The Responsibility of the Dominant, Revisited

The Responsibility of the Dominant, Revisited

A couple weeks back, I reposted a writing from several years ago, in which I suggest that the responsibilities of a dominant in a D/s relationship IS the relationship.

It’s not a popular opinion.

I get a lot of push-back from it. ESPECIALLY from dominants.

And this latest repost was no exception.

A dominant woman disagreed with me. And since her points seemed to be missing my thoughts’ direction, I clarified.

And she thanked me for “mansplaining.”

Now, you may not know me, and since I post from my business account, without a photo of me, but a logo instead, I can certainly understand that you may be confused about my gender.

I am a woman, for the record.

However, I was surprised that someone who obviously did not know me would use a specifically gendered insult against me without doing a bit of recon first.

It also tickled me.

The idea that the words on a screen that I use/used are somehow inherently masculine.

Interestingly, on another social site, someone else asked me a question that inspired even more clarification of the idea, and I wanted to share that with you.

The question was (anonymized):

How does this framework of responsibility and blame function when for example a sub or slave violates codes of conduct within and without the relationship dynamic?

Good question!

So, in my view, the sub/slave is responsible for their behavior. AT ALL TIMES. However, I am responsible (as the dominant) for what happens in the relationship.

So, it is my responsibility to note the violation. To speak of it. To choose what to do about it. Maybe a fitting punishment. To watch for improvement. To reward improvement.

And, if there seems to be no improvement, or things worsen, to end the relationship if necessary.

When it comes down to it, EVERY human must be responsible for themselves as fully functioning individuals.

And as the dominant, part of my responsibility to ME is to choose people to engage with who I believe can and will be able to maintain the sorts of relationship and codes of conduct I require. When I fail to do that, it is my responsibility to correct the situation as quickly as possible.

The MOST IMPORTANT factor is choosing the right person first.

As a dominant, it is up to me to vet my own submissives. To watch and analyze their behavior for myself AND to guide/lead them within the negotiated relationship dynamics.

Someone once asked me, “What if the relationship dynamic doesn’t cover what I feel responsible for?”

Well, you’re the dominant. Start another negotiation.

Someone on another writing said that I don’t take into account the invisible emotional labor women (and dominant women) are so often forced to take on.

You’re right.

Because I think if any dominant of any gender finds themselves with too much work and burden (emotional or otherwise), it is also their responsibility to note that and renegotiate.

For themselves. For their relationship.

I like to joke that this is why dominants get “BJs on command,” because we take on that responsibility.

The responsibility is what we exchange for power in the “power exchange” dynamic.

In my view.

And it’s up to us to negotiate the relationship to meet our desires and our needs, or to get out of the relationship.


That said:

Even as the dominant is responsible for all this within a relationship, the submissive/slave is also responsible to themselves to choose a dominant that will provide them with the guidance they need, the love they want, and etc. and someone who will not abuse or harm them.

Someone who will allow the s-type to speak for themselves in the negotiation to get what they desire and need from the relationship.

They cannot simply hand that over to someone else.


One person’s responsibilities in a relationship do not cancel out another’s.

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