Mistress Tissa: Authentic FemDom

FemDom is an often distorted concept.

Much of mainstream BDSM’s depiction is actually MaleDom fetishism disguised as the woman in control. This is especially true in porn. It’s so pervasive that some people out there honestly don’t seem to know the difference.

Maybe you’re one of those who knows this. You can tell when you play with someone who isn’t actually Dominant. It all seems unbelievable. Contrived. And you’re left feeling a little let down. Like you want to feel truly dominated. Real control.

This requires an understanding and mastery of power.

Does this describe me?

Ask some of my subs:

The level of control you exerted over me was great! … I feel like a broke through to a new level of submission/power exchange.  It was incredible!!!

Thank You for letting me experience one of the few true power-exchange scenes i’ve had ever

in one session she got me so “high” on her power over me I actually did faint for about 10 seconds.Talk about POWER!! … If you’ve been looking for a REAL session and want to submit you’ve found the right Mistress

Mistress Tissa is absolutely incredible, exemplifying the title of Professional Domme. … Our session was so fluid, natural, and powerful that I’m still shuddering from the crescendo.

When I am with Her, I know I am with a genuinely dominant, deliciously kinky and stunningly beautiful woman who totally controls my mind and body during the time we spend together

The way You control mind body and spirit is uncanny. You truly are a Sorceress. i thoroughly enjoyed everything we did, but being under the power of Your gaze would have been worth the trip by itself.

I have had sessions with many different Dommes, but none as beautiful, powerful, and controlling as Mistress Tissa.

You are an amazing Mistress. … You are the most powerful woman i have ever met.

If you want authentic domination and you are submissive RUN to her Temenos and have your brain rewired.When I am with her I can feel her power being transferred onto me

Your grace, power, and presence captivated me …. I can’t wait to see you again.

Come, give yourself to me and feel my power.

Who Really Has The Power?

When speaking of power exchange relationships in BDSM, such as Dominance/submission (“D/s”), you may occasionally hear some people claim, “it’s the sub who truly holds the power.” Often this is followed with the assertion that submission is a “gift”. While there is truth to this, it’s not the whole truth.

The first error is the implication that power is held by one person: the sub. Just like outside of our kinky play, everyone has power. It’s just up to you whether you’re going to exercise it or give it up.

So, while the submissive does in fact hold power, so does the Dominant. Both roles involve having and expressing power. The sub can be controlled only as much as they allow and the Domme will control only as much as they are willing.

This is a symbiotic relationship. It’s characterized by interdependence. One is defined by the existence of the other.

In other words: while it’s true that without a sub the Domme has no one to control, it’s also true that without a Domme the sub has no one to be controlled by. They are both receiving benefits from — and giving “gifts” to — one another.

Article: Kinky Sex Could Be the Secret to Your Success

“Many successful visionaries throughout history, from artists to scientists and even politicians, have had well-documented kinks and fetishes that affected how they operated in their daily lives.

A wave of recent research has confirmed this: If it’s something you desire in the first place, kinky sex can benefit you not just in the bedroom, but outside of it as well. “Unconventional” sexual practices and fantasies, such as BDSM, group sex, or role play, have been shown to reduce psychological stress, improve mental health and can help with satisfying and communicative relationships. Kinky people have also been found to have higher self-worth than those who are too afraid or ashamed to pursue their fantasies

People who engage in BDSM and kink have been found to be happier, more conscientious and less neurotic than people who don’t engage in so-called “deviant” sex. “

More confirmation of what many of us have known all along: kink is healthy and has tangible benefits.

Full article here: https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/features/a12231118/how-kinky-sex-leads-to-career-success/ (worth the read)

Position, Role, and Fetishism

I believe one of the most pervasive misunderstandings in kink is the difference between top and bottom, Dominant and submissive, and fetishism. In My experience, this confusion is not limited to people who are new to the culture, but people who have been involved in it for many years and don’t quite seem to know what they are and which apply to them. Because I think it is a fundamental aspect to concise negotiations and overall better experiences, allow Me to explain.

