How Should a Dominant Treat His Submissive?

While looking through the search terms that have led people to Liberate One, I came across an interesting question. How should a Dom treat his submissive? This is certainly a reasonable question, particularly for someone who may be just beginning to learn about Dominant/submissive relationships. So let us see if I can provide a reasonable answer.

My initial response to the question may surprise some of you who are new to Dominance/submission. A Dominant should treat his submissive with respect. Mind that you do not confuse and/or conflate respect with deference. When I say treat the submissive with respect, I am not saying treat her as if she were in charge. Respect the submissive as what she is, a submissive.

In other words, do not hold the submissiveness of the submissive in contempt. She is not lesser or weaker or bad for being a submissive. She is a human being and every bit the equal of the Dominant. Her submissiveness does not make her trash. Her submissiveness makes her a treasure.

Remember the golden rule, Dominants. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As you want to be treated, so treat others. The Dominant wants his submissive to respect him and his authority. (There is a South Park joke to be made but it would be inappropriate just now.) The Dominant, therefore, should respect his submissive and her submissiveness.

What does it mean to respect the submissive and her submissiveness? It means learning the ways the submissive desires the Dominant and his control. It means talking to the submissive and learning what her submissiveness means to her, and what the Dominant’s control means to her. This does not mean just doing everything the submissive wants. Rather learning about the submissive is how you will be able to respect her submission and provide her with the control that she needs.

When taking a submissive out to eat, for example, the Dominant should find out what the submissive wants to eat or likes to eat ahead of arrival at the restaurant. Then, when the Dominant orders the submissive’s food for her, the Dominant will choose something the submissive likes. In this way, the Dominant is in control and respectful of the submissive.

When training a submissive to kneel, for example, the Dominant should be specific about what sort of kneeling position he likes. The Dominant should look over the submissive in the kneeling position and correct her posture and the position of her limbs to his satisfaction. Not in a mean way, but in a supportive manner. In other words, the Dominant shows respect for the submissive by praising and encouraging her submission.

Remember that being a Dominant is not an excuse to be a bully or abusive. Remember too that any healthy relationship must be a two way connection. This is not less true in a D/s relationship. If anything it is more true in a D/s relationship. Disregard of the other has no place in a D/s relationship.

Understand, Dominants, that your submissive’s submission to you is not a light or insubstantial thing. Her submission is not a hobby. It is herself. If you abuse her submission, you are abusing her. So don’t do that. Respecting her submission is respecting her. So do that.

Yes, this does mean that establishing good rules for the submissive is respecting her submission. It does mean that disciplining her when she is disobedient is respecting the submissive. It does also mean, however, that being oppressive is not respecting her submission. Being tyrannical, over-possessive and/or abusive is not respecting her submission.

The Dominant is the leader in a D/s relationship. The best leaders serve those whom they lead. Yes, I am saying the Dominant should serve his submissive. Yes, this may seem like a paradox. But a Dominant should remember that the goal of the D/s relationship is not the D/s. The D/s is the means, not the end. The goal is that both the Dominant and submissive grow and become better and hopefully happier human beings.

The job of the Dominant is not to control the submissive for the sake of controlling the submissive. The job of the Dominant is to provide the structure that helps the submissive grow in grace and strength and peace. By this does the Dominant serve his submissive. By this does the Dominant respect his submissive.

And that reason is why I say that a healthy D/s relationship is an equal relationship. It may seem strange to think of a D/s relationship being an equal relationship. One person is leader and the other follows. But each person serves the other. Both meet the needs of the other. Both respect the other for who he or she is. That is what an equal relationship should be.

So that is how a Dominant should treat his submissive. Treat her as an equal. Treat her with respect. Treat her as a submissive.

(Somewhere a feminist is furiously confused by all this. Muwah ha ha ha ha ha!)

Hopefully that is a reasonable answer to the question. If someone reading this is new to D/s and still trying to figure out how to be a Dominant, don’t be overwhelmed by what I said here. You don’t have to be the perfect Dominant all at once. You will learn with time and experience how to become a better Dominant. And none of us is perfect anyway. I know I am certainly not anyway.

