When it comes to dominant-submissive (dom sub) relationships, it’s understandable that most people recall Fifty Shades of Grey. But there’s much more to these relationships than what’s typically portrayed in pop culture. This article explores D/S relationships in depth, including which role may best suit you and how to find a potential partner.

Dom Sub

When you begin to explore BDSM sex, one of the first things you’d have to consider is the role that you will perform. The terms “dom” and “sub,” which also translate to “dominant” and “submissive,” are two of the most widely used designations in the BDSM kink community. One partner may assume the dominant role while the other submits in a BDSM consensual kink scenario.

This article dives into the inner workings of BDSM relationships, specifically a dom and sub relationship. Gay men who engage in these types of relationships often have stark differences compared to regular, vanilla relationships. Read ahead to learn more about dominant and submissive roles in BDSM relationships.

Defining the Kink: What is a Dom and Sub (D/S) relationship?

People who are into exploring BDSM and kink scenes often opt to interact with one another in a dom-sub relationship. The terms “dom” and “sub” refer to a person’s dominance or submission. These names refer to two possible roles that partners can play in a sexual or romantic relationship.

Kink - dom sub

A dom and sub relationship refers to an affair wherein one person exercises authority (dom) over another (sub) and receives sexual favors in return. The dominant partner performs sexual acts on a sub. In return, the sub determines the boundaries of what they like to experience and the limitations of what the dom may wish to do to them.

Thus, both parties discuss and negotiate the BDSM practices they can do within the relationship.

Remember that “dom” and “sub” are not merely slang terms in the kink and BDSM communities. You and your partner should have an open and transparent conversation about the roles you will be playing during kinky sex.

Roles in D/S Relationships: Are You a Dom or a Sub?

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Have you determined your role in your BDSM play?

The primary roles in BDSM relationships are the dominant and submissive roles. A D/s pairing can be understood as a give-and-take between two parties with unequal power dynamics. They serve distinct functions to simulate power play when they practice BDSM. The following descriptions can guide you in determining whether you are a dominant partner or a submissive partner.

The Dominant Partner

Do you take pleasure in being in charge and dictating the action of the sex play? Then, you are likely to assume the dominant role. The dominant partner is responsible for maintaining and enforcing the submissive’s obedience by establishing authority and control.

Dom partner

The duties of a dominant include taking charge and making important decisions. Ultimately, it is up to you to maintain a safe environment and lead with integrity. The term dom can be modified into “domme” for female-led relationships with a dominant woman.

A dominant partner may get off from kinky sex activities like ruined and forced orgasms or orgasm denial. Some may also prefer inflicting pain, such as in sadomasochistic scenes. Doms also enjoy the different sensations of control and power play that kinky play provides.

The Submissive Role

The goal of the submissive is to follow the lead of the dominant, so they must be willing to give up some of their autonomy. Although they obey, most of the BDSM play is dictated by the submissive’s sexual desire, which the dominant partner aims to fulfill.

According to a relationship coach, the submissive gains strength through submission and takes pleasure in giving up power during the consensual BDSM scene.


Some submissives find sexual arousal in cases where their dominant partners apply discipline or punishment to them—some finish from receiving pain. Sometimes, the sub will like being tied down or having their partner use remote-controlled sex toys like dildos and vibrators.

While the dominant partner holds the actual authority in the relationship, the submissive can always end the scene or the relationship by saying their safe word.

Different structures of D/S relationships

structures of dom sub relationship

There is a wide variety of dom-sub arrangements, just as with any other type of relationship. Relationships can be exclusive and romantic, long-term and polyamorous or kinky, or even short-term and casual.

Another thing to remember is that the dominant and submissive roles are not fixed and may vary. Power exchange is fluid between partners. Some gay men identify as switches because they enjoy playing both roles. Below are common types of dom and sub relationships.

      Master and Slave

master and slave

In this setup, the dominant partner is hailed superior by the submissive, who acts as a servant. Aside from obeying the master’s sexual demands, this type can also involve actual service from the submissive. Such services involve taking care of the dom’s leathers and boots.

      Babysitter and Child

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In this dynamic, Dom takes on the role of provider and protector. The submissive is like their “little girl/boy/baby,” treated with love and respect. Brushing hair, spanking as a form of punishment, being fed with a spoon, etc., are all examples of what is referred to as “Ageplay,” or “roleplaying,” with a younger person.

      Dom-Sub Bondage

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Here’s where the rope comes in handy. The dom restrains the sub in a number of methods, most of which involve the use of rope or other shackles.



This is a type of chastity play that refers to the use of chastity devices such as cock cages. The submissive constantly asks for the dominant partner’s approval on where they can touch themselves and when they can have an orgasm.

Why People Dig It: Benefits of D/S Relationships

You might be surprised to learn that engaging in kinky sex and establishing a dom/sub relationship has numerous positive effects on your physical and mental well-being. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to give d/s relationships a shot, perhaps the following advantages will sway your decision:

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· Facilitates better interaction

· Improving mental health, decreasing stress, and lessening anxiety are all side effects of a closer relationship.

· It helps in expressing the partners’ sexuality

· Being fully present at the moment throughout the connection

Finding a partner for a D/S relationship

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You may now be already down of a dom and sub relationship, but searching for the other partner may be a struggle for others. The other partner must be agreeable and amicable, given that there will be so much negotiation within the relationship. Of course, the first thing you’d have to do is to visit or browse pages and platforms that primarily house gay men who are interested in BDSM relationships.

Gay men commonly frequent kinky apps to meet potential partners who might be into BDSM play as well. If you’re feeling bold, you could even go to a kink night wherein you can meet potential partners. Ultimately, you may always sign up for a munch casual group in your area. When it comes to munches, you should be able to attract folks interested in the more unorthodox aspects of BDSM practices.

Kinky BDSM Activities

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One of the most exciting aspects of a dom and sub relationship is the pervy and quirky sexual activities both partners are down to do. BDSM relationships are famous for having an enthralling sex life.

Do the Classic Art of Bondage

act of bondage

Bondage is the act of restraining the submissive during a sexual session. You can use bondage tools such as ropes, handcuffs, ball gags, ties, bondage tape, blindfolds, chains, and the like. These devices are meant to put the sub under the dom’s control and increase sexual stimulation by limiting the sub’s range of motion or access to sensory input.

Wear BDSM Sex Gear


The dominant frequently wears scene-specific clothing options such as leather suits, while the submissive may don a leash or collar. When doing roleplay sessions on different occasions, doms and subs should dress the part. By doing this, they can more fully enter the experience and discover new sides of themselves.

Smitizen is a one-stop shop for sex attires and gear specially designed for gay men. Browse a range of high-quality body and muscle suits that can effortlessly give you a perfect physique. You can also go for dog masks for intense sensation from pup play.

Practice Safety Precautions

The dominant must maintain a sober state of mind, curb drug and alcohol use during roleplay, end the roleplay before becoming fatigued, and be constantly aware of the submissive’s emotional and physical well-being.


Moreover, it would be best if you established a safe word. You should choose a safe word that neither of you would ever use in regular play so that if one of you ever needs to stop, there is no misunderstanding.


Any BDSM relationship is fine to pursue, provided all persons involved are satisfied with the dynamic you’ve established. Navigating the power play outside the realm of traditional sex can be a profoundly sensual experience.