Popular depictions of BDSM equate dominance and submission (D/s) with sex. Now, don't get me wrong - there are plenty of fun and naughty ways to order a submissive around in the bedroom. But for many couples engaged in 24/7 D/s relationships, not all orders revolve around sex. In fact, many long-term power exchange relationships involve a lot of nonsexual orders.
Here are 6 orders for submissives that don't revolve around sex.
Acts of Service
Many Dominants order submissives to perform acts of service that make the Dominant's life easier. The possibilities are endless and can include:
- Fetching coffee or drinks
- Giving back rubs or massages
While this might sound like just doing housework, acts of service can feel quite different as part of a D/s dynamic. One submissive client I worked with had a ritual she performed that involved an intricate way of making the bed for her Dominant. Every day as she went through those motions, her mind would drift to her Dom's face and how appreciative he'd later be of her efforts.
"I was never much of a Good Housekeeping sort of person, but making the bed became a meditation both on my love for him and his love for me," she told me.
Another submissive client said similar of his morning ritual of fixing his mistress's coffee just the way she liked it. "It's like celebrating our anniversary every day."
Orders don't always need to be directly for a Dominant's own selfish benefit. Instead, many Dominants give orders that promote their submissive's own self-improvement.
These could be small actions, such as reading a specific book to pick up a new skill or applying for a job the submissive might normally not have the confidence to try for on their own.
The orders could be aimed towards a much larger goal as well. One submissive client I know was ordered by her Dominant to go back to school to earn her bachelor's degree.
Another was ordered by her Dominant to enter therapy to work on long-neglected emotional issue.
In both cases, these submissives longed to make those life changes but felt like they couldn't because of impostor syndrome. The Dominant's order gave them the confidence to do it. "It was like being given emotional permission to try," one said.
Why would a Dominant give this kind of order? One Dom I know put it this way, "Yes, I'm in control, and I could take that control and use it to run my sub into the ground, but I'd rather build them up so they can be the best person they can be."
Even though his personal dynamic with his submissive was Owner/property, he clarified that even when objectifying another person, he is careful to remember their humanity.
"Besides," he added, "there's no sense in playing with your toys until they break. Then what do you have? A broken toy. Maintenance is important."
"If You Want Results, Take a Sadist to the Gym with You"
Other Dominants assist their submissives in losing weight through diet and exercise Domming. In addition to being another way for the Dominant to exercise control (no pun intended, although it IS a great pun...), the D/s dynamic can provide an extra source of accountability.
"If you want results, take a sadist to the gym with you," one client joked, crediting their Dominant's involvement with their latest fitness success.
Some Dominants will put their submissives on strict diets, even spelling out the exact menu and requiring their submissives to weigh and measure all foods and track their intake in a food log.
Financial domination, or FinDom, is a fetish in which one person (most commonly a man) gets gratification from transferring large sums to another person (usually a woman).
Taken in its purest form, FinDom is a fairly rare - and expensive - fetish.
However, many lifestyle submissives practice a lighter form of surrendering control of their finances to someone else, especially as part of a live-in 24/7 relationship.
Allowing someone else to manage your finances is an act that takes a lot of trust because it opens a submissive up to potential financial abuse by an unscrupulous Dominant. Additionally, should their Dominant partner turn abusive (a risk in any romantic relationship), lacking access to financial resources can make it that much more difficult to leave them.
However, so long as the Dominant is more knowledgeable about money management and acts out of the best interest of the submissive, surrendering financial control can actually be very beneficial long term for the submissive if they struggle with those skills, especially if the Dominant teaches the submissive those skills so that they can eventually manage money on their own.
Our voice is a big part of our identity and our autonomy. As a way of exercising control, some Doms employ speech restriction orders where a submissive isn't to speak until spoken to - or not even then, depending on the order.
This speech restriction can be part of a kinky scene, of course, but can also extend outside of bedroom time to a couple's everyday existence.
Breaking Bad Habits
I knew a woman who had tried everything to stop biting her nails - sheer willpower, setting aside money for each day she resisted that she could spend on something fun. She even painted them with bitter-tasting varnish. Nothing worked.
Until she got into a D/s relationship with a man who liked the feeling of having his back scratched. He ordered her to stop biting her nails and grow out claws to rake his back. Only then was she able to stop biting her nails.
I've also seen submissives effectively kick cigarettes when their non-smoking Dominants order them not to smoke.
Much like with diet and exercise-based orders, Dominants can serve as a source of accountability and help eliminate unwanted behaviors.
BDSM Is About More Than Sex
While most people think of sex when they think of BDSM, dominance and submission, stripped to their most basic level, are primarily about the voluntary exchange of power and control. This can take many forms.
Just like vanilla relationships, D/s relationships aren't necessarily all about sex, but about the two people involved.