Okay, students, I should have a follow up post about Sub Assignment Number 1 soon. I think it has gone well so far. And if all goes well, next week there will be another assignment. And perhaps one or two long promised things will pop up in the near future too. I am considering which movie to choose for the first movie review. I will let you know which one I choose before I post my review, just in case anyone wants to try to watch it before they read what I have to say.

35 Responses to “How Should a Dominant Treat His Submissive?”

  1. Thank you for this information. Well said. I look forward to further writings.

  2. If done well, D/s is an equal exchange. From this submissive’s perspective — how much is given to Master is how much dievca gains back.

  3. I cannot articulate how thankful that I am for your blog. Your passages may prove to become a catalyst for changing my life completely. The advice given to journal and find not only why I submit but what I hope to gain from it was prolific. Something so simple yet completely necessary and edifying. The privilege to journal was hard to earn and I mean no disrespect to my Husband but is there a forum to speak to a dom to ask questions in a secure way? Do such forums exist? Husband and I have natural dom/sub tendencies but really never defined our roles and my extreme loss of self over the last 15 years was a catalyst to start looking for information to properly submit but not be completely isolated from others. Even now I cannot seem to find the words to properly describe what I am asking of you or your readers (much to the once lucid woman in my self’s dismay). Any literature recommendations would be highly valued. The time you have spent composing these well thought out passages and replies is much appreciated.

    • Welcome to Liberate One. I am not aware of forums for submissives to ask questions of Dominants, though I am sure some must exist. That said, I always welcome questions. If you want to ask me a question in private, you can post a comment here introducing yourself and explaining why you want a private conversation. Then I may allow for you to ask me the question in private.

      • Hello, there’s a forum on Fetlife for asking Dominants a question. Equally, there’s a forum for asking submissive’s questions too.


      • I’m kind starting out in this ….the girl I’m seeing is naturally submissive and I feel and she thinks I’m a natural dominate but idk what exactly I’m supposed to be doing lol she says I already do it but she’s surrendering complete control so idk what I’m supposed to do? Idk how I should disapline her or even take control

        • I would suggest you start here. I also suggest you have a talk with the girl about what she expects and what you expect from the relationship if you are the Dominant. Go slow. You do not have to be perfect from the start. See what feels natural to you. Talk with the girl about rules and punishments. Remember that this is a journey. You will learn, and so will she.

      • John Forester Says:

        Hi Xajow. I have entered a relationship with a submissive girl who is very special. What a gift she is willing to give me, and has given me so far – I want to collect all of the knowledge that I can in order to fulfill her similarly.

        Please help me understand these dynamics by addressing the following concern. I am perplexed about the motivation behind your response to Rene for two reasons. I’ll preface them by pointing out that it is clear that you consider your dominance over her to be certain. You are willing to go so far as to contradict yourself entirely, defying what you have just claimed to be an absolute rule of yours merely to demonstrate this perceived dynamic: “I always welcome questions…I may allow you to ask me a question…”

        You “always” welcome questions, but Rene’s submission to you is so complete that you will make an exception for her, deciding whether to acknowledge her inquiries according to some standard which will presumably have to be invented to accommodate this exceptional situation.

        Here are my questions:

        1) By what grounds are you granting yourself dominance over her? This authority isn’t the result of a contract or agreement, so where does it come from? She has said that she is submissive in her romantic relationship, but it doesn’t follow that she is submissive to everyone. Is she committed to submit to telemarketers, or the person making her sandwich at Subway, or anybody who she speaks to for the very first time? I’m sure you’ll agree she is not. And the only reason I can see for this is that she is not contractually bound to be. I assume also since you are writing these columns that you are the Dominant to one or more submissives according to some explicit agreement. But I am sure you are not Dominant over me, and this is true by that very same token: I haven’t informed you that you *may* be dominant over me, so you are not, precisely for this reason.

        2) When you answer that first question, I will understand the validity of your dominance over people of your choice who have not expressed consent for engaging in this relationship dynamic with you. But even after you explain how dominance can be acquired without contract or agreement, I won’t understand why you would choose to exercise your dominance in this way.

        “The job of the Dominant is not to control the submissive for the sake of controlling the submissive. The job of the Dominant is to provide the structure that helps the submissive grow in grace and strength and peace.”

