I got asked recently how I choose to call my pet by the title of “pet.” This got me thinking about how hard it can be to define a relationship in the BDSM community. So, I guess I’m going to talk a little about that.
First, it’s really something you should talk about with the person you have the relationship with. Ergo, my blog can only do so much. I guess just bare that in mind, okay?
Now then, there are lots of different titles and they can mean different things to different people. I know that in some scenes, “pet” would mean something different than it does to me and my pet. Keep in mind that BDSM terms are something that change over time, and vary from scene to scene. What someone in Korea calls a pet might not be what someone in Thailand thinks a pet is.
That said, it seems to me that most relationships I come across have one person who is clearly more Dominant, and one person who is clearly more Submissive. So, in a wider sense, those terms are how one starts to define a BDSM relationship.
Beyond that, there are sub-categories that a relationship could fit into. Perhaps a Dominant controls every aspect of the Submissives’ life. In that case, the submissive might be better defined as a slave. Or perhaps they simply look out for them, but never tell them what to do. Then they might be less of a Dom and more of a Protector. In my case, I chose “pet,” even though we do not engage in pet play. (I don’t have a tail butt plug for him and he doesn’t crawl around on the floor much.) I feel it defines the relationship well because he is so much younger that I feel like he’s someone I have to take care of, as you would a pet. And besides, he loves to lay with his head in my lap and have his hair played with.
In any case, I feel like the terms you use to define a relationship are largely subjective. That can make it particularly complicated when you want to define your relationship for others. If you need help, it always helps to bring it up at a munch (fetlife event for kinksters) and see what people in your local scene tend to use.
Also, leather families can play a role in finding a name.
The concept behind a leather family is that you’ll have a group of kinksters that are all sort of bonded together in some way. Often, it will spring from one relationship with a poly couple, who then have pets who have other significant others. As the web grows, some people are more senior and some are less, and so they end up forming a hierarchy that is usually referred to as a leather family.
So in such a situation, the family often helps to define terms.
I really terms for submissives like Pet, Slave, and Whore. And for me, I like Mistress, Master, or Godess for me.
But be inventive! You can use pre-defined roles that exist when you start out, but over time, you will probably find a definition for each relationship you have that suits it.