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Dominant/submissive & Female Led Relationships
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director:

CEUs/OPD/CPD for this presentation can be found at for clinicians in the US or for clinicians in Australia.

Trigger Warning and Cautions
~ The following presentation involves frank discussions of kink and sexuality.
~ While not graphic, some of the content might be triggering for some people.
~ This series is meant to provide an overview to help clinicians to understand kink, BDSM and Poly, but is by no means all inclusive. It is designed to increase awareness of common issues and help clinicians identify areas where they may need further training.
~ Explore different structures of Dom/sub relationships including:
~ Master/slave (TPE)
~ Daddy (Mommy)/little
~ Female Led Relationships
~ Identify reasons for engaging in this type of relationship
~ Review signs of abuse

~ “D/s and master and slave relationships are about a hierarchy,” says Ferrer. “They are about structure, protocol, respect. A lot of the newbies are coming in and they don’t understand the dynamics.”
D/s Structures
~ Daddy or Mommy Doms/littles
~ Daddies/Mommies take on a parental role as the Dominant.
~ They are there to protect, guide, nurture and love their little.
~ They will order or set rules for their little based on nurturing goals and what is best for their little.
~ A Daddy/Mommy should enjoy the regression that their little naturally does and appreciate the child-like attributes of their little, but they will also find their adult side attractive.
~ Daddies/Mommies are not interested in pedophilia, incest or any other paraphernalia associated with children even though their title is often misunderstood and associated with that

D/s Structures
~ Daddy or Mommy Doms/littles
~ Daddies/Mommies vs. Masters
~ Cherish their submissive's little side and encourage them to come out and play.
~ Daddies/Mommies are strict about their littles behavior to ensure they meeting their goals and needs.
~ They can be more playful than most Masters. Masters tend to have to be more rigid with their submissive or slaves.
~ Mentor and teacher, they demonstrate by example and by explicit verbal communications priorities and perspectives that help littles better understand and learn form their past and current life experiences.
~ Most Daddies/Mommies avoid the terms daughter or son
D/s Structures
~ Daddy or Mommy Doms/littles
~ Sex in a Daddy/little relationship does not stem from interest in incest or pedophilia.
~ Sex between a Daddy and his little is just like sex between any people in a relationship; as two consenting adults.
~ Provide emotional sanctuary and 100% trust
~ Don’t always live together

D/s Structures: Master/slave
~ In BDSM, Master/slave, M/s or sexual slavery is a relationship in which one individual serves another in an authority-exchange structured relationship.
~ Sometimes referred to as Total Power Exchange
~ Unlike Dominant/submissive structures found in BDSM  or Female Led Relationships in which love is often the core value, service and obedience are often the core values in Master/slave structures.
~ The relationship uses the term “slave” because of the association of the term with ownership rights of a master to the slave's body, as property.
~ Sex is not always a component of a Master/slave relationship

D/s Structures: Master/slave
~ The slave’s limits
~ Are not set by her/him in a TPE dynamic.
~ Are whatever the Master desires. A slave’s master has total control.
~ A slave doesn’t have hard and soft limits
~ Safe words are often not afforded to a slave.
~ Though the Master is dominant and the slave is the submissive, the slave can withdraw submission at anytime, which in turn would emasculate the dominance of the Master
~ Male masters are called “Master” Female Masters are called “Master” or “Mistress”

Service Oriented
~ Service-oriented refers to a relationship dynamic where the focus is on how the submissive can contribute resources to the dominant partner, and provide for some of their needs or advance their goals.
~ These relationships may also include romantic feelings or sexual activity, depending on the specific relationship dynamic chosen.
~ An expression of this relationship can be done through collaring.
~ The submissive is collared to the dominant, indicating that they are “in service” to that dominant.
~ The collar may indicate the usefulness of that submissive in specific areas.
~ Note: Some may choose pendants or other less obvious forms of representation (like wearing someone’s ring)

Service Oriented cont…
~ If those things were to change or dissipate, or either party did not want to participate in that dynamic anymore, the couple may remain romantically linked but often the collar will be removed.
~ For the submissive, the collar is seen as a status symbol signifying the approval and acknowledgement of a person they wish to serve.
~ For the dominant, the benefits are practical as well as emotional. Many take great pleasure in being ‘served' in this manner, and having the additional resources available is of immense utility.

TPE Contract
~ Slave's Role
~ Slave's Veto
~ Master's Role
~ Punishment
~ Rules of Punishment: Punishment of the Slave is subject to certain rules designed to protect the Slave from intentional abuse or permanent bodily harm
~ Permanent Bodily Harm: Since the body of the Slave now belongs to the Master, it is the Master's responsibility to protect that body from permanent bodily harm
~ Others
~ Alteration of Contract
~ Termination of Contract
~ Signatures
~ Example on Scribd
Female Led Relationships
~ A form of a D/s relationship in which the woman takes on the dominant role
~ Generally lifestyle relationships
~ Can take 2 forms:
~ A relationship that revolves around controlling the sub and is generally dictated by the sexual pleasures of the sub (FemDom)
~ A relationship that revolves around empowering the woman
~ Subs who take to this lifestyle tend to fall into two diverse categories:
~ Those who have always been submissive
~ Those who are alphas in the public/vanilla world, but want to relinquish all of that control when they get home.

