The difference between a submissive and a slave

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Mistress Bella graces our pages again with Her interminable knowledge of the BDSM lifestyle and community. Here She brings another instalment of BDSM 101 Mistress Bella Style and discusses the difference between a slave and a submissive role.




There have been many articles on this subject and the views aren't always the same. BDSM has been around for quite some time and some definitions have been developed to describe someone's role and point of view. It helps to define roles, as it helps people who are looking for a partner to distinguish exactly what would turn them on and also restricts the number of possibilities to interact with. Unfortunately, there has been a disturbing trend to use definitions loosely or to disregard them completely, adopting the stance that each person determines who or what they think they are. Therefore some people call themselves slaves when they are definitely not and some call themselves submissive's, while they are in fact slaves. The word slave could attract different types of Dominants that I do not want to be associated with ie these Dominants are the ones looking for non-consensual slaves that can be forced into servitude or the slave trade, that in my opinion is detestable and disgraceful. I wanted to distance Myself from that before I even defined anything. If you wanted to find anything like that, then you may as well go elsewhere, because this is focused on consensual slavery.


There are several distinctions and differences between a submissive and a slave. I will take the term submissive first.




A submissive is a person with an intense desire to serve that does so under some conditions. The conditions would typically include terms of service, length of service, which areas of the submissive's life the Dominant does not get to control, what the hard and soft limits are when they play or just interact, and of course the safe word. In many ways, the submissive controls play to an extent. Hard limits are activities that a Dominant will not be able to indulge in with the submissive. Hard limits broken would lead to the end of a scene, relationship or arrangement and a serious breach of trust. Soft limits are limits that can be broken, but only after it has been discussed with the submissive. These are things the submissive is not excited about doing but will try if it seems to excite the Dominant or causes some latent excitement and fear in the submissive as well. The safe word ends all play. The dominant has free reign as long as She stays within the set limits.


After a scene, many submissive's go back to controlling their own lives. They slip in and out of the role of submissive in most cases. They continue to make their own decisions and even in a 24/7 situation will continue to control those areas of their lives that are off limits to the Dominant. A submissive submits every time a scene starts or some activity where the Dominant has been given control commences. The choice is Hers or His every single time the Dominant requires submission. A submissive can walk away from a scene because something is not working for them and completely slip out of role whenever they feel the need to discuss something about the situation with their Dominant. This does not indicate a lack of the need to submit or serve though.


Now we turn to the slave - the consensual slave.




The slave gives up all rights to make their own decisions, becomes the "property" of a Mistress, takes on the limits of their Mistress and does what is asked of them regardless of their feelings about it and it's often termed as TPE or Total Power Exchange. Sometimes a slave will give up all rights to property of their own and will continue to work for the household, having to ask permission to use any money they earn. Slaves earn privileges and do not have rights. A slave submits at once when the collar is placed around his or her neck and when something is difficult, has to ask for help to accomplish it. Slaves are not kept in basements or locked away forever. They are strong people who have an intense desire to please another human being and now has the freedom to live that desire and not have to submit to anyone else but those chosen by their Mistress. Taking on the limits of another means that slaves have to ensure that the limits of the Dominant they are talking to matches theirs, as their only choice is choosing the Dominant. It is responsible to make sure that the Dominant does match them and their preferences and they have things in common and are usually on the same page in life.


Questions I often get asked are "Can a slave be sold to another?" and "Can a slave end a relationship?"

No, most Mistresses would never sell a slave. Remember this is consensual slavery, a 24/7 arrangement with one Dominant fully in control and another person obeying all the commands and wishes expressed by the other because both of them want this. There is often a lot of love involved in this type of relationship as well. There are mock slave auctions that are used as fundraisers in the community, and slaves would go and serve another man or woman for the evening, but they always go back to the Dominant they chose to be with. Yes, a slave can end the relationship by petitioning their Dominant for release and no responsible Dominant would say No if nothing could be done to heal the relationship.


The difference between the two does not make one better than the other. I have seen countless submissive's that serve as beautifully and perfectly as some slaves do and prefer not to be called slaves because of the negative connotation of that word. I have also seen many wannabe slaves struggle until they eventually found their place as submissive's.


It is often difficult to devote one's entire life to another Person but it is also incredibly rewarding.


Trust, Honesty, Respect, Communication & No Secrets are most important in a D/s relationship.


Kinky Consent party


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Posted on 21st November 2018

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