        Are you emphasizing to Rene that you may choose to ignore her inquiries in order to “help [her] grow in grace and strength and peace?” Respectfully, your reply doesn’t even resemble an effective way to facilitate the growth of her strength and peace, so you must be expressing your dominance over her in this way for reasons which were left out of your column above? Will you please elaborate on these other reasons to dominate another person?

        Thanks for taking the time to write out your thoughts for the public to read. I look forward to entertaining your other columns.

        • Welcome to Liberate One, Mr. Forester. I appreciate the comment, but I think you are confused. Your assumption was not just erroneous but also shallow. And your subsequent words indicate that you may be much misinformed. But perhaps you are simply one of those fellows who thinks dominance is a thing granted by submissives. If that is the case, I offer my condolences. If that is not the case, well then, you’re sort of a hypocrite, expecting me to submit to your questioning when, ahem, I have not informed you that you may be dominant over me. (insert eye roll and smirk here) However, I will give you points for couching your snarky comments in (mostly) respectful language. You are a clever fellow.

          Being the generous fellow that I am, I will provide you a reply to your questions. As to question (1), I have not granted myself Dominance over Rene or anyone else. Neither have I said that I will always answer questions. What I have done is mention the rule used here at Liberate One by which I screen inquiries intended to be private. There is no one demanding Rene ask such a question or follow such instruction. I do always welcome questions because they show me something about the person asking them. And in general I am willing to answer questions as best I am able. As a human being with my own will, however, I reserve the right to not answer questions if I so choose. For example, question (2) is a foolish question based on a false premise, which I have just addressed, and so there is no point to answering it. And not answering it does not require me to have any control over you, just myself.

  4. Like with any relationship, d/s or not, any true and lasting connection is based on mutual trust, respect and communication.

    I appreciate your perspective and thoroughly enjoy your writing style. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. It gives me a greater perspective.

    • Thank you for the kind words. Welcome to Liberate One.

      • Oyster on the half shell Says:

        May I ask your advice?

        • Of course.

          • Oyster on the half shell Says:

            Does this go on the public forum? That’s not the question I am going to ask, I just needed clarification.

          • If you desire your question to remain private, you may say so. Introduce yourself, ask your question, and tell me if you want it to remain private. If you want it to be kept private, and if I deem you have been respectful enough, I will reply privately via e-mail. If you do not mind it being public, then just ask, and I will answer you here in the comments.

          • Oyster on the half shell Says:

            I’m a firm believer that my private life is just that – private. So if it is okay with you, I would rather not do this over a bulletin board.

            [EDIT: question deleted]

            My name is oysteronthehalfshell.. Nice to meet you.

            Thank you for your consideration

          • I will not answer your question. One, I don’t need you to tell me I should respect your privacy when I already said I would. Two, telling me your name is the internet handle you used as your name for the comment (which means I already know it) is not introducing yourself to me. I have deleted the question from your comment because you wanted it to remain private.

            No, I am not saying you have to tell me your real name. But you can give me some general background for the reason for your question, and you can be more respectful. If you would like to try again, I might still be willing to answer your question.

  5. very interesting information. thank you

  6. I am a feminist sub, and i think this is perfect.

  7. I have had 3 experiences with Doms. I have been upfront with the fact I am new and inexperienced. The first Dom told me I was too intelligent to be a sub. The second one was unhappy with my late response to a text and called me a fucking cunt for not responding quickly enough. The third got angry with me and called me a fucking bitch when I didn’t respond to his question with a ‘yes Master’. I am ready to give up, I don’t want to be called names. Is that a necessary part of being a sub? If it is then perhaps it isn’t for me. I cook cry. I am well educated, kind, respectful, take care of myself, and am caring. As a professional and single mother I do have limits with my time and responsibilities though. I am crying now because I am so very confused.

    • No, being called names is not a necessary part of being a submissive. And it sounds to me like the Dominants you mention are not very bright. First of all, there is no such thing as a submissive being too intelligent. Only a fool would think high intelligence in a submissive is a problem. The second and third Dominants sound like insecure fellows who think anger is the way to be the Alpha Male Dominant. They don’t know what they are doing either.

      I am sorry that this has been your experience with Dominants. We are not all like that.

