Romanticism of Masters, slaves & subs

Romanticism of Masters, slaves & subs

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the term “Master” used by people in the lifestyle. It’s no surprise, really, as it’s a valid and common term. I’m speaking more to what I see as a misuse of the term.

So often, I hear submissives referring to their leader/owner/top or counterpart of whatever degree as Master. I see their counterparts sometimes also refer to themselves as Master. It has almost become this romantic notion to be a submissive and address one’s dominant as Master. I must also question if it’s the desire for a “higher” status minus the actual effort it takes to gain and retain such (like playing husband and wife without actually getting married). What ever happened to the pride in saying “Yes, he is my Dom?”

The term “master” can be defined by 100 different people in 100 different ways. Here’s one explanation of the difference between a dominant and a master, for example: “A Dominate [sic] will command your body to obey, and you may or may not respond. A Master will command your mind to yield to his or her will, and your body will obey without question.” (from Dominance & Submission blog)

At the lowest common level, a master is one who owns or requires the ownership of a slave… not a submissive, not a bottom, not a play thing, but a slave.

Until the moment an s-type is declared as, and accepts the role of slave, and a D-type is declared as, and accepts the role of master, the dynamic between the two is that of dominant and submissive, or D/s.

Pairing in the lifestyle is vital and at the core of what we do. In any dynamic, one who has taken submissive status is paired with one who has taken dominant status; one who has taken slave status is paired with one who has taken the status of master. Submissive status is not paired with master status, and slave status is not paired with dominant status.


This does not negate the fact that some submissives crave (and perhaps claim) slave status, and vice versa for dominants. Being a submissive doesn’t strip one of the right to be a slave. But within one’s dynamic, if you serve as a submissive, then you serve a dominant, not a master, and you are a submissive, not a slave. You don’t address a doctor as Your Honor, so why address your dominant as Master?

Why is any of this important? The same reason it’s important to understand the differences between like and love, between being alone and being lonely, between rights and privileges. It is all too easy to blur the lines between roles in the lifestyle, but for many, the differences are not only good to know, they are of great importance. I would think this level of importance should convey to those who are new to the lifestyle so we are not impacted by continually misshapen ideals.

Learn the variations available in the lifestyle. Know and appreciate the differences. Be proud of whatever status you truly claim.