February 23, 2012

Sub versus Slave

As I make my rounds reading different posts, I am always intrigued how so many have different ideas about the most basic of definitions that we utilize in this lifestyle. Sadly, it seems that people use terminology that fits their purpose. While this is okay on one hand, it does create a great deal of confusion when people are posting these things. It is always important to remember that newer people are reading the words without the ability to filter the information out.


I will start by saying that people are free to establish their relationships however they see fit. There is not a template that everyone needs to operate from. BDSM is about individuality and personal creation. Ultimately, everyone is seeking fulfillment. That is an end which can only be derived through internal investigation. We all tick in different ways. Determining one's likes and dislikes is a major part of the process. Many of us learned that reality is not always as good as the fantasy or vice versa. However, the only way to uncover this is to look at ourselves and see what fits us.

At the same time, there are many who limit their BDSM activities to the bedroom only. Again, this is something that is perfectly acceptable if it is agreed to by the participating parties. Not everyone is cut out for full fledged 24/7 TPE. Many only want to approach the BDSM world to enhance their sexual play. These people need not be degraded for their choice or because they prefer to operate in a way that might stray from how others are behaving. The adage "different strokes for different folks".


Now that we have the individuality aspect explained, it is time to look at the terminology we use and why it is important. Words represent images to us; they are pictures in our mind. We think in this manner and the terms we use convey the specific image. For example, when I mention "ice cream sundae" a specific picture arises in our mind. The same is true for the word "dog". Thinking is nothing more than this.

When terms are not understood or their meaning clouded, then the thought process is interrupted. Understanding comes from the ability to take a word and transfer it into a picture. To emphasize this point, notice your throught process when I mention the word "letto". What images came to mind? I am going to surmise that most of you drew a blank. This term means nothing to you since it is not in your vocabulary. Therefore, it is impossible to focus upon this with imagery. However, if I told you that letto was Italian for bed, now you are able to create a picture for the word.


A submissive is someone who turns over power. This is the plain and simple idea of what occurs when one submits. Certainly, as was expressed in the individuality section of this post, this can vary amongst people. Some people prefer only to cede power in the bedroom. Others are more apt to be attracted to a 24/7 TPE situation. Either way, the bottom line is that the submissive grants power to the other person.

Which brings up an important point that is worthy of mentioning. BDSM is based upon consensual agreements. The lifestyle has little tolerance for anything that is non-consensual. The only way a submissive can lose the power is to consciously choose to give it to another. He or she selects whom this will be and under what circumstances. Now I will grant that are instances where submissives are so in touch with their core that they cannot seem to do anything other than obey. Nevertheless, this person still has the ability to opt out of anything that is occurring.

Submissives fall into two categories: subs and slaves. These are the terms we use. Again, since we think in pictures, we need to distinguish what this means. And, I am going to make some statements that people will find offensive. Tough. There is enough bullcrap spread online that if you want someone to agree with you, there are plenty of places to find that. This blog is about clearing up misinformation.

Sub Versus Slave

All slaves are submissive but not all those who are submissive are slaves. I have seen those who claim to be slaves yet also say they are not submissive. This is completely false. If one is not submissive, then one cannot be a slave in the BDSM world. Here is why: if you are not submissive, but you are involved in slavery, then that is not consensual. If you are made to do something and operate in a relationship where everything is forced upon you, that is not BDSM. Non-consent and forcing is nowhere under the definition of safe, sane, and consensual. Quite frankly, this is a form of abuse.

At the same time, by its very definition, a slave is involved in a complete exchange of power. There is no other way. If a relationship involves anything other than this, than that person is not a slave but, rather, a sub. Of course, many take exception to this statement. Sorry Chicos and Chicas. The title of slave is something that is to be honored and, in my experience, very few have the ability to achieve. Sadly, the term has been watered down by all the 20 year old neophytes online who claim to be slaves when, in fact, they are nothing more than brats looking for a free ride.

Another important matter as it pertains to power, is that it can have limits as long as it is defined. What do I mean by this? There are many types of slaves who operate with complete power exchange within prescribed areas but retain their autonomy in other areas. A slave is involved in a 24/7 TPE relationship with all power in all areas belonging to his/her Master or Mistress. But what about the other types of slaves such as domestic, financial, or even sexual? My feeling is these people are worthy of the title "slave" in these specific areas as long as one gives total power. For example, a domestic slave is willing to obey completely all instructions regarding affairs of the household. However, in many instances, sex is not included in the arrangement. A domestic slave is not a sex slave because the interaction is limited to specific areas where control is complete. The same is true for a financial slave. In this scenario, the Mistress (usually since most financial slaves tend to be male) has full access to all things financial. The slave simply obeys and goes along with her decisions.

Now, we contrast this with a sub. This is a person who can negotiate or place limits upon what goes on. At the same time, submission is done on a daily basis, instance by instance. A slave makes the decision once to submit and that obedience is expected in each situation. Someone who is a sub is not bound by that initial decision.

