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D/s, or Dominance and Submission, is a set of behaviors, customs, and rituals involving the giving by one individual to another individual of control over them in a BDSM erotic episode or lifestyle relationship.


Domination is the exercise, act, or practice of preponderant governing or controlling influence, and is frequently associated with Power exchange Relationships involving Dominance and submission. Dominance indicates a possession of qualities, skills or display of actions that create a state of domination.  A person that gives domination as part of power exchange is commonly referred to as a D-type.

Domination generally requires three steps before it can be meaningfully achieved:

Precise methods of “correct implementation” of the formula will depend entirely upon the specific needs of the potential s-type.


Submission is an act or state of conditional deference or yielding to a recognized D-type out of respect or reverence. Submission is not to be confused with Slaving though both are frequently associated with Power exchange Relationships involving D/s. A person that gives submission is generally referred to as an S-type.


Physical contact is not a necessity for D/s to exist, and it can even be conducted anonymously over the telephone, email, or other messaging systems in a practice called cyber domination. In other cases, it can be intensely physical, sometimes traversing into SM, though not necessarily.

In D/s, both parties take pleasure or erotic enjoyment from either dominating or being dominated. Those who take the superior position are called D-types or Dominants, while those who take the subordinate position are called s-types or submissives. A switch is an individual who plays in either role of power exchange. Two switches together may negotiate and exchange roles several times in a relationship or scene.

Parameters will also include frequency of D/s practices which will often affect how the D/s is carried out. Major frequency types include the weekenders or bedroom only D/s, vanilla kink, 24/7, and the pro client/dom relationship. None is necessarily greater or lesser, they are simply different styles of practice, though it is recommended that like with all other kinks, new explorers start by practicing D/s with the low and slow principles.

Compare to M/s and top/bottom.


Dominance and submission, and the inner conflict and surrender connected with these are enduring themes in human culture and civilization. In human sexuality this has broadened to include mutual exploration of roles, emotions and activities which would be difficult or impossible to do without a willing partner taking an opposing role. These roles are not exclusive to sex, gender, status, sexual orientation or other discriminatory characteristics.

While participants are not discriminated when choosing a role for themselves, having a firm and informed understanding of consent, negotiations, and disciplines that are to be used during play is strongly recommended.

Specifics of D/s relationship styles and protocols, and even linguistic conventions will vary widely between practitioners; there is no precise one true way to perform D/s.