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This article is written by me – Kim Debron – it is owned by me. If you copy it, please give the credit to me, otherwise you are committing an act of plagiarism – you are stealing my work.

Submissive or Slave?

Regular disclaimer – this is just MY opinion – yours may differ.


This is an age old discussion that surfaces every now and again – what is the difference between M/s and D/s – what is the difference between slave and submissive? – Is there really much of a difference, or are these just two different labels meaning basically the same thing?

 I believe that in order to explore this subject it is the “s” component that makes the real difference if there is one.


I used to think that there was only one person I knew who fitted my definition of “slave” and that person is vince, owned by Master Chelley.  – he sleeps chained to the foot of the bed, or under the stairs on a mattress with just a bucket for company.

He showers sitting at her feet using the run off from her body to wash himself.

He eats when she tells him to, and he eats what she tells him to. He wears what she tells him to and he sleeps when she tells him to.


Until a few years ago, vince was my definition of a slave, of someone living in consensual slavery – because we all know that a decision and a choice is made to become a slave, it should never be forced upon you.

So i saw myself as a submissive, not a slave, and I saw pretty much everyone else as submissive too, because no one fitted my definition of a slave except vince.


A conversation with a woman who identifies as a slave, though she calls herself a “powerful slave” changed my opinion, not only about myself, but also about my perception and view point of what a slave is, or how to define one. She asked me  why did i identify myself as a submissive rather than a slave. My initial response was that i thought i had too much to say, too much of an opinion and that i was perhaps too independent and forthright in my thinking to be a slave, and therefore i saw myself as a submissive with slavish tendencies.


This person then pointed out to me that i live in a 24/7 situation, and that my waking moments are about Master’s happiness, health and wellbeing, and that i accept the control He has over my life. She said that i serve because i need to, and that i have a slave heart.. no matter what i may appear to be like on the outside, deep inside me is this inherent need to please, to serve, to give and to obey. She said i was not submissive at all in my nature, but i was obedient.


When i digested this i realised that she was correct in her observations of me, and that got me thinking even more… i then began to look at other people i know, who identify as slaves and yet who i had, until then, thought of as submissives, comparing them if you like to vince, my “benchmark” for slavery.

I realised that my perception was very limited, that i had not been able to see beyond the label, or my definition of the label anyway. And who am i to judge?



The word submissive seems to be used more like an adjective than a role in many places in the world – and i like this analogy –  that Dominance and submission describes what people do - Master and slave describes who people are.


I have observed – especially in America,  that there are many who see a huge distinction between submissive and slave.. i have often heard, and seen on fetlife, comments such as “we started with a D/s relationship and have now moved to an M/s relationship.”


This still confuses me somewhat as in my honest opinion there is not much difference, i used to say i was in a D/s relationship, now i say M/s  - nothing has changed except the label – absolutely nothing! He still has control, He still has the final say, He is still my Master, i still obey.


During my research i came across several good points on the differences between a slave and a submissive.


  • A submissive makes a choice conscious or otherwise to serve and obey each time an order is given, whereas a slave makes a choice just once,  to obey at all times and to submit to the will of one person


  • A submissive accepts submission whilst a slave accepts obedience.


  • A submissive retains freedom of choice, whilst a slave gives that freedom of choice to the Master


  • A submissive focuses more on self, a slave focuses on the Master


  • Not all submissives are slaves, but all slaves are obedient, and make a choice to submit or surrender – to  the will of ONE person


  • Slavery is the deepest layer of submission.



I am not sure that i agree with all of the above points but the word submissive never really felt comfortable to me..  i don’t see myself as submissive, just as obedient..therefore that makes me a slave, not a submissive.


Being a slave does not mean I am a doormat, it does not mean I do not have a voice to be heard, but it does mean that I accept His decisions, His rules and His control over my life, and it means that i serve and obey with a glad heart – and it means i made a choice to accept all of that in the beginning. Doesn’t a submissive do that too? Is it more about character traits or is it a deeper level?


Perhaps as i said earlier, the difference is more subconscious on the part of the s component – an s who identifies as a submissive may be making choices all the time to obey and submit, a slave perhaps does not even consciously think about it.


To me, the M and the D are pretty much the same – they are just labels, is my “Master” any more of a dominant than someone’s “Dom” ?


Perhaps our community sees the title Master as being someone who has mastered his or her craft and i agree with that, but it does not necessarily go hand in hand with the label “slave”.


What about someone in a power exchange relationship who identifies as a submissive, yet calls his or her dominant Master, is that not also an M/s relationship?

What about someone who calls himself or herself a dominant but has an “s” who identifies as a slave – they may call their relationship D/s but is that not the same?


So to sum up – difference between M/s and D/s – they are both labels for a power exchange relationship where one is in control and one is controlled – perhaps those in M/s relationships feel there is a deeper level of submission from the “s” component, and a higher level of control from the M or the D component.

© Kim Debron 2016

To read my original article on Consensual Slavery, please click here
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