Hopefully you can see why a slave is such a difficult thing to be. It requires a mindset that you exist solely for the person you are submitting to. While your preferences might be considered, there is a chance that they matter little and are not taken into account. Masters (Mistresses) all have different ways of operating. A slave has to have the willingness to be able to accept the decisions that are set forth upon him or her. This is not an easy thing to do.

Sex Slaves

I would be remiss if I did not touch upon sexual slavery. Go to any BDSM "dating" site and you will find many profiles of women (mostly) stating they are sex slaves. Now, before going any further I am going to state the majority of these people are not sex slave but, rather sluts looking to be used in many different ways. So be mindful of that the next time you see the cute 23 year old "sex slave".

As was mentioned, to attain slavery, there needs to be a total exchange of power. Are there people who attain this and operate under this premise? Most definitely. They are ones who are worthy of the title "sex slave". Simply put, as it pertains to their sexuality, everything is in the hands of their Master (Mistress). No sexual power or decision-making is retained. It is an absolute transference of power.

Now, let us look at our online sex slaves that are so common. Are they willing to go to this end and achieve sexual slavery? They claim that they will do anything thus entitling them to the term. Nevertheless, before granting that, let us consider a few more questions for our aspiring sex slave who will do anything.

-Are you willing to suck on me no matter where my dick has been and what is on it? Ass-to mouth and post menstrual oral sex are the decisions of the Master, not you.

-Are you willing to do anything or anyone? I might decide I want you gangbanged or to have sex with a homeless guy. Oh, and that 320 pound, sweaty hairy guy from next door, he is on the list to use you. Again, not your choice.

-Under the same heading as doing anyone, you ready to have sex with your sister (and before any of you try to hit me with the illegality aspect, in the U.S., in many states, incest is only present when vaginal or anal penetration occurs)?

I can go on but you get the point. Many claim to be a sex slave but when confronted with some situations that are not so attractive, the idea is to back off. A slave does not have the choice to back off. Her submission was complete when she made it. It does not vary from situation to situation. If this is present, then one is really a sub. Hence our sex slave is exposed.

One final note: for some reason many people think that not being a slave is somehow less than being one. I do not know where the idea that being a sub is a demeaning thing. There is nothing wrong with being submissive and living in a D/s relationship. Most people want specific boundaries and to retain a certain amount of control to ensure personal fulfillment. Plus the issue of trust is difficult for many people (in addition to so few people meriting total trust). Therefore, I will category state that there is nothing wrong with living as a sub. It does not make one less than anything and in no way should ever lead to the demeaning by others. We are all here trying to find a life where we can be fulfilled. Few are designed to live the 24/7 TPE existence. Taking a path that leads to your own happiness should never be attacked by others. It is your life to live how you see fit.

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Sexperts on February 24, 2012 at 6:29 PM said...

I see some good points. I think the only issue with some people's terminology is it can make it seem like a sub is just a watered-down, less "submissive" form of a slave, like it's a worse choice. Which I don't think it is.

sbo on February 27, 2012 at 8:39 PM said...

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JazzlynRayne on March 9, 2012 at 1:43 PM said...

Loved your blog! Thank you for clearing up some very common misconceptions. I also agree with the previous poster, I don't think that submissives are less giving or more "watered down" then those who claim to be slaves. I also loved how you said all slaves are submissive. Loved it!

Anonymous said...

i love this article
i am a slave and never would have known that if i wasn't submissive first. which i loved very much i just needed more. being a slave in no way makes you better or means you are higher up. remember...even slaves have negotiations and we have contracts with our Master's. if we didn't then anyone could own use and abuse us. we are all deserving of respect. Dom or Master sub or slave.

Unknown on December 26, 2015 at 8:55 PM said...

I lived with a women for 35 years. The first five were vanilla. The next 8-10 as my sub. Then she became my slave. Many tell me that is not possible. However at the time she made a definite decision to give up the control or the option of saying no. In all areas of our lives. So to me a slave by definition is submissive. She just gave up the option of submitting on all orders; she just took the option of not submitting off the table.

Anonymous said...

Aspire to give control to fully submit to his desire .submissive in training slave is aspirations of serving to that degree where my life no longer my own but I am owned in bedroom .

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. My Owner recently told me that i was no longer a slave because i have much more sub tendency's... this really saddened me as i felt i was downgraded. Reading this put it into perspective. He is right tho... Whilst i did many nasty, naughty, dirty things, i have jealousy problems and releasing and handing over that, or the total trust i would need to trust i wouldn't be replaced, no matter how hard i tried, i couldn't let go. Now, for whatever reason, If he would invite another couple, the jealousy didn't arise, but another slave or sub, id foam at the mouth internally which he picked up on quickly by my energy.... So i certainly couldn't say i was a slave.

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