      Take a moment to breathe. Bad Dominants are not your fault. If you go forward in trying to serve a Dominant (and I would not blame you if you do not), take your time. Be cautious. You are a submissive, a precious thing, and you should have a good Dominant who will respect you. You can find one. Just be patient. Easier said than done, I know. But worth it. I promise.

    • No, it’s not how it should be. As the article stated the dom leads yhe sub and control her but in return he should take care of her, pamper her and even serve her and be respectful to her as a human being. I myself see it like the relationship between a king and his subjects, a good king knows that he is there to protect and lead his subjects not to abuse them. I think that you should know the guy before submitting to him and remember submission is a gift you are giving to him. Make sure he deserves it.

  8. I’m loving your blog! I’m very new to D/s, been an outsider looking in for a long time and just got the courage to start introducing it to my relationship. My boyfriend is quite vanilla in his mindset though I can tell he’s naturally quite dominant. I’ve been trying to find articles and things to help him out and I shall be passing this one on. Also, just wanted to say I’m a massive feminist and a submissive. I’m not a doormat but sometimes I want to submit to someone who makes me feel small and safe. It’s something primal inside me and I’m happy to recognise it. Thanks again!

  9. I am contemplating entering into a d/s relationship, our guild lines are being discussed and Id like to thank you for your writings as I’ve been using them as reference. I hope my dom is half the dom you are (I praise where I feel praise is warranted).

  10. natturufraedi Says:

    I am new to this idea of BDSM and what it really means, and loving it btw. I am a sub and a feminist. I just recently watched Secretary for the first time (James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhall), and I would love to be a sub to E. Edward Gray OR even James Spader 😉 I was a bit afraid at first that the movie would not show it, but as the story developed you could see that MG’s character, although being completely submissive, was in charge. She went from being a mousy, self-concious girl, to a strong and assertive woman, the last few seconds of the movie where she stares into the camera full of confidence. It was amazing! Yes, sub and fem do go together when done right! He treated her as his princess and she treated him as his king. ❤

  11. Confused female dom Says:

    Hi, I am a new dom and I am female. The man I am seeing is a sub and has been owned twice before me. I am so confused as to how to act with him because he wants me to use and abuse him… spend all his money, call him names, treat him like crap… But I don’t know what the limit is or how far I can go? I want to still be respectful to him and not hurt his feelings…. But it seems like he wants me too. Basically the complete opposite of your article. Any insight on this? Should I be abusing him, using him up and calling him horrible names to keep him happy? Or will this hurt our relationship and make him secretly hate me? I just don’t know how to act! So confused… He told me he last owners called him horrible names and used up his money and that he likes it. Should I be doing that too? I never know how to respond when we talk because it seems like he wants me to be mean to him… He is so hard to read. Help!

    • How far you can go I cannot say. The man sounds like he has a severe lack of self-esteem. Unfortunately some people fetishize humiliation. Will treating him badly ruin the relationship? I do not really know. I am of the opinion that self-esteem problems that extreme are very much unhealthy. And that, I think, is what will result in the ruin of your relationship.

      So what to do. Perhaps treat him as he wishes for now, and try to get him some help so that he can grow into a better self-esteem.

    • I am not always right in matters, however, if he is telling you he wants you to spend his money, I would use it to improve the relationship. This can be done by getting him help with the self esteem issues that were mentioned before. The money can also be used wisely through investments, dates, intimacy, etc. so it will again further improve the relationship. Just wasting it would probably contribute to the low self esteem.

      I would recommend writing down various acts such as (insulting, paddling, caning, flogging, whipping, cutting, burning) identify his limits to these things. Put them on a scale of 1 to 5 to identify how much he enjoys each of these acts. Let him help you identify what he wants, and how much of it.

      In addition, identify what you are willing to do, and not do when it comes to these things. Some things he may be ok with, you might not be comfortable doing. In such case, an agreement should be made concerning those practices.

      There is a chance that he may not fully understand his role as a submissive, and this may be all he knows of the subs role. In all cases, his safety and health should be respected. If he doesn’t feel that you care if he is healthy and safe, it could create a rift between you. (I am sure you are aware of this, but felt it should be mentioned anyway.)

  12. chandra carter Says:

    My Dom does not treat me well . he does not respect me nor does he appreciate me. How do i leave what is becoming a night mare.

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