The Difference Between A Dominant & A Master

Author: TorqueDom © 2000

used with permission


Dom, or Master?

I was asked...

<<Dear Sir,
 I know there is some controversy in what I am about to ask you next but I wonder if you could please clarify for me the difference between a Dominant and a Master...  I know there is a difference but how extreme or slight it is  I am not sure of....>>

Dominant, or Master... 

A controversial chat room topic, for sure. I guess you have to first clarify  if you're talking about real time, or online cyber. Online, a person chooses what he is called. Dom, Lord, Master, God, Grand Imperial Poobah. Since there is nothing to judge by, no seen talent, no reality, you can call yourself whatever you like. Everyone is out to "Top" the next guy. The latest fad is to combine titles, to give it more validity. MasterDomX, LordMasterZ. It's a good thing AOL limits the size of screen names, or no doubt we would already have a SirDomLordTopMasterExtreme. 

In the BDSM community, these titles are often earned, from respect. People see you, talk to you at the local meetings and clubs, recognize a level of experience and knowledge. I never labeled myself. It was interesting to be introduced at a meeting or club as "my friend, Neil" to "Sir Neil," and eventually, "Master Neil." It didn't happen overnight, and not everyone addresses me this way, and when I introduce myself it still just, "Hi, I'm Neil." 

Within a private D/s relationship, your Partner will decide on the proper way to address him. It is a private decision between consenting adults. Some take a more relaxed method. Others feel maintaining a rigid structure and protocol keeps the submissive centered. 

Master is also often used within a Master/slave relationship, to denote what some call TPE (Total Power Exchange), or a "24/7" relationship. This is a whole different topic.

The term Dominant is fairly new, perhaps 15-20 years. The concept of D/s as a lifestyle originated in the gay leather community in the '70's, to describe the roles of a gay couple. It became unpopular to refer to a gay man as the "feminine" or "masculine" in a relationship, so he became the "dominant one" or the "submissive one." Of course, the terms now have taken on a different universal meaning.

Some people make the distinction that D/s is mental, and is separate and distinct from S/m. A Dominant in this case would be skilled in mental control, while a Master has learned the physical aspects of using erotic 
sensation, including floggers and whips.

There is an excellent Polly Peachum (partner of Jon Jacobs, Co-author of the book, Different Loving) essay entitled, Qualities Of a Successful Dominant, that I believe to be invaluable for a novice submissive to read. If a man can gain these skills, I believe he earns the right to be called Master. 

You can find the essay on the Submissive Women Speak website... Qualities of a Successful 
By Polly Peachum

Obviously, there is no one answer. The newfound popularity of BDSM, especially within the online community, as muddied and changed the classical uses of these terms, and labels. I think what's more important than a "new and improved" flashy label on the product, it's more important to read the 
ingredients carefully. You cant always tell by the title what you're going to wind up with inside.

I hope this helped....
Neil, Grand Imperial Poobah and Lord And Master of All I Survey... ;-)
AKA TorqueDom3


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