The first thing that is helpful to think about is that our experiences are multi-dimensional. Whether that experience is kinky or not, there is never just one thing going on at a time. Even if you’re just sitting there, breathing, your body is completing a multitude of tasks at once: your heart is beating, your body temperature is being regulated, and your immune system is on alert. Likewise, in kink, there is more than one thing going on. Three of those things are the focus of this article.

The three things are: topping and bottoming, or what I’ll call “position”; Dominance and submission, or what I’ll call “role”; and fetishism. While they all relate to one another, they have distinct differences which are helpful to understand, not only for self-awareness but when seeking out others for play. Understanding which concepts best describe you can help you hone in on who and what it is you’re looking for.

First, I’ll define position. When someone assumes the active position in play, we call that person the “top”. This is the person who provides the sensation, physically and/or emotionally. This means it’s the person who is spanking, tying, spitting, humiliating, or penetrating. The complement is the person who assumes the passive position, what is called the “bottom”. This person receives the sensation, physically and/or emotionally, that the top is providing. This means it’s the person being spanked, being tied, being spit upon, being humiliated, or being penetrated. Of course, one can do both, and when someone does they’re called a “switch” or “versatile”. Note that this doesn’t say anything more than who is giving and who is receiving.

Next, we have role. Consider that in life, there are people whose role is to lead or assume control and there are people whose role is to follow or to relinquish control. This dynamic applies to kinky play as well. The person who leads or controls play is called a “Dominant”. Dominants make the decisions about how and when the spanking, tying, spitting, humiliating, or penetrating will take place. The person who follows or is controlled in play is called a “submissive”. A submissive is not there to make the decisions about how and when the (negotiated) activities occur, their role is to submit to the decisions of the Dominant. In BDSM culture, we call this dynamic “D/s”, which is short for “Dominant/submissive” or “Dominance/submission”.  It’s what the middle two letters in BDSM stand for. (There is another dynamic which we call “M/s”, which is short for Mistress/slave or Master/slave, and is another form of power exchange which has different expectations, but I’m not going to go into that here.) Note that this doesn’t say anything about who is creating or receiving the sensation; only who is in control of it.

Lastly, there’s fetishism. When the term “fetish” was first introduced in the early 20th century, it was used to describe something that needed to be present in order for someone to feel sexual arousal. Since then, it’s grown beyond its clinical beginnings to more broadly encompass something that is not considered inherently sexual but causes sexual arousal, such as shoes, being put in a diaper, being tied to a chair, or being slapped in the face. And now, we also have a pop culture concept of “fetish” which can be anything someone is fixated on, including things we think of as sexual.

A fetish is a subjective experience. What is a fetish for one person may not be for another. Because it is subjective, it will therefore involve personal variables about what, when, and how the fetish manifests. Fetishes may be common between people, such as seeing a woman put on pantyhose, or be unique to that individual, such as that it must be Mistress Belinda putting on nude, Cuban-heel, thigh-high stockings with black contrast. Note that this says nothing about giving or receiving, or about power dynamics, just arousal.

Now, I’ll describe some of the confusion people seem to have with these layers.

Probably the most common misunderstanding I see is the conflation of position and role. While it is common for the person assuming the top position to also be the Dominant, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes a person can control the way in which they receive sensation. If Mistress Belinda says, “Lick My stockings!” how would we describe her position and role? Well, because Mistress Belinda is both dictating the action and receiving the licking, she is acting as a Dominant bottom. The party that is agreeing to follow Her command and provide the licking is acting as a submissive top. Another term you may hear used to describe a submissive top is “service top”. This person submits to requests/orders/control about how they will provide sensation to another.

Perhaps the second most common misunderstanding is the difference between wanting to assume a role and wanting to assume a position. It is common that people who say they want to Dominate or submit don’t actually want to do those things at all. Someone may say they’re submissive, but what they really want is to bottom. That is, they want someone to take the active role in creating sensations for them, not submit to someone else’s control about how those sensations happen. Likewise, some who consider themselves “Dominant” are really tops, in that they enjoy creating sensation for others, but they want someone to tell them what they want them to do, and then they’ll do it.

