Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Slave -v- Sub

Well, it’s a whole new year! Whatever your dreams, I hope they all come true.

I have been in the BDSM community for many years. My husband even longer. I have heard debate after debate as to exactly what the difference is between a “slave” and a “submissive.” My understanding is that there have been these same debates for years and years before I was even born. So I want to clear a few things up.

First of all, I am sure there are those who will want to argue with me about it. Fine, post your comments. I DO read them all. Even though I don’t always reply to them, I do read them. They are automatically emailed to me. So I read each one carefully before deciding to which I want to respond.

If you are married and live in a Female Led Relationship, the odds are, one of you is Dominant, while the other is submissive. In the BDSM world, because you are “full-time” some would say that the submissive partner is really a slave. Hogwash! Just because you are married does NOT mean that your submissive partner has to be a slave.

I deal with many, many married couples. Most of the time, they sit down and discuss exactly what each of them expects from the other and from the relationship as a whole. Most of them will hammer out some kind of agreement so they have something to fall back on if things don’t go as planned.

The only difference I can discern between a submissive and a slave this: A submissive submits to what he/she is willing to do. Whereas a slave submits to whatever his/her Dominant tells them to do. The slave has no choice but to comply.  The submissive can always negotiate. Therefore, the difference is in the negotiations. The slave does what he/she is told, while the submissive does what he/she is willing to do.

So now that you have a clearer definition, ask yourself, “Am I a slave or a submissive?” Or, “Is my partner a slave or a submissive?” These are important questions. You and your partner need to be clear on this matter. It can make the difference in your happiness.

Now that I have everyone's attention. As I said, there are thousands of definitions and debates out there about this subject. The above definitions are MY OWN. When you see me writing about a "slave," this is what I am referring to. If I write about a "submissive," I am using the definition above. I presented this post to make my writing clearer to the reader, not to start a discussion about what is right and what is wrong.

A note on safe-words: I have seen definitions that say a submissive has a safe-word and a slave does not. BULL CRAP!!! The safe-word was not designed to allow a sub (or slave) to back out of an activity once it has begun simply because he/she doesn't like it. That's what negotiations are for. Any person engaging in any kind of bondage or play that could possibly cause them harm, especially if something goes wrong (remember Murphy's Law) is a fool if they don't have a safe-word. The safe-word is there to prevent harm if something goes wrong. USE ONE!

Mistress Ivey


  1. Slave v. submissive seems to be the longest-running topic of discussion in our lifestyle. It's a false dichotomy, since all of the terms are whatever the people using them say they are - there is no universal grammar police or lifestyle police or understanding of the terms by anybody in the dayworld in which we all are living too. Seems to be mostly a way for people to impress themselves: "Oh, I'm a slave but you're ONLY a submissive, etc."

    1. You are so very correct my friend. So very nicely said!!!!

  2. My wife never thought that I should be allowed to decide when my discipline ended so I always kept my mouth shut. Of course now with the chastity device it's the only "discipline" I seem to need. ( Except for the occasional "tune-up" )

  3. I think your definition is fairly spot on. And speaking practically, I wonder how many men who define as slaves actually are? I mean, are they really in a situation from which they cannot escape if the going gets too tough? I expect there may exist a tiny minority, but most of us probably exist somewhere on the consensual submissive spectrum.

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