Part 5: On Respect

Respect is something of a hot button topic for me, especially as it relates to the D/s dynamic and to the community that practices it. But before we get too far, I’d like to define the term so we are all on the same page:

“to consider worthy of high regard”

merriam-webster dictionary

Words have meaning, and the way we apply these words to our lives tells others what they mean to us. With that in mind, let’s break down this definition into its smaller pieces.


Merriam-Webster tells us that consider means “to think about carefully”. If we relate that to respect, it makes perfect sense; we need to think carefully about whether or not someone is deserving of our respect.


Merriam-Webster defines worthy to mean “honorable, meritorious”. Again, in the realm of respect, it is reasonable to assume that someone deserving of respect would be honorable.

High Regard

The dictionary refers to regard as “the worth or estimation in which something or someone is held”. so for our purposes, high regard would logically mean that we place high worth on someone.

What’s the Point?

If we put all these pieces together, they paint a clear picture of what respect requires. Unfortunately there are those in the leather, fetish, and kink communities who would have us believe that they are entitled to respect. Without painting with too broad a brush, I will say that people in this category have the potential to be dangerous because they don’t feel responsible for earning respect. This is problematic in my mind because I believe that without respect, the domination and submission dynamic runs a high risk of being toxic and abusive.

Any Dom who has an expectation of respect without affording you the opportunity to consider whether or not they are worthy of such high regard, does not deserve your respect. Further, I would caution you to take necessary precautions to protect yourself when dealing with such people; if they want to cut corners in such important foundational matters, who knows what other important things might fall by the wayside? I’m thinking about things like consent and safe words here.

Respect is considered and it is earned. No one who deserves your respect is going to be in a hurry to get it, and if they are in a hurry, there is usually a reason. Domination and submission is based on mutual respect and trust, neither of which can be fast tracked or rushed.

Domination and Submission Series