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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Newbie Tuesday: What's in a Name?

In the lifestyle we've all seen the terms, Dom, sub,Top, etc., but are these interchangeable? What exactly do they mean? So, mouse will take a stab at the terms.

Dom: short for Dominant. The individual in control. If female commonly referred to as Mistress, which may or might not indicate an ownership role. It is typical to address all Dominants as Sir or Ma'am. This is just done as a show of respect or to demonstrate being humble. In mouse's opinion, the title is not used because they are beneath them or less than.

Top: Generally a play term someone who seeks to control during play. The one who penetrates the bottom.

bottom: generally a play term describing someone who desires to be controlled or on the receiving end of a scene. The one penetrated by the Top.

sub: short for submissive, a person who desires to be controlled, may or may not be a masochist. The control they seek is of limited nature, they have limits, and retain some control during scene or play.

slave: someone who desires more control, still may retain limits, at least in the beginning, but has a great amount in trust in their Master or Mistress that limits might be pushed, or removed. No one should just hand themselves over to just anyone. In the beginning time should be spent getting to know the Dominant.

Master: Typically someone who owns a slave and is completely responsible for them. It can also mean someone who is an expert at perhaps element of play, or who demonstrates to others mastery or years of experience in the lifestyle. A Dom can be a Master, as the terms are often interchanged -- some feel Master has more weight to it. But driving a car for years doesn't make everyone an expert on auto repairs. A Master, generally has a great deal of knowledge about the lifestyle and has spent many years learning -- making mistakes and errors to understand the level of control they are comfortable with. They claim full responsibility for the other(s) in their life, regardless of their station, sub, bottom, pet or slave. There isn't a more formal term for women in the lifestyle who are Dominant and own slaves. They might have preferences, Mistress, Goddess, etc. Just as a Master might prefer his slave call him Sir.

**While many might start being a bottom, move toward submission and eventually end up a's not in anyway a hard and fast order. Being a slave isn't a pinnacle or better than anything else. Being submissive doesn't mean your burdened down with rules for the Dominant. It also doesn't mean, a sub can become a slave by being "broken" or ignoring common sense safety.

Being a Dominant doesn't mean your instantly capable of controlling a slave or slaves. Being a Master doesn't mean that you can instantly control many slaves or must be poly. Being Dominant isn't about bossing, demanding, or cammanding. It is about being in healthy control. Omega has often said, "...commanding a woman to drop to her knees is fun...but have that same woman drop to knees, on her own in total submission and beg to be used is just sexy. Nothing wrong with demanding oral, but having it offered is something else."

Daddy: Can be someone who nurtures the sub or slave in a loving but perhaps a bit parental in authority. Although it can be, the term does not mean age-play.

pet: someone who is well cared for, but not exclusively used, like the Daddy term, puppy/kitty/pony play.

A final thought: Being a submissive, bottom, slave or pet, does not mean doormat -- it takes great strength of character to submit or hand yourself over to another, either in a limited or full time way. Being a slave does not mean you have no voice. Being Dominant doesn't mean domineering.

A final added thought: The term slave doesn't always sit well with are Daddy's real thoughts on the subject.


  1. Mouse, that was a great job in explaining the titles, names, labels, etc... It can be hard to put a specific definition on all of those. And so many people tend to use the names interchangeably.

    I also like how you said one role doesn't necessarily lead to the other. This isn't necessarily a step program where you get a bigger and better badge for moving up the ladder. It has more to do with your level of interaction and the dynamic you like and are comfortable having with your partner.

    Your final thought was great as well. Even though we all know it, seasoned people in the lifestyle as well as newbies need to hear that.

    Very well put!


  2. Thanks DV Sir!

    Also mouse cleaned up the post a bit...seriously don't know what happened to the paragraphs...should be easier to read now..

    It just occurred to mouse that many newbies feel you start out as one thing and move along...or that somehow being a Master is more important...Or slave means you have no limits instantly must hand over all your goodies to the first guy claiming to be a Master...


  3. hi mouse...

    great post. i actually sent part of it to Master for his thoughts...

    i usually refer to us as Master and sub...i'm his collared slut, and his to do with as he wishes, but i've never used the term slave (neither has he)...i'm not sure it has value in our particular dynamic, because we are not a 24/7 couple.

    But the amount of control he does have over me is perhaps? Anyway, thanks for sparking a good conversation!



  4. nilla,

    You brought up some interesting points...even in a 24/7 dynamic there can be Master and subs...or slaves

    There are also bedroom slaves...who willingly give up control in the bedroom but retain control outside of it...there are bedroom Doms too who control what goes on inside the bedroom (or playroom) but really don't care much about outside of that realm...

    It was mouse's intent to give a brief over-view..but perhaps we'll have to delve into these a bit deeper....

    Anyway totally appreciate your thoughts...

    Oh and Daddy has some of his own views about the term slave....which could also be brought up too...


  5. This is very helpful thank you!! My husband and I are very new to this lifestyle... and this is awesome.. what I've discovered is that at different times I am different things... or he is different.. sometimes he is my daddy... other times he is my Master... where sometimes I'm his little slave... and then others I'm just his submissive.... lol.

  6. I'm really glad you mentioned the term pet. That is the type of dynamic my Master and I are in. I feel I am essentially a slave but I do enjoy the term pet better as some things are different than the typical M/s relationship.


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