A Female Led Relationship does not necessarily include kink or BDSM

  • Women in FLRs recognize that their subs benefit them by providing emotional, mental and financial support.
  • In FLRs a subs needs are recognized.  After all people will not continue to do things that have no benefit to them.
  • Women in FLRs honor the subs who are completely dedicated to their relationship.
  • Women in FLRs respect and support their subs to become better, and subs are devoted to ensuring their woman has all the resources and support to achieve her goals

Common Issue in FLR
~ Men are often seeking a FemDom relationship that is about her using her power to satisfy is desires to be dominated and humiliated, cuckolded, punished.
~ FLR is about empowering the woman to:
~ Identify her needs and wants
~ Be able to explicitly state those needs and wants
~ Get those needs and wants met to help her achieve her goals.

~ Some subs feel it relieves pressure both in and out of the bedroom
~ Some say that women are often more proactive at resolving problems…calling a professional when needed
~ Mindreading expectations are eliminated. In a FLR she says what needs to be done
~ Power struggles are eliminated
~ Just like any BDSM or D/s relationship, both partners enter into the agreement willingly, there are often contracts and negotiations and either partner can terminate the contract at anytime.

informed by Lianne Choo,  Elise Sutton, Femdommed and LovingFLR

4 Levels of a FLR
Exploration: One partner has hinted at or directly brought up the idea, but the other partner is hesitant/ambivalent.
~ The sub begins taking on more tasks and chores and is permitted (expected) to serve or pamper her in a variety of ways
~ Women in Level 1 FLRs aren’t exactly comfortable with connecting to their dominant side, nor will they be able to congruently lead their man in any kind of direction beyond those which he has given to her as examples
4 Levels of a FLR
Beginning: The woman identifies some of the genuine benefits and is motivated to explore a bit.
~ Characterized more as an ongoing roleplay than an acceptance of the lifestyle
~ Woman in this level of FLR care deeply about their man, but have their limits.
~ She may begin worrying about what will happen to the overall dynamic of the relationship (and her feelings towards her sub) if she explores the path further with him/her.
4 Levels of a FLR
Engaged: This woman enjoys being in control and has a deeper understanding of her sub’s desires.
~ She exercises control in some of the 5 Fs:
~ Finances
~ Feeding
~ Fornication
~ Free-time
~ Friends
~ Higher levels of kink may be entertained here.
4 Levels of a FLR
Immersed: The woman occupies a position of genuine and total power over her sub/subs.
~ The sub is now a willing servant as opposed to playing a role
~ The dynamic has fully permeated every aspect of their relationship and the woman has full control of the big 5.

Signs of Abuse
~ The Dominant refusing to let the submissive have private conversations especially with treatment staff
~ The submissive seeming withdrawn, reluctant or afraid to talk in front of the Dom
~ Does the relationship dynamic erode the wellbeing of the sub or enhance it?
~ Does the sub look forward to interactions with the Dom?
~ Is the Dom’s behavior uncontrollably violent (i.e. punching walls, breaking things)
~ Abusive episodes are out of control situations. In healthy BDSM, a Dominant never acts spontaneously out of anger. Scenes are pre-planned with care.
~ Abusive situations usually end with negative emotions. A BDSM scene is designed to leave the participants feeling good and satisfied.
~ Does the sub feel he or she can leave the relationship at any time?
~ Consent is the cornerstone of all BDSM activity, and it’s one of the major factors that differentiates it from abuse
Signs of Abuse
~ Does your partner ever hit, choke, or otherwise physically hurt or restrained you outside of a scene?
~ Are you confused about when a scene begins and ends?
~ Has she or he ever violated your limits?
~ Do you feel trapped in a specific role as either the top or bottom?
~ Does your partner constantly criticize your performance, withhold sex as a means of control, or ridicule you for the limits you set?
~ Does your partner use sex to make up after a violent incident?
~ Does your partner isolate you from friends, family, or groups?
~ Does your relationship swing back and forth between a lot of emotional distance and being very close?
~ Does your partner use scenes to express/cover up anger and frustration?
~ Do you feel that you can't discuss with your partner what is bothering you?

Questions for the Counselor to Ask
~ What interests you about D/s relationships?
~ What do you know about D/s relationships?
~ What needs or desires do you think will be fulfilled in this type of relationship?
~ Do you want a bedroom power exchange or a lifestyle?
~ What would it look like?
~ Is your ideal Dom controlling and task oriented or nurturing and devoted to helping you enhance yourself?
~ Is your ideal sub totally submissive in every way or more child-like in their presentation?
~ Describe your ideal D/s relationship

~ D/s relationships can take many forms
~ They can be bedroom relationships or 24/7 TPEs
~ There are very significant differences between the different types of relationships which should be explored prior to entering into a contract.
~ While we discussed the levels or relationships in relation to FLR, they can apply to most lifestyle D/s structures and can be a treatment issue when one or more partners is not at the same “level.”
~ As noted in other presentations, long term TPEs should be undertaken with extreme caution, especially in people with a history of mental illness