My Thoughts on the Difference Between a Submissive and a Slave

First, I want to start off by saying that I am pretty sure that this is going to be a controversial post. I am going to be talking about how I see things, my interpretations of these words. What I am say isn’t the gospel when it comes to BDSM. If things work differently, well good for you. But tonight is about how I see the world. Where I perceive the differences. My viewpoint. If you find this offensive, I didn’t mean it to offend.  And I do see the world as a continuum from the non-kinky to the full-time in-a-cage 24/7/365 Lifestyle choice. Reality is that most of us fall somewhere in the continuum, not at the precise points I will be talking about. I am talking about concepts here. Ideals perhaps. Not reality.I have seen people who called themselves a slave who behaved more like what I think of as a submissive. And I have known many who saw themselves as a submissive, but behaved more like a slave.  This doesn’t address boys/bois, major-domos, littles, serfs or vassals. It only talks about two s-types.

The world as I see it, there is a difference between the concept of a submissive and the concept of a slave. As I see the submissive, they are the bulk of the participants of BDSM, at least in my community and the communities I have visited. Submissives seem to be more focused on their wants, their desires, and their limits. I don’t mean this despairingly. They are concerned about what they can get out of the Lifestyle. Sometimes the next orgasm. While they may provide service to their partner, they do it for the rewards they get. Often they require more micro-management to fulfill a request or directive, hesitating if step by step instructions are not left. They can show little initiative, taking pleasure rather in the doing of each command. This is how they see their role in the Lifestyle. Sometimes it is because they are afraid of letting go. Sometimes it is because they haven’t found the right person to be apart of their life. Perhaps they have been damaged by previous relationships (vanilla or not). Perhaps they are less serious looking for fun, or they are very serious, but concerned about being misused or abused. There are many good reasons for being a submissive, and not every s-type is supposed to be a slave.

The way I see the role of a slave, she is more focused on what his partner needs. What he can do for his Mistress. They don’t focus on their needs, but trust that their partner will meet them. A slave often has no stated limits. This is not to say that they don’t have needs or limits. It is just that they have negotiated carefully with their partner and are comfortable with the limits they set (well at least the smart ones do). They often show more initiative. A more general command, such as fix dinner, will usually meet with better results from a slave. When presented with such tasks, they are capable of running with the facts at hand. Taking what they know about their D-type and using that to guide their choices. Slaves also tend to be very head-strong, a slave I know told me that the best slaves have dominant personalities. I have to agree with them. It takes a lot of inner strength to let go and submit to the will of another.

I am not all that sure about what makes a submissive different from a slave. And I do want to repeat that I am not saying one is better than the other.  If you are having fun, then do what you want to do. Don’t set a goal for yourself that makes you unhappy. Not everyone is cut out to be a submissive, nor a slave either. One is not a better role than another. Sure one is better for me, but that doesn’t make them better over all.

What is your thoughts about this?  I would be very interested to hear what this essay has provoked in your mind.  Leave me a message, in the comments.


Published by Master Void

I am an over 50-year-old Lifestyle Master living near Charlotte, NC.

3 thoughts on “My Thoughts on the Difference Between a Submissive and a Slave

  1. Master and I spoke about this today after I read your post. He said he tends to agree with you about the nature of slaves versus submissives. Master tells me all the time I am a natural slave but at times a poor submissive. I struggle with that statement, I could never understand how I could be a good slave but horrible submissive. I have always thought you could be a submissive without being a slave, but I was of the mind all slaves were submissives. I suppose I thought of it as submissiveness by degrees. Thanks for helping me see it in a different way.

  2. Void I found your Essay to be very interesting and agree whole hearted . Only from personal experience I can say that slaves/subs are hugely different.

    I easily see the difference between the true slaves I’ve met, and the submissive. It’s about the burning desire to serve, to anticipate, the happiness I have seen merely ‘by pleasing me’.

    Through applications of submissive’s , they give me what I call a shopping list of desires. You know the ones where ..Mistress, I want CBT, Bondage, etc. etc. etc. no where in there is the attitude of serving ME.
    While applications of true slaves are much like a resume of skills. Such as cooking , cleaning, yard work etc. things that would make my life better. Even to this day I am continually learning what ‘ my slave’ likes. Slave does not offer information like that. Only when I ask him, does he give me clues on “likes”.
    Slave did not approach me with a shopping list of ‘his’ needs. He submitted himself with skills that could possibly please a future Mistress. The limits were given in the beginning, and nothing other has been added. For us personally it’s a snow ball effect. The more slave focuses on my directions, the ‘happier’ I am, then this gives great joy to slave.

    Slaves I have found to be intensively focused on ‘ serving ‘ . Jan has a saying ” I don’t have to like everything Mistress does, I just need to ‘do’ everything Mistress likes.
    I enjoy reading your post, and epically like this one. Hope to see you at the MAST meeting .
    Personally speaking, having a slave is the ultimate of D/s. relationship.


  3. My sub and I discussed your thoughts the other evening and she now happily admits she must be a slave. Admittedly we have only been together 6 weeks but never has she given me a list. All she ever says, in this respect, is whatever you want me to do, I will.

    Just a simple thing that I wanted her to do was to meet some vanilla friends of mine and I pretended it was the next weekend, knowing she was not ready for this yet. However, she replied ” I am panicking, but what day?” I said I was just testing and that I was pleased she would have done so, but we would arrange something later.

    Yes we have limits and we know what we do not like, but otherwise I am free to explore her potential and try uncharted waters.

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