Maybe the third most common misunderstanding is the confusion between what it means to actually exchange power and to fetishize it. There are many people who say they want a Dominant or submissive, whether it be for play or a relationship, but what is really going on is that they actually just have a fetish for it. What does that mean, exactly?

Submissive and slave, like Dominant and Mistress/Master, are words we use to describe the way power is exchanged. Fetishism is not about power, it’s about arousal. Because a fetish is about arousal, to fetishize something is to be aroused by one’s own subjective perceptions about a person or object. It’s a form of appropriation, or assigning a value to something based on one’s own feelings or beliefs about it rather than what it actually is. For example, being aroused by someone with glasses because they’re assumed to be more intelligent or by a person with blonde hair because they’re assumed to be less; certain ethnicities because they are “exotic”; or Dominant women because they are believed to exist to be a service top to men’s sexual fantasies.

Since a person’s ideas and fantasies may in no way reflect the reality of the person or object, it is said the person or object is being fetishized. While fetishizing something is normal, it can be problematic. People may not welcome someone’s fetishization of them. This is not only because it’s appropriation, but because it’s a form of objectification. Nonconsensual objectification to serve another’s erotic and sexual desires is dehumanizing. This is why I believe it is especially important for fetishists to understand their motivations and responsibly negotiate them. Without this awareness, you are treading in very touchy terrain.

An example that encapsulates the three areas of this article is a man who identifies as a “submissive” and wants a “Dominant” woman that dresses, acts, feels, and speaks in the way that he desires. In actuality, this man is fetishizing a woman who he would like to control into being what he wants her to be. So, this man who thinks he’s a “sub” is actually a Dominant fetishist. If he wants her to do things to him, such as “tease and denial”, he’s also a bottom. If he wants to do things to her, such as body worship, he’s also a top. This relates to what we call “topping from the bottom“, a misnomer that really refers to “Dominating from the submissive role”. I can tell you that as lifestyle and professional Dominant with over a decade of experience playing with a lot of men, this is a very common situation.

So, what is happening here?

Many men seem to find the idea of being controlled by a woman to be sexually arousing, but the actuality of it is not what they are really looking for. There is a disparity between their fantasy of what She is like and the reality. This fantasy is often the result of the influence of media, such as pornography, on one’s ideas and perceptions.

Let me talk a little bit more about how porn can help create this situation.

Porn is a business, and its business is to arouse. Those who create porn must think of what arouses their audience. If their audience is men, they need to understand their fantasies. Since a person’s fantasies put them at the center, they do not necessarily reflect reality, where they aren’t the sole participant but part of an equation and set of circumstances with one or more people. (This isn’t a male or erotic phenomenon, by the way, but a natural byproduct of fantasy itself.)

In a FemDom clip, for example, the idea isn’t so much about depicting a woman actually being in control, as it is about her embodying what they think their (male) audience  wants her to be like. This is why it is common for Female Dominants to encounter men who expect Us to simply act out their fantasies without little to no regard about our part of the equation. (And, yes, Dominants can also be confused by the fantasy of what they believe they are supposed to be.)

The mixture of not understanding these concepts and the blurring between what is fantasy and what is reality can add to the confusion of who you are and what you are trying to accomplish. If you recognize what it means to be Dominated versus being be topped, or if what you are really feeling is a fetish, you will be able to find a more comfortable space in which to explore your kinks and further refine your experiences.

If you would like help figuring out your own kinky identity, I offer high-quality, personalized coaching.

“Topping From the Bottom”

“Topping from the bottom” is a phrase that you will inevitably hear if you spend any length of time in the kink scene. You will most likely hear it coming from a Dominant lamenting about this behavior and informing potential players that they do not tolerate it. While some understand what is meant by this phrase, I have encountered many – including seasoned players – who do not.

The first thing to understand is that the phrase “topping from the bottom” is actually a misnomer. It’s not really a bottom attempting to top (that doesn’t actually make sense), but a submissive attempting to Dominate. Because of this, it could more accurately be called “Domming as a sub”.

