January 9, 2010

Subs: A Misunderstanding

There is a lot mentioned about the difference between subs and slaves. Many posts online delve into the levels of exchange of power. I believe most of them chronicle these aspects well. However, one area that seems to be left to misunderstanding is what is meant by a "sub". It seems that most fail to see the varying degrees.

A sub is a person who submits. That is simple enough. In general terms, a slave is a sub (although a sub is not necessarily a slave: a Coke is a soda but not all sodas are Cokes). That being said, most have a common idea of what they mean when someone says they are a "sub".

The general meaning of a sub is that he or she is one who is sexually submissive. In BDSM, the exchange of power is the fundamental separator from the traditional lifestyle. Under D/s, a sub submits in certain areas. Typically, the one area that one is submissive in is the sexual arena. This is where the control is given over. One chooses to be dominated in the bedroom. The common belief is all other areas are off limits.

This is where things start to get cloudy. What about the person who is willing to submit in more areas than just sexually? Where does he or she fit in? I feel the overriding outlook is that the one who moves away from sexual submission is now entering into slavery. My experience tells me this is untrue. This misconception leads to failure since I sense the mindset of a slave is missing in these people. The leap from being a sub to a slave is enormous. Most fail to grasp this.

Getting back to our person who desires more, is he or she a slave because of this want? Not necessarily. It is possible to be more than just a "sex sub". Someone can offer to do the laundry, handle the yard work, or run errands for his or her Dom. Even though the boundaries were expanded, the nature of the relationship did not change.

The main difference between a sub and slave is in the exchange of power. When one enters into M/s, the exchange of power is complete. This fact affects all areas of one's life. Nothing is not open to the control and decisions of a Master (Mistress).

A sub retains control over certain areas that he or she chooses. For example, while submitting to running errands, a sub may keep his or her career off limits. The choice to work or not is in his or her hands as opposed to the Dom. This is a radical shift from M/s where the decision is the Master's. A sub always retains the ability to exercise control in certain areas.

The other area that differs is in the ending of the relationship. A slave needs to request release. Like all other decisions, in M/s, the relationship ends when the Master says it is over. It is his or her choice (unless there is some type of physical danger that the slave is in). A sub can decide to walk away whenever he or she chooses. The level of exchange of power is not to the same degree as under M/s.

Therefore, just because one moves his or her submission to areas other than the bedroom, this is not cause to call oneself a slave. This person is still a sub. The situation is altered in terms of the areas where the submission exists. Nevertheless, the nature of the relationship did not change. It is still D/s.

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dark snow on January 9, 2010 at 4:58 PM said...

so what u meant is a slave submits totally while a sub retains some control?

then as long as the person retains a little control, he/she would be a sub and not a slave?

Dennis Najee on January 9, 2010 at 5:19 PM said...

Yes that is correct. A sub submits completely in certain areas that are agreed upon whereas a slave submits his or her entire life. That is the primary difference between the two.

Anonymous said...

I am not quite sure if I understand what you mean when you say a slave needs to request release. If a slave wants to leave, but his/her Master does not allow him, does that not make the relationship non-consensual?

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