BDSM is a community of people, each having their place with no two places exactly the same. While it can be, and often is, broken down into two basic categories there are many positions under each which like any community are varied and vast. Dom or Sub. Those are the basics, but what about Submissive or Slave? Do you know the difference? Is there one? Yes, of course there is, in fact the difference is clear once you have seen both. And believe, no submissive would want to be mistaken for a slave or vice versa. But what is the difference? While there are many many things that make each unique and individual, there are a couple of things that set them apart from one another in every case.
First of all, while no one should or in true BDSM play would, ever deal with an abusive Domme, slaves tend to be much more…Shall we say open minded?…In what they feel is abusive.. Submissives are not likely to enjoy being put in the position of submission should they not be in the mood or possibly not feeling well or even if it is a bad time for them due to other issues. Many will expect their Domme to understand the time constraints they have due to work or family life and see their interaction as a submissive, as more a role in a relationship. Thus, speaking to the Domme out of play as though they are almost equals or at least expecting certain things to be considered. Slaves on the other hand, tend to feel they are beneath their Domme at all times. Sick or well, it is their duty to make the Dominant in the relationship happy. This comes at the expense of their home life and work, they will give up outings and even leave work early or meet with the Domme when ill, if required to do so. This doesn’t mean a Dominant partner would expect this or that limits and boundaries aren’t still recognized and adhered to, but it does mean that those limits are far broader to a slave than to a submissive.
Slaves also don’t tend to expect much from the Domme. Whether it is in the way of pleasure or pain or just basic discussion or consideration, slaves presume they are there only for the Dominant partner. Submissives see it more as a power exchange, a give and take that has lots of gray areas where they make choices to submit or not the Dominant partner respects those choices. Slaves do not deal in gray areas, it is all black and white. They are not in a relationship, but instead someone who is “owned” by the Domme. This gives the Dominant partner complete control over them. While they do not want to be mistreated in any way and do expect basic living considerations, they don’t look for anything more. If they are uncomfortable or not in the mood, it isn’t something they expect the Dom to do anything about. They will simply deal with whatever is given to them by way of what the Domme wants. Relationships are not discussed, as you cannot be in a relationship with someone you “own” and that is how slaves like and want it.
The third way is public domination or domination outside of the basic BDSM play or session. Slaves do not tend to differentiate between in and out of play. If they are in the presence of their Mistress or Master, they will behave accordingly. They often have contracts and will adhere to them exactly. Or as close to perfectly as possible, making sure they are always keeping in mind how they are supposed to act. Most slaves do not engage in relationships or living arrangements with Dominant partners as they feel they must behave as a slave at all times when with their Mistress. Submissive partners tend to be the opposite. Often seeking out Mistresses or Masters who they can be in a relationship with, then submitting to that person. Usually the submission comes from a trust of the person and not from a need to submit to someone and be owned. Ownership is unique only to slaves and they are lost when they feel they do not belong to someone.
These are the major differences. While there are others, you can see why one would not and should not ever be confused for the other. When part of the BDSM community you learn your place and the place of others and do not question it. This is just step one in understanding and becoming.