in these relationships.
All of these D/s type relationships are where one person dominates another. All of these relationships are consensual, that means BOTH parties are okay with the workings of the D/s dynamics. Sex may or may not be a part of the relationship (most are sexual).
Sir/boy, Madam/girl, Sir/girl, Madam/boy – these are most common of the D/s relationships within our community. The Sir or Madam owns/controls the boy or girl. This is commonly referred to as ownership of the submissive. There may or may not be a contract between the individuals. I strongly recommend that you do have a written agreement of some sort. That way everyone knows what their roles are and what is expected of them.
These are the relationships that have collars. These collars are loose but unable to slide over the head. They have locks on them and only the Dominant has the key to the lock. The collar maybe 24/7 or may be only for events or special occasions. The dynamics of these relationships are as diverse as the individuals involved in them. They are based on the desires and wants of the Dominant and no two will be the same.
Master/slave or Mistress/slave – these are the second most common of the D/s relationships and are the most common relationship in the het BDSM community. In the het BDSM, all submissives are referred to as slaves. In the Leather community, slaves are exactly that, a slave, just like the slaves of old. The slave is owned by a Master or Mistress. They are the property of the owner. The slave does not have a voice or rights other than what is spelled out in the contract. It is VITAL that M/s relationships have a written contract. I would even go so far to have it notarized or witnessed. With problems in today’s world, it is a must to have this contract.
Collars again are used in these relationships too, same rules as with the S/b, but one difference is on these collars the chain has larger links and the chain is tighter fitting around the neck, a choker type. There are even metal band collars. The collars are tight-fitting because it is based on the old period slave collars where it was impossible to stick something between their neck and the chain so they could not have it cut off or removed.
The dynamics again are just as diverse as the S/b, but one thing about these, in a TRUE M/s relationship the slave will never speak in public. True 24/7 M/s relationships are few and far between. In many areas, they also are still illegal. Check your local laws before getting involved in a true M/s relationship.
Daddy/son, Mommy/daughter, Daddy/daughter, Mommy/son – these are a fairly common relationship but probably the least understood. This relationship should be built and based on a typical father-son, mother-daughter type dynamic. Now I’m talking biological father son, mother daughter, not two unrelated individuals. So these dynamics should mirror and reflect how a biological parent is with their child. No collar should be in these relationships. The same way you would treat your child is the same way you should treat this sub. The same for the sub, the same way you treat your parent is the same way you should treat your Dom. Too many people substitute this relationship for a Sir/boy, Madam/girl. They are different and should be treated differently.
Owner (Master)/animal (pony or puppy, etc) – these relationships are where the Dom is the owner of an individual who plays a specific animal or pet. These are the newest of the D/s relationships. The most common of these are ponies and puppies. There is no limit to the type of animal the sub may wish to portray. These relationships are usually temporary and are played by individuals from one of the other type of D/s relationships. I don’t know of anyone who lives a 24/7 Owner/pet relationship. Even though there are pup so-n-so, they usually are not a 24/7 puppy.
Husband/wife or Wife/husband – What can I say here? We ALL know of a H/w or W/h relationship. These are the only D/s relationships that exist outside the Leather/BDSM world. However, many of those in this type of relationship are totally unaware they are in a D/s relationship. Like I said earlier, the best working married relationship is one where one of the individuals is in charge and the other gives up control. In other words a true D/s type relationship. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians will cause chaos. Nowadays, these relationships are being expanded to include Husband/husband, Wife/wife relationships.
Any two individuals in any relationship should serious look into the D/s relationship dynamics. Many relationship counselors have seen that D/s relationships are far more healthy than non D/s relationships.
There is one very important thing about D/s relationships. To make them work, really work, the individuals involved must discuss the D/s dynamics. This means communication. Talk to each other, don’t assume anything. Discuss who is the Dom, who is the sub, and what are the parameters of the relationship. Talk about it, write it out, and come to a mutual agreement. By doing so, you too can have a healthy, wonderful and fulfilling relationship.