Dominance/submission (a.k.a. Dom/sub, Ds, D/s, and D&s) is generally described as a type of play in which one person exercises control over another. Unfortunately, this definition over-simplifies ideas of power, potentially leading to misconceptions of D/s. It also neglects the many complexities and possibilities involved with how D/s may manifest within a relationship. Nevertheless, it seems that any definition of D/s would require some disclaimers and footnotes. So, rather than conjuring up another description, we’ll instead give you a quick ‘101’ on what we definitely know D/s is not.
Top 6 Myths about Dominance/submission:
(1) D/s is strictly kink. For some people, D/s can translate into ‘kinky sex’ or sadomasochism. (Think bondage, master/slave role play, verbal humiliation, etc.) Yet, for many others, D/s fits perfectly into their ‘vanilla’ sex lives. (Think delaying orgasm, giving orders, light spanking, and so on.) There is truly an entire spectrum of activities, which people may consider to fall under the category of D/s. Resist the urge to pigeon-hole!
(2) D/s is strictly physical. Physical contact does not actually have to be a component or goal of D/s. In fact, some individuals partaking in D/s may never even meet their partners in person. (Non-physical examples could include communication through phone calls and emails.)
(3) The role you play in D/s shows whether you’re normally dominant or submissive. In some situations, dominant lovers consider themselves to be generally dominant people, and likewise. However, for others, it can be the reverse. For instance, some individuals who feel they must normally exemplify strength and dominance enjoy being sexually submissive as a type of break from reality. This myth gets a bit sticky to explain, as the exact motivation(s) behind any person’s preference is normally unknown.
(4) One person is always dominant; the other is always submissive. Many people enjoy both roles and regularly switch back-and-forth within individual sessions or throughout their relationships (thus acquiring the nickname ‘switch.’) Also, some individuals are submissive with one partner and dominant with the next. D/s roles do not have to be set in stone.
(5) Dominant lovers are inherently cruel. Most people who are into D/s report the opposite. ‘Doms’ need to be well-educated on how to pleasure (and not seriously hurt) their partners. Therefore, many spend a great deal of time researching before they try anything out. Some even choose to have the acts performed on themselves beforehand for some good, old-fashioned trial-and-error experimentation. D/s can obviously involve a great deal of trust. It’s for this reason that many people find dominant partners to actually be quite caring and thoughtful in sexual relationships.
(6) D/s is abusive. D/s relationships should not be unhealthy. It’s important to note that D/s must be consensual. The roles and conditions may be designated through conversation, or actual written contracts can be utilized. (This does not mean that you can’t back out!) Also, ‘safe-words’ are frequently used to ensure that both partners are aware of when they need to stop (see our past article on sexual communication). With that being said, some D/s relationships, like any other type of relationship, can become unhealthy or abusive. If this is the case, you should stop and seek professional help, if necessary.
To find out how our Cherry Dishers view D/s and power relations, check out the following videos:
- Sexual Power Plays Sexual Power Plays -– who’s leading and who’s following in...
- Sex & Power Whenever I thought about the dominant/submissive power dynamic, I had...
- Dirty Sexy Smells I’ve always found the connection between smell and physical attraction...
- Talking Sex It’s no new breakthrough that communication can improve sex...