What does that mean, exactly?

To understand, you need to know the difference between being a top and a bottom and a Domme and a sub.

Top and bottom are positions. Someone in the top position is the one who creates sensation. Someone in the bottom position is the one who receives it. It infers nothing about who is in control of whom.

Dominant and submissive are, to put it simply, roles. The person in the Dominant role exercises control. The person in the submissive role relinquishes it. It infers nothing about what position someone assumes.

When someone agrees to relinquish control, it means they are not providing it. If you attempt to control your play partner(s) when you have agreed to give up that control, you are the equivalent of a back-seat driver.  “Put your hands at 10 and 2…go that way…drive faster…” You distract the driver away from driving. You annoy them. You may get them to pull over and ask why the hell you wanted them to drive in the first place.

People often are confused about how this figures into scenes. They ask, “How do I tell my Dominant what I like without ‘topping from the bottom’?

As I discuss in my article, “Sharing Your Interests Versus Giving a Script”, explaining what you enjoy is how we establish what we’re going to do together; it’s a necessary part of scene negotiation. Saying you enjoy rope bondage and floggers isn’t the same as telling someone how to tie you up and flog you. Of course, I’m not talking about establishing boundaries, also called “limits”, in order to feel comfortable and safe, such as “I can’t handle any more than two-point bondage” and “I only enjoy flogging on my butt”. That is something you should always do.

Once the scene begins, if you have agreed to assume a submissive role, what you have agreed to do is…submit! Though there may be minor adjustments which need to be made during a scene, such as letting your play partner know if you have reached a limit (something that might not be immediately obvious to them), assuming a submissive position means you are relinquishing control to your Dominant(s) for the activities you have negotiated.

What happens if you don’t want to submit?

Then it may be that you actually want to be the Dominant yourself, or you do not want a scene which involves power exchange.

In my experience, it’s actually pretty common for people who think that they are or want to be a submissive, in fact, are not or do not want that. They don’t usually realize this because they think that submitting and bottoming are synonymous. What I believe they truly want is a top — specifically, a service top. They want to instruct someone how to do things to them. This is where you will see “topping from the bottom” acted out.

Because this is so common, it’s why you will regularly hear exasperated Dommes exclaim, often in their first breath, “No topping from the bottom!” which you now know is really them saying, “Don’t say you want to be a submissive and then try to control me!”

The more you understand what it is you’re looking for and how to negotiate it, the less you will have this problem!

Shaming Dominant Women Who Submit

There is a faction of men, and some women, who are very outspoken about their contempt for Dominant Women who enjoy submission. I have seen them stalk and harass such women, proclaiming, “She’s not a REAL Domme! She submits!” Aside from looking like a troll, there’s a clear lack of understanding about power exchange as it exists outside of their porn clips and fetish fantasies, as well as some possible double-standards and hidden misogyny. Let Me attempt to bring these people into the real world.

First of all, I want to say that I do not trust ANY Dominant — female, male, or otherwise — who claims to have never submitted and does not have an interest to do so. To Me, it’s a big ol’ red flag. It’s kinda like when you have a supervisor who has never done your job and has no interest in learning what you do, but they are happy to act like an authority about it and boss you around. Nobody likes these kind of people.

I believe that to be an effective and great Dominant, you need to experience submission. What does giving up power mean, how much are you willing to give, under what conditions are you able to let go, how do you feel and react when being given an order, what goes through your mind when you are pushed, and so on. This is important because having an experience as a submissive increases your empathy for submissives.

Likewise, to be a great top you need to understand what it means to bottom. If you want to use an implement on someone, you should know what it feels like to receive that implement (anatomical limitations aside). If you don’t understand the perspective of the person who is bottoming, your knowledge will be limited to what you can imagine their perspective being like. And, personally, despite My rich imagination, I can tell you that there really is no substitute for actually feeling a single tail yourself.

“But how can a woman say She’s Dominant but also be willing to submit? Dominant Women don’t submit! It’s against their nature! It invalidates Their Holy Dommliness!”

