Also, some submissives eschew personal pronouns, instead referring to themselves as "this slave" or "Master Bob's girl".
This is sometimes considered an expression of modesty, but it is an entirely optional method of depersonalizing a submissive during "play".
Fantasy role play can be an element, with partners taking classic dominant or submissive roles, or classic authority-figure roles such as teacher and student, police officer and suspect, or parent and child.
Animal play, where one partner takes the role of owner or caretaker and the other takes the part of a pet or animal, can also be D/s play.
A 1995 study indicates that 89% of heterosexual females who are active in BDSM expressed a preference for the submissive-recipient role in sexual bondage, expressing also a preference for a dominant male, and that 71% of heterosexual males preferred a dominant-initiator role.
A safeword is usually given to the submissive partner to prevent the dominant from overstepping physical and emotional boundaries.
There can be any number of partners in a D/s relationship: one dominant may have several submissives, who may in turn dominate others, or a submissive may have multiple dominants. Romantic love is not necessarily a feature in D/s: partners might be very much in love or have no romantic relationship at all.
Those who take the superior position are called "dominants"—Doms (male) or Dommes (female)—while those who take the subordinate position are called "submissive"—or subs (male or female). Two switches together may negotiate and exchange roles several times in a session.In addition to "dominant" and "submissive", a "switch" is a person who can take either role.A scene between two switches can involve trading off the dominant and submissive roles, possibly several times.Many extend this to His/Hers, Him/Her, He/She, etc., to make it clear when they are referring to a Dominant.The inner conflict and surrender connected with dominance and submission are enduring themes in human culture and civilization.