As mentioned before in my two previous posts on this topic, I’m working on documenting my thoughts on the different types of Dominant/submissive relationships. So far I’ve completed the first two–Pretenders and the D/s-Lite relationship. Today, however, I’m going to venture out into deeper water, and discuss a category of relationship that takes the Dominant/submissive aspect far more seriously than either of the first two. This third category is the part-time, committed, D/s relationship.

Unlike the D/s-Lite category, a part-time, committed D/s relationship involves a true and lasting exchange of power between the two partners. In this type of relationship, the dominant partner controls the behavior of the submissive, and enforces that control through corrections or punishments (sometimes mental, sometimes physical, and sometimes both) if necessary. If you recall, the D/s-Lite dominant entices their partner into complying with a request or activity through a sort of behavioral Ju-Jitsu, using their own hidden desires to overcome any obstacles. The part-time, committed D/s dominant, however, compels the submissive to comply.

Now, we need to take time out here for a moment to be realistic. In the free world in this day and age, truly compelling someone against their will is illegal. I want to make it clear that in this type of relationship, there is a voluntary transfer of power; the submissive chooses to relinquish their power to the dominant, and agrees to allow the dominant to require obedience. Under no circumstances is it right or proper to force your partner to do anything they do not wish to do or to which they do not agree!

It may sound like the statements above rob the part-time, committed D/s relationship of its power, but they do not. In fact, the idea that the submissive chooses to give themselves to the dominant, and that they do so willingly, is exactly the source of that power. It is a great gift and a great trust that the submissive gives, and by accepting this gift and trust, the dominant takes on a great responsibility. If the dominant cannot meet that responsibility, the trust will be broken, the gift will be withdrawn, and the relationship will end.

The dominance and submission do not extend across all aspects of the two partner’s relationship at all times–if they did, the relationship would cross over into the fourth and final category of D/s, the Immersive Relationship. Instead, the part-time, committed D/s relationship is bounded in some way. Potential boundaries can include:Bounded by location (e.g. the D/s aspects exist within the home, but not outside it)

  • Bounded by environment (e.g. D/s is in place when the two partners are in private, but not in public)
  • Bounded by type of activity (e.g. D/s is focused around sexual pursuits, but not other types of activity)
  • By remaining part time, the partners in this relationship are able to maintain a vanilla outer aspect if they choose to do so. However, the power exchange tends to color other aspects of life as well, even if they are outside the agreed-upon boundaries.

    BDSM actions of all types may (or may not) be found in this type of relationship, including bondage, corporal punishment, humiliation, exhibitionism and many others. The main focus, however, is mental and emotional–it’s about ensuring submission, and most BDSM activities are performed primarily to support that idea. Submissives may have limits and they are respected, but with the understanding that most (probably not all) limits will be worked on and tested, with the objective being to overcome them. The goal of both partners in this relationship is to achieve a state of perfect control and perfect submission within the boundaries they have set.

    It is sometimes the goal of partners within this type of relationship to move into full immersion, and therefore enter the next category. Generally it is the need to interact with the outside world that prevents them from doing so, and they plan to change their lives so that interaction is reduced and they are able to move ahead. However, sometimes a part-time, committed relationship is all that is desired, with dominance and submission being confined within set boundaries. It is certainly possible to remain in a stable part-time, committed D/s relationship for many years, as long as both partners are happy within it.

    The next post in this series will cover the final category of D/s relationships, the Immersive Relationship. I’ll try to have it posted in the next week or so. In the meantime…

    Enjoy yourself!


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