What is a Dom/sub Relationship Really Like?

by Lovehoney

on Oct 6, 2021

Find out about the Dom sub relationship, how to be a dom or sub and what the secrets of this power play really are.

Bondage couple flogger

Peeps outside the world of Dominance and submission are curious about it. How does a sub and Dom relationship work? Do you need to fully commit to the whole BDSM scene or can you just have a go at it, to suck it and see?

It’s not all about spanking paddles, handcuffs and restraints, though they are heaps of fun. Couples find more benefits than just getting their jollies. It turns out that the surrender of control, and acceptance of that control, can bind your relationship tighter together than a bucket of Araldite.

If you give it a burl, you’ll have a sexy shared secret. Bonus points for the mutual trust you develop in such intensely erotic play.

Don’t be scared about testing out a Dom/sub relationship. You might discover the beauty of a relationship that turns on a sexy and trusting power play of partners.

If you are curious about other types of BDSM, why not also explore:

How to Introduce Bondage to Your Relationship

3 Common Kinks (And Why You Need To Try Them)

Beginner's Guide to Electro Sex Toys

What is a Dom/sub relationship?

In a Dom/sub relationship, one person is the Dominant party (Dom) while the other is submissive (sub).

These roles could be short term - for duration of your sex sesh. Or it could be long term - e.g., all the time for lifestyle Dominant and submissive types.

Famously Dominant types like CEOs in their everyday job might relish the chance to be submissive in their love shack, and vice versa.

Submissives might enjoy sexual submission or maybe for them obeying non-sexual instructions is deeply satisfying.

People who like to play as both Dom and sub are known as switches.

Some peeps in the scene just apply Dominance and submission in the boudoir, while for others the Dom/sub relationship is something they want in every aspect of their relationship. When you are all in with a sub and dom relationship, 24/7, the term for your relationship is Total Power Exchange (TPE).

Consent is mandatory

Everyone should know how important consent is these days. In Dom/sub play it is an absolute must. Without consent, sub and dom play is impossible. Consent is totally non-negotiable. Consent keeps everybody safe. Have a blast - after consent is confirmed.

Respect and trust

At first glance as an outsider to the scene, you might see a sub being flogged as Dom abuse. To insiders, that’s so wrong it’s hilarious.

Remember what we said above about consent? In this role play, the sub has asked for flogging. If you want to know how to be a good Dom, the answer is to give the sub what they want.

The Dom has undying respect for their actively consenting submissive. That includes respect for all their desires, kinks and limits. They have willingly surrendered control within those agreed limits to the Dom.

The sub trusts the Dom to act according to their level of surrender. All acts are discussed and agreed beforehand.

Respect creates strong trust between the couple. Because BDSM play can involve the most vulnerable areas of a person's psyche and sexuality, the Dom/sub play can be intensely sensual and erotic.

Dom/sub relationships involve extreme amounts of trust. Natch, this leads to sexual and/or psychological satisfaction that is powerful. A Dom/sub relationship can create levels of emotional bonding that are almost impossible to achieve through typical relationships.

Communication is key

A Dom sub relationship is impossible without great communication.

In the power play between partners, control is surrendered and taken. That is not offered lightly, so having a good chin wag before, during and after sub and dom play is essential.

Trust grows when you are truly heard by your partner, and respected. That you might be bound up, gagged and flogged (within your limits) is what you’ve asked for as a sub - not some random act of cruelty by a Dom.

Respecting those limits and communicating clearly about them will make your Dom and sub relationship a winner. And winners are grinners.

When Stop means Go, use a safe word

In the throes of mattress mambo, it is common for a partner to cry out, ‘Don’t stop!’

And in a power play of Dom and sub roles, it can be essential to play with that power dynamic. A Prisoner may beg the Jailor to ‘stop’, or a Nurse might plead with the Doctor to ‘stop’ - within these role plays the very act of asking the Dom to stop is a key part of the exchange.

Both parties have agreed on this play ahead of time and ignoring the ‘stop’ request is central to the power play they both want.

All of which makes the word ‘stop’ a problem for sub and Dom play.

A safe word

The answer is to agree on a safe word ahead of time - any word (except stop) that means stop.

We like the traffic light system, because the words 'red', 'yellow' and 'green' are understood from driving rules. 'Red' means stop what you’re doing immediately, 'yellow' means things are getting intense so proceed with caution, and 'green' means everything's fine, keep going, mate.

How it feels when you're in a Dom/sub relationship

A Dom/sub relationship can feel magical when you communicate needs and desires, and develop deep trust as well as full body and mind satisfaction.

It’s more than the sex, peeps. It’s about respecting and meeting one another's needs. A Dom/sub relationship can have deep psychological and emotional benefits.

But the erotic parts are sexy, for sure. Lovehoney is all about sexual happiness and we can promise you that we have a ton of bondage toys to help you explore a Dom sub relationship.

The exchange of power is a shared secret that can being couples closer together. Having control over your partner offered up to you, or surrendering your control to your partner, is an intoxicating thrill.

Remember, the focus is on fun

There’s no need to plunge into the deep end straight off the bat.

If you want to experiment and see where the path takes you, go for it. Most Dom/sub relationships are constantly evolving and adapting to changing needs, wants and limits of both partners. Celebrate the twists and turns and have fun.

If you're taking your first baby steps towards a new, kinky life, no one else is the wiser, so think of it as a sexy shared secret with your kinky companion.

For many, this journey adds spice to your sex lives and create a thrill of excitement in your everyday lives.


Written by Lovehoney. For collaborative posts between Lovehoney team members and guest authors
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Originally published on Oct 6, 2021. Updated on Oct 7, 2021