Here’s the reality: dominant men can kneel before Me, submit to My power for one, two, three or more hours, and at the conclusion of our scene, guess what? They get up off their knees and continue their lives as dominant men. Likewise, a Domme can relinquish control to another…and when She stops relinquishing that control, She’s still Dominant. People, like power, are things whose expression is multi-layered and dynamic.

One way power can be expressed is through an intrinsically “dominant” personality. You may have heard of “type A” personalities. These are dominant types. Their brain is wired in such a way that they are naturally take-charge people. They feel more comfortable in leadership roles, and being assertive and confrontational is usually easier for them.

Another way power is expressed is by making a conscious choice to express it in a given situation. If one makes a decision to take the advice of their doctor and have the surgery, this is actually an act of submission! However, agreeing to let someone else operate on you does not change your underlying personality — whether dominant, submissive, etc. — before, during, or after the procedure.

Also, like many men, women usually have requirements before they’ll agree to offer their submission. It might be only given during certain activities, definitely not during other activities, and there might even be conditions to “inspire” submission, without which they don’t feel the desire or ability to do so in the first place. Sometimes it’s a person’s sex or gender, sometimes their age or ethnicity, sometimes it’s physique or clothing, sometimes it’s money. I have heard several men tell Me that beauty inspires submission in them. Or height. Or intelligence. Or big tits. Or bitchiness. Or very high heels. Dommes who submit are pretty much guaranteed to have their own versions of these things. It’s all personal and valid.

If you’re asking yourself, “Why in the world would someone who is Dominant even feel a desire to submit in the first place? Isn’t that exactly what Dominant people don’t want to do?”  I think one reason why people feel this way is because they are, probably unconsciously, associating submission with weakness, humiliation, or because it’s a sign that someone is actually unable to effectively dominate. None of these are true.

Imagine a dominant male CEO who is responsible for leading his company and the people in it every flipping day. He’s very good at this, but it’s still a lot of pressure and it can wear a person out. Most people will want to find ways to manage the stress that is generated. We all tend to do this naturally; it’s part of our inclination to homeostasis. The more “on” and “in control” a person has to be in their lives, they more they might feel a need to do the opposite to find their equilibrium. (The inverse can be true for people in positions in which they lack power.) This is not weakness. It’s a function of emotional health. So, the CEO might find his equilibrium by going sailing, gambling at a casino, or visiting a Dominatrix.

It’s the same for a Domme. She might spend all week controlling Her subs’ every move; tying them down and doing all sorts of things to them “without their consent” and on the weekend think, “All these guys seemed so at peace afterward. I want to know what it’s like to be tied down and have things done to Me ‘against My will’. I want to take a break and give someone else the power to make the decisions.” And so, like the always-in-control CEO, She decides to release some pressure by situationally submitting to another.

The thing about this that shamers don’t seem to understand or care about is: the rope that ties Her down or the thing that does whatever to Her doesn’t magically change Her desire, ability, or wiring to be Dominant anymore than the CEO who gets on his knees and licks the bottom of My shiny black boots. These are just experiences people are having. It doesn’t fundamentally change who they are. (Well, it could have an effect on one’s consciousness and self-concept which can change over time, but that’s for another article.)

People also can submit just for fun. I mean, some of you do it for that reason, right? You’re not hardcore, “lifestyle” slaves, you just want to negotiate some activities and then let your Dominant make the decisions about what they look like for a couple hours. You enjoy the mystery, the suspense, even the “game”. It’s sexy. It’s a good time. Why would that be any different for a Domme?

Lastly, if a woman is really Dominant, She’s going to do whatever the hell She wants, anyway — whether someone thinks it’s okay or not. A person’s ignorance won’t change that, and any unexamined beliefs regarding women, dominance, submission, and how they relate to that person’s fantasies about those things are theirs to own and don’t necessarily have any bearing on reality. So stop shaming Dominant Women who submit.

