Ownership Flag

This article is part of the O&P Wiki.


  1. Owner
  2. Head of household
  3. Expert
  4. Casual usage
  5. See also


Master is a term used to describe or address the dominant partner in a relationship or scene. Because of its use as an honorific, a significant fraction of people write "master" with a capital letter even when used as a noun. For example "This is my Master."

The term "master" is mostly used within M/s, D/s and O&P to refer to males, but is sometimes also used by female owners or dominants to stress the masculine style of their dominance.


Typically, master is used to describe the owner in a Master/slave relationship. It is sometimes, less commonly, used as a title for the dominant in a D/s relationship.

The master has usually acquired the right to exercise authority over the slave (or submissive) in some substantial sense, within a relationship that may extend to a full time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or something less extensive (weekends as schedules permit, for instance).

Head of household

Master may also be used in its everyday sense as the male head of a household in some styles of D/s and M/s, especially those groups of people identifying as a house.


Not often used within the meaning of BDSM, but sometimes found in this context to mean someone who knows a lot about some subject, such as ropework or computers or whips (as in "he is a famous whip master.")

Historically, a master craftsman (sometimes simply called Master) was a member of a guild. In the European guild system, only master craftsmen were allowed to actually be members of the guild. An aspiring master would have to pass through the career chain from apprentice to journeyman before he could be elected to become a master craftsman. He would often have to produce a sum of money and a masterpiece before he could actually join the guild. Becoming a Master was often very hard.

The usage of master in SM parallels this usage in some ways, as early practitioners used to go through an 'apprentice' stage, often having to act as a submissive or masochistic as part of the process. However, master in historical SM and Leather derived from 'Master/slave' rather than apprentice / journeyman / master.

Casual usage

Some people in a relationship, or just within a BDSM scene, enjoy the psychological impact of calling their dominant partner Master or having their submissive partner call them Master. Such usage is not by itself an indication that they are a Master any more than calling a partner 'honey' indicates that they are made of honey.

This usage of the word master, as an honorific when neither party in a relationship consider themselves to be owned nor owner, is a common source of confusion when trying to use or understand BDSM terminology, given that the most accepted usage requires no certification or formal training. Most especially, a Dom might be called Master by his sub in a D/s relationship.

See also

(This article incorporates text from the article Master in Wipipedia.)

This article is published under the terms of the GFDL. The contributors to this article were: 541-969-139, godless, Tanos

Possession. Ownership. Consent. Responsibility. Respect. House. Service. Dignity. Authenticity. Rituals.

O&P (Ownership & Possession) is a new structure built from familiar D/s and M/s concepts, defined by the O&P Manifesto.

There is an O&P discussion group on Fetlife.

The O&P Wiki contains articles about O&P and related D/s, M/s, and BDSM topics.

You can also follow O&P on Twitter.

House of Tanos