Who has the power in a BDSM dynamic?

Who has the power in a D/s dynamic? This has been a heated topic for some years. The discussion is usually accompanied with a pic of a Dom holding a leash with the sub attached to it, with the caption “Who here has the power?” Is it the Dom? He does hold the leash. How about the submissive? How can they have the power if they are on their knees being led around by the Dom..but wait isn’t our submission a gift, a gift they have to earn and we can take back at any time. Right? Well…no, not it’s not a gift. 





A gift is something you give expecting nothing in return. It is also something you don’t take back. Our submission is not a gift because we expect a Dom to do what a Dom does or we aren’t happy. Our submission is a negotiated power exchange.



Dominants have limits, safewords, need aftercare and deserve to be treated with respect. They have the power to call the scene, walk away from a toxic dynamic and release the sub if they do not behave in the manner that was negotiated. 

I believe this discussion, along with other misleading information has led to toxic thinking about control within the BDSM dynamics. The Dominants must be strong enough to handle the submissive’s worst behavior, while only displaying healthy respectful trustworthy behaviors in return. Read that again.

A submissive does not have to obey or agree to any punishments given to them by a potential Dom, that does NOT mean you can just run all over this person and treat them like shit and expect them to take your submission.



A Dominant earns your submission by showing you what type of person they are, their viewpoints on the lifestyle, their goals for you as their sub and the dynamic with you.
 The same should be expected of the submissive, they earn the Dom’s dominance.

Imagine if the Dom you were vetting treated you like crap, disrespecting you in public, didn’t care about your mental health, basically the opposite behavior we are looking for in our Dom. THAT is the behavior these “subs” are not only having, but also having other people think this is how it works.



In a sub group, a “sub” actually commented the following…with lots of others agreeing with them “My Dom must earn my submission daily, no matter how many times I talk back or break the rules. I don’t want a weak ass Dom, a sub like me needs a strong Dom!”

Let’s break down what they said..a Dom does have to earn your submission, BUT you have to earn their dominance. Once you have submitted, the Dom has your submission as long as they don’t cross any lines that were set up in the negotiation process, so they don’t have to “earn” your submission anymore, they have it. A dominant does not have to stay in the dynamic if the submissive is not behaving in the fashion agreed upon previously either. They aren’t looking for a real Dom, especially not a strong one, so for the doms that do not want a sub with this mentality, you are NOT weak, or soft.



In a healthy well negotiated BDSM dynamic both the Dom and the sub have the power, they have the power to invest time and energy into each other in order to make a successful D/s dynamic. Yet they also have the power to make it toxic, and fail miserably. Once the contract is signed, they both still have the power, hopefully they will use that power to grow closer to one another and become better people as a result. Instead of figuring out who has the power, who is in control etc..why not invest your time and energy into vetting and negotiating with a potential partner to increase your chances of having a healthy and successful relationship.

4 thoughts on “Who has the power in a BDSM dynamic?

  1. Thank you for this. This was really well written. It also drives home something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately with that sub you mentioned. The growing trend of internet bratting has really gotten out of hand. What they do and what they gain attention with in these groups is so beyond the realm of disrespectful. I’ve counseled more than a few of the Doms that I’m mentoring to steer clear of this behavior too. If they’re going to act out like this in public and think it’s okay, what are they going to do in your personal life?

    It again drives home my appreciation for Bunny. She brats rarely but is a service little with a good girl streak ten-miles wide. Much love for the good girls. Be our peace.

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