 

Sharing Your Interests Versus Giving a Script

Periodically, when someone requests a session with Me they will give Me a detailed description of exactly how they expect Me to run it. I immediately feel objectified and angry. I feel like they don’t trust My knowledge, My skills, My reputation, and the unique qualities that make Me Me. They are ostensibly seeking a puppet in the show they have written. This is what I call “scripting”.

A script is any detailed instruction about dress, thought/feeling, and/or dialogue. Much like you’d see for a play or movie. It’s purpose is to tell the person how to embody and perform their role. If someone is an actor, for example, this is useful and necessary for them to understand their character, motivation, and the words needed to tell the story. However, not everyone is an “actor” and so these types of instructions are not always appropriate or welcome and therefore may be “off limits”.

In kink culture the term we use to describe something that is off limits is “hard limit”. A hard limit is a boundary that is not to be crossed. If someone says that being whipped with a single tail is a hard limit, guess what? I never whip them with a single tail. I don’t even ask if I can.

Scripts are a hard limit for Me. This means that scripts are a boundary not to be crossed. No, it is not OK to say, “I know you don’t like scripts, Mistress, but can I send one anyway?” A hard limit is a NO. I do not have any interest in someone — usually someone I do not know — telling Me precisely how they want Me to dress, think, and speak. This approach feels like you’re trying to Dominate Me. I’m here to offer My Domination to you, not be subjected to yours.

As a Dominatrix, My role is not to merely be an actor in our scene, My role is to direct it. You do not come to Me to tell Me how to dress, feel, and behave in the same way you do not ask an interior designer to decorate your house and then you tell them — in detail — the way you want each room to look.

Why is this a problem? When you come to Dominatrix (any erotic professional, really) and try to tell Her how to BE, you are ostensibly stripping Her of what makes Her HER in order for Her to be your fantasy of what you want Her to be. This is called “objectification”.

Now, that said,”objectification” is not necessarily a heinous thing. It can be harmless and fun. People commonly objectify others in their personal fantasies. If you’re just jacking off to some fantasy in your head, hey, that’s the privacy of your own mind, but as soon as you take it out of your head and want to turn it into an interaction, it needs to be consensual.

While there are some erotic professionals who are willing to allow a certain level of objectification and take “script”-like requests, such as embodying a fantasy person of your imagination or following a story-line you’ve created, make sure that the person welcomes this before you ask. Do not make assumptions. Do NOT make the mistake of thinking: Woman + erotic play = someone who will be my dress-up doll and I can mold into my plaything. Like Our clients, We have individual personalities, likes, dislikes, and strengths. When you select someone, the point is not just because you like the way She looks, but because She seems like the kind of person you want to have an experience with.

If you’re still confused, here are some examples of scripts:

Script_ex1

Another:

Script_ex2

For clarity, here’s a comparison:

Sharing a script: “Come through the door with a evil look on your face and then come over to me and slap Me in the face before you shove me to the ground and tell me that I’m your worthless dog.”

Sharing interests: “I like the idea of being your pet but being humiliated by you. Maybe punished because I’m not good enough for you.”

Is the difference clear?

In the first, the person is telling Me how to perform and directing Me. In the second, they are just telling Me what they like without telling Me how to do it.

Again, you don’t tell the interior designer how to design; that’s their job.

You don’t need to tell Me how to be a Dominatrix; that’s My job.

My Stance on Body Worship

I am a Domme who is extremely particular about body worship. Because body worship is a common interest and request, I felt it important to explain My stance and how I handle contact with My body.

For those of you who don’t know, body worship can involve any body part. Some examples* are the hands, breasts, pussy, ass, legs, and feet. What “worship” may entail is touching, massaging, kissing, licking, sucking, cleaning, pampering, or otherwise paying reverence to one (or more) of these parts of another.

All Dommes have their own preferences about how they handle body worship. Some offer none at all, and some offer the intimate varieties. While I enjoy all sorts of body worship personally, how I handle it professionally is very different. In professional sessions, the only worship that may occur is toward My feet. The reason why I am so particular is because accepting tribute in exchange for access to My body is not something I am comfortable with. For Me, the more I have this type of arrangement, the less I feel that what is happening is Domination.

For what I offer, your tribute is to show your appreciation for the privilege of receiving My erotic power through the activities we negotiate, not grant you privileges with My body. If this is what you are looking for, I completely understand, but in My view you are not seeking a Dominatrix but another type of provider.

What do you do if you would like to worship My feet? First, I want you to understand that I don’t offer conventional “foot worship”, I offer “foot domination“.

If you are interested in foot domination, please indicate this in your session request.

*This does not mean every Domme is interested in these. Check Her interests and limits, or inquire.

Power Dynamics, Contextualized

I’ve talked before about power dynamics and one’s “role”. I thought I would elaborate a little bit, and include them both inside and outside of BDSM.

Dominant: A person who likes to take charge and be in control. They prefer to dictate activity and/or assume a position of leadership. Usage of the word does not necessarily indicate a person is kinky as it is used in “vanilla” contexts. It is a personality type irrespective of any erotic proclivities (meaning someone can be dominant and not kinky) and can be used to describe those with “Alpha” traits. Though the quality of being dominant is typically considered an expression of “masculinity” and thus associated with and expected of men, it is a gender neutral term and can apply to anyone. It also can be situational, e.g. a person may be dominant in their “vanilla” life but submissive sexually.

Domme or Dom: A person who identifies as or assumes the role of a Dominant within the BDSM culture. “Domme’ is usually capitalized to visually establish one’s Dominance and as a part of psychological play. Capitalization can also be extended to any references made to the Dominant(s), e.g. She, Her, Them. “Domme” is usually the femme spelling and “Dom” the butch spelling. The term itself does not indicate what kind of Domme/Dom someone is (e.g. sensual, sadistic, Mistress/Master, etc.). It also does not imply that one’s identification and role as a Dominant within the BDSM culture is also their profession. People who are Dommes/Doms but not in a professional sense are often referred to as a “Lifestyle Domme” or “Lifestyle Dominant”.

Dominatrix: A title usually reserved for professional Dommes. Like a lawyer offers professional legal counsel and representation services, a Dominatrix offers professional Domination services. Also known as a “Pro Domme” or “Pro Dom”. Some non-professional Dommes also use this term if they identify as such. Other Dommes prefer “Domina”, “Mistress”, “Goddess”, or some other variation(s) or combination or terms that they feel are more reflective of the kind of Domme they are.

Likewise….

Submissive: A person who likes others to take charge and be in control. They prefer to receive instruction and/or assume the position of follower. Again, this word is used outside of kink culture and relates to “Beta” personality traits. “Submissiveness” is usually assigned to ideas of “femininity” and thus assigned to and expected of women, but, like dominant, is gender neutral and can be applied to anyone.

sub: A person who identifies as or assumes the role of a submissive within BDSM culture. “sub” is usually not capitalized to visually establish one’s submission and as a part of psychological play. The word has no femme or butch variations and is gender neutral, which also enforces the notion of submission by further removing one’s sense of personhood. Like Domme and Dom don’t indicate the personality or style of the Dominant, submissive is similar in that regard; their styles may be complementary to Dommes/Doms (i.e. sensual, masochistic, slave).

Anyone who is a professional submissive usually refers to themselves as a “professional submissive” or “pro sub”. There is no complementary title to Dominatrix.

Furthermore…

People who can both Domme/Dom or sub are usually referred to as a “switch”. There is a lot of variability here, too. Like the Kinsey scale, some people are only “sub curious” or “incidentally Dominant”; where others may be very nearly 50/50. Again, this is a gender neutral term.

Professionally, one may be a “pro switch” (offering both professional Dominance and submission).

Outside of kink? These people are usually just seen as flexible, adaptable, “team players”, and other such terms. Of course this doesn’t mean that dominant and submissive people aren’t these things, but the more you lean toward either end of the spectrum, the more difficult you may have with adaptability. Speaking as a strongly dominant person, I’m not the best team player. I do better in positions of leadership